Oct. 30, 2012
BIG EAST Conference Championship -- Semifinal
#25/24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-4-2 / 8-1-1 BIG EAST) vs. #15/12 Marquette Golden Eagles (14-2-2 / 9-0-1 BIG EAST)
DATE: November 2, 2012
No. 25/24 Irish Take On No. 15/12 Marquette Friday In BIG EAST Semifinals
Notre Dame (13-4-2) is the second seed in the BIG EAST's National Division (and its co-champion) and earned its spot in Friday's semifinal with a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Syracuse on Oct. 28 at Alumni Stadium. Freshman forward Cari Roccaro scored with 12:47 left in regulation as the Fighting Irish broke through to remain unbeaten in 11 of their last 12 matches.
Marquette (14-2-2), the four-time American Division champion, is on a 12-match unbeaten streak following a 4-1 quarterfinal win over Connecticut on Oct. 28.
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
MU punched its ticket to the conference's championship weekend with a 4-1 victory over Connecticut in a quarterfinal match on Oct. 28 in Milwaukee. Junior midfielder Maegan Kelly had a goal and an assist, while another junior midfielder, Taylor Madigan, collected two assists, as the Golden Eagles scored twice in each half before a meaningless UConn goal in the final seven minutes spoiled the shutout.
Kelly (8G-11A) leads a powerful Marquette offense that is tops in the BIG EAST in all major statistical categories. Madigan (7G-4A), junior midfielder Kate Reigle (5G-5A) and senior forward Rachael Sloan (5G-1A) all have made significant contributions to the Golden Eagles' success this season.
Likewise, freshman goalkeeper Amanda Engel (10-0-1 record, 0.53 GAA, 4.5 ShO, .812 save percentage) has stepped right in to replace graduated U-23 National Team netminder Natalie Kulla, ranking among the conference leaders in most areas.
Head coach Markus Roeders is in his 17th season at Marquette with a 250-91-35 (.711) record that includes a 2-7 mark against Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Marquette Series
Last year, the teams split their two matches, both of which were played at Valley Fields in Milwaukee. Marquette won the regular-season encounter, 3-2 in overtime (on Taylor Madigan's goal 18 seconds into extra time), before Notre Dame responded with a 1-0 victory in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals on Melissa Henderson's goal 8:04 into the match.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Marquette Met
The win gave Notre Dame a measure of revenge for a 3-2 overtime loss to Marquette on the same pitch exactly five weeks earlier. What's more, it was the first Fighting Irish win over a ranked opponent in 2011, and first on the road at a top-five foe since a 4-1 win at No. 3 North Carolina in the third round of the 2010 NCAA Championship.
The statistics were virtually even, with Marquette holding a narrow 9-7 edge in total shots, and 4-3 advantage in shots on goal, although the Fighting Irish did hit the woodwork twice on the afternoon (one crossbar, one post). Notre Dame had the upper hand in corner kicks by a slim 4-3 margin, while fouls were even at 13-13 -- the Fighting Irish also received the lone yellow card in the match.
Maddie Fox recorded three saves en route to her first postseason shutout, and fourth clean sheet of 2011. Notre Dame also registered a team save, as Hall made a sensational sliding kick save at the left post to keep out Taylor Madigan's bid for an equalizer in the 17th minute. Marquette netminder Natalie Kulla had two saves for the Golden Eagles.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Marquette Met In Storrs, Conn.
The Fighting Irish had taken a 1-0 lead early in the first half only to see the Golden Eagles tie the match late in the first half before Amanda Clark scored what proved to be the match-winning goal at 70:13. The win marked the 11th BIG EAST title in program history and Notre Dame's fourth conference crown in five seasons.
Lauren Fowlkes fired a low drive into the far right corner of the net to beat Golden Eagle goalkeeper Natalie Kulla at 12:09 for the early Irish lead. It marked the first goal that Kulla had given up in more than 760 minutes of action in the Marquette net.
