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Women’s Soccer: Starting off on the right foot

Andy Troeger | Friday, September 5, 2003

Coming off a strong performance after its tournament in Connecticut, the women’s soccer team will look to continue its good play at home in the Notre Dame Classic this weekend.

The Classic will kick off this afternoon with Rutgers facing Oklahoma at 5 p.m. No. 5 Notre Dame will follow against No. 13 Arizona State about 30 minutes after the first game’s completion. Sunday, Rutgers battles Arizona State with Notre Dame taking on Oklahoma.

Notre Dame received a number of accolades after last week’s tournament. Senior Amy Warner, junior Mary Boland and sophomores Erika Bohn and Gudrun Gunnarsdottir were all named to the all-tournament team, while Boland also was named Big East Co-Offensive Player of the Week. She became the first women’s soccer player in history to win both the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week awards in her career.

All four teams in the Notre Dame Classic will enter the action undefeated, with Arizona State being the most highly regarded of the three teams competing with the Irish. Notre Dame has never played either Arizona State or Oklahoma, so none of the teams will know exactly what to expect out of each other.

Arizona State opened their season in Hawaii with two convincing wins, 4-0 over Hawaii and 5-1 over Bowling Green. They return almost their entire team from last season, when they lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Santa Clara.

Oklahoma opened the season with two wins at home, beating Arkansas 3-1 and New Mexico 2-1.

“We don’t really know all that much about either team,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “Oklahoma is a good, solid team that has beaten some top teams in the Big 12 in recent years. Arizona State is really climbing. They are a top Pac-10 team; they have a few national team kids, and they’ll have a lot of speed and be good offensively. It will be a big test for us.”

Notre Dame joined some selective company this week, as both the men’s and women’s soccer teams are ranked in the top five in the Soccer America polls. UCLA and North Carolina also have both teams in the top five.

The Irish plan to be up to the challenge, as they come in playing with confidence after last week’s strong showing.

“This year’s team is very unique,” senior Kim Carpenter said. “We have much more depth than we’ve had in the past, and we’re extremely athletic, which allows us to play high pressure defense for the full 90 minutes. We also have a great mix of personalities that mesh well on and off the field, and I think that is a key aspect of being a great team.”