No. 5 Stanford Edges No. 2 Notre Dame 2-1 in Overtime

Sept. 9, 2007

No. 5 ranked Stanford played their best game of the season on Sunday in defeating the No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish by the score of 2-1 in overtime at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. The Cardinal (4-0-0) controlled most of the game and eventually sealed the victory when Shari Summer put in a penalty kick in the 98th minute of action.

The first half started well for the Cardinal, but a lot of their scoring chances didn't quite find the net. Kelley O'Hara and Lizzy George had very strong first halves for the Cardinal, but nothing was able to get by Notre Dame goalkeeper Nikki Weiss. The physical play that would last throughout the game started in the first half as Notre defender Carrie Dew earned a yellow card for her contact on O'Hara in the 37th minute of play.

Notre Dame broke through in the 34th minute with a goal that was scored out of the run of play. Freshman Lauren Fowlkes controlled the ball from All-American Kerri Hanks and was able to find the left side of the net to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. While the Irish held the halftime lead, the Cardinal played a very strong first half and were ready to turn it on after the halftime break.

The Cardinal played their best half of the season in the second 45 minutes when they put a lot of pressure on the Notre Dame defense. The Cardinal defense tightened up and left the ball primarily on the Notre Dame side for the most of the half. Stanford finally broke through when O'Hara received the ball from George as she was streaking towards the net. As the ball was put in front of O'Hara, Weiss tried to make a play on it and was coming right at O'Hara. O'Hara then deflected the ball over Weiss, and the ball rolled into the net to tie the game at 1-1. The goal was O'Hara's third on the season, and George picked up her third assist.

Stanford remained in control in the second half, although a couple of opportunities got away from them. Shari Summer found herself right in front of the net, but fired a shot that Notre Dame was able to fend off. George then followed the block with a shot of her own, that sailed over the net. At the 76:40 mark in the game, O'Hara put a move on Notre Dame defender Amanda Clark who then grabbed onto her uniform. The play drew another yellow card for the Irish, but foiled the strong chance O'Hara would have had if the play had continued. The regulation ended with the score tied at one apiece.

In the overtime period, the Cardinal blitzed the Irish for five shots and didn't give up any. Less than five minutes into the overtime, O'Hara took another strong shot that would have ended the game if not for the nice save by Notre Dame's Weiss. At the 97:13 mark in the game, O'Hara looked to receive another pass in front of the net, but was taken down in the goalkeeper box and drew a penalty kick that was later taken by red shirt senior Shari Summers. Summers converted the penalty kick and the Cardinal walked off the field with a 2-1 overtime victory.

Head Coach Paul Ratcliffe was very please with the win as his team now starts out the season with a 4-0 record. 'This was our best game of the season,' said Ratcliffe. 'We created many scoring chances and I thought we could have had more goals with the chances we were able to setup. It was a great play by Kelley (O'Hara) to set up the penalty shot, and very clutch of Shari (Summers) to convert it. Overall, we played our best game of the season and I am really pleased with our effort today.'

Stanford returns to action in their first home game on Sept. 14, when they take on Missouri in the Stanford Invitational at Maloney Field at 7:30 p.m. They will also face Rutgers University on Sept. 16 at 1:00 p.m.

Full stats will be up shortly.

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