With the way the crowd exploded into cheers at the close of the game, one would think the Notre Dame women’s soccer team had won a national championship on North Kehoe Field on Sunday afternoon. Rather, the No. 1 Fighting Irish had barely escaped with their perfect record intact, scoring the go-ahead goal with only 44 seconds remaining to squeeze past the unranked Hoyas 2-1.

“We gave ourselves a chance to win,” Georgetown Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “I told the girls if we played a flawless match we would have an opportunity to win and we almost did that.”

On a windy afternoon, the Hoyas had the luxury of having the wind behind them for the first half. Playing dump and run, the Hoyas sent balls deep into the Irish half and created many scoring chances, but could not find the back of the net. The Irish created strong scoring opportunities for themselves as well but could not score either and the game remained scoreless for much of the first half.

It was not to stay scoreless going into intermission, however, and Georgetown was the first to get on the board. Scoring in the 41st minute on a finish by freshman midfielder Sara Jordan with assists by senior midfielder Nicole DePalma and freshman defender Karen Waskewich, Jordan’s goal put the Hoyas up 1-0. The goal was Jordan’s team-leading fifth of the season.

Andreas Jeninga/The Hoya idfielders sophomore Chrissy Skogen (right) and freshman Sarah Fetters take down a Notre Dame attacker late in the second half. As time ran out in the Hoyas’ 2-1 loss Sunday, the play became more physical and each team committed more than a dozen fouls.

Trailing for only the third time this season, the Fighting Irish did not stay behind for long. On the ensuing kickoff the Irish drove down the field and tied the game in less than a minute. Freshman forward Amanda Cinalli put a cross from teammate junior midfielder Maggie Manning away and the game was again knotted, now at 1-1.

The score would remain tied going into halftime, and after intermission the game settled back into the dogfight it had been for most of the first half.

With the wind at their backs, the Irish dominated time of possession and shots, taking 13 to the Hoyas’ four, but could not find the back of the net. Georgetown freshman goalkeeper Jade Higgins, facing one of the top offenses in the nation, made three impressive saves in the second half to keep the Hoyas in the match.

As the clock wound down, the match became more physical as players took out their frustration on each other. The Irish had 16 fouls on the match, including one yellow card, while the Hoyas tallied 13 fouls with their own yellow card.

With less than a minute remaining it looked as if the Hoyas’ efforts were going to pay off and the game would be sent into overtime.

The Irish had other plans though and with 44 seconds left in the match, sophomore midfielder Jen Buczkowski received a pass from freshman Jannica Tjeder inside the box and shot it past Higgins for the win.

With the Notre Dame crowd going wild, the Hoyas did all they could to score in the closing seconds, but it was not to be. As the final buzzer sounded, the Hoyas left the field with another loss, yet knowing they had given the best team in the nation their toughest challenge of the year.

“All of the Big East is tough,” Notre Dame Head Coach Randy Waldrum said. “They created a lot of problems for us.”

With the win, Notre Dame improves to 14-0-0 (7-0-0 Big East) on the year and remains the only undefeated, untied team in the country. The Hoyas fall to 5-7-0 for the season (2-4-0 Big East) but with the knowledge that they can compete with anyone.

“A game like this gives us confidence,” Nolan said. “At one point we had six freshmen out there competing with players from the U-19 Canadian team, the U-19 U.S. team . and we had a chance.”

With that confidence the Hoyas will continue Big East action on Friday, when they will take on Villanova in Villanova, Pa. at 4 p.m.

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