ND Women’s Soccer: Standing strong
Douglas Farmer | Wednesday, October 14, 2009
A year after starting all 27 games for No. 10 Notre Dame (8-3-1) with a goals against average (GAA) of 0.44, some would say senior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander has slipped this year as her GAA jumped to 1.15. What they would fail to notice is Lysander’s expanded role as one of only two seniors able to consistently play, her adjustment to a young back line and her 0.45 GAA in the seven Irish victories she has played in.
Lysander first saw consistent playing time last season after learning under Lauren Karas, who graduated in 2008. In her second season as starter, the California native’s experience has helped a young back line mature this season.
“Having [Lysander] have the experience she gained last year has been really important not only for the team, but for her as well, from a confidence standpoint,” coach Randy Waldrum said. “It certainly gives the players who play in front of her a lot of confidence, knowing that a player like her is behind them.”
Last season, as the Irish amassed a 26-1 record, Lysander was able to rely on then-seniors Carrie Dew and Elise Weber to limit the opportunities she faced. This season 10 shots have found their way past Lysander in the 10 games she has started.
“One thing you get tested on this year that you didn’t last year is we didn’t give teams a lot of opportunities to even get good looks at scoring goals on us,” Waldrum said. “This year we have given up a few more opportunities, so Kelsey has had to adjust to that increased load, and she has done a really good job with it to help stabilize our back line.”
Junior Julie Scheidler leads the back line this year, joined mainly by senior defender Haley Ford, who was injured for parts of last year and occasionally moves to a midfielder role this year, and sophomore Jessica Schuveiller. With so little experience, Waldrum said some time was needed for the unit to jell with Lysander.
“It does [take a while to jell], and I think it is still somewhat of a process,” he said. “I’m not sure we are completely where we were last year, and that is due to the overall team being young compared to last year.”
“[Jelling] is something we are still working on, and each we have seen it get better and better, so we know we are headed in the right direction,” Waldrum said. “Now that we are starting to get some experience, we are starting to stabilize and help [Lysander] out. She has been good throughout the season.”
As the team stabilizes, Lysander’s GAA is sure to continue to drop, especially if injured senior captains defender Courtney Rosen and forward Michele Weissenhofer are able to return to the field at all this season. All of the Irish know that the most critical time of the season, the postseason, has yet to come, but is fast approaching.
Last season Lysander was at her best in the postseason, leading Notre Dame to the national championship game. In fact, the semifinal contest against No. 5 Stanford may have been her best performance to date. Lysander made seven saves, recording a shutout in the game.
“She was fantastic,” Waldrum said. “She picked a great time of year to be really good in that Final Four week.”
If the Irish back line continues to jell with Lysander in goal, look for the Irish net to be just as secure as it was last year at crunch time.