Valparaiso played solid defense against the defending national champions for most of the match, but in the end, second seeded Notre Dame was too much for the Crusaders, as the Fighting Irish defeated the Brown and Gold 6-0 on Friday evening in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament before 1,530 fans at Alumni Field in South Bend, Ind.
The defending national champions wasted little time finding the scoreboard. Amanda Cinalli slid through the box and tapped home a Katie Thorlakson pass just 3:06 into the match.
Valpo had its first quality scoring opportunity 17:30 in when Dana McGlone (Littleton, Colo./Heritage H.S.) fired a shot from the top of the box that went just high.
Erin Murray (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley H.S.) made a diving save midway through the stanza, one of several big stops she made early.
Notre Dame added a second goal just before halftime. Maggie Manning fired a shot that Murray made a leaping stop but was unable to control. Thorlakson knocked in the rebound to put the Fighting Irish up 2-0 with 2:09 remaining before intermission.
The hosts controlled the play most of the first half, holding a 13-1 advantage. Murray made six stops in the opening stanza for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders had a chance early in the second half, with the ball bouncing around the top of the box, but Notre Dame quickly responded. Kerri Hanks took a crossing pass from Thorlakson with 30:22 remaining and found the back of the net to increase the lead to three. Less than three minutes later, Cinalli snuck one past Murray after taking the feed from Hanks on the right side of the penalty area.
Brittany Bock headed home the fifth goal of the match with 21:44 to play. Manning added another goal with 13:24 remaining to cap off the scoring.
Reva Van Aartsen (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield East H.S.) fired Valpo's only shot on goal of the match with 8:30 remaining, firing a shot from 25 yards out that Lauren Karas turned aside.
Murray finished the night with 11 saves in the match, while Danielle Guerra (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) finished the match over the final six minutes but was not forced to make a stop.
The Fighting Irish held a final 33-4 shot advantage, including a 17-2 edge on goal. Karas made both saves for Notre Dame.
Valpo (12-8-1) sees the best season in school history come to a close with a school record 12 victories. Notre Dame (20-2) has won 11 straight matches and advances to the Second Round on Sunday against Michigan State.