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ND Women’s Soccer: Still rolling

Deirdre Krasula | Monday, September 29, 2008

They stepped off the field at the end of the first half with a 2-0 lead over Cincinnati, but the Irish were nowhere near done Sunday. Kerri Hanks notched the first goal for Notre Dame, followed by freshman Melissa Henderson in what proved to be a rough and gritty first half. The Bearcats tried to stop Notre Dame from gaining any sort of rhythm by pulling shirts and racking up nine fouls in the first half.

“It wasn’t that they were overly physical or more physical than us, it was just that they were more disruptive,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “Every time you would beat a player off the dribble they were pulling your shirt or they’re fowling you and they just never let you get a rhythm.”

But that only fed Notre Dame’s fire and the Irish came out running in the second half.

Henderson scored her second goal of the game in the 71st minute, followed four minutes later by Courtney Rosen. And just 33 seconds later Henderson buried her third goal, giving the freshman her first career hat trick.

With three goals within five minutes of each other, the Bearcats knew who they were dealing with.

“We came out with a much higher level of intensity, and even though the first half, we had the game handled, and they were never really dangerous, it was just one of those things that I think we needed to come out and make sure we stepped up the intensity level and make them try to match that and they couldn’t match the depth and they couldn’t match the intensity level once we really got it going in the second half.”

Haley Ford put the final Irish goal in the net to give Notre Dame the definite 6-0 conference win.

Sunday wasn’t the only conference win the Irish picked up this weekend. The Irish ticked off Louisville 4-1 at home Friday night.

Hanks posted her second multi-goal game of the season, scoring twice. The Irish came out early as Hanks converted a cross from Julie Scheidler within the first 20 minutes of play. Notre Dame had the 3-0 lead at half time, and despite posting a strong first half, struggled a little in the second – something Waldrum attributes to the fact that in-conference teams know each other well.

“The teams in conference just know each other so well, and you know their personnel and they know yours and their tendencies, and that makes it more difficult just that familiarity,” he said.

Louisville’s Shannon Smyth got the first goal of the second half, but the Irish responded in under a minute. Hanks got her second goal of the game to secure Notre Dame’s win at 4-1.

Courtney Barg and Erica Iantorno notched the other two Irish goals. Barg was the fourteenth goal scorer for the Irish this season.

“It gives you so many more weapons to choose from,” Waldrum said of the team’s versatility. “They all are a little different type players so it makes it very difficult for the opponent to mark.”