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Women’s Soccer: Augustin shines for Irish

Bill Brink | Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Notre Dame’s recent success has come at a time when two of the team’s most prolific scorers are struggling with injuries.

Senior forward and captain Amanda Cinalli missed her third straight game Sunday because of a hamstring injury, and sophomore forward Michele Weissenhofer played just over half the game because of a recent ankle injury.

And yet, during their current six-game winning streak, the Irish have averaged 3.7 goals per game. Twice they have scored at least five times, and only once have they scored less than three.

Part of the offensive production is due to junior forward Brittany Bock, who has a five-game goal streak and nine total goals during those games. But with Cinalli out and Weissenhofer seeing limited playing time, freshman forward Rose Augustin shoulders a larger burden.

Augustin has started four games this season, against Stanford, DePaul, Penn State and Cincinnati, averaging between 30 and 40 minutes off the bench when not starting. She had a goal against both Cincinnati and Syracuse, but did not score until Notre Dame’s 5-0 victory over Villanova Sunday. Although Augustin played only 38 minutes off the bench against the Wildcats, she scored two goals and had an assist.

Irish coach Randy Waldrum said Augustin wasn’t ready for the rigors of college play when she first arrived on campus.

“She was used to sitting in the box and waiting for the ball to come to her,” Waldrum said. “We needed her to get more touches, and if they weren’t there, to create more touches.”

The coaches talked to her about finding ways to get the ball and create scoring opportunities, Waldrum said, and she has since become a much better player.

Waldrum said Augustin’s improvement in attacking the ball was the main reason her role increased in the absence of Cinalli and Weissenhofer.

“She’s really done a good job of attacking the ball,” Waldrum said.

The “very low-maintenance” Augustin was even-keeled when forced to accept a new role, he said.

Eventually, Weissenhofer and Cinalli will return, but Waldrum said having too many good players is a dilemma he is used to and prefers.

“I’ve coached both sides, and I’d much rather have too many good players than too few,” he said. “It’s a good coaching problem to have.”

Waldrum said Cinalli and Weissenhofer will play when they return, but they must perform well.

“When Weissenhofer comes back, she will play, but she’ll have to challenge Augustin,” he said. “You have to go with the player who’s hot.”

After she notched five points against the Wildcats, it is clear Augustin is just that.