Nov. 3, 2011
BIG EAST Championship -- Semifinal
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-6-3 / 6-3-2 BIG EAST) vs. Louisville Cardinals (11-5-3 / 8-1-2 BIG EAST)
DATE: November 4, 2011
TIME: 3:00 p.m. ET
AT: Morgantown, W.Va. - Dick Dlesk Stadium (1,650)
SERIES: ND leads 8-2-0
1ST MTG: LOU 1-0 (9/24/89)
LAST MTG: LOU 1-0 (9/16/11)
TV: CBS Sports Network (live) (Eric Frede, p-b-p / Tammy Blackburn, color)
LIVE STATS: UND.com
LIVE CHAT: UND.com/blog
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
Notre Dame Set To Face Louisville Friday In BIG EAST Semifinals
Although the path it took might be a bit unorthodox, the results have been anything but unusual, as Notre Dame finds itself back in familiar territory, as the Fighting Irish take on Louisville at 3 p.m. (ET) Friday in a BIG EAST Championship semifinal at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va. The match will be televised live nationally by CBS Sports Network.
Notre Dame (10-6-3) earned its place in this weekend's BIG EAST "final four" with a 1-0 victory at No. 5/9 Marquette last Sunday. Senior forward Melissa Henderson scored just 8:04 into the contest and the Fighting Irish defense did the rest, shutting down the high-flying Golden Eagles' attack. Junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox made three saves to post her fourth solo shutout of the year (and Notre Dame's sixth clean sheet of the season).
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Thanks to a strong finishing kick that has seen Notre Dame go unbeaten in seven of its last eight matches, the Fighting Irish find themselves back in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals for the 15th time in their 17-year conference membership. The highlight of this late-season surge was last Sunday's 1-0 win at No. 5/9 Marquette, avenging an overtime loss to the Golden Eagles five weeks earlier on that same pitch.
Senior forward/tri-captain Melissa Henderson (18G-7A) has been red-hot down the stretch, tallying 15 points (7G-1A) in the past four matches, including the match-winner in the ninth minute at Marquette last weekend.
Notre Dame also has received strong play from converted senior midfielder/tri-captain Jessica Schuveiller (6G-2A), who has all but one of her goals since making the move from center back prior to the start of the current 6-1-1 run by the Fighting Irish.
Junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox (0.79 GAA, .825 SV%, 4 ShO) has been sharp in the Notre Dame net of late, helping the Fighting Irish post five shutouts in the past eight matches, and nearly a sixth if DePaul had not scored in the final minute of a 5-1 Notre Dame win on Oct. 21.
Louisville claimed its first BIG EAST National Division title this year, going 8-1-2 (26 points) in league play to edge Georgetown (24 points) and Notre Dame (20 points). The Cardinals come into Friday's match with an 11-5-3 record, having won a season-high seven in a row.
Louisville booked its spot in the BIG EAST semifinals with a 2-0 win at home over Providence in a quarterfinal match last Sunday. Senior midfielder Jennifer Jones scored off a corner kick in the 11th minute and sophomore forward Christine Exeter sealed the victory with an unassisted goal in the 79th minute. The Cardinals outshot the Friars, 16-2, including a 7-1 margin in shots on goal.
Exeter (13G-3A) has been among the BIG EAST leaders in most offensive categories this season, while Jones is one of three Louisville players with three goals and three assists this year. Senior goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer has provided ample support between the pipes, playing every minute while logging a 0.89 GAA, .804 save percentage and seven shutouts.
Head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes is in her 11th year at Louisville with a 101-107-19 record, including a 1-6 mark vs. Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Louisville Series
Notre Dame and Louisville will square off for the 11th time on Friday night, with the Fighting Irish holding an 8-2 advantage in the series (23-4 aggregate score). Notre Dame also enjoyed an eight-match series win streak before the Cardinals defeated the Fighting Irish, 1-0 back on Sept. 16 at Alumni Stadium (Louisville's first win in seven matchups with Notre Dame since the Cardinals joined the BIG EAST in 2005).
