Sept. 5, 2009

Courtesy of North Carolina

NOTRE DAME, IND. - Sophomore forward Courtney Jones tallied just 23 seconds into the match and the No. 1-ranked North Carolina women's soccer team would go on to score two more goals in the first 20 minutes of play en route to a 6-0 victory over No. 2-ranked Notre Dame in the inaugural game played in Alumni Stadium on the University of Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Ind. The game was played as part of the 2009 Inn at St. Mary's Soccer Classic. Marquette beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2-0 in Friday's first game.

Five different goal scorers accounted for North Carolina's six tallies with junior forward Jessica McDonald accounting for two of UNC's goals. Senior forward Casey Nogueira had a goal and an assist for the Tar Heels and single goals for the Tar Heels came from Jones, junior midfielder Meghan Klingenberg and sophomore forward Brittani Bartok.

Carolina finished with a 19-15 edge in shots and a 6-3 margin in corner kicks. Both teams used two goalkeepers. Senior Ashlyn Harris started for the Tar Heels and made four saves in 71 minutes of play. Freshman Hannah Daly played the final 19 minutes to combine with Harris on the shutout effort. Kelsey Lysander played the first half for the Fighting Irish and she had four saves and four goals allowed. Nikki Weiss played the second 45 minutes for UND and allowed the final two goals scored by the Heels.

The final margin was an anomaly in a series that has produced razor-thin margins over the years. Carolina now leads the all-time series 11-4-2 and has won two in a row against the Fighting Irish after Notre Dame had won the previous two encounters. Since a regular-season meeting in 1999 at Notre Dame, six of the previous seven matches between the two teams had been decided by a single goal and the seventh match had a two-goal separation. Friday's result was the largest margin of victory for either team in the series, exceeding the five-goal margin the Tar Heels had in a 5-0 win over the Fighting Irish in the NCAA championship game on November 20, 1994 in Portland, Ore.

North Carolina improves to 4-0 on the season and its six goals was its second-highest total of the year. UNC's defense, led by Harris and starting defenders Rachel Givan, Whitney Engen and Kristi Eveland, turned in its third straight shutout effort. Notre Dame fell to 2-1 after having produced shutout wins over Wisconsin and Loyola of Chicago in its first two matches, both played at Alumni Field (the long-time previous home of the Fighting Irish).

Just as it had in a 7-2 victory over No. 3 UCLA just 13 days ago at Fetzer Field, the Tar Heels finished their opportunities early to stake themselves to a comfortable margin. UNC had scored three goals in the first 13 minutes of that win over the Bruins and against the Fighting Irish, UNC scored five goals on its first 13 shots of the game, including four goals on 12 shots in the first half of play. Notre Dame actually outshot the Tar Heels 13-7 in the second half but UNC outscored the Irish 2-0 in the second 45 minutes and kept the Irish off the scoreboard.

Just as it had against UCLA, Carolina scored a goal in the first minute of the match and again senior midfielder Tobin Heath had a hand in it. Heath had scored just 41 seconds into the match against the Bruins and then Friday she assisted on Courtney Jones' third goal of the season just 23 seconds into the match. Heath sent a cross into the box that Jones converted from five yards out for a 1-0 lead. It took the Tar Heels exactly six minutes to get on the scoreboard a second time as Jessica McDonald scored her second goal of the campaign off an assist by Casey Nogueira. Nogueira sent a pass into the center of the box where McDonald gathered it in and sent a shot into the lower right of the goal.

The Tar Heels made it 3-0 at 19:18 of the match as Meghan Klingenberg notched her first goal of the season off an assist by Nikki Washington. Washington slotted a pass to the far post past the diving effort of Notre Dame goalie Kelsey Lysander to gather it in and Klingenberg finished it the scoring opportunity for a three-goal separation. Carolina finished off the scoring in the first half on Brittani Bartok's second goal of the season as she chipped the goalie from 10 yards to make it 4-0 at 36:09 of the match.

Carolina came out of the locker room and scored on its first goal of the second half as Casey Nogueira notched her third goal of the season at 49:02. Nogueira was positioned at the top of the box and she volleyed an attempted clear by the Irish defense to the far right corner for a 5-0 lead. UNC finished off the scoring at the 54:49 mark on McDonald's second goal of the match. She put in a rebound from 10 yards out to give the Tar Heels' their leading goal output in the history of the series with the Irish.

Notre Dame peppered the Tar Heel goal with 12 shots in the final 35:11 of the match but the UNC defense blocked four shots and Harris made a save to preserve the clean sheet for the Tar Heels.

Notre Dame had scored at least one goal against UNC in each of the last five meetings between the two teams. Friday's win was the first shutout for the Tar Heels against the Irish since December 5, 1999 when Carolina beat UND 2-0 in that year's NCAA championship game in San Jose, Calif.

It was the first meetings of the teams in South Bend since September 3, 1999 when UNC beat the Fighting Irish 3-2 in double overtime on a goal by Meredith Florance. It was only the seventh time in 17 meetings the game has been played on the home campus of one of the two teams. There have been four meetings in Chapel Hill, including two NCAA Tournament wins by the Fighting Irish, and three meetings in South Bend, where the Tar Heels are now 2-0-1.

The Inn at St. Mary's Soccer Classic continues Sunday with two more games. UNC will meet Marquette (3-1) in an 11 a.m. matchup while Notre Dame will face Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2-1-2) at 1:30 p.m.