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ND Women’s Soccer: Six different players score in dominating weekend

Matthew Robison | Monday, August 27, 2012

 

After capturing a road match Friday 2-0 over Tulsa to start the weekend, Notre Dame continued its win streak with a dominating 5-0 win over East Carolina in its home opener Sunday.

The Irish (2-1-0) controlled nearly every aspect of the game in Sunday’s victory over the Pirates. In the first half, Notre Dame outshot East Carolina 16-1. The lone Pirate shot came from redshirt sophomore midfielder Lexi Miller and it was one of the few times the Pirates (1-2-0) tested Notre Dame freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight.

Irish coach Randy Waldrum attributed his team’s success to offensive movement and transition play.

“I thought we were better between our midfield play and our forward play,” Waldrum said. “I thought we were better this game of linking up between those two lines for us, and our mobility was much better. I think when we have that, we’re a difficult team to track and to defend.”

After several scoring chances early in the game, Notre Dame finally broke the ice on an unassisted goal by junior forward Rebecca Twining in the 35th minute.

The Irish dominated the second half as well. Notre Dame scored four times in the half on goals by freshman forward Crystal Thomas, sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy, freshman forward Anna Gilbertson and sophomore midfielder Karin Simonian.

The high offensive output matches the total number of goals the Irish scored in its first four games this year: two exhibitions and two regular season matchups.

“We’ve been slow in these exhibitions with getting the kind of shot creations that we wanted,” Waldrum said. “It’s something that we’ve just been addressing every day in training, so it was good to see them get five today and actually see some freshmen score some goals.”

Two goalkeepers combined to keep a clean sheet. Hight played 74 minutes before sophomore Sarah Voigt took her place in net. The Irish offense controlled the ball for the vast majority of the game, and as a result the Pirates only forced Hight to make three saves. Voigt made one save on the only shot on goal she faced.

If there was one flaw in the way the Irish played Sunday, it was the rate at which they started each half.

“I thought we started a little slow in the first half,” Waldrum said. “And I thought we started slow in the second half, which is when East Carolina got most of their chances. We can’t afford to do that. But I thought once we got past those spells, I thought we got really good with our possession.”

Notre Dame had never played East Carolina in its history, but Waldrum said the performance from the Pirates was about what he had expected to see.

“We didn’t know that much about them,” Waldrum said. “We got a little bit of information in some scouting reports but we didn’t get a chance to see any video. But from what I’ve kind of kept up with over the years, they were what we expected.”

On Friday, the Irish beat Tulsa (2-1-0) by a 2-0 margin on two goals from junior captain and midfielder Elizabeth Tucker. With 12 freshmen on the team and only three seniors, the Irish have a disproportionate amount of youth on the field. But game time experience is the best way to learn, according to Waldrum. 

“Every game’s been a learning process,” Waldrum said. “So we always, win or lose, try to take away something that we need to get better at. It’s going to continue that way until these girls get some time and some games under their belt.”

Up next for the Irish are two home games against tough opponents, No. 25 Santa Clara and No. 14 North Carolina. Each of those teams will present a significantly greater challenge than East Carolina. 

“We’ve got to be a little bit better, even shored up defensively, because they’re going to take advantage of the chances they get,” Waldrum said. “We’ve got to be ready for that intensity. It steps up another notch. Defensively, we’ll work a little bit with things like that.”

Notre Dame next squares off Friday night at 7:30 against Santa Clara in Alumni Stadium.

Contact Matthew Robison at mrobison@nd.edu