Dec. 4, 2010
DATE: December 5, 2010
No. 7/10 Irish Face No. 1 Stanford Sunday In NCAA College Cup Final
Notre Dame (20-2-2) secured its place in this year's title contest with a 1-0 win over No. 17/19 Ohio State in the first of Friday's two semifinal matches. For the second consecutive outing, the Fighting Irish turned to a freshman to lead the way, as midfielder Mandy Laddish potted the game-winning goal with 7:38 remaining, finally busting through a stubborn OSU defense that had turned aside an onslaught of Notre Dame offensive chances in the second half.
The Fighting Irish ended up with a 22-7 shot advantage (7-2 in shots on goal), while senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss made two saves to record her career-high ninth shutout of the year.
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Seeded fourth in their portion of the bracket, Notre Dame successfully turned back challenges from New Mexico (3-0) and four successive ranked opponents -- No. 22 USC (4-0), No. 3/4 North Carolina (4-1), No. 6 Oklahoma State (2-0) and No. 17/19 Ohio State (1-0), the latter three victories coming away from home. In fact, the Fighting Irish became the first team since Florida State in 2003 (and third all-time) to advance to the College Cup with back-to-back road wins (UNC and Oklahoma State) in the preceding two rounds of the NCAA Championship.
Notre Dame has benefitted from a balanced offensive attack in the NCAA tournament, with five different players netting gamewinning goals in its five tournament victories. The fighting Irish are led by three goals and three assists each from junior forward Melissa Henderson (17G-10A for season) and senior forward/co-captain Lauren Fowlkes (4G-5A). Senior forward/midfielder Rose Augustin (11G-10A) has two goals in the Championship, while freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (9G-3A) potted both scores in the quarterfinal win at Oklahoma State.
Junior defender/co-captain Jessica Schuveiller (1G-3A) and senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (0.51 GAA, 9 ShO) anchor a Fighting Irish defense that has posted 14 shutouts and allowed just one goal in five NCAA Championship matches this season.
Stanford is led by high-scoring senior forward Christen Press (26G-8A), while junior midfielder Teresa Noyola (10G-12A), Taylor (11G-6A) and Levin (2G-11A) also contribute to the Cardinal attack. Freshman Emily Oliver (0.27 GAA, 10 ShO) has emerged as a strong anchor in the Stanford goal, allowing only five goals in 20 matches this season.
Head coach Paul Ratcliffe is winding down his eighth season on The Farm with a 133-34-18 (.768) record with the Cardinal. In 13 seasyears as a head coach (first five at Saint Mary's (Calif.)), Ratcliffe has a career record of 188-68-25 (.714), with a 2-2-1 record against Notre Dame (all since coming to Stanford in 2003).
The Notre Dame-Stanford Series
Notre Dame also has won two of the previous three matches between the two programs in the NCAA Championship, including a 1-0 verdict in a 2008 NCAA College Cup semifinal at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. (thanks to Courtney Barg's 15th-minute goal off an assist from Melissa Henderson).
The Last Time Notre Dame And Stanford Met
In a rematch of the 2008 NCAA national semifinal contest (won by the Fighting Irish, 1-0 in Cary, N.C.), Notre Dame battled emotionally-charged Stanford toe-to-toe during the first 45 minutes and even had the better end of play in the opening stages of the second half. However, the Cardinal's Mariah Nogueira nodded in a free kick (55:13), and Christen Press converted a deflected shot with a goal from close range at 57:58 to send the Fighting Irish to their second consecutive loss.
Stanford finished with a 16-7 edge in total shots, including a 6-2 margin in shots on goal. The teams also each earned three corner kicks in the match.
Kelsey Lysander went the distance between the pipes for Notre Dame, making four saves, all in the second half. Kira Maker recorded the shutout in goal for Stanford, turning aside two shots.
Notre Dame vs. the Pac-10
The Fighting Irish also are 6-1 (.857) all-time against Pac-10 teams in the NCAA Championship, most recently defeating 22nd-ranked USC, 4-0 in the second round of this year's tournament (Nov. 14 at Alumni Stadium).
Stanford is the third Pac-10 opponent of the season for Notre Dame, which also fell 2-1 in overtime at 13th-ranked UCLA on Sept. 10.
