Dec. 3, 2010

By Greg Johnson

NCAA.com

CARY, North Carolina - A halftime adjustment by Coach Randy Waldrum was the key to a dominating second-half performance as Notre Dame took a 1-0 victory over Ohio State in the semifinals of the Womens College Cup at WakeMed Soccer Park Friday night.

After playing a scoreless first half, Waldrum told his team to play their style of game, which meant for the Fighting Irish outside backs, Kecia Morway and Jazmin Hall on the left side and Julie Scheidler on the right side, to push forward and put pressure on the Buckeyes.

The strategy immediately paid off as the Fighting Irish sent wave after wave of dangerous attacks towards the goal.
Freshman midfielder Mandy Laddish finally tallied the goal that Notre Dame was seeking when she sent a left-footed shot past Ohio State goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner in the 82nd minute.

In our system it is imperative that our backs attack,” said Waldrum, whose team advances to Sundays final with a 20-2-2 record. As soon as we started getting forward, it changed the game. It made Ohio State defend and chase us.”
Notre Dame outshot the Buckeyes, 15-3 in the second half. But the Fighting Irish had nothing to show for their efforts until Laddish struck with an impressive run down the middle of the field.

The 5-7 freshman from Lees Summit, Missouri, beat several players and unleashed a high shot inside the left post for the goal.

Its like a blur to me,” said Laddish, who scored her second goal of the season. I remember just wanting to get a shot on goal, and Im in shock that I actually scored. I was trying to shoot higher, because I knew (Baumgardner) would dive.”

The Ohio State keeper made several saves to keep the game scoreless and many of her efforts were lounging saves on low shots.

When their shots werent being stopped by Baumgardner, who made 10 saves, they were being thwarted by the cross bar.

The Fighting Irish saw shots by Rose Augustine and Melissa Henderson ring off the iron in the 24th and 81st minutes respectively.

It was getting a little frustrating out there,” said Henderson, who had three shots in the game. We came out stronger in the second half, and we put a little more pressure on them. Things werent going our way, but well take it now because we won.”

Despite there being only eight minutes left in the match, Notre Dame refused to go into a shell to protect the lead. Baumgardner had to make an impressive kick save against Notre Dames Elizabeth Tucker in the 84th minute.
All season weve talked about attacking,” said Notre Dame captain Jessica Schuveiller. When we scored, we were going to go for the next one. We werent going to sit back.”

Ohio State, 17-5-2 almost scored the equalizer in the 88th minute when a shot by junior forward Paige Maxwell hit the right post.

The soccer gods were not in our favor on that one,” Maxwell said. I put everything I had on that one. I was going to get to that ball. I put all my being into that one.”

Ohio State coach Lori Walker, who is only the second person to play and coach in the Womens College Cup, was proud of her programs first appearance in the national semifinals. She also tipped her cap to Waldrums strategic move after halftime.

It was pretty even in the first half,” said Walker, who won three College Cups as a player at North Carolina. I know what our Achilles heel is, and they found it. Penetrating through the middle was the one thing we didnt have an answer for. When you go against a great coach, their job is to find that Achilles heel.”
Notre Dame advanced to Sundays championship match where it will face the winner of the Stanford-Boston College semifinal.