Dec. 3, 2010
Notre Dame College Cup Central
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CARY, N.C. (AP) - Freshman Mandy Laddish broke away from the pack at midfield and streaked through the Ohio State defense in the 83rd minute to net Notre Dame's only goal at WakeMed Stadium in the NCAA College Cup semifinal.
Laddish scored her second goal of the season for the Fighting Irish (20-2-2), who advanced to the championship game for the fourth time in the last seven years. Notre Dame will play top-ranked and unbeaten Stanford on Sunday at Noon ET on ESPN2.
"It's almost just like a blur to me," Laddish said. "I remember the shot on goal, and I was just in shock that I actually scored and was helping us win."
Katie Baumgardner made a career-high 10 saves, many of them acrobatic, for the Buckeyes (17-5-2).
"It was exhausting," Baumgardner said.
Laddish broke through with a long run down the middle of the field. Outracing pursuit, she drilled a left-footed shot from the top of the box into the upper left-hand corner of the net.
The Fighting Irish threatened the Buckeyes with similar runs throughout the second half, nearly scoring on two other occasions after Laddish's goal.
"I know what our Achilles' heel is, and they found it," Ohio State coach Lori Walker said. "Penetrating on the dribble through the midfield was the one thing that if they did that, we didn't have an answer."
Ohio State's best opportunity came in the 89th minute. Paige Maxwell lofted a shot that got past Notre Dame goalkeeper Nikki Weiss, but the ball bounced off the right post.
"I guess it was our turn to get robbed," Maxwell said. "They got robbed a few times. The soccer gods were not in our favor on that one. I just put everything I had, all my being, through that ball."
The Fighting Irish dominated possession throughout, particularly in the second half. They outshot the Buckeyes 15-3 in the half, getting turned away time after time by Baumgardner.
Notre Dame put together a flurry midway through the period. Melissa Henderson rocketed a shot from inside the box that Baumgardner saved, but Henderson threatened again just 10 seconds later.
Henderson hit a left-footed shot from straight on that Baumgardner dived to her right to knock away just before the ball found the bottom corner of the net.
Notre Dame's Rose Augustin generated the best scoring opportunity in the first half. Augustin's blast from the left wing just outside the box in the 24th minute hit the far post near the top of the goal, and the Buckeyes cleared the loose ball.
Augustin also had a header in the seventh minute that Baumgardner saved.
-- ND --
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame advances to its eighth NCAA Women's College Cup final (fifth in the 12-year Randy Waldrum era), improving to 8-4 all-time in NCAA national semifinal matches, including a 4-0 mark when playing in semifinals at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. ... for the second consecutive visit to Cary, the Fighting Irish advanced to the title match with a 1-0 victory on the strength of a goal by a freshman midfielder -- in 2008, then-rookie midliner Courtney Barg scored in the 15th minute to propel Notre Dame past Stanford 1-0; Melissa Henderson earned the assist on that score and also started the sequence that led to Laddish's goal on Friday night ... the Fighting Irish also rise to 58-15-1 (.791) all-time in the NCAA Championship, including a 10-9 record in the College Cup ... Notre Dame posts its 20th win of the season, securing its seventh 20-win campaign in the past eight years (the Fighting Irish had 19 wins in 2007) and the 14th in the program's 23-year history ... Notre Dame records its fourth win over a ranked opponent in five matches during this year's NCAA Championship, while also notching its fourth shutout in five NCAA tournament matches this season (14-1 scoring margin; lone goal by North Carolina's Crystal Dunn in third-round win on Nov. 20 in Chapel Hill, N.C.) ... the Fighting Irish jump to 64-9-2 (.867) all-time against Big Ten Conference opponents (3-0 this season), including a 14-1 record in the NCAA Championship ... Notre Dame also moves to 6-0 all-time against Ohio State, including a 2-0 record in the NCAA Championship ... Laddish had scored just one other goal in her rookie season, a 37th-minute strike on Sept. 24 in a 4-0 win over Cincinnati at Alumni Stadium ... Laddish's goal was the latest game-winning score of the season for Notre Dame, surpassing Melissa Henderson's game-winner at 78:42 in the 1-0 season-opening win against another Big Ten opponent, Minnesota, on Aug. 20 at Alumni Stadium ... it also was the latest game-winner in regulation for the Fighting Irish since Oct. 9, 2009, when Lauren Fowlkes potted the lone tally at 83:55 at #10/12 Rutgers ... Laddish's goal was the latest regulation game-winner for Notre Dame in an NCAA Championship match since Nov. 14, 2004, when Jill Krivacek headed home a corner kick from Katie Thorlakson at 89:07 for a 1-0 win over Wisconsin at old Alumni Field (Notre Dame defeated visiting Minnesota, 1-0 in overtime in a 2008 third-round match on an extra-time penalty kick by Kerri Hanks) ... Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum coached his 299th game with the Fighting Irish on Friday, boosting his record under the Golden Dome to 252-36-11 (.861) in 12 seasons.