Buckeyes Drop 1-0 Heartbreaker to Notre Dame in College Cup Semifinal
CARY, N.C. - The No. 17 Ohio State women's soccer team concluded its season, dropping a 1-0 heartbreaker to No. 7 Notre Dame in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament Friday in Cary, N.C. In the 83rd minute, Mandy Laddish slipped in behind the Buckeye defense and sent a left-footed strike from 20 yards out past the outstretched arm of a diving Katie Baumgardner.
Paige Maxwell almost knotted up the score with just over a minute remaining but her lofted shot over Irish goalkeeper Nikki Weiss glanced off the post and was cleared away.
"I'm so proud of the squad and the season they've had and the things this team and this program have accomplished," head coach Lori Walker said. "We always talk about extending the season as long as we can, until you run into a great opponent and I think Notre Dame handed us some things tonight that was very difficult for us to sort through."
In an even first half, the Irish had an opportunity in the 7th minute but Baumgardner was able to range to her left and make the diving save. Ohio State followed that less than a minute later as Lauren Granberg dribbled into the top of the 18-yard box and fired a shot near post but Weiss was able to come up with the diving save.
Granberg had another chance from 10 yards out on the left wing but Weiss made another diving save on her shot headed for the near post in the 21st minute. The Irish then almost took the lead in the 25th when a shot from 20 yards out on the left wing by Rose Augustin sailed over the head of Baumgarder and off the far post before getting cleared out by Megan Fuller.
Neither team was able to muster another opportunity the rest of the half as the teams headed into the break scoreless. Notre Dame held a 7-4 advantage in shots, including 3-2 on goal. The Irish recorded one corner kick while holding the Buckeyes without one for the first time in a half since Oct. 15 in the second half against Wisconsin.
Notre Dame came out fast in the second half, with Augustin having another great opportunity. After beating a pair of Ohio State defenders, Augustin had a wide-open look at net in the 51st but her shot was sent straight into the chest of Baumgardner. The Irish kept the pressure on 15 minutes later, forcing Baumgardner to make two diving saves in a two-minute span to keep the match scoreless.
The Irish played their second shot of the day off the woodwork with just under 10 minutes remaining, this time by Henderson from 20 yards out off the crossbar but Notre Dame would finish minutes later.
For the game, the Irish recorded 22 shots to seven for the Buckeyes, including an 11-2 advantage on goal. It marked the first time all season the Buckeyes did not record a corner kick with Notre Dame recording five. Baumgardner made a career-high 10 saves for Ohio State.
Ohio State concludes the season with a 17-5-2 record, tallying the second-most wins in program history and reaching the College Cup for the first time.
Ohio State Head Coach Lori Walker
"I'm so proud of the squad and the season they've had and the things this team and this program have accomplished. We always talk about extending the season as long as we can, until you run into a great opponent and I think Notre Dame handed us some things tonight that was very difficult for us to sort through."
On strategy for the game
"If we can rewind the first 45 minutes of the match, it was pretty even. It was the tale of two halves in the second half. I know what our Achilles heel is, and penetrating on the dribble through the middle was the one thing that if they did that, we did not have an answer for. When you're playing against a great coach, that's their job, to find that, and he did. I'm very proud of what we did during the first half. I thought we kept a good rhythm and created some decent chances. Our disappointing piece was that we did not get to end line as much as we needed to. I don't think we've had a game all season where we were shutout on corner kicks and that's been one of our strength."
Junior Goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner
On Notre Dame goal
"We had a lot of situations where they were driving down the middle of the field and that causes our defense to collapse. In this case our defense got crossed up a little bit and they were able to place it a little wide and she was able to sneak it into the post. I tried to cover as well as I could but it ended up going a little higher than expected."
On late save
"As a goalkeeper you get feelings throughout the game about what kind of shots are going to happen. I did feel that a lot of crosses were going to happen, and they did. That one in particular came out on the ground and not many of them had done that. So I just did my best to recover to the far post and just went for it. Luckily I was able to get my leg on it."
Junior Forward Paige Maxwell
On shot that hit off the post late in the game
"I got robbed! It was our turn to get robbed. They got robbed a few times. The soccer gods were not in our favor on that one. I just tried to play with everything I had. I didn't care if there were 10 seconds left, I was going to get to that ball. I just wanted to get that ball in there. I was hoping it would go in. It just landed right on the outside. I was trying to fight for the team. I just got unlucky."
On first time being at the college cup
"It was just another soccer game to us. It was a beautiful place and a welcoming place. There was a little bit of nerves but more excitement than anything. If we did have nerves we were going to put it in the soccer field and work harder. We were just trying to do the best we could to get rid of those nerves, but to me it just felt like another soccer game."