Notre Dame defeats Central in shootout

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Notre Dame goalie Shelley Frank hasn't been involved in too many shootouts during her soccer career.

The senior estimated that before partaking in one Monday against crosstown rival Central, she hadn't been in the situation since the sixth grade.

It was hard to tell Monday as Frank made a strong save to her right during the shootout session. She also recorded 10 saves overall against the Tigers to help the Bulldogs to a 2-1 road victory.

"I think they're fun," Frank said. "As a goalie, you kind of have to like them. Otherwise you're putting yourself in a negative situation and you're not going to do well."

The win marked the second time in two meetings that the Bulldogs (14-2) beat the Tigers (7-10) this season. Notre Dame won 1-0 in double overtime April 9.

Frank has been having a strong season, allowing about one goal per game.

She has been Notre Dame's starting goalie since right before the playoffs last year, taking over for then-senior keeper Claudia Brauss, who was injured.

"She's been real solid back there," Notre Dame coach Jeff Worley said. "She has a lot of confidence. It never hurts when your goalkeeper is not afraid to get dirty. She likes the challenge. She likes to be challenged back there. And we knew she was going to do well."

Frank said she has been helped by the strong defense in front of her this season. That again was the case Monday against the Tigers.

"Our team has really started to step it up," Frank said. "Our defense, since the first Jackson game, has really stepped it up. They've been pushing harder. They've been marking up and they've been clearing it out, which makes my job easier. I don't have to touch it. In the first half, I touched the ball three times."

Junior defender Alex Fowler said about the defensive effort: "We just had to stay up and make sure our confidence level didn't go down. And we had to keep pushing it up and pushing it up and keeping it on their end. ... Shelley is awesome. Without Shelley, we'd be nowhere. She's great back there."

The Bulldogs jumped ahead 1-0 on a goal by sophomore Meghan Dohogne with about 16 minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the first half.

Central knotted the score 1-1 with a little less than 10 minutes remaining in the contest on a goal by Haley Pilsner.

"Haley Pilsner had an excellent shot," Frank said. "She went [David] Beckham on us. ... There was nothing I could have done off that. ... She went over our wall."

After two scoreless 10-minute overtime periods, the game went into a shootout, which Notre Dame won 3-1.

Central's lone goal was by Pilsner, who was the first to shoot in the session. She placed it to Frank's left-side.

Frank said after missing the first shot against her, she tried to refocus.

"It was a good shot," Frank said. "I just had to get ready for the next one, just got to prepare."

Notre Dame scored its first three kicks, which were by Courtney Luehmann, Anna Wren and Taylor Sanders.

Central's Laura Lusk attempted the Tigers' second shot, kicking it wide to the right of the net. Frank then stopped the third attempt, which was by Heather Deisher.

"A lot of goalies say to look at the player and try to read where they are going," Frank said, discussing the save. "I don't do that. I just look straight at the ball and follow the ball in. ... Mainly it's reflex."

Central's fourth attempt was taken by Danielle Markhart, who hit the crossbar.

"We played hard," Central coach Tom Doyle said. "I think we controlled a good part of that second half. And then we were rewarded with a free kick, and we put it in the back of the net. And again after that, both teams had chances.

"They [Notre Dame] are probably going to be a No. 1 seed, and we've taken them to double overtime twice. So I don't feel bad about that. Hopefully we'll learn from it tonight and we'll grow."

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