Sept. 13, 2003
Sophomores Annie Schefter and Katie Thorlakson both scored twice while senior Amy Warner had a part in three of the Irish goals as the second-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team improved to 6-0-0 with Saturday night’s 5-0 win over visiting Western Kentucky.
Notre Dame – which now has outscored its opponents 27-3 this season – broke open the game with a three-goal flurry to start the second half, sparked by the insertion of Thorlakson and fellow forward Maggie Manning. Thorlakson headed in a cross from Manning for the 3-0 lead and knocked home a thru-ball from Warner moments later before being taken down in the box to set up Schefter’s penalty-kick score – as the Irish turned a 2-0 game into a 5-0 runaway in the span of just three minutes and 33 seconds.
The Irish avoided the second-game letdown that has plagued the team in recent years, with Notre Dame actually playing at a considerably higher level in Saturday’s game than in Thursday’s 2-0 win at St. John’s. Notre Dame went just 4-4-0 (outscored 14-12) in the 2002 regular season when playing two days after a previous game but the Irish have turned the tables this season, with a 13-1 scoring edge in second-game situations.
Schefter opened the scoring in the 16th minute, after taking a short throw-in from senior Amanda Guertin and launching a 30-yard crossing shot from the left sideline that ripped into the far right side of the net for her second goal of the season (15:18).
Four minutes later, senior midfielder Kim Carpenter carried the ball into the offensive third and played a pass to her left for the onrushing Schefter. The former U.S. Under-19 National Team midfielder sent the ball into space near the left endline and junior forward Mary Boland swooped in to lift a cross into the box. Warner was unmarked and sent a lunging header over ‘keeper Becky Casper for her team-leading fifth goal of the season and 32nd of her Notre Dame career (19:36).
Notre Dame finished with an 18-3 shot advantage (13-1 in shots on target) while attempting nine corner kicks to WKU’s two, with the Hilltoppers dropping to 2-3-0 in their first-ever game versus the Irish.
Warner’s pass down the right side set off the second-half flurry, with Manning then supplying the endline cross that led to Thorlakson’s sharp header past Kasper for her first goal of the season and fifth of her Irish career (45:50).
Warner – whose team-high 16 points include five goals and six assists – displayed her speed in fine fashion moments later, taking the ball at midfield and angling to her left as the WKU defense tried to keep pace. Warner then cut the ball to her right as she entered the penalty box area, with Thorlakson rushing in from the right side to one-time the thru-ball into the far left side of the net (47:26).
Thorlakson nearly completed what would have been a four-minute hat trick but was knocked off the ball on a hard tackle in the box. Schefter – who had scored on a 20-yard free kick in last week’s win over Oklahoma – then stepped forward to take the penalty kick, depositing a low shot into the right side of the net to complete the scoring (49:23).
Despite the continued absence of injured starters Candace Chapman and Gudrun Gunnarsdottir, the Notre Dame defense turned in another strong showing with senior Melissa Tancredi and freshman Kim Lorenzen filling the central defender spots while fifth-year player Vanessa Pruzinsky and freshman Lizzie Reed have become a solid pair of outside backs. Reed turned in possibly her best all-around game of the season, including a series of skillful runs into the offensive third from her right back position.
NOTES: Since yielding an early goal to ASU on Sept. 5, the ND defense has allowed just one goal in its last 350 minutes of action, with sophomore G Erika Bohn now 17-2 in her last 19 starts with the Irish (with just 13 goals allowed in those games) …the surging ND offensive continues to deliver with great efficiency, scoring once per every 4.5 shots (compared to once every 7.3 shots in ’02) … the Irish also are averaging 4.5 goals per game (2.2 in ’02) … updated season stats include a 121-39 shot edge (20-6 avg.), a 68-20 edge in shots on target (11-3 avg.) and a 37-13 corner-kick edge (6-2 avg.) … the ’03 squad is the seventh ND team to win its first six games (also ’93-’97 and 2000) while the 27 goals represent the fourth-most ever scored by an Irish team at the six-game point, trailing only the potent 1996 squad (37), the ’93 team (31) and the ’95 national-title unit (31) … since ’93, ND now it 34-3-1 vs. teams making their first visit to Alumni Field … the Irish also improved to 66-25-2 in all-time series openers (33-5 since ’93) and 46-8-0 in series openers played at home (19-3 since ’93) … ND now is 192-3-1 (.982) all-time when scoring three-plus goals and 262-8-10 (.954) when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals.
Western Kentucky 0 0 – 0
#2 Notre Dame 2 3 – 5
ND 1. Annie Schefter 2 (Amanda Guertin) 15:18; ND 2. Amy Warner 5 (Mary Boland, Schefter) 19:36; ND 3. Katie Thorlakson 1 (Maggie Manning, Warner) 45:50; ND 4. Thorlakson 2 (Warner) 47:26; ND 5. Schefter 3 (PK) 49:23.
Shots: WK 0-3 – 3, ND 11-10 – 21.
Corner Kicks: WK 2, ND 9.
Saves: WK 8 (Becky Kasper), ND 1 (Erika Bohn 0, Nikki Westfall 1).
Fouls: WK 6, ND 12.
Offsides: WK 0, ND 0.