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Big East win streak reaches six straight

Fran Tolan | Monday, October 15, 2007

Irish junior forward Brittany Bock, the reigning national player of the week, scored a pair of goals in each of Notre Dame’s wins this weekend – over Georgetown and Villanova.

“[Bock] has been an All-American in her first two years, and she’s having that kind of a season,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said.

The victories ran Notre Dame’s winning streak to six games and its conference unbeaten streak to 31 contests.

“It was another great weekend for us,” Waldrum said. “We’re sitting pretty high in the Big East. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Notre Dame 3, Georgetown 0

Georgetown had the first shot of the game Friday, but the Irish dominated the remainder of the contest. The Hoyas did not register another shot – or any on goal – as the Irish kept the ball out of their defending third of the field for most of the contest.

Bock put the Irish on the board in the 21st minute when she headed a throw-in from Michelle Weissenhofer from the top of the penalty area into the left side of the net.

“Brittany’s great at playing the ball in the air,” Waldrum said. “She gives us a great physical presence.”

Less than ten minutes after the break, sophomore midfielder Courtney Rosen ripped a shot past Hoyas goalkeeper Jackie DesJardin into the right side of the net. Irish senior forward Susan Pinnick and junior forward Kerri Hanks picked up assists on the play.

Bock gave the Irish one more insurance goal when she one-timed a pass from freshman forward Erica Iantorno past the helpless DesJardin. Iantorno and senior midfielder Ashley Jones, who initiated the play with a pass from the center of the field, earned an assist.

Two Notre Dame keepers, senior Lauren Karas and sophomore Kelsey Lysander, combined on the shutout, but neither had to make a save behind a squad that possessed the ball for the majority of the contest.

Notre Dame 5, Villanova 0

Bock and freshman Rose Augustin each notched two goals and an assist as Notre Dame handed Villanova its worst loss since 1998 on Sunday.

The Irish scored five times on Wildcats senior goalkeeper Jillian Loyden, last season’s Big East goalkeeper of the year.

The first half was physical, as Villanova repeatedly fouled the Irish and surrendered free kicks just outside the Wildcats’ penalty area. The Irish converted one of those kicks late in the first half. Hanks was tripped up in front of the Wildcats bench on the right sideline, and she launched the ensuing free kick into the middle of the box. There, Bock broke free of her defender to head the ball past Loyden.

“If teams want to play physical, we are built to do that,” Waldrum said. “I thought we responded very well to [the physical play].”

The Irish scored on another Bock header with 7:34 remaining in the first half.

Bock flicked a long pass from junior defender Elise Weber toward the net and Loyden appeared to grab it. But the ball slipped through her hands and trickled into the back of the net.

But Villanova did not give in, notching six shots on goal in the first 20 minutes of the second half. The Wildcats had recorded just one shot in the entire first half, but got off 12 in the second.

“Villanova always has good teams and they really put us to the test,” Waldrum said. “Even being down 2-0, they never quit.”

Despite the Villanova pressure, the Irish defense and Karas kept their shutout intact. Karas has not yet surrendered a goal in seven Big East games this season.

The Irish padded their lead with three goals in the final nine minutes of play.

Senior midfielder Ashley Jones scored at the 81:20 mark, and Augustin tallied the final two scores to put the game out of Villanova’s reach.