Oct. 17, 2008
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Freshman forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) scored twice and senior All-America forward/Hermann Trophy candidate Brittany Bock (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) delivered a goal and two assists to help No. 1 Notre Dame to a 5-0 BIG EAST Conference win over Providence on Friday afternoon at Glay Field in Providence, R.I. Bock’s fellow senior All-America forward and Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) added a goal and an assist as the Irish (15-0-0, 8-0-0 BIG EAST) matched the second-best start to a season in the program’s 21-year history. In addition, Notre Dame earned the 400th win in school history, as well as the 200th victory for head coach Randy Waldrum since he arrived in South Bend in 1999.
Sophomore forward Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) tallied a late goal, while a pair of Notre Dame juniors — midfielder Courtney Rosen (Brecksville, Ohio/Hathaway Brown) and forward Michele Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) dished out one assist apiece. Rosen and Weissenhofer’s classmate, goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) was credited with one save in the first 77 minutes of action. Sophomore netminder Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) wrapped up the team’s ninth shutout of the season, stopping one shot during the final 13 minutes.
As a team, Notre Dame outshot Providence, 26-5, with a 12-2 advantage in shots on goal — both of the Friars’ SOG came from well outside the penalty area and were not serious threats to score). The Irish also earned all five corner kicks in the game, while PC was whistled for 17 fouls, compared to 12 infractions for Notre Dame. In addition, Providence (5-6-3, 0-5-3) received three yellow cards, as well as the lone red card, in Friday’s contest.
“I thought we did a lot of things really well,” Waldrum said. “We were aggressive and dictated the tempo from the outset and I especially liked the way Courtney Rosen managed the midfield, which allowed things to open up for us. Once we got the lead, we were able to do some different things with our personnel groupings, but even with those changes, the intensity, focus and performance level never dropped. That’s a real credit to our players for bringing their best effort to the table.”
For the 10th time in 15 games this season, Notre Dame scored in the first 20 minutes of play, with Henderson doing the honors at 13:56. Bock started the sequence with a right side throw-in to Rosen at the corner of the penalty area before she dropped off a pass to Bock, who was looping behind the play toward the center of the field. Bock cracked a rising left-footed cross into the area that cleared the Providence defense and landed at Henderson’s feet on the left side of the box. She took one dribble back to her right and then found pay dirt with a screamer into the low left corner of the net.
Henderson made another run into the area two minutes later, but her cross for Hanks went begging on the doorstep of the six-yard box. Hanks crated her own scoring chance moments later, knifing into the area before being hauled down at the spot for a penalty kick. For the fifth consecutive game, Hanks rifled home a PK for her BIG EAST-leading 15th goal of the season (18:27), extending her goalscoring streak to nine games (one shy of Amanda Guertin’s school record) and her point-scoring string to 11 games (three away from Katie Thorlakson’s Irish standard).
Notre Dame had another golden opportunity to score at 28:41, when Henderson ran on to a deflected loose ball behind the Friars’ defense and looked to have an impending 1-v-1 chance with PC goalkeeper Jill Schott. However, with Providence defender Marra Whaley tugging at her shirttail, the referee inexplicably elected not to play the clear advantage call and blew the play dead in order to issue a yellow card to Whaley 25 yards from goal.
The Irish nearly turned in a dramatic end to the first half, as Weissenhofer tracked the ball down just outside the left edge of the area with four seconds to go in the period. Her pinpoint left-footed cross connected beautifully with sophomore forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin), whose sharp downward header crossed the goal line just as the horn sounded to end the first half. The referee immediately waved off the score, ruling the ball didn’t completely cross the plane before triple zeroes appeared on the clock. It was the second unlucky turn of events for Knaack in the final four minutes of the first half, after she ripped a shot from the near right wing hard off the crossbar from eight yards away with 3:37 left in the period.
Already leading 2-0, Notre Dame gained another advantage at 62:43 in the second half, as Whaley received her second yellow card for a “studs-up” tackle from behind on Hanks. The second caution resulted in an automatic red card and her exile from the game, leaving Providence to play the final 27-plus minutes one man down. The Irish capitalized on that edge 10 minutes later when Bock won a ball at midfield and delivered a sweet through-ball to Hanks, who was alone on an isle in the left channel. As she streaked into the area, the three-time All-American drew two defenders with her, leaving Henderson unmarked in the goal mouth, where the Irish rookie finished off Hanks’ crossing pass with a low shot inside the right post from 10 yards out (72:40). It’s the third multi-goal game of the season for Henderson, who also ranks second on the team this season with 12 goals.