The Golden Eagles answered with a goal of their own at 22:12 when Julia Victor sent a bounding ball into the box that eluded the Fighting Irish defense and Rachel Sloan nodded it home for her seventh goal of the year.
Notre Dame was able to capitalize for the game winner with just under 20 minutes left. Melissa Henderson found Erica Iantorno's feet with a pass on the far side of the box. Iantorno quickly slid the ball towards the center of the goal and Clark got a touch on the ball to re-direct it past Kulla for her first career post-season tally.
Kulla finished the game with five saves for Marquette, while Nikki Weiss made six saves for Notre Dame. The Golden Eagles held a 5-1 edge on corner kicks, while Marquette held a 21-14 advantage on shots.
Other Notre Dame-Marquette Series Tidbits
BIG EAST Championship Quick Kicks
The Last Time Notre Dame Played In The BIG EAST Semifinals
Melissa Henderson had the assist on Leon's goal, extending her point-scoring streak to five matches, as the Fighting Irish battled almost all the way back to reach the conference final after trailing by two goals less than 11 minutes into the contest.
Notre Dame outshot the Cardinals, 19-11, including an 8-6 edge in shots on goal. The margins were even greater in the second half, when the Fighting Irish held a 12-5 total shot advantage, and a 5-2 spread in shots on goal. Notre Dame also earned a season-high 11 corner kicks on the day, finishing with an 11-3 edge from the flag (including five of six in the second half).
Maddie Fox registered four saves in the match, while her Louisville counterpart Chloe Kiefer made seven stops. The Cardinals got a goal and assist from Kaitie McDonald, with her 11th-minute score precariously standing up as the match-winner.
Hight (7-3-1, 0.55 GAA, 4.1 ShO, .870 save percentage) earned the starting nod for the first eight matches of the year, posting a 4-3-1 record while recording one shutout (sharing a second with Voigt), and tallying a win and a tie in four contests against ranked opponents (2-1 vs. No. 24/16 Santa Clara on Aug. 31; 1-1 at No. 19/18 Portland on Sept. 7).
Voigt (6-1-1, 0.85 GAA, 3.2 ShO, .708 save percentage) took over at halftime of the team's 2-1 win over Louisville on Sept. 14 in its BIG EAST opener and would hold on to the starting spot for the next eight matches, logging a 6-1-1 record with three solo shutouts (and a shared clean sheet with freshman Naomi Willett) and a scoreless streak of 355:40 that ended early in a 2-2 draw with Rutgers on Oct. 7.
Hight regained the starting goalkeeper role at Villanova on Oct. 14 and has posted consecutive solo shutouts since returning between the pipes, defeating Villanova, DePaul and Syracuse by identical 1-0 scores (the DePaul victory coming in double overtime on Oct. 19).
In fact, since allowing a goal to Washington's Jaclyn Softli on Sept. 9, Hight has not given up a score in her last 402:18 of action, including all four regular-season matches against BIG EAST opponents (0.00 GAA, 2.0 ShO, 10 saves). However, the rookie goalkeeper did not qualify for the BIG EAST goals-agains average or save percentage titles as she did not play in at least half (five) of her team's conference matches ths year, thus denying Hight the chance to challenge former Notre Dame netminder Nikki Weiss for the BIG EAST's single-season GAA record in league play (0.15 in 2009).
Nevertheless, Hight currently leads the BIG EAST and ranks 16th nationally in save percentage (.870), while also ranking third in the conference and 15th in the nation in GAA (0.55).
Giving Cancer A Swift Kick
The Notre Dame players wore special gold jerseys with a pink ribbon insignia for the match. These limited edition jerseys, which were designed for the Fighting Irish by Notre Dame's official athletics apparel provider, adidas, recently were up for public bidding through the official Fighting Irish athletics auctions web site (UND.com/auctions), with the on-line bidding ending Oct. 31.
While the final donation totals are still to be calculated, it is estimated that the Fighting Irish will have raised more than $2,500 for local and national breast cancer charities.
