The Ohio State women’s soccer team’s (17-5-1) historic season came to a halt in Cary, N.C. on Friday, when the Buckeyes fell in the Final Four to Notre Dame (20-2-2) 1-0.
“We always talk about extending the season as long as we can, until you run into a great opponent and I think Notre Dame handed us some things tonight that was very difficult for us to sort through,” OSU coach Lori Walker said.
The Fighting Irish out-shot the Buckeyes 22-7, however failed to find the back of the Buckeyes net until Mandy Laddish scored in the 83rd minute of action.
“Our defense got crossed up a little bit and they were able to place it a little wide and she was able to sneak it into the post,” OSU junior goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner said. “I tried to cover as well as I could but it ended up going a little higher than expected.”
Baumgardner finished with a career-high 10 saves.
OSU junior forward Paige Maxwell attempted to answer back the Fighting Irish in the 89th with what was the Buckeyes’ best scoring opportunity of the game, but her shot over Notre Dame goalkeeper Nikki Weiss hit the left post.
“I got robbed. It was our turn to get robbed. They got robbed a few times. The soccer gods were not in our favor on that one,” Maxwell said. “I just wanted to get that ball in there. I was hoping it would go in. It just landed right on the outside. I was trying to fight for the team. I just got unlucky.”
With the win, Notre Dame advances to Sunday’s championship game to face Stanford (23-0-2), who beat Boston College (17-7-1) 2-0 in its Final Four match-up.
This season marked the first time that the Buckeyes had advanced to the Final Four in program history. It was also the first season that the Buckeyes earned a share of the Big Ten title, which they shared with Penn State.
“I’m so proud of the squad and the season they’ve had and the things this team and this program have accomplished,” Walker said.
Heading into 2011, Buckeyes will lose five seniors from this year’s squad, although there remains a chance that the 2010 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Cassie Dickerson, will be granted a sixth year of eligibility due to injuries. In addition to Dickerson, the Buckeyes will return Maxwell, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and All-Big Ten first team selection Tiffany Cameron.