Sept. 20, 2012
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-3-1 / 2-0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (5-5-1 / 0-1-1 BIG EAST)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-3-1 / 2-0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Oakland Golden Grizzlies (3-2-3 / 0-0-0 Summit League)
Irish Welcome Pittsburgh, Oakland To Alumni Stadium This Weekend
Notre Dame is coming off BIG EAST home victories over Louisville (2-1) and Cincinnati (7-0) to start conference play with a 2-0 record for the 17th time in its 18-year league membership.
Freshman forward Crystal Thomas had two goals and an assist in the two wins, while seven different players scored against Cincinnati, helping the Fighting Irish chalk up their largest margin of victory and most goals in a BIG EAST match since 2005.
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Pittsburgh last played on Sept. 16, battling to a 0-0 draw at South Florida. Goalkeeper Nicole D'Agostino anchored a solid Panther defense with six saves to earn her second shutout of the season.
Junior defender Morgan Sharick has a team-high four goals and freshman midfielder Roosa Arvas has a league-leading seven assists, with the tandem sharing team-high point honors (nine each). D'Agostino has played every minute in goal for Pittsburgh this season, posting a 1.32 goals-against average and .750 save percentage in addition to her two clean sheets.
Head coach Greg Miller is in his first season at the Panthers' helm following a successful 11-year stint as an assistant coach at Ohio State that included the Buckeyes' first NCAA College Cup appearance in 2010 (OSU would fall to eventual national champion Notre Dame in the College Cup semifinals, 1-0 on Mandy Laddish's goal with 7:38 left).
The Notre Dame-Pittsburgh Series
Due to their positioning in opposite divisions of the BIG EAST and the limited number of cross-divisional matchups, the teams have met infrequently in recent seasons, with Friday's match marking the first series meeting in three years (first in South Bend since 2006) and just the third since the current divisional alignment was instituted in 2005.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Pittsburgh Met
The scoreless draw was just the eighth in the history of the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, and the first since Aug. 31, 2007, when Notre Dame posted similar shot totals (and ultimately a similar result) against Michigan in its season opener at old Alumni Field.
Nikki Weiss got the starting nod in the Notre Dame goal, making a (then) career-high four saves to record her first career solo shutout. The Fighting Irish outshot Pittsburgh, 25-7 in the contest (15-2 after halftime), including the 8-4 edge in shots on goal (6-0 after halftime). The Panthers earned a slim 5-4 advantage in corner kicks, while Notre Dame was whistled for 15 fouls to nine for Pittsburgh.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Pittsburgh Met In South Bend
The Fighting Irish racked up a 31-1 edge in total shots (12-1 in shots on goal) while attempting all eight corner kicks in the match.
Jen Buczkowski's right-endline cross set up the game's first goal in the 13th minute, with Bock originally credited for the score that later was changed to an own-goal. Bock -- a midfielder who flipped spots with forward Amanda Cinalli in the previous match two days earlier against West Virginia -- would officially get into the scoring column at 55th minute, heading in a left-flank service from Christie Shaner to touch off Notre Dame's decisive second-half flurry.
Weissenhofer then took over with two goals in a stretch of 7:02, both assisted by Hanks (and a secondary assist from Ashley Jones on the first score). Hanks then added a goal of her own in the 73rd minute off an assist from Buczkowski.
Pittsburgh's only shot of the day came in the 32nd minute on a harmless free kick from 20 yards out.
Oakland is coming off a 1-1 double-overtime draw at home against Big Ten Conference foe Northwestern on Sept. 16. The Golden Grizzlies scored 55 seconds into the second half, but the Wildcats equalized in the 53rd minute and the teams would end up sharing the spoils, despite OU claiming a slim 14-13 edge in the match.
Sophomore forward Kyla Kellermann scored her team-high sixth goal of the year against Northwestern, with junior midfielder Abigail Haelewyn chalking up her nation-leading eighth assist of the season.
