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ND Women’s Soccer: Wrong foot

Douglas Farmer | Monday, September 7, 2009

Wearing green jerseys for the fifth time in program history, Notre Dame suffered a humbling defeat Friday night to top-ranked North Carolina. The No. 2 Irish returned to form with a 3-0 victory over UW-Milwaukee Sunday afternoon, finishing third in the Inn at Saint Mary’s Classic.

Notre Dame (3-1) began its residence at Alumni Stadium with a 6-0 loss at the hands of the defending national champion Tar Heels (5-0). North Carolina set the Irish reeling with a goal only 23 seconds after the opening whistle. North Carolina scored again exactly six minutes later, putting Notre Dame in a 2-0 hole.

“It would have been a different game if we had played 10 or 15 minutes and had been in a battle rather than making those mistakes,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “We can’t get down two goals to a team like North Carolina and expect to have a good result.”

Both goals stemmed from Notre Dame turning the ball over within scoring-distance of its own goaltender, senior Kelsey Lysander. By halftime, North Carolina’s shots had found the back of the net four times.

“Once [North Carolina] had scored those goals, a combination of nerves and tension made us look like we’d never stepped on the field before with a good team,” Waldrum said.

The Irish did manage 15 shots on goal, compared to North Carolina’s 19, but only four Notre Dame shots reached the Tar Heel goaltender, Ashlyn Harris. Besides North Carolina’s six goals, five other shots needed to be saved by one of the Irish goalies.

“We are hoping to get a chance to play them again,” Waldrum said. “I have not lost any confidence in my team because we just made those two crucial mistakes that dictated the game right there.”

North Carolina netted two more goals in the second half on junior goaltender Nikki Weiss.

The team is now 1-4 when wearing the green jerseys, having only won in them the first time they were worn. Notre Dame wore the jerseys in its 1-0 triple-overtime victory in the 1995 NCAA National Championship over Portland.

A standing-room only crowd of 3,007 fans watched the first women’s soccer game at Alumni Stadium. Many fans were turned away once the $5.7 million facility began exceeding its capacity.

“The fans were fantastic. We could not have asked for a better way to start in a new stadium than with those fans and their support,” Waldrum said. “It is a shame we laid such an egg for them. Hopefully, they’ll give us a chance and come back out and support us because we will have a great year.”

The Irish got back on track with a 3-0 victory over UW-Milwaukee (2-2-2) in the final game of the Classic. Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson scored two goals in the first 14 minutes of the match. Freshman forward Tereza Stastny assisted on both of Henderson’s goals.

“We had a really good start,” Waldrum said. “The coaching staff was very curious to see how we would respond today to Friday’s fiasco, and I thought we responded very well.”

Junior midfielder Lauren Fowlkes headed in junior forward Rose Augustin’s corner kick midway through the first half to give the Irish the winning 3-0 margin.

Two Notre Dame forwards, sophomores Melissa Henderson and Courtney Barg, were named to the All-Tournament Team.