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ND Women’s Soccer: Keep away

Chris Khorey | Thursday, September 7, 2006

When four-year starter Erika Bohn graduated last spring, Notre Dame needed to find a new goalkeeper.

After an injury to senior Nikki Westfall, junior Lauren Karas and freshman Kelsey Lysander competed during pre-season workouts for the starting keeper job. Irish coach Randy Waldrum alternated the two in Notre Dame’s season-opening games against Iowa State and Ole Miss, but started Karas in Irish victories over then-No. 19 USC and then-No. 1 Santa Clara last weekend.

Karas allowed just one goal in the two games.

While Waldrum said he hasn’t declared Karas the full time starter just yet, the junior will start this weekend against TCU and SMU on the road.

“[Karas] went a long way [towards being the undisputed starter this weekend],” Waldrum said. “She had a really good game on Friday, so we gave her the start on Sunday and she played well again.”

Waldrum said both keepers performed well in practice the week before the USC and Santa Clara games, but the coaching staff decided to go with the upperclassman.

“We felt like going with Lauren because she had a little more experience and played in big games for us last year,” he said.

Karas did not disappoint her coach, making nine saves against the Broncos in the battle for No. 1.

Despite Karas’ performance, Waldrum said he won’t rule out using Lysander a lot over the course of the season.

“We’re going to get Kelsey some playing time and probably even some starts,” he said.

Karas and Lysander have been supportive of each other, Waldrum said, even while competing for playing time. He said the freshman has not shown any signs of envy or frustration at not starting this past weekend.

“She’s handled it very well,” Waldrum said. “I don’t know exactly what her expectation level was when she came in, but coming in a freshman and pushing Lauren to start is exceptional. Typically a freshman wouldn’t come in and push a junior goalkeeper.”

In her one start, Lysander made two saves and did not allow a goal. In three games this year, Karas has allowed a total of two goals and made 11 saves.

The Irish face the Horned Frogs at 7 p.m. Friday in Fort Worth, Texas and the Mustangs at 1 p.m. Sunday in Dallas, Texas.