Nov. 20, 2013
NCAA Championship - Second Round
#23/19 NOTRE DAME "Fighting Irish" (12-7-1/7-5-1 ACC) vs. Western Michigan "Broncos" (12-5-5/7-2-2 MAC)
DATE: Nov. 22, 2013
TIME: 4 p.m. ET
LOCATION: Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Soccer Stadium - cap. 2,200)
SERIES: ND leads 2-0 (first neural field meeting)
FIRST MEETING: ND 5-0 (9/18/88 @ND)
LAST MEETING: ND 3-1 (9/20/89 @ND)
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Seven NCAA Championship women's soccer matches have now been played on the Notre Dame campus since Alumni Stadium officially opened in September of 2009, and each has had a common theme, a Fighting Irish victory. Facing an early 1-0 deficit just a little over four minutes into last Friday's first-round contest against No. RV/25 Iowa, the No. 23/19 Notre Dame women's soccer team scored four unanswered goals over the match's final 85:57 to down the Hawkeyes 4-1 and run its all-time home NCAA tournament record to 46-3 (.939).
That gritty win for the Fighting Irish sets the stage for the team's second-round NCAA Championship showdown at 4 p.m. (ET) Friday against Western Michigan at the U-M Soccer Complex in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Notre Dame (12-7-1) outshot Iowa 32-4 during last Friday's opening round match at Alumni Stadium, including a 13-2 edge in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also tied a season-high with 12 corner kicks against the Hawkeyes, equaling the team's output against Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) foe Duke on Oct. 20.
With the victory, Notre Dame has now won at least one match in 19 of its 21 all-time NCAA Championship appearances dating back to the 1993 season.
Upset-minded Western Michigan looks to continue its momentum after downing No. 2 seed Marquette 1-0 last Friday during the tournament's first round, just the second NCAA Championship victory in program history. Junior midfielder Rachel Chaney leads the Broncos with eight goals this season, while junior forward Aubrey Sudomier has added six goals, a team-high eight assists and 20 points. Senior goalkeeper Michelle Watson has earned every decision (12-5-5) in net, posting a 0.80 goals against average and 10 solo shutouts.
A familiar face patrolling the Western Michigan sideline is head coach Nate Norman ('07), who played four seasons for the Notre Dame men's soccer team from 2003-06 and served on head coach Bobby Clark's staff as a volunteer assistant in 2007. In his second season at the helm of the Broncos, Norman has compiled a 17-15-9 record, and led Western Michigan to the NCAA tournament for just the second time since the program was elevated to varsity status in 1996.
"Former Irish men's star Nate Norman has done a fantastic job with his Western Michigan team this season," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "They pulled off a huge upset over Marquette last weekend, and from what I've seen they look very deserving of their result. They are organized, focused, and press as a team very well. It will be another good test for us, and hopefully we will be able to match Friday's performance as we'll need to be at our best against them."
THE NOTRE DAME-WESTERN MICHIGAN SERIES
The Fighting Irish and Broncos will meet for just the third time in series history, and the first time during postseason play.
Notre Dame is a perfect 2-0 against the current Mid-American Conference (MAC) membership in NCAA tournament play, downing Toledo 5-2 in the first round (11/14/08 at old Alumni Field) and Central Michigan 6-1 in the second round (11/15/09 at Alumni Stadium) in consecutive seasons.
ROCCARO A FINALIST FOR U.S. SOCCER YOUNG FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Sophomore forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro was named one of the five finalists for the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year award on Tuesday. Roccaro is one of three college players in the final five, along with Virginia's Morgan Brian and North Carolina's Crystal Dunn.
Fans can cast their votes for all five award categories at ussoccer.com, with the winners being announced on Nov. 26. Online votes for the Athlete of the Year awards are equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes. The other 50 percent will be represented by votes compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives (from National Team coaches to the National Board of Directors).
THE LAST TIME NOTRE DAME PLAYED IN THE SECOND ROUND OF THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Forward Crystal Thomas scored with 19:35 remaining to lift No. RV/23 Notre Dame to a 2-1 victory over No. 10/12 (and third-seeded) Wake Forest in the second round of the NCAA Championship on Nov. 16, 2012 at Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.
Thomas perfectly timed her run to gather in a chip over the top by midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish, just beating Wake Forest goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe to the ball at the top right of the box. Thomas then rounded the sprawling netminder and deftly tucked her 12-yard shot inside the far left post for her 10th goal of the season.
