July 14, 2007
Two members of the Notre Dame women’s soccer program – rising senior Amanda Cinalli (Maple Heights, Ohio) and sophomore-to-be Michele Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill.) – currently are in Finland preparing to compete with the United States Under-21 National Team in the annual Nordic Cup, the world’s premier tournament for youth women’s soccer. Cinalli and Weissenhofer are two of the five forwards listed on the elite 18-player roster, which features four other schools with multiple players on the 2007 Nordic Cup team. Notre Dame joins Portland, UCLA and Stanford as the only schools to send active players to each of the past three Nordic Cups. Cinalli is among seven returning players from the 2006 Nordic Cup squad while Weissenhofer joins two other rising sophomores as the youngest members on the squad currently in Finland.
The 2007 Nordic Cup will be held July 18-24 at seven venues on the west coast of Finland, with each location near Vaasa and the Gulf of Bothnia. The tournament has been trimmed from eight to six teams this year, with the USA positioned in Group B along with Norway (game on July 18) and Sweden (July 22). Group B includes defending champion Germany, Finland and England – with the placement games to be played on July 24 (the championship matchup will be held at Hietalahti Stadium, in Vaasa).
Michele Weissenhofer (18G-17A in ’06 with ND) – one of the youngest players on the U.S. 2007 Nordic Cup roster – joined teammate Kerri Hanks as the only players in the nation to reach 15 goals and 15 assists during the 2006 season.
Both Notre Dame players will be checking in with Irish soccer fans during the next 10 days, with diary entries from the players and photo galleries to be posted on und.com. Plenty of coverage – including live in-game stats and play-by-play – also will be provided at ussoccer.com.
NORDIC CUP HISTORY
The Nordic Cup has been held in northern Europe every summer for more than a decade, during which time the event has become the focus of the USA’s oldest youth national team during its six-month run-up to the prestigious competition. In response to FIFA moving its oldest FIFA youth world championship for women from Under-19 to U-20, this year the Nordic Cup moves from an Under-21 competition to an Under-23 tournament (it was staged as a U-20 event from 1990-1997). The USA program also is in the process of transitioning its U-21 women’s team into a U-23 squad. Age-eligible players for the 2007 Nordic Cup are those born on or after January 1, 1984.
The United States has won eight Nordic Cup titles, including seven in a row from 1999-2005 before losing the 2006 title game to Germany (2-0). The USA won the previous Nordic Cup that was contested in Finland, defeating Germany in the 2002 final (3-1). The Nordic Cup teams are comprised primarily of players 21 years of age or younger (plus a handful of under-24 exemptions). Team USA has defeated Sweden three times in the title game while topping both Germany and Norway twice in the final (the U.S. lost to Norway in the 1998 Nordic Cup final).
ND AND THE NORDIC CUP
Cinalli and eight previous Notre Dame players – Kate Sobrero, Jen Grubb, Jenny Streiffer, LaKeysia Beene, Meotis Erikson, Candace Chapman, Jen Buczkowski and Erik Bohn – have combined to play in the Nordic Cup 17 times (all with the USA, except for Chapman with Canada). The Nordic Cup was and under-20 event prior to 1999.
Grubb scored the game-winning goal in sudden-death overtime to defeat Germany in the bronze medal game of the 1996 Nordic Cup. She then went on to start every game for the victorious U.S. squad at the ’97, ’98 and ’99 Nordic Cups, playing every minute of the ’98 and ’99 tournaments (as both a defender and midfielder). Erikson was the youngest member of the 1997 Nordic Cup team that also included Grubb, Streiffer, Beene and Sobrero (an overage member of the ’97 team who also was a member of the ’94 Nordic Cup squad). Notre Dame players comprised five of the 16 players on the 1997 Nordic Cup team that won the title in Denmark, with Streiffer scoring the sudden-death gamewinner in the final versus Norway.
Streiffer (who started all four games) then joined Grubb and Beene as key regulars on the 1998 Nordic Cup team that came up shy of winning the title – but those three players helped bring home the trophy again in ’99, with Streiffer’s team-leading seven points (3 goals, 1 assist) including the goal that tied Norway with five minutes left in regulation (the U.S. won 2-1 in overtime).
