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Schefter returns to boost Irish

Andy Troeger | Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Due to an ACL injury, a year ago Annie Schefter could only watch as her teammates struggled to a 13-8 record and she missed the Big East Tournament. With the injury healed and a year of classes under her belt, Schefter, now a sophomore, has played a major role as the No. 2 Irish have returned to national prominence by starting the season 6-0.

In what may have been her best game thus far in an Irish uniform, Schefter scored two goals and added an assist in Notre Dame’s 5-0 thrashing of Western Kentucky. In starting all six games so far for the Irish, Schefter ranks second on the team in assists with four, while scoring three goals.

“It was really hard for me,” said Schefter of not being able to play last year. “I had never been hurt before in my life. Moving out to South Bend and watching my team struggle and not being to help out was really hard on me. It was definitely a learning experience. I didn’t realize how happy playing soccer made me before I was hurt.”

“She really has a composure and experience level above what we’ve had,” said Irish coach Randy Waldrum. “She adds some goal scoring dimension out of the midfield – more than what we’ve had in the past. She’s really part of the core of the team, even though she’s a freshman with regard to experience. She can lead and she has that competitive edge, too, which is something our whole team really has this year.”

Schefter did make the best of her time on the sidelines. Her 3.67 GPA makes her a potential future Academic All-American. She also became better prepared for the demands of playing a full season of college soccer this season.

“I have a year of college behind me and I know the academic demands of Notre Dame and traveling,” said Schefter. “I got to spend a year in the program and training schedule before ever playing a real game. I think this helped me, rather than trying to make a huge

transition coming in my freshmen year.”

Schefter came to Notre Dame very highly regarded after her work with the Under-19 National Team and a strong high school career at West Valley High School in Yakima, Wash. The Gatorade Player of the Year in Washington after scoring 47 goals and 25 assists as a senior, Schefter was also named to the NSCAA and Parade All-American Teams.

“My junior and senior year I traveled a lot with the U-19 National Team, pretty much every month,” said Schefter. “I got a lot of experience in a lot of places and am so thankful that I got that opportunity. It made the transition to college soccer easier, but college soccer is a transition even from the national team, regional thing or really any team. College is so fast and physical that you really have to get used to it. You can’t describe it until you step out on the field.”

“Her preparation and training with the U-19 Team really brought her game to a higher level,” Waldrum said. “She should only get better as her experience grows, and once she gets fully back by adding more strength and quickness.”

Now, with the team off to a good start, things seem to be returning to the norm for Schefter and the Irish program, which made the Final Four into an annual occurrence over the past decade.

“The team is completely different this year,” Schefter said. “The team just has a new attitude, the team chemistry is completely different. Last year, moods were down and people were hurt. No one was real enthused about playing, but this year everyone is really excited and can’t wait to work at getting better every day.”

Schefter credited some of the resurgence to strong leadership from the seniors.

“All the seniors on the team have been amazing,” said Schefter. “I would say that Kim Carpenter and Amy Warner are the ones I look up to the most. Kim is just an amazing person; I look up to her so much in everything. Warner works so hard and is so talented and makes the most out of what she has.”

Ironically, Schefter chose Notre Dame over two other perennial powers that the team will face this weekend in California – Stanford and Santa Clara.

“I chose Notre Dame because of my visit during the summer before my senior year,” said Schefter. “I loved the campus and the feeling I got on campus. I loved the team and it just felt right. I’m really excited to get to go play Stanford and Santa Clara, though.”

“I think we match up really well with both Stanford and Santa Clara,” said Schefter. “We need to go out and have fun and play as good as we can.”