The Irish look to make a deep run the NCAA Tournament.

#6/7 Irish Set To Close Out Regular Season With Two Home Matches This Weekend

Oct. 22, 2009

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2009 ND Women’s Soccer — Games 17 & 18 #6/7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-3-1 / 8-0-1 BIG EAST)

vs. Villanova Wildcats (10-3-4 / 3-3-3 BIG EAST)
DATE: October 23, 2009
TIME: 7:30 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. / Alumni Stadium
SERIES: ND leads 15-1-0
1ST MTG: ND 2-0 (10/19/95)
LAST MTG: ND 3-2ot (10/12/08)

vs. Georgetown Hoyas (12-3-2 / 6-2-1 BIG EAST as of Oct. 23)
DATE: October 25, 2009
TIME: 6:07 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. / Alumni Stadium
SERIES: ND leads 15-1-0
1ST MTG: ND 10-0 (10/22/95)
LAST MTG:ND 3-1 (10/10/08


– The Fighting Irish will be playing their final two regular season games of the 2009 season.
– The Irish carry an NCAA-record unbeaten streak against conference opponents of 61 games (58-0-3) into the weekend.

#6/7 Irish Set To Close Out Regular Season With Two Home Matches This Weekend
The No. 6/7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s soccer team closes out its regular season with home games versus Villanova and Georgetown this weekend. Sunday’s contest will be aired to a national television audience by FSC (tape-delayed to air on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. ET). Having already clinched a bye into the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship, Notre Dame will look to add to its current 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1).

In keeping with tradition, Sunday’s game will also feature a brief ceremony prior to kickoff to honor Notre Dame’s senior class as the group of seven student-athletes will be playing in their final regular season home contest.

Notre Dame is ranked sixth in the NSCAA poll and seventh in the Soccer America poll. Villanova is not ranked, while Georgetown is ranked 22nd by Soccer America.

Scouting The Wildcats
Villanova enters Friday night’s contest with a 10-3-4 overall record and a 3-3-3 mark in BIG EAST play. The Wildcats sit in fourth place in the BIG EAST National Division and are battling to join Notre Dame, Rutgers and Georgetown, who have all clinched a place in the BIG EAST tournament. The top five teams from each BIG EAST division advance to postseason play.

Last weekend, Villanova played two consecutive scoreless ties against West Virginia (Oct. 16) and Pittsburgh (Oct. 18) to extend its shutout streak to 398:29 over the past three-plus games. The Wildcats had not had two straight games end in a 0-0 draw since the second and third rounds of the 2003 NCAA Championship (when Villanova went to penalty kicks against Virginia and BYU).

For the season, Katie Ryan has led the Villanova offense, as the sophomore forward has registered 10 goals and six assists (both team-high marks) for 26 points. Freshman forward Heidi Sabatura has chipped in with seven goals and four assists for 18 points. Senior goalkeeper Molly Williams has played the majority of the minutes in the Wildcat net, posting a 9-3-4 record. Additionally, she carries a 0.87 GAA and has made 86 saves en route to recording five shutouts.

John Byford is in his second season as head women’s soccer coach at Villanova. He carries a 21-10-5 (.653) record with Villanova into Friday night’s contest.

The Notre Dame-Villanova Series
Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Villanova 15-1-0 and boasts seven consecutive wins over the Wildcats. The teams first met on Oct. 19, 1995 when the Irish earned a 2-0 win at Villanova. Notre Dame then rattled off eight more wins before the Wildcats earned their only victory of the series, 1-0 at home, on Sept. 27, 2002. The Irish also hold an all-time 60-7 series scoring edge. For a complete series breakdown, please refer to page 108 in the 2009 Notre Dame women’s soccer media guide.

