Aug. 27, 2004
Notre Dame’s highly-anticipated 2004 women’s soccer season kicks off Friday night at Alumni Field, when the 2nd-ranked Irish play host to Baylor (with a 7:30 kickoff) … click on the PDF link for a color version of the game program, featuring rosters, stats, notes, headshots and other photos, polls – and more! Notre Dame – looking to ride the momentum of an impressive preseason training trip to Brazil – returns the bulk of its roster from the dominating 2003 season (20-3-1) that saw the Irish ranked No. 2 for most of that season while Baylor will be looking to improve on its 7-9-2 record from a year ago. As in the past, live stats will be avaiable at und.com and several future games also may feature live audio internet broadcasts (stay tuned to und.com). QUICK NOTES ON THE IRISH GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN – Four members of the Notre Dame women’s soccer team will not compete with the Irish in 2004 due to various reasons. Freshman F Kerri Hanks – considered the nation’s No. 4 signee in 2004 and part of the nation’s No. 2-ranked freshman class – is training with the U.S. for the Under-19 World Championship (Nov. 10-27 in Thailand) and will enroll at Notre Dame next spring. Three others – fifth-year M Randi Scheller (hip), freshman F Susan Pinnick (neck, suffered in club team van accident) and freshman M Kelly Simon (shoulder surgery) – are sidelined due to injuries. Junior F Katie Thorlakson also will play in the Under-19 World Championship (with Canada) but is slated to play with the Irish for most of the season (all but those three weeks in November). VIVA BRAZIL! – Notre Dame’s 2004 training trip in Campinas, Brazil (Aug. 10-19), featured a 5-0-1 record and 16-3 scoring edge vs. top semi-professional women’s teams from the Sao Paulo area. The games – which attracted many curious local spectators – included the traditional exchange of gifts and group photos . The Irish also enjoyed great camaraderie at the wonderful five-star Vitoria Hotel and soaked in the atmosphere at first-division Brazilian men’s professional games held at Ponta Preta and Guarani. Meals included Brazil’s many exotic and tasty forms of pizza and the unique Brazilian steakhouses that featured table-top carvings of a variety of entrees. Leading scorers on the trip included Candace Chapman (4 G), Katie Thorlakson (6A), Jannica Tjeder (3G-2A) and Ashley Jones (2G-3A). COACHING EXCELLENCE – Notre Dame’s Randy Waldrum – the first three-time BIG EAST women’s soccer coach of the year (’99, ’00, ’03) – was a finalist for 2003 national coach-of-the-year honors after masterfully guiding the Irish to one of the most dominant regular seasons in the program’s history. Waldrum tonight coaches against the school where he coaches previously, as he enjoyed great success as Baylor’s first women’s soccer coach from 1996-98. Second-year Notre Dame assistant coach Dawn Greathouse was a standout goalkeeper at Baylor during the Waldrum era. Waldrum owns the nation’s seventh-best career win pct. among women’s soccer coaches (.731, 201-69-16), including 94-17-4 (.835) with the Irish. GREAT GRADES – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team consistently has performed at a high level on the field and in the classroom and that certainly was the case in 2003-04, with a 20-3-1 record followed by a 3.28 team GPA in the `03 fall semester and then a 3.32 GPA in the spring of `04 (when 22 of 25 players posted a GPA of 3.0 or better, with 13 at 3.4-plus). The 2004 team includes two Academic All-Americans – senior forward Mary Boland (3.90 cumulative GPA, psychology major) and junior goalkeeper Erika Bohn (3.63, design) – with other candidates for that honor in `04 including junior midfielder Annie Schefter (3.73, pre-professional studies and psychology) and senior defender Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (3.31, finance). READY TO ROLL – Current senior Mary Boland scored in the opener during each of her first three seasons with the Irish (vs. Penn State in ’01, Providence in ’02 and Hartford in ’03) and joined Rosella Guerrero (’96) as the second Notre Dame player ever to score in three openers (none has scored in four). Notre Dame owns a 14-2-0 all-time record in season openers (10-1 in the last 11). FIRST-TIME VISITORS – Since 1993, Notre Dame opponents making their first visit to Alumni Field have lost to the Irish 36 times, with just three wins for the opposition and one tie (36-3-1; .913). Notre Dame’s all-time record in series openers is 66-25-2 (.720), including 33-5-0 since 1993 and 46-8-0 in all series openers played at home (21-3-0 since ’93). Baylor tonight makes its first visit to Alumni Field and faces Notre Dame for the first time). HOME SWEET HOME – The Irish enter their 15th season at Alumni Field in 2004 with a 150-14-2 (.910) record at the facility (126-10-2 in last 138) – highlighted by a 29-game home winning streak (5th NCAA history) from ’99-’01. Eight of ND’s last 10 home