Senior midfielder Amanda Clark picked the perfect time to record her first postseason point, scoring the game-winning goal with under 20 minutes to play in last Sunday's 2-1 BIG EAST title game win over No. rv/10 Marquette.

#5 Irish Face IUPUI Friday In NCAA Tournament Opener

Nov. 12, 2009

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2009 ND Women’s Soccer — Game 22

NCAA Championship — First Round
#5/5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (17-3-1 / 10-0-1 BIG EAST) vs. IUPUI Jaguars (17-4-0 / 7-2-0 Summit League)

DATE: November 13, 2009
TIME: 7:30 pm ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Alumni Stadium (3,000)
SERIES: First meeting
WEBCAST: (live) (Michael Scholl, p-b-p)
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  • Notre Dame is playing host to NCAA Championship first- and second-round games for the 16th consecutive season. The Irish are 39-3-0 all-time at home in NCAA play.
  • During their current 15-game unbeaten streak, the Irish have led or been tied for nearly 99 percent of the total minutes played (all but 16:38 of 1,378:56).

#5 Irish Face IUPUI In NCAA Tournament Opener Friday Night
With its first two team goals secured, fifth-ranked Notre Dame now begins its quest for the biggest prize, as the Fighting Irish kick off their 17th consecutive NCAA Championship appearance on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. (ET) match against Summit League champion IUPUI at Alumni Stadium ( live webcast). Central Michigan and No. 24 Purdue will tangle in the other first-round contest at Alumni Stadium on Friday at 5 p.m. (ET).

Notre Dame claimed its 11th BIG EAST Conference postseason title last Sunday with a hard-fought 2-1 win over No. rv/10 Marquette at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. Senior midfielder Amanda Clark was the hero, scoring the game-winning goal with just under 20 minutes to play. Junior forward Lauren Fowlkes was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player, while sophomore defender/tri-captain Jessica Schuveiller earned the Most Outstanding Defensive Player award.


  • Notre Dame is ranked fifth in the NSCAA poll and fifth in the Soccer America poll.
  • IUPUI is not ranked.

A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Notre Dame knew this season would be a challenging one, especially with the loss of six talented seniors, including four who went in the first 21 picks of the 2009 WPS Draft. But even Nostradamus couldn’t have predicted the hurdles the Irish have encountered this year.

Injuries have been the primary albatross for Notre Dame this season, with senior midfielder/tri-captain Courtney Rosen (broken foot), senior midfielder Micaela Alvarez (torn ACL) and freshman forward Tereza Stastny (torn ACL) all likely sidelined for the year — Rosen’s injury occurred in the preseason. Add to that extended downtime for senior forward Michele Weissenhofer (hamstring), senior center back Haley Ford (hamstring) and freshman left back Jazmin Hall (quad), and you can understand why Irish trainer Dave Ludwig has more than earned his paycheck in 2009.

Notre Dame also battled through a brutal non-conference schedule that included top-three opponents North Carolina and Stanford, perennial power Santa Clara and up-and-coming programs Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. However, following a 3-3-0 start, the Irish have been among the nation’s hottest teams, going unbeaten in their last 15 outings (14-0-1), outscoring the opposition 36-6 in that span, while locking up their 12th BIG EAST regular season title and 11th BIG EAST postseason crown.

Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson (11G-4A) leads Notre Dame in scoring, while junior forward Lauren Fowlkes (10G-3A) is enjoying a breakout season, fueled in part by her move to the front line at the start of the current unbeaten streak. Junior forward Taylor Knaack (6G-4A) and junior midfielder Rose Augustin (5G-9A) also have played a significant role in the recent Irish resurgence, as has junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (10-1-1, 0.53 GAA, 5 ShO).

Scouting The Jaguars
IUPUI carries a 17-4-0 record into the 2009 NCAA Championship field. The Jaguars claimed their first-ever berth into the NCAA tournament by virtue of winning the Summit League title game at top-seeded South Dakota State on Nov. 8 by a score of 4-1. IUPUI also won its second straight Summit League regular season co-championship this year and its 17 wins are already a school record.