NCAA Championship Quick Kicks
Henderson Hermann Semifinalist
Henderson (17G-career-high 10A), who is one of 10 players in the country with double-digit goals and assists this season, is a first-time semifinalist for the national player of the year award. The three finalists for this season's honor will be announced Dec. 10, with the award recipient unveiled Jan. 7 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
Henderson is aiming to follow a Notre Dame tradition of Hermann Trophy recipients -- Cindy Daws (1996), Anne Makinen (2000) and Kerri Hanks (2006 & 2008) all have earned the prestigious crystal ball trophy while wearing the Fighting Irish kit.
Henderson, Fowlkes All-Americans
Notre Dame now has fielded 49 All-America selections since 1992, while its total of 46 NSCAA All-Americans during the past 17 seasons (1994-2010) trails only North Carolina's 52 among Division I teams, with Portland (35) a distant third on that list. All told, the Fighting Irish have had at least one NSCAA All-America selection every season since 1992, including 15 seasons with multiple NSCAA All-Americans (two-plus every year since 2003 with a total of 20 from 2003-10), and eight seasons with at least three NSCAA All-Americans. In addition, Notre Dame has produced at least six different NSCAA All-Americans each at the positions of forward, midfielder and defender during the program's storied history.
Gimme Five (College Cups)
What's more, Notre Dame's current five-year College Cup streak is tied for the third-longest in NCAA Championship history, trailing only North Carolina's 21-year run (1982-2003), UCLA's seven-year stretch and a five-season streak by Massachusetts (1983-87).
Going Back To Cary
Each time the Fighting Irish previously played in the College Cup at WakeMed Soccer Park, they advanced to the national championship match -- in 2004 (won title, 4-3 on penalties vs. UCLA after 1-1 draw), 2006 (lost in final, 2-1 to North Carolina), 2008 (lost in final, 2-1 to North Carolina) and 2010 (TBD).
Doing It The Hard Way
Special thanks to CollegeSoccer360.com for providing the research on this note.
Match #24 Recap: Ohio State (NCAA College Cup Semifinal)
Laddish scored her second goal of the season for the Fighting Irish (20-2-2), who advanced to the championship game for the fourth time in the last seven years.
Katie Baumgardner made a career-high 10 saves, many of them acrobatic, for the Buckeyes (17-5-2).
The Fighting Irish dominated possession throughout, particularly in the second half. They outshot the Buckeyes 15-3 in the half, getting turned away time after time by Baumgardner.
Henderson and Augustin also are the lone tandem in the nation this season to post double-digit goals and assists. Henderson (17G-10A) joined the club with her career-high 10th assist of the season in Notre Dame's NCAA quarterfinal at Oklahoma State, while Augustin (11G-10A) already has posted career highs in goals, assists and points this year.
Henderson A Trend Setter
This season, Henderson is once again among the national offensive leaders, ranking fourth nationally in points (44), sixth in goals (17) and points per match (1.83), and eighth in goals per match (0.708) coming into this weekend's action. She also has distributed a career-high 10 assists in 2010, topping her combined total of seven helpers during her first two seasons at Notre Dame.
These markers have been particularly valuable to Fighting Irish fortunes. In fact, during Henderson's career, Notre Dame is 35-0-2 when she scores a goal, something she's done in 14 matches this year, including 10 of the past 15 outings. The Fighting Irish also are 43-0-2 all-time when Henderson tallies a point, which she has done in 18 matches this year and 25 of the past 34 contests, dating back to last season.
A Rose By Any Other Name
In the past two years, Augustin has dished out 20 assists, many coming in her role as one of Notre Dame's set-piece specialists. That was never more apparent than in Notre Dame's 4-1 NCAA third-round win at North Carolina, when Augustin followed up her opening strike (13th minute) with assists on the next two Fighting Irish goals, one from the corner flag and the other off a free kick.
That four-point night led to Augustin's multiple selections as the CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performer of the Week, as a member of the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week and as an ESPNU/Capital One Impact Performer of the Week.
The Plano, Texas, native has scored four times in her three seasons at Notre Dame, with all four goals proving to be game-winning strikes. In addition, three of her game-winners have come in postseason play (two in the NCAA Championship), including the decisive strike in the 33rd minute of Notre Dame's 4-1 third-round win at North Carolina on Nov. 20.
Schuveiller, who has started all 77 matches of her Fighting Irish career, netted her first collegiate goal as a freshman in 2008, igniting Notre Dame's 2-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over Florida State at old Alumni Field. Then, last season, she scored a late game winner (8:08 remaining) in the regular season at Cincinnati (2-1 win on Sept. 25), before sending Notre Dame to the BIG EAST Championship title match with an overtime goal (98:42) in the conference semifinals against St. John's (2-1).
Nip And Tuck(er)
The Jacksonville, Fla., native earned third-team all-BIG EAST Conference and BIG EAST All-Rookie Team honors and currently ranks third on the team with nine goals (including five game-winners) and 21 points, while starting 21 of 24 contests this season.
Not bad for a player who didn't even play soccer at Jacksonville's Bishop Kenny High School (she did play club soccer with the Jacksonville Fury) and wasn't ranked in the top 100 of any major recruiting service evaluations, let alone earn any sort of national prep All-America honor.
She was, in fact, an all-state selection in high school, but as a cross country runner in 2009 (which helps explain why she led all Fighting Irish players in preseason fitness testing), in addition to earning all-city honors as a basketball point guard. An exceptional student, Tucker also ranked first in her high school class and was president of Bishop Kenny's chapter of the National Honor Society.
That scholastic aptitude carried over to her college career during a challenging week in mid-September, when she showed up for a calculus exam, only to learn she was in the wrong classroom. She quickly raced over to the right exam room, just in time to post a 98 on the calculus test, and then catch the team bus for a weekend trip to Chicago for matches at DePaul and Northwestern.
Not satisfied with her academic success, Tucker then scored three of Notre Dame's four goals in two wins that weekend (including both scores at DePaul), being named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week and Chicagoland Soccer News Player of the Week, as well as earning a spot on the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week.
Quickstrike Offense, Part I
Quickstrike Offense, Part II
Henderson's goal against LMU also was the sixth-fastest opening score in the 12-year Randy Waldrum era (1999-present).
Getting The Jump On The Opposition
In addition, the Fighting Irish have scored within the opening 30 minutes in 16 of their last 22 matches, after waiting until the second half to find the back of the net in their first two contests of the year.
Lead, Follow Or Get Out Of The Way
Department of Defense
This season, Notre Dame has allowed just 13 goals (two of which were own-goals), entering the weekend, ranking 10th in the nation in goals-against average (0.53) and 11th in shutout percentage (0.583/match).
Looking at the larger picture, Notre Dame has allowed 0-1 goals in 36 of its last 39 matches, dating back to Oct. 4, 2009, at Pittsburgh. Prior to a 2-1 overtime loss at 13th-ranked UCLA on Sept. 10, the Fighting Irish had a 19-match streak of allowing one goal or fewer, the fifth-longest streak in school history and their longest since Oct. 25, 2002-Oct. 26, 2003, when the Fighting Irish yielded a goal or fewer in 24 consecutive matches.
During this current 39-match defensive run (which coincided with the installation of senior Nikki Weiss as Notre Dame's full-time starting goalkeeper), the Fighting Irish are 33-3-3 with 24 shutouts (16 solo and eight shared by Weiss), a 92-20 scoring margin and a 0.50 goals-against average (GAA).
In the program's 23-year history, Notre Dame is 409-10-17 (.958) when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals.
ND Seniors Among Nation's Best
The .859 winning percentage compiled by the Fighting Irish seniors is fourth-best on the national scene.
And Juniors Aren't Half Bad Either
That record could be even more impressive when one considers that three of those seven losses occurred in a nine-day span (Sept. 4-13) last season. The only other losses were late-game one-goal setbacks to North Carolina in the past two College Cups (2-1 in the '08 final, 1-0 in the '09 semifinals) and earlier this season at 13th-ranked UCLA (2-1 in OT on Sept. 10) and against Connecticut (2-0 on Oct. 31 in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals), along with a 0-0 draw at Pittsburgh last year (a match in which Notre Dame outshot the Panthers, 25-7) and 1-1 draws this season at Connecticut and Georgetown.
Midfielders Mandy Laddish and Elizabeth Tucker both collected BIG EAST Conference All-Rookie Team honors this season, having earned starting nods in virtually every match this season (Laddish all 24, Tucker 21).
Laddish (who also earned NSCAA third-team all-region honors) ranks fourth on the team in total minutes (2,068) by a field player, and is poised to become the third Notre Dame rookie in four years to start every match in her freshman season, a feat also pulled off by her current teammates Lauren Fowlkes (2007) and Jessica Schuveiller (2008). Laddish also has proven to be a clutch goalscorer when the situation calls for it, netting the winner in the 83rd minute of Friday's 1-0 College Cup semifinal win over No. 17/19 Ohio State.
Meanwhile, Tucker (who also was a third-team all-conference pick and a two-time BIG EAST Rookie of the Week selection) is third on the team -- and tops among all conference freshmen -- with nine goals, three assists and 21 points, while standing second on the team with five game-winning goals (all of those marks are among the top 10 in the BIG EAST) after scoring both markers in the Nov. 26 NCAA quarterfinal win at sixth-ranked Oklahoma State.
On Sept. 12 at Loyola Marymount, defender Kecia Morway became the third rookie in the starting lineup (she has gotten the call 18 times this season), while forward Adriana Leon got her first starting nod on Oct. 1 vs. Syracuse. Leon, who has started seven times to date, has three goals this season, most recently capping Notre Dame's 4-0 NCAA second-round win over 22nd-ranked USC on Nov. 14 with a score in the 71st minute.
Morway and Laddish played a significant role in Notre Dame's NCAA Championship first-round win over New Mexico, each earning an assist on one of Fowlkes' second-half goals. For Morway, it was her first career point.
One other Notre Dame freshman note: during the final 10 minutes of the first half at Northwestern on Sept. 19, the Fighting Irish had five freshmen on the pitch at the same time, as starters Laddish, Tucker and Morway were joined by Leon and midfielder Rebecca Twining, the latter of whom was making her college debut.
We Love The New Digs
First, it marked the first time in nearly 25 years (and 607 matches) that a team defeated the Tar Heels by more than one goal. The last time that happened was Nov. 24, 1985, when UNC dropped a 2-0 decision at George Mason in the NCAA national championship match.
The 4-1 result also represented the most goals allowed by North Carolina in a single match during the NCAA era (1982-present), with Harvard the only college program to score more goals against the Tar Heels, posting a 5-3 win over UNC on Nov. 16, 1980, at the AIAW Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo.
...And Streaks Busted
This incredible run dated back to a 4-1 loss at No. 15 Marquette on Sept. 30, 2005. In that time, the ties were scoreless draws at Connecticut (Oct. 13, 2006) and Pittsburgh (Oct. 4, 2009), and 1-1 deadlocks at No. 12 West Virginia in the 2007 BIG EAST final (won by the Mountaineers on penalties, 5-3, but the result is recorded as a tie), as well as this season at Connecticut (Oct. 15) and Georgetown (Oct. 24).
Not only was Notre Dame's conference unbeaten streak an NCAA Division I record, but it was the fourth-longest in NCAA history across all divisions.
Division III Hardin-Simmons University (Texas), is the current all-division record holder with a 114-match unbeaten streak against conference opponents, dating back to 2003 (the Cowgirls also have an active 131-match unbeaten run in regular season league play).
Since joining the BIG EAST 15 years ago, the Fighting Irish are 143-8-7 (.927) all-time in regular-season conference matches, 35-3-1 (.910) in the BIG EAST Championship, and hold a 742-94 scoring edge dating back to that first league season in 1995.
The loss to Connecticut on Oct. 31 also ended another mammoth streak for Notre Dame, as its 15-year, 99-match home unbeaten run (98-0-1) against BIG EAST teams was stopped. UConn is still the lone conference team ever to defeat the Fighting Irish at home, having also earned a 5-4 overtime win on Oct. 6, 1995, at old Alumni Field.
During this BIG EAST home unbeaten streak (which stretched through three American presidencies and four Summer Olympics), the only result separating Notre Dame from a 99-match conference home winning streak was a 0-0 draw with Rutgers on Oct. 22, 2004, also at old Alumni Field.
Our Fearless Leader
A two-time National Coach of the Year (2008 by the NSCAA, 2009 by Soccer America), Waldrum has led Notre Dame to eight NCAA College Cups, five NCAA finals and the 2004 national championship. He is second in NCAA Division I history with eight College Cup appearances and five title-match berths in his storied career.
The 2-0 Guarantee
In fact, just two of the past 216 Fighting Irish opponents to face a 2-0 deficit have forced a tie, something achieved by four opponents in Notre Dame history: Duke on Oct. 17, 1993, in Houston (Irish 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 (Irish 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
Since the UCLA loss, Notre Dame has drawn twice in overtime (at Connecticut on Oct. 15 and at Georgetown on Oct. 24, both 1-1 finals), making the Fighting Irish unbeaten in nine of their last 10 extra-time contests.
Three current Notre Dame players have scored "golden goals" in their college careers -- senior forward/midfielder Rose Augustin (Oct. 12, 2008 at Villanova), junior forward Melissa Henderson (Nov. 9, 2008 vs. Connecticut in BIG EAST final) and junior defender Jessica Schuveiller (Nov. 6, 2009 vs. St. John's in BIG EAST semifinal).