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ND Women’s Soccer: Roaring back

Fran Tolan | Monday, October 6, 2008

When Marquette scored first and put the host Irish in a 1-0 hole Sunday, the Golden Eagles woke the sleeping giant that is top-ranked Notre Dame.

The Irish (12-0-0, 5-0-0 Big East) responded to the goal with two of their own in the ensuing four minutes of play. Senior co-captain Brittany Bock notched both scores in that span as Notre Dame came from behind for a 3-1 win.

Senior forward Kerri Hanks picked up a goal and an assist in the victory, making her Notre Dame’s all-time leader in points with 213. The triumph was the second of the weekend for the Irish, who had also taken down South Florida 3-0 Friday. At halftime of that contest, Notre Dame celebrated the women’s soccer program’s 20th year by welcoming over 40 alumnae back to campus.

“You definitely wanted to make sure you win when you bring your alumnae back,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “We had so many key alumnae back … You want to put out a product you can still be proud of so [the two wins] made it a very, very good weekend for us all the way around.”

After Notre Dame could not capitalize on its many chances early in the game against Marquette, Golden Eagles forward Danielle Martens broke the deadlock in the 60th minute. But the Irish, who were visibly angry after the goal, stormed back to take a 2-1 lead.

“We just [said], ‘Let’s settle it down, we got it,'” Hanks said. “And two minutes later we got a goal, so we couldn’t have asked for a better way to come back and respond. We did great and after we scored that first one, we knew we’d come back and win. It was just a matter of time for us.”

Bock’s first goal capped off a run by Hanks down the left side of the field. Hanks stopped near the Marquette end line and sent a pass to Bock at the top of the penalty box. Bock, who had just one goal coming into the game, took one dribble to her right then launched a shot into the top right corner of the net over the outstretched hands of Marquette goalie Natalie Kulla.

Hanks said she was able to find Bock because the two seniors are so comfortable playing with each other.

“We’ve played together all four years so we feed off each other very well. So I couldn’t ask for a better person to share my experience at Notre Dame with … ” Hanks said. “She knows how to finish and she did great today.”

Bock beat Kulla again less than two minutes later when she headed home a flip-throw from junior forward Michele Weissenhofer.

“She’s so good in the air and she’s so physically strong,” Waldrum said of Bock. “There’s just not many players in the country that can handle her and they couldn’t today.”

Hanks added an insurance goal on a penalty kick in the 88th minute.

The win over South Florida Friday was not as tough as the come-from-behind effort against Marquette.

Freshman forward Melissa Henderson scored her ninth goal of the season in the 20th minute to put the Irish ahead for good. Notre Dame did not allow the Bulls to take a shot on goal en route to the easy victory.

What’s more, Waldrum said the resiliency his team showed against Marquette reminded him of the attitude of his 2004 national champion Irish squad.

“I don’t think there’s many teams that would respond with things going against them like that,” the coach said. “It reminds me an awful lot of the ’04 team that won the national championship … It’s the same mentality that that team had. It’s just, ‘We’re gonna win.'”