The Demon Deacons finished with a 9-6 edge in total shots, including a 3-2 margin in shots on goal. Wake Forest also earned a 7-4 advantage on corner kicks, while the Fighting Irish were whistled for 10 of the 16 fouls in the match (as well as the lone yellow card).
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TIDBITS
Notre Dame is competing in the NCAA Championship for the 21st consecutive year, the second-longest active streak of consecutive berths, trailing only North Carolina (31) in that category. The 21-year run also is the third-longest in the tournament 31-year history, with Connecticut having a 26-year stretch (1982-2007) and Santa Clara also going to the tournament for 19 consecutive seasons (1989-2007) ... Notre Dame and North Carolina remain 1-2 in virtually all NCAA Championship appearance records since 1994 -- round-of-16 trips (UNC-20, ND-17, Portland-14), quarterfinal berths (ND-16, UNC-16, Portland-13), College Cup spots (UNC-14, ND-12) and title game visits (UNC-12, ND-8; no one else with more than three) ... the Fighting Irish claimed NCAA titles in 1995, 2004 and 2010, joining North Carolina as the only three-time winners in the history of the tournament. Notre Dame also has finished as the NCAA runner-up five times (1994, 1996, 1999, 2006 and 2008) as part of its 12 NCAA College Cup berths (semifinalist in 1997, 2000, 2007 and 2009), all since 1994 ... Notre Dame enters Friday's match against Western Michigan with a 15-2 (.882) all-time record in matches contested during the second round of the NCAA Championship. The Fighting Irish are appearing in the second round of the national tournament for just the second time away from home in program history. Notre Dame downed No. 10/12 Wake Forest 2-1 on Nov. 16 of last season in Gainesville, Fla. in its first-ever road or neutral site second-round NCAA tournament game ... for more information on Notre Dame's remarkable run of excellence in the NCAA Championship, see pp. 112-118 of this year's Fighting Irish media guide.
LAST TIME OUT: IOWA (NCAA FIRST ROUND)
Playing in her first career NCAA postseason match, freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews scored a pair of goals late in the first half to help propel No. 23/19 Notre Dame past No. RV/25 Iowa, 4-1 in an NCAA Championship first-round contest last Friday night before a crowd of 1,154 fans at Alumni Stadium.
Senior defender/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker added a goal and an assist, while a pair of sophomore defenders connected on the final Fighting Irish goal -- tri-captain Katie Naughton heading in a corner kick from Brittany Von Rueden -- as Notre Dame posted its highest goal output and largest margin of victory in an NCAA tournament match since 2010, when it earned a similar 4-1 win at North Carolina in the third round.
Freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little didn't see much action in the Notre Dame net on Friday, but did make one save to record the victory in her NCAA postseason debut. Her Iowa counterpart, Hannah Clark, kept the margin from being even greater with nine saves.
The Fighting Irish outshot the Hawkeyes, 32-4 during the match, including a 13-2 edge in shots on goal. The hosts also held a commanding 12-3 margin on corner kicks, while fouls were virtually even (11-9 against Iowa) and Notre Dame received both yellow cards that were assessed in the match.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: IOWA
Notre Dame's 32 shots were the most in an NCAA tournament contest for the Fighting Irish since 2008 (32 in a 5-2 first-round win over Toledo at old Alumni Field). The +28 shot margin was also the widest in favor of Notre Dame in NCAA postseason action since the 2005 tournament opener, when Notre Dame outshot Valparaiso, 33-4, in a 6-0 win at old Alumni Field ... Iowa's Melanie Pickert attempted and converted the first penalty kick against Notre Dame this season during the fifth minute to give the Hawkeyes a 1-0 lead. Freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews answered with the first Fighting Irish PK of 2013 to square the match at 1-1 in the 38th minute. It was the first time in Notre Dame program history where both teams each converted a PK attempt in an NCAA tournament game (non-shootouts).
UP NEXT: NCAA THIRD ROUND
A win over Western Michigan would move Notre Dame to the third round of the NCAA Championship for the 12th time since the tournament permanently adopted its current format in 2003. The Fighting Irish would face either No. 3 seed Michigan or Illinois State Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET) at the U-M Soccer Stadium.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDsoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant