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ND Women’s Soccer: Sweet victory

Fran Tolan | Monday, November 17, 2008

Notre Dame’s dream season seemed to hang in the balance for much of the team’s NCAA Tournament second-round game against Michigan State Sunday. But Rose Augustin ended the suspense with just under 18 minutes left in the contest.

The sophomore midfielder beat Michigan State goalie Jill Fliestra and deposited a low shot in the right corner of the net in the 73rd minute of play, giving the Irish a 1-0 win. The Notre Dame sideline erupted as the team was able to convert an opportunity after a slew of near misses.

“That was great that we were able to get that one, I think that’s why you saw the emotion,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “… Every minute you see tick down, you go, ‘It’s getting closer and closer.’ Luckily I don’t think we panicked at all on the field but I think there was some anxiety on the sideline.”

The win kept Notre Dame’s undefeated season alive and brought the team’s overall record to 23-0-0.

“Good teams find a way to win, whether it’s in the first five minutes or the last second of the game,” Irish senior forward Kerri Hanks said.

Notre Dame will play Minnesota at home in the next round of the tournament. Minnesota beat South Dakota 2-0 to advance.

Augustin’s goal was her third of the weekend after she netted a pair in Notre Dame 5-2 win over Toledo Friday.

Hanks made history in that game as she notched two assists to become the third player in NCAA history with 70 career goals and 70 assists. Hanks added another assist when she set up Augustin’s goal Sunday.

“Obviously the 70-70 on Friday was nice to get but the most important thing was getting that win,” Hanks said. “And coming into [the Michigan State] game it didn’t really matter if I got 70-70 or not because what’s more important is winning the national championship.”

The Irish outshot the Spartans 29-3 Sunday but were constantly stymied by Fliestra and the Spartans defense.

“We should have finished it way before [Augustin’s goal] but that’s how it goes,” Hanks said. “Give credit to Michigan State. The goalie did well in saving a bunch of shots, their back line held us.”

Hanks played the first half with a massive knee brace as a result of an MCL injury she sustained on Nov. 2 against Cincinnati. But she took the brace off during the second period before helping to break the scoreless tie.

“I was more moving [the brace] than I was focused on how I played so I was just like, ‘You know what, take it off,'” Hanks said. “This could potentially be my last game and I don’t want it to. I knew that I did my rehab earlier in the week so [the knee] should be strong whether I played with [the brace] or without it.”

Augustin had one of Notre Dame’s best chances in the second half, minutes before scoring the game-winner. She carried the ball on a breakaway before shooting it off a sliding Fliestra. Despite the miss, Augustin said she had hoped to get another chance.

“When I missed it I knew we would have more opportunities,” she said. “I knew I’d get another one so I just tried to forget about it.”

When Augustin took a pass from Hanks in front of the net, her level-headedness paid off as she extended Notre Dame’s season