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Womens Soccer: Steamrolling ahead

Andy Troeger | Monday, October 6, 2003

Heading into the weekend, the Irish expected a Big East showdown that would go a long way to deciding who would win the Mid-Atlantic Division. They just did not expect it to be their game against Villanova.

After thoroughly dominating No. 5 West Virginia Friday night in a 2-0 win that was not as close as the score would indicate, the Irish struggled against Villanova but eventually prevailed in overtime 1-0.

“We had a hard one Friday night that took a lot of our legs, and we just didn’t have as much energy as we’d have liked,” said senior Kim Carpenter after the Irish survived Villanova. “We got the result that we wanted, so I guess that’s what is important in the long run.

With the two wins, the Irish move to 11-0-1 on the season and 2-0 in the Big East. The No. 2 Irish are firmly in the driver’s seat, having knocked off the two teams that are most likely to challenge them for the division title.

“Opening up the Big East with two of the better teams in the conference was a great way to start,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “We’ve played some good competition to be put in this position before, and I think that helps you down at the end of the road.”

The Irish continued to dominate defensively, having now shut out their last three opponents. In addition, they continued their streak of not allowing more than two shots on goal by their opponents to nine games, as the Mountaineers and Wildcats only managed one apiece.

The Irish opened the scoring early against West Virginia. Senior defender Melissa Tancredi sent a long pass from the right side to junior Mary Boland, whose shot sent the ball into the upper right side of the net only 84 seconds into the game.

The Irish added another goal early in the second half, with senior Amy Warner forcing a corner kick. Tancredi deflected Katie Thorlakson’s cross to Carpenter, who scored her third goal of the season to provide the final margin for the Irish.

The Irish had some tense moments against Villanova, playing to a scoreless tie in regulation. While they outshot the Wildcats 14-4 in the regular period, they failed to create as many good scoring opportunities as in some previous games.

Villanova threatened to take the lead in the first half, scoring an apparent goal 14 minutes into play that was waved off because of an offside penalty. About 10 minutes into the second half, the Irish also had a goal nullified because of being offside.

“It’s hard to play back-to-back,” Carpenter said. “We had a lot of people that went the full 90 minutes, and it’s hard especially against a team as physical as Villanova. They got on us early.”

The Irish finally struck in overtime on a set play designed only last week by assistant coach Ben Waldrum. Carpenter started the sequence for Thorlakson, who drilled the ball through traffic and past Villanova’s All-American goalkeeper Chrissie Dolan for the Notre Dame win.

“Sometimes it comes down to set plays,” said Carpenter. “We got a good one at the end, and those make the difference at this level.”

With the pair of victories, the Irish feel good about their play through the first part of the season.

“It’s great to be undefeated,” Thorlakson said. “I’d like to be continue to do that and hopefully we’ll be able to.”