Sophomore forward Erica Iantorno has turned into Notre Dame's version of 'The Microwave', heating up quickly once she comes into the game to the tune of a team-high four assists and two goals this season.

#4 Irish Blank #21 Santa Clara To Win Inn At Saint Mary's Classic Title

Aug. 31, 2008

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Sophomore forward Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) scored an important insurance goal late in the first half and the Notre Dame defense did the rest, as the fourth-ranked Irish defeated No. 21 Santa Clara, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the 16th annual Inn at Saint Mary’s Soccer Classic at Alumni Field. It’s the third consecutive shutout for Notre Dame to open the 2008 season, marking the first time since 1995 (and just the fourth time in program history) that the Irish have begun a season with three clean sheets.

Notre Dame also wins its home tournament for the 12th time since the event first was contested in 1992. Senior All-America forward and Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) was named the tournament’s Offensive Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row following her sixth career hat trick Friday night against Loyola Marymount (which tied Jenny Heft’s school record for career hat tricks, contrary to earlier reports which had Hanks surpassing Heft’s mark). Senior defender Carrie Dew (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon) earned the Defensive Most Valuable Player award, and junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) took home the Most Valuable Goalkeeper honor. In addition, junior midfielder Courtney Rosen (Brecksville, Ohio/Hathaway Brown) and senior defender Elise Weber (Elk Grove, Ill./St. Viator Academy) joined the aforementioned trio on the all-tournament team.

The Irish (3-0) turned in a dominating defensive performance in Sunday’s title game against Santa Clara (2-1), holding a 21-5 edge in total shots, including an 11-2 advantage in shots on goal, with just one of those on-target shots coming in the final 82 minutes. Lysander was called upon to make two saves in collecting her first solo shutout of the season (and second of her career), after she split the first shutouts of the season with sophomore netminder Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate). SCU goalkeeper Meagan McCray turned in a strong performance for the Broncos and likely kept the margin from getting any worse, finishing with nine saves.

With the memory of last year’s 7-1 loss at Santa Clara still fresh in their minds, the Irish came out focused against the Broncos, but the visitors dictated the tempo in the game’s early moments, getting their first shot on frame when Jenny LaPonte rolled a shot in on Lysander from the top of the box at 7:14. From there, Notre Dame was in almost complete command, as Hanks started the offensive push at the 13:48 mark with a 22-yard whistler from the left flank that McCray did well to save.

Moments later, the Irish got on the board in unusual fashion. Rosen sprang junior forward Michele Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) on a well-delivered pass into the right-side channel, with Weissenhofer getting in alone on McCray and rifling a left-footed blast from 12 yards out that the SCU ‘keeper knocked down. However, the shot came with such force that the rebound caromed directly back at the feet of Bronco defender Kathleen Matthew, who couldn’t get out of the way and the ball rolled into the net for an own-goal at 16:26. It marked the third time in as many games this season that Notre Dame has scored in the first 17 minutes of play.

The Irish kept the pressure on, and like a boxer looking for the knockout blow, they jabbed at the SCU defense during the next 15 minutes with shots from Weber and Rosen that McCray saved, and crosses from Iantorno and Weber that narrowly missed connecting with sophomore forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) and senior forward Brittany Bock (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley), respectively.

Iantorno finally came through with the insurance goal nine minutes before halftime. The second-year Irish attacker pounced on a loose ball at the top left edge of the area, beat one defender and drilled a 15-yard shot into the middle of the right-side netting for her second goal of the season and a 2-0 Notre Dame lead at halftime.

The Irish had several chances to extend the margin in the second half, beginning with sophomore midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit), who had a breakaway with less than four minutes gone, but her low shot skipped wide of the left post. Bock then made a bid for her first tally of the season, soaring high to get on a cross from freshman forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner), but Bock’s header sailed wide. Henderson had a pair of chances of her own, running on to Bock’s flick header in the box, and later cutting back from a right endline run to snap off a 10-yard shot at the near post, but McCray was equal to the task on both occasions.

Santa Clara registered its lone shot on goal in the second half at the 64:57 mark when Kiki Bosio squeezed off a left-footed shot from the top right edge of the area that Lysander was able to corral without further difficulty. Meanwhile, Hanks had a good look at several scoring chances in the closing minutes, including a run down the right side and a 15-yard strike that was ticketed for the upper right corner of the goal, were it not for McCray making the stop.

