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ND Women’s Soccer: Irish emerge in double-overtime

Brian Hartnett | Tuesday, October 23, 2012

 

It took a double-overtime thriller and some luck, but Notre Dame emerged from rain-soaked Wish Field in Chicago on Friday with a 1-0 victory over DePaul and a share of the Big East National Division title, the program’s 14th regular-season conference crown since 1995. 

Notre Dame’s division-clinching victory came in the finale of a three-game road stretch, in which the Irish (12-4-2, 8-1-1 Big East) fell to No. 12 Georgetown 2-0 on Oct. 12 at North Kehoe Field in Washington D.C., and defeated Villanova 1-0 on Oct. 14 at the VU Soccer Complex in Villanova, Penn.

Notre Dame and DePaul (8-9-2, 3-6-1) fought hardthrough 105 minutes of scoreless soccer before sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy drilled a shot into the lower-left corner of the net with 4:52 left in the second overtime. Bohaboy’s game-winning goal, coupled with Georgetown’s loss to Villanova earlier in the day, allowed the Irish to secure a share of the division title. 

Irish coach Randy Waldrum said the division crown marks an important milestone in the development of his young squad.

“It’s been a couple of years since we actually won the outright title, so it’s good to get a share of that,” Waldrum said. “It’s a really good step for this team, and I’m proud of them for battling all throughout the year.”

The Irish finished tied atop the National Division with Georgetown (14-1-2, 8-1-1) but earned the No. 2 seed in the Big East Championships by virtue of their loss to the Hoyas, which snapped the team’s eight-game unbeaten streak.

In its match against Georgetown, Notre Dame missed a key opportunity early, as junior midfielder Mandy Laddish’s attempt hit the top crossbar in the 26th minute. The Hoyas broke through in the 50th minute when junior forward Colleen Dinn drove a 15-yard shot past sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Voigt and added to their total in the 74th minute as sophomore midfielder Daphne Corboz re-directed a cross from six yards out for her 16th goal of the season.

Waldrum said he was disappointed with the team’s missed opportunities against the Hoyas.

“We had ample opportunities to win, but we didn’t take care of it,” he said. “We played a good game for 50 or 60 minutes, but we didn’t go for the full 90 minutes.”

After failing to score against Georgetown, the Irish offense got off to a quick start two days later at Villanova (7-8-3, 5-4-1). Freshman forward Anna Maria Gilbertson took a pass from junior forward Rebecca Twining and launched a shot into the upper right corner of the net to put the Irish on the board in just the seventh minute of the game.

Notre Dame’s defense took over following the goal, limiting the Wildcats to just three shots on goal, and freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight made three saves to record her second solo shutout of the year.

“I felt our kids played really well at Villanova, especially because it’s hard to rebound on the Sunday after a Friday game,” Waldrum said. “We won 1-0 but could have won by three or four. I thought it could have been one of those days where the team has a letdown, but I felt we were focused and showed a lot of fight.”

The Irish will now turn their attention to postseason play, which begins Sunday when the team hosts Syracuse, the No. 3 seed in the American Division, in the Big East championship quarterfinals at Alumni Stadium. Waldrum said he was happy with his team’s recent performances, but he emphasized that consistency would be essential to Notre Dame’s postseason success.

“We’re playing well, but there are some periods of each game where we aren’t really sharp,” he said. It’s been minimized since the beginning of the season, and we have played complete games, but we’ve also played games where we’ve had 10-minute spells where we switched off. We’ve gotten much better, but I still think we have more in us.”

Notre Dame will face Syracuse in a Big East Championship quarterfinal match on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.

Contact Brian Hartnett at bhartnet@nd.edu