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ND Women’s Soccer: Henderson nets hat trick

Andrew Gastelum | Monday, September 5, 2011

All-American senior forward Melissa Henderson capped a stunning weekend with a hat trick as she led Notre Dame to the Adidas Invitational title this weekend.

Henderson received player of the tournament honors after scoring four goals and recording two assists in a pair of dominating wins over previously undefeated Tulsa and in-state rival Indiana.

Irish coach Randy Waldrum said Henderson’s talent and demeanor added a special quality to the roster.

“She’s as good as she wants to be,” Waldrum said. “And she’s just so humble and passes things on to others when you want her to just go out and do what she does best.”

Henderson shredded the Hoosier defense with three goals in the first 53 minutes of the 4-1 win to give the No. 10 Irish (3-2) the title. The highlight of the afternoon came on Henderson’s third goal in the 33rd minute, when the senior took a through pass from sophomore midfielder Mandy Laddish just outside the box.

Henderson blew by her defender down the outside of the box, then cut back in towards goal — crossing her defender — and finished with a short-side goal, leaving the defender and goalie completely flustered.

“When [Henderson] plays the way she did this weekend she gives us a great chance to win,” Waldrum said. “It was good to see her get on track offensively today.”

Henderson also scored a goal and recorded two assists in the tournament’s opening game Friday against Tulsa, where sophomore forward Adriana Leon — who also scored a goal in Sunday’s match — stole the show with two goals and an assist in a 7-1 romp over Tulsa (3-1). Notre Dame outshot the Golden Hurricane 39-4 and scored seven unanswered goals after Tulsa scored six seconds into the game to take an early 1-0 lead. 

“I would have never thought that we would score seven goals against Tulsa like that,” Waldrum said. “They were undefeated coming into the game. And with Adriana [Leon] coming off of an injury and still not 100 percent, it was great to see her come out with three goals on the weekend.”

The Irish also had to come from behind in the game against Indiana (3-2-1) after Hoosier senior forward Carly Samp sent a booming shot from outside of the box into the upper corner of the net in the 12th minute to set the score at 1-0. But Notre Dame once again responded, this time with three goals in roughly eight minutes — highlighted by Henderson’s shot from the edge of the box which curved around Indiana senior goalie Lindsay Campbell.

“We came back Friday and [Sunday] and that shows that this team has a lot of resilience,” Waldrum said. “It was also a pleasant surprise to see how well [sophomore midfielder] Rebecca Twining played the last couple of weeks because she has had to come back from last year where she struggled to stay healthy.”

Twining turned in a memorable weekend as the sophomore scored her first career goal against Tulsa and added an assist on a crisp pass to Henderson, capping the score at 4-1 on Sunday.

A tough weekend awaits the Irish as they head to the Santa Clara Adidas Classic to take on No. 16 Santa Clara and No. 2 Stanford, whom the Irish defeated in last year’s national championship game.

“Overall, I am really happy about the way we played this weekend and hopefully we can take that effort to California this weekend,” Waldrum said.

Contact Andrew Gastelum at [email protected]