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ND Women’s Soccer: Lysander dominant in Irish net

Deirdre Krasula | Thursday, September 25, 2008

A total of two goals eight games into the season isn’t something to brag about – unless you’re Irish goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander.

The junior garnered the starting keeper spot for the 2008 season and has proved she deserved it, leading top-ranked Notre Dame to six shutouts and allowing only two goals in its so far undefeated season.

Lysander played behind goalkeeper Lauren Karas, who graduated last spring, as a freshman and sophomore, and rather then letting her nerves take over, she’s stepped up and into the starting position.

“I think the difference between this year and years past is that her confidence is extremely high right now, she’s playing that way and I think she’s got the confidence of the team and she’s been strong in everything she’s been able to do,” assistant coach Dawn Greathouse said.

The junior has turned her game from being strictly a shot stopper to an all-around keeper. And her consistency as an all-around keeper has proven itself as the season has progressed helping the Irish maintain a perfect 8-0 record.

“It’s really just being consistent on the little things and then also being able to pull out the big game winning save, and I think she’s been able to do that and she has done that,” Greathouse said. “And when you’re able to do those things it really radiates to the entire team and it sets a tone and a mentality and I think that has a lot to do with how well the team has done overall when you have that kind of confidence in your goalkeeper, you just play that much stronger, and I think our defense as a whole feeds of that mentality.”

And Lysander knows she’s gotten better with time.

“Every aspect of my game has gotten better has gotten sharper,” she said. “Handling definitely was a big thing, just catching the ball cleanly and coming out on crosses, and just being a presence in the box.”

But Lysander points out she’s had help in front of her. The Irish defense, led by senior captain Carrie Dew, has kept opponents’ shots on goal to a minimum. In their 3-1win over Penn State, the Irish allowed only four shots on goal, and Lysander came up with three saves.

“The defense is absolutely amazing, they make my job a million times easier than it should be,” Lysander said. “They don’t even let shots get off.”

But Lysander deserves credit for the saves she has made – ones where she’s come off the line to turn the game around.

“She’s been able to pull out some great saves and be consistent and that’s all we ever ask of our keepers, and she’s really stepped up into that role,” Greathouse said.