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Irish Complete Undefeated Brazil Trip With 3-1, 3-0 Wins

Aug. 16, 2004

CAMPINAS, Brazil – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team wrapped up an undefeated slate of preseason exhibitions (5-0-1) during its training trip in Brazil, closing the competitive phase of the trip on Monday with wins at SESA Stadium over Astra (3-1) and Guarani (3-0). The Irish – who again fielded split-squad lineups, with some players appearing in both games – finished the six-game schedule with a 16-3 scoring edge, with top scorers on the tour including senior Candace Chapman (4 goals, 1 assist), junior Katie Thorlakson (6A) and the freshman duo of Jannica Tjeder (3G-2A) and Ashley Jones (2G-3A). Monday’s first game was the highlight matchup of Notre Dame’s visit, with Astra producing several players who currently are in Athens competing with Brazil’s Olympic team. The Irish scored their quickest goal of the tour in the fourth minute of play, with Tjeder one-timing a pass from Thorlakson. Tjeder later set up the eventual gamewinner when she was taken down in the box, with a late goal from Chapman sealing the hard-fought win. The second game saw sophomore Lizzie Reed drive home a shot from 30 yards late in the first half, with her classmate Nikki Westfall then saving a penalty kick in the early moments of the second half. Yet another sophomore, defender Christie Shaner, later scored her second header goal of the trip and Chapman again capped the scoring to end the highly-successful series of games. Other goalscorers during the trip included sophomore forward Becky Tweneboah (1A), junior forward Maggie Manning, sophomore outside back Kari Kennedy, junior midfielder Annie Schefter and sophomore forward/midfielder Lizzie Reed. Sophomore midfielder Claire Gallerano (3A) joined Thorlakson and Jones in setting up several Irish scored, with senior midfielder Sarah Halpenny and freshman forward Amanda Cinalli also picking up assists during the trip. Westfall combined with junior Erika Bohn and freshman Lauren Karas in allowing just three goals over the three games (the goals scored vs. Westfall came on a PK and free-kick miscommunication, with Bohn not allowing a goal during the trip). Game recaps follow below, as do quotes from head coach Randy Waldrum and assistant coach Dawn Greathouse. Look for photo galleries from these games (and the trip as a whole) later in the week. GAME 5 (Notre Dame 3, Astra 1) – Astra opened the game in a defensive posture, hoping to gauge Notre Dame’s system and tactics, but the Irish stunned the homeland team by scoring in the 4th minute … Cinalli set the sequence in motion by carrying the ball into the attacking third, angling in from the left side … Cinalli played the ball to Thorlakson and the junior forward quickly sent the ball back to the left, perfectly leading Tjeder into the far side of the box … Tjeder then took the pass in stride and struck a crossing shot into the right side of the net (giving her three goals in ND’s last five scored) … Schefter nearly scored minutes later, taking a corner kick near the top of the box and ripping a shot that was saved as the `keeper dove to her left … Astra tied the game in the 11th minute after a looping pass into the left side of the box … a player ran onto the ball and volleyed a shot off sophomore defender Kim Lorenzen and over Karas (her only goal allowed in roughly 180 minutes of action in Brazil) … minutes later, Lorenzen drove a rightside free kick to the right post and freshman midfielder Jones snapped her header try wide left … in the 41st minute, Shaner struck a leftside free kick and Cinalli flicked a shot from 10 yards that was saved by the Astra `keeper … the Irish had another strong chance two minutes later, when Tjeder took a pass and worked down the right side before crossing the ball to Thorlakson at the far left post (her one-timer was saved from point-blank range) … the Irish scored several goals during the trip in the final minutes of the half and claimed a 2-0 lead in the 44th minute vs. Astra … Thorlakson delivered a strong throw-in from the left side and the ball skipped to Tjeder, who broke free into the box and was taken down by a hard tackle (Schefter then put back her penalty kick, knocking the rebound off the `keeper at the right post) … Astra had a chance to score again on another long ball into the left side but Karas charged out to force a corner kick in the 51st minute … minutes later, Karas sent a long punt and Tjeder one-timed a leftside chip from 20 yards that clanged off the crossbar … senior Mary Boland later sprung Tjeder up the middle in the 61st minute, forcing a corner … in the 65th minute, Thorlakson’s leftside corner led to a head sequence from Shaner, Tjeder and Cinalli (over the bar) … Cinalli then played the ball into Thorlakson in the 72nd minute (wide right) … Chapman shot wide right in the 82nd minute but scored two minutes