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ND Women’s Soccer: Squad advances to College Cup with win over OSU

Chris Masoud | Tuesday, November 30, 2010

For the fifth consecutive year, Notre Dame will take the pitch on the final weekend of collegiate soccer after shutting out Oklahoma State, 2-0, Friday night. Freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker netted a pair of goals in the final 30 minutes of the NCAA Championship quarterfinals match, sending the Irish back to the College Cup.

“It was a great crowd for [Oklahoma State],” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “Right from the opening whistle, we took control of the game. I thought we played with a lot of confidence. I thought the kids managed the last 15 or 20 minutes really well. Instead of panicking, I thought the kids handled that last spell, that last run, really well.”

In front of a sellout crowd of 2,660 at Cowgirl Soccer Complex, the No.7 Irish (19-2-2) turned in another complete performance, stifling an Oklahoma State offense that featured forward Krista Lopez, the second-leading scorer in the Big 12 during the regular season.

While Notre Dame’s offense struggled to find the back of the net in the first half, the Irish outshot No. 6 Oklahoma State (20-4-2) by a 10-1 margin.

“OSU did a great job of minimizing real good looks at the goal,” Waldrum said. “We dominated in terms of the possession and not allowing them any opportunities. It was one of those games when you got into halftime, you were concerned that you hadn’t scored yet, but you never had a feeling that they were going to come at us in waves.”

Captained by junior defender Jessica Schuveiller, the stalwart Irish defense held the Cowgirls in check until the offense found its rhythm. Waldrum credits sophomore defender Jazmin Hall and freshman defender Kecia Morway for preventing any serious Cowgirl threats in the Irish zone.

Tucker took care of the rest, scoring her eighth goal of the season on a cross from senior forward Lauren Fowlkes in the 63rd minute. She added an insurance goal in the final minute to seal a trip to the semifinals.

“[Tucker] almost came out of the game in the first half because she injured her ankle pretty badly,” Waldrum said. “To see her suck it up and stay in there, and then actually get the game-winning goal and the icing on the cake at the end says a lot about the heart she has to play through the injury. It was a good night.”

Notre Dame heads to the College Cup for the 12th time in program history and the sixth time in seven years. The squad will take on the third-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes Friday for a chance to play for a national title on Sunday.

“Probably what was one of the hardest draws we’ve had in the four years I’ve been here, and yet I think we probably handled these four games as well as we’ve handled [them] in any years,” Waldrum said. “I think the girls have been great about their focus and really paying attention to the game plan.”