Notre Dame and Louisville are meeting in the BIG EAST Championship for the first time.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Louisville Met
Louisville's Erin Yenney scored the lone goal of the match in the 56th minute and the Cardinals made it stand, upsetting No. 12/14 Notre Dame, 1-0 in the BIG EAST Conference opener for both teams on Sept. 16, 2011, before a crowd of 2,501 fans at Alumni Stadium. The loss was the first for the Fighting Irish in BIG EAST regular-season action since Sept. 30, 2005 (a 4-1 defeat at Marquette), snapping a 62-match unbeaten streak in the process.
Notre Dame doubled up Louisville in total shots by a 20-10 margin (including 13 shots in the second half alone) and corner kicks by a 6-3 spread, although the shots on goal were even at 6-6. The Cardinals also were whistled for eight of the 14 fouls during the match.
Christine Exeter had the assist on Yenney's first collegiate goal, which came at 55:52. Louisville goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer came up with five saves to post the clean sheet, and also got some help from her defense when Casey Whitfield cleared a shot by senior defender/tri-captain Jessica Schuveiller off the line just five minutes after the Cardinals took the lead.
For the second consecutive match, junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox registered a (then) career-high five saves for the Fighting Irish.
Other Notre Dame-Louisville Series Tidbits
BIG EAST Championship Quick Kicks
The Last Time Notre Dame Played In The BIG EAST Semifinals
No. 4/7 Notre Dame advanced to the BIG EAST championship match with a 2-1 overtime win over St. John's on Nov. 6, 2009, at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. Jessica Schuveiller scored the golden goal for the Fighting Irish, finding the back of the net with just over a minute remaining in the first overtime stanza.
For the match winner, Schuveiller rose above the St. John's defense to head home a Rose Augustin corner kick after making a run through the center of the Red Storm box. It marked Schuveiller's second goal of 2009 and third of her career.
Lauren Fowlkes scored early in the first half to give the Fighting Irish a 1-0 lead, with the assist also going to Augustin, but the Red Storm answered with a second half goal to send the game into overtime.
Nikki Weiss earned the win in the Fighting Irish net, her eighth win of the year. Notre Dame dominated statistically all night, ending with a 26-5 advantage in shots, a 9-1 advantage in shots on net and a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks but were stymied in part due to the play of Red Storm goalkeeper Kristin Russell, who finished with seven saves.
Match #19 Recap: Marquette
Senior forward/tri-captain Melissa Henderson scored in the ninth minute off a pinpoint service by junior defender Jazmin Hall and Notre Dame used a stellar defensive performance to defeat No. 5/9 Marquette, 1-0, in a BIG EAST Conference Championship quarterfinal match on Oct. 30 at rain-soaked Valley Fields in Milwaukee.
Henderson's goal -- her career high-tying 18th of the season, and 70th of her brilliant career, as well as a school-record 24th career match-winning goal -- lifts the Fighting Irish into the BIG EAST Championship semifinals for the 15th time in their 17 years as a conference member.
Sunday's win also gave Notre Dame a measure of revenge for an earlier 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 this season, and first on the road at a top-five foe since last year's 4-1 win at No. 3 North Carolina in the third round of the NCAA Championship.
The statistics from Sunday's contest 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.
Junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox recorded three saves en route to her postseason shutout, and fourth clean sheet this year. 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 collected two saves for the Golden Eagles, who saw their nine-match winning streak snapped.
More Than Meets The Eye
A few observers around the country may have raised an eyebrow at Notre Dame's 10-6-3 record this season. But consider the following:
Notre Dame is unbeaten in 26 of its last 29 matches on Sunday (22-3-4), including a 17-match unbeaten streak that was snapped with a 2-0 loss to Connecticut in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals on Oct. 31, 2010.
Still, the Fighting Irish own a 41-5-5 (.853) record in the past 50 contests when closing out the weekend, 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).
Henderson A Trend Setter
If you're looking to spot a trend in Notre Dame's success during the past four seasons, look no further than senior forward Melissa Henderson. Since the Garland, Texas, native arrived in South Bend, she has scored 70 goals (second-most among active Division I players, and tied for fourth in school history) and added 25 assists for 165 career points (ninth in school history), making her one of 26 Fighting Irish players with at least 20 goals and 20 assists in her career.
