ND Women’s Soccer: Irish look to stay perfect
Chris Khorey | Friday, September 15, 2006
Non-conference play has treated Notre Dame well.
The No. 1 Irish are 6-0 this season with games Friday and Saturday at DePaul and Michigan before they begin their Big East slate next weekend.
Top ranked Notre Dame has dominated its competition so far, outscoring its first six opponents 21-2 and posting four shutouts.
Although the Irish back wall has been statistically good, senior captain Kim Lorenzen said there is still work to be done.
“Part of [not allowing goals] is luck, and part of it is excellent goalkeeping,” Lorenzen said. “Our defense as a team and our back line, we’re looking to improve our play. There are things we need to do differently.”
Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said he’s happy allowing just .33 goals per game, but said the Irish won’t be able to sustain that statistic unless they communicate better on defense.
“We’ve been good in terms of the end result – we’ve kept the ball out of the net,” Waldrum said. “If, at the end of the year, the stats still look good I’ll be fine with it, but we’re giving the ball away out of the back too often. Sometime, we might turn the ball over and some team might punish us for it.”
One player who might help Notre Dame improve defensive communication is sophomore defender Carrie Dew, who, along with fellow sophomore midfielder Brittany Bock, will return to full-time action this weekend after missing the first few weeks of the season to compete in the U-20 World Championships in Russia.
“[Dew’s] got kind of a calming effect,” Waldrum said. “She’s very calm and composed on the ball and very skillful.”
Bock and Dew arrived on campus Sept. 5, but Waldrum eased them back into the lineup so they could catch up academically.
The sophomores got significant minutes off the bench last weekend against TCU and SMU, but neither started either game. Bock scored her first goal of the season against the Horned Frogs.
“Over the weekend they weren’t supposed to play that much, but we needed them to come in and help us out,” sophomore forward Kerri Hanks said.
Hanks scored two goals against the Mustangs, pushing her season total to five and passing junior Amanda Cinalli, who has scored four, for the team lead. The sophomore said teamwork is the reason the Irish have hit the back of the net an average of 3.5 times per game this season.
“It’s not just one of us individually – it’s all of us combined,” she said.
uFreshman Michele Weissenhofer leads the NCAA in assists this season, picking up her seventh and eighth of the season against the Horned Frogs Saturday, employing both skill on crosses and her patented flip throw-in technique to set up Irish goal scorers.
“The flip throw-ins work because not every team does them,” said Hanks, who scored a goal Aug. 27 against Ole Miss on one of Weissenhofer’s throws.
uDePaul’s home field features brand-new FieldTurf, so the Irish practiced inside the Loftus Center Wednesday to prepare for the artificial surface.
“The ball’s got a little bit truer bounce to it and the passes are a little faster,” Waldrum said. “The turf gives an advantage to the team that plays on it a lot.”
The field does not, however, feature flood lights, meaning kickoff on Friday will be at 4 p.m.
The Blue Demons are 2-1 at home this season.
uNotre Dame will return to campus after Friday afternoon’s game, then head out on the road again Sunday to face the Wolverines in a 1 p.m. game in Ann Arbor.