Current Notre Dame midfielders Ashley Jones (left) and Becca Mendoza (right) again should find themselves on opposite sides when the Notre Dame women face Mexico for the sixth straight spring, on April 28.

Defending Champions Set To Open Season With Exhibition At Butler

Aug. 13, 2005

The Notre Dame women’s soccer team will begin defense of its national championship with a pair of in-state exhibitions, the first coming on Sunday, Aug. 14, at Butler (2:00 p.m. EST). The Irish then will face Virginia later in the week, at the Fort Wayne Plex facility on Thursday, Aug. 18 – with the start time for that top matchup recently pushed back to 8:00 p.m. EST.

Some quick preseason notes on the Irish follow below (also look for upcoming season preview and 2005 player bio’s and consult the updated team fact sheet, available in PDF form via the following link):

Notre Dame Women’s Soccer Preseason Packet (updated Aug. 12, 2005) in PDF Format
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NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH Randy Waldrum – “The Butler game will give us the chance to look at a lot of different lineups. We have a lot of versatile players and have a lot of options, so we are looking forward to seeing what combinations play best together.”

ON THE WAY – Notre Dame’s 2005 roster again is a geographically-diverse one, with the 27 players hailing from 12 states, two Canadian provinces and Finland … two players will be arriving later in the preseason, as they complete play with their national teams … sophomore Jannica Tjeder is a starting forward with the Finland Under-21 National Team currently competing at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey … Finland opened with a 1-1 tie vs. China and then beat Brazil, 2-0 (Tjeder’s twin sister Daniela scored in the China game) … freshman midfielder Rebecca Mendoza – who owns dual citizenship and resides with her family in Garland, Texas – currently is competing on a South America tour with the Mexican National Team (with games in Argentina and Ueuguay) … Tjeder and Mendoza are expected to join the Irish on Aug. 24.

FRIEND OR FOE? – The Butler game will reunite Notre Dame sophomore forward Susan Pinnick with four of her Carmel Commotion club teammates: sophomore D Molly Callon, sophomore G Annalise Larkin, junior M/F Kristin Harnest and freshman D Crystal Wright … the Commotion were runner-up at the 2003 USYSA club nationals (in the girls-17 division) and returned to the national semifinals this summer (for girls-19) … the Commotion made an inspiring comeback after a 2004 summer team-van accident left Pinnick and three of her teammates hospitalized … ND sophomore F Amanda Cinalli is a former youth-soccer teammate of Butler sophomore D Sarah Pavlik (they then were prep opponents, Cinalli at Laurel HS and Pavlik at Westlake) … ND freshman M/D Kerry Inglis has been a guest player in the past with the Carmel Heat (Butler freshman M Angie Muir also played for the Heat).

NOTRE DAME SOCCER … HOME OF CHAMPIONS – Members of the Notre Dame women’s soccer program followed up the 2004 NCAA title with several other national (and international) titles during the summer of ’05 … current junior M Jen Buczkowski and senior G Erika Bohn were members of the U.S. Under-21 National Team that made an impressive run to winning the annual Nordic Cup (the world’s premier youth tournament, with the ’05 event held in Sweden) … Buczkowski was one of three U.S. players to log all 360 minutes at the Nordic Cup … the U.S. beat Iceland (4-0), Denmark (4-0) and Germany (3-1) in group play before topping Norway in the Nordic Cup final (4-1) … four ND players – junior D Christie Shaner, junior G Nikki Westfall, freshman M Brittany Bock and freshman M/D/ Kerry Inglis – helped the Goshen-based F.C. Indiana club team win the Women’s Premier Soccer League title (in Agawam, Mass.) before winning the U.S. Open Cup (in the Dallas suburb of Frisco) … FCI beat the New England Mutiny (4-0) in the WPSL semifinals before edging the defending champion California Storm in the final (3-3; 4-3 on PKs) … Bock was named to the WPSL all-tournament team after a dominating display in the midfield while Westfall had two huge saves in the run of play vs. the Storm before making two saves in the PK shootout (including one try by former U.S. National Team member Brandi Chastain) … Bock earlier won a national title with the Illinois ODP team in the summer of ’05, earning the prestigious Golden Boot Award while playing alongside three future ND teammates (Buczkowski, Jill Krivacek and Kim Lorenzen) … Notre Dame’s recent connection to elite championship teams includes two former Irish players – defender Kate Sobrero Markgraf and defensive midfielder Shannon Boxx – who were top starters for the U.S. squad that won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

