Aug. 6, 2005
FRISCO, Texas - Three members of the Notre Dame women's soccer team - rising junior Christie Shaner and incoming freshmen Brittany Bock and Kerry Inglis - helped the Goshen-based FC Indiana team conclude a dominant 2005 summer season by winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, in weekend action at the sparkling-new Frisco Soccer Complex in the Dallas suburbs. The Open Cup is an annual nation-wide tournament sponsored by the U.S. Adult Soccer Association, with this weekend's games featuring championship teams from four regions.
Notre Dame's fourth member of FC Indiana was unable to participate in the team's second straight championship weekend, as rising junior goalkeeper Nikki Westfall had a scheduling conflict due to her brother's wedding. The team's backup 'keeper also was not able to attend, forcing three players (including Shaner and Inglis) into emergengy goalkeeper duty.
(Note: check back to und.com next week for comments from the ND players, plus photos from the WPSL championship weekend.)
FC Indiana, which won the Women's Premier Soccer League title last weekend, completed a near-perfect summer (18-1-0) with Open Cup wins over southern California-based Ajax America in Friday's semifinals (2-0) and the Dallas S.C. Titans in Saturday's 4-0 championship game.
Shaner (Ambler, Pa.) - who nearly won a 2003 national title with her club team F.C. Bucks Challenge, just weeks starting her college career - now has played on three national championship teams in the past eight months, earlier helping Notre Dame go 25-1-1 during its 2004 NCAA-title season.
Bock (Naperville, Ill.) and Shaner played the entire 180 minutes during the weekend, with Bock helping set up scores in each game from her central midfield spot. Shaner played in goal during the second half of the Ajax game and the first 70 minutes vs. the Titans, with her other time spent at outside midfield. Inglis (Fort Wayne, Ind.) - who also played at outside midfielder for 45 minutes of the semifinal and 70 minutes of the final - scored the second goal in the championship game and later logged the final 20 minutes in goal, with three saves.
FC Indiana braved the heat and humidity to bring home a national trophy for the second straight weekend.
Forward Carolina Smith - an All-American at Kansas - filled in at goalkeeper to start the weekend before Shaner took over in the second half of the Ajax America game. It was the first time Shaner had played in the goal since a youth-soccer game when she was 13 years old but she made four key saves as her team clung to a 1-0 lead until scoring again late in the game.
FC Indiana held a 7-6 edge in shots during the semifinal while Ajax had five of the game's six corner kicks. The Goshen-based team had the only solid scoring chance of the first half, shortly before the break.
Ajax America joined FCI in playing minus some top players, as U.S. National Team standouts Shannon Boxx (former ND standout) and Abby Wambach did not play in the semifinal. Ajax still held a significant edge in age and experience (with an average age of 27, compared to 20 for FCI) and boasted top players such as former UCLA All-American Traci Arkenberg, former University of Portland goalkeeper Lauren Arese and former UP player Brooke O'Hanley (who went on to play in the WUSA with the Carolina Courage).
FC Indiana led 7-6 in shots on goal, while Ajax led 5-1 in corners.
Shaner entered the nets after a scoreless first half but Tasha St. Louis soon scored her first of two goals in the semifinal. The Trinidad and Tabago national-team member did not play in the first half (after suffering a minor injury the previous weekend) but showed her scoring flair to help knock off the veteran Ajax team.
Bock helped set up the game's first goal with a slide tackle near the center circle. The forced turnover sent the ball to Mexican national Fatima Leyva, who then played a 30-yard pass over the defense. St. Louis had a defender on her left but was able to strike a crossing shot that beat the `keeper to the lower left corner for the 1-0 lead in the 66th minute.
St. Louis scored a similar goal in the waning moments of the game, as FCI forced a turnover and Smith played a pass that set up another crossing shot for the 2-0 cushion in the 88th minute.
Tough defense and tremendous conditioning helped FCI control the semifinal in the final 20 minutes. Shaner's impressive play included coming out to punch away a dangerous corner kick with her team still clinging to its 1-0 lead.
The Dallas Titans essentially had home-field advantage and were coming off a 2-0 semifinal win over the Pennsylvania-based German Hungarians. But Saturday's final clearly belonged to an FC Indiana team that closed out its season with a comfortable win that could have produced an even bigger final margin.
A classic five-player combination sequence set up the first goal, in the 33rd minute. Bock was part of the sequence that ended with Smith taking a pass from Mexican national Paty Perez and sending a 20-yard shot into the upper right corner.
Perez scored early in the second half, running onto Leyva's thru-ball and finishing the 1-on-1 chance. Another high-level combination sequence yielded the final goal in the 61st minute, with Aivi Luik playing the ball into St. Louis to produce the final 4-0 score.
FCI held the edge in shots (12-4) and corners (9-6) during the final. Inglis made three saves in her brief goalkeeping stint, including impressive back-to-back stops on a kick and dive.