Irish see Big East title at weekend conference tourney
By KEVIN BERCHOU
The last time the Eagles of Boston College were in town to take on the top-ranked Notre Dame women's soccer team, the Irish found themselves in an unfamiliar position — behind.
The Eagles were flying high on Oct. 13 and gave the Irish a scare.
Junior midfielder Meghan Moore scored early to give Boston College the 1-0 lead, marking the first time Notre Dame had trailed all season long. The Irish rallied for the victory, but as the Eagles prepare to touch down for a Friday night Big East tournament semifinal showdown, Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum is anticipating a difficult rematch.
"They're a great team," Waldrum said. "They did a great job defensively on our forwards. They were very physical. I think they could be one of the best teams we've faced all year."
The Irish attack quelled in the first meeting figures to receive a boost for the rematch.
Freshman Amy Warner will play in her third consecutive game after missing the first game with an injury to her right knee. Warner, however, will not start, as she continues to play her way back into shape.
Instead, Waldrum will go with a front line of Meotis Erikson, Amanda Guertin, and Ali Lovelace, all of whom are dangerous in the open field.
"We have to do a little bit more offensively," Waldrum said. "We'll bring Amy in off the bench for a boost, but I think our starters are certainly capable of establishing things early."
Patience will also be a key if Notre Dame is to return to its seemingly annual place in the conference finals. In the first meeting against the Eagles, the Irish did not do a good job controlling the ball. Instead of waiting for opportunities to develop, they were too quick to fire off shots.
"Certainly we have to hold the ball a bit longer," Waldrum said. "We just need to take advantage of the chances we do get."
Charged with halting the refueled Irish attack is Eagle goalkeeper Courtney Schaeffer, who is a leading candidate for first team all-conference honors. Schaeffer has displayed an uncanny ability this season to make clutch saves. Her play could be an x-factor.
"She's one of the best," Waldrum said.
Defensively, the Irish will once again have to contend with the likes of Moore, who put them in the unfamiliar hole that nearly made the first meeting a day of horrors. The speedy Moore is Boston College's bread and butter. She is the go-to player the Irish must contain.
"She's extremely dangerous," Waldrum said. "You just have to know where she is on the field."
The containment plan will be aided by the return of team captain and top defensive player Kelly Lindsey, who will see action in a limited role after missing a month with a strained MCL.
"We're going to try and get her some time," Waldrum said. "Hopefully she'll play some and then we'll go from there."
Should the Irish win tonight, they will face the winner of the Syracuse—Conneticut game Sunday.
All Sports Stories for Friday, November 3, 2000