Forward Michele Weissenhofer (#11) is swarmed by her teammates after her first-half goal (the second in a 14-second span) in last year's 3-2 win at North Carolina in an NCAA Championship third-round game.

#5/4 Irish Set For Showdown With #3/2 North Carolina

Sept. 4, 2008

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2008 ND Women’s Soccer — Game 4
Carolina Classic
#5/4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-0-0 / 0-0-0 BIG EAST) vs. #3/2 North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0-0 / 0-0-0 ACC)

DATE: Sept. 5, 2008
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Chapel Hill, N.C. – Fetzer Field (6,000)
SERIES: UNC leads 9-3-2
1ST MTG: UNC 3-0 (10/15/93)
LAST MTG: ND 3-2 (11/24/07)
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  • Notre Dame is one of only two teams to post more than two wins over North Carolina all-time, going 3-9-2 vs. the Tar Heels.
  • Friday’s game will mark the 12th time in 15 series games that both teams are ranked in the top five of the coaches’ poll.

No. 5/4 Irish Set For Showdown With No. 3/2 North Carolina
After a successful three-game homestand to open the 2008 season, No. 5/4 Notre Dame jumps into the deep end of the pool for its road opener, as it travels to No. 3/2 North Carolina Friday for a 7 p.m. (ET) tussle on the opening night of the Carolina Classic at Fetzer Field. It will mark the first visit for the Irish to Chapel Hill since last year’s 3-2 win over UNC in the third round of the NCAA Championship.

Notre Dame (3-0) rang up its third consecutive shutout to start the ’08 campaign with a 2-0 victory over No. 21/12 Santa Clara last Sunday in the title game of the Inn at Saint Mary’s Classic at Alumni Field. The Irish took the lead on an SCU own-goal, and sophomore forward Erica Iantorno added an insurance tally with nine minutes left in the first half to secure the win.

Once again, the Notre Dame defense stood tall, holding Santa Clara to two shots on goal (one in the final 82 minutes). Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander stopped both of those shots en route to her first solo shutout of the year.


  • Notre Dame is ranked fifth in the latest NSCAA poll and fourth in the current Soccer America poll.
  • North Carolina is No. 3 according to the NSCAA and No. 2 by Soccer America.

A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Notre Dame rolls out one of its deepest teams in years, with 19 monogram winners (including nine starters) back from last season’s squad that went 19-5-2 (11-0-0 in the BIG EAST) and advanced to the NCAA College Cup semifinals for the ninth time in the past 14 years. The Irish also bring back a powerful offensive punch, with 83.3 percent of their goalscoring (55 of 66) returning.

As if that weren’t enough, Notre Dame welcomes a highly-regarded nine-player freshman class to campus, with three of those incoming players having earned multiple national All-America honors during their prep or club careers.

Leading the way for Notre Dame this season are two of the country’s premier front-line players (and ’07 NSCAA first-team All-Americans) in senior forward Kerri Hanks and senior forward/midfielder Brittany Bock.

A three-time All-American and the ’06 Hermann Trophy recipient, Hanks (4G-1A) continues to blaze new trails through the NCAA and Notre Dame record books, having led the nation in assists the past two seasons, and aiming to become the third Division I player ever to log 70 goals and 70 assists in her career (68G-59A entering this weekend’s action). She earned national honors this past week from Top Drawer Soccer (Player of the Week) and Soccer America (Team of the Week) after garnering her second consecutive Offensive MVP award at the Inn at Saint Mary’s Classic with her school record-tying sixth career hat trick vs. Loyola Marymount.

Bock (16G-4A in ’07), one of the Irish co-captains in 2008, emerged as a genuine offensive threat last season, leading the team in goals and finishing second with 36 points. The reigining BIG EAST Co-Offensive Player of the Year, Bock could see time at either forward (where she has spent much of the past two seasons) or midfield (her natural position) depending on other personnel moves.

Another key player for the Irish this season will be senior center back and co-captain Carrie Dew (2G-3A), the 2006 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year who made a successful recovery from an ACL injury late in the ’06 regular season with a solid ’07 campaign. She is the two-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week and was named to the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week after leading Notre Dame to three consecutive shutouts to open this year (the first time the Irish have done that since ’95).

