Irish recover from three losses with 19-game unbeaten streak
Douglas Farmer | Thursday, December 3, 2009
After beginning the season 3-3, No. 5 Notre Dame has gone unbeaten in 19 consecutive matches. The streak started with a 4-0 victory over DePaul on Sept. 18, and included two golden goal victories as well as a tie.
The Irish topped West Virginia in overtime with a golden goal from junior forward Taylor Knaack. The conference victory broke the Division I record for consecutive unbeaten games in conference play, previously held by North Carolina at 55 games. The Irish record has now been extended to 66 games.
Notre Dame used another golden goal, provided by sophomore defender Jessica Schuveiller, to beat St. John’s 2-1 in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament on Nov. 6.
On Oct. 4 Notre Dame did not manage a golden goal as it fought Pittsburgh to a 0-0 tie in double overtime.
Junior netminder Nikki Weiss stepped in at goal when senior Kelsey Lysander was battling some nagging injuries.
Once in goal, Weiss did not come out, going 13-0-1 during the unbeaten streak, including seven solo shutouts.
Weiss earned Big East recognition when she led the conference statistically in goals-against-average (GAA) by only allowing one goal in 597:00 minutes of Big East action for a 0.15 GAA. This broke the conference record, previously held by former Irish goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene. Beene’s mark was 0.18 GAA in 1997.
Weiss also led the conference with a 0.955 save percentage and 0.71 shutouts pergame.
Senior class sets marks
The Irish senior class has a .886 winning percentage to date and a 91-10-4 record. Both marks are second in the nation, behind only North Carolina’s senior class, at 92-9-4 (.895).
UCLA’s senior class is third in both categories, at 84-9-5 (.883).
This is the fourth senior class in Notre Dame history to reach 90 victories. No class has reached 93, which this class still has a chance of doing.
Only one other Irish senior class has gone to four consecutive College Cups, the class of 1997.
This year’s College Cup field is made up of the same four teams as last year’s was. Last year, Notre Dame beat Stanford 1-0 in one semifinal, and North Carolina topped UCLA 1-0 in the other before beating Notre Dame 2-1 in the final.
The way the bracket was set up this year, the pairings switched, and Stanford faces UCLA at 5:30 p.m.Friday.
In seven postseason games, with up to two more games remaing, sophomore forward Melissa Henderson has already more than doubled her regular season goal output of eight goals.
She netted a hat trick in the Big East Quarterfinals against South Florida, scored two more goals in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament against IUPIUI before erupting for four goals agaist Central Michigan in the second round of the NCAAs. She raised her postseason toal to 10 goals with a goal against Florida State in the NCAA Quarterfinals.