Home for the weekend
Megan Golden | Friday, September 2, 2011
After dropping two consecutive matchups for the first time in 45 games, No. 10 Notre Dame will come home and try to salvage its hopes for this season in the Adidas Invitational this weekend.
An overtime loss to No. 1 North Carolina and a sloppy defeat by No. 9 Duke last weekend gave the Irish (1-2, 0-0 Big East) an early blemish on their record and their first two-game losing streak since Sept. 13, 2009.
Irish coach Randy Waldrum said the team understands the importance of keeping their heads up and eyes forward as they take on unranked Tulsa and Indiana this weekend.
“After Friday’s performance, I think that the kids understand that we’re as good as anyone in the country,” he said. “Having people coming up to you and reading things on the Internet [about] how poorly you played ⎯ more than anything, I think they’re just anxious to get back on the field.”
Waldrum spent the first six years of his Division I coaching career at Tulsa, where he finished his tenure 66-33-6 with the men’s team and 61-36-9 with the women’s. Waldrum, who is the all-time winningest coach in both Tulsa programs, said he is very familiar with the Hurricanes (3-0).
“I have watched the first half of Tulsa’s last game, and my impression is that they’re very organized,” he said. “They have played three games and haven’t been scored on. They look athletic, organized, good with the ball and they have a couple of key kids that look dangerous. They are off to a great start.”
The Irish will face Indiana (2-1-1) for the first time since 2001, when they defeated the Hoosiers in overtime 2-1. Like all Big 10 teams, Indiana is very defensive-minded, Waldrum said.
“They sit back and make you come at them and try to beat you on the counter like Wisconsin did in the first game.
That’s just based on past history,” he said. “After not winning, we’ve got to make sure all our focus is on Tulsa. They’re going to come play us hard. They’ll be a good challenge for us and an opportunity for us to get on the right track.”
The Irish continue to work on ball movement and maintaining solid possessions, aiming for an average of 400 passes per game. After Notre Dame’s loss to North Carolina, Waldrum emphasized the Irish cannot afford to lose focus on defense for even 30 seconds.
“We gave away too many goals, and there was a lack of concentration defensively,” he said. “Just seconds cost you goals, even when you play well for 90 minutes. We need to try to focus on defending, and we need to be better at goal scoring and creating better chances.”
After Notre Dame gave up a combined five goals this past weekend, Irish senior defender and co-captain Jessica Schuveiller insisted the defense is ready to stop an athletic Tulsa offense.
“Letting in that many goals in a weekend is something that we as a back line and a team aren’t proud of, but we learned from it and are excited to go out this weekend and get back on track,” she said.
Waldrum said he hopes Irish students and fans take a few hours out of their Friday night to support the defending national champions.
“We’ll get them hooked,” he said. “We hope they watched Portland or Seattle in MLS and [saw] how they chant and sing. We’d love to see that kind of atmosphere here at Alumni Stadium. “With the first home football game, I hope this is the first stop after the pep rally because there will be plenty of time left to get out after the soccer game.”
The Irish will host Tulsa Friday at 7:30 p.m. and they will return to action Sunday against Indiana at 1:30 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.