A Quick Look At North Carolina
Like Notre Dame, North Carolina is a consensus top-five team, including a No. 2 ranking in the Soccer America poll and a No. 3 placement by the NSCAA.

The Tar Heels return 24 letterwinners, including eight starters from last year’s squad that went 19-4-1 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Championship. UNC is 3-0 this season following wins over #13 Texas A&M (3-2) and #14 Tennessee (1-0) last weekend at the A&M Invitational. Junior forward Casey Nogueira scored twice and assisted on freshman forward Courtney Jones’ gamewinner against the host school, before junior forward Nikki Washington tallied the only goal in the win over the Lady Vols.

Senior midfielder Allie Long has a team-high six points (2G-2A) for the Tar Heels, while Nogueira (2G-1A) and Washington (1G-3A) have five points apiece. UNC also has continued to use its platoon system in goal, with senior Anna Rodenbough (2-0, 0.00 GAA, 2 SV) and redshirt junior Ashlyn Harris (1-0, 2.00 GA, 2 SV) splitting the netminder duties.

Hall of Fame head coach Anson Dorrance is in his 30th season at North Carolina, sporting a 651-32-19 (.941) career record. He has faced Notre Dame 14 times previously, going 9-3-2 all-time against the Irish.

The Notre Dame-North Carolina Series
Notre Dame and North Carolina have offered some of the most compelling matchups in women’s college soccer history, with many coming on the grandest stage of all in the NCAA Championship. The Tar Heels have a 9-3-2 series lead against the Irish, including a 2-1 advantage at Fetzer Field, with Friday’s game marking just the sixth time the teams have met on campus (and only the fourth time they’ve done so in the regular season).

The Last Time ND And UNC Met
Michele Weissenhofer assisted on Brittany Bock’s 13th-minute goal, then added a score of her own just 14 seconds later to pace Notre Dame to a 3-2 win over North Carolina on Nov. 24, 2007, in the third round of the NCAA Championship at Fetzer Field. It marked the second Irish win over the Tar Heels in three visits to Chapel Hill and ended Notre Dame’s five-game series losing streak.

Goalkeeper Lauren Karas stood tall for the Irish as well, coming up with five saves, including some big stops in the final 20 minutes after UNC had closed back within a goal.

Weissenhofer’s signature flip-throw connected with Bock for the opening goal at 12:41. Then, Kerri Hanks picked off a pass on the ensuing Tar Heel kickoff and sent the ball into the UNC defensive third. North Carolina bobbled a back-pass to the ‘keeper and Weissenhofer alertly swooped in to pick up the loose ball, depositing it into the empty net at 12:55 for the fastest two-goal flurry in NCAA tournament history.

Allie Long halved the margin with a penalty kick 65 seconds into the second half, but Weissenhofer got the crucial third Irish goal at 60:19, running on to Courtney Rosen’s through-ball and cracking a left-footed 15-yard shot into the right-side netting. That allowed Notre Dame to withstand a 70th-minute strike from UNC’s Nikki Washington, as well as a pair of dangerous Tar Heel threats in the final five minutes, and move onto to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Other ND-UNC Series Tidbits

  • In last year’s 3-2 win, Notre Dame became the first team in seven years to score three-plus goals against North Carolina (a 3-2 win by Florida State on Oct. 17, 2000), and the first to do so in an NCAA Championship setting since 1990 (a 4-3 Tar Heels win over North Carolina State on Nov. 11, 1990).
  • At 3-9-2, the Irish are one of only two teams to defeat UNC more than twice all-time (the other is Santa Clara at 4-14). Notre Dame and SCU also are the only teams to defeat the Tar Heels in consecutive meetings (ND 1-0 in the ’95 NCAA semis, breaking UNC’s run of nine consecutive titles, and 2-1 in the ’96 regular season over in Durham, N.C.).
  • Notre Dame is no stranger to Fetzer Field, going 4-1 all-time in Chapel Hill. In addition to a 2-1 record against UNC on its home field, the Irish have single victories over Sunday’s opponent, Duke (3-0 on Sept. 11, 1998, also at the Carolina Classic) and Portland (1-0 3OT thriller in ’95 NCAA final).
  • Notre Dame and North Carolina have met in the NCAA title game four times, with the Tar Heels winning each time (’94, ’96, ’99, ’06). The 2006 final was particularly notable, as it marked the first time both teams entered the title game with 25-plus wins (ND 25-0-1; UNC 26-1).
  • Notre Dame also owns a special place in college soccer history, ending UNC’s NCAA-record 92-game win streak on Oct. 2, 1994, with a scoreless tie in St. Louis.
  • Irish head coach Randy Waldrum’s first game at Notre Dame (Sept. 3, 1999) came against the Tar Heels in South Bend, with UNC edging the Irish, 3-2 in double overtime on Meredith Florance’s goal with a minute to play in the second extra period.
  • The 1997 game between Notre Dame and North Carolina in South Bend ended in a 2-2 tie after play was halted in the 72nd minute due to lighting (Irish forward Jenny Heft had tied the game in the 69th minute).
  • Notre Dame is making its second appearance at the Carolina Classic and first since 1998. That year, the second-ranked Irish opened with a 3-0 win over No. 14 Duke before dropping a 5-1 decision to top-ranked North Carolina.

