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Irish fall to Huskies in championship finals

Dan Tapetillo | Monday, November 8, 2004

Their first loss meant their first exit.

After an impressive run in the Big East tournament, the Irish fell just short of achieving the championship title after losing 2-1 in the finals to Connecticut, their first loss of the season and second ever in Big East Championship play.

After a dominating victory over Boston College Friday, the Irish (19-1-1) were hoping to follow up the performance in the Big East championship game.

In the first half, the Irish struggled in converting eight opportunities into points. Despite their troubles, the team felt they were prepared for the strengths of Connecticut.

“We were focused and knew they were a good team,” Buczkowski said. “We were ready to play.”

To open the second half, Notre Dame was able to break the deadlock after Jones scored her first goal of the season.

Thorlakson kicked the ball to the left side of the box to set up Jones for the goal in the second minute of the second half.

However, the Huskies were able to respond in the 73rd minute of the game to tie the score 1-1.

“When the score was tied 1-1, we knew we had to keep playing and get the ball back and move it around,” Buczkowski said. “But we never did that.”

The Irish continued to struggle offensively and Connecticut took advantage of this with three minutes left in regulation. The Huskies scored on Irish goalkeeper Erika Bohn for the 2-1 lead.

“We were in shock that it happened at the end of the game back-to-back,” Jones said. “We didn’t have enough time in the game to come back.”

Despite the loss, the Irish are aware of the challenges each team will bring in the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame is hoping this loss will give the team inspiration for the remained of the postseason.

“We had respect for Connecticut and knew they could beat us on any given day,” Jones said. “It will give us a little fire for the NCAA championship.”

Notre Dame 2, Boston College 0

Friday, Notre Dame had an impressive win over Boston College in the semifinals.

Heading into the conference championship weekend, the Irish were aware of the potential challenges from their conference rivals.

“We knew this was going to be a big weekend,” midfielder Ashley Jones said. “We came out hard against Boston College and wanted to control the game just in case anything happened.”

To begin the contest, the Irish came out strong and dictated play throughout most of the first half. After several missed opportunities, Notre Dame finally converted off an assist from freshman Ashley Jones to sophomore Jen Buczkowski. Senior Candace Chapman passed the ball to Jones, who quickly served the ball to Buczkowski for the first goal of the match during the 28th minute of play. Buczkowski managed to knock the shot off her left foot into the far right side of the net after being tightly guarded. This goal was her fourth game-winner and eighth overall for the season.

“She is very important to our success,” Jones said. “By her stepping up and scoring is how we are going to play games and make it to the national championship.”

To begin the second half of play, the Irish needed little time to register another goal to put the Irish 2-0 during the 60th minute of play.

Freshman Amanda Cinalli took a shot at goal, which hit the middle of the crossbar and deflected near the right end line. Chapman battled for possession against Eagle goalkeeper Kate Taylor, but managed to send the ball back into the box to Thorlakson, who sent the ball to the net. This goal was Thorlakson’s 19th of the season.

“We wanted to put them away so they didn’t hang around and get a chance to bring themselves back into the game,” Buczkowski said.