Keeper sparkles, Notre Dame Prep ties No. 1 Catholic Cubs rally twice to draw, but Lessner stops 24 shots

Girls soccer

October 03, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Notre Dame Prep goalkeeper Emily Lessner won't soon forget this week.

The junior made 42 saves as the Pirates shocked the area's top two teams within three days.

Yesterday, she stopped 24 shots to preserve a 2-2 tie with No. 1 Catholic, the fourth-ranked team in the nation. That came after an 18-save effort in Tuesday's 3-1 upset of No. 2 Mercy.

"These were the best two games of Emily's life," said NDP coach John Cussan. "We've worked on her becoming more active and moving off her goal line. She had a couple one-on-ones [yesterday] and came out on the kid. She was able to slide through and get the ball."

Lessner's effort was especially remarkable, because she faced a constant second-half barrage in yesterday's Catholic League A Division match at Herring Run Park.

Although the Cubs (11-0-1, 6-0-1 in the league) kept the pressure on, they never had the lead.

"They're used to passing," said NDP midfielder Deena Lattanzi. "We broke that up, and they got frustrated. We're scrappers. We might not be the finesse team that Catholic is, but we never give up."

The Pirates (3-4-1, 2-4-1) scored first when Jill Matusky took a pass from Lindy Zaicko and shot a low ball past Cubs keeper Corrine Butcher.

Cubs striker Becky Bieneman tied it later in the half on a cross from Alison Healey.

In the second half, the Pirates struck in five minutes. Lattanzi, who had three assists against Mercy, chipped a direct kick over the wall from 40 yards out and Candice Rovecamp scored.

Lessner and Pirates defenders Meredith Potempa, Erica Eaton, Kim Singleton and Lisa Weitzel held off the Cubs' barrage until the final five minutes.

Bieneman, an All-Metro second-team striker, again tied it -- this time on sheer determination. She took a pass from Healey down the right side, beat Weitzel and shot off the near post.

The Cubs, who have beaten six ranked teams, had trailed only twice this season -- 1-0 to IND and John Carroll. Both times, they came back with a three-goal spurt, but yesterday, they struggled for the tie despite taking 30 shots.

"We were not meant to win this game," said Catholic coach Jerry Dieter. "We had open-net chances -- about six of them. Allison Merkle had a breakaway and there was nobody in front of her, and she fell down -- just a misstep. It was not meant to be."

Dieter, whose Cubs had beaten three Top 10 teams last week by a total score of 10-0, said, "I don't think any team can be on all the time. Sooner or later, there's a letdown. Maybe this will take some of the pressure off."

Pub Date: 10/03/97

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