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ND Women’s Soccer: Tournament trials

Deirdre Krasula | Monday, September 1, 2008

She shifted the ball to her right foot and from 15 yards out Erica Iantorno buried a goal in the top right corner of the net, taking with it the frustration of multiple missed opportunities. The sophomore’s unassisted goal late in the first half widened No. 4 Notre Dame’s lead to 2-0 in its victory over No. 21 Santa Clara Sunday. The shutout marked the second Irish win of the weekend having already beaten Loyola Marymount 4-0 in the first game of the Inn at St. Mary’s Soccer Classic last Friday.

It looked like the Bronco’s might follow up with another win after last year’s 7-1 crushing of the Irish as Jenny LaPonte got the first shot of the game. But from that moment on the Irish dominated play. Despite maintaining dominance in their own offensive half, the Irish struggled to put the ball away, as was evident of their first fluke of a goal. In the 16th minute of the first half, Michele Weissenhofer blasted a shot in the right channel that Bronco keeper Meagan McCray knocked down. But the force of Weissenhofer’s rocket deflected the ball into Bronco’s defender Dani Potts for a self-goal against Santa Clara. The goal was just one of many offensive chances for the Irish.

“I thought we had some opportunities that we should have capitalized on and could have even broke the game open even more,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said.

Even though the scoreboard didn’t reflect it as clearly, the Irish dominated offensively edging Santa Clara 21-5 in shots and 11-2 in shots on goal.

Despite struggling to put the ball in the net, the Irish dominated play in every aspect of the game. Anchoring the Irish win was a strong four-man, zone defense led by senior captain Carrie Dew. With a strong defense in front of her, goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander only had to make two saves.

But it’s not just the defense’s ability to shut down their opponents that makes them one of the Irish’s greatest assets.

“The other thing that’s so good about the backs, is we attack a lot with our backs,” Waldrum said. “So Elise Weber and Julie Scheidler on the flanks really get up and down and add another dimension to our attack.”

But Weber, and Scheidler aren’t the only players capable of taking on that role. The Irish boast a deep and healthy roster with players able to step up and fill the shoes of veteran players like Dew and Kerri Hanks.

“The fact that we’re deep, we’re able to rotate a lot of players and you get kids, you know everybody expects Kerri Hanks to be great and she is, and Brittany Box and Michelle Weissenhofer and they are, but then you turn around and you have players life Erica Iantorno who’s been great for us so far this season, scored some big goals for us this season, and that’s key,” Waldrum said.

And having a squad full of players capable of starting doesn’t hurt when temperatures reach well into the 90s like they did Sunday. Waldrum points to the fitness of his team for their ability to withstand the heat and thinks it will carry over when they travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday.

“The physical condition that we’re in is I think getting better and better since pre-season,” Waldrum said. “But I also think that we’re deep enough that we can rotate a lot of players … When you’ve almost got two teams that you’re rotating in and out it helps keep you fresh.”


u Hanks scored her sixth career hat trick against Loyola Marymount, tying Jenny Heft’s school record.

u Hank was named the tournament’s offensive MVP, Dew was named defensive MVP, and Lysander was named Most Valuable Goalkeeper.

u The tournament win marked Notre Dame’s 12th tournament victory.