Match #19 Recap: Syracuse (BIG EAST Championship Quarterfinal)
Roccaro gathered in a long lead pass from junior midfielder/tri-captain (and United States Under-20 World Cup champion teammate) Mandy Laddish, beating Syracuse goalkeeper Brittany Anghel to the ball at the top of the box, dribbling around an Orange defender and then scoring from 15 yards out into the empty net, sending the Fighting Irish to the BIG EAST semifinals for the 16th time in their 18 seasons as a conference member.
Notre Dame (13-4-2) is unbeaten in 11 of its last 12 matches, but had to work hard all afternoon to pry open a stout Syracuse defense, not to mention solve one of the BIG EAST's top netminders in Anghel. The Fighting Irish finished with a 17-7 shot advantage, including a 7-2 edge in shots on goal (plus two other tries that hit the crossbar), and earned a 7-3 margin on corner kicks.
Freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight was strong when she had to be, making two saves for her third consecutive solo shutout, and her fourth of the season (to go along with one shared clean sheet). Anghel kept her side in contention with six saves, including a huge stop on Roccaro's point-blank header in the opening 45 seconds that kept the Fighting Irish from immediately gaining the upper hand.
Beyond The Box Score: Syracuse
Meet The (Not So) #BabyIrish
Not only did the hashtag pay tribute to the median age of his team, but Waldrum also used the term to refer to the (sometimes painful) growing process that the Notre Dame squad is going through this season.
Although he knew his team had to crawl before it can walk, Waldrum insisted that he didn't plan to keep the hashtag for long. Thus, with Notre Dame's late-season surge (unbeaten in 10 of its last 11 matches) and return to the Top 25 in the national polls (currently 24th in the Soccer America poll), the Fighting Irish coach has been more than willing to lift the social media moniker, or at least trade it in for a more adolescent version (he continues to remain open to suggestions through his Twitter account, @NDCoachWaldrum).
The ongoing goal of the #BabyIrish hashtag 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.
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).
The 2-0 Guarantee
In fact, just two of the past 229 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 two school records by going to extra time on five occasions (also in 2001 and 2007) and registering three draws (also in 1991 and 2001).
Sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy became the first current Notre Dame player to score an overtime goal, netting the match-winner with 4:52 left in the second extra session at DePaul. It was the first overtime victory for the Fighting Irish since Nov. 6, 2009, when Jessica Schuveiller headed home the "golden goal" off a cross from Rose Augustin at 98:42 to beat St. John's in the BIG EAST semifinals at Storrs, Conn.
Bohaboy's goal at DePaul also was the latest Notre Dame match-winning score (105:08) since Sept. 21, 2001, when Amy Warner's goal at 114:11 defeated Villanova, 2-1 at old Alumni Field (matches featured 15-minute overtime periods during that era).
Any Given Sunday
Still, the Fighting Irish own a 46-7-6 (.831) record in their last 59 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
In an interesting twist illustrating the youth on the current Fighting Irish roster, this year's captains also represent three of just four active Notre Dame players who earned a 2010 NCAA national championship ring (the other is junior forward/midfielder Rebecca Twining).
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 currently hold a 146-11-9 (.907) regular-season conference record since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
Next Up: BIG EAST Final
The Fighting Irish suffered their only conference loss of the season at Georgetown, falling to the Hoyas, 2-0, on Oct. 12 in Washington, D.C. The two programs have met twice in BIG EAST Championship competition, with Notre Dame winning both prior matches (6-0 in the 2005 quarterfinals; 2-0 in the 2007 semifinals).
The Fighting Irish are 3-0-1 all-time against USF, whom it did not play during the 2012 regular season. The last time the teams met on Sept. 22, 2011, they played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw in Tampa after the Bulls scored the tying goal with 3:39 left in regulation.
Notre Dame also faced USF once before in the BIG EAST Championship, defeating the Bulls, 5-0 in a 2009 quarterfinal at Alumni Stadium.