IUPUI student-athletes also stockpiled the Summit League’s major awards this season. Sophomore forward Alicia Brock was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and senior defender Stephanie Hoffman was voted Defensive Player of the Year. Seniors Jamie Farrell and Katrina McCrory were first-team all-Summit League selections and head coach Chris Johnson was named the loop’s coach of the year for the third time in his career.

Megan Hock leads the Jaguar attack with 12 goals and six assists for 30 points, including a school-record seven game-winning goals. Brock has added eight goals and four assists for 20 points.

Defensively, Farrell has a 0.82 goals-against average and has made 89 saves in her 21 starts in goal for a defense that allowed just 18 goals in 2009. She also was named Summit League Tournament MVP after allowing one goal in 180 minutes and adding 12 saves. Hoffman helped anchor the Jaguars’ defensive backfield and emerged as an offensive threat late in the season. The 5-foot-10 back scored the game-winner in a late win over Oakland and netted the game-tying goal in the title game win at SDSU.

Johnson is in his seventh season at the helm of the IUPUI program. He has helped the Jaguars claim back-to-back regular season Summit League championships and his 53 wins are the most in the history of the program.

The Notre Dame-IUPUI Series
Friday night will mark the first-ever meeting between the Fighting Irish and the Jaguars. In fact, against the entire Summit League (as currently comprised), the Irish are 1-0 with their only win coming against Oakland in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Championship, 7-1 at old Alumni Field. Current Notre Dame senior co-captains Michele Weissenhofer and Courtney Rosen each tallied points in that victory, with Weissenhofer netting the final goal, and Rosen picking up a secondary assist on the second of Kerri Hanks’ three goals that night.

First Time Visitors
IUPUI will visit Notre Dame, Ind. for the first time on Friday night. Since 1993, Notre Dame owns a 50-4-1 (.918) record against new visitors to campus, including four wins last year at old Alumni Field — Loyola Marymount, South Florida, Toledo (NCAA first round) and Florida State (NCAA quarterfinals).

NCAA Championship Quick Kicks

  • Notre Dame is competing in the NCAA Championship for the 17th consecutive year, the second-longest active streak of consecutive berths, trailing only North Carolina (28) in that category.
  • Notre Dame has a 49-14-1 all-time record (.773) in NCAA tournament play, including 39-3-0 (.929) in NCAA games played at home (all at old Alumni Field).
  • Notre Dame and UNC remain the only teams to have reached the final-32 or further in every NCAA Championship since 1993, and remain 1-2 in virtually all tournament appearance records in that time — round-of-16 trips (UNC-16, ND-14, Portland-14), quarterfinals since 1994 (UNC-13, ND-12, Portland-12), College Cup berths since 1994 (UNC-12, ND-10) and title game appearances since 1994 (UNC-10, ND-7; no one else with more than three).
  • The Fighting Irish claimed NCAA titles in 1995 and 2004, joining UNC and Portland as the only repeat winners in the history of the tournament. Notre Dame also has finished as the NCAA runner-up five times (1994, 1996, 1999, 2006 and 2008) as part of its 10 NCAA College Cup berths (also semifinalist in 1997, 2000 and 2007), all since 1994.

Irish Against The 2009 NCAA Field
Notre Dame owns an 8-3-0 record this season versus teams in the 2009 NCAA field, posting wins at West Virginia (3-2 OT) and Rutgers (1-0), as well as home victories over Wisconsin (3-0), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (3-0) and Villanova (2-0).

The Fighting Irish also collected neutral-site wins over St. John’s (2-1 OT) and Marquette (2-1) in the BIG EAST Championship at Storrs, Conn., while all three losses came in the opening month of the season — home vs. North Carolina (6-0), at Santa Clara (2-0) and at a neutral site vs. Stanford (2-0) — with two of those clubs (UNC and Stanford) earning No. 1 seeds in this year’s NCAA Championship.

