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Friday, March 1, 2024
The Observer

ND Women's Soccer: Bock, Cinalli agree to switch positions for good of squad

At halftime of Notre Dame's 3-1 win over West Virginia Sept. 29, Irish coach Randy Waldrum made a lineup change that would alter the course of the season.With his squad down 1-0, Waldrum switched sophomore Brittany Bock and junior Amanda Cinalli on the field, sending Bock to forward and Cinalli to midfield.The adjustment worked like a charm, netting Cinalli a goal and earning Bock an assist as the Irish came back to win.Notre Dame had practiced the switch, which has since become permanent, the week before playing the Mountaineers. Waldrum thought each player's skill set better suited the new positions. Bock has been able to handle the ball further downfield and pass it to fellow forwards Kerri Hanks and Michele Weissenhofer."A lot of the plays have been through me, to have me try to hold the ball and distribute it," she said.Meanwhile, Cinalli was able to take advantage of her field awareness and ability to use her head."There are a lot of skills that are different in midfield versus playing up front." Cinalli said. "You have to win a lot of balls in the air, you have to be able to see the field, and you have to make plays and switch the point of attack."Still, there were some growing pains."When we first practiced it, I didn't know what to do," Bock said.Eventually, the sophomore figured it out. Since the switch, she has scored seven goals and assisted on three more."I like playing up front," she said. "I get to touch the ball more."Cinalli has also been productive offensively, with four goals and two assists in significantly fewer scoring chances than she got while playing up front."As long as the team's getting scoring opportunities, I'm okay with that," Cinalli said.She's has also had to adjust to the defensive side of being a midfielder, a change she said came easily because Waldrum runs all players, regardless of position, through the same defensive drills."Our team is always good on defense," Cinalli said. "Everyone works at it, so it wasn't something new."With the move, Bock is now playing next to Weissenhofer, her former teammate at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Ill."I would always be finding [Weissenhofer] on through balls, even when we were a lot younger," Bock said of her high school days. "It's been a bit different being with her up front. She's been a forward her entire life and I'm just sort of learning."Although the position switch disrupted their normal soccer routine, Bock and Cinalli said their relationship with each other has not been damaged.And Cinalli's midfield play, Bock said, has made the forwards look good on several occasions."I love Cinalli to death. She's one of the hardest working players ever," Bock said. "We know she'll win the head ball, we know she'll look for us up top, and she'll make runs of her own."