The teams last met on Oct. 12, 2008 when Notre Dame secured a thrilling 3-2 overtime win at VU’s West Campus Soccer Complex to keep their 2008 undefeated season intact. Rose Augustin netted the golden goal less than seven minutes into overtime when she dribbled into the penalty area and uncorked a low rocket into the far left-side netting from 15 yards out. Irish goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander was credited with the victory, stopping two shots. Notre Dame had taken a 2-0 lead just eight minutes into the game off of goals from Brittany Bock (assisted by Julie Scheidler) and Kerri Hanks (on a penalty kick). The Wildcats halved their deficit at 50:26 when Grace Hawkins redirected a shot inside the left post. Then Laura Sylvester fought through a goalmouth scramble and poked a loose ball across the line to tie the game with 8:12 remaining, sending the game to overtime where Augustin and the Irish would prevail.

Scouting The Hoyas
Georgetown enters the weekend with a 12-3-2 overall record and a 6-2-1 mark in BIG EAST play. Along with Notre Dame and Rutgers, the Hoyas have already clinched a first-round bye in the BIG EAST Championship. Before clashing with the Irish at Alumni Stadium, Georgetown will play at DePaul on Friday, Oct. 23 at 4:00 p.m. (CST).

The Hoyas went 2-0-0 last week, including a 3-0 win over Cincinnati on Oct. 16 and a 2-1 win over West Virginia on Oct. 18. In Friday’s win over Cincinnati, graduate student Sara Jordan became the all-time leading goal scorer in GU history and Georgetown recorded its first shutout in eight games. Sunday’s win against West Virginia snapped a four-game losing streak to the Mountaineers and clinched the first round bye.

The Hoyas offense has been led by sophomore midfielder Ingrid Wells and graduate student Sara Jordan. Wells has totaled seven goals and 11 assists for 25 points, while Jordan has scored eight goals and added seven assists for 23 points. All told, Georgetown has eight players who have netted at least three goals, including sophomore Kelly D’Ambrisi, whose four goals include three game winners. Junior goalkeeper Jackie DesJardin has played in 14 games and carries an 11-3-2 record into the weekend. She has posted a 0.86 GAA and made 63 saves n her way to recording six shutouts.

The Hoyas are coached by Dave Nolan, who is in the midst of his sixth season as Georgetown’s head coach. He carries a 65-41-11 (.603) record into the weekend and helped Georgetown to their most recent NCAA tournament appearance in 2007.

The Notre Dame-Georgetown Series
Notre Dame carries an all-time series record of 15-1-0 versus Georgetown, including a run of eight consecutive wins versus the Hoyas. All told, Notre Dame has outscored Georgetown by an 87-8 margin and maintains a 9-0 home record. The teams first met on Oct. 22, 1995 in Washington, D.C. The Irish earned a 10-0 win on that day and won the next six meetings. Then Georgetown claimed its only win of the series on Sept. 29, 2002 when it downed Notre Dame, 4-3, at home. For a complete series breakdown, please refer to page 105 in the 2009 Notre Dame women’s soccer media guide.

The teams last met on Oct. 10, 2008 in BIG EAST regular season play, with the Irish posting a 3-1 win at North Kehoe Field in Washington, D.C. Kerri Hanks and Courtney Barg each registered a goal and an assist in that contest to lead the then top-ranked Irish past then No. 17/16 Georgetown. Melissa Henderson notched the other Irish goal, with an assist from Julie Scheidler. Irish goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander got the win for Notre Dame, turning aside three shots. After Hanks gave the Irish an early 1-0 lead by converting a penalty kick, GU’s Stephanie Zare tied the match at the 16:29 mark. But just over a minute later (at 17:58), Henderson restored the Irish lead for good. Barg added an insurance goal early in the second half.

Beasts Of The BIG EAST
With a weekend sweep of Connecticut and Providence on Oct. 16 and 18, Notre Dame now owns an NCAA Division I-record 61-game unbeaten streak (58-0-3) 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 131-8-5 (.927) all-time in regular-season conference games, 32-2-1 (.929) in the BIG EAST Championship, and hold a 700-83 scoring edge dating back to that first league season in ’95.