Bock, who led the Irish with seven shots (six on goal) at Providence, did much of the dirty work for Notre Dame on its next score at 77:17, tracking down a deflected shot on the left endline inside the penalty area. As she pivoted to serve a ball back across the goalmouth, Bock was cleared out by a PC defender, resulting in the second penalty kick of the day for the Irish. In a classy and unselfish move, Hanks relinquished her role as Notre Dame’s regular PK specialist to Bock, who stepped forward to drive home her fifth goal of the season, and the first of her career from the penalty spot.
Weissenhofer capped the scoring in the final minute, switching the point of attack from left to right with a soaring cross that found Iantorno on the right wing. The second-year frontliner cut inside a defender and drilled a low shot with the outside of her right foot that tucked neatly inside the right post at 89:11 for her fourth goal of the season.
Notre Dame closes out its four-game BIG EAST road trip Sunday with a 1 p.m. (ET) matinee at Connecticut. The game will be broadcast live to a national cable audience by CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV).
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame’s 15-0-0 start matches the 2004 team for the second-best debut in school history, topped only by a 16-0-0 beginning to the 2000 season … since beginning last year with a 3-4-1 record, the Irish have gone 31-1-1, with the only loss coming to #14 Florida State in last year’s NCAA College Cup semifinals (3-2) and the lone tie occurring in the ’07 BIG EAST Championship final at #12 West Virginia (the Mountaineers won the conference title on penalty kicks, 5-3) … Notre Dame extends its regular-season winning streak to a school-record 25 games, while its 25-game unbeaten string is the fifth-longest in program annals … the Irish also move their unbeaten streak against BIG EAST opponents to 46 games, the third-longest in NCAA Division I history … Notre Dame logs its eighth consecutive three-goal game, matching the second-longest run of its kind in the Irish record books, topped only by an 11-game skein from Oct. 9-Nov. 18, 2005 … Notre Dame’s current goalscoring streak now stands at 40 games, also third-longest in school history … the Irish run their series record against Providence to 13-0 with a 66-1 scoring margin (5-0 with a 32-0 scoring spread on the PC campus) … Notre Dame improves its all-time record in three-goal games to 274-3-1, including a 176-1 mark since Oct. 6, 1995 … Notre Dame now is 295-0-1 all-time and unbeaten in its last 272 contests when claiming a 2-0 lead … Hanks’ current career-long nine-game goalscoring string puts her one behind the school record held by Guertin (Oct. 12-Nov. 18, 2001) … Hanks’ current 11-game point-scoring spree is closing in on Thorlakson’s school record (14 games from Oct. 14-Nov. 25, 2005) … Hanks’ goal was her seventh on eight penalty kick attempts this year, including each of the past five games … Hanks potted her 79th career goal, passing U.S. National Team legend (and former North Carolina great) Kristine Lilly and UNC Greensboro’s Ali Lord, and tying Hanks for 18th on the NCAA Division I career goals list with current U.S. National Team captain (and former Monmouth standout) Christie (Pearce) Rampone, as well as Texas A&M’s Bryn Blalock; Hanks also is just one goal shy of Jenny Heft’s Notre Dame record set from 1996-99 … in addition, Hanks jumped into ninth place on the NCAA Division I career points list with 221 points (79G-63A), passing former U.S. National Team forward (and Portland great) Shannon MacMillan; next up is another former Team USA standout and later the U.S. National Team head coach (as well as a North Carolina alum) April Heinrichs, who logged 225 points from 1983-86 … Hanks (79 goals) and Bock (45 goals) have moved into a tie for second place on Notre Dame’s list of career goals by classmates, pulling even with 2000 seniors Anne Makinen (65) and Meotis Erikson (59) … Notre Dame now has a program record of 400-67-19 (.843) in 20-plus seasons, while Waldrum now sports a 200-29-8 (.861) record in nine-plus seasons at Notre Dame.