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ND Women’s Soccer: Unsung Lorenzen gives Irish steady leadership

Tim Dougherty | Friday, November 10, 2006

Every team has one – the player who elicits the highest praise from her teammates for her gritty play and unselfish attitude, yet always manages to be overlooked for postseason awards.Such is the life for Irish senior defender Kim Lorenzen, Notre Dame’s first solo captain since the inaugural 1988 Irish squad. Though Lorenzen has seen several teammates recognized for their performances like 2006 Big East defender of the year sophomore Carrie Dew and Notre Dame’s first four-time Big East honoree Christie Shaner, this year marks the fourth season in which the four-year starter has been shut out of Big East honors. “The most important thing for me this year is my teammates elected me as captain,” Lorenzen said. “At the end of the day it’s what the team thinks of you that matters the most.”An answer worthy of wearing the ‘C,’ which stands as much for cliché as it does captain. According to senior midfielder Jill Krivacek, though, Lorenzen’s sentiments are really from the heart.”The great thing about Kim is she really is all about the team,” Krivacek said. “I know it probably seems really cliché, but I really feel that way about her. It doesn’t even faze her. [Her priority is] game-by-game making sure she’s playing well and that the team is playing well.”Finally the Big East discovered the causal relationship between those two ideas, awarding Lorenzen tournament defensive most valuable player honors for her play in the three Irish wins. Not surprisingly, Lorenzen was surprised – not because she wasn’t used to winning awards, but because she thought her teammates deserved it.”I felt like it could’ve been someone like Jill,” she said, “because a lot of the time the back line’s job is a lot easier because of the pressure put on by the midfielders and the front line.”Spoken by a true team player – but one who also knows firsthand the roles played by those in front of her.During her sophomore year, she switched between defender, midfielder and forward. She started 21 games during the championship run, scoring three goals and assisting on four others. Irish coach Randy Waldrum praised her superior athleticism for her versatility in 2004. During the past two years, she has combined that with a “good smart game of soccer,” as she’s settled in at center back as the team’s general on the field. Now that Dew is out for the season with an injury, that leadership has never been more valuable.”Kimmy’s vocal. She’s not afraid to get on somebody on the field,” Waldrum said. “She’s also smart enough to understand if someone’s not performing the way they need to be, she knows the personalities well enough to know if [she] needs to put [her] arm around them and say ‘it’s gonna be OK’ and calm down. That’s a hard thing to get a leader to do.”More importantly, she holds herself to the same standards. Up 4-1 against Rutgers in the waning moments of Sunday’s Big East championship game, a ball came to the back line that caused miscommunication between Lorenzen and keeper Kelsey Lysander. After contemplating heading the ball back to Lysander, she hesitated before taking the ball herself. But she lost control of it in front of the net, where Rutgers forward Kim Mineo picked it up and scored. Though the goal proved inconsequential, Lorenzen said she understands the extra responsibility that rests on her shoulders as the anchor of a back line that is playing without the Big East defensive player of the year.”It bothered me a lot actually,” she said. “I know it was the end of the game and we were up. But to me, at the end of the game when there was a breakdown, I could’ve done something differently to prevent that goal. Looking back on that, its not that I’m really stressed about that, but our communication going into this tournament has to be better. Any let down like that can make a difference in the game.”That attitude is what Waldrum and the Irish will miss next year.”If you look back on the success of our team the past four years when you look at a common denominator its Kimmy Lorenzen,” he said. “When you go back and look at our players and you start to rate how they were during their careers and you look back at our record with her in the lineup, it kind of answers all the questions about what she does for us.”For those keeping score at home, the Irish are 37-1-1 the past two years when Lorenzen has played. And regardless of who notices, the only thing she cares about is finishing 6-0. “At the end of the day,” Waldrum said. “Kimmy would be one of those that would say, ‘Don’t give me anything. Let me win another national championship.'”To Lorenzen, there couldn’t be a greater post-season honor.