This season, Henderson leads the BIG EAST in goals (18), goals per match (0.95), points (43), points per match (2.26) and total shots (72). She also is among the top five in the conference in shots per match (2nd - 3.79), assists (tied-4th - 7) and assists per match (tied-5th - 0.37).
On the national stage, Henderson ranks among the top 10 in total goals (fourth), total points (sixth), goals per match (sixth) and points per match (eighth). She is one of seven players in the country currently in the top eight in all four categories (as of Oct. 31).
What's more, Henderson has a school record-tying three hat tricks this season (vs. Indiana, Cincinnati and DePaul), making her one of only four BIG EAST players with a three-goal night, and the only one to do it more than once. She also now has six career hat tricks, tying the school record held by two-time Hermann Trophy recipient Kerri Hanks (2005-08) and Jenny Heft (1996-99).
The "Texas" hat trick she bagged vs. DePaul on Oct. 21 was notable in that she became just the fifth player to score four goals in a BIG EAST regular-season match, and the first in more than 13 years -- former Seton Hall All-American and England National Team striker Kelly Smith was the last to do so on Oct. 16, 1998, at Pittsburgh.
These markers have been particularly valuable to Fighting Irish fortunes. In fact, during Henderson's career, Notre Dame is 42-3-3 when she scores a goal, something she's done in 21 of her last 34 outings, dating back to last season. The Fighting Irish also are 53-3-3 all-time when Henderson tallies a point, which she has done in 39 of the past 54 contests, a stretch that carries back to 2009.
The only times Notre Dame has lost when Henderson had a goal or point came earlier this season, when she scored goals at No. 2 Stanford (lost 2-1 on Sept. 9) and No. 14/15 Marquette (lost 3-2 in overtime on Sept. 25), as well as at home vs. Georgetown (lost 3-2 on Oct. 14).
Henderson Called Into U-23 Camp
Senior forward Melissa Henderson recently completed a week-long training camp with the United States Under-23 National Team at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The camp, which took place Oct. 3-7 and featured 25 of the nation's top college players and young professionals, was jointly overseen by U.S. Soccer Women's Development Director Jill Ellis, U.S. Soccer Women's Technical Director April Heinrichs and U.S. Women's National Team head coach Pia Sundhage.
Sundhage was at the camp to evaluate players for possible call-ups to U.S. National Team camps heading into next January's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver, and potentially for the run to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Henderson is no stranger to U.S. Soccer, having played with age-group national teams since 2006, including the past three years with the U-23 National Team. In that program's most recent cycle, which concluded this summer, Henderson scored five goals and added an assist, including three goals at the Four Nations Tournament in Leicester, England, in February/March 2011, leading the United States to the tournament title.
Sophomore midfielder Mandy Laddish has emerged as one of the leading playmakers in the BIG EAST this season, currently tying for fourth in the conference and tops on the Fighting Irish roster with seven assists.
Not bad for someone who played much of her rookie season at the holding midfield spot (in place of the injured Courtney Barg) and thus ended up with five points (2G-1A) for the year.
As Tough As An Old Schu
Senior defender/midfielder Jessica Schuveiller has been a mainstay for the Notre Dame defense throughout her career. In fact, the rugged (and still remarkably underrated) native of Plano, Texas, has started all 97 Fighting Irish matches and played 95.1 percent of her team's minutes (8,365 of a possible 8,799) since she set foot on campus more than three years ago.
In that time, Schuveiller has helped Notre Dame post 78 wins, 55 shutouts and a 0.72 goals-against average (GAA), with only one team scoring more than three goals in a single match against the Fighting Irish under her watch (UNC 6-0 on Sept. 4, 2009, at Alumni Stadium).
Lately, Schuveiller has assumed a more attack-minded role for the Fighting Irish at the holding midfielder, leading Notre Dame to a 6-1-1 record with five shutouts since she stepped into that position full-time on Sept. 30 vs. Connecticut. Schuveiller also has chalked up five goals and two assists in the past nine contests after having scored five goals in the first 88 matches of her career.