MORE SUMMER STARS – Several other Irish players had strong 2005 summers with their club teams, including senior F Katie Thorlakson ranking as the 2nd-leading scorer (7G-5A) for the Vancouver Whitecaps team that reached the W-League semifinals (losing 2-0 to the N.J. Wildcats) … forward Kerri Hanks – who joined the Irish in the spring of ’05 (after playing with the U.S. team at last fall’s U-19 World Championship) – nearly led her Dallas Texans club team to the USYSA girls-19 title, losing in a 4-3 shootout after a 3-3 game vs. the Stars of Massachusetts … Hanks had scored a hat trick earlier in the four-team group play (vs. a Carmel Commotion team led by her ND classmate Susan Pinnick) and gave the Texans a 2-1 lead in the second half of the title game (the Stars forced overtime in the 90th minute and both teams scored once in OT) … Hanks received the Golden Boot Award for the girls-19 division, repeating an honor she had earned two summers earlier with an older Texans team (in the girls-18 division, with current junior M Claire Gallerano also a member of that team) … freshman M Rebecca Mendoza and her Dallas Sting team also were in Orlando for the 2005 USYSA Nationals, narrowly missing a spot in the girls-18 title game … freshman D Carrie Dew and sophomore M Ashley Jones ended the summer playing with the San Diego Surf team that reached the semifinals of the Surf Cup … Jones, who was a guest player with the Surf, earlier won 2004 national titles with her So-Cal United club team (girls-18) and with the California-South ODP team (she and Dew were co-captains of that team).

NOTRE DAME 2005 WOMEN’S SOCCER – Quick Glance (as of Aug. 12)

2005 Preseason Notes

Preseason Picks – Notre Dame players account for one-third of the 2005 preseason all-BIG EAST team (4 of 12): fifth-year F/D Candace Chapman, senior F Katie Thorlakson, senior G Erika Bohn and junior M Jen Buczkowski … Thorlakson also was tabbed to repeat as BIG EAST offensive player of the year while Bohn is the preseason pick for goalkeeper of the year (despite being overlooked entirely for all-BIG EAST honors in the ’04 season) … Thorlakson and Buczkowski are two of just four returning first team all-BIG EAST performers, as is ND sophomore F Amanda Cinalli (who nonetheless was left off the ’05 preseason all-BIG EAST team) … ND junior D Christie Shaner also was overlooked on the 2005 preseason all-BIG EAST team, after earning all-BIG EAST honors in ’03 (2nd team) and ’04 (3rd team) … Shaner was one of just three returning defenders who had earned all-BIG EAST honors in ’04.

Elite Trio – Notre Dame’s talented and deep 2005 roster includes three former All-Americans: Chapman (’02), Thorlakson (’04) and Buczkowski (’04) … it marks the first time since ’99 that an ND team has entered a season with more than two veteran All-Americans … Notre Dame’s 1999 team (which finished as the NCAA runner-up) entered that season with four players who previously had received All-America honors: F Jenny Streiffer, M Anne Makinen, D Jen Grubb and G LaKeysia Beene.

Top Award Winners – Other major ’04 national awards included Thorlakson being named player of the year by Soccer America, Sports Illustrated on Campus and Soccer Buzz (she also was one of five nominees for ESPN’s “best female college athlete” ESPY) while Cinalli was one of 11 players on Soccer America’s annual Freshman All-America team … Thorlakson led the nation in scoring (70 points; two shy of the ND record) and assists (23; 10th in NCAA history) during the ’04 season while her 24 goals trailed only Penn State’s Tiffany Weimer (28) among all Division I players.

