Oct. 31, 2010

Courtesy of UConn

STORRS, Conn - The University of Connecticut womens soccer earned a 2-0 victory over Notre Dame in the BIG EAST Quarterfinals today at Alumni Stadium in South Bend, Ind. With the victory, the Huskies advanced to face West Virginia in the BIG EAST Semifinals at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. on November 5. The game is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Huskies (10-8-3) snapped Notre Dames (15-2-2) 77-game unbeaten streak against teams from the BIG EAST Conference. The streak was the longest of its kind in any sport in college athletics.

Senior midfield Elise Fugowski (Stockholm, N.J.) provided the offensive firepower with two goals while junior goalkeeper Jessica Dulski (Pittsford, N.Y.) was brilliant in net, recording three point-blank saves in the final 11 minutes to preserve the victory.

The Huskies were able to possess the ball in the Notre Dame half for much of the opening 45 minutes, out-shooting the Irish, 8-3. Neither team was able to open the scoring in the first half, but both had excellent chances early denied by the woodwork.

In just the fifth minute of the game, UConn junior forward Jessica Shufelt (Rochester, N.Y.) picked up a loose ball in the box and bent a left-footed shot from the right side of the box towards the far post. The ball bounced off the post and was cleared away from danger by the UND defense.

The Huskies had a bit of luck themselves 12 minutes later when Notre Dame midfielder Julie Scheidlers shot from 12 yards out hit off the inside of the right post and bounced behind Dulski dangerously across the face of goal. The ball rolled across the end-line for a goal kick.

The Huskies finally broke the deadlock in the 58th minute with Fugowskis first strike of the game.

Fugowski took a perfect diagonal ball at the penalty spot from Shufelt at the top-right corner of the box and buried her shot from 12 yards out into the lower right corner. Shufelt earned her fourth assist of the season on the play. Fugowskis goal marked the first time the Irish trailed in a game since a 2-1 loss in overtime to UCLA on September 10.

Fugowski added her second of the game in the 73rd minute after a well-placed cross from Linda Ruutu (Espoo, Finland). After a give and go on the right sideline with Angelika Johansson and Jessica Shufelt, Johansson dropped a pass for Ruutu at the top corner of the box. Ruutus cross bounced before the penalty spot off a Notre Dame defender and fell just right for Fugowski to one-time into the left corner. The goal was her fifth of the season.

Dulski saved her best action of the game for the final 11 minutes, keeping the score at 2-0 in favor of the Huskies with three terrific saves. She made a great finger-tip save on Notre Dames Rose Augustin from eight yards out in the 79th minute. In the 87th minute, Dulski made a lunging save to her right on a header from Lauren Fowlkes from 10 yards away, blocking the ball for another Notre Dame corner-kick. The resulting corner landed in the six, forcing Dulski to come up with another reflex grab to keep the clean sheet intact.

Dulski finished the game with three saves and recorded her fifth shutout of the season and her second in as many games after blanking Louisville in the BIG EAST First Round on Thursday, October 28.

With the other BIG EAST Quarterfinal results, all-four teams in the BIG EAST Semifinals will hail from the BIG EAST American Division.