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Irish capture Adidas Classic

Matt Mooney | Monday, September 6, 2004

Entering the Adidas Classic this weekend, Notre Dame faced its biggest test of the young season.They passed.The No. 2 ranked Irish (4-0-0) defeated the No. 13 Stanford Cardinal (0-2-1) by a narrow 1-0 margin Friday, rescued by an Annie Schefter penalty kick goal. On Sunday, in the highlighted match-up of the weekend, Notre Dame blitzed No. 4 Santa Clara (1-1-1) by a score of 5-2 and was named champions of the Adidas Classic.Midfielder Katie Thorlakson continued solid play that made her last week’s Big East Player of the Week, contributing on every Irish score against the Broncos with three goals and two assists. Thorlakson remains a one-player wrecking crew with a team-high 16 points [five goals and six assists] in only four games.”I think I’m carrying a lot more confidence, our team is carrying a lot more confidence and it’s showing on the field,” she said. “Our goal all weekend was to come out with two wins and we did it.”Irish coach Randy Waldrum was pleased with his team’s performance, but he wants his team to understand there is still a long road ahead. “[These are] two good wins early in the season, but there’s still a lot of big games left,” he said. “You can’t waste these two wins by not taking care of business the rest of the season.”Against the Cardinal, Notre Dame had little problem creating shots, frequently outrunning the Stanford defenders. The Irish had trouble scoring, however, with Cardinal All-America goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart waiting in net. Barnhart made save after save, including a lunging header and a spectacular dive to save what would have been a goal from point-blank range.Finally, with eight minutes left in the game, the Irish found a chink in her armor. Schefter took a pass from forward Amanda Cinalli and turned towards the goal. Cardinal defender Lindsay Hunt took Schefter down with a hard foul and, on the ensuing penalty kick, the Irish forward skipped a low drive past Barnhart and into the right-hand corner of the net.”It was huge,” Schefter said. “We deserved to beat this team and it would have been a disappointment to walk away 0-0.”The Irish had trouble finding the back of the net, but Stanford struggled just to get a shot. The defensive trio of Melissa Tancredi, Gudrun Gunnarsdottir and Christie Shaner bottled up the Cardinal offense, including star forward Marcie Ward. Notre Dame goalkeeper Erika Bohn easily handled what few chances came her way to preserve her first shutout of the season.”The back line was ama-zing today,” Bohn said. “[Staying sharp] is definitely one of the hardest things. Being a goalkeeper, some games I just stand back there.”Irish coach Randy Waldrum was relieved to get the win, especially considering how his team dictated the pace of the entire game, out-shooting Stanford 17-3.”I really thought we controlled pretty much the whole game,” Waldrum said. “I didn’t feel like they were dangerous at all.”The Sunday game against the Broncos proved to be a much more physical and wide-open contest. Both teams played aggressively and logged significant scoring chances. The Broncos played the Irish to an even 2-2 deadlock for the first 38 minutes of the second half until Thorlakson took control. She took a pass from Buczkowski, beat a defender, and drilled a shot past Santa Clara goalie Julie Ryder to give the Irish a 3-2 lead. But that was just the beginning. Only two and a half minutes later, Thorlakson took a pass from Schefter and sent a crossing pass over the middle that deflected off one Irish player and right to the feet of Can-dace Chap-man. The senior forward buried her shot, and the rout was on.Thorlakson scored her third and final goal of the game just over a minute later when a punt from Irish goalkeeper Erika Bohn bounced over the Santa Clara defenders and right to Thorlakson. She chipped a shot over the retreating Ryder’s head and into the net. In three and a half minutes, Notre Dame turned a hotly contested tie game into a blowout.”I feel pretty good,” Thorlakson said. “I go out every game and try to perform. If there is a chance that I can win, I’m going to go for it.””I think there’s no doubt she is one of the best if not the best forward in the country,” Waldrum said. “She’s taken off this year and she does it in big games.”However, the game’s physical play did take its toll. Fourteen minutes into the second half, Notre Dame forward Mary Boland took the brunt end of a collision with Bronco defender Carrie Schuler. The two were chasing down a ball at midfield when they crashed into each other. Both players dropped to the ground, and Boland clutched her right leg.After several minutes, Schuler walked off under her own power, but Boland – an Irish captain – had to wait for a stretcher.”If [she’s] out for a while, she’s a huge loss because she’s a captain, she’s one of our heart and soul leaders on the team,” Waldrum said.Despite the injury, Notre Dame still collected some hardware over the weekend. Thorlakson was named Offensive Most Valuable Player for the tournament while teammate Tancredi was the Defensive MVP.