later, taking a feed from Thorlakson and scoring inside the near left post. GAME 6 (Notre Dame 3, Guarani 0) – Gallerano sent a long 11th-minute cross into the right side of the box and her classmate Molly Iarocci had a strong chance but her shot was right at the `keeper … minutes later, Gallerano served a leftside free kick and Manning sent a header off the crossbar … Reed then sprung Iarocci down the middle of the field in the 27th minute but her crossing shot was wide right … five minutes later, Gallerano’s leftside free kick was headed by her classmate Jill Krivacek wide left … Reed scored yet another last-minute goal for the Irish right before halftime, taking a pass from Gallerano and scoring in the run of play on a sharply struck ball from 25 yards that whipped over the `keepers head … Guarani was poised to tie the game in the 54th minute, after a player was taken down in the left side of the box – but Westfall used her excellent reactions and dove low to her left, making the save and gathering in the rebound to preserve the 1-0 lead … Gallerano’s left-flank serve found Krivacek’s head again in the 66th minute (over crossbar) … Gallerano finally picked up an assist with a cross from the left side, with Shaner heading the ball down from 10 yards out for a 1-0 lead in the 82nd minute … ND fittingly added one more late goal when Chapman scored in the 88th minute, with passes from Tjeder and Jones delivering the ball at the top left corner of the box (she then spun and placed her shot into the left side of the net). Postgame Comments From Notre Dame Assistant/Goalkeeper Coach Dawn Greathouse – “I think it’s going to be awesome having three `keepers this year. Last year, it was tough because Erika was not even able to train. It will be good for the development of each player. … Erika [Bohn] is doing great. She’s back to full form [after missing spring season due to ankle injury] and we’re very excited about what she is going to bring to the team. All three of them came in as great `keepers and my job is just to help fine-tune various aspects and point out things as we go. … For Nikki [Westfall], the key thing has been her desire to get better. She is an extremely hard worker and has a great attitude about everything. Anything you ask her to do, she is going to try. She always comes early and puts in the time and has achieved the results because of that and I’ve been very proud of her. It was tough for her last fall, not being able to play that much and it can be hard to maintain that passion and work with that much effort. She really gained a lot of confidence last spring and summer and when you finally get those minutes, it makes you a better `keeper. The confidence that you have in yourself and that your team has in you really builds you up. And our team has that confidence with all three of our `keepers right now. There aren’t many places where that is the case. … All three have worked on little aspects and we had talked to all of our players going into the summer about working on little things that you can improve on, like goal kicks and punts. Those are things you always can improve on. … Saving the PK was great for Nikki, because she has not had a lot of chances to make a play like that in a key moment. I tell them not to guess but to react. She handled it well, pushed it away from the goal and was able to make the save after that. … Lauren [Karas] has stepped in and done very well. All three are doing great and only time will tell what will happen in the end. Playing for the [W-League’s Fort Wayne] Fever was great for Lauren. For her to gain experience with players on our back line that makes her more comfortable and confident. … I love Notre Dame, it’s such a great family and that includes the coaching staff. We have learned a lot from one another. I have a new-found respect for what Randy [Waldrum] does as a head coach. It’s a lot tougher than people think it is, a lot administratively. But Notre Dame is a classy institution and there’s a lot that goes into it from the ground up and everybody gives their heart and soul into it – with all of the administration. That family atmosphere is what makes it work so well. … The biggest thing I’ve been trying to learn, especially from Randy, is patience. You are so used to, as a player, just getting things done and seeing results. Now you are on the outside looking in. Coming into a program like this, the players’ level already was so high. When you are here with such great athletes who are so dedicated to the game, it’s awesome and they actually teach me a lot.” Postgame and Trip Overview Comments from Head Coach Randy Waldrum – “Looking back at Saturday, when we played our third and fourth games of the trip, the second game was close to the end and then Candace came off the bench and broke it open (3-0). She has been through so much with her [ACL] injury and to see her come back and get a couple of goals was nice. In the other game on Saturday (5-1), that was our first game where that top group played well collectively. It was good to see putting some of the freshmen with the veterans. … One of the things we are hearing from the opposing coaches is that athletically we are so much farther along. Physically, late in the games, we were superior athletically and they also don’t expect the American kids to come over and play as well as we did. When we broke open the games with goals at the end, we kind of broke their spirit. … The women’s teams here have a different pregame warmup. Every team came out with 10 just minutes to go and then kicked it off and played pretty well. Today, their tactics were to sit back because they heard about our other games and they wanted to see what we would do and then make their adjustment. And they were shocked that we were able to score on them early when they were trying to be more defensive. It was huge for us to get that first goal. … We didn’t have too many bad performances over the course of the six games. It was great to see how the freshmen can fit in. You expect good things from the established veterans but we also had kids like Miranda Ford, Molly Iarocci, Jenny Walz, Kate Tulisiak and Claire Gallerano playing with such confidence. When you get bonuses like that where they are playing so well, we found out that our depth is going to be tremendous. … Even though Mary Boland and Katie Thorlakson did not score any goals on this trip, they still were instrumental in setting up the other goals. What that shows you is that we are going to have a lot more weapons this year, if we were able to score all of those goals without any from Mary or Katie. … Ashley Jones is just a bundle of energy for 90 minutes. She can serve a ball and hit a ball left and rightfooted equally well. That’s a great thing to see. We also like her versatility, she can play anywhere. … Claire has been a huge bonus and had a great spring. She is going to find herself a lot of playing time this year. She really has come on well and has taken well of things physically. Today was by far her best game. … We may have found ourselves some more problems, in a good way. We have so many options at so many positions, it may take us a while longer to sort out a weekly lineup. But the plus side, even in the big games down here, is that we were able to play a lot of players and looking ahead to the season we would be able to keep the top players fresher because we can go deeper earlier in the big games. Managing the team when you have a lot of good players is not always an easy thing to do. … Our 2000 team that came down here to Brazil and ended up being ranked #1 was an older team, a senior-dominated team and any comparison needs to be made a year or two from now. The maturity of that 2000 team was better but this team has greater depth. … Candace’s rehab was a little bit more difficult than some of the others but it was great to have her back and one of the things we’ve been trying to figure out is where she can be most effective. She is one of the best backs in the country but also showed that she can score goals for us. … When you move people around, it breaks the rhythm a bit. Those are the things you have to do in preseason to see who will gel a little better. … Nikki [Westfall] today played great, saving the PK when the game was 1-0 and she made two other top saves. But she has made great strides since the spring. I’ve never had three `keepers as good and as close in performance as these three. We have to make the kids understands, because we play so many games in a short period of time, that some may have to sacrifice some minutes to help keep the team fresh. … The only thing we have done is evaluate the actual players and where they can play, and many of them can play in more than one place. We’ve got a bundle of options at every position. The biggest thing to sort out is who will play and connect well with what other players. More of the reserves have proven that they can play in the big games. … We knew that this trip would be good for team-building and that it would force them out of their comfort level but the players have sort of created a new comfort level here in Brazil, just being around one another. I don’t think they want to go home. They have enjoyed it here a lot. Starting last year, with those 10 freshman in 2003, that’s the big thing they brought to this team is that camaraderie and got some of the older players to open up a little bit. And then the four freshmen this year have come in and been veterans in every aspect, both playing-wise and the way they conduct themselves off the field. … As long as the players continue to understand that it’s the best to the team to keep players coming in and out, knowing that at the end of the season we will be stronger and healthier. If we can keep that part going, it will be a great thing. That goes back to managing players, which may end up being our hardest job as a coaching staff.”