No Soup For You
For the fourth time in program history, the first time since 1995 and the first time in the Randy Waldrum era, Notre Dame has opened its season with three consecutive shutouts, blanking Michigan (7-0), Loyola Marymount (4-0) and No. 21/12 Santa Clara (2-0). In addition to their 13-0 scoring margin, the Irish also have outshot their opponents, 78-13 (40-5 in shots on goal), with the Notre Dame defense yielding one shot on goal to SCU over the final 82 minutes.

Besides this season, the other three campaigns in which the Irish posted three consecutive shutouts to start the year were 1995 (part of then-school record eight straight clean sheets to start year that ended with program’s first national championship), 1994 (ended in fourth game with 4-3 OT win at 10th-ranked William & Mary), and 1991 (included 0-0 tie in second game, ended in fourth game with 3-3 tie vs. Vanderbilt in Cincinnati, the only time ND has ever not won a game when it led 2-0).

Gone In 60 Seconds
Senior forward Kerri Hanks is on the verge of adding another feather in the cap of an already-brilliant career. The Allen, Texas, native is just one assist shy of becoming the sixth NCAA Division I player ever to amass 60 goals and 60 assists in her career (Hanks has 68G-59A entering Sunday’s game vs. Santa Clara). The five current members of this elite sorority (two of which are Notre Dame alums) are listed in the accompanying chart.

The national leader in assists the past two seasons (22 in ’06; 21 in ’07), Hanks could blow right by the 60-60 milestone and head straight for 70-70, a landmark achievement that only two players in the history of Division I women’s soccer have managed to attain.

Setting The Table
Set plays and dead-ball situations now have accounted for 61 (20G-21A) of Kerri Hanks’ 195 career points (68G-59A), representing nearly one-third (31%) of her points with the Irish. Her 20 goals have come on free kicks (10), penalty kicks (9-for-9, including 2-for-2 this year), or directly on a corner kick (1), while her 21 assists have been via corner-kick (13) or free-kick (8) services.

Staying A-Head Of The Game
Half (20) of the 40 career goals scored by senior forward/midfielder Brittany Bock have come on headers, including eight last season (seven of her final eight scores came via headers). Bock also has four rare header assists in her career.

Getting The Jump On The Competition
Notre Dame’s quick start this season has been fueled by its quick start in all three games. The Irish have scored a goal in the first 17 minutes of play each time out, with senior forward Kerri Hanks owning the fastest strike of the season (penalty kick at 2:39 vs. Loyola Marymount on Aug. 29). That marked the 11th-fastest goal of the Randy Waldrum era, and the quickest since Nov. 5, 2006, when Hanks struck 57 seconds into the BIG EAST final against Rutgers (a game the Irish ultimately won, 4-2).

Spreading The Wealth
In an early example of the incredible depth of this year’s Notre Dame squad, the Irish had seven different players score goals in the season-opening 7-0 whitewash of Michigan (including three who tallied their first career goals). That matched the largest number of goalscorers in one game during the 10-year Randy Waldrum era (since ’99), and the most since the 2005 season opener (an 11-1 rout of New Hampshire on Aug. 26 in the TD Banknorth Classic at Burlington, Vt.).

Game #3 Recap: Santa Clara
Sophomore forward Erica Iantorno 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. 21/12 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.

