Aug. 22, 2010

Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame senior midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) scored twice as part of a three-goal second-half flurry, helping the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish to a 3-0 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. The victory capped off a successful opening weekend for Notre Dame, which recorded its second shutout of the young campaign and now has limited its last 17 opponents to 0-1 goals, going 15-1-1 in that span with 12 clean sheets.

Freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) scored the gamewinning goal for the Fighting Irish (2-0), netting her first college tally unassisted in the 52nd minute. Junior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) and senior midfielder/forward Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) then set up the two scores by Augustin, who registered her fifth career multi-goal game and fourth in the past 34 Notre Dame contests, dating back to the start of the 2008 NCAA Championship.

Senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate), who has been the starting netminder for the Fighting Irish throughout their current 17-game defensive lockdown, went the distance to earn her second solo shutout, making five saves (all in the first 49 minutes). Milwaukee (1-1) split its goalkeeping duties with Leslie Deebach working a scoreless opening half and stopping two shots before Jamie Forbes came on to play the final 45 minutes and make three saves.

UWM wound up with a slim 13-12 shot advantage for the game, although Notre Dame had a 7-3 edge after halftime. The Fighting Irish also held the upper hand in shots on goal (8-5), corner kicks (6-2) and fouls (6-3).

"This was another positive step for us, but we're still not putting together a complete 90-minute effort right now," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "We made some adjustments at halftime and looked solid in the second half, and that's good to see. I also thought our back line, particularly Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West), did a tremendous job, keeping (2009 NCAA goalscoring leader Sarah) Hagen and their other forwards in check. Now, we've got almost two weeks off, so we'll be able to work on some things in training during the next few days and continue to get healthier up and down the roster."

Early on in Sunday's game, it was Milwaukee that had the better of the offensive chances, the best coming from Makenzie Gillaspie, whose ninth-minute drive from the top right of the box was ticketed for the left post before Weiss was there to knock it down and clear away the danger. Gillaspie had another shot saved by Weiss in the 21st minute, the third stop for the Fighting Irish goalkeeper in the opening half-hour.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame was whistled for three offside calls in the first 15 minutes of play, a few of the seven times the Fighting Irish were flagged by the assistant referees on the afternoon. Senior co-captain Lauren Fowlkes (Lee's Summit, Mo./St. Teresa's Academy) got the hosts' first good look on frame at 13:38, running on to a through-ball at the right edge of the box and cranking a drive to the short side that Deebach did well to parry around the right post.

Hagen got an enticing look for Milwaukee in the 29th minute, going high to reach Nicole Sperl's corner kick, but her snap header sailed just wide right. Five minutes later, Keara Thompson and Heather Roadhouse tried successive shots from the top of the box, but both were blocked away by the Notre Dame defense.

The Fighting Irish began to turn the tide in their favor during the final 10 minutes of the first half, and it started with Augustin's 36th-minute cross that co-captain Schuveiller controlled inside the penalty area with her back to goal, cheekily flipped the ball over her defender's head, and then uncorked a left-footed bullet that skirted inches wide of the right post.

With the crowd still buzzing from that near-miss, Notre Dame got even closer to breaking the ice on its next possession, as senior forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) raced in from the left side and met an Augustin cross with full force, driving her shot high and hard off the crossbar and Henderson's rebound try was blocked on the way in.

The second half saw added offensive pressure by the Fighting Irish, and it didn't take long after the break for that push to pay off. Following a scramble in the box that didn't result in a Notre Dame shot, the ball rolled out to Tucker straight away and 20 yards from goal. The Fighting Irish rookie drilled a low daisy-cutter that glanced off a defender near the top of the area and caught Forbes leaning the wrong way, as the ball skirted into the low left corner of the net (51:03).

Gillaspie and Hagen would have their shots go off target in the next 10 minutes, and as it turned out, those would be last of the day for the Panthers, who did not record a shot during the final 28:08 of the contest.

Notre Dame then got its all-important second goal at 64:43, and it started with Fowlkes, who moved from the front line to center back midway through the first half and delivered a strong ball over the top to Henderson streaking down the right channel. Henderson stopped on a dime at the edge of the penalty area and hammered a low left-footed shot that appeared to be headed straight for Forbes. However, Augustin was positioned perfectly near the six-yard box and, using her defender as a screen, re-directed Henderson's shot off the inside of the far left post and into the net.

Less than five minutes, Notre Dame slammed the door on Sunday's proceedings, and it was the product of an excellent build-up in the attacking third by the Fighting Irish. Knaack won the ball on the right side and angled back towards the center of the field before sliding a pass to junior midfielder Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa's Academy), who in turn sent it wide on the left side for an overlapping Iantorno. The veteran drove smartly towards the end line and then cracked a wicked service across the face of goal. Augustin was crashing the net and needed only to get a foot on Iantorno's cross to put it past Forbes at 69:17 and seal the victory for the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame will not play again for another 12 days, returning to action at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on Sept. 3 against No. 9/10 Santa Clara on the opening night of the 18th annual Inn at Saint Mary's Classic at Alumni Stadium. Ole Miss and Texas Tech will square off in the tournament opener at 5 p.m. (ET) on Sept. 3.