Irish return to College Cup for fourth straight year

[FLORIDA STATE-NOTRE DAME 0-2] Throughout the NCAA Women's Tournament, Melissa Henderson has shown off her athleticism, but on Friday afternoon she demonstrated her nose for the goal, scoring her seventh goal in four games from close range to lead visiting Notre Dame to a 2-0 win over regional top-seed Florida State in front of a capacity crowd at the Seminole Soccer Complex. With the win, the Irish advance to the College Cup for the fourth consecutive year.

Henderson took advantage of a loose ball in the box to give the Irish a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute. Only 51 seconds later, fellow Texan Hayley Ford rose above the pack to head home a Rose Augustin corner kick for the second goal.

Nikki Weiss turned in an impressive performance in the Irish net that included five saves for her seventh solo shutout of the season.

"We're so excited about winning and getting a chance to go to College Station," Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. "I think when you look around the country the eight teams to get this far are about what we all expected so we had beat a really good team today. Hats off to Mark [Krikorian] and his team, they had a really great year. I was really proud of the job our girls did here today, especially on the road. It was a really great win."

The win extended the Irish's unbeaten streak to 19 games.

Notre Dame advances to 2009 NCAA College Cup in College Station, Texas, and a rematch with North Carolina, which will take place on Friday, Dec. 4 at the Aggie Soccer Complex at Texas A&M (time TBA).

The Irish, who beat FSU for the third time in four years in the NCAA Tournament, withstood some early pressure by the Seminoles.

"I thought Nikki was great today," said Waldrum. "She handled everything ... it takes so much pressure off of your backs when you have a goalkeeper come out and grab those crosses and she did a lot of that early to really keep us in the game at a critical time."

In the second half, the Irish defense limited Florida State to two shots on goal as Notre Dame held on for its 15th shutout of the season.

Nov. 27 in Tallahassee, Fla.
Florida State 0 Notre Dame 2.
Goals:
8:35 ND-Henderson (18) unassisted.
39:26 ND-Ford (3) Augustin.
Lineups:
Florida State -- McNulty, Jaruena, Brockway, Stephan, Pressler, Lim, Edwards, Huster, DaCosta, Price, McCarty. Subs: Short, Switzer, Kazbour, Hupp.
Notre Dame -- Weiss, Campbell, Ford, Scheidler, Schuveiller, Clark, Augustin, Barg, Knaack, Henderson, Fowlkes. Subs: Brown, Weissenhofer, Iantorno, Hall.
Att.: 2,000.

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