Nov. 23, 2013
NCAA Championship - Third Round
#23/19 NOTRE DAME "Fighting Irish" (13-7-1/7-5-1 ACC) vs. #11/11 Michigan "Wolverines" (17-3-1/9-1-1 Big Ten)
DATE: Nov. 24, 2013
TIME: 1 p.m. ET
LOCATION: Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Soccer Stadium - cap. 2,200)
SERIES: ND leads 13-2-1 (ND leads 5-0 at U-M)
FIRST MEETING: ND 4-3 (10/1/89 @ND)
LAST MEETING: ND 7-0 (8/22/08 @ND)
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The apropos motto in reflecting on Friday's second-round NCAA Championship match for the Notre Dame women's soccer team would most closely resemble something along the lines of `survive and advance.' The Fighting Irish brought the pressure early and often against Western Michigan, but even with a 24-4 shot advantage, it took nearly 70 minutes for No. 23/19 Notre Dame to break through for the match's only goal.
The 1-0 Notre Dame victory improved the Fighting Irish to 16-2 (.889) all-time during the second round of the NCAA tournament, and locked in a showdown with No. 11 Michigan Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET) at the U-M Soccer Stadium.
Notre Dame (13-7-1) has been solid in all aspects of the game during the first two matches of the national tournament, showing its skill on both halves of the pitch, outscoring opponents by a 5-1 aggregate margin with a 56-8 edge in shot attempts (21-4 shots on goal). Those traits could prove extremely valuable during Sunday's game, Notre Dame's 13th appearance in an NCAA Championship third-round match since 1997.
Michigan advanced to the field of 16 after downing Illinois State 3-0 Friday night at the U-M Soccer Stadium. The Wolverines reached the final 16 of the NCAA draw for the third time in four seasons, and are trying to qualify for the just the second NCAA quarterfinal berth in program history, and the team's first since 2002.
Senior forward Nkem Ezurike has tallied a team-best 14 goals and nine assists to lead all Michigan players with 37 points. Freshman midfielder/forward Madisson Lewis has chipped in six goals and nine assists during her rookie campaign.
Freshman goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin has been a standout in net for the Wolverines, compiling a 17-3-1 record, a 0.43 goals against average and 11 solo shutouts.
Notre Dame is 13-2-1 (.844) against Michigan in the all-time series between the teams, and is unbeaten in its last five meetings (4-0-1) with the Wolverines dating back to 2003. The Fighting Irish have not allowed a goal to Michigan during the last 470 minutes of play.
"I learned many years ago not to focus on the opposition, but to focus on the things that we do well," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said after Friday's win over Western Michigan. "That's why you recruit these kinds of players, because you know they can win games for you. If we are doing our job as a staff and organizing them, we feel like it doesn't necessarily matter whom we are playing. That's what we will focus on for Sunday."
THE NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN SERIES
The Fighting Irish and Wolverines will meet for the 17th time in series history (16th with both programs at the varsity level), and the third time during postseason play (ND holds a 2-0 advantage in NCAA Championship matches).
Notre Dame is 4-0-1 in its last five matches against Michigan, outscoring the Wolverines by an aggregate 16-0 margin in those contests. The Fighting Irish have not allowed a goal in the series since falling to Michigan 1-0 on Nov. 16, 2003 (470 minutes during the run of play).
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 MICHIGAN
Notre Dame got its season off to a flying start with a 7-0 win over Michigan on Aug. 22, 2008 at old Alumni Field. Seven different Fighting Irish players scored goals in the victory.
All-America forward Kerri Hanks and forward Erica Iantorno each picked up a goal and an assist, while midfielder Courtney Rosen dished out two assists for Notre Dame. Three other players -- forward Taylor Knaack, forward Melissa Henderson and midfielder Ellen Jantsch -- scored their first career goals in the match, while center back Jessica Schuveiller notched her first career assist.
Notre Dame dominated the Wolverines statistically, outshooting UM by a 34-4 margin, including an 18-1 edge in shots on goal. The Irish also owned an 8-2 edge in corner kicks, with all eight coming in the second half.
Goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander started a season opener for the third consecutive year and was not tested in the first half. Netminder Nikki Weiss came on at the break and finished off the shutout for the Irish, making one save.
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 ... The Fighting Irish reached the third round of the NCAA Championship for the 13th time since 1998. Notre Dame is 12-1 all-time in third round matches ... 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: WESTERN MICHIGAN (NCAA SECOND ROUND)
Sophomore forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro, a finalist for the U.S Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year award, scored the second NCAA postseason goal of her collegiate career in the 69th minute, lifting No. 23/19 Notre Dame to a 1-0 win over Western Michigan Friday night in the second round of the NCAA Championship at the U-M Soccer Stadium.
The Fighting Irish improved to 64-17-1 (.787) all-time in NCAA tournament play, including a 16-2 (.889) mark during second-round matches. Notre Dame outshot Western Michigan 24-4 (15-1 in the second half) during the contest, and held an 8-2 edge in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also attempted three corner kicks to the one corner attempt for the Broncos.
Freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little posted her second consecutive stellar effort in net, turning aside two shots to earn her first career NCAA Championship shutout. Little has allowed only one goal in 180 minutes of NCAA tournament play.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: WESTERN MICHIGAN
Notre Dame improved to 3-0 against the current Mid-American Conference (MAC) membership in NCAA Championship play. It was the first shutout for the Fighting Irish against an active MAC school in the tournament ... Western Michigan went more than 62 minutes from its final shot attempt of the first half (26:54) to its only shot registered in the second half (88:47) ... freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews leads all Notre Dame players with 13 total shots (four SOG) through the first two NCAA tournament games after posting a team-high five attempts Friday against Western Michigan. Andrews is the first Fighting Irish freshman to lead the team in shots in consecutive games of the NCAA Championship since Michelle Weisenhofer in 2006 (also first and second-round games, against Oakland and Wisconsin Milwaukee, respectively).
UP NEXT: NCAA QUARTERFINAL
A win over Michigan would move Notre Dame to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship for the 13th time since the 1997 season. The Fighting Irish would face the winner of No. 1 Virginia-Wake Forest on Nov. 29, with the time and location to be determined.
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