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ND women’s soccer: Dew’s season likely over

Tim Dougherty | Thursday, November 2, 2006

While Notre Dame’s record suffered its first blemish of the season in a scoreless draw at Connecticut Oct. 13, last week’s 3-0 victory at Cincinnati was the season’s biggest setback.

The Irish won the match, but likely lost sophomore center defender Carrie Dew for the rest of the season after she tore her anterior cruciate ligament, said Irish coach Randy Waldrum.

After speaking with doctors, Waldrum said Dew will eventually require surgery to repair the damaged ligament. Holding onto a sliver of hope to return for the later stages of the NCAA Tournament – which Waldrum said would be unlikely – the Big East Defensive Player of the Year candidate will undergo rehab to test her knee’s strength.

“That’s something we’d have to take a hard look at after some rehab to see if she’d be able to come in and finish anything out,” Waldrum said. “But I think right now she’s probably done.”

Without Dew, the Irish defense managed two 3-0 victories – Cincinnati last week and St. John’s Sunday. Freshman Haley Ford slid into the center Sunday to join senior captain Kim Lorenzen, as senior Christie Shaner and junior Amanda Jones held the left and right posts. Freshman Amanda Clark also saw action in the back.

That rotation is what Waldrum expects to stick with unless something changes his mind during the Big East semifinals.

For Dew, it’s “definitely hard” to be watching from crutches on the sidelines.

“I’m disappointed that it happened at such a crucial time in the season,” Dew said.

Dew witnessed the defense allow 10 Red Storm shots – compared to a season average of just over five per game. Waldrum blamed miscommunication between unfamiliar faces for a couple slipups and said overall he was pleased with the group’s performance.

While the defenders have been practicing together throughout the fall, Lorenzen said it would take “a little bit of time” to adjust to the rotation.

“We’ll see,” she said. “Having last weekend under our belt should help, and having this weekend before the tournament will help.”

Sunday was the first Irish game Dew has watched this year in which she wasn’t able to play. However, the Irish played six games, including exhibitions, without her earlier this year when she and sophomore forward Brittany Bock were playing in Russia for the U-20 World Championships – during which time Notre Dame surrendered two goals and went 6-0, including wins over current No. 19 Virginia, No. 3 Santa Clara, No. 22 Southern California and No. 24 SMU.

“We beat a lot of good teams without her,” Waldrum said. “And so I think [the defense has] confidence in Amanda Clark and Haley Ford, whoever we put back there.”

Waldrum said the Irish were fortunate to have time early in the season as well as the Big East tournament to play without Dew. However, Dew – who Waldrum said was reported to be one of the top two center backs in the world at the U-20 tournament – leaves big shoes to fill.

“It’s never a good thing when one of your top players goes down with an injury,” he said. “At least if it were going to happen, we’ve got some time … hopefully two more games in the Big East [tournament], and then hopefully you can get can deep in the NCAA. We’ve got some time to get them some games together before you get into [it] if you’re fortunate to make it to a final four.”

Lorenzen acknowledged the emotional challenge Dew’s injury presents to the team – a challenge she said teammates will tackle.

“There’s two different parts to it,” Lorenzen said. “She’s a great player, and, personally, I’m going to miss playing with her if we can’t get her back. The other part is we have talented freshmen who can step in for us. Haley Ford has stepped up for us, and Amanda Clark has stepped for us in the back.”

A tournament return after an ACL tear is not unprecedented for Waldrum. In 2000, then-freshman forward Amy Warner missed seven games after tearing her ACL before working into the starting lineup during the tournament and scoring the lone Irish goal in a semifinal loss to North Carolina en route to selection to the all-tournament team.

Waldrum said health is his biggest concern for Dew, who has two more years to write her soccer future at Notre Dame.

“More importantly, I feel badly for her because she’s having such a good year and is a big part of our team,” he said. “We’ll get her healthy, and she’ll be back.”