Sept. 27, 2006
Hello Cardinal Soccer Fans!
It's been interesting past 8 days in the Ville. On Friday night we took on the Blue Demons of DePaul. After dominating play for the first 45 minutes and getting two goals from Jen Avila, we entered the locker room up 2-0. Ominous weather started to roll in just as we kicked off the 2nd half. At the 63:00 minute mark, the skies lit up with lightening and the game was suspended. We were only 7 minutes from the game being official! (games must reach the 70th minute mark in order for the result to stand) After a 3 hour delay, a deluge of rain, 30 MPH winds, and more lightening than I've ever seen, the game was called.
Saturday we traveled to South Bend to take on top ranked Notre Dame. After a light training session Saturday evening and an authentic Italian dinner, we headed to the Marriott for some final preparations. Sunday we awoke to cool temperatures and an overcast Indiana sky. At 1:00 the match kicked off. We dealt with their pressure very well, generating a few chances of our own. At the 73:00 mark, the game was scoreless. Holding ND scoreless for 73 minutes was an accomplishment that only a handful of teams have done in the past several years. We gave up a foul which resulted in an Irish goal off of the free kick. With time winding down, we pushed forward trying to get the tying goal. Notre Dame countered and sealed our fate with their second goal of the day. Our back four, as well as Joanna Haig in net, deserved a great deal of credit for the job they did. They were outstanding against one of the most dangerous offenses in the country.
Tuesday afternoon was the replay of the rained out DePaul game. Four hours before kickoff, the NSCAA National Rankings were released. For the first time ever in the NSCAA poll, the Cards were ranked nationally. The target on our backs had grown larger.
As a coaching staff, we were concerned that the team would be overconfident, after dominating the 63 minutes a few days earlier. An early goal by Monique Gjini at the six minute mark was just what we needed. Fifteen minutes later Jen Avila netted one on a beautiful pass from Gjini. We were not nearly as sharp as we would have liked, but had restored the 2-0 lead from the Friday night game. One minute into the second half Avila hit the crossbar, as we peppered the DePaul goal. Our third and final goal came with 22 minutes to play, when Craft chipped the keeper from 25 yards out. Our back line was once again very good, limiting DePaul's quality chances to only one or two. Gjini was outstanding on the day. Her work rate and playmaking were unmatched by anyone on the field. Not our best performance of the year, but still 3 points in one of the toughest conferences in the country...St. Johns and Syracuse, up next...