Junior Payj O'Shea (1-1-1, 1.55 GAA, 1 ShO) began the season as Oakland's starting goalkeeper, but redshirt senior Shannon Coley (2-1-2, 0.73 GAA, 2 ShO) has taken over the netminding duties for the Golden Grizzlies in the past five matches.
Head coach Nick O'Shea is in his 19th season at his alma mater with a 204-113-23 (.634) record at Oakland.
The Notre Dame-Oakland Series
The Last Time Notre Dame And Oakland Met
Hanks served up a corner-kick assist on the night's first goal before taking care of the next three Fighting Irish scores herself, as the eventual '06 Hermann Trophy recipient led the way in the 7-1 NCAA Championship opening-round victory over Oakland.
Notre Dame held a 2-0 first-half lead when the match was halted due to lightning, sending the teams to their locker rooms 55 seconds early. A series of nearby lightning strikes pushed the delay to nearly two hours before the teams returned to quickly finish the first half and then immediately started the second half.
The Fighting Irish finished with a 25-2 edge in total shots, including 17-1 in shots on goal. Notre Dame also attempted three of the match's four corner kicks.
Amanda Cinalli volleyed home the corner kick from Hanks to open the scoring in the 13th minute and Hanks later scored directly off a free kick for the 2-0 cushion with 10 minutes left in the first half. She added a pair of goals early in the second half, yielding Notre Dame's first hat trick in an NCAA Championship contest since 1998. Hanks also became the first (and to date, only) Fighting Irish player ever to total four career hat tricks prior to her junior season.
Molly Iarocci and Susan Pinnick later came off the bench to assist on each other's goals while Michele Weissenhofer capped the scoring in the 87th minute as part of a dynamic rookie season that would end with her selection as the Soccer America National Freshman of the Year.
Notre Dame vs. Summit League
What Brown Does For Others
A detailed account of Brown's many service-related achievements that played a pivotal role in being chosen for the national award may be found in the sidebar on page 8 of the PDF version of this notes package.
Brown, who is pursuing a degree in political science with a second interdiscplinary major in poverty studies through Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters, played both forward and midfield for the Fighting Irish from 2009-11, registering two assists in 35 career matches. She elected to give up her athletic scholarship at Notre Dame midway through the 2011 season in order to focus her time and energy on her service work around the world and her added academic pursuits.
World (Cup) Champions
Both Notre Dame players were on the pitch when the final whistle sounded, signifying the Americans' third title since this tournament began as the FIFA Under-19 World Championship in 2002. Four-time Fighting Irish All-America forward and two-time Hermann Trophy recipient Kerri Hanks ('08) was one of the youngest members (at age 17) of that victorious 2002 U.S. side (that defeated host Canada in the final), while Lauren Fowlkes ('11) helped the United States win the 2008 U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile, downing North Korea in the title match.
Similar to Hanks in 2002, Roccaro was the second-youngest player on this year's American roster, but hardly showed her age, emerging as a mainstay for the United States at center back. She appeared in five of the Americans' six matches at this year's U-20 World Cup, starting four times and helping the U.S. to a 4-1-1 record that included three shutouts, most notably over Nigeria (2-0) and Germany (1-0) in the semifinals and championship match. The Stars & Stripes also had to battle through a 2-1 extra-time victory over North Korea in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Laddish proved to be a vital second-half substitute for the United States, coming off the bench to lend support in three matches, including the semifinal win over Nigeria and the title match victory against Germany. She becomes the second Fighting Irish player ever to earn both a U-20 Women's World Cup title and an NCAA national championship, having joined Fowlkes as a member of the title-winning 2010 Notre Dame squad.
In addition to Laddish, Roccaro, Hanks and Fowlkes, the Fighting Irish have been represented at two other U-20 Women's World Cups. In 2004, Hanks deferred her enrollment at Notre Dame to help the United States to a third-place finish in Thailand, scoring the opening goal in the third-place match. Two years later, a pair of future Notre Dame All-Americans, midfielder/forward Brittany Bock ('09) and defender Carrie Dew ('09), donned the Stars & Stripes for the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship (as it was then called) in Russia, where the United States finished fourth after scoreless ties in both the semifinal against China and the third-place game against Brazil (both went against the U.S. on penalty kicks by identical 6-5 scores).