15 And Counting…
Since starting the season with a 3-3 record, the Irish have gone unbeaten in their last 15 games (14-0-1) dating back to a 4-0 win over DePaul on Sept. 18.

The streak is the fourth-longest in Division I (through Nov. 11) and Notre Dame’s lone tie in that stretch came at Pittsburgh when the Panthers and Irish played to a 0-0 stalemate on Oct. 4. During the 15-game unbeaten streak (which includes an active nine-game winning streak), the Irish have logged a 36-6 scoring margin and have shut out their opponents on 10 occasions.

Senior Moments
The 2009 Irish senior class is second only to North Carolina as the most successful group in the country on the basis of wins, with a four-year record to date of 87-10-4 (.881) that includes three consecutive trips to the NCAA College Cup and appearances in the 2006 and 2008 national title games.

The .881 winning percentage compiled by the Notre Dame seniors also is second best on the national scene behind North Carolina.

Game #21 Recap: Marquette
The Irish earned a defiant victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles to claim the 2009 BIG EAST Championship in a physical matchup of No. 1 seeds on Nov. 8 at Connecticut’s Morrone Stadium.

The Irish had taken a 1-0 lead early in the first half only to see the Golden Eagles tie the game late in the first half before senior midfielder Amanda Clark scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 70:13. The win marked the 11th BIG EAST title in program history and Notre Dame’s fourth conference crown in the past five seasons.

Lauren Fowlkes fired a low drive into the far right corner of the net to beat Golden Eagle goalkeeper Natalie Kulla at 12:09 for an early 1-0 Irish lead. It marked the first goal that Kulla had given up in over 760 minutes in the Marquette net.

The Golden Eagles answered with a goal of their own at 22:12 when Julia Victor sent a bounding ball into the box that eluded the Irish defense and Rachel Sloan nodded it into the net for her seventh goal of the year.

Notre Dame was able to capitalize for the game winner with just under 20 minutes left. Melissa Henderson found Erica Iantorno’s feet with a pass on the far side of the box. The junior quickly slid the ball towards the center of the goal and Clark got a touch on the ball to re-direct it past Kulla for her first career post-season tally.

Kulla finished the game with five saves for Marquette, while Nikki Weiss made six saves for Notre Dame. The Golden Eagles held a 5-1 edge on corner kicks, while Marquette held a 21-14 advantage on shots.

Captain Clutch
Sophomore co-captain and 2009 BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Defensive Player Jessica Schuveiller scored the golden goal against St. John’s on Nov. 6 to send the Irish to their sixth consecutive BIG EAST title game. She now has three career goals, with each goal proving to be a game-winning strike. Additionally, two of her game-winners have come in postseason play.

Schuveiller, who has started all 48 games of her Irish career, netted her first collegiate goal last season in Notre Dame’s 2-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over Florida State. Then, in 2009 regular season action, she scored a late game winner with 8:08 remaining to propel Notre Dame past Cincinnati, 2-1, on Sept. 25.

Scoring Streaks
Several Irish players carry scoring streaks into NCAA Championship play. Junior forward Lauren Fowlkes has netted a goal in each of Notre Dame’s past four wins and junior midfielder Rose Augustin has notched assists (including two versus St. John’s) in four of Notre Dame’s last five games.

Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson has four goals in Notre Dame’s last five games and 10 points (4G-2A) in that span as well.

Beasts Of The BIG EAST
With a 2-1 win over Marquette in the BIG EAST championship match on Nov. 8, Notre Dame now owns an NCAA Division I-record 66-game unbeaten streak (63-0-3) against BIG EAST opposition, dating back to a 4-1 loss at No. 15 Marquette on Sept. 30, 2005. In that time, the only ties were a 0-0 draw at Connecticut (Oct. 13, 2006), a 1-1 deadlock at No. 12 West Virginia in the 2007 BIG EAST final on Nov. 11 (WVU won 5-3 on PKs, but the game is recorded as a tie) and a 0-0 tie at Pittsburgh on Oct. 4, 2009.