What’s more, Notre Dame maintains a 14-year, 91-game home unbeaten streak (88-0-1) 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).

Senior Moments
The 2009 Irish senior class ranks as the second-most successful group in the country on the basis of wins, with a four-year record to date of 82-10-4 (.875) that includes three consecutive trips to the NCAA College Cup and appearances in the 2006 and 2008 national title games.

The .875 winning percentage compiled by the Notre Dame seniors is also second best on the national scene behind North Carolina.

Game #14 Recap: Connecticut
Junior forward Taylor Knaack turned in a career-high five-point night with two goals and an assist, while classmates Rose Augustin and Erica Iantorno also scored two goals apiece, as No. 7/8 Notre Dame rang up its biggest win of season, toppling BIG EAST Conference rival Connecticut, 6-1.

Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss made her fourth consecutive start for Notre Dame, recording three saves in 82 minutes of action. Freshman netminder Maddie Fox then came on to work the final eight minutes for the Fighting Irish, and was not tested in that time. Dulski had two saves in 58 minutes for Connecticut, while Ally Mancino had three stops in the closing 32 minutes for the Huskies — both UConn goalkeepers allowed three goals.

Notre Dame finished with a 27-14 shot advantage in the game, including an 11-4 edge in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also held a slim lead in corner kicks (3-2), while fouls were nearly even (7-5 Notre Dame) and Connecticut’s Meghan Cunningham was issued the only yellow card of the contest with a bit more than 15 minutes to play.

Game #15 Recap: Providence
Junior forward Taylor Knaack continued her recent offensive explosion with an early first-half goal, and senior midfielder Amanda Clark added her first score of the year less than 10 minutes later, as No. 7/8 Notre Dame posted an efficient 2-0 BIG EAST Conference win over Providence.

Sophomore midfielder Courtney Barg collected her second assist in as many games, while junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss made three saves in the Notre Dame net to post her fourth solo shutout of the season, all in the past five games. The Fighting Irish outshot Providence, 22-8, with a 9-3 advantage in shots on goal. Notre Dame also doubled up the Friars on corner kicks (8-4), while fouls were nearly even (13-11 for the hosts) and PC was assessed the lone yellow card of the afternoon.

Taylor Made For Goal Scoring
Junior forward/midfielder Taylor Knaack has led the Irish offense as of late, scoring four goals in Notre Dame’s past three matches while also adding an assist. Her recent nine-point outburst included a career-high five-point night in Notre Dame’s 6-1 defeat of UConn on Oct. 16.

Last weekend’s offensive explosion earned the Arlington, Texas native several national awards. Knaack was named to the Soccer America and to the Top Drawer Soccer National Teams of the Week while also being chosen as the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week and’s Primetime Performer.

Entering the year, Knaack had five goals and two assists in 27 games played. Through 16 games this season, Knaack has already totaled five goals and four assists for 14 points.

Nikki In The Irish Net
Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss has helped lead the Irish over the past five games as the Redding, Conn. native has posted four shutouts and a 4-0-1 record in those five matches. That stretch began when she earned her first career solo clean sheet on Oct. 4 at Pittsburgh (a 0-0 double-overtime tie), and followed with shutouts versus 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). Most recently, Weiss blanked Providence, 2-0, on Oct. 18 for her fourth solo shutout.

The Henderson Effect
Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson has made quite an impact on the Notre Dame offense since arriving on campus last fall, netting 24 goals (including nine gamewinners) and adding four assists for 52 points in less than two full seasons with the Irish.

In fact, through her first 41 games, Notre Dame is 18-0 when Henderson scores a goal and 20-0 when she picks up a point.

Clean Sheets
In a unique twist, 13 of Notre Dame’s 16 games this season have been decided by shutout (nine for the Fighting Irish, three for the opposition and one scoreless draw).