Match #8 Recap: Louisville
Thomas netted her third goal of the year with 2:21 left in the first half, then Bohaboy doubled the Fighting Irish lead 3:29 into the second half, giving Notre Dame the cushion to withstand a late Cardinal goal and pick up the victory.
The Fighting Irish held a slim 14-13 edge in total shots, which each team tallied five shots on goal. Notre Dame also maintained a 10-9 margin in corner kicks, while fouls were nearly even (7-6 against Louisville).
Freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight worked the first 45 minutes in the Fighting Irish cage, registering three saves. Sophomore Sarah Voigt came on to play the second half and made one save. Chloe Kiefer was credited with three saves in the Louisville goal.
Thomas put the Fighting Irish on top when she picked off a stray Cardinal pass at the midfield stripe and found room to roam, although she was faced with four retreating Louisville defenders. Undeterred, Thomas charged aggressively into the attacking third before unleashing a right-footed shot from 22 yards out that twisted high into the upper right corner of the net past a leaping Kiefer (42:39).
Bohaboy then used a bit of persistence to add the key insurance marker. Freshman forward Cari Roccaro tracked Voigt's punt well and flicked a header through for an onrushing Bohaboy in the left channel, but the pass was heavy. However, as Kiefer came off her line to clear the ball from danger, her kick caromed off the head of one of her own defenders at the top left edge of the box and dribbled back towards the Louisville goal. Bohaboy did not give up on the play and raced by Kiefer to gather to loose ball and hammered a left-footed shot into the far right-side netting (48:29).
The Cardinals would spoil the Fighting Irish clean sheet in the 89th minute. Charlyn Corral delivered an in-swinging corner kick from the left side, and the service carried through traffic to Angelika Uremovich, who nodded the ball inside the right post (88:16).
Beyond The Box Score: Louisville
Match #9 Recap: Cincinnati
Six of Notre Dame's seven goals came in three pairs of scores that each were less than three minutes apart (including two pairs that were separated by 45 seconds or fewer), with the seven-goal margin and seven goals being the most for the Fighting Irish in a conference match since Oct. 9, 2005, when Notre Dame rang up a similar 7-0 win at Seton Hall.
Freshman forward Crystal Thomas, junior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker and junior midfielder Rebecca Twining each tallied a goal and an assist, while sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy tied a stadium record with two assists for the Fighting Irish.
In addition, freshman defender Katie Naughton, freshman forward Cari Roccaro and junior midfielder Nicole Rodriguez all scored their first career goals, while junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish netted her first score of the season.
The offensive eruption was more than enough to support sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Voigt, who earned her first starting assignment of the season and registered one save in 68:46. Freshman netminder Naomi Willett made her college debut in the final 20-plus minutes of the afternoon and was not called upon to record a save as the Fighting Irish logged their third shutout of the season (and second shared clean sheet). Kristina Utley went the distance in the Bearcat goal, picking up eight saves.
Notre Dame chalked up a season-high 35 shots and 15 shots on goal, enjoying a 35-9 edge in total shots and 15-1 margin in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also held a 4-3 advantage on corner kicks.
Notre Dame broke the ice in the 22nd minute, starting with a left-side run from Thomas, who nutmegged her defender in front of the Fighting Irish bench and found open space into the attacking third before delivering a cross to the top of the box. Bohaboy one-timed a drop pass for Tucker, who drove her shot off the inside of the left post (21:02).
Just 2:33 later, Tucker helped double the hosts' lead, picking up the ball 25 yards out in the center of the pitch. She then left a pass for Laddish playing back to the left, and Laddish took one touch before cracking a rising shot that clipped the underside of the crossbar and settled over the line (23:35).
