Wren's chirp leads to ND win

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Notre Dame's Kelsey Westrich didn't see teammate Anna Wren as much as she heard her during Tuesday's game.

There wasn't a St. Vincent defender near Wren, so she started calling for the ball.

"I screamed her name as loud as I possibly could, and that cross was amazing," Wren said. "We really all pulled together at the end. We knew we had to win. We had to pull it together at the end."

Wren didn't miss as she scored the game's lone goal, with 5 minutes, 13 seconds left in the second overtime, to lift the Bulldogs past the Indians in a showdown of two of the area's top girls soccer teams.

"When I heard her scream and yell, I looked up and saw her," Westrich said. "I just kind of went with it and crossed it instinctively."

It was a perfect pass, which put the pressure on Wren. She said she almost prefers to have a defender on her to alleviate some of the pressure.

"When it's you and the goalie, you've got so many things going through your mind," she said. "I'll say it, I'll miss the goal plenty of times. It's probably harder to shoot the ball with you and the goalie than with someone on you. You've got 10,000 things in your head — where to put it, put it here, put it there. If you touch it any different way, it will go out. It's really hard."

Wren tried to simplify scoring, but admitted there's an element of luck involved.

"It's instinct," she said. "You need to put yourself on the ball and hope to God it goes in."

Wren is only a freshman, but she already has established herself as a goal-scoring threat for the Bulldogs (13-1). Notre Dame coach Jeff Worley was thankful that his team's top scorer had the ball on her foot with the game on the line.

"I have a lot of confidence in Anna," Worley said. "She's leading the team in goals. She's one of the top scorers in the area. Her and Mindy Siebert both, they have shown they can finish those. They're not going to make every one of them. If it was that easy, there would be a lot more doing it."

The two teams played to a scoreless tie through regulation and the first 10-minute overtime session. Notre Dame had the best chances in the first overtime, but couldn't convert. And each time the Bulldogs threatened, the Indians (13-4) thwarted the attack.

"We just tried to make sure we were in better position and go as hard we can for the final 10," St. Vincent coach Dustin Wengert said. "No one wants to end it in a shootout. I know Jeff didn't want to from Notre Dame. We just tried to go a little bit extra hard and make a final push for the last 10."

The longer the game stayed scoreless, the more of a mental and physical toll it took on the players, Westrich said. She was thankful she could be part of ending the contest because she was running on empty.

"What's going through my head is, `Oh my gosh, we've got to score," Westrich said. "I want to get out of here. I'm so tired. Everyone's so down and wants to get out of here. So getting that was icing on the cake. It was brilliant. Anna's goal just topped it all off."

Worley admitted that he put extra emphasis on Tuesday's game because the Indians and Bulldogs both are in Class 1 District 1.

"I'm really treating it as a playoff game," Worley said. "We have the district seed meeting on Saturday. We've done very well to make our case for the top seed, but if we don't get things done today, St. Vincent can make a case for themselves."

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