Buczkowski was one of three U.S. players who logged all 360 minutes at the 2005 Nordic Cup, as her possession skills helped team USA roll up a 15-2 scoring edge while dominating in shots (99-17), shots on goal (43-9) and corner kicks (23-6). Bohn – recently named assistant coach at Xavier University – served as the backup goalkeeper on the 2005 team, which posted wins over Iceland (4-0), Denmark (4-0) and Germany (3-1) before beating Norway in the 4-1 title game. The versatile Chapman played for Canada at the 2001 Nordic Cup and has starred as a forward, midfielder and defender throughout her international soccer career.
Current rising junior forward Kerri Hanks and Buczkowski (a 2007 graduate who will serve as ND’s volunteer assistant this season) joined Cinalli in receiving invitations to the 2006 Nordic Cup team, but each elected not to compete in that tournament. Five different Notre Dame players – Buczkowski, Cinalli, Hanks, rising junior midfielder Brittany Bock and Weissenhofer – have spent the past few months training with various U.S. national teams (another, rising junior defender Carrie Dew, also likely would have been active in those camps but she still is rehabbing from her knee surgery late in the 2006 season).
NORDIC CUP 2007 ROSTER BREAKDOWN
Notre Dame joins Virginia, Portland, UCLA and Texas as teams with multiple players on the 2007 Nordic Cup roster, which also includes players from Stanford, North Carolina, Arizona State, Santa Clara, Penn State and Illinois. Cinalli, in particular, has plenty of familiarity with her Nordic Cup teammates – as she is one of seven returners from the 2006 Nordic Cup team. Earlier in Cinalli’s career, the Irish also played Portland twice (’04 and ’05 NCAA quarterfinals), Virginia twice (preseason exhibitions) and Santa Clara four times (regular-season tournaments and ’04 NCAA semifinals), in addition to single games with UCLA (2004 NCAA final), UNC (2006 NCAA final), Stanford (2004 SCU Classic), ASU (’04) and Penn State (2006 NCAA quarterfinals), plus spring scrimmages with Illinois. Cinalli and Weissenhofer will face several of their Nordic Cup teammates during the 2007 college season, as the Irish will face both UNC and UVa in preseason games before taking on Stanford, SCU and Penn State in the regular season.
Weissenhofer easily is the youngest of the five forwards on the team, with the others all being rising seniors: Cinalli, UCLA’s Danesha Adams, Kelsey Carpenter of Texas and Illinois veteran Ella Maser. Weissenhofer and SCU sophomore midfielder Kiki Bosio will bring an added dimension to the USA offense due to their strong flip-throw-in style, with the team’s other midfielders including UCLA sophomore Tina DiMartino, Virginia alum Sarah Huffman, recent PSU standout Ali Krieger and Portland senior Angie Woznuk. Bosio and DiMartino join Weissenhofer as the youngest members of the team (based on class year).
The six defenders and two goalkeepers include three former college players, in backline talents Kendall Fletcher (UNC) and Manya Makoski (ASU) plus Portland `keeper Cori Alexander. The other defenders include Stanford senior Rachel Buehler, the UVa duo of senior Becky Sauerbrunn and junior Nikki Krzysik and Texas junior Stephanie Logterman – while Portland junior Kelsey Davis (a former transfer from UCLA) joins Alexander in the nets.
The seven returners from the 2006 Nordic Cup runner-up team include Cinalli, Huffman, Adams, Woznuk, Buehler, Fletcher and Alexander (Makoski also is a Nordic Cup veteran but did not play in the 2006 event). Five of the players – Fletcher, Makoski, Buehler, Woznuk and Huffman – were teammates of Hanks on the 2002 U.S. team that won the Under-19 World Championship in Canada while four others (Adams, DiMartino, Davis and Logterman) joined Bock and Dew on the U.S. squad that competed in Russia at the 2006 Under-20 World Championship (Hanks and Woznuk also were on the 2004 team that played in Thailand at the 2004 U-19 World tournament).
