August 24, 2012
TUCKING IT AWAY
Tucker leads Irish women past Tulsa
TULSA, Okla. –Elizabeth Tucker scored two goals in the opening 19 minutes, and freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight made five saves in her return to her home state, as Notre Dame (1-1) picked up its first win of 2012 with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Tulsa on Friday night before a record crowd of 1,707 fans at HurricaneSoccer & Track Stadium in Tulsa, Okla.
Tucker opened her account with an unassisted goal in the 13th minute, and completed her brace less than six minutes later. It was Tucker’s third career multi-goal match, and her first since the only other time the Fighting Irish visited the state of Oklahoma (a 2-0 win at Oklahoma State on Nov. 26, 2010, in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals).
Crystal Thomas won a ball on the left edge, just inside the center line, and quickly slipped a pass inside to sophomore midfielder Karin Simonian to set Tucker’s first scoring play in motion. Simonian found Tucker on another run down the left flank, and Tucker cut back inside of her defender, drove to the top left corner of the box before firing an arrow high into the upper right corner of the net past leaping goalkeeper Hayley Harryman.
Four minutes later, Notre Dame doubled their lead, thanks to another piece of strong combination play. Rebecca Twining latched on to a pass in the left channel and turned short of the top left of the box, serving a delicate chip into the heart of the box. Lauren Bohaboy rose up at the spot and flicked a header back on the left side to an onrushing Tucker, who took a composed touch and cranked a left-footed rocket into the far right-side netting to become just the fourth player in school history (and first since Amanda Cinalli in 2004) to score Notre Dame’s first two goals of the season.
Meanwhile, Hight could hardly have scripted her first career win and shutout much better, earning both just two hours northeast of her hometown. Although Tulsa appeared to give its fans something to cheer about in the 15th minute, as Rebecca Handley put a shot into the outside netting, leading to a premature celebration from the overflow crowd, the rookie netminder didn’t face many significant threats. Most of Tulsa’s shots were hopeful tries from long distance, and Hight confidently managed the penalty area throughout the match to secure the clean sheet.
Tulsa (1-1) stayed within sight of the Fighting Irish in large part because of its own goalkeeper, Hayley Harryman, who made seven saves, including a handful of sparkling stops that kept Notre Dame from an even larger margin of victory.
“This was a good win for a lot of different reasons, not the least of which was simply to get the taste of Wisconsin out of our mouths and get into the win column,” said Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum, who also enjoyed a homecoming of sorts, having coached the Tulsa men’s and women’s teams from 1989-94. “It was important for us to get out in front early and Tucker did that, and then we continued to create chances and possess the ball well. There’s still lots for us to work on, but this was a step in the right direction and should give us some confidence moving forward.”
Notre Dame returns home at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday for its first match of the season at Alumni Stadium, playing host to East Carolina.