Notre Dame 1, Santa Clara 0 Â Dec.
Notre Dame 1, Santa Clara 0ÂDec. 2, 2004
CARY, N.C. (AP) -- Notre Dame beat Santa Clara 1-0 as Candace Chapman scored with about 18 minutes left to put the Fighting Irish (24-1-1) in the final for the first time since 1999.
Chapman worked a give-and-go with forward Katie Thorlakson, who paused just outside the box to stay onside, then passed back to her teammate. Chapman gathered herself, then sent a blast to the right of goalkeeper Julie Ryder to snap the scoreless tie.
"I didn't think I had the angle. I was lucky to get it to Candy," Thorlakson said. "She was in the right spot."
The Broncos (18-5-2) struggled for scoring opportunities and finished with only three shots.
Their best chance came late in the first half on a free kick. Megan Kakadelas sent the ball in the box, and Leslie Osborne headed it toward Tina Estrada. Eventually, it ended up back on the foot of Kakadelas, but a scrum in front of the goal thwarted her chance, and Notre Dame keeper Erika Bohn smothered the ball.
Santa Clara finally got its first official shot about 10 minutes into the second half, but Osborne's left-footed bloop was snared easily by Bohn. Later, Osborne nearly scored on header, but it sailed wide.
"We had a bunch of dangerous chances," Broncos coach Jerry Smith said. "We put away zero of our dangerous chances, and they put away one of theirs, and that was the difference."
The Irish will play for the championship against the Bruins. UCLA knocked off Princeton, 2-0 in the other semifinal.