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ND Women’s Soccer: Undefeated Big East season ends with win over Villanova

Chris Masoud | Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Irish wrapped up conference play this weekend with a regular season championship after remaining unbeaten through 11 contests — just another typical season for Irish coach Randy Waldrum. Notre Dame earned a 1-0 victory over Villanova on Friday before concluding the season with a 1-1 draw at Georgetown on Sunday.

Freshman forward Adriana Leon’s goal in the 23rd minute proved to be the game winner on Friday, as the No. 4/5 Irish (15-1-2, 9-0-2 Big East) kept the Wildcats (7-12-0, 2-9-0) in check while battling the adverse weather conditions.

“Friday was one of those games against Villanova where I thought we played really well, we just didn’t finish enough of our chances,” Waldrum said. “We weren’t really in much danger. They didn’t cause us much problems offensively.”

Leon has quietly emerged as a consistent contributor and a nice complement to junior forward Melissa Henderson. Although Leon’s score on Friday was her first of the season, Waldrum said the freshman is peaking at the right time of the season.

“She’s been playing really well lately,” Waldrum said. “She’s all over the place up front. She’s creating havoc for the team almost every time she gets the ball. It was good for her to get the game-winner on Friday. I just think she’s going to continue getting better and better.”

The Irish took the pitch on Sunday looking for their 10th Big East win of the season but were thwarted by a Camille Trujillo goal with 4:09 remaining in the second half that tied the game 1-1.

Henderson got the Irish on the board first with her conference-leading 14th goal after earning a penalty kick on a nifty move at the top of the box. Waldrum credited the Hoyas (13-5-1, 7-3-1) for battling back and handing the Irish their second tie of the season.

“[Sunday] honestly was a great game,” Waldrum said. “Georgetown is very good. They’re a very good attacking team, and it was probably from a spectator’s point of view a great game to watch. Both teams had great chances. [Senior goalkeeper] Nikki Weiss was outstanding in goal for us.”

Having clinched a bye to the quarterfinals of the Big East Championships, the Irish will take on the winner of a Thursday matchup between Connecticut and Louisville Sunday at Alumni Stadium. The Huskies were the only other team to hand the Irish a tie this season.

“Selfishly in a lot of ways I’d kind of like to get UConn since we tied them a couple of weeks ago,” Waldrum said. “Whichever one we get, we know we’re going to get a good team in here. We’ll probably give the players that have played a lot of minutes a day or two off in the early part of the week.”