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Suffocating Defensive Effort Leads Second-Ranked Irish To 2-0 Win Over #5 West Virginia.

Oct. 3, 2003

Box Score

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Mary Boland scored just 84 seconds into the game and Kimberly Carpenter added an insurance goal on a corner-kick sequence early in the second half as the second-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team threw constant pressure at No. 5 West Virginia in a 2-0 game that was not nearly as close as the final score would indicate. The game was the BIG EAST Mid-Atlantic Division opener for both teams, with the Irish pushing their BIG EAST home winning streak to 45 games (dating back to 1995).

Notre Dame (10-0-1) – which is unbeaten after 11 games for the sixth time in the last 13 seasons – racked up a 17-2 shot edge while limiting West Virginia (9-2-0) to just one shot on net, a harmless lob from 40 yards out. The dominant Irish defense now has allowed a total of just 11 shots on goal in the last eight games and just 27 in the 11 games, with a 42-5 overall scoring edge and just one deficit faced all season (for seven minutes in the third game, versus Arizona State).

The Irish seemingly dominated nearly all of the game’s possession, stringing together passes to create scoring chances for frontrunners and backs alike. And virtually every ball that ended up on the foot of a WVU player was quickly contested by a swarm of Irish players, with the forechecking forward trio of Boland, senior Amy Warner and sophomore Katie Thorlakson providing plenty of pressure in their own right and even tracking back into the midfield and the defensive third at times to help squelch any developing chances.

Senior central defender Melissa Tancredi assisted on Notre Dame’s quickest of the season with a long service from the right side, near midfield. Boland – who has sparked the Irish offense with 10 goals this season, after scoring just three as a freshman in 2001 and four last season – sprinted free into the penalty box area and executed a skillful volley shot, knocking the ball at nearly shoulder level and lobbing home the goal into the upper right side of the net (1:24). Goalkeeper Lana Bannerman was caught off her line and mistimed her jump as Notre Dame converted yet another quick-strike score.

Warner was possibly the player of the game, buzzing all over the field to lead the pressuring Irish presence. Warner set up the second goal after speeding away from the West Virginia defense and forcing a leftside corner kick. Katie Thorlakson then lifted the ball to the far post and Tancredi deflected the cross to her left, with Carpenter stepping in for the volley and her third goal of the season (53:14).

NOTES: All seven of Tancredi’s points (2G-3A) have come in the last three games … Boland set and ND record with six goals in the first three games of the season, then went four games without a goal and now has found the net in each of the last four … ND held a 9-2 corner-kick edge until the final minute, when WVU tacked on two more corners … the Irish are 121-8-2 in their last 131 home games … ND now is one of just four unbeaten teams left in Division I women’s soccer (the others are top-ranked UNC, Oklahoma State and Princeton) … ND improved to 69-7-2 in BIG EAST regular-season games … the Irish are 26-8-2 during the past four seasons (’01-’03) when facing an NSCAA top-25 or postseason opponent … ND has scored in the first seven minutes in five of 11 games this season … sophomore G Erika Bohn is 19-1-1 in her last 21 starters with the Irish, allowing just 10 goals in that stretch … ND dropped its season goals-against avg. to 0.45, within range of the team record set in 1997 (0.36) … the Irish now own a 23-3 first-half scoring edge and have allowed just 20 first-half goals in the last three seasons (spanning 53 games) … ND’s all-time record at Alumni Field improved to 143-12-2 … Warner drew her 53rd consecutive start while fifth-year defender Vanessa Pruzinsky logger her 83rd career game and 81st start with the Irish.

West Virginia (9-2-0, 0-1-0 BIG EAST) 0 0 – 0

Notre Dame (10-0-1, 1-0-0 BIG EAST) 1 1 – 2

ND 1. Mary Boland 10 (Melissa Tancredi) 1:24; ND 2. Kimberly Carpenter 3 (Tancredi, Katie Thorlakson) 53:14.

Shots: WVU 1-1 – 2, ND 6-11 – 17.

Corner Kicks: WVU 0-4 – 4, ND 4-5 – 9.

Saves: WVU 9 (Lana Bannerman), ND 1 (Erika Bohn).

Fouls: WVU 11, ND 19.

Offsides: WVU 4, ND 4.

Yellow Card: Katie Thorlakson (ND, 2) 50:31.