Nov. 9, 1997
Notre Dame Wins Third Straight BIG EAST Championship
Downs Connecticut 6-1
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Freshman midfielder Anne Makinen scored a hat trick to lead Notre Dame's second-ranked and top-seeded women's soccer team to its third straight BIG EAST championship with a 6-1 win over fourth-ranked and second-seeded Connecticut at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. With the win, the Irish improve to 20-0-1 and claim the BIG EAST Conference's automatic bid into the 1997 NCAA women's soccer championship.
Notre Dame will make its fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA championship, after advancing to each of the last three NCAA title games, winning in 1995. The win was the second in two week
Makinen was honored as the BIG EAST championship's most outstanding player with four goals in the tournament, a championship record. She controlled the tempo of the game with her dominating play in the central midfield. Makinen scored her second career hat trick, both coming at Yurcak Field. Her first hat trick came earlier in the year in a 7-1 win over Rutgers.
The Irish took control of the championship game early, scoring just 2:27 into the contest when Monica Gerardo blasted a shot from 10 yards that bounced out of the hands of Connecticut goalkeeper Jen Traw. Jenny Streiffer pounced on the loose ball, scoring from eight yards into the upper right corner of the net.
Gerardo set up the next Notre Dame goal when she was fouled in the box on a drive to the goal. Anne Makinen converted on a penalty kick to put the Irish up 2-0 just 6:40 into the contest. Makinen made it 3-0 when she volleyed in a failed clear from 20 yards that blasted into the upper center of the net.
Notre Dame quickly found itself into a similar position to the 1996 BIG EAST championship game with an early 3-0 first half lead. In 1996, the Huskies rallied to tie the game at 3-3 before Jenny Heft scored the game winner for a 4-3 win. On Sunday, the Irish prevented a repeat rally with two goals in the final 5:09 of the second half to put the game away before halftime.
Streiffer split the Connecticut defense with a pass from the top of the box to Shannon Boxx who dribbled in from the left wing and scored into the upper right corner of the net at 39:51. Monica Gonzalez capped the first half for Notre Dame when she intercepted a goal kick and fired a low shot into the right corner of the net from 20 yards at 44:37.
The Irish defense held the Huskies to just one shot in the first half while Notre Dame built 17-1 advantage in shots. The five goals were the most ever allowed by Connecticut in the first half.
Connecticut scored its only goal of the game at 54:35 when Sarah Barnes headed in a pass from the top of the box from Jen Tietjen over the head of Irish goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene.
Makinen capped off her hat trick when she scored Notre Dame's only goal of the second half at 85:52. Meotis Erikson split the Huskie defenders with a feed just past midfield for a Makinen breakaway that she converted just inside the box into the right corner of the net past the extended Connecticut goalkeeper.
The six goals by Notre Dame match the most ever allowed by Connecticut, tying the six scored by North Carolina in 1990 and by Massachusetts in 1979. Combined with the 7-0 win over Villanova in the semifinals, the 13 goals by the Irish in the championship broke the championship record of 11 set by Notre Dame in winning the 1996 BIG EAST championship.
The win marked the sixth straight win for Notre Dame over Connecticut and the third straight in the BIG EAST championship finals. The Irish won the title in 1995 with a 1-0 over the Huskies and the 4-3 game in 1996. Connecticut is the only team to appear every BIG EAST championship since its inception in 1993 but has yet to win the title.
The BIG EAST championship is the third captured by a Notre Dame team in 1997. The Irish men's golf team won the conference title on Sept. 29, and the men's cross country team won the BIG EAST championship meet on Oct. 31.
SUMMARY #1 Notre Dame 6, #2 Connecticut 1 Scoring: ND Jenny Streiffer (Gerardo) 2:27, ND Anne Makinen (penalty kick) 6:40, ND Anne Makinen (unassisted) 27:41, ND Shannon Boxx (Streiffer, Sobrero) 39:51, ND Monica Gonzalez (unassisted), UC Sarah Barnes (J. Tietjen) 54:35, ND Anne Makinen (Erikson) 85:52 Shots: ND 30-9. Corner kicks: ND 6-3. Saves: UC 9-2. Fouls: UC 21-13.