CHICAGO – Sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) scored with 4:52 left in the second overtime to lift No. RV/24 Notre Dame to a thrilling 1-0 BIG EAST Conference victory at DePaul on a rainy and cold Friday afternoon at Wish Field in Chicago.
The Fighting Irish win, coupled with Georgetown’s loss by the same score at Villanova earlier in the day, gave Notre Dame a share of the BIG EAST National Division title, marking the 14th time the Fighting Irish have earned a regular-season division or overall championship since joining the BIG EAST in 1995. Notre Dame also is now unbeaten in 10 of its last 11 matches.
Freshman forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy) and sophomore defender Taylor Schneider (Southlake, Texas/Carroll Senior) both were credited with assists on Bohaboy’s match-winning goal, which was the first overtime winner for Notre Dame since Nov. 6, 2009 (Jessica Schuveiller vs. St. John’s in BIG EAST Championship semifinals at Storrs, Conn.), and the latest OT goal for the Fighting Irish since Sept. 21, 2001 (Amy Warner at 114:11 against Villanova at old Alumni Field, back when the two overtime periods were 15 minutes in length, instead of the current 10-minute frames).
Notre Dame (12-4-2, 8-1-1 BIG EAST) dominated the statistical breakdown of Friday’s match at DePaul, holding a 20-5 edge in total shots, with three of the Blue Demons’ shots coming in a two-minute flurry at the end of the first half. The Fighting Irish also piled up a 7-3 margin in shots on goal and a 5-1 advantage on corner kicks, while fouls were 13-8 against Notre Dame (as well as the lone yellow card that went to Thomas late in the first overtime).
Freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) wasn’t called upon for much action on Friday, but she did end up with three saves, including a huge point-blank stop on DePaul’s Rachel Pitman in the 44th minute. Meanwhile, Megan Pyrz registered six saves in the Blue Demon goal, including a pair of leaping stops that helped keep the hosts in contention until the waning moments of added time.
“For the most part, I thought it was a pretty complete game for us,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We maintained possession well, which is really hard to do on a tight slick field like this, but we need to do better in the final third. A lot of the credit for that has to go to their defense, which was strong, but Lauren (Bohaboy) came up with a nice finish to give us what I thought was a just result.
“It’s a great reward for this young team to earn a piece of the BIG EAST division championship,” he added. “These players continue to work hard in training every day and they’re starting to see the positive results that come from that development. We’re not where we need to be yet, but this was one of our goals before the season and we were able to achieve it, which always makes a coach proud.”
Chances were at a premium throughout Friday’s match, due in part to DePaul’s defensive-minded approach. Still, Notre Dame had several opportunities to break through, beginning in the 19th minute, when Bohaboy won a free kick 20 yards out, just off the top left corner of the box. However, her curling drive over the wall towards the upper left corner was pushed over the bar by Pyrz.
The Fighting Irish had another enticing chance in the 39th minute, as freshman midfielder Glory Williams (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands) found classmate and defender Stephanie Campo (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) with a well-weighted chip down the left flank. Campo ran on to the ball and one-timed a service towards the far right post, where junior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) drove a sharp header on frame, only to be denied by a retreating Pyrz.
DePaul’s best looks of the afternoon came in the closing minutes of the first half, starting from a corner kick by Natasa Radosavljevic, whose service from the right flag caromed off a defender and landed near the penalty spot. Pitman alertly tried to snap a quick shot off, but Hight was equal to the task, going down to make the reflex stop, and Kelly Blumberg’s 10-yard shot off the rebound sailed harmlessly over the bar (43:45).
The second half and first overtime was more of a back-and-forth affair, with each side making runs into the attacking third, but neither able to create any meaningful scoring chances. Williams had perhaps the most dangerous look of the second half with nine minutes left, testing Pyrz with a 30-yard drive from the center channel but the ball drifted a couple of feet over the top.
After a largely unrewarding first overtime, Notre Dame found the solution midway through the second extra period. Schneider collected a ball on the right flank 30 yards out and calmly drove a service into the box, to the right of the penalty spot. Thomas settled the cross, battling past a pair of DePaul defenders and muscling the ball over to Bohaboy. The second-year striker then made no mistake, hammering a low shot from 12 yards out inside the left post past a diving Pyrz, sending the Fighting Irish reserves racing on to the pitch in celebration.
As the No. 2 seed in the BIG EAST’s National Division (by virtue of its loss at Georgetown on Oct. 12), Notre Dame will kick off postseason play at 1 p.m. (ET) Oct. 28, when it plays host to Syracuse (No. 3 seed in American Division) in a BIG EAST Championship quarterfinal match at Alumni Stadium.
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POST-MATCH NOTES: Notre Dame earns its first overtime win since Nov. 6, 2009, when it defeated St. John’s, 2-1 in a BIG EAST Championship semifinal at Storrs, Conn., on Jessica Schuveiller’s goal (and Rose Augustin’s assist) at 98:42 — coincidentally, Augustin was in the stands at Wish Field on Friday, as part of a large contingent of enthusiastic Notre Dame alumni and supporters … Bohaboy’s goal was the latest overtime score for the Fighting Irish since Sept. 21, 2001, when Amy Warner scored at 114:11 to defeat Villanova, 2-1 at old Alumni Field (in what was the program’s first match in 12 days following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States) … the Fighting Irish are 21-6-16 (.674) in overtime matches during the 14-year Waldrum era (1999-present) … Notre Dame improves to 8-0-0 all-time against DePaul (4-0-0 at Wish Field) with a 28-1 all-time series scoring margin, although the past three visits to Chicago have seen the Fighting Irish win low-scoring affairs (1-0 in 2008 and 2012, 2-0 in 2010) … Schneider’s assist was her first point of her two-year college career, and made her the 16th different Notre Dame player to register a point this season.