Nov. 22, 2012
NCAA Championship -- Quarterfinal
#RV/23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (16-5-2 / 8-1-1 BIG EAST) vs. #7/4 Florida State Seminoles (19-3-0 / 8-2-0 ACC)
DATE: November 23, 2012
No. RV/23 Irish Visit No. 7/4 Florida State Friday In NCAA Quarterfinals
Notre Dame (16-5-2) continues to be one of the remarkable stories of this year's tournament, as the youthful Fighting Irish charged into the quarterfinals after a 2-0 win at No. 8/10 (and second-seeded) Florida last Sunday afternoon. Goals by junior forward Rebecca Twining and sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy supported rookie goalkeeper Elyse Hight, who had four saves for her first NCAA tournament shutout.
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Scouting Florida State
Currently ranked No. 7 in the NSCAA poll and No. 4 in the Soccer America balloting, as well as the top seed in this quadrant of the NCAA Championship bracket, FSU advanced to Friday's quarterfinal with home victories over Mississippi Valley State (6-0), Texas Tech (3-2 in 2OT) and Texas A&M (4-0).
Redshirt senior forward Tiffany McCarty (15G-5A) leads a potent and balanced FSU offense, while sophomore midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir (9G-8A) has made a significant impact despite a handful of matches while playing for the Iceland National Team. Two other playmakers to watch are sophomore forward Jamia Fields (3G-8A) and redshirt senior forward Jessica Price (2G-9A).
Redshirt junior Kelsey Wys has seen the bulk of the action in the Seminole net, posting an 18-3 record with a 0.67 goals-against average, .829 save percentage and 15 shutouts (nine solo, six shared).
Head coach Mark Krikorian is in his eighth season at Florida State with a 145-38-14 (.772) record at the school. Including his prior stops at Division II Franklin Pierce (where he won national titles in 1994 and 1995) and Hartford, Krikorian has a 313-87-20 (.769) career record in 19 college seasons, including a 1-3 mark against Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Florida State Series
In an interesting twist, this also will be the fifth time in as many meetings that Notre Dame and Florida State have played in the quarterfinal round or later of the NCAA Championship, having also put together a scintillating four-year run from 2006-09, splitting semifinal matchups the first two years (ND 2-1 in Cary, N.C.; FSU 3-2 in College Station, Texas) before Notre Dame swept quarterfinal contests the latter two seasons (2-0 in 2008 at old Alumni Field; 2-0 in 2009 at the Seminole Soccer Complex).
The Last Time Notre Dame And Florida State Met
Melissa Henderson took advantage of a loose ball in the box to give the Fighting Irish a 1-0 lead at 38:35. Less than a minute later, Haley Ford rose above the pack to head home a Rose Augustin corner kick, providing the final 2-0 margin. Nikki Weiss turned in an impressive performance in the Notre Dame net, making five saves for her seventh solo shutout of the 2009 season.
The Fighting Irish and Seminoles finished even in the shots column with 14 apiece. Notre Dame put three shots on net and Seminole goalkeeper Erin McNulty made one save, while Florida State had five shots on frame, all of which were turned aside by Weiss. Both teams also took five corner kicks.
NCAA Championship Quick Kicks
Notre Dame vs. The ACC
The Fighting Irish also are 8-8 all-time against the ACC in the NCAA Championship, with a 5-1 record against squads other than North Carolina (most recently defeating No. 10/12 Wake Forest, 2-1 in the second round of this year's tournament in Gainesville, Fla.).
This will mark the sixth time Notre Dame has faced multiple ACC schools in the same NCAA Championship, having also done so in 1996 and 2006-09. In all five prior cases, the Fighting Irish advanced to the NCAA Women's College Cup that season, playing for the national championship in 1996, 2006 and 2008.
Four Irish Players Honored At BIG EAST Awards Banquet
Freshman forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro took home three awards, most notably the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year trophy, becoming the first Fighting Irish recipient of the award since Melissa Henderson in 2008. Roccaro also was a first-team all-BIG EAST and BIG EAST All-Rookie Team selection, according to a vote of the conference's 15 head coaches.
