April 14, 2001
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -
A festive crowd of some 2,000 fans was treated to an exciting night of exhibition soccer action Saturday at School Field, as the Notre Dame men held off a feisty Bethel College squad, 4-3, before the Irish women posted an inspired 2-1 victory over the Mexican Women's National Team.
Mexico's speedy forward tandem of Maribel Dominguez and Iris Mora kept the Notre Dame defense on its toes for full 90 minutes but the Irish posted the first two goals of the game, with junior midfielder Mia Sarkesian drilling home a shot in the closing seconds of the first half before freshman forward Amanda Guertin scored early in the second half. Dominguez-who accounted for seven of Mexico's 11 shots-finally broke through for a score in the 57th minute to set up a tense final 30 minutes of play.
Notre Dame senior Monica Gonzalez-who is a founding member of the three-year-old Mexican National Team-played the entire game for Mexico, mostly at sweeper before moving to the midfield in the lategoing. Gonzalez currently is studying at the University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico, but she is slated to return to Notre Dame next fall (she has one year of eligibility remaining).
"Tonight was a tremendous atmosphere for anyone who loves the game of soccer and Mexico provided a very strong test for our team," said Irish head coach Randy Waldrum, whose squad in the exhibition included just eight regular starters from the 2000 fall season.
"Mexico is a team with tremendous quickness and skill. You can't let up, even for a second, or they will make you pay. So, in that regard, we were very pleased with the way our team battled tonight and with the composure that they showed. Up until tonight, we haven't had a very strong spring season but we got the chance to see some players in new situations and overall are very satisfied with the whole experience of this exhibition. I think the fans more than got their money's worth."
Several noteworthy players were absent from the Irish lineup, including the senior trio of midfielder Anne Makinen, defender Kelly Lindsey and forward Meotis Erikson (each is pursuing a career in the Women's United Soccer Association)-while freshman forward Amy Warner did not play due to her continuing rehabilitation from offseason knee surgery.
Notre Dame's starting lineup included Guertin, sophomore Ali Lovelace and junior Kelly Tulisiak at forward while Sarkesian and sophomore Ashley Dryer (who missed the 2000 NCAA semifinal with a knee injury) returned to their customary midfield spots, where they were joined by freshman Randi Scheller in Makinen's attacking midfielder role.
Senior Kerri Bakker helped fill in the back line, along with sophomore Vanessa Pruzinsky and junior Lindsey Jones-a South Bend native who played at School Field during her prep days. With Gonzalez playing for Mexico, freshman Kim Carpenter stepped in as a starter in the Irish defense and responded with a solid all-around performance.
Notre Dame's only substitution of the game was promising forward Melissa Tancredi, who missed all of her freshman season in 2000 due to an ACL knee injury.
"We were very pleased with Tancredi's play and she should continue to make strides in the spring and next fall as she gets back into the rhythm," said Waldrum. "We essentially look at Melissa as a member of next year's freshman class and she will play a very important role as we try to fill the void of losing Meotis Erikson from our forward group."
Sarkesian opened the scoring with a shot that had striking similarities to goals earlier in her career versus North Carolina ('99) and Stanford ('99 NCAAs), after receiving the ball from Guertin near the left sideline. With time running out in the first half, Sarkesian appeared to catch Mexico goalkeeper Alba Garcia offguard by rocketing a shot from outside the box-with the ball ripping into the far right side of the net at the 44:54 mark.
Tulisiak set up the second goal on a centering pass from the left endline. With Garcia leaning toward the near post, Tancredi nearly poked the ball into the net but Guertin was trailing the play and pushed the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead (47:28).
Dominguez turned in an impressive display 10 minutes later, sprinting down the left flank and slicing by the Irish defense before beating junior goalkeeper Liz Wagner with a sharp crossing shot (56:42).
Mexico finished with an 11-8 shot advantage while attempting five corner kicks to Notre Dame's one.
In the earlier men's game, Notre Dame-which will play its first season for new head coach Bobby Clark next fall-answered an early Bethel goal by claiming a 3-1 halftime lead, thanks to goals from Brian Jarvis, Eric Braun and Greg Martin. The Pilots then tied the game with a pair of goals early in the second half before Rafael Garcia scored the game-winner in the 69th minute, putting back Chad Riley's saved shot.
Notre Dame Women's Soccer Exhibition
MEXICO 0 1 - 1
NOTRE DAME 1 1 - 2
ND 1. Mia Sarkesian (Amanda Guertin) 44:54
ND 2. Guertin (Kelly Tulisiak) 47:28
MEX 1. Maribel Domiguez 56:42.
Shots: Mexico 4-7-11, ND 4-4-8.
Saves: Mexico (Alba Garcia) 0-2-2, ND (Liz Wagner) 1-3-4.
Corner Kicks: Mexico 2-3-5, ND 0-1-1.
Notre Dame Men's Soccer Exhibition
BETHEL 1 2 - 3
NOTRE DAME 3 1 - 4
BC 1. Andrea Rodriguez 6:22
ND 1. Brian Jarvis (Justin Detter, Chad Riley)
ND 2. Erich Braun (Fillipo Chillemi)
ND 3. Greg Martin (Jarvis)
BC 2. #7 50:30
BC 3. Jorge Filizola (Pablo Gutierrez) 57:10
ND 4. Rafael Garcia (Chad Riley) 68:30.