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ND blanks Central for eighth win of the season
Notre Dame and Central were at opposite extremes of an optical illusion Tuesday night.
While shooting at a goal the same size, Notre Dame seemed to have a decidedly bigger target.
The final score, 4-0 in favor of Notre Dame, seemed to support the illusion.
"Everything just went in for us," Notre Dame sophomore left winger Amanda Dirnberger said. "That's just how it goes."
Dirnberger had a big hand in the illusion with two long-range goals and two assists. Sophomores Sierra Ellis and Kristen Boos also had goals for Notre Dame (8-2-1).
Central (6-5-1), meanwhile, lost its second straight game by a 4-0 count. All five losses have been shutouts.
The Tigers' frustrations hit a peak when Notre Dame goalie Katie Palmer preserved her fifth shutout of the season by stonewalling Kate Miller on a breakaway late in the game.
"We can't finish," Central coach Tom Doyle said. "That was one of my concerns coming into the season. We don't have a proven goal scorer."
The win was also the third in a row for the Bulldogs.
"We're finally coming together," Notre Dame senior Emily Worley said. "It's fun when everything's meshing. This is probably the best we've ever played in my four years."
Dirnberger provided the only goal of the first half when she took a pass from Sara Berkbigler and sent a long shot from the left side over the head of goalie Megan Kistner and into the top right corner of the net 14 minutes into the game.
"Her placement was perfect in top of the back corner," Notre Dame coach Jeff Worley said. "There aren't very many goalkeepers that are going to be able to save that ball."
Her second goal was of the same variety and capped a pretty play in which Lauren Mehner made a nice play in the center of the field to keep possession for Notre Dame in Central's end, tapping the ball outside to Megan Holloway, who sent the ball deep into the corner to Dirnberger. Dirnberger sent another long crossing shot over the outreach of Central goalie Natalie Followell.
"She's kind of like her brother," Jeff Worley said. "I guess it runs in the family. They just know where the goal's at and they seem to find it."
Dirnberger's older brother, Chris, graduated in 2000 and fell just short of establishing the boys' single-season scoring record. Amanda has five goals and five assists this season after being slowed by a broken foot her freshman year.
"I try to follow in his footsteps," Dirnberger said. "He taught me a lot about soccer."
Ellis scored between Dirnberger's goals, giving Notre Dame a 2-0 lead just three minutes into the second half. Ellis, off a pass from Dirnberger, unleashed a hard shot from outside the top of the box that found the upper right side of the net.
Dirnberger's goal came nine minutes later. In the 70th minute, she sent another long shot into the goal mouth that bounced away from Followell and was kicked in by Boos.
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