losses have been by a single goal. ND’s all-time record at Alumni Field vs. teams not in the NSCAA top-25 poll is 106-4-1 (44-10-1 vs. ranked teams). GO THE DISTANCE – Notre Dame enters 2004 riding a 16-game unbeaten stretch in overtime (12-0-4), dating back to a 3-2, double-OT loss to North Carolina in the 1999 opener. FAR & WIDE – ND’s ’04 roster includes players from 13 states, two Canadian provinces, Iceland and Finland. The program’s all-time roster canvasses 30 states and three foreign countries. Notre Dame’s student-athlete population in the ’02-’03 academic year included nearly 800 individuals from 47 states (all but Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada) and 20 countries. FIRST-HALF FORTRESS – The ND defense was particularly stingy in the first half the past three seasons (’01-’03), allowing just 22 goals in the first half of 65 games (0.33/gm), including a 40-7 first-half scoring edge in 2003. BALANCED DOMINANCE – The ’03 ND women’s soccer team joined national champ UNC as the only teams in the top five of final NCAA leaders for scoring (3rd; 3.04 goals per game) and goals-against avg. (5th; 0.49). FRONTRUNNERS – Prior to Michigan’s 12th-minute goal in the final regular-season game of ’03, Notre Dame had not faced a deficit for nearly two months and 16-plus games, the longest streak in the program’s history. The Irish ended up trailing for less than 1% of the minutes during the entire ’03 season (187 minutes) while only two teams (Santa Clara and Miami) came back to tie the Irish in 2003. GOALS-A-PLENTY – Stretching from ’92-’03, the Irish scored in 94.8% of their games (271 of 286). Since ’94, the Irish have scored in 230 of 242 (.950; three shutouts in NCAA title games) – with goals in 176 of 183 regular-season games (.962) during that 10-year stretch. Notre Dame saw its 31-game scoring streak (third-best in Irish history) end in 2002. MAGIC NUMBERS – Reaching the three-goal mark has been virtually an automatic win in ND women’s soccer history, with a 199-3-1 record (.983) in those games (103-1-0 since Oct. 6, 1995). Notre Dame also is 275-9-11 (.951) in all-time games when holding the opponent to 0-1 goals. The program’s 16-year history includes just 288 goals allowed in 366 games (0.79 GA per game), with the Irish holding the opponent to 0-1 goals in 81% of those all-time games (296) while allowing three-plus goals just 33 times (9%; 4-28-1). Notre Dame has surrendered four-plus goals just 12 times (three since `95). WINNING TRADITIONS – Several current Notre Dame women’s soccer players led their clubs and state Olympic Development teams to elite status before becoming part of another winning tradition with the Irish women’s soccer program. Seven members of the current sophomore class helped their teams post top national finishes in 2003. The current freshman class lived up to the standard set by their predecessors. Most notably, Ashley Jones completed the rare double of winning 2004 national titles with her California South state ODP team and her Southern California United club. Her classmate Kerri Hanks earlier won the Golden Boot Award as the tournament’s top scorer with the ’03 Dallas Texans national champs while Lauren Karas earned the Golden Glove Award with North Texas at the 2004 ODP nationals (her team lost to Jones and Cal-South, 1-0). Finally, newcomer Susan Pinnick led the Carmel Commotion to a runner-up finish at the 2003 USYSA under-17 nationals while Kelly Simon was a member of the St. Louis-based Busch Soccer Club that was the 2001 and `02 national runner-up. PRIMETIME PLAYERS – Notre Dame won 75 percent of its “big games” during the first five seasons of the Randy Waldrum era (`99-03), posting a 38-12-3 record when facing an NSCAA top-25 or postseason opponent. NATIONAL TEAMS – Three former Notre Dame players – defender Kate Sobrero Markgraf, goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene and defensive midfielder Shannon Boxx – recently have been starters with the U.S. National Team, with Sobrero and Boxx starting for the 2003 World Cup and 2004 Olympic teams. Nine current members of the Notre Dame program have been active with various national-team programs. Those players include Candace Chapman and Melissa Tancredi (starters with Canada’s full national team) and Chapman and Katie Thorlakson with Canada’s Under-19 National Team. Four others – Annie Schefter, Mary Boland, Jen Buczkowski and Kerri Hanks – have been starters with the U.S. Under-19 National Team (Buczkowski elected not to compete in the upcoming Under-19 World Championship) while Gudrun Gunnarsdottir is a member of Iceland’s national team and Jannica Tjeder has been a regular with Finland’s Under-17, -19 and -21 national teams. Former Notre Dame defender Monica Gonzalez is a founding member of Mexico’s women’s national team and captained Mexico in its historic appearance at the 2004 Olympics (former Irish forward Monica Gerardo also was a founding member of the Mexican team).