[NOTRE DAME-OREGON STATE 1-0]Junior Rose Augustin's seventh goal of the season gave No. 2 regional seed Notre Dame a 1-0 win over Oregon State and a berth in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive year.
With the victory, the Fighting Irish (20-3-1) set up yet another rematch with Florida State. The teams will square off in the postseason for the fourth consecutive season, with all four meetings coming in the quarterfinals or later.
Augustin's goal was her third career game-winner in NCAA tournament play, and it was made possible by a brilliant individual effort from sophomore forward Melissa Henderson, who picked up a point for the fourth consecutive game and now has 21 points (9G-2A) in the postseason this year.
Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss made four saves in the Notre Dame net to earn her first career solo shutout in the postseason. Oregon State actually outshot Notre Dame, 14-12 in the contest, although the Fighting Irish held a 5-4 edge in shots on goal. The Beavers earned three of the four corner kicks, and were called for 14 fouls (along with the lone caution), compared to 12 infractions for the host school.
"Hats off to Oregon State - they really played an outstanding game tonight, particularly in the first half when they had us back on our heels a bit," Notre Dame coach Randy Waldrum said. "I thought we did a better job of adjusting to the flow of the game and started to dictate the pace better in the second half, but it was still a grind, and that's what you have to expect when you get further along in the (NCAA) tournament. When it came down to it, Mel made a terrific run and Rose came through with a clinical finish, and that turned the momentum around for us. We also had some tremendous crowd support tonight and they really made a difference for us, especially down the stretch when we were working to close things out."
OSU outshot Notre Dame, 5-1, in the opening 45 minutes, but Notre Dame evened out the run of play after the intermission.
On the hour mark, Henderson burst down the right side, cut back at the top right corner of the box and unleashed a wicked left-footed blast that just twisted wide of the far post. That shot appeared to awaken not only the Fighting Irish players, but the crowd as well, and it paid off a little more than a minute later.
In a near mirror image to her previous run, Henderson got past one defender on the right flank, then weaved by another mark at the edge of the penalty area. Then, just as she appeared to be losing control of the ball, she alertly toe-poked a pass across the face of goal, where Augustin nearly overran the play, but put on the brakes and muscled a right-footed shot into the lower left corner of the net past diving OSU netminder Colleen Boyd.
Not 25 seconds after the Notre Dame goal, Oregon State almost got the equalizer, as Red Nixon cracked a shot from the top of the box that just glanced off the outside of the right post.