Nov. 11, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the 21st consecutive season, the No. 23/16 Notre Dame women’s soccer team (11-7-1) has earned a berth in the NCAA Championship. The Fighting Irish received an at-large bid to the tournament, with Notre Dame beginning its journey towards the program’s fourth NCAA title at 7 p.m. ET Friday, when it plays host to Big Ten Conference tournament runner-up Iowa (15-6-1) at Alumni Stadium.
Tickets for Friday’s NCAA Championship first-round match against the Hawkeyes will be available by contacting the Notre Dame Murnane Family Ticket Office by phone (574-631-7356) or in person (Gate 9 in the Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion) from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays. Fans also can order tickets online through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets, or they may visit the ticket windows at Alumni Stadium on Friday night.
“We are thrilled to have earned a bid to the NCAA tournament for the 21st year in a row, not to mention the chance to be at home in front of our terrific Notre Dame fans for at least one more game,” Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We played the toughest schedule in our history with nine ranked teams out of our 19 games played, and we have dealt with a lot of adversity, which has only made a stronger and more focused team going into the postseason.
“Iowa has had a fantastic season and is well-deserving of their spot in this year’s tournament,” he added. “They made a terrific run through the Big Ten Tournament and beating Penn State twice in one season, not to mention Michigan in the Big Ten quarterfinals, is enough to open your eyes right away. Ron (Iowa head coach Ron Rainey) and his staff have done an outstanding job in making Iowa one of the Big Ten’s top programs and we are going to have a challenge on our hands when they come in here Friday night.”
Much as they did last year when they advanced to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals, the Fighting Irish enter the 2013 NCAA Championship as one of the nation’s youngest teams, featuring 18 underclass players (including eight freshmen), and only three veterans (all seniors) from their 2010 national championship squad. Notre Dame finished fifth in its first season in the rugged Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) with a 7-5-1 record, including a 1-0 win at top-ranked North Carolina and a 5-0 victory over No. 21/22 Maryland, as well as a 1-1 draw with No. 13/11 Wake Forest. The Fighting Irish also have had several close calls this season, with six of their seven losses decided by one goal (four in double overtime), and in each case the winning goal was scored in the final 11 minutes of regulation or overtime.
At the other end of the pitch, Notre Dame features a balanced offensive attack with 14 different players scoring a goal (most since 2008) and 17 separate players notching a point this season. Included in that group are five players with at least four goals to their credit, led by junior forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) who tallied a team-high seven goals (including three match-winners) and 18 points this season, and rookie midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H./Milford), who was named ACC Freshman of the Year last week after collecting five goals (including three match-winners) and five assists this year.
Andrews, who also was a second-team all-ACC and ACC All-Freshman Team selection, was among three Fighting Irish players who received postseason honors from the conference last week. Sophomore forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) earned first-team all-ACC honors (her second consecutive first-team citation after a similar award in the BIG EAST Conference last season), while senior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit) was an all-conference choice for the third consecutive season, taking home third-team all-ACC honors.
The past nine years have seen the NCAA shift to a different seeding system for the tournament, abandoning the format where there were 16 national seeds that were assigned number 1-16. The current format has four seeds (listed 1-4) in each of the four quadrants of the bracket. Notre Dame is unseeded in its portion of the bracket, with ACC regular-season champion Virginia (20-1-0) the No. 1 seed in the Fighting Irish quadrant, BIG EAST champion Marquette (18-3-0) the second seed, Big Ten regular-season runner-up Michigan (15-3-1) the third seed and Big Ten third-place finisher Penn State (14-6-1) the No. 4 seed. Should the Fighting Irish advance, they would be in line for a possible second-round match against Marquette on Nov. 22 in Milwaukee (the Golden Eagles play host to Western Michigan in a first-round contest), with Michigan the next-highest seed among the four teams on the other side of the Milwaukee sub-regional (the Wolverines host Wisconsin-Milwaukee in round one, with a potential second-round match on tap against the winner of the Illinois State-Louisville contest).
