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ND Women’s Soccer: UCLA hands Irish first loss

Michael Gotimer | Monday, September 13, 2010

Notre Dame returns home from its first ever trip to southern California with its first loss of the year after splitting two games at the UCLA Women’s Cup.

The No. 3/4 Irish began play on Friday night against No. 13 UCLA, dropping a heartbreaker to the Bruins after Jenna Richmond notched her second score of the game in overtime to defeat Notre Dame 2-1

Richmond put UCLA on the board with her first goal just 19:09 into the match. Senior midfielder Erica Iantorno responded for the Irish with a tally in the final minute of the first half for Notre Dame that tied the score and seemed to swing momentum in their favor.

For the remainder of regulation, the Irish outshot the Bruins 7-2. Notre Dame even had a chance to win it in the final minute when UCLA goaltender Chante’ Sandiford challenged freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker near the goal, who then passed the ball to senior midfielder Rose Augustin. Augustin had a seemingly open net to score on, but UCLA’s Lauren Barnes deflected her shot out of bounds.

Despite the tough loss, Irish coach Randy Waldrum was able to find some positives in his team’s performance.

“Losses are never easy to take and really, I thought we probably deserved a better fate based on the way we had turned things in our favor in the second half,” Waldrum said to UND.com in a press release after the loss. “We had a couple of breakdowns that ultimately led to their goals, but it’s nothing we can’t fix. It’s a good opportunity for us to learn from our mistakes and get better the next time out.”

The Irish salvaged the weekend, however, with a 1-0 win over Loyola Marymount in the first ever meeting between the two schools.

The Irish put the pressure on early, as junior forward Melissa Henderson scored the game’s only goal just 71 seconds into the match. The goal was her third of the season, all of which have been game-winners.

Senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss made four saves in the match and posted her fifth shutout in six games this year.

Despite the low score, Notre Dame dominated the Lions offensively, sending off 17 shots as opposed to Loyola Marymount’s 7. The Irish also had four corner kicks while the Lions had just one.

Waldrum was encouraged that his team was able to respond positively their first time out after the tough loss on Friday.

“This was an important win for us on the road and coming off the disappointment of Friday’s overtime loss at UCLA,” Waldrum said.

With the weekend split, Notre Dame’s record stands at 5-1 this season. The Irish travel to Chicago this Friday for their Big East opener against DePaul.