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Women’s Soccer: Waldrum’s squad falls in penalties

Bill Brink | Monday, November 12, 2007

Kerri Butler made three game-saving stops down the stretch, but one more save was all she needed.

West Virginia’s freshman keeper collected Irish junior forward Kerri Hanks’ shot during the Mountaineers’ penalty kick victory over Notre Dame on Sunday. The two teams were tied 1-1 through two overtimes in the game played at Dick Dlesk Stadium in Morgantown, W. Va.

The win gave West Virginia its first-ever Big East title.

“Honestly, we didn’t play very well,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said by telephone Sunday. “I’m not sure we really deserved to win.”

Hanks, who had made all five of her penalty kick attempts this season, shot the ball low to Butler’s left, but the keeper guessed correctly and dove for the stop. Defenders Carrie Dew, Elise Weber and Lauren Fowlkes all made their attempts, but in vain.

Ashley Banks, Kim Bonilla, Carolyn Blank, Sydney Metheny and Lisa DuCote all put their shots past Irish keeper Lauren Karas in the shootout, and the Mountaineers took home the trophy.

The first four shot the ball to Karas’ right, but she guessed the wrong each time. On the last shot, DuCote shot the ball inside the other post. Karas guessed correctly, but her hand came just short of knocking the ball away.

“I’ll have to watch the tape again, but I think certainly there wasn’t much effort on the first three [shots],” Waldrum said. “I think she’s trying to get a read, but I think goalkeepers have to just go.”

Butler’s first big save came in the first overtime period. Hanks passed the ball from the right side to forward Brittany Bock in the middle. Bock slipped past two defenders and took a shot towards the far post, but Butler dove to knock the ball away.

With six minutes remaining in the second overtime, forward Michele Weissenhofer’s flip-throw landed right in the middle of the six-yard box. A scrum ensued, but Hanks, Bock and senior Amanda Cinalli could not convert.

One minute later, Cinalli got around a defender and put a shot towards the far post, but again Butler elevated across the goal and knocked the ball away.

“I was very pleased with the overtime,” Waldrum said. “If we had played that way the entire game, I don’t think we would have been in that position.”

The Irish opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Hanks tapped a dribbling shot past Butler into the net. Midfielder Courtney Rosen chipped the ball into the right side of the box, and Hanks beat Butler and Mountaineers midfielder Greer Barnes to the ball.

Notre Dame led 1-0 until the 39th minute, when Bonilla took a free kick from the far side. The ball came across the crease and Karas came out to chase it. Blank headed the ball back into the center of the box, where forward Kiley Harris headed the ball into the center of the net to tie the score at one.

The Mountaineers had their best scoring chance with 30 minutes left in the game. A cross from the near side led forward Deana Everrett, who was unimpeded 10 yards in front of the goal, but the cross was just out of her reach.

Notre Dame could not control the ball in the air. Keeper kicks and punts routinely went West Virginia’s way, and the Irish could not consistently clear their zone. For the rest of the first half and much of the second, West Virginia did not give Notre Dame any space to create scoring chances. The Mountaineers closed on breakaways and deflected through-ball attempts.

“I just felt very much like they were winning every 50/50 loose ball,” Waldrum said. “Our mentality and our mindset wasn’t where it needed to be. We were outhustled all over the field. I don’t think we matched their intensity.”

Notre Dame increased its intensity in the final 10 minutes of regulation. The Irish kept the ball in the attacking third and found open passing lanes to create scoring opportunities. With 1:27 left, Hanks sent Weissenhofer a through-ball that was just out of reach. Thirty seconds later, Weissenhofer fired off a shot, but Butler made the diving stop.

The Irish now await their seed in the NCAA tournament, which begins this weekend. The field will be announced at 8 p.m. Monday on ESPNews. Notre Dame entered the weekend with a No. 16 RPI (ratings percentage index, a rating equation that factors in strength of schedule), which is an important selection criteria.

Waldrum said the team was disappointed but realized that their season wasn’t over. He wanted his team to focus on the week ahead.

“Because of our early losses, we’re probably not going to have three rounds of easy games like we have in years past,” Waldrum said. “We’ve got to put this one behind us and get ready to go this week and get a week of training in.”

Notre Dame reached the final with a 2-0 win over Georgetown Friday.

The Irish scored two goals in 38 seconds to extend their winning streak to 12 games in their victory over the Hoyas.

Hanks and Bock combined to score the first goal in the 25th minute. Bock, running down the middle of the field, passed to Hanks on the left side.

Hanks sent the ball back to Bock near the far post, where Bock headed the ball in to put the Irish ahead 1-0.

Half of Bock’s 18 career goals have come on headers.

Soon after, midfielder Courtney Rosen sent the ball across the box to Rose Augustine, who deflected the ball into the net.