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ND Women’s Soccer Commentary: Team can’t let chances slip past

Fran Tolan | Tuesday, September 4, 2007

When a single goal is the difference between a win and a loss – at least mentally – teams need to capitalize on every chance they get.

And despite having 28 chances – including 10 on goal – Notre Dame still only managed a 0-0 tie Friday against unranked Michigan, ending a 32- game home win streak.

“We were disappointed in the fact that we weren’t able to put one away,” Irish assistant coach Dawn Greathouse said. “But at the same time, we were able to create all those chances so we were happy about that.”

Michigan goalkeeper Madison Gates came up with a career-high 10 saves in the game, but the Irish could not hit one home, despite catching the junior goalie out of position several times.

After the final whistle, several Michigan players threw their arms up in triumph, highlighting the skill gap between the two squads that was evident throughout the 110 minutes of play.

But the Irish righted the ship Sunday at Florida. The team capitalized on their opportunities, scoring on two of their four shots on goal in a 2-0 win over the No. 7 Gators.

“We definitely had a better game [against Florida],” Greathouse said. “We were more efficient, especially in the final third of the game.”

In just their second official contest of the season, the No. 2 Irish proved they are easily able to beat a top-tier opponent like Florida.

The Irish also proved this weekend that efficiency and focus will be the keys to their hopes of advancing deep into the NCAA Tournament.

If they struggled to finish on so many occasions against the unranked Wolverines, they will likely struggle against opponents that do not grant them so many opportunities. But if Notre Dame can finish its scoring chances, it can beat anyone in the nation.

As Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum pointed out after Friday’s disappointing regular-season opener, the draw against Michigan will not kill the Irish.

In fact, if the Florida game was any indication, the Irish will benefit from an increased focus on finishing all their chances around the goal.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Fran Tolan at ftolan@nd.edu