This is the third year that the NCAA Championship has featured its current scheduling format, with 32 campus sites hosting first-round matches this weekend. The remaining teams then will move on to next weekend’s action, which features second- and third-round contests on Nov. 22 & 24, also on campus at the highest remaining seeds in that portion of the bracket. The quarterfinals then will be played during the weekend of Nov. 29-30, also at the highest remaining seeds.
The 32nd annual NCAA Division I Women’s College Cup will be played Dec. 6 & 8 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
The Fighting Irish also are one of eight ACC teams selected for this year’s NCAA Championship, joining top seeds Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech, as well as Boston College, Duke and Wake Forest in the 64-team field.
Iowa is making its first-ever trip to the NCAA Championship in the program’s 17th year of existence. The Hawkeyes started very well this season, winning their first eight matches, before a midseason stumble. However, Iowa righted the ship down the stretch, starting with a 3-2 win over Penn State on Oct. 25 and riding that momentum all the way to the Big Ten Tournament championship match, defeating PSU a second time in the semifinals, 1-0. The Hawkeyes’ run to the title would end one win (and one goal) short in the tournament final, with Nebraska edging Iowa, 1-0 to take the crown.
Although Notre Dame and Iowa have met regularly during the spring season, the two sides have never squared off in the fall campaign, either during the regular season or postseason.
The Fighting Irish have had a great deal of experience against Big Ten opponents in the NCAA Championship, going 14-2 against that conference in the postseason, not counting three wins against Nebraska in the late 1990s before the Huskers joined the Big Ten.
This season, Notre Dame and Iowa have played just one common opponent — Illinois. The Fighting Irish defeated the Fighting Illini, 4-1 in their season opener on Aug. 23 at Alumni Stadium, while Iowa dropped a 2-1 decision to Illinois on Sept. 27 in Champaign, Ill.
Notre Dame owns a 2-6-1 record this season versus teams in the 2013 NCAA field, earning a 1-0 win at top-ranked North Carolina on Sept. 15 and a 3-1 win over Boston College on Oct. 24 at Alumni Stadium. In addition, the Fighting Irish picked up a 1-1 draw with No. 13/11 Wake Forest on Oct. 3, also at Alumni Stadium. It should be noted that of those six losses, four came at the hands of top-seeded teams (Virginia, Florida State and Virginia Tech) and five came by one goal, four in double overtime (3-2 at Virginia on Oct. 10, 2-1 vs. Duke on Oct. 20, 2-1 at Florida State on Oct. 31, 2-1 at Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship quarterfinals on Nov. 2) and the fifth on a goal with 3:45 left in regulation (1-0 at Virginia Tech on Oct. 13).
The Fighting Irish have a 62-17-1 all-time record (.781) in NCAA tournament play, including 45-3-0 (.938) in NCAA matches at home. Notre Dame has earned three NCAA titles (1995, 2004 and 2010), joining North Carolina as the only three-time champions in the history of the tournament, and the Fighting Irish have finished as the NCAA runner-up five times (1994, 1996, 1999, 2006 and 2008), as part of their 12 NCAA College Cup berths (also semifinalist in 1997, 2000 and 2007), all since 1994.
With this year’s selection, Notre Dame also extends the second-longest active streak of consecutive NCAA Championship berths with 21, trailing only North Carolina (32) in that category, and ranking as the third-longest run of its kind in the tournament’s 32-year history (Connecticut had a 26-year NCAA postseason bid streak from 1982-2007). Starting with Notre Dame’s first NCAA postseason appearance in 1993, the Fighting Irish and UNC remain 1-2 in virtually all tournament appearance records — round-of-16 trips since 1993 (UNC-20, ND-17), quarterfinals since 1994 (ND-15, UNC-15), College Cup berths since 1994 (UNC-14, ND-12) and title match appearances since 1994 (UNC-12, ND-8; no one else with more than three).
For more information on the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDsoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director