Versatile rookie Cari Roccaro became the fifth Notre Dame player to be chosen as the <i>Soccer America</i> Freshman of the Year, the magazine announced Monday.

Cari Roccaro Named Soccer America Freshman Of The Year

Jan. 15, 2013

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame freshman forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) added another major honor to her already-expanding trophy case on Tuesday when she was selected as the 2012 Soccer America Freshman of the Year.

Roccaro (pronounced row-CAH-row) is the fifth Fighting Irish player to earn the honor since it was first presented in 1986, joining Cindy Daws (1993), Anne Makinen (1997), Kerri Hanks (2005) and Michele Weissenhofer (2006) as Notre Dame’s recipients of the nation’s top rookie award. Of the previous four Fighting Irish players to collect the Soccer America Freshman of the Year hardware, three went on to earn college soccer’s most prestigious award, the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy — Daws (1996), Makinen (2000) and Hanks (2006 and 2008).

Roccaro, who also garnered third-team All-America honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), made the most of her abbreviated freshman season at Notre Dame after missing the first seven matches of the year while helping the United States win the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup title in Japan. Once she arrived on campus, Roccaro proved to be a valuable addition to the Fighting Irish roster, starting all 16 matches she played in and ranking third on the team in goals (6), points (13), total shots (41) and shots on goal (21) while earning three BIG EAST Conference honors — BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, All-BIG EAST First Team and All-BIG EAST Rookie Team.

Upon her return from Japan, Roccaro immediately stepped in the starting lineup, beginning with Notre Dame’s 2-1 win over Louisville on Sept. 14, and helped the Fighting Irish go unbeaten in 14 of their final 17 matches while playing all three field positions (forward, midfielder and defender) at various times. Roccaro’s arrival also helped Notre Dame surge to a 16-6-2 final record, a share of the BIG EAST National Division title (8-1-1 record), and a berth in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals for the 15th time in program history.

Roccaro also played a pivotal role in her team’s postseason success, scoring the match-winning goal for the Fighting Irish in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals against Syracuse (a 1-0 victory on Oct. 28 at Alumni Stadium) and netting the tying goal early in the second half of Notre Dame’s 2-1 comeback win over No. 10/12 Wake Forest in an NCAA Championship second-round match on Nov. 16 in Gainesville, Fla.

Roccaro will be one of 10 starters and 22 veterans returning for the Fighting Irish next season. Collectively, this returning group accounted for all 46 goals and 126 of a possible 127 points scored by Notre Dame during the 2012 season.

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