The 2007 Nordic Cup roster include five former college players, seven who are set to lead their teams as seniors in the 2007 season, three rising juniors and three who will be sophomores in the fall of 2007. The 18 players hail from 10 different home states, led by California (5), Texas (3), Ohio (2, including Cinalli) and Illinois (2, including Weissenhofer) – plus one each from North Carolina, New Jersey, Connecticut, Missouri, New York and Virginia. Three of the other players have the same hometown as current or recent Notre Dame starters – as Carpenter and Hanks both are from Allen, Texas, while Huffman and ND rising senior goalkeeper Lauren Karas are natives of Flower Mound, Texas (Makoski and former ND standout defender Vanessa Pruzinsky both are products of the Trumbull, Conn., soccer pipeline).
Finland is the native country of former Notre Dame standout Anne Makinen (Helsinki), a four-year All-America midfielder who received the 2000 Hermann Trophy as national player of the year.
UPDATED CINALLI BIO. NOTES
Cinalli – who previously played on the youth national-team level during her senior year of high school, as a member of the U.S. Under-17 National Team that included her future Notre Dame teammate Susan Pinnick – is on pace to rank among the top offensive players in Notre Dame history. A versatile talent who spent much of the 2006 season in the midfield, Cinalli will enter the 2007 season ranked 19th on the Notre Dame career scoring list (88 points; 31 goals, 26 assists) and is four assists shy of becoming the program’s 12th player with 30G-30A. The clever frontrunner has shown her scoring flair with clutch performances throughout her career – as she has opened the scoring in more postseason games (6) than any other player in Notre Dame history while her four postseason gamewinning goals are one shy of tying that ND record.
The fourth-year members of Notre Dame’s 2007 team – Cinalli, Karas and defender/midfielder Ashley Jones – represent the winningest senior class in all of Division I women’s soccer, as Notre Dame compiled a .924 winning percentage (72-5-2) over the course of the 2004-05 seasons. Cinalli played in all 79 of those games (76 starts) and could break Buczkowski’s record for career GP (103) by appearing in 25 games during the 2007 season (25 starts also would break that ND record, shared by Holly Manthei and Jen Grubb). Cinalli, Jones, Buczkowski and Jill Krivacek are the only Irish players ever to appear in 27 games during multiple seasons (2004 and ’06).
In addition to being a three-time All-BIG EAST Conference selection (1st team in ’04, 2nd team in ’06, 3rd team in ’05), Cinalli also was an NSCAA second team all-Great Lakes Region selection in 2006 and likely will be on the preseason watch list for the 2007 Hermann Trophy. She ranked fifth among 2006 BIG EAST players in goals (11) and seventh in points (26, with 4A) while helping the Irish lead the nation with a +74 goal differential (85-11). Cinalli was named national player of the week after factoring into each of the Irish goals (2G-1A) during the 3-1 comeback win over Santa Clara (ND and SCU both were ranked #1 at the time) – with her other 2007 highlights including the tying goal at #24 Mississippi (2-1), the first goal in the 2-0 win over #19 USC, 1G-1A in the BIG EAST showdown with #6 West Virginia (3-1 comeback) and a goal in the NCAA quarterfinals vs. Penn State (4-0).
Despite being overshadowed in 2005 by the All-America duo of Hanks and Katie Thorlakson (who both finished the season with 71 points, two shy of the ND record), Cinalli still finished as the third-leading scorer among all 2005 players in the BIG EAST Conference (37 points; 10 goals, 17 assists) and finished fifth among the nation’s 2005 assist leaders. Her four gamewinning goals in 2005 included scores versus top-25 teams Florida (4-1) and Connecticut (5-0; BIG EAST title game) while her 1G-1A helped send the Irish past Yale in the NCAA round-of-16 (5-2). As a Freshman All-American and first team all-BIG EAST performer with the 2004 NCAA championship team, Cinalli totaled 10G-5A with key gamewinners in 1-0 road wins over UConn and Villanova and the 3-1 win over Portland in the ’04 NCAA quarterfinals. The former high school All-American became the first Notre Dame freshman to score the team’s first goal of a season and was the fourth ND player ever to score the first two goals of a season for the Irish.
