ND WOMEN'S SOCCER: Irish split conference games
Assistant Sports Editor
It was a weekend of things both familiar and unfamiliar for the third-ranked Notre Dame women's soccer team. The Irish experienced a rare loss in Big East play on Friday night at Rutgers 2-1, dropping only their fourth Big East game since joining the conference in 1995. Sunday's 2-1 win at Seton Hall saw a recurring theme for Notre Dame, namely a late, game-winning goal in a game the Irish clearly dominated throughout.
"[The loss] was a wake-up call," freshman forward Candace Chapman said. "We'll be able to bounce back from it. I think it was good in that it showed us what could happen if we don't put teams away and [create] more urgency in scoring."
Just getting to New Jersey on Friday proved to be a struggle. The team missed its connecting flight in Pittsburgh Thursday night, and was forced to catch a few hours of quick sleep in an airport hotel before flying to Newark early Friday morning.
"I think we should be ready for every game no matter what happens before," Chapman said.
The Irish opened up the Rutgers game with uncharacteristically soft defense. Scarlet Knight midfielder Carli Lloyd victimized the Irish backline for two goals within the first ten minutes, putting Notre Dame in a quick 2-0 hole, a hole the Irish offense could never fill.
"[They scored] right off the bat ... that was really surprising," Chapman said.
Lloyd scored her first goal off a set corner play by Erica Schubert. Schubert put the ball in play with a low kick that made it through the Irish defense and found the freshman Lloyd, who was in good position to beat Irish goalie Liz Wagner.
Llyod struck again, this time unassisted, just two minutes later. The forward was able to place the ball in the upper corner of the net, just out of Wagner's reach, to put Notre Dame down for good.
The only offense Notre Dame could muster came from the defense in the form of junior defender Vanessa Pruzinsky. The former high school striker took the ball up the middle of the field in the 16th minute of the first half, finding herself at the top of the penalty area, and fired a long range shot past Scarlet Knight keeper Christine Caldwell.
The goal was Pruzinsky's first in her Notre Dame career.
After the flurry of scoring early in the game, the teams settled into a tense game dominated by the Irish, with 21 shots to Rutgers' nine, and punctuated by strong goalkeeping by both Wagner and Caldwell.
But the equalizer would never come for the Irish.
While Friday's game was uncharacteristic for the 2001 Irish, Sunday's game followed a common pattern for this season, with Notre Dame relying on a very late goal from sometime defender, sometime forward Chapman to take down Seton Hall.
Senior midfielder and captain Mia Sarkesian struck first for the Irish, dribbling in the box before putting a shot past Pirate goalie Leah Miller.
The Irish allowed the equalizer on Seton Hall's only first half shot. Emily Fischer was able to loft a shot over Wagner to tie the score in the 43rd minute.
The speedy and athletic Chapman, who moved to forward midway through the second half, was able to win the game for the Irish with eight minutes remaining when she was able to free herself from Pirate defenders long enough to fire a shot past Miller.
The late, game-winning goal has become somewhat expected for the Irish. Notre Dame need timely goals to defeat Villanova, West Virginia, and Indiana earlier in the season.
All Sports Stories for Monday, October 8, 2001