Notre Dame scores three unanswered goals to beat Milwaukee in Round 1
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame broke Friday's contest early with a pair of goals in the final frame to power the Fighting Irish to a 3-1 win against Milwaukee in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Alumni Stadium.
The Fighting Irish move on to the second round of the NCAA Championship, where they will face the winner of Saturday’s opening round match between Wake Forest (13-5-3) and Georgia Southern (10-7-5).
Notre Dame held an 18-3 shot advantage against Milwaukee, including a 13-2 edge during the second half. The Fighting Irish put nine of those attempts on net, compared to only two for the Panthers.
The match was tight in the opening minutes, as Notre Dame (14-5-2) registered three shots, two that were stopped by Panther goalkeeper Jaime Forbes (8-9-1). Milwaukee (8-9-1) broke through for the first time in the 28th minute after Helen Steinhauser was fouled in the box by Fighting Irish freshman defender Katie Naughton to draw a penalty kick. Steinhauser buried the attempt in the upper left corner of the net over the reach of freshman keeper Elyse Hight to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
“We kind of changed the shape in the first half of our team, and were hoping to get more movement and mobility offensively out of it,” Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. “It was great during the week, but when we got into the game, they just set in, and we didn’t have that kind of mobility.”
Notre Dame countered with the equalizer in the 44th minute. Naughton headed in a corner off the foot of freshman defender Brittany Von Rueden from six yards out to square the match at one.
“We had to go back the second half to the way we’ve always played, with more three-out-and-out up front,” Waldrum said. “We got the goal late, which was very important to get the tying goal before we came in at halftime. It was a great goal from Brit’s service, and Katie on the header, so that was really key for us to go in and not be down.”
The Fighting Irish took their first lead of the match seven minutes into the second half. Sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy drove home a deflected ball in the box past Forbes for the 2-1 advantage. Notre Dame added an insurance tally in the 90th minute, as freshman forward Crystal Thomas finished a through ball from midfielder Mandy Laddish to put the Fighting Irish ahead 3-1.
Milwaukee advanced the ball into Notre Dame territory with under 20 seconds remaining in the game, but Hight (8-4-1) turned away a shot from Krissy Dorre to secure the match’s final score.
“At this point in the year, I am happy for the win,” Waldrum said. “This late, sometimes that’s the main thing, get the win any way that you can get it. For eight or nine kids we had on the field, it was their first NCAA [Championship] game, so it’s part of the learning process and how to manage come playoff time.
“It’s a lot different when you have that pressure of 'It’s a one-game and a knockout' versus 'I can make some mistakes during the regular season and still have more games to play'.”