Reaching for the top
Dan Tapetillo | Monday, September 13, 2004
The Irish proved why they are the envy of soccer programs around the nation after topping No. 11 Arizona State 2-1.
Notre Dame (5-0-0) battled blistering 100-degree heat to begin the match Friday evening in Tempe, Ariz. In addition to coping with the weather conditions, the team also needed to block out the opposing cheers of more than 1,500 people that poured into Sun Devils Stadium.
“It was so hot Friday night,” coach Randy Waldrum said. “But I thought the kids played great and responded very well.”
The Irish needed a late comeback in order to defeat the (1-2-0) Sun Devils after trailing early in the first half.
Junior Katie Leahy scored the first goal for Arizona State in the 23rd minute. The tying goal came in the 35th minute from senior Candace Chapman, her fifth of the season. Junior forward Katie Thorlakson also continued her offensive dominance this season, as her free kick helped set up defender Melissa Tancredi’s game winning shot and fifth goal of the season.
Thorlakson has had a hand in 14 of the 18 goals scored this season, including two game-winning goals and a pair of game-winning assists.
The win gave freshman goalkeeper Lauren Karas the first win of her collegiate career.
Prior to the match, the Irish were deeply aware of the Sun Devils’ offensive speed and endurance. Thorlakson said the team was aware of the challenges Arizona State’s program would bring.
“ASU is ranked, and anybody in the top 25 is beating everybody this season,” Thorlakson said. “This is why we are trying to take one game at a time.”
The early game deficit was reminiscent of last year’s match, when the Sun Devils held a 1-0 lead in the first half before the Irish won the contest 3-1.
“We made of a couple of mistakes in the beginning, but we responded well to the first big road trip and the test of the heat,” Waldrum said. “We needed this to make us better.”
Notre Dame 3, Texas Tech 0
Waldrum earned his 100th win as Irish head coach in Sunday afternoon’s victory.
Despite playing on a field smaller than the regulation size, the Irish shut out Texas Tech with an impressive win.
“I didn’t hear [the team] complaining that the field was hard to play on,” Waldrum said. “But when teams aren’t as good as you, it makes their defending much easier and plays into their favor.”
Although Texas Tech had a defensive advantage in playing on its home field, the Irish still managed to take 21 shots. While this may sound like an impressive feat, Thorlakson expected the team to have created more opportunities for goals.
“The more [shots] we take, the more we will dominate teams,” Thorlakson said. “We just need to get the ball to the net and things will happen.”
“We played well together in every part except around the goal,” Waldrum said. “We just weren’t as sharp.”
However, he focused more on the positive aspects of the game. The Irish defense remained dominant, as they only allowed Texas Tech four shots on goal.
“Their goals were not dangerous,” Waldrum said. “So defensively we did not skip a beat.”
Rhythm also remained a prime element in the victory, as the Irish changed their lineup several times during the match. Waldrum reasoned that mixing up the players on the field gave starters a rest and other team members more playing time.
Maggie Manning had two goals for the team during the 26th and 44th minutes of the game. The first came off an assist from Jill Krivacek and the second from Chapman.
“It was great that Maggie got two goals,” Waldrum said. “We got great quality minutes.”
Thorlakson was also impressed with the team’s overall performance as the team came away with their second win of the weekend.
“We had to get the job done against Texas Tech,” she said. “It was nice to get the results we did and get out ahead.”