September 20, 2012
Roccaro, Williams lift Irish to 2-1 win
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame used goals from freshmen Cari Roccaro and Glory Williams , along with a dominant edge in possession time, to remain unbeaten in Big East Conference play with a 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Friday night before a crowd of 1,345 fans at Alumni Stadium.
Roccaro netted her second goal in as many matches, converting a short-range volley in the 16th minute off a cross from senior defender Jazmin Hall. Williams then doubled the Fighting Irish lead with her first college goal, heading in a corner kick by junior midfielder Mandy Laddish in the 58th minute.
Pittsburgh spoiled the shutout when Ashley Cuba scored an unassisted goal with in the 86th minute.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Voigt made one save for the Fighting Irish. Nicole D’Agostino a registered seven saves for Pitt.
“I’m happy to get the win because I thought we played pretty well most of the game,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “I’m disappointed that we gave up a late goal, again. We’ve done that too many times this season, and when you do that, you keep teams in it, (especially) when you don’t finish your chances. I think what we’re seeing is it’s helping to start to clarify some player positions for us. We had a pretty young backline in there, and (they) made a couple of mistakes, and they have got to learn from it. Outside of that, you take that last five minutes away, and I was pretty pleased.”
Notre Dame (6-3-1, 3-0-0 Big East ) wasted little time in pressuring the Panthers’ goal, as sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy drove a shot from the top of the box in the fourth minute that was redirected off the right post. The rebound caromed out to sophomore defender Taylor Schneider , who reloaded from the right side of the area with a shot that D’Agostino tipped over the bar.
Pittsburgh (5-6-1, 0-2-1) tried to catch the Fighting Irish napping with a quick clearance off the ensuing corner kick and it almost worked, as Riliegh McHugh ran on to a long service at the edge of her attacking third and drove into the left side of the box. However, Voigt alertly came out to cut down the angle and was able to stop McHugh’s 15-yard shot with a dive to her left before the Notre Dame defense cleared away the rebound.
After that brief scare, the Fighting Irish resumed their methodical offensive build-up, eventually resulting in the first score of the match. Hall found room down the left side on an overlapping run and wasable to turn the corner on her defender, angling into the penalty area. Shethen snapped a crisp service to the top of the six-yard box, where Roccaro was virtually unmarked and simply volleyed the cross high into the net in the 16th minute.
Notre Dame’s next solid chance came in the 31st minute, when Laddish collected the ball near the top of the box with her back to goal and turned to her left, sliding a pass to freshman forward Anna Maria Gilbertson on the right side. The rookie’s low shot, bidding for the far left corner, was stopped by a diving D’Agostino, but the rebound spilled to the left side of the six-yard box. Freshman forward Crystal Thomas ) came charging in from the back side, but slightly rushed her shot, driving it just wide of the left post as D’Agostino scrambled back into position.
Roccaro almost got a brace in the 52nd minute, taking a one-touch pass from junior midfielder Elizabeth Tucker on the right and lashing a low 15-yard shot that squirted through D’Agostino’s hands and was headed for goal, only to be denied by the Pittsburgh goalkeeper, who managed to dive on the loose ball a yard from her line.
Five minutes later, the Fighting Irish had their insurance goal. Laddish drove a corner kick from the right-side flag and Williams rose high to smash a header through traffic that just snuck over the line before D’Agostino could reach back and paddle it to safety. Play continued briefly before the assistant referee could signal to his central counterpart that the ball had indeed crossed the line, opening the career scoring account for the Notre Dame rookie midfielder.
The Fighting Irish seemed to add another to their tally in the 72nd minute, as Thomas apparently had scored an “Olimpico” (a direct goal from a corner kick) and a short celebration ensued. However, the score was wiped out when the referee judged D’Agostino to have been fouled while trying to play the service.
To that point, Pittsburgh had just one shot in the second half, a harmless try from outside the box by Dana DelleFemine in the 64th minute, but the Panthers made things interesting down the stretch. After Notre Dame cleared out a Pittsburgh corner kick in the 85th minute, Williams was slow to get up and temporarily left the Fighting Irish shorthanded in the defensive third. The Panthers gathered in the clearance and recycled it into the area, where the ball bounced around near the six-yard box, before Cuba found herself in the right place at the right time and quickly slotted home the loose ball.
Notre Dame plays its final non-conference game of the season on Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday when it plays host to Oakland at Alumni Stadium.