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ND Women’s Soccer: Notre Dame bounces back after tough loss

Observer Staff Report | Monday, September 19, 2011


After a rough 3-3-1 non-conference stretch to open the season, Notre Dame was ready to begin Big East play, in which they hadn’t lost a regular season match since 2005. And while that streak was ended in a 1-0 loss to Louisville on Friday, the team was able to bounce back in Sunday’s 4-1 win at Cincinnati.

Heading into Friday’s home match, the Irish (4-4-1, 1-1-0 Big East) were excited to head back to the friendly confines of Alumni Stadium after their West Coast trip ended with a 2-1 loss to Stanford and a 1-1 draw at Santa Clara. With their impressive record in Big East play, one would expect them to breeze through their conference opener. However, Irish coach Randy Waldrum and his team didn’t underestimate the Cardinals (3-4-2, 1-0-1) and their talented forward, sophomore Christine Exeter.

The team showed the crowd of 2,501 fans they were ready to play from the opening whistle, outshooting Louisville 20-10. However, Louisville made the most of one of their few opportunities in the 56th minute, when Exeter tracked down a ball and drove to the corner. Her low cross made its way through lots of traffic in the box and found freshman midfielder Erin Yenney streaking down the back side. Yenney slotted the ball near-side from six yards and Louisville was on the board.

The Irish had several tantalizing opportunities as the game wound down, but the Cardinals held to the very end for the victory, snapping Notre Dame’s 62-match unbeaten streak in regular season conference play. There was little time for the Irish to reflect on the loss though, as they had to make the trip over to Ohio to take on Cincinnati (5-3-2, 0-1-0).

The Irish arrived in Cincinnati, and greeting them was a formidable environment. Between the constant rainfall, the less-than-ideal Astroturf and the record-sellout crowd of 1,400 fans at Gettler Stadium, not to mention the hard-working Bearcats side, Notre Dame had a hard time settling into the game. 

Cincinnati jumped all over the Irish from the get-go, earning six corner kicks in the first 10 minutes alone. And while the Irish avoided getting burned on the first five, freshman midfielder Megan Cravenor rattled home the sixth for an early 1-0 Bearcat lead.

After that goal Notre Dame went to work, and found senior forward and tri-captain Melissa Henderson early and often. Henderson scored her 60th career goal in the 18th minute to even the score, then added two more in the 26th and 65th to complete her fifth career hat trick. Freshman forward Lauren Bohaboy scored her first career goal in the last three minutes, and the Irish walked off the field as resounding victors.

Notre Dame will have no time to rest after that win, however, as they face a very quick turnaround this week with a whirlwind weekend road trip. The Irish will fly down to Tampa for a televised contest against South Florida on Thursday, then will head to Milwaukee, Wis. to take on No. 8/9 Marquette on Sunday.