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ND Women’s Soccer: ND drops game in OT

Kelsey Manning | Monday, September 26, 2011

Until 18 seconds into overtime against No. 14/15 Marquette on Sunday, no member of the 2011 Irish squad had experienced a collegiate season with more than four losses. But with a quick Irish turnover and a Marquette goal seconds later that secured a 3-2 win for the Golden Eagles, Notre Dame (4-5-2, 1-2-1 Big East) faced defeat.

Irish coach Randy Waldrum expressed his disappointment with yet another close loss this season.

“We played too well to lose and I feel so bad for the kids because they really had a lot of fight in them,” Waldrum said. “We played so much better than [we did] against South Florida the other night. And it’s a shame that we can’t seem to get that part right. We deserved a lot better today.”

Waldrum was particularly pleased with the play of junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox who posted a career-high six saves, and freshman defender Sammy Scofield, who played big minutes in the back for the Irish.

“The positive for me coming out of it is that Sammy Scofield actually got a lot of minutes for us and played really well,” he said. “She’s a freshman for us and she looked like a player that was recruited. You want your freshmen to start to step up now and she did a really good job for us, so I thought that was a real positive today.”

On the other side of the ball, Waldrum made a couple of key changes before the game, including moving senior defender Jess Schuveiller to midfield. It paid off as Schuveiller netted a goal off a pass from fellow senior defender Ellen Bartindale in the 72nd minute to send the game into overtime.

Notre Dame’s other goal came from senior forward Melissa Henderson, who evened the count at 1-1 with her league-leading 11th goal of the season.

Yet for all their efforts, the Irish failed to close out the game once again. And once again, Waldrum cited small mistakes and mental lapses that cost them in the end. This time, the mistakes began early, forcing the Irish to play from behind for the remainder of the contest.

“It was the same thing today,” Waldrum said. “Right from the opening kickoff we make a mistake, get beat down the flank, we don’t get the ball cleared properly and we’re down 1-0, 30 seconds into the game. So now we’re fighting back again.”

Though the Irish fought back from behind with goals from two of their three captains, and strong play by the defense forced the extra session, another mental lapse at the opening whistle of overtime allowed Marquette (10-2-0, 3-1-0) to get the best of them.

“We told them at the break right before overtime began: when we kick the ball off — because we had the kickoff — play it long and deep into their end of the field and let’s let Henderson try to run onto it,” Waldrum said. “And it was wet and it was rainy and I thought that if we dump it into their end of the field, then maybe we can at least have that psychological edge that we were on top of them, instead of going backwards and giving them the edge.

“So we had that all planned and we came out right from the kickoff, and instead of playing it long like I told them, they played it short and we lost the ball. We lost it right there at midfield and as we started to put people forward. They counter-attack us with us not being in a good defensive posture and they score a goal 18 seconds into the overtime and we lose.”

Though Waldrum said he continues to have faith in his team, he also recognizes that time is running out.

“I still think this team is going to be good at the end,” he said. “We just need to still believe that even though we’re off to a bad start by our standards, we still have time to salvage this and make it a really good year for us and still make a run deep into the NCAA tournament. But we’re running out of weekends to do that, so we can’t keep saying that every week and not getting the result. We have to somewhere get the break to go our way.”

Waldrum maintains that despite the numbers, his team still has the potential to come back.

“I do think we showed some signs today of actually fighting for each other,” he said. “We don’t look anything like a team that has given up by any means. So I still believe that; I still think we’ll be there at the end.”

The Irish will return home Friday to try to make the turnaround against Big East opponent Connecticut.

Contact Kelsey Manning at [email protected]