Since joining the BIG EAST, the Irish are 134-8-5 (.928) all-time in regular-season conference games, 35-2-1 (.934) in the BIG EAST Championship, and hold a 713-85 scoring edge dating back to that first league season in ’95.

What’s more, Notre Dame maintains a 14-year, 94-game home unbeaten streak (93-0-1) versus BIG EAST teams, with Connecticut the lone conference team ever to defeat the Irish at home (5-4 in OT on Oct. 6, 1995 at old Alumni Field).

Golden Domers Golden In OT
Overtime has usually been the right time for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish are 20-3-9 (.766) all-time in the Randy Waldrum era (since ’99) when going to an extra period or two, including a current seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) dating back to the 2007 season.

Notre Dame went to overtime in back-to-back contests in early October. On Oct. 2 at West Virginia, Taylor Knaack scored 41 seconds into the first extra period to give the Fighting Irish a 3-2 victory over the Mountaineers. It was the fastest OT goal in Waldrum’s 11-year tenure, and it’s also believed to be the quickest overtime score in the program’s 22-year history.

Two days later, Notre Dame went to double overtime at Pittsburgh and wound up finishing in a 0-0 tie. It was only the eighth scoreless draw in school history and the first since Aug. 31, 2007 vs. Michigan at old Alumni Field. It also was the first time the Fighting Irish played a 0-0 contest in BIG EAST play since Oct. 13, 2006 at Connecticut.

Most recently, Jessica Schuveiller scored the golden goal against St. John’s in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals on Nov. 6 to send the Irish to the conference title match for the sixth consecutive season.

BIG EAST Awards Recap
Notre Dame earned two of the six major individual awards and placed five players on All-BIG EAST conference teams during the annual BIG EAST women’s soccer banquet at the Hartford Hilton on Nov. 5. Junior forward Lauren Fowlkes earned BIG EAST Co-Offensive Player of the Year honors while sophomore Courtney Barg was named the conference’s Midfielder of the Year.

Fowlkes and Barg were also named to the All-BIG EAST First Team and were joined on that squad by sophomore defender Jessica Schuveiller. Junior midfielder Rose Augustin and sophomore forward Melissa Henderson were All-BIG EAST Second Team selections.

Fowlkes follows in a long and distinguished tradition of Notre Dame players who have captured BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year laurels. Combined with Kerri Hanks (who earned the award in 2006 and 2008 en route to collecting the MAC Hermann Trophy both seasons), Brittany Bock (2007) and Katie Thorlakson (2004 and 2005), Fowlkes is the sixth consecutive Fighting Irish player to take home the hardware.

Barg became Notre Dame’s first recipient of the conference’s midfielder of the year honor since Jen Buczkowski earned the award as a junior in 2005 and just the third all-time (also Anne Makinen in 2000). Furthermore, Barg is the first sophomore to earn the honor since 2001, when Boston College’s Sarah Rahko won it.

Henderson: Hat Trick Hero
With a hat trick against South Florida in a 5-0 BIG EAST quarterfinal win on Nov. 1, sophomore forward Melissa Henderson recorded Notre Dame’s 10th postseason hat trick in program history, and the first since Nov. 24, 2006, when current Fighting Irish senior forward/tri-captain Michele Weissenhofer had three goals in a 4-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over eighth-ranked Penn State at old Alumni Field.

It also marked the first Notre Dame hat trick in the BIG EAST Championship in almost exactly five years (Oct. 31, 2004 – Katie Thorlakson four goals in a 7-0 quarterfinal victory over St. John’s at Alumni Field), and just the third in the program’s 15-year conference affiliation (Anne Makinen also pulled off the feat in the 1997 BIG EAST final vs. fourth-ranked Connecticut in Piscataway, N.J.).

