September 2, 2012
UNDER THEIR HEELS
Notre Dame falls to North Carolina 1-0
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — North Carolina's Maria Lubrano broke through in the 85th minute to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 win over Notre Dame and the title at the 20th annual adidas Invitational on Sunday afternoon before a spirited crowd of 1,925 fans at Alumni Stadium.
Freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight registering a season-high seven saves. The loss snapped Notre Dame’s three-match winning streak in what was its second match in three days against a Top 25 opponent.
Lubrano tooke a pass from the tournament’s Offensive Most Valuable Player, Summer Green and scoring from close range.
UNC (2-2-1) finished with an 18-3 edge in total shots, as well as an 8-0 advantage in shots on goal.
“For a defense that started three on the back line and another in goal, I thought they all did a tremendous job for us today,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “On the other hand, I was very disappointed at our inability to create chances on the offensive end. We had some good looks and our possession was pretty solid in the first half, but we got away from that after halftime and we couldn’t seem to string passes together to build up some consistency. We could only ask our defense to do so much, and without getting any help up top, it was probably a matter of time before they got a goal.
“These games are excellent teaching tools for us to illustrate the points we’ve been making in practice,” Waldrum added. “There were many things, good and bad, that came out of both games this weekend. I think we’re all hungry to get back on the practice field and work on getting better because we will have another challenge ahead of us next weekend at Portland and Washington.”
North Carolina gave the Fighting Irish an early wake-up call when Green rang a shot off the outside of the left post in the second minute.
That proved to be a wakeup call for Notre Dame
In the 11th minute, Williams found freshman forward Anna Maria Gilbertson on a run down the right channel, but the rookie’s cross from the by-line was picked off by Tar Heels goalkeeper Adelaide Gay.
Hight came up big on Green’s drive from the top left corner of the box and going high to tip the shot over the bar in the 20th minute.
North Carolina raised the pressure another notch in the second half, but for much of the period, Notre Dame was equal to the challenge. In the 58th minute, the tournament’s Defensive MVP Amber Brooks sent a cross to the far right side of the box, where it was headed down by Paige Nielsen, and Alyssa Rich then tried a right-footed side volley from 10 yards out, but Hight was there for the save. Rich had another look less than three minutes later, picking off a clearing pass in the left channel and attempting to beat Hight with a curling right-footed shot to the far right post, but Hight was well-positioned and the try was never on the mark.
In the 83rd minute, UNC worked an intricate passing sequence at the edge of the attacking third, finishing with Ranee Premji finding a seam down the middle of the box and going 1-v-1 with Hight. However, the Notre Dame rookie goalkeeper won the battle, diving to her right to make the save and keep the status quo.
North Carolina finally netted the decisive score after Brooke Elby sent a long pass down the left side for Green, who raced to the by-line. She then cut back just before running out of room and slid a pass through to the six-yard box, where Lubrano was parked on the doorstep and scored high into the roof of the net before Hight could react
Notre Dame goes back on the road next weekend as it travels to the Pacific Northwest, beginning at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) Friday when it takes on No. 20/23 Portland at Merlo Field in Portland, Ore., in the Nike Showcase. The Fighting Irish then head north to Seattle for a 3 p.m. ET (noon PT) match on Sunday against Washington at the Husky Soccer Stadium.