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ND Women’s Soccer: Henderson leads offense

Alex Barker | Wednesday, August 26, 2009

After an outstanding freshman campaign that helped the Irish advance to the national championship game, sophomore forward Melissa Henderson is wasting no time picking up right where she left off.

After a disappointing first half plagued in part by wet conditions, Henderson netted the team’s first goal of the season shortly into the second half of a 3-0 victory over Wisconsin last Friday at Alumni Field. The goal gives the reigning Big East Rookie of the Year a remarkable 18 career goals in her first 28 collegiate games.

“I was a little disappointed with how we came out in the first half, but we looked much better after halftime,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum told UND.com. “You’ve got to give Wisconsin credit, they battled hard and their keeper made some really good saves in the first half to keep them in the game.”

Before the Badgers could catch their breath, junior midfielder Rose Augustin followed up with a laser shot just out of the reach of the keeper to give the Irish a commanding two-goal lead.

However, Wisconsin wasn’t ready to rollover just yet. In the 62nd minute, Badger forward Erin Jacobsen received a pass just short of the penalty area and sent a shot flying towards the upper left corner before Irish senior goalie Kelsey Lysander made an excellent leap to deny the goal.

In the 68th minute, Augustin played a corner kick onto the head of junior midfielder Lauren Fowlkes’ who tucked it into the side netting to put an end to the Badgers’ chances.

“In the second half, we came out with a different mindset and I think it showed with how quickly we got those first two goals,” Waldrum said. “Once we got on the board, we looked more composed and sharper with the ball, and our back four really played well in the second half.”

Lysander turned away the only shot on net from the Badgers in 72 minutes of play before junior Nikki Weiss came in to preserve the Irish shutout.

The Notre Dame netminders have a gritty defensive squad to thank for the relatively uneventful evening. The Irish’s veteran defense led by senior Haley Ford and junior Julie Scheidler stymied the Badger offense all night allowing just eight total shots.

Scheidler even looked to have gotten an assist in the early going before the Wisconsin goalkeeper turned away junior midfielder Taylor Knaack’s redirection from just outside the six-yard box.

In their first game since the departure of four-time All-American and two-time Hermann Trophy winner Kerri Hanks, the Irish did not skip a beat on offense. Led by Henderson, Notre Dame fired off 20 shots and kept Wisconsin back on its heels for most of the contest.

The Irish will return to action Friday when they take on Loyola-Chicago at Alumni field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.