Freshman defender Katie Naughton and freshman forward Crystal Thomas were double honorees, with both making the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team in addition to earning all-conference accolades (Thomas was a second-team choice, while Naughton was a third-team selection). Together with Roccaro, they gave Notre Dame three BIG EAST All-Rookie Team picks in the same year for the first time since 2000, when Amanda Guertin, Randi Scheller and Amy Warner represented the Fighting Irish on the BIG EAST's rookie squad.
Rounding out this year's Notre Dame honorees was junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish, who garnered second-team all-conference status for the second consecutive season. As a group, the Fighting Irish had four all-conference selections, their best showing since 2010, when five Notre Dame players took home all-BIG EAST plaques.
Hight (10-4-1, 0.60 GAA, 5.1 ShO, .855 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 held that spot ever since, helping Notre Dame to a 6-1 record while registering four shutouts and allowing only one goal (by Wake Forest) within the run of play (the lone score by No. 15/10 Marquette on Nov. 2 came via a set piece, and Milwaukee's tally on Nov. 9 was on a penalty kick).
The goal Hight allowed to Marquette's Ally Miller was the first yielded by the rookie netminder in 473:38, dating back to a goal to Washington's Jaclyn Softli on Sept. 9 (one of the last scores Hight allowed within the run of play).
Hight was unblemished in all four regular-season matches against BIG EAST opponents (0.00 GAA, 2.0 ShO, 10 saves), but she did not qualify for the BIG EAST goals-against 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 ranks second in the conference and 18th in the nation in GAA (0.60), while also ranking third in the BIG EAST and 25th nationally in save percentage (.855), which also stands as the fifth-best single-season mark in school history (and tops by a Fighting Irish freshman).
Match #23 Recap: Florida (NCAA Championship Third Round)
Twining gave Notre Dame all the offense it would need with her third goal of the season in the 20th minute. Freshman defender Brittany Von Rueden cashed in the lone Fighting Irish corner kick of the afternoon with a pinpoint service to the top of the six-yard box, where Twining found space and buried a diving header from close range (19:43).
Bohaboy then added the insurance policy for the visitors in the 71st minute. After Notre Dame was able to pry the ball loose from the possession-based Gators 35 yards from goal, the ball caromed to Bohaboy on a parallel run from the right along the top of the area. The second-year striker nimbly weaved through the Florida defense before opening a gap near the penalty spot to drive a low left-footed shot that caught UF goalkeeper Taylor Burke leaning the wrong way, tipping off her fingers and settling inside the right post (70:18).
Notre Dame finished with a slim 11-10 edge in total shots, with each team registering four shots on goal (and both clipping the woodwork once). Meanwhile, the Gators had a staggering 15-1 edge on corner kicks, but virtually none of those tries from the flag wound up seriously threatening the Fighting Irish net.
Freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight was stellar for Notre Dame, making four saves, including a strong kick-save in the first half on the Gators' Annie Speese, and two sensational stops on UF's Erika Tymrak (tip over bar on free kick in final minute of first half; diving save around right post early in the second period when the Fighting Irish were still managing a tenuous one-goal lead.
Beyond The Box Score: Florida
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 $5,000 for local and national breast cancer charities.
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 14 of its last 16 matches), charge to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals, and return to the Top 25 in the national polls (currently 23rd 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 230 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 47-7-6 (.833) record in their last 60 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: NCAA College Cup Semifinals
The Fighting Irish are 3-1 all-time against Penn State, most recently defeating the Nittany Lions, 3-1, on Sept. 21, 2008, in University Park, Pa. The teams have played once in the NCAA Championship, with Notre Dame earning a 4-0 quarterfinal win over PSU on Nov. 24, 2006, at old Alumni Field.
The Fighting Irish hold an 8-4-1 series record against Duke, although the Blue Devils won last year's meeting, 3-1 on Aug. 28, 2011, at the Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill, N.C. Like the Penn State series, Notre Dame has met Duke once in the NCAA Championship, defeating the Blue Devils, 3-2 on Nov. 30, 2007, at old Alumni Field.