Notre Dame (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. Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander was called upon to make two saves in collecting her first solo shutout of the season (and second of her career). SCU goalkeeper Meagan McCray likely kept the margin from getting any worse, finishing with nine saves.

The Irish got on the board in the 17th minute in unusual fashion. Junior midfielder Courtney Rosen sprang classmate Michele Weissenhofer 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.

After four near-misses in the ensuing moments, Iantorno finally came through for Notre Dame with an 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 toward the center of the box and drilled a 15-yard shot into the middle of the right-side netting for her second goal of the season and the final margin.

Hanks Earns Pair Of National Honors
Senior All-America forward and Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks picked up two national awards this week, being selected as the Top Drawer Soccer National Player of the Week and earning a spot on the Soccer America National Team of the Week.

Hanks registered her sixth career hat trick on Aug. 29 vs. Loyola Marymount, tying the school record for career three-goal games. Her first two scores came on penalty kicks in the game’s first 12 minutes, before she capped her night with a world-class strike from 25 yards out after a 40-yard weaving run through four LMU defenders.

Hanks went on to add three shots on goal in the Aug. 31 win over No. 21/12 Santa Clara (outshooting the Broncos by herself) and repeating as the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the Inn at Saint Mary’s Classic (only the third multiple winner of the honor in the tourney’s 16-year history).

Dew Repeats As BIG EAST Defensive Player Of The Week
For the second consecutive week, senior defender and co-captain Carrie Dew is the BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Week, it was announced Monday afternoon. On Wednesday, she also earned a place on the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week.

Dew is now a four-time recipient of the BIG EAST honor, following selections on Sept. 25, 2006, and Oct. 1, 2007. She recently was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player of the Inn at Saint Mary’s Classic after helping Notre Dame post shutout wins over Loyola Marymount (4-0) and No. 21/12 Santa Clara (2-0), holding the latter foe to two shots on goal (one in the final 82 minutes).

The Magic Number
Scoring three goals has meant virtually an automatic win in Notre Dame women’s soccer history, with a 264-3-1 (.987) record in those games, including a 166-1-0 (.994) mark since Oct. 6, 1995. The Irish also are 360-9-15 (.957) when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals.

Most impressively, Notre Dame is 288-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and is unbeaten in its past 265 contests when going ahead 2-0 (dating back to a 3-3 tie with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati). In fact, the past 178 Irish opponents to face a 2-0 deficit have failed to even force a tie, something achieved by just two opponents in Notre Dame history: Duke on Oct. 17, 1993, in Houston (Irish won 3-2), and Connecticut Nov. 10, 1996, in the BIG EAST final at Alumni Field (ND led 2-0, later tied 2-2 and 3-3, ND won 4-3).

You Can Put It On The Board
Notre Dame has scored a goal in 28 consecutive games, dating back to a scoreless draw with Michigan to open last season. The current 28-game goal streak is the fifth-longest in school history and longest since a 49-game run from Oct. 24, 2004-Oct. 8, 2006. Next up for the current Irish: a 31-game skein from Oct. 24, 2000-Sept. 1, 2002.

The school record is 55 consecutive games with a goal, set from Aug. 29, 1997-Sept. 17, 1999.

Bock, Hanks On Hermann Trophy Watch List
Senior All-America forwards Kerri Hanks and Brittany Bock have been named to the 47-player watch list for the 2008 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, which is presented annually to the nation’s top Division I women’s soccer player. Notre Dame is one of 13 teams to place more than one player on this year’s Hermann Trophy watch list, with Hanks being the lone previous winner on the `08 preseason Hermann Trophy chart.

A three-time All-American (twice on the first team) and the 2006 Hermann Trophy recipient (the first sophomore to garner the honor), Hanks is poised to become only the fourth multiple winner of the award, and the first to do so in non-consecutive years.

Bock emerged as one of the nation’s top offensive threats last season, earning first-team All-America honors and joining Hanks and recently-graduated forward (and current volunteer assistant coach) Amanda Cinalli on the Hermann Trophy final-15 (semifinalists) list.

Notre Dame is one of only two programs to field three or more different recipients of the prestigious Hermann Trophy, with Cindy Daws (1996) and Anne Makinen (2000) joining Hanks in this elite sorority. The 2008 Hermann Trophy winner will be announced during a news conference on Jan. 9, 2009, at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.

