STILLWATER, Okla. - Irish freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker scored a pair of second-half goals and the No. 7/10 Notre Dame women's soccer team put together a stellar defensive performance to blank No. 6/6 Oklahoma State 2-0 in an NCAA Championship quarterfinal match before a record crowd of 2,660 fans at the Cowgirl Soccer Complex in Stillwater, Okla.
The victory secured Notre Dame's fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Women's College Cup, as well as its sixth in seven years and 12th in program history. The Fighting Irish advance to take on No. 17/19 Ohio State in a national semifinal contest on Friday (Dec. 3) at either 4:00 or 6:30 p.m. (ET) from WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. - the exact time and full TV coverage will be determined once the last quarterfinal (Washington at Boston College) is played Saturday afternoon.
Tucker's two scores (the second multi-goal match of her young career) wrote the latest chapter in a remarkable postseason story for Notre Dame, a journey that now has seen the Fighting Irish defeat three consecutive ranked opponents (No. 22 USC, No. 3/4 North Carolina and No. 6 Oklahoma State), and defeat two higher-seeded teams (top-seeded UNC and third-seeded OSU) on the road in its last two matches.
"We are extremely excited to be going back to the College Cup," said Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum, who is taking his eighth Notre Dame squad to the national semifinals. "I want to thank Oklahoma State. They were great hosts, and it is a mixed feeling for me. I wanted to win and advance, but I have a lot of connections in Oklahoma from my coaching at the University of Tulsa. But we are very excited to be going.
"The history of the program breeds players that are used to winning big games, either at home or on the road," he continued. "Going into North Carolina, we felt we were better and coming in here (Friday) we felt we were better. That is no disrespect to the teams that we played because I think they are very good teams. Our kids just had that experience that has been passed on from older players, and the expectation level is up there. Our season isn't a successful season unless we get to the final four."
ND NOTES - Notre Dame's streak of five consecutive College Cup appearances is a program record, topping the old mark of four in a row from 1994-97 ... the Fighting Irish will be making their 12th College Cup trip, second-most by any team since 1994 (North Carolina has 13 final-weekend berths in that span).
BIG EAST NOTES - With the Irish win, the BIG EAST has notched 10 wins during the 2010 NCAA Championship to tie a league record set in 2004 ... A BIG EAST team has advanced to the College Cup 12 times in the past 16 years. In addition, a BIG EAST squad has played for the women's soccer national championship eight times, including four appearances in the last seven seasons. The BIG EAST has claimed a pair of women's soccer national titles (Notre Dame in 1995 and 2004) ... Earlier in the Championship, four BIG EAST women's soccer teams advanced to the Third Round of the NCAA Championship for the first time in league history. All four teams were on the road and posted a 2-2-0 mark.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The dream season came to end for the Georgetown women's soccer team on Friday night as Ohio State converted a penalty kick in the first half and scored seven minutes into the second half en route to a 2-0 win over the Hoyas in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship on a cold and windy night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Hoyas close out the 2010 season with a 15-7-2 overall record, while Ohio State improves to 17-4-2 and advances to next weekend's NCAA College Cup.
"It's disappointing right now because you get so far, you want to keep moving one step further," Head Coach Dave Nolan said. "I don't have any qualms. I thought Ohio State was better tonight and at the right moment, they got the first goal, which got us on our heels, and in the second half, before we really had a chance to get them under pressure with the wind in our favor, they got the second goal and it was always up-hill after that.
"I'm proud of the kids at how hard they played. We battled and competed and we did everything we could....just tonight it wasn't good enough."
The Hoyas finished the year with a program-record 15 wins. In addition, in just its second NCAA Championship berth, Georgetown earned its first NCAA wins, and advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
"Here we were at Ohio State, playing Ohio State for a chance to go to the Final Four," Nolan said. "We've come a long way over the seven years I've been head coach. I'd like to think the seniors, when they take a step back from tonight, will really see where we are now and how they helped us to get here. And I hope it will inspire the younger players to get us back here and take us to the next step."