A two-time NSCAA all-region pick and the 2010 NCAA Women's College Cup Most Outstanding Defensive Player, Schuveiller was one of 25 players (along with classmate Melissa Henderson) named to this year's Soccer America Preseason All-America Team.
Getting The Hang Of Things
It may have taken her a little while to get going, but freshman forward Lauren Bohaboy appears to have found her stride. The Mission Viejo, Calif., native (who scored a combined 79 goals in her final two prep seasons) didn't find the back of the net for the first time until Sept. 18 at Cincinnati (Notre Dame's ninth match of the year).
However, that score turned out to be the first sign of Bohaboy's uncanny attacking presence, with the Fighting Irish rookie having scored six goals and added three assists this season, all (except one assist) coming in BIG EAST Conference play. Included in that flurry was a two-goal effort in a nationally-televised 3-0 win over Connecticut on Sept. 30 at Alumni Stadium.
As a result, Bohaboy currently leads all conference freshmen in goals (6) and points (15), and during BIG EAST play, she tied for fifth in the league in goals and goals per match (0.55), and shared ninth in the loop in points (14) and points per match (1.27).
Out-Foxing The Competition
Another reason for Notre Dame's recent four-match unbeaten streak has been the growth of junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox. Coming into the season, Fox had appeared in just 12 collegiate matches for a combined total of 157:11. Yet, the San Jose resident has emerged in recent weeks as a very reliable last line of defense for the Fighting Irish, backstopping Notre Dame to a 6-1-1 record in its last eight matches, including five shutouts (three solo, two shared) and turning aside 21 shots in that span.
What's more, the four consecutive shutouts she helped author from Sept. 30-Oct. 9 were the most whitewashes in a row for the Fighting Irish in a single season since the beginning of the 2010 campaign, and the most consecutive clean sheets during BIG EAST Conference action in four years (Oct. 7-19, 2007).
For the season, Fox ranks second in the BIG EAST in goals-against average (0.74) and leads the conference in save percentage (.825).
Three Best Friends Anyone Could Have
Chemistry is key to the success of any team, but Notre Dame has a unique formula that supports its framework this season. The Fighting Irish are led by three senior captains -- midfielder Courtney Barg, forward Melissa Henderson and defender/midfielder Jessica Schuveiller -- who not only form the backbone of their starting lineup, but have been best friends since the fifth grade back in suburban Dallas. In fact, the trio played together on age-group teams for the elite Dallas Texans soccer club starting with the U-11s and continuing through the rest of their pre-college days (moving to the newly-formed Sting Dallas club for their final season in 2007-08 before coming to Notre Dame).
Actually, Barg and Schuveiller have known each other even longer, going back nearly 15 years to the second grade before linking up with Henderson three years later.
ND Seniors Among Nation's Best
The 2011 Notre Dame senior class currently is tied for the second-most successful group in the country on the basis of total victories, with a four-year record to date of 78-13-6 (.835) that includes a national championship (2010), an NCAA runner-up finish (2008) and a trip to the 2009 NCAA Women's College Cup semifinals.
The .835 winning percentage compiled by the Fighting Irish seniors is third-best on the national scene.
We Love The New Digs
Alumni Stadium is quickly earning a reputation as not only one of the nation's finest college facilities, but also a truly intimidating place for visiting teams. In fact, following Notre Dame's loss to top-ranked North Carolina in its first match at the new stadium (Sept. 4, 2009), the Fighting Irish have won 32 of their last 35 at home, outscoring their opponents, 92-15 in that span while recording 21 shutouts. Notre Dame also had a 23-match home winning streak before it was snapped on Oct. 31, 2010, with a 2-0 loss to Connecticut in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals.
Packing Them In
Not only has Notre Dame experienced great success at Alumni Stadium, but the Fighting Irish also are seeing the rewards at the turnstiles as well. Notre Dame currently ranks ninth in the nation with an average of 1,570 fans per home match this season, its best single-season average attendance since 2007 (school-record 1,938 fans per match).