UPDATED WEISSENHOFER BIO. NOTES
Soccer America named Weissenhofer its 2006 national freshman of the year, following a season that saw the exciting newcomer rank behind only Hanks among the national leaders in points (53) and assists (17), in addition to ranking sixth on the national goals list (18). She joined former All-American Streiffer (22G-22A, in ’96) as the only Notre Dame players ever to reach 17G-17A in their freshman seasons while Weissenhofer’s 18 goals are the sixth-most ever by an ND freshman. The first team all-BIG EAST selection and BIG EAST rookie of the year became the first Notre Dame player ever to register four gamewinning goals in the same postseason- versus #24 Marquette (BIG EAST semifinal; 2-0, also had an assist), #19 Rutgers (BIG EAST final; 4-2), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (NCAA 2nd round; 1-0) and #8 Penn State (NCAA quarterfinal; 4-0).
Weissenhofer factored into nearly half of Notre Dame 25 gamewinning goals in the 2006 season, totaling five GWGs to go along with six gamewinning assists (her 16 gamewinning points rank 7th in ND single-season history). Her clutch three-goal output in the NCAA quarterfinals versus PSU made Weissenhofer just the third Notre Dame freshman ever to post a hat trick in the NCAAs (she and ND all-time goalscoring leader Jenny Heft are the only Irish players ever to turn in a hat trick in the NCAA quarterfinals, semifinals or final). The former prep All-American and two-time national club champion (Eclipse Select, ’04 and ’05) had several other top games in 2006, including: 2G-2A in the opener vs. Iowa State (9-0), a pair of flip-throw assists in the 2-0 win over #19 USC, 2G-1A vs. her hometown team DePaul (5-0), GWG-1A at Michigan (2-0), 1G-1A in the 3-1 comeback vs. #6 West Virginia, 2G vs. Pittsburgh (5-0) and 2A at #9 Villanova (4-2).
2007 U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team Nordic Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Cori Alexander (Portland ’07; Martinez, CA) and Kelsey Davis (Portland ’09; Thousand Oaks, CA)
DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler (Stanford ’08; Del Mar, CA), Kendall Fletcher (North Carolina ’06; Cary, NC), Nikki Krzysik (Virginia ’09; Clifton, NJ), Stephanie Logterman (Texas ’09; Austin, TX), Manya Makoski (Arizona State ’06; Trumbull, CT) and Becky Sauerbrunn (Virginia ’08; St. Louis, MO)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Kiki Bosio (Santa Clara ’10; Mission Viejo, CA), Tina DiMartino (UCLA ’10; Massapequa Park, NY), Sarah Huffman (Virginia ’06; Flower Mound, TX), Ali Krieger (Penn State ’07; Dumfries, VA) and Angie Woznuk (Portland ’08; El Cajon, CA)
FORWARDS (5): Danesha Adams (UCLA ’08; Shaker Hts, OH), Kelsey Carpenter (Texas ’08; Allen, TX), Amanda Cinalli (Notre Dame ’08; Maple Hts, OH), Ella Masar (Illinois ’08; Urbana, IL) and Michele Weissenhofer (Notre Dame ’10; Naperville, IL)
U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team 2007 Nordic Cup Schedule (July 18-24)
Group A – Finland, England and Germany
Group B – USA, Norway and Sweden
Wednesday, July 18 – Finland vs. England (Hietalahti Stadium; Vaasa) … USA vs. Norway (NÃƒÂ¤rpiÃƒÂ¶)
Friday, July 20 – England vs. Germany (SeinÃƒÂ¤joki) … Norway vs. Sweden (VÃƒÂ¶yri)
Sunday, July 22 – Germany vs. Finland (Lapua) … Sweden vs. USA (Kaarle Stadium; Vaasa)
Tuesday, July 24 – Fifth-Place Game at SepÃƒÂ¤nkylÃƒÂ¤ … Bronze-Medal Game at Kaarle Stadium, Vaasa … Gold-Medal Game at Hietalahti Stadium, Vaasa