It’s Academic For This Irish Duo
Two Notre Dame players and Kansas City-area natives — junior forward Lauren Fowlkes and sophomore defender Molly Campbell — have been named ESPN The Magazine first-team Academic All-District V selections, it was announced Oct. 29 by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Both student-athletes are first-time academic all-district honorees and now will advance to the national ballot for Academic All-America consideration (national teams to be announced next week). The Notre Dame women’s soccer program has produced 22 Academic All-Americans, while its 14 selections since 2002 are the most in the nation (2002 was when women’s soccer earned its own ballot separate from the at-large category).

Fowlkes has blossomed as a primary offensive threat for Notre Dame, appearing in all 21 games and starting 19 times after moving back to the forward line three weeks into the season (a position she initially started at in her college career, before moving to holding midfielder and central defender last season and earlier this year).

Fowlkes currently is enrolled in the College of Science, where she has compiled a 3.657 cumulative GPA as a science-business major and was named to the dean’s list in the fall of 2007 (3.804 semester GPA).

Campbell is one of the more improved players on the Notre Dame roster this season, having seen time primarily at left back, a position she had almost never played prior to the spring of 2009. Mixed with her stints as an attacking midfielder, she has started all 21 games for the Fighting Irish this year.

Campbell is presently studying in the College of Arts and Letters, where she has recorded a 3.667 cumulative GPA as a double major in psychology and American studies.

Taylor Made For Goal Scoring
Junior forward/midfielder Taylor Knaack has had a breakout year for the Irish, scoring six goals and adding four assists. She had a career-high five-point night in Notre Dame’s 6-1 defeat of UConn on Oct. 16.

Entering the year, Knaack had five goals and two assists in 27 games played.

Nikki In The Irish Net
Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss has helped lead the Irish over the past 10 games as the Redding, Conn. native has posted seven shutouts (five solo) and a 9-0-1 record in that span.

The impressive stretch began when Weiss earned her first career solo clean sheet on Oct. 4 at Pittsburgh (a 0-0 double-overtime tie), and followed with shutouts versus No. 10/12 Rutgers and Seton Hall. In the Rutgers match, she turned in a career high six saves. She then played the first 82:00 in Notre Dame’s 6-1 win over Connecticut, with her personal 377:25 scoreless streak coming to an end in the second half (the scoreless streak had started at Santa Clara on Sept. 11). Weiss blanked Providence and Villanova, 2-0, on Oct. 18 and 23 for her fourth and fifth solo shutouts of the year.

The Henderson Effect
Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson has made quite an impact on the Notre Dame offense since arriving on campus last fall, netting 28 goals (including 11 gamewinners) and adding six assists for 62 points in less than two full seasons with the Irish.

In fact, through her first 46 games, Notre Dame is 20-0 when Henderson scores a goal and 23-0 when she picks up a point.

Clean Sheets
In a unique twist, 16 of Notre Dame’s 21 games this season have been decided by shutout (12 for the Fighting Irish, three for the opposition and one scoreless draw). During Notre Dame’s current 15-game unbeaten streak (14-0-1), nine of the 14 Irish wins were shutout victories, while the tie was also a 0-0 draw (at Pittsburgh on Oct. 4).

Nikki Weiss has posted five solo shutouts in Notre Dame’s last nine games, while she shared the shutout win over Georgetown with senior Kelsey Lysander and then shared the shutout over South Florida with Lysander and Maddie Fox. Lysander also has three solo shutouts on the year.

The 2-0 Guarantee
Notre Dame is 313-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and is unbeaten in its past 290 contests when going ahead 2-0 (dating back to a 3-3 tie with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati).

In fact, just two of the past 197 Irish opponents to face a 2-0 deficit have forced a tie, something achieved by four opponents in Notre Dame history: Duke on Oct. 17, 1993, in Houston (Irish won 3-2), Connecticut on 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), Duke on Nov. 30, 2007, in the NCAA quarterfinals at Alumni Field (Irish won 3-2), and most recently, Villanova on Oct. 12, 2008 in Villanova, Pa. (Irish won 3-2 in OT).