Notre Dame now heads out on the road for the first time this season, traveling to Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday and Sunday for the Carolina Classic. The Irish will take on No. 2 North Carolina (the tournament host) at 7 p.m. (ET) Friday at Fetzer Field, before facing 16th-ranked Duke at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday. Notre Dame defeated both squads in the NCAA Championship last season, downing the Tar Heels, 3-2, in a round-of-16 game at Chapel Hill, and then returning home to edge the Blue Devils by the same 3-2 score in the NCAA quarterfinals to send the Irish to the NCAA College Cup final weekend for the ninth time in 14 seasons (and third time in four years).

— ND —

POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame improves to 9-5 all-time against Santa Clara, including a 6-1 record at Alumni Field … Sunday’s shutout was the first for the Irish over the Broncos since Dec. 3, 2004, when Notre Dame posted a 1-0 win in the NCAA College Cup national semifinals at Cary, N.C. (ND would win its second national title two days later in a penalty kick shootout over UCLA) … the Irish have started their season with three consecutive shutouts for the fourth time in program history and the first time since the 1995 national championship season, when they reeled off a school-record eight shutouts to begin the year; the only other times Notre Dame has opened with three consecutive clean sheets were 1991 (one of which was a scoreless tie at Dayton) and 1994 … in their first three games this season, the Irish have outscored their opponents, 13-0 (leading for 244:39 of a possible 270 minutes), and have allowed a total of just 13 shots, including only five shots on goal … Notre Dame is the first team to shut out both of its foes at the Inn at Saint Mary’s Classic (or its predecessors) since Portland in 2002 (2-0 vs. Clemson, 1-0 vs. #6 ND); the Irish are the only other team to pull off that feat, doing so in 1995 (3-0 vs. Michigan State, 2-0 vs. #3 Stanford) and 1998 (3-0 vs. Indiana, 3-0 vs. #25 Wake Forest) … Notre Dame moves to 75-22-4 (.762) against NSCAA Top 25 opponents in the 10-year Randy Waldrum era (since ’99) … the Irish now are 288-0-1 all-time when taking a 2-0 lead, and Notre Dame is unbeaten in its last 265 games when going in front 2-0 (dating back to a 3-3 tie with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991; in fact, the past 178 opponents to face a 2-0 deficit against the Irish have failed to even force a tie, something that only two opponents have ever managed to do: Duke on Oct. 17, 1993 (3-2 ND win in Houston) and Connecticut on Nov. 10, 1996, in the BIG EAST final (Irish led 2-0, later 2-2 and 3-3, ND won 4-3) … further research indicates Hanks is the fourth player to register a hat trick in an Inn at Saint Mary’s Classic game and the first since Katie Thorlakson in 2004 (5-2 win vs. #4 Santa Clara); others to pot three goals in a Classic game were Rosella Guerrero in 1993 (5-2 win vs. SMU) and Jenny Heft in 1998 (in the 3-0 win over Wake Forest) … Hanks also had three goals in the ’05 Classic, becoming the second player to notch three goals in the entire Inn at Saint Mary’s Classic tournament on two separate occasions — Thorlakson did the honors in 2004 and 2005 … Hanks (2007, 2008) and Thorlakson (2004, 2005) are two of the three players in tournament history to be named Offensive MVP at least twice, joining three-time winner and four-year Irish All-America midfielder (as well as 2000 Hermann Trophy recipient) Anne Makinen (1997, 1998, 2000) … Erica Iantorno had four points in her entire freshman season (on four assists), but has logged five points (2G-1A) in her first three games this year … Notre Dame continues to go deep into its bench this season, with 18 players seeing action against Santa Clara (including four freshmen, three of whom started).

Carolyn Blank, Jr., M, West Virginia
Kiki Bosio, Jr., F, Santa Clara
Carrie Dew, Sr., D, Notre Dame
Kerri Hanks, Sr., F, Notre Dame
Tiffany Harrison, Jr., D/M, Loyola Marymount
Megan Mischler, So., F, West Virginia
Kelsey Lysander, Jr., GK, Notre Dame
Lexi Orand, Jr., F, Santa Clara
Kendra Perry, So., M, Santa Clara
Courtney Rosen, Jr., M, Notre Dame
Elise Weber, Sr., D, Notre Dame

Offensive MVP: Kerri Hanks, Notre Dame
Defensive MVP: Carrie Dew, Notre Dame
Most Valuable Goalkeeper: Kelsey Lysander, Notre Dame