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Back on track

Joe Meixell | Monday, October 1, 2007

Notre Dame earned victories over Big East foes Louisville and Cincinnati this weekend, helping to ease an early season skid that has seen last year’s national runner-up lose two of its last three games.

“I knew we’d get this thing turned around,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “And this weekend was definitely a step towards that.”

The Irish now have a 5-4-1 overall record, with a 3-0 mark in Big East games.

Notre Dame 1, Louisville 0

Senior captain Amanda Cinalli scored her third goal of the season to give the visiting Irish a narrow win over Louisville.

“I thought we did a pretty good job,” Waldrum said. “Even though we only won by one, it’s a tough place to play. They have a small field and a good team.”

The Irish outshot the Cardinals 12-5 and drew five corner kicks to Louisville’s one in Notre Dame’s first conference game on the road.

“Any time you can get a win on the road in the Big East is a positive,” Waldrum said.

Cinalli’s goal came in the 24th minute after Irish junior forward Kerri Hanks had a shot from the right side of the box blocked. Cinalli gathered the rebound and hammered it into the lower left corner of the net.

Irish senior goalie Lauren Karas had to make just one save in the shutout as the Irish defenders suffocated the Cardinals attackers throughout the match. The defense started two freshmen – center back Lauren Fowlkes and right back Julie Scheidler – as sophomore center back Haley Ford missed her fifth straight game because of a hamstring injury.

“Our back line finally started to settle in,” Waldrum said.

Notre Dame 6, Cincinnati 1

The host Irish ran their Big East unbeaten streak to 27 games as they scored four goals in the second half in a blowout win over Cincinnati.

Cinalli became the 12th Irish player to record 30 goals and 30 assists in her career after notching the helper on freshman forward Rose Augustin’s first-half goal.

Cinalli, who started at midfielder, beat two defenders before ripping a shot that was deflected by Cincinnati sophomore goalie Andrea Kaminski.  

Augustin, who was starting in Cinalli’s normal forward spot, then charged in from the right side of the penalty box to knock the ball home.

Cinalli was bumped back to midfielder to replace sophomore Michelle Weissenhofer, who was slightly injured and entered the game later.

“We moved Rose up, and it was nice for her to get her first goal,” Waldrum said. “She has a great shot and, even though the goal was just a little toe-poke, we’ve been saying we needed to get her some shots.”

With just over four minutes left in the first half, the Irish struck again to take a 2-0 lead into halftime. Junior midfielder Rebecca Mendoza threaded a pass to senior forward Susan Pinnick, who had beaten her defender down the right side of the field.

Pinnick’s first shot was stopped by Kaminski, but she did not miss again after gathering the rebound.

Early in the second half, Hanks scored her seventh goal of the season and the 57th of her Irish career. After streaking down the center of the field and receiving a pass from senior midfielder Ashley Jones, Hanks calmly poked the ball into the right side of the net.

“I was actually surprised by how flat [Cincinnati’s] back line was playing,” Waldrum said. “I knew that if they played us like that in the second half, we could beat them by a lot.”

Bock put the Irish ahead 4-0 when she found the back of the net after a series of deflections in front of the Cincinnati goal.

After Karas, the starting goalkeeper, was replaced by sophomore goalie Kelsey Lysander, the Bearcats scored their only goal of the game.

With just under 13 minutes remaining, sophomore midfielder Melissa Bigg knocked a cross from junior midfielder Lindsey Noteboom past a diving Lysander. The score came after several reserves had entered the game for each team.

“I was a little disappointed because you want to keep your rhythm when you make changes,” Waldrum said. “But, having said that, we came back and got two more goals with that same group.”

Weissenhofer, who is recovering from an ankle injury, entered the game shortly before the goal and responded by scoring the final two goals of the game.

“Today, we weren’t going to play [Weissenhofer] but after getting ahead and getting some of the other players in, we thought we’d get her some time,” Waldrum said. “Obviously, she played well, scoring the two goals.”

Weissenhofer, who scored multiple goals in a contest for the fifth time in her Irish career, now has four goals this season and 22 at Notre Dame.