Three … Is The Magic Number
Scoring three goals has meant virtually an automatic win in Notre Dame women’s soccer history, with a 284-3-1 (.988) record in those games, including a 186-1-0 (.995) mark since Oct. 6, 1995. The Irish also are 387-9-15 (.960) when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals.

Our Fearless Leader
Eleventh-year Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum reached another milestone with Notre Dame’s 2-1 win over Cincinnati on Sept. 25, recording the 400th win of his NCAA Div. I coaching career (counting his stints with both men’s and women’s college teams during the past 28 seasons).

Waldrum is also one of eight active women’s Division I head coaches to record 300 career wins. He now has a record of 335-83-21 (.787) in 20 seasons (including six at Tulsa and three at Baylor). His winning percentage ranks fourth among active coaches, while his 335 wins are fifth on the NCAA Division I career list.

Pick Three For The Hermann Watch
Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson, junior defender/midfielder Lauren Fowlkes and senior midfielder Courtney Rosen have been named to the 45-player watch list for the 2009 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, it was announced by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

The Hermann Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s top Division I women’s soccer player, with Notre Dame’s Kerri Hanks earning the prestigious crystal ball trophy last year. In the process, Hanks became the fourth Fighting Irish player to collect the award, not to mention just the fourth two-time Hermann Trophy honoree since the award debuted in 1988, as well as the first two-time national player of the year (in any sport) in the 122-year history of Notre Dame athletics.

Your 2009 Captains
The 2009 Notre Dame squad features three first-time captains, with seniors Michele Weissenhofer and Courtney Rosen and sophomore Jessica Schuveiller all selected via a vote of their teammates.

Schuveiller’s selection is noteworthy, in that she is the first non-senior to serve as a team captain since Amy Warner was one of Notre Dame’s three captains in 2002 (her junior season). This year’s triumvirate also marks the first time since 2004 (Mary Boland, Gudrun Gunnarsdottir and Melissa Tancredi) that the Irish have named three captains.

The M*A*S*H Unit
Senior midfielder/tri-captain Courtney Rosen is out indefinitely after breaking her left foot during preseason training. Rosen underwent successful corrective surgery on Aug. 13 and is in the midst of rehabilitating her injury.

Freshman forward Tereza Stastny and senior midfielder Micaela Alvarez are out for the season with torn ACLs. Stastny’s injury (right knee) on Oct. 13, and Alvarez’s (left knee) one week later were suffered during training.

Our New Digs
Located just east of the Joyce Center and approximately 500 yards west of its predecessor, Alumni Stadium is the new home for Notre Dame soccer, having opened its doors Sept. 4 to an overflow crowd of 3,007 for its debut match against top-ranked North Carolina (the Irish men played three nights earlier, blanking Michigan, 5-0).

A state-of-the-art facility built at a cost of $5.7 million, Alumni Stadium has a permanent seating capacity of approximately 2,500 fans, along with grass berm seating on the east end of the grounds. The stadium also offers upgraded and expanded restroom and concession areas, elevator access to the main concourse level, as well as numerous amenities for both Fighting Irish soccer programs (expansive locker rooms with custom-made wood lockers, spacious team lounges with flat-screen plasma TVs and high-speed Internet access, and a fully-equipped athletic training center).

What’s more, Alumni Stadium features an LED scoreboard (installed by industry leader Daktronics), enhanced lighting structures and top-of-the-line sod for the pitch (cultivated in Fort Morgan, Colo., at Graff’s Turf Farms, which also has provided the turf for numerous facilities including Notre Dame Stadium, Wrigley Field, Busch Stadium and the new MLS grounds outside Denver and Salt Lake City).