ND Picked To Win BIG EAST National Division
Notre Dame was the unanimous favorite to win the 2008 BIG EAST Conference National Division title, according to a vote of the league’s 16 head coaches released Wednesday afternoon. The Irish picked up the maximum 120 points, including all 15 possible first-place tallies (coaches may not vote for their own teams), in the balloting, as they seek their 12th BIG EAST regular-season crown and sixth in a row — seven of the previous 11 (’99-’01, ’03, ’05-’07) have been divisional championships (including the past three), while the other four were overall regular-season titles (’95-’97, ’04).

Notre Dame went 11-0-0 in the BIG EAST a year ago, and will head into the 2008 season with a 38-game unbeaten streak against conference opponents (36-0-2 since October 2005), the longest run in school history and tied for the fourth-longest in NCAA Division I history.

Bock Voted BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player Of The Year
Along with their preseason poll, the conference coaches chose Irish senior All-America midfielder/forward (and co-captain) Brittany Bock as the 2008 BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Bock, who also was a unanimous selection to the ’08 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team, led the league in goals (16) last year and became Notre Dame’s fourth consecutive winner of the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year award.

Fellow senior forward Kerri Hanks also was a unanimous choice on the preseason all-conference team following a 2007 campaign that saw her lead the nation in assists (21) for the second consecutive year and set the BIG EAST pace in points (49) while earning NSCAA first-team All-America honors for the second time. Hanks had been the BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year the past two seasons and earned the league’s postseason Offensive Player of the Year honor in 2006.

The Golden Girls
Former Notre Dame standouts Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf (’98) and Shannon Boxx (’99) helped the United States successfully defend its Olympic gold medal with a 1-0 overtime win over Brazil in the 2008 title game on Aug. 21 in Beijing, China. Both players started and played all 120 minutes in the final on the way to earning their second consecutive gold medal.

The duo join fencer Mariel Zagunis (’10) as Notre Dame Olympians with multiple gold medals. Markgraf also matches Zagunis’ career total of three medals (Markgraf won silver with the USA at the ’00 Sydney Games), a standard also equalled by former track & field great Alex Wilson (’32).

A Little Added Face Time
Notre Dame is slated to play on television twice during the 2008 regular season. The Irish will visit Penn State on Sept. 21 with that game airing live on the Big Ten Network. Then, on Oct. 19, Notre Dame travels to Storrs, Conn., for a BIG EAST matchup with Connecticut which will be shown live on CBS College Sports.

In addition to its commercial TV coverage, Notre Dame enjoys an extensive broadcast footprint on the Internet. All of the Irish regular-season home games are slated to be broadcast live on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (, with supplemental live stats information provided by CBS College Sports Online’s GameTracker service.

Fans also can follow the Irish on their cell phones by signing up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system. This free service is available by logging on the women’s soccer page at and scrolling down the right-hand sidebar.

Finally, the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000) remains a reliable resource for all the latest Irish athletics information. Regular updates on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program can be found by calling the Hotline, then selecting option 4 and pressing “2”.

Captains Courageous
Senior midfielder/forward Brittany Bock and senior defender Carrie Dew have been selected as team captains for the 2008 season.

Parking Changes
Due to ongoing construction within the Notre Dame Athletics Quad (including the new Irish soccer stadium tentatively set for completion in June 2009), parking for Irish soccer games this year is limited to the Eck Baseball Stadium and Joyce Center lots. Fans may ride the complimentary shuttle bus from the Eck Stadium lot, or walk around the south end of Eck Stadium, then proceed north between the stadium’s right-field wall and the soccer practice field before entering at the south end of Alumni Field.

Next Game: Duke
The Irish will wrap up play in the Carolina Classic on Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET) against No. 12/11 Duke at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C. Notre Dame is 7-3-1 all-time against the Blue Devils, most recently logging a 3-2 win on Nov. 30, 2007, in the NCAA quarterfinals at Alumni Field.

Like the Irish, Duke (3-0) has started this season with three consecutive shutouts, blanking Coastal Carolina (9-0), Campbell (4-0) and UNC Greensboro (1-0). Junior forward/midfielder Elizabeth Redmond has seven points (3G-1A) to lead a balanced Blue Devil attack.

Duke will meet Kentucky Friday in the other opening-night game at the Carolina Classic.

— ND —