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ND Women’s Soccer: No prayer

Tim Dougherty | Monday, October 30, 2006

While the rest of America was falling back Sunday, sophomore forward Brittany Bock sprung forward – knocking in two headers to lead Notre Dame over St. John’s 3-0 in the Big East quarterfinals at Alumni Field.

Bock netted her two scores within the first few minutes of the match on set pieces that found her in the box.

In the seventh minute, Michele Weissenhofer’s flip throw-in landed softly on Bock’s head before the forward touched it over the defense as it trickled over the line and past Red Storm keeper Jaime Beran for the game’s first score.

Four minutes later, Bock’s brow capitalized on another set piece – powering a Kerri Hanks corner kick into the back of the net to go ahead 2-0 and weather the Storm’s threat to keep the Irish from advancing to next weekend’s Big East semifinals in Storrs, Conn.

“We really wanted to focus on dead ball situations and set pieces because in our [2004] championship run that was such a big part,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “In this point in time of the year it’s so important, and Bock was unbelievable in the air all day long today. We continue to say how important she is to how we play up front. She’s got such strength and ability to hold the ball and she’s such a weapon in the air.”

Bock said Waldrum has emphasized being aggressive in the air, and Sunday she took it especially to heart.

“The set pieces and winning headers is one of my big things,” Bock said. “I haven’t gotten a lot this year, but it’s something coach has been harping on. We haven’t finished on a lot … Any chance I had I wanted to make sure I made a statement and got after the balls.”

Irish junior keeper Lauren Karas saw more first half action than usual, making two saves, but Notre Dame outshot the Red Storm 12-to-3 in the first half, earning seven corner kicks in the game, including the one sophomore forward Hanks serviced Bock on her second score.

Notre Dame played without star sophomore center back Carrie Dew, who tore her ACL during Tuesday’s 3-0 win at Cincinnati, and likely will miss the rest of the year. Freshman defender Haley Ford accompanied senior captain Kim Lorenzen in the center of the back line Sunday, as junior Ashley Jones filled in on the right and senior Christie Shaner on the left. Waldrum was pleased with the defense’s performance, though he said there were a couple times when they missed Dew.

“The newness of Haley and [Lorenzen] playing together were just some communication [problems],” Waldrum said. “Two players going for the same head ball, we did that a couple of times – just a few periods of indecisiveness.”

Hanks added the final tally for the Irish in the 89th minute on a feed from senior midfielder Jen Buczkowski. Waldrum was more impressed, though, with the shot she didn’t take.

When junior midfielder Amanda Cinalli was fouled in the box with three minutes remaining, Waldrum expected Hanks to lineup and nail the penalty kick, like she’s done all year in those situations.

Instead, he saw Bock step forward and get stopped by Beran, spoiling the sophomore’s bid for a hat trick.

But he didn’t mind – not when his team’s leading scorer gave up a sure scoring chance to help her teammate earn some deserved decoration for her heat-seeking head.

“It says a lot about your team being concerned about each other,” Waldrum said. “I was happy to see [Hanks] turnaround and get the goal in the end and reward her for that. I think when teammates are looking out for each other like that, you’ve got something special.”