In addition, media members will enjoy the spacious new air-conditioned press box, which includes power and high-speed Internet portals at every seat (along with wireless Internet capability), three individually-wired broadcast booths and an expansive, unblocked midfield vantage point, all of which make Alumni Stadium unlike any other on-campus facility in college soccer.

The construction of Alumni Stadium was made possible because of numerous generous donations, including those by lead benefactors Tom Crotty and Rob Snyder, both former Fighting Irish men’s soccer players.

Crotty was a three-year monogram winner from 1977-79, earning team MVP honors in 1979 before graduating the following spring with a degree in finance. He currently is general partner at Battery Ventures LP in Wellesley, Mass., while he and his wife, Shari, live in Southborough, Mass.

Snyder earned two monograms from 1980-83, piling up 23 goals and 22 assists (the latter figure ranking seventh in school history). He also potted a team-high 12 goals in 1981. A 1984 graduate of Notre Dame, Snyder went on to become founder and CEO of Stream Energy in Dallas, Texas.

Taking It To The Next Level
Notre Dame had 10 players appearing on opening-day rosters for the inaugural season of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) in 2009, ranking second among all colleges in that category. Four of those 10 (all members of the ’08 Fighting Irish NCAA runner-up squad) were selected in the league’s first-ever college draft back in January — Brittany Bock (first round, fifth overall, Los Angeles Sol), Kerri Hanks (first round, sixth overall, Saint Louis Athletica), Carrie Dew (second round, 12th overall, FC Gold Pride) and Elise Weber (third round, 21st overall, Saint Louis Athletica).

That quartet was joined by: Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol), Jen Buczkowski and Christie Shaner (Sky Blue FC), Candace Chapman (Boston Breakers), and Amanda Cinalli and Melissa Tancredi (Saint Louis Athletica).

In addition, Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf was assigned to the Chicago Red Stars as part of the U.S. National Team draft, but sat out the ’09 season while on maternity leave (she gave birth to twins in June). Kelly Lindsey began the season as an assistant coach at Sky Blue FC, then took over as interim head coach at midseason before resigning late in the year.

Midseason trades saw Hanks sent to Sky Blue FC, while Shaner went out to Los Angeles. Shaner subsequently was sidelined for the season with a broken leg.

Of the 10 active Notre Dame alums in WPS, eight saw their teams advance to the league playoffs (all but Chapman and Dew). Led by arguably the world’s top defensive midfielder in Boxx and one of WPS’ top rookies in Bock (who played center back after never playing that position at Notre Dame), Los Angeles won the regular season title and the right to host the first-ever WPS Championship Game.

In the end, five Fighting Irish alums (tying North Carolina for the most representatives from one college) worked their way into the WPS final — Bock, Boxx and Shaner for L.A., along with Hanks and Buczkowski for Sky Blue FC. The New Jersey-based club then capped an amazing string of three playoff road wins in eight days with a 1-0 upset of Los Angeles to win the inaugural WPS Championship.

Boxx was subsequently named a starter for the first WPS All-Star Game, which took place at Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park in suburban St. Louis on Aug. 30.

On Sept. 16, Buczkowski was chosen by the Philadelphia Independence with the third overall pick in the 2009 WPS Expansion Draft, with Cinalli going one selection later to the Atlanta Beat.

Offseason personnel moves at the end of September have seen Chapman released by Boston (then signed by FC Gold Pride) and Shaner released by Los Angeles, while Tancredi was declared a free agent by Saint Louis.

Bock Tapped For U.S. National Team
Former Irish All-American Brittany Bock (’09) was named to the 18-player roster for the U.S. Women’s National Team’s Oct. 29 friendly against Germany at Impuls Arena in Augsburg, Germany. It was the second time this calendar year that Bock was chosen by U.S. coach Pia Sundhage to suit up for an international friendly. However, as was the case for a May exhibition vs. Canada in Toronto, a last-minute injury kept Bock from earning her first national team cap (international appearance), although she was on hand to help cheer her American teammates to a 1-0 win over the Germans.

— ND —