The Fighting Irish then took away all doubt with two goals in 45 seconds during the opening seven minutes of the second half. Naughton opened her account at 50:43, going up to re-direct Bohaboy's corner kick inside the right post, and Thomas followed at 51:28 with her team-high fourth goal of the season, converting from six yards out on the left side off a well-weighted right-flank cross from Twining.
Notre Dame had one more two-goal flurry, this time 41 seconds apart. After sophomore defender Taylor Schneider had her right-side service headed away by the Cincinnati defense, the clearance landed right at Twining's feet and she ripped a low laser inside the left post at 72:10. Moments later, Roccaro gathered the ball in the right channel and charged to the top right of the box before chipping Utley into the far left side netting (73:01).
The Fighting Irish reserves kept up the pressure and it paid off in the closing minutes, as Karin Simonian lofted a precision service from the right flank and Rodriguez timed her run perfectly, finishing the cross into the right corner of the net (86:52).
Beyond The Box Score: Cincinnati
Meet The #BabyIrish
Not only does the hashtag pay tribute to the median age of his team, but Waldrum also has used the term to refer to the (sometimes painful) growing process that the Notre Dame squad is going through this season.
Although he knows his team must crawl before it can walk, Waldrum insists that he doesn't plan to keep the hashtag for long. The goal is see his charges continue developing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to the point where they're just the #Irish by the end of the 2012 campaign.
The 2-0 Guarantee
In fact, just two of the past 225 Fighting Irish opponents to face a 2-0 deficit have forced a draw, something achieved by four opponents in Notre Dame history: Duke on Oct. 17, 1993, in Houston (ND won 3-2), Connecticut on Nov. 10, 1996, in the BIG EAST final at old Alumni Field (ND led 2-0, later tied 2-2 and 3-3, ND won 4-3), Duke on Nov. 30, 2007, in the NCAA quarterfinals at old Alumni Field (ND won 3-2), and most recently, Villanova on Oct. 12, 2008 in Villanova, Pa. (ND won 3-2 in OT).
Three ... Is The Magic Number
Golden Domers Golden In OT
Last year, the Fighting Irish tied a pair of school records by going to extra time on five occasions (also in 2001 and 2007) and registering three draws (also in 1991 and 2001).
No current Notre Dame player has scored a "golden goal" in her college career. Jessica Schuveiller netted the most recent overtime matchwinner for the Fighting Irish on Nov. 6, 2009, heading home a cross from Rose Augustin at 98:42 to beat St. John's in the BIG EAST semifinals at Storrs, Conn.
Any Given Sunday
Still, the Fighting Irish own a 42-7-5 (.824) record in their last 54 contests when closing out the weekend (usually on the back end of a two-match set), dating back to September 2007 (when Notre Dame lost three consecutive Sunday matches to nationally-ranked Stanford, Oklahoma State and Penn State, all by 2-1 scores and the first two in overtime).
Our Fearless Leader
A two-time National Coach of the Year (2009 by Soccer America, 2010 by NSCAA), Waldrum has led Notre Dame to eight NCAA College Cups, five NCAA finals and two national championships (2004 and 2010). He also is second in NCAA Division I history with eight College Cup appearances and five title-match berths in his storied career.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Coming Soon: Irish in the ACC
The change in conference affiliation (for which a timetable has not yet been established) will be the first for Notre Dame since 1995, when the Fighting Irish moved from the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now the Horizon League) to the BIG EAST Conference.
In its 18 seasons in the BIG EAST, the Notre Dame women's soccer program has been the conference's flagship, winning 13 regular-season titles and 11 postseason crowns, along with three NCAA national championships. The Fighting Irish also hold a 140-10-8 (.911) regular-season conference record since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
Next Up: Providence/Connecticut
PC (7-2-1, 2-0-0) has reeled off six consecutive victories entering this weekend's action at Villanova and No. 19/20 Georgetown.
UConn (5-3-1, 1-1-0) has won three of its last four contests as it also makes the Mid-Atlantic road swing to Georgetown and Villanova.