Veteran Core – The Irish return nine starters – all but graduated central defenders Melissa Tancredi (a two-time All-American and Canadian National Team member) and Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (member of the Icelandic National Team) … six of the returning starters were 2004 all-BIG EAST selections: Thorlakson, Buczkowski and Cinalli on the 1st team and three 3rd-teamers: junior M Jill Krivacek, Shaner (also 2nd team in ’03) and Chapman (also 1st team and BIG EAST defensive player of the year in ’02, as starter at right back) … the other three returning starters include Bohn (defensive MVP of the ’04 College Cup), senior M Annie Schefter (a former member of the U.S. Under-19 National Team) and versatile junior Kim Lorenzen (’04 right back).

The Captains – Chapman and Schefter will serve as co-captains of the ’05 ND team … Chapman is back for her 5th season with the Irish while Schefter can apply for a 5th year of eligibility in ’06 (as can senior D/M Jenny Walz in ’06 and sophomore F Susan Pinnick in ’08).

Deep Roster – Notre Dame’s roster is fortified for another run at the NCAA title in 2005 and beyond … in addition to returning all but two starters from the ’04 championship team, the Irish also return their top four reserves while welcoming another freshman class that ranks among the tops in the nation (see quick-facts PDF) … the seven newcomers, two who were members of the ’04 signee group, include five with national-team experience and five who earned prep All-America honors.

The Coach – Sixth-year Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum was named BIG EAST coach of the year for the fourth time in 2004 (no other coach has received the honor more than twice) … Waldrum also repeated as NSCAA Great Lakes Region coach of the year and was one of six finalists for NSCAA national coach-of-the-year honors … his six years at Notre Dame have included three trips to the College Cup semifinals (’99 runner-up, ’00 semifinalist, ’04 champion) and he now ranks seventh on the NCAA Division I women’s soccer list for career winning pct. (.749, 226-70-17).

Conference Command – Notre Dame enters 2005 with a 57-game home unbeaten streak vs. BIG EAST teams (56-0-1) and is 110-10-3 in all games vs. BIG EAST teams since joining the conference in 1995.

Academic Excellence – Notre Dame’s recent dominance on the field is matched by some impressive results in the classroom, as individuals and as a team … Bohn (3.67 cumulative GPA, as art studio major) is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American (1st team in ’04) while Schefter (3.76, psychology and pre-professional studies) was a 2nd team Academic All-American in ’04 … a pair of rising sophomores – M Ashley Jones (3.96) and F/M Jannica Tjeder – posted 4.0 GPAs in the 2005 spring semester and will be among several candidates for ’05 Academic All-America honors, as will: Shaner (3.46, design), rising junior D/M Lizzie Reed (3.38, finance), Buczkowski (3.28, marketing), Chapman (3.24, sociology and computer applications) and Lorenzen (3.25, finance) … F Mary Boland graduated with another 4.0 semester (3.90 cumulative, psychology) while Gunnarsdottir graduated with a 3.33 (finance) … after winning the national championship, the ND players returned to campus and registered a 3.38 team GPA for the 2004 fall semester (6th-best among ND’s varsity teams) … among the 28 players on the ’04 team, 25 posted a semester GPA of 3.0 or higher (17 at 3.4-plus, 4 at 3.8-plus) … the women’s soccer team kept cranking in the classroom this past spring, with a 3.35 team GPA that trailed only the women’s track and field squad (3.40) for best GPA among ND teams … 23 of the team’s 27 players posted a semester GPA of 3.0-plus in the ’05 spring semester (11 at 3.4-plus, 6 at 3.8-plus) … the 21 veteran players on ND’s 2005 fall roster include 19 who own a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (10 at 3.4-plus).


National Title #2 – The Irish won the national championship for the second time in the program’s history (also ’95), joining North Carolina as the only Division I women’s soccer teams to win multiple NCAA titles … ND remained one of just six teams that have won the NCAA women’s soccer title (dating back to ’83).

Championship Path – The march to the title included early-round NCAA wins over Eastern Illinois (3-0) and Wisconsin (1-0, last-minute goal by Krivacek), followed by wins over traditional powers Connecticut (2-0) and Portland (3-1) before edging Santa Clara on a goal by Chapman in the NCAA semifinals (1-0) … Thorlakson’s goal then tied the NCAA final vs. UCLA (1-1) and the Irish won the title in a 4-3 penalty-kick shootout

Tourney MVPs – Thorlakson was named offensive MVP of the NCAA College Cup while Bohn was the defensive MVP … ND’s suffocating defense led to Bohn facing just 43 shots in 26 games prior to the NCAA final but she rose to the challenge in the title game, making six saves that included three in penalty-kick situations (one late in regulation helped force overtime).

