Aug. 20, 2002
The Notre Dame women’s soccer team will open its 2002 season with a pair of exhibition games in Fort Wayne this weekend, as part of the Soccer Showcase at Indiana Univ. Purdue Univ.-Fort Wayne (IPFW) … the full three-day exhibition schedule includes four women’s games and five men’s games at the IPFW Hefner Soccer Fields complex … Notre Dame will face perennial power North Carolina on Friday night, Aug. 23, at 8:30 EST (Field 1) before shifting to Field 2 for Sunday’s game versus Kentucky (11:00 a.m.) … the Irish – who will be without the services of as many as six returning/potential starters this weekend (see below) – return seven starters and 13 letterwinners from the 2001 team (17-3-0) that won the BIG EAST title and advanced to the second round of the NCAAs.
SOCCER SHOWCASE INFO.: For complete information on the IPFW Soccer Showcase (including tickets and directions), please consult the following websites (call 260-481-6617 for tickets, or consult the website): www.ipfw.edu/athletics/ … www.ipfw.edu/soccer/ … www.ipfw.edu/athletics/drive.htm.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: UNC returns eight starters and 18 of 25 letterwinners from its 2001 squad that went 25-0 before losing to Santa Clara in the NCAA title game (1-0) … Kentucky welcomes back five starters and 16 of 22 letterwinners from its 2001 squad (12-8-1; lost 1-0 in OT vs. Clemson in NCAA first round) … for more information on ND’s Soccer Showcase opponents, see www.tarheelblue.com and www.ukatheltics.com (consult www.und.com for additional information on the Irish).
DISAPPEARING DEFENSE: Notre Dame will play this weekend minus all five of its defensive-third starters from the 2001 season: central backs Monica Gonzalez (graduation) and Vanessa Pruzinsky (injury), outside backs Lindsey Jones (grad.) and Candace Chapman (u-19 World Championship) and graduated goalkeeper Liz Wagner … two other players who were top candidates to fill those spots are either out (freshman Annie Schefter, with ACL surgery) or questionable (sophomore Mary Boland) for the Soccer Showcase … Notre Dame returns three starters at forward (all juniors) but one of them also will not play this weekend, as Melissa Tancredi joins Pruzinsky as a precautionary hold-out (both players are nursing injuries) … a sixth returning/potential starter – freshman Katie Thorlakson – currently is playing alongside Chapman at the Under-19 World Championship (see below).
NATIONAL-TEAM DUTIES: At least three potential ND starters – sophomore D Candace Chapman, freshman M/F Katie Thorlakson and freshman M/D Annie Schefter – will not play in the Soccer Showcase … Schefter has been lost for the season due to an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury suffered in late July (she was in line to start with the U.S. at the Under-19 World Championship) … Chapman (right back) and Thorlakson (attacking midfielder) currently are starters for Canada at the Under-19 World Championship in Edmonton and Alberta (the medal games are slated for Sept. 2) … Notre Dame’s freshman class – which includes signees Erika Bohn (G) and Cat Sigler (D) – was rated ninth in the nation by Soccer America (Schefter was the No. 11-rated recruit).
SERIES NOTES: North Carolina holds an 8-2-2 series lead in regular-season/postseason games vs. ND – including wins in the ’94 (5-0), ’96 (1-0, OT) and ’99 (2-0) NCAA title games and a 2-1 comeback vs. the Irish in the 2000 NCAA semifinals (in San Jose) … ND beat UNC in the ’95 NCAA semi’s (1-0) and then beat Portland in the title game (also 1-0) for what remains one of just four (out of 20) NCAA titles won by a team other than UNC (George Mason ’85, Florida ’98 and Santa Clara ’01) … ND and UNC met at both ends of the ’99 season, with the Tar Heels rallying in the opener for a goal in the closing minutes before winning in double OT (3-2) … the first game of the series was a 3-0 UNC win in ’93 (in Houston) but the rivalry picked up steam on Oct. 2, 1994, when the Irish ended UNC’s NCAA-record 92-game winning streak (0-0 in St. Louis) … UNC beat the Irish in a ’95 midseason game (2-0, in Houston) but the Irish won the ’96 regular-season meeting (2-1 OT, in Durham), followed by a 2-2 lightning-halted tie in ’97 (at ND) and a 5-1UNC win in ’98 (the Irish played without Anne Makinen) … the ’97, ’98 and ’01 seasons are the only years in the last nine in which ND and UNC have not met in the NCAAs … Notre Dame posted a 9-0 home win over Kentucky in 1992 (the only series meeting between the teams).
DOUBLE DOMINANCE: North Carolina and Notre Dame rank 1-2 atop many Division I women’s soccer lists, including:
Winning Pct. Since 1990 … UNC – .959 (289-11-3) … ND – .869 (236-30-13)
NCAA Tournament Pct. … UNC -.947 (71-4-0) … ND – .742 (24-8-1)
NCAA Title Games … UNC – 19 … ND – 4 (’94-’96, ’99)
All-Americans since ’94 … UNC – 28 … ND – 25
Four-Time All-Americans … UNC – 4 … ND – 3
Hermann Trophy Winners … UNC – 7 … ND – 2
50-Goal/50-Assist Players … UNC -6 … ND – 3
SOME FAMILIARITY: A handful of current ND and UNC players were participants in the last meeting (UNC’s 2-1 win at the 2000 NCAA semifinals) … three current ND players – senior D Vanessa Pruzinsky (who will not play Friday due to injury) and junior Fs Amanda Guertin and Amy Warner – started that game (the Irish used a 4-2-4 formation, due to the absence of injured M Ashley Dryer) … Warner opened the scoring in that game while current junior M Randi Scheller played off the bench … four current UNC players – senior G Jenni Branam, sophomore M Maggie Tomecka, junior F Alyssa Ramsey and junior M Jordan Walker (gamewinning goal) – started in that game … junior D Catherine Reddick played as a reserve and cleared an Ali Lovelace shot off the endline that would have given ND a 2-0 lead (senior D Leslie Gaston and junior D Carmen Watley also played as reserves in that game).
OTHER SOCCER SHOWCASE GAMES: Friday’s first women’s game is Kentucky-Purdue (6:30, Field 2), with men’s games between Indiana and Kentucky (6:30, F-1) and Virginia-Michigan State (8:30, F-2) … Saturday’s action at Field 1 includes IPFW men vs. Oakland (3:00) and IPFW women vs. Indiana (6:00) … Sunday’s men’s games are IU-UVa (noon, Field 1) and UK-MSU (1:00, Field 2).