ND Women’s Soccer: Big East challenges Irish
Alex Barker | Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Notre Dame (10-3-1, 6-0-1 Big East) sits comfortably atop the conference standings with 19 points, five more than second-place Rutgers, with just four games left to play.
“I’m really pleased with where we are in the conference, especially having played such a difficult [non-conference] schedule early on, losing to Carolina and losing two games out in California,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “We are making a lot of progress which is what you hope for with such a young team.”
But the comparisons with last year’s team end there. This season, Notre Dame has faced much stiffer competition from a conference slate that it steamrolled just a season ago.
After a 4-0 blowout of DePaul in the Big East opener, the schedule has been anything but easy for the heavily favored Irish. In the following match at Cincinnati, the Irish dominated play, but needed two goals from sophomore defender Jessica Schuveiller to overcome a one-goal deficit in the final minutes to pull out a victory.
Two days later, the Irish managed just one goal at home against an overmatched Louisville squad that boasts just a single victory in conference play.
“If you were to ask me last summer, I would have been surprised [by the number of close matches],” Waldrum said. “But considering the fact that we lost some good players to injury early in the season, these close results don’t surprise me that much now.”
Against West Virginia, Notre Dame once again had to overcome a second-half deficit, this time taking the Mountaineers into overtime before escaping with a 3-2 victory. The Irish’s only blemish on their Big East record came at Pittsburgh where they battled to a scoreless draw.
While this doesn’t seem like the Irish performances of the past, Waldrum sees plenty of benefit in the experience that his young team is gaining from these tight matches.