Clutch Performers – Chapman and Tancredi also were named to the College Cup all-tournament team while senior M Sarah Halpenny, Buczkowski, Schefter and Krivacek each converted their kicks in the decisive shootout.

Cream of the Crop – Thorlakson earned three major national player-of-the-year honors – from Soccer America, Sports Illustrated on Campus and Soccer Buzz – and was one of five finalists for an ESPN “ESPY” in the category of “best female college athlete” … Thorlakson led the nation in points (70, two shy of the ND record) and assists (24, good for 11th in NCAA history) and ranked 2nd in goals (23) while tying the ND record for goals in a season (8) … former UNC great Mia Hamm (’92) is the only player ever to total more goals and more assists in a season than Thorlakson … she also had points in each of the final 11 games of the ’05 season while scoring or assisting on 24 of ND’s final 28 goals of the season.

Dynamic Duo – Tancredi joined Thorlakson among the 15 final candidates for the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy but both were relegated to second team All-America honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) … Tancredi also joined Thorlakson as first team All-America honorees from Soccer Buzz while Buczkowski was an NSCAA second team and Soccer Buzz third team All-American … Tancredi, Thorlakson and Buczkowski also were NSCAA first team all-Great Lakes Region selections.

Super Frosh – Cinalli was one of 11 players named to Soccer America’s prestigious 11-player Freshman All-America team and was a Soccer Buzz second team Freshman All-American.

BIG EAST Bests – Tancredi repeated as the BIG EAST Conference defensive player of the year while Thorlakson took home offensive player-of-the-year honors (amazingly, the first ND player so honored) … Cinalli joined Thorlakson, Tancredi and Buczkowski in receiving first team all-BIG EAST Conference recognition, with Chapman, Krivacek and Shaner adding third-team honors.

Super Scholars – Two Notre Dame players – Bohn (first team; 3.63 cumulative GPA as art studio major) and Schefter (second team; 3.73, psychology and pre-professional studies) – were named to the official CoSIDA Academic All-America team, giving Notre Dame 15 Academic All-America selections in the past 10 years … Buczkowski (3.37, business) was on the Academic All-America ballot as a first team Academic All-District V. selection while Shaner (3.42, design) earned second team Academic All-District honors … the NSCAA’s Scholar All-America team included Bohn and Gunnarsdottir (3.31 GPA, finance) on the first team and Schefter on the third team.

Historic Season – Notre Dame’s 25 wins were a school record and tied for fourth-most in NCAA Division I women’s soccer history … the Irish also: reached 20 wins for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons; went unbeaten at home (14-0-1) for the seventh time in the program’s history; became the second Irish team ever to win the first 15 games of the season; and stood unbeaten after 20 games (19-0-1) for the fourth time … ND spent six weeks during the ’04 season ranked No. 1 in the nation and has been ranked No. 1 or 2 in eight of the past 11 seasons.

Been Here Before – Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA title game for the fifth time since ’94, second only to North Carolina (8) during that 12-year stretch … the Irish also own the second-best all-time NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.756, 32-10-1)

Blame it on Rio (actually, Campinas) – Notre Dame’s four-month journey to the NCAA title began with a 10-day preseason training trip in Campinas, Brazil … the Irish went 5-0-1 on the trip for an overall record of 30-1-2 during the rare four-month season.

Dominating Defense – The Irish defense allowed just 71 shots on goal all season (2.6 per game), nearly matching ND’s own season goal total (70) … the Irish led the nation with 16 shutouts while Bohn finished as the national leader in goals-against avg. (0.41).

Overcoming Adversity – The Irish success in ’04 was all the more noteworthy due to the early-season broken leg suffered by All-America candidate Boland and the season-long absence of two top-rated freshmen due to participation in the U.S. Under-19 World Championship (Hanks) and a summer injury (Pinnick).