Oct. 28, 2003
Notre Dame freshman central back Christie Shaner (Ambler, Pa.) has received her third BIG EAST women’s soccer rookie-of-the-week award, after continuing to play a key role in the team’s dominating backline play during shutout victories on Oct. 24 and 26 at Rutgers (3-0) and Seton Hall (2-0).
Shaner – who also earned the award on Sept. 22 and Oct. 20 – has emerged as a favorite for the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Award and is the league’s only three-time recipient of the weekly rookie honor. Just one other player in the BIG EAST – Villanova defender Michelle Biehl – has received more than two weekly honors from the BIG EAST this season, with three defensive player-of-the-week awards (ND senior central defender and All-America candidate Melissa Tancredi received that award in the first two weeks of October but was held out of one game during each of the past two weeks, with Biehl picking up her third award for last week’s action).
The prep All-American helped lead last week’s defensive effort as the Irish pushed their shutout streak to 10 games (fifth-longest in NCAA history) while allowing Rutgers and Seton Hall just 10 combined total shots (with one shot on goal by each) and eight combined corner kicks. She again picked up the slack in the second game of the weekend, in Tancredi’s absence, and continues to develop as a threat with her free kicks and corners on the offensive end (with assists in three straight games prior to last week).
Shaner has played her role in Notre Dame’s dominating team defense approach that has allowed just 14 opponent shots on goal during the 10-game shutout streak. The Irish have held their last 24 fall opponents to 0-1 goals, tying the team record for conesecutive games without multiple goals allowed (24, in 2000). Notre Dame’s stingy defense has led to just one deficit all season (for 7:18 vs. ASU), with no deficits in the last 16-plus games (ND has led for 76% of the minutes and trailed for just 0.4%), while holding those last 16 opponents to 0-3 shots on goal (23 total opponent shots on goal in that stretch).
Shaner’s defensive excellence 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 (who recently returne from a broken arm) – with fellow freshman Kim Lorenzen (right back) and fifth-year left back Vanessa Pruzinsky filling out the defensive unit alongside Shaner and Tancredi.
Irish players have combined to receive 10 BIG EAST weekly awards this season, with the others including offensive players of the week Mary Boland (Sept. 1) and Amy Warner (Oct. 13), defensive players of the week Vanessa Pruzinsky (Sept. 15) and Tancredi (Oct. 6, 13) and rookie of the week Jen Buczkowski (Sept. 8) – making Notre Dame the BIG EAST’s only team to receive at least six awards (Rutgers and Villanova are next with five each). Notre Dame also remains the only squad with recipients of all four weekly awards (offensive, defensive, goalkeeper and rookie) and is the only BIG EAST squad to produce multiple players among the recipients for any of the awards (doing so in the offensive, defensive and rookie awards).
Notre Dame has pushed its season scoring edge to 63-5 and steadily has emerged as possibly the nation’s top all-around team, currently ranking third nationally in team scoring (3.32 goals per game) while leading the nation with a 0.26 goals-against average. Notre Dame and top-ranked North Carolina are the only unbeaten teams remaining among 297 Division I women’s soccer programs, with just five other teams having only one loss (top-25 teams UCLA, Princeton and Cal Poly, plus Southeastern Louisiana and Hofstra).