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ND Women’s Soccer: Odds in their favor

Bill Brink | Friday, November 9, 2007

Notre Dame has to like its prospects in Morgantown, W.Va., where it will play Georgetown today in the Big East tournament semifinals.

The Irish lead the all-time series against the Hoyas 13-1-0. In those games, Notre Dame (14-4-1) scored 82 goals, while Georgetown (14-6-0) has just seven. Notre Dame is 11-0 in conference play this season, while Georgetown is just 6-5. And the Irish beat Georgetown 3-0 on Oct. 12.

For the freshmen that play regularly, the pressure of their conference win streak accustomed them to the demands of the postseason.

“It’s definitely exciting, but we’ve been taking every game like a championship game this season anyways, so it’s not really much of a change,” freshman defender Julie Scheidler said.

Scheidler and the rest of the freshmen are part of an Irish program that is formidable in the Big East tournament. In the semifinals alone, Notre Dame is 10-1-0, averages 3.9 goals per game and allows 0.27 goals per game. The Irish take 11.3 shots on goal per game and allow 1.7 per game on defense.

Junior forward Kerri Hanks has eight goals and six assists in 11 Big East tournament games, and senior forward/midfielder Amanda Cinalli has eight goals and two assists in 17 games. Senior keeper Lauren Karas is 4-0-0 with a 0.22 goals against average in the Big East tournament.

Still, Irish coach Randy Waldrum cautioned against taking the game lightly.

“Looking back at the video, they had a couple of good chances early against,” Waldrum said. “They are much improved; they’re well coached. It’s not going to be an easy one at this point.”

Freshman midfielder Ingrid Wells leads the Hoyas with six goals and 13 assists.

“I think [Wells] will probably be the Big East rookie of the year,” Waldrum said. “She’s a girl we recruited; unfortunately we didn’t have enough scholarship money for her.”

Wells could give the Irish trouble, Waldrum said.

“She’s kind of the key to their team,” he said. “She’s somebody we’ve got to pay attention to.”

Waldrum said sophomore forward Toni Marie Hudson, who “has some pace” and senior midfielder Sara Jordan will also cause Notre Dame problems.

After losing to Louisville at home to end the regular season, Georgetown defeated Connecticut in the quarterfinals to advance. Wells converted a penalty kick late in the second half to give the Hoyas the 1-0 victory.

Notre Dame extended its win streak to 11 when it defeated Rutgers 2-0 Sunday. Hanks had a penalty-kick goal, her 16th in postseason play, and a corner-kick assist in the game. Hanks passed 2005 graduate Katie Thorlakson to earn the school record for postseason goals.

The streak and success against Georgetown have not affected the way the team approaches the game. Focusing only on the Hoyas is “kind of more just assumed,” Scheidler said.

“We all know that we need to take care of business and focus on our first game,” Scheidler said.

At this point, Scheidler said, the Irish need to remember what they prioritized this season: the next game.

“We need to take it like every other game and just put everything on the line,” Scheidler said. “I think as long as we play our game nobody can really stop us.”


u Junior Brittany Bock and senior Ashley Jones are under consideration for Academic All-America honors. Both were named first-team Academic All-District players by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

The group also awarded senior Susan Pinnick and sophomore Amanda Clark second-team Academic All-District honors.