Forward Cari Roccaro became the first Notre Dame freshman in six years to be chosen as the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week when she earned that accolade Monday afternoon.

Cari Roccaro Named BIG EAST Offensive Player Of The Week

Sept. 24, 2012

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After piling up five points in home wins over Pittsburgh and Oakland last weekend, Notre Dame freshman forward Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) has been named the BIG EAST Conference Offensive Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday. Roccaro’s classmate, defender Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) also received BIG EAST accolades on Monday, earning a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.

Roccaro is the first Notre Dame rookie to earn BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week honors since Sept. 25, 2006, when Michele Weissenhofer garnered that distinction. Roccaro is coming off a productive weekend that saw her collect a goal and an assist in a 3-0 non-conference win over Oakland on Sunday, as well as the opening goal in last Friday’s 2-1 victory over BIG EAST foe Pittsburgh. The Oakland match was the first multi-point outing of Roccaro’s career, and also extended her current goal scoring streak to three matches. The first-year forward is still in the earliest stages of her college career, having made her debut on Sept. 14 against Louisville, following an extended early-season absence playing with the United States Under-20 National Team that won the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup title in Japan on Sept. 8.

Naughton anchored a Fighting Irish defense that was nearly perfect last weekend, allowing a combined eight total shots (and only two on goal) during the two wins. What’s more, Notre Dame posted its fourth shutout of the season and did not allow a shot on goal against Oakland, the first time the Fighting Irish have blanked an opponent in that column since Nov. 1, 2009, when they held an 11-0 edge in shots on goal during a 5-0 win over South Florida in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals at Alumni Stadium.

This marks the second time in Naughton’s freshman season she has been selected for weekly honors. Back on Aug. 27, the Illinois native was named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week after helping Notre Dame to shutout wins at Tulsa (2-0 on Aug. 24) and at home against East Carolina (5-0 on Aug. 26).

Roccaro and Naughton are two of five different Fighting Irish players (four of whom are freshmen) who have earned BIG EAST weekly honors this season. Back on Aug. 27, freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) was chosen as the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week, the same day that junior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) appeared on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll. Most recently on Sept. 17, freshman forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy) copped her first career mention on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.

Notre Dame will reach the midpoint of the BIG EAST regular season this weekend, beginning at 3 p.m. (ET) Friday, when it takes on Providence at Glay Field in Providence, R.I. The Fighting Irish then head to Storrs, Conn., on Sunday for a noon (ET) match against Connecticut at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium, the site of this year’s BIG EAST Championship.

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