Nov. 15, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The 19th-ranked Notre Dame women's soccer team turned to a pair of veteran goalscorers and a surging freshman to account for all the goals and the primary assists as the Irish opened NCAA tournament play with Friday night's 3-1 win over Ohio State, at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame (12-7-0) - winners of five of its last six - advances to a second-round game vs. #14 Purdue, on Sunday, Nov. 17, at Alumni Field (1:00 p.m.). The game will serve as a rematch of the Oct. 8 ND-Purdue game that was won by the Boilermakers, 3-1. Purdue had advanced on penalty kicks earlier in the night, after finishing overtime tied with Eastern Illinois (1-1).
The game was Notre Dame's first in 19 days, after the Irish narrowly missed the BIG EAST Tournament with a 3-3 record in divisional play (plus 4-0 in cross-divisional games, which do not factor into the division standings).
Notre Dame's forward unit enjoyed its strongest game of the entire 2002 season, as juniors Amanda Guertin (two goals, points in last seven games) and Amy Warner (two assists) continued to show improved interplay with freshman frontrunner Katie Thorlakson, who scored what proved to be Friday's gamewinning goal.
The team's 5-1-0 run corresponded to several lineup shifts made before the Oct. 13 showdown with BIG EAST rival UConn (a 3-1 win), with junior Melissa Tancredi moving from forward to central defense, sophomore Mary Boland going from left back into the midfield, junior Kim Carpenter shifting from midfield to left back and Thorlakson bumping up from midfield to forward (senior midfielder Ashley Dryer also made her return from injury at that time). Since the big lineup shift, the Irish own a 16-5 scoring edge and have allowed just 7.7 shots per game during the past six outings.
Notre Dame steadily built its shot advantage in the first half (13-2; 25-6 overall) before finally putting a goal on the board shortly before the intermission. A turnover in the box gave Guertin a one-on-one chance with 'keeper Emily Haynam and she calmly slid her eighth goal of the season into the net for the 1-0 lead (40:07).
Warner set up the second goal early in the second half, using her speed to shake free for a shot that rebounded off Haynam. Thorlakson was there to knock in her fourth goal of the season, with all her scores coming in the last six games (52:05).
Ohio State (10-11-1) jumped right back in the game, as an Irish clearing attempt deflected off the leg of OSU freshman Colleen Hoban and went into the net from point-blank range for her seventh goal of the season (61:28).
Guertin capped the scoring with her 35th career goal in the 78th minute, with sophomore defender Candace Chapman setting up the play on a leftside thorw-in. Warner raced onto the throw and sent a cross from the left endline, with Guertin again sliding her try past Haynam for the 3-1 cushion (77:58).
Friday's two-game performance added to Guertin's pile of primetime efforts, as she has totaled 45 points (18G-9A) in 31 career games in which the Irish were facing a ranked and/or postseason opponent (ND is 23-7-1 in those games, dating back to 2000). Her career postseason stats now include 10 goals and one assist in 13 games.
NOTES: Guertin's career point total has grown to 90, including 5G-5A in her current seven-game point streak (she has scored in each of ND's last six postseason games) ... she already ranks seventh in ND history for career points in the postseason (21) ... the Irish now are 95-3-1 vs. unranked teams at Alumni Field (88-2-1 since 1990) ... ND is 46-1-1 vs. Big Ten teams since 1989 ... the Irish added to third second-half scoring bulge (30-15; 11-10 in first half) ... ND's Alumni Field success includes a 27-2-0 record in the postseason (19-2-0 in the NCAAs) ... the Irish now stand 25-8-1 in all-time NCAA games ... ND is 17-3-1 in its last 21 postseason games (22-4-1 in last 27) ... the Irish have scored in their last 13 postseason games and 50 of 53 all-time (three title-game shutout losses to UNC).
OSU HEAD COACH LORI WALKER: "Notre Dame has tremendous speed and it was a great game for our team in gaining some experience. We have a very young team and in the first 15 minutes they were a little 'wigged out' and then started to settle down and play. ... Notre Dame came at us with waves of speed and we have not seen that for a few weeks. ... This group of seniors came into our program and said that they wanted to make a difference and that they wanted to be the team that took us over the hump. You're going to see more of our program. ... In our scouting report, we told the team we didn't know where (Chapman) was going to play. She has tremendous athleticism and it's tremendously deadly. She comes forward with pace and vigor. But I think Warner gave us more fits today. She is a tremendous player and was all over the place. ... I was very impressed with the squad that Notre Dame has. I think there are going to be some teams that are going to be surprised at the speed at which Notre Dame is playing."
ND HEAD COACH RANDY WALDRUM: "I thought we were great tonight. We talked about coming out and setting the tone. Every phase of our game was good. We were very solid defensively, the one little mistake on the goal that was a little bit of a fluke. In the midfield and up front we were really good. In particular, I think Gerty (Amanda Guertin) was great tonight. She has struggled a bit at times earlier in the year but had a great week of training. ... We were so beat up physically that we needed the time off but then you worry that you might lose some continuity without playing any games. But tonight it was almost like it was the first game of the season again, they had that enthusiasm. It worked to our benefit but we don't want to make a habit out of that long layoff. ... Some of those changes that we have been able to do have finally put the pieces in place now. Katie (Thorlakson) came in without really having any break and she also came in late and had to adjust to the college game. But the last month she has been playing really well. Ashley (Dryer) and (fellow midfielder) Randi (Scheller) needed those two weeks off more than anybody. Ashley in the last six days has looked more like herself than all season. She has been beat up but now she has that spark back and that first two or three steps of her explosiveness back. She has certainly keyed our team and you can see how much of a difference it makes having her in there."
OHIO STATE 0 1 - 1
NOTRE DAME 1 2 - 3
SHOTS: OSU 2-4-6, ND 13-12-25.
Corner Kicks: OSU 0-1-1, ND 3-2-5.
Saves: OSU (Emily Haynam) 10, ND (Erika Bohn) 3.
Fouls: OSU 14, ND 18.
Offsides: OSU 4, ND 5.
Note: See purduesports.com for recap of the Purdue-EIU game, with additional quotes included below:
EIU HEAD COACH STEVE BALLARD: "Congratulations to Purdue. They played a great game and really pressured us in the second half and in overtime. It's a tough way to lose. But I am so proud of our team for their fantastic heart and fantastic effort. ... They really started to push people forward and every time we put the ball out, our midfield could not get out. Their midfield really took control of the game and it was difficult for us to handle that. ... This definitely was the best game of (goalkeeper Lindsay Dechert's) career. We had talked to her about staying on her line and that helped a lot."
PURDUE HEAD COACH ROB KLATTE: "It's great but it was a nauseating (110) minutes. I was very happy with the way we played for a large portion of the game. We got good opportunities and had good shots but their goalkeeper just kept making saves, we had stuff going off the post and rolling just wide. It was wonderful to win in PKs after losing in PKs a week ago. ... It makes a huge difference having been somewhere before but Eastern was in the same situation having played here in the NCAAs last year. ... Their midfield was dominating the game in the first half. We have some depth and definitely used some numbers."