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What a difference a year makes

Andy Troeger | Tuesday, September 30, 2003

A year ago the women’s soccer team stood at 6-4, including a 2-2 record in the Big East, partially due to an injury-depleted roster that left the Irish very little depth.

That depth has returned this season, and along with it has come the wins that had become customary for former Irish teams. For the ninth time in the program’s history, the Irish are undefeated after nine games, and they look to remain undefeated tonight as they face Indiana State at Alumni Field.

The Irish depth has been impressive in all parts of the field. The Irish rank among the nation’s leaders in both offensive and defensive statistics, having outscored their first nine opponents 37-5.

For the defense, the turnaround has been especially impressive after they lost most of the unit to injury last year. Melissa Tancredi, who has become a fixture in the central defense for the Irish after starting her career as a forward, has welcomed back senior Vanessa Pruzinsky to provide the experience for the defense. Combined with goalkeeper Erika Bohn and freshmen Kim Lorenzen, Christie Shaner and Lizzie Reed, the defenders have been up to the challenge, having not allowed more than one goal in any game this year. This depth is even more remarkable considering that another defensive fixture, Candace Chapman, is lost for the season, and Gudrun Gunnarsdottir has seen limited playing time due to a broken arm.

In addition to only allowing five goals in nine games, the Irish have also been frugal in allowing shots on goal. The last six Notre Dame opponents, including powers Stanford and Santa Clara, have not mustered more than two shots on goal against the Irish, with three of those teams only managing one shot.

Tancredi also provided a boost to an already strong Notre Dame offense this past week by scoring her first two goals of the year. She became the seventh different Notre Dame player to register multiple goals in a game, with junior Mary Boland accomplishing the feat twice. In addition to Tancredi and Boland, senior Amanda Guertin, sophomores Annie Schefter, Katie Thorlakson and Maggie Manning and freshman Jen Buczkowski have had multiple goal games this season.

Notably absent from that list is senior Amy Warner, whose constant production is tied with Boland for the team scoring lead with 19 points. Guertin closely follows that duo with 16 points, while Thorlakson has 11 and Schefter 10.

The Irish will be looking for more of that same production against Indiana State, which comes into the contest with a record of 5-2-2 after knocking off IUPUI 4-0 on Sunday.

“We don’t really know a lot about Indiana State other than seeing their results,” said coach Randy Waldrum. “It will be the first time we’ve played them, so I think we’ll just work on what we do best and see how the game goes from there.”