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ND WOMEN’S SOCCER: Irish advance to semifinals of Big East tournament

Ken Fowler | Monday, October 31, 2005

Katie Thorlakson once again led Notre Dame to a postseason victory Sunday, as the Irish topped Georgetown, 6-0, at Alumni Field in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

Thorlakson, who scored or assisted on 18 of Notre Dame’s 22 postseason goals last year, found the net once and added three assists as the Irish advanced to face Marquette Friday in the conference semifinal game in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Just 10 minutes into the match Sunday, Thorlakson and freshman forward/midfielder Brittany Bock assisted on the only goal the Irish needed for the victory, a Kerri Hanks tap-in on the right side.

Bock found Thorlakson on the left side of the box and made a backdoor cut to the goal. After Thorlakson hit Bock in stride, a Hoya defender rotated over to cover Bock, leaving the streaking Hanks open as she approached the net.

Bock made the pass, and the freshman picked up goal No. 21 on the season.

Thorlakson said the play was the result of good movement by the Irish away from the main action.

“There was just a lot of good movement off the ball today,” the senior said.

Irirsh coach Randy Waldrum attributed the goal to focus during the week and adjusting practice patterns to live-game situations.

“We work on little patterns and sequences like that,” he said.

The Irish kept on attacking after taking the lead, with eight shots on goal and a corner kick in the ten minutes following Hanks’ score.

The fast-paced action forced both teams to substitute many of their starters in the first half after the intense opening 25 minutes. Waldrum said Notre Dame’s productive bench and good conditioning gave the Irish a decided advantage.

“One thing is our kids work really hard,” he said. “We’re as fit as any team in the country. And when you can get your second team in [and be productive] … you can stay at a high-tempo pace.”

Notre Dame attempted 29 shots to Georgetown’s two and constantly redirected Hoya goal kicks back into Georgetown’s territory, keeping the Hoya defense on its heels.

By halftime, the Irish had an 8-0 advantage in shots on goal but only a 2-0 lead after Thorlakson and sophomore Amanda Cinalli assisted on Jen Buczkowski’s fifth goal of the season. Thorlakson took a pass from Cinalli and led Buczkowski on the left side. The junior midfielder made a move and beat Hoya goalkeeper Jade Higgins to the left side at 22:22.

Higgins was the main reason Georgetown remained in the contest as long as it did. The sophomore made several key saves in the first half that kept the Hoyas’ deficit at just two despite the relentless Irish attack, including a diving kicksave on a Thorlakson shot midway through the period.

Ashley Jones netted her first goal of the year and opened the scoring for the Irish in the second half with a blast from the right wing at 54:30 to give Notre Dame a 3-0 lead.

Thirteen minutes later, Hanks and Thorlakson scored just 17 seconds apart to put the game out of reach at 5-0.

“[The quick tempo] is fun,” Thorlakson said. “It’s harder in a slow-paced game to get into your rhythm.”

Georgetown failed to find an offensive rhythm and mount a serious offensive attack during the game, as the Irish swarmed the ball after each turnover to the Hoyas and prevented Georgetown from moving up field with ease.

Waldrum said the forward Thorlakson was a key component in the Irish defense to the extent that she helped the Irish regain possession on several occasions.

“[Thorlakson] adds a whole different dimension to the game,” Waldrum said. “She’s a 90-minute player.”

Thorlakson credited the defense.

“[Defenders Christie] Shaner and [Carrie] Dew and Kim [Lorenzen] … all did an amazing job,” she said.

The pressure from the Irish forwards and strong defensive communication limited Georgetown’s offensive chances. In all, Georgetown managed just one shot on goal, and Irish keeper Lauren Karas saved Shara McNeill’s kick from the right side.

Beth Koloup found the net for the second time this season with just over two minutes remaining to extend Notre Dame’s lead to its final margin, 6-0.