Andy Troeger | Monday, September 8, 2003
About 15 minutes into its first game of the weekend against Arizona State, the women’s soccer team had many spectators wondering if they were the same team that had dominated two foes the week before. Two wins later, there was no more reason to wonder.
After allowing an early goal against the Sun Devils, the Irish settled down and scored three goals to take the win 3-1 Friday night, before coming out Sunday and dominating an overmatched Oklahoma squad 5-1 in the Notre Dame Classic.
The Irish had five players named to the All-Tournament team for the weekend, including senior Vanessa Pruzinsky and freshman Jen Buczkowski, who were named defensive and offensive MVPs, respectively. Senior Amy Warner, junior Mary Boland and freshman Kim Lorenzen were Notre Dame’s other awardees.
“I’m pleased with our production,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “We’re more efficient this year in our goal scoring. The only thing I’m not pleased with is giving the goal away [against Oklahoma]. We got countered a couple times Friday and then had the same thing happen.”
Buczkowski paced the Irish attack over the weekend, scoring two goals and adding three assists. Boland added two goals against Arizona State. Warner, Annie Schefter and Amanda Guertin all added a goal and an assist, while freshman Molly Iarocci scored the first goal of her collegiate career to cap the scoring against the Sooners. Lizzie Reed and Kim Carpenter added assists against Oklahoma.
“We’ve started off the season showing that we’re capable of finishing off our opportunities,” Pruzinsky said.
The Irish struggled in the early going against Arizona State. The Sun Devils took a 1-0 lead 10 minutes in on a goal from Stephanie Peel. The Irish regained control, however, with Boland scoring two goals five minutes apart to give the Irish a lead they would never relinquish.
Still leading 2-1, the Irish got the best of a crucial series as goalkeeper Erika Bohn made a huge save on an Arizona State penalty kick. A few minutes later, Warner’s goal off an assist from Buczkowski gave the Irish a two-goal advantage that they never relinquished.
The Oklahoma game presented a different challenge for the Irish. Almost the entire game was played in the Sooners’ end of the field, with the Irish amassing a 27-4 advantage in shots.
Buczkowski opened the scoring for the Irish, scoring five minutes into the game. Guertin added a second goal at the 20-minute mark, scoring off assists from Warner and Buczkowski. After Oklahoma scored on a breakaway to close within 2-1, the Irish tacked on two more first half goals from Buczkowski and Schefter to lead 4-1 going in to the break.
“Buczkowski has really made a difference,” Waldrum said. “She may have been one of those missing links. She’s so good in that spot that we play her. She and Kim Lorenzen and Lizzie Reed have come in and played like veteran players.”
Buczkowsi attributed some of the team’s offensive success to strong work in the preseason.
“It just comes from playing together,” Buczkowski said. “We’ve been here for a long time for preseason, so after awhile it just all comes together.”
The Irish continued to be aggressive this weekend even after getting the lead.
“We’ve made it our theme in the preseason. We can play a lot of players and have gotten to buy into this pressing idea,” Waldrum said. “That’s most of what we’ve worked on, and we’re certainly getting better.”
The large lead and style of play allowed Waldrum to empty his bench in the second half, with most of the team seeing some action.
“Today was the first time we’ve been able to get in some of the players that haven’t gotten in yet, so it was our first real look at them,” Waldrum said. “It allowed us to rest some other people and stay healthy.”