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ND Women’s Soccer: Defense strong all year

Bobby Griffin | Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Irish do not give up many shots on goal, and they like it that way.

In Notre Dame’s 3-0 win against Michigan State Sunday, the team only gave up one shot on goal, and that didn’t come until late in the second half.

Michigan State was in Notre Dame’s zone with less than two minutes left when Spartans forward Emily Weigand found herself in front of the net. Weigand fired a shot at Irish goaltender Lauren Karas, who dove and deflected the ball.

The Irish defense quickly took control.

“We don’t want to give up that goal,” defender Christie Shaner. “It was a pride issue. Especially with one minute left in the game, that’s when you gotta stay focused. It’s a 90-minute game, its not 89 minutes long.”

For a team that is known for its strong offensive attack, the defense has been just as consistent.

Notre Dame’s defense has not given up a goal in the last six games, dating back to a 5-1 win over Georgetown in the team’s regular season finale.

The Irish have outscored their opponents 55-1 since losing to Marquette on Sept. 30.

“I know for a while we were trying to not let the other team have any shots on goal,” Shaner said. “And if they did get shots on goal, just keeping the shutout was another issue.

“Now we go into every game saying, ‘This is our zone, and we are not going to let anyone by.’ Defense wins games for you, so if you are always one goal ahead, you’re going to win every game.”

But as well as Notre Dame continues to play on defense, it has not received the same recognition as the offense.

“As in any sport, the offense usually gets more of the attention,” defender Kim Lorenzen said. “I mean, nobody really cares how many balls the backs win. The four of us in the back and even in the midfielders just really focus on limiting how many shots they get on goal.”

Notre Dame finds itself in an unlikely quarterfinals match against Yale Friday. Yale defeated the No. 3-seed Duke 2-1 Sunday on a last-second shot.

“We all assumed that we’d be playing Duke, because we know Duke’s a very good team,” Shaner said. “By any means, we can’t underestimate Yale because they obviously proved themselves, and anything can happen in the NCAA tournament.”