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ND Women’s Soccer: Young team falls in semis

Matthew Robison | Monday, November 5, 2012

The “baby Irish” found out their youth and raw talent could only take them so far Friday, as No. 24 Notre Dame fell 1-0 to No. 10 Marquette in the Big East tournament semifinals in East Hartford, Conn.

The Golden Eagles (16-2-2, 9-0-1 Big East) scored on a header off a free kick with 18 minutes to play to solidify their spot in the Big East championship. They won the title Sunday.

“I think our problem was that we didn’t put two good halves together,” Irish freshman forward Crystal Thomas said. “We kind of came out a little bit slow in the first half.”

Playing complete games has been an issue for the Irish (13-5-2, 8-1-1), this season, and it will be something they have to address in preparation for the NCAA tournament.

“We need to have to good halves,” Thomas said. “We didn’t come out ready and they took advantage of that in the first half.”

The Golden Eagles didn’t have a shot on goal in the second half other than the header. Freshman goaltender Elyse Hight had six saves in net for Notre Dame. Marquette narrowly edged Notre Dame 13-11 in the shot department. But the Irish only managed two shots on goal.

“They got a lucky free kick in the second half and put it away so that kind of falls on us,” Thomas. “It wasn’t anything that they did. I think more of the responsibility is on the way we played.”

It was a physical game as well. The two teams combined for 30 fouls and freshman forward Cari Roccaro received a yellow card.

Thomas and three other Irish players were honored by the conference. The Big East named Roccaro the conference Rookie of the Year. She also was named to the first-team all-Big East team and the Big East All-Rookie team. Freshman defender Katie Naughton and Thomas each  made the all-Rookie team – Thomas made the second team all-conference squad and Naughton made the third-team roster. Junior captain midfielder Mandy Laddish made second team all-Big East squad.

Today the NCAA announces the NCAA tournament bracket. As a ranked team, Notre Dame is expected to be in the bracket but their loss in the Big East tournament will hurt theirits seeding.

“We are very excited the NCAA tournament,” Thomas said.

The selection show starts at 4:30 p.m. today.

“Looking ahead, we are practicing really, really intensely,” Thomas said. “We are just going to go into this ready and confident in what our team can do.”


Contact Matthew Robison at [email protected]