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ND Women’s Soccer: Voigt keys Irish defense

By Cory Bernard | Thursday, October 4, 2012

The surging Irish recorded their sixth consecutive victory Sunday with a shutout of Connecticut, and that trajectory has included the rising star of the team’s young goalkeeper.

Prior to this season, sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Voigt had never recorded a solo shutout for the Irish. In Notre Dame’s 3-0 win over Oakland on Sept. 23, Voigt registered the first clean sheet of her career and has not surrendered a goal since.

Defense has largely carried Notre Dame during its current streak, with Voigt playing a key role. She made four first-half saves during the team’s 4-0 win over the Huskies on Sept. 30. Irish coach Randy Waldrum praised his goalkeeper’s play, saying Voigt kept the team in the game until the offense broke through.

Despite the praise, Voigt said a group effort spurred the Irish win over the Huskies.

“I think [the win] definitely helped put confidence [in the team],” Voigt said. “It helps the confidence not only of me personally but the confidence of the team because that was definitely a team win. I think being able to come out hard and come away with a win that’s really going to help us go forward with confidence and help us go forward and be winning in the future.”

The Big East recognized Voigt’s recent efforts Monday when the conference named her as the Big East goalkeeper of the week. The honor carries added significance, considering Voigt began the year behind freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight on the depth chart.

“I think it’s a great honor, but yeah, that definitely helps my confidence,” Voigt said. “I think it would help anyone’s confidence. I know Elyse also won [the award] earlier in the year [on Aug. 27] and I think it’s really cool that we have two goalkeepers in the same season who won it. Also, I think it’s a testament to the program in general, not only our personal achievements.”

Backing up Hight motivated Voigt to improve her game because the sophomore said she disliked playing second fiddle. Voigt said she made it her goal from the beginning of the year to earn the starting role.

“It was really just a lot of focus and a lot of training, obviously,” Voigt said. “It was frustrating at the beginning to know that I was not starting and I think that would be the same from anyone’s standpoint. No one likes to sit on the bench. I think that beginning in second really kind of helped me push myself and motivate myself to really have a concrete goal of starting.”

Having only been the starter for five games, Voigt will not become complacent with her position. She said having a goalkeeper of equal ability behind her on the depth chart keeps her motivated.

“Both Elyse and I train really hard because we know if we’re not on our ‘A’ game then we’re going to be on the bench,” Voigt said. “I think that level of talent and the depth we have in the goalkeeping position really helps us push ourselves and push each other. We’re both pretty competitive goalkeepers. We’re both on a similar level. It’s kind of up to us who starts and it’s up to our level in training and how we show, level-wise, to see who deserves the role.”

The Irish return to action Friday when they host conference opponent Seton Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Contact Cory Bernard at
cbernard@nd.edu