Today was a busy day of winning for the Notre Dame women who participated at the 2012 Summer Olympics in England.
Lead by another solid effort from class of ’04 forward Melissa Tancredi, Canada advanced to the semifinal round of the Olympic soccer tournament for the first time with a 2-0 victory over Great Britain today. This is Canada’s second Olympic appearance (the first being a quarterfinal finish in 2008), and they have bounced back nicely following their opening-day loss to Japan (2-1). They have since gone unbeaten in their past three matches, beating South Africa by a score of 3-0, finishing their game vs. Sweden with a 2-2 draw before today’s shutout of Great Britain. This record has earned Canada its second semifinal berth in a major international tournament.
Notre Dame’s Melissa Tancredi started the game today and played all 90 minutes for Canada, but was not able to score for the first time in these Olympics. Meanwhile, Candace Chapman, Notre Dame class of ’05, did not play as she continues to rehabilitate a calf injury she suffered late in the opening game against Japan.
Canada will face the United States in the semifinals. The United States earned its third consecutive shutout today and fourth win in a row, while reaching the semifinals, with a 2-0 quarterfinal victory over New Zealand. Two-time gold medalist Shannon Boxx (’99) was in uniform today, but did not see action as she is recovering from an injured hamstring suffered during the game against France.
This year’s United States-Canada semifinal match will be played at 2:45 p.m. (ET) Monday in Manchester, England, at legendary Old Trafford, home of famed English club Manchester United. The match will be the third meeting between the United States and Canada in 2012, with the Americans winning the first two.
With an impressive 11 points and three assists, Notre Dame junior forward Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ontario/St. Mary’s Catholic), helped Canada clinch its first trip to the Olympic quarterfinals in 28 years with a 79-73 win over Brazil (ranked sixth in the world) in a preliminary round game on Friday at the Olympic Basketball Arena in London. It was the second double-digit scoring day in a row for Achonwa, who was coming off a 14-point, eight-rebound effort against France on Wednesday.
Canada (2-2) qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 2000, and with today’s win are assured of their best Olympic finish since the 1984 Los Angeles Games, when they placed fourth, losing to China, 63-57 in the bronze medal game.
Currently fourth in Group B, Canada has one more preliminary round game to play. They will take on reigning silver medalist Australia (3-1) at 9:30 a.m. (ET) Sunday. With a victory over the Australians, Canada could possibly move up to second or third place in the final group standings. This would likely put the Canadians on the opposite side of the quarterfinal bracket from the United States.
Stay tuned for more results on Notre Dame athletes in the 2012 London Olympics!