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ND Women’s Soccer: Open and shut

Chris Khorey | Monday, August 28, 2006

Notre Dame had a few holes in its lineup this weekend, but that didn’t matter.

Playing without sophomores Brittany Bock and Carrie Dew – both competing in the under-20 World Championships – and with several other players limited by injuries, the No. 5 Irish (2-0) won their first two games of the season, 9-0 over Iowa State at Alumni Field Saturday and 2-1 over Ole Miss Sunday in Oxford, Miss.

Notre Dame 9, Iowa State 0

The Irish got off to a fast start Saturday, immediately moving the ball into the Cyclones’ end and peppering goalkeeper Ann Gleason with shots until second-semester sophomore forward Kerri Hanks scored the first of her two goals just 1:19 into the game.

The goal was the fastest the Irish have ever scored to open a season.

“The thing that helped us the most was that we got off to such a fast start,” Notre Dame coach Randy Waldrum said. “They had to come here and play a ranked team, and we got to them early. And [the Cyclones] were a little shellshocked.”

Hanks, who missed several practices earlier in the week with a pulled muscle in her leg, played only 30 minutes against Iowa State but made the most of her time, showering Gleason with five shots, two of which found the back of the net.

“I just went out and played the best I could,” Hanks said. “I told Coach earlier that I wanted to score two goals and then he could take me out.”

Waldrum said he wanted to see Hanks in game action, but had made up his mind to take her out early no matter what the situation.

“Kerri and I did joke about two goals – and she ended up getting those – but I wouldn’t have left her in much longer than that even if she hadn’t been scoring,” Waldrum said.

Another player who had missed preseason practice time but played against the Cyclones was senior captain Kim Lorenzen. Lorenzen manned her usual defense position for the entire first half.

“Kim didn’t play but maybe two or three practices all preseason, so we had to go easy on her a little,” Waldrum said. “But it was nice to get a half out of her.”

Waldrum started freshman Kelsey Lysander in goal against the Cyclones. Lysander and junior Lauren Karas have been competing all fall for the starting keeper position after the graduation of four-year starter Erika Bohn and an injury to senior Nikki Westfall. Lysander saw only four shots over the course of the contest, just two of which were on target.

Waldrum said he was encouraged by Lysander’s performance, but added he couldn’t judge enough from the limited action.

“We just haven’t seen [Lysander or Karas] tested much,” he said after the win over Iowa State. “I guess that’s a good thing because it means we aren’t giving up many chances. But at the same time it makes the evaluation of them harder.”

Another freshman, forward Michele Weissenhofer, scored two goals in her first collegiate start. After the game, she said she wasn’t expecting to play so well her first time.

“I was surprised,” said Weissenhofer, who also had two assists in the game, said. “I wanted to do well, and it’s very exciting.”

Waldrum, o the other hand, was not surprised by Weissenhoffer’s success.

“We recruited her for that reason,” he said. “We’ve seen Michele enough times in her club and her high school seasons that we knew she could score goals.”

Five other players – senior Jill Krivacek, senior Lizzie Reed, junior Susan Pinnick, senior Claire Gallerano and senior Molly Ioracci – scored goals for the Irish. For Gallerano, it was the first time in her career that she had found the back of the net.

Notre Dame 2, Mississippi 1

Notre Dame was sluggish in its second game in two days – a contest played in 97-degree heat in Oxford, Miss. – but played well enough to overcome an early deficit and win 2-1.

“Coming off of the game [Saturday] and having to travel and play, [it] wasn’t the easiest game we’ve ever played in,” Waldrum said. “Mentally we weren’t really sharp.”

Playing in front of a near capacity crowd at Ole Miss Soccer Stadium, the Rebels scored just two minutes into the game on a breakaway by freshman forward Hannah Weatherly.

“They caught us with that early goal,” Waldrum said. “We made a mistake in the back and got caught out of position.”

The Irish evened up the score in the 39th minute, when a corner kick bounced around the Ole Miss box and was eventually volleyed in by Irish junior forward Amanda Cinalli.

Notre Dame took the lead for good in the 52nd minute when Weissenhofer, using a flip-throw in technique, tossed the ball into the Rebel penalty area, where Krivacek headed to Hanks for the goal.

After seeing limited action against Iowa State, both Hanks and Lorenzen played most of the game in Oxford.

Karas started at keeper for the Irish, allowing the one goal and making two saves. Waldrum said Karas – like the rest of the team – looked mentally fatigued.

“[Karas] handled most of the things well, but she made some mental mistakes, just like the rest of the players,” Waldrum said. “She would make a great save and then throw the ball to the other team.”

Waldrum said he is not ready to name a sure starter for next weekend’s home games against Southern California and Santa Clara.

“I’m going to go this week and see if one of them starts to separate a little bit,” he said.

Waldrum said he was impressed with the atmosphere in Ole Miss Soccer Stadium and that he wished Alumni Field could be as imposing for visitors.

“They had a great crowd with a great student section,” he said. “They had the roster of our team and were giving us a hard time. It was a pretty hostile environment.

“I know this is a football school and that takes a lot out of our students, but I don’t see why we can’t have that kind of environment at our stadium.”

The USC game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday and the Santa Clara game starts at 1 p.m. Sunday.