The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



ND Women’s Soccer: Hanks spurs teams in Big East first round

Fran Tolan | Monday, November 5, 2007

Despite playing at less than full strength, No. 10 Notre Dame defeated Rutgers 2-0 in the Big East tournament quarterfinals Sunday at Alumni Field.

Irish junior forward Brittany Bock and sophomore midfielder Courtney Rosen sat out with injuries, and senior captain Amanda Cinalli played despite the death of her grandfather Friday.

“If we’d have been in a real crunch, we could have used [Bock and Rosen],” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “And Cinalli played but she was a little fatigued, and I’m sure her mind was elsewhere.”

But Irish junior forward Kerri Hanks provided enough offense to overcome those outside factors. She notched an assist in the first half then added an insurance goal late in the second.

Hanks created several good scoring chances early, and the Irish finally converted with just over 12 minutes remaining before intermission.

After Rutgers knocked the ball past the end line, Hanks sent the ensuing corner kick toward the far post of the Rutgers goal. The ball might have already been headed into the side net, but Irish senior midfielder Ashley Jones erased any doubts when she headed the ball in.

The Irish kept the pressure on Rutgers until halftime before coming out somewhat flat after the break.

“I thought we played a good first half and the second half wasn’t as good,” Waldrum said. “But good teams find certain ways to win even when they don’t play their best.”

Hanks assured an Irish victory by converting a penalty kick with 9:15 left in the contest. After getting tripped and drawing a foul in the box, Hanks calmly slotted the ball into the right corner of the net to give Notre Dame a two-goal cushion.

“[Hanks] is really smart about knowing how to use her body,” Waldrum said. “She knows she can either draw a foul or turn on you.”

Waldrum said her ability to draw penalties is one of the things that sets Hanks apart from her peers.

“That’s a player that’s kind of at a different level,” Waldrum said. “She manufactured both of our goals today.”

The Irish have now won 12 straight games against Big East opponents and have not lost to any team since a 2-1 setback against Penn State on Sept. 23. During their current 11-game win streak, the Irish defense has recorded six shutouts.

“The defense has really come together and become a really good mix,” Waldrum said.

The Irish will travel to Morgantown, W.Va., for the Big East semifinals Friday against Georgetown. The Hoyas advanced by defeating Connecticut Saturday.