Portland 3, Notre Dame 1

Nov. 25, 2005

PORTLAND, Ore. - Redshirt freshman Megan Rapinoe scored two goals and assisted on the third as Portland ran to a 3-1 victory over Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the 2005 NCAA Womens Soccer Championships Friday night at a sold out Merlo Field. The Pilots (22-0-1) advance to the College Cup and will face Penn State, a 2-1 winner over Santa Clara earlier in the day, in a semifinal match scheduled for Friday Dec. 2.

In a rematch of last year's quarterfinal matchup, which the Fighting Irish (22-3-0) won by a 3-1 margin, the Pilots got redemption with their first win against Notre Dame at home in five meetings.

"This team is surprising me each and every day we go out and play," Portland coach Garrett Smith said. "Notre Dame gave us everything we could handle, but my team gave us even a little bit more".

Before a crowd of 4,892 and a television audience on UPN-49, Rapinoe dazzled onlookers with a powerful offensive explosion. Notre Dame came out of the gates strong through the first 12 minutes and controlled the run of play early, but the momentum changed in the 14th minute when Rapinoe surprised the Notre Dame defense and goalkeeper Erika Bohn with a 23-yard rocket from straight out. Bohn got her fingertips on the attempt, but couldn.t keep it from finding the back of the net.

In the 19th minute, the Pilots went up 2-0 as Rapinoe sent a sharp cross from the left endline across the goal mouth. Bohn came off her line and dove in an attempt to push the ball out of danger, but the momentum of the cross reached Lindsey Huie who finished from 15 yards out for her fifth goal of the season.

The Irish maintained their composure and cut the deficit in half in the 25th minute on a corner kick taken by Katie Thorlakson. Christie Shaner headed the service to Brittany Bock who one-timed the shot home for her 12th goal of the season.

Portland redshirt sophomore Angie Woznuk began the second half with a long shot attempt from the left side that hit the crossbar and was cleared by the Notre Dame defense. Exactly three minutes later, Rapinoe netted her second goal of the game and 14th of the season. Former United States Under-19 teammate Stephanie Lopez led Rapinoe perfectly into the left side of the penalty area. She took one touch then used the outside of her right foot to lift the ball over the oncoming Bohn and into the open net. It was her fifth goal of the playoffs and 13th total point, tops on the Pilot roster during their postseason run.

Notre Dame continued to press forward and apply pressure in the waning minutes, but Portland junior goalkeeper Cori Alexander made numerous impressive saves to preserve the two-goal advantage. Alexander made three critical and acrobatic saves in the final six minutes, cementing a solid day between the pipes.

"Cori (Alexander) answered every test tonight," Smith noted.

The evenly played match finished with Notre Dame holding a 14-13 edge in shots and a 5-4 advantage in corner kicks. Portland star striker Christine Sinclair was held without a point for the second consecutive game, and will attempt to break the NCAA single-season goals scored record of 37 during the College Cup.

"I think if you would have told me before the game that we would hold Christine (Sinclair) in check, I'd have liked our chances," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "I think most soccer purists would appreciate Portland's style of play, they've got so many offensive weapons. We certainly want to wish Portland all the best. I think these were the two best soccer teams in the country playing tonight, and we're rooting for them to take it all now".

In the other two quarterfinal matches, Florida State shocked top-seed North Carolina by advancing in a penalty kick shootout following a 1-1 tie. The Seminoles will play UCLA in the other semifinal match after the Bruins dismantled Virginia by a 5-0 margin.

--Courtesy of Portland Athletics