Oct. 14, 2003
Two Notre Dame seniors – forward Amy Warner (Albuquerque, N.M.) and central back Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ontario) – have received the respective BIG EAST Conference women’s soccer offensive and defensive player-of-the-week awards after playing lead roles last week as the second-ranked Irish rolled to wins over Butler (3-0), Georgetown (6-0) and Miami (3-0).
Warner had two goals and one assist in the three games while nearly scoring another goal on a shot that led to an own-goal. Tancredi repeated the BIG EAST defensive honor after continuing to play her dominating brand of defense, helping hold the three opponents to a combined 11 total shots, four shots on goal and eight corner kicks – in addition to providing an assist on a long thru-ball that sprung Amanda Guertin for a goal versus Miami.
Warner continues to emerge as a top candidate for BIG EAST offensive player of the year, joining Irish junior forward Mary Boland as the leading candidates for that award (Boland leads the BIG EAST and ranks 20th nationally with 26 points while Warner is second with 25). Both Irish forwards also have been strong two-way players all season, providing an unrelenting “forecheck” approach that set the tone as the first wave of Notre Dame’s suffocating defensive effort.
Warner helped fuel Notre Dame’s 12-goal week, scoring on a breakaway versus Butler and nearly adding another goal versus the Bulldogs on a shot from close range (the shot pinballed off two defenders for an own-goal). Three days later, her header assisted on Kim Carpenter’s opening goal versus Georgetown and she later knocked home a loose ball for the fourth goal vs. the Hoyas. Warner’s nine assists are a career-high and rank fourth in the nation, behind Oklahoma State’s Nikki Wojtowicz (15), UNC’s Alyssa Ramsey (12) and Portland’s Lindsey Huie (11), while she also now ranks 12th in Notre Dame history in goals (35) and 14th in points (92).
Tancredi has led the way during Notre Dame’s current six-game shutout streak, with the Irish allowing just two goals and 16 shots on goal over the course of the last 12 games. The converted forward also continues to be an offensive threat with her skillful runs into the offensive third and has dominated her one-on-one duels throughout the season, winning more than 90 percent of her tackling and heading confrontations this season (including 16-for-16 on heading duels last week).
Tancredi’s defensive leadership is all the more noteworthy due to the season-long absence of injured junior All-America right back Candace Chapman (ACL knee injury) and the limited play of junior Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (returning from broken arm) – with freshmen Christie Shaner and Kim Lorenzen filling out the defensive lineup alongside Tancredi and fifth-year left back Vanessa Pruzinsky. All eight of Tancredi’s points this season (2 goals, 4 assists) have come in last seven games.
Notre Dame players have combined to receive seven BIG EAST weekly awards this season, including player of the week Boland (Sept. 1), defensive player of the week Pruzinsky (Sept. 15) and rookies of the week Jen Buczkowski (Sept. 8) and Shaner (Sept. 22) – making Notre Dame the BIG EAST’s only team to receive at least five awards (WVU is next with four). Notre Dame also remains the only team to feature both an offensive and defensive player-of-the-week selection and is the only squad with multiple players among the recipients for any of the awards (doing so in the offensive, defensive and rookie awards).
Notre Dame steadily has emerged as possibly the nation’s top all-around team, currently ranking second nationally in both team scoring (3.67 goals per game, behind Oklahoma State’s 3.86; min. 10 games) and goals-against average (0.33, behind North Carolina’s 0.28). Notre Dame and UNC are the only unbeaten teams remaining among 293 Division I women’s soccer programs, with just 12 other teams having only one loss (Cal Poly, Southeastern Louisiana, Colorado, Central Connecticut, Kent State, Oklahoma State, Maine, Virginia, Texas A&M, UCLA, Hofstra and Princeton).