Notre Dame's rise in attendance this season includes a stadium-record 3,511 fans for its Sept. 2 contest against Tulsa on the opening night of the Notre Dame adidas Invitational. That crowd was not only the second sellout in stadium history (after 3,007 attended the opener vs. North Carolina on Sept. 4, 2009), but also the 11th-largest crowd in the nation this season.
Incidentally, Notre Dame's match at North Carolina on Aug. 26 attracted the largest crowd of the 2011 season thus far, with 5,236 fans on hand for the Tar Heels' 2-1 overtime win.
The Fighting Irish also have played in front of three sellout crowds this year (home vs. Tulsa on Sept. 2; at Stanford on Sept. 9; at Cincinnati on Sept. 18).
Our Fearless Leader
Now in his 13th season at Notre Dame, head coach Randy Waldrum ranks third on the NCAA Division I career winning percentage list with a .785 (370-92-26) mark in his 22 years in the women's game. He also is second among active coaches for career winning percentage, while his 370 career wins rank fifth on the all-time NCAA Division I charts -- Waldrum earned his 350th career victory on Oct. 3, 2010, vs. St. John's at Alumni Stadium.
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.
New Kid On The Block
Notre Dame added another player to its roster on Sept. 13, as junior midfielder Nicole Borner joined the squad after successfully competing in preseason tryouts.
A native of Pendleton, N.Y., and a 2009 graduate of Starpoint High School, Borner spent the 2009-10 academic year at Binghamton University, where she played in 15 matches for the Bearcats, helping them to a 9-7-2 record and berth in the America East Conference championship semifinals. She then transferred to Notre Dame prior to the 2010-11 academic year, but did not play soccer after undergoing a pair of surgeries on her right foot.
The 2-0 Guarantee
Notre Dame is 332-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and has won its last 309 contests when going ahead 2-0 (dating back to a 3-3 draw with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati).
In fact, just two of the past 221 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
Scoring three goals has meant virtually an automatic win in Notre Dame women's soccer history, with a 303-3-1 (.989) record in those games, including a 205-1-0 (.995) mark since Oct. 6, 1995.
Golden Domers Golden In OT
Overtime has usually been the right time for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish are 20-6-14 (.675) all-time in the Randy Waldrum era (since 1999) when going to an extra period or two. Notre Dame also is unbeaten in 12 of its last 15 overtime contests.
The Fighting Irish have gone to extra time on five occasions this year, tying the school record first set in 2001 and duplicated in 2007. Notre Dame also has tied a school record with three draws, a mark the Fighting Irish first set in 1991.
Two current Notre Dame players have scored "golden goals" in their college careers -- senior forward Melissa Henderson (Nov. 9, 2008 vs. UConn in the BIG EAST final at old Alumni Field) and senior defender/midfielder Jessica Schuveiller (Nov. 6, 2009 vs. St. John's in the BIG EAST semifinals at Storrs, Conn.).
A trio of seniors -- midfielder Courtney Barg, forward Melissa Henderson and defender/midfielder Jessica Schuveiller -- were selected to serve as Notre Dame's captains this year through a preseason vote of their teammates.
Schuveiller is making history as the first three-year captain in the 24-year history of Fighting Irish women's soccer. When she first earned the armband in 2009, Schuveiller was Notre Dame's first non-senior captain since Amy Warner in 2002.
Barg and Henderson are in their first seasons as team captains.
Next Up: BIG EAST Final
The winner of Friday's semifinal will advance to the BIG EAST Championship title match at noon (ET) Sunday to meet the winner of the Friday's second semifinal between No. 12/11 West Virginia and Georgetown. The championship match will be televised live by the BIG EAST Network (check local listings) and CBS Sports Network from Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Notre Dame faced Georgetown back on Oct. 14, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Hoyas at Alumni Stadium. The Fighting Irish have not played WVU the past two years, last meeting the Mountaineers on Oct. 2, 2009, in Morgantown (a 3-2 Notre Dame victory in overtime).