Junior netminder Nikki Weiss has posted four solo shutouts in Notre Dame’s past five games, and she and freshman goalkeeper Maddie Fox each have split two shutouts. Weiss earned her first career solo clean sheet on Oct. 4 at Pittsburgh (a 0-0 double-overtime tie), and followed with shutouts versus Rutgers and Seton Hall. Most recently, she blanked Providence, 2-0, on Oct. 18. She also shared the Aug. 21 blanking of Wisconsin, and the Sept. 6 shutout vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Freshman goalkeeper Maddie Fox closed out the UWM contest and also backstopped senior Kelsey Lysander to finish up the Sept. 18 BIG EAST opener vs. DePaul. Lysander has had a hand in five of those Notre Dame whitewashes, earning solo shutouts against Loyola-Chicago (Aug. 28), Northwestern (Sept. 20) and Louisville (Sept. 27).

Fighting Irish Debuts
In Notre Dame’s season-opening victory over Wisconsin on Aug. 21 at old Alumni Field, four of the five active Fighting Irish freshmen made their collegiate debuts. Lindsay Brown, Leah Fisher, Jazmin Hall and Tereza Stastny all saw time on the pitch as Notre Dame blanked the Badgers, 3-0. A week later, Stastny made her first career start in the 2-0 win over Loyola-Chicago, also at Alumni Field.

Then in Notre Dame’s 3-0 conquest of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sept. 6 at new Alumni Stadium, goalkeeper Maddie Fox made her Irish debut, playing the final 14:44 to share the shutout with Nikki Weiss. Fox also made two impressive saves in her first collegiate action to help preserve Notre Dame’s clean sheet.

The UW-Milwaukee game was notable for another Irish rookie as Stastny registered the first two points of her career by setting up both of Melissa Henderson’s first-half goals. Most recently, Hall registered her first career point in Notre Dame’s 1-0 win versus Rutgers, as she assisted on Lauren Fowlkes’ game winner.

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.

Schuveiller Goes To Camp
Sophomore defender Jessica Schuveiller was among a group of 24 players invited by head coach Bill Irwin to compete at the United States Under-23 Women’s National Team Training Camp in suburban Cleveland this past summer (June 12-19).

Schuveiller made her first appearance at a U.S. National Team training camp, joining an extensive list of Notre Dame players who have competed for Team USA at the U-23 level. Most recently, three current Irish players — senior forward Michele Weissenhofer, junior defender/midfielder Lauren Fowlkes and sophomore forward Melissa Henderson — were part of the U-23 player pool, along with two recent Notre Dame graduates and current WPS players Brittany Bock (now with the Los Angeles Sol) and defender Elise Weber (competing for Saint Louis Athletica). Fowlkes also struck gold with the U.S. U-20 National Team at last December’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Chile.

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 330-83-21 (.785) in 20 seasons (including six at Tulsa and three at Baylor). His winning percentage ranks fourth among active coaches, while his 330 wins are fifth on the NCAA Division I career list.

Three … Is The Magic Number
Scoring three goals has meant virtually an automatic win in Notre Dame women’s soccer history, with a 283-3-1 (.988) record in those games, including a 185-1-0 (.995) mark since Oct. 6, 1995. The Irish also are 385-9-15 (.960) when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals.

Most impressively, Notre Dame is 310-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and is unbeaten in its past 287 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 194 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).

Golden Domers Golden In OT
Overtime has usually been the right time for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish are 19-3-9 (.758) 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 the 11-year tenure of head coach Randy Waldrum, and it’s believed to be the quickest overtime score in the program’s 22-year history (further research pending).

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.

Rosen Sidelined
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.

Media Guide Correction
On page 53 of the 2009 Notre Dame women’s soccer media guide, the last name of senior defender/midfielder Amanda Clark’s grandfather (Joe Kopnisky) and uncle (Jack Kopnisky) was misspelled. The Notre Dame Sports Information Office regrets the error.

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 and Shaner released by Los Angeles, while Tancredi was declared a free agent by Saint Louis.

— ND —