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Four Irish Players Advance To Academic All-America Ballot

Nov. 8, 2003

Four Notre Dame women’s soccer players have entered the final stage for Academic All-America consideration, after being named to the Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-District V first team. The honorees include one from each eligible class: fifth-year left back Vanessa Pruzinsky (Trumbull, Conn.), senior attacking midfielder Kimberly Carpenter (Webster, N.Y.), junior forward Mary Boland (Hudson, Ohio) and sophomore goalkeeper Erika Bohn (Brookfield, Conn.).

The Academic All-America team, as selected by the College Sports Information of Directors, will be announced on Nov. 25 (with 11 players named to each of the first, second and third teams). The previous nine years have seen Notre Dame players combine for 10 Academic All-America honors, more than any other Division I women’s soccer team.

Pruzinsky – who also is being nominated for prestigious national awards such as the NCAA’s Top Eight Award, Woman of the Year Award and Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship – graduated last May with a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average as a chemical engineering major and also is considered a top candidate for the women’s soccer Academic All-America of the Year Award. She became only the third chemical engineering major, and first since 1974, to graduate from Notre Dame with a 4.0 and currently is enrolled in the chemical engineering master’s program. A two-time NSCAA all-region performer, Pruzinsky ranks ninth in Notre Dame history with 92 career games started and has helped the Irish compile an 81-11-4 record during her four healthy seasons.


Kimberly Carpenter



Carpenter ranks as Notre Dame’s fifth-leading scorer in 2003 (5 goals, 5 assists) and is a three-time Dean’s List student with a 3.41 GPA as a pre-professional science major. Boland just earned first team all-BIG EAST Conference honors and leads the 2003 Irish squad in goals (12) and game-winning goals (5), with four Dean’s List semesters and a 3.87 GPA as a psychology major. Bohn leads the nation with a 0.48 goals-against average and owns a 3.67 GPA as a business major (she will declare her major prior to her junior year).

Each of the above four players has played a central role for the 2003 team that is ranked third in the nation while standing one win shy of the program’s eighth 20-win season (19-2-1). The Irish rank near the top of the national leaders in scoring (3.04 goals per game) and GAA (0.49; which would rank third in ND history) while trailing in just three of 22 games this season.

In addition to their academic pursuits, each of the above honorees is actively involved in the Notre Dame athletic department’s Student Development Program – with activities including the annual student-athlete Christmas Party and bowling nights with children from the St. Joseph’s Hospital pediatric oncology wards and the women’s soccer program’s team project as part of the Tour for Lance campaign that raises funding for cancer research.



Mary Boland



Pruzinsky, Boland and Bohn are members of the athletic department’s Academic Honors Program, which pairs high achievers with faculty mentors – while Pruzinsky and Carpenter both received certificates for their participation in the athletic department’s Leadership Institute.

Illinois had three players named Academic All-District V (one on the first team, two second-team), with no other team producing more than two honorees from the district. Eastern Illinois and Illinois State (each with two) joined Notre Dame as the only schools with multiple players on the first team. District V covers the four-state area of Illinois, Notre Dame, Minnesota and Wisconsin, plus the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario.

Notre Dame’s Academic All-America history includes the following 10 honorees: goalkeeper Jen Renola and forward Amy Van Laecke in 1995 (both 2nd team) and again in ’96 (both 1st team); forward Jenny Streiffer in 1997 (1st team) and again in ’98 (2nd team); Pruzinsky as a 1st-teamer in 2000 and ’01 (not eligible in ’02, due to injury); forward Meotis Erikson in 2000 (3rd team) and defender Monica Gonzalez in ’01 (2nd team).

Here are additional notes on the four current honorees:

Pruzinsky – her career honors include first team Academic All-America (’00, ’01), NSCAA second team all-Great Lakes Region (’00, ’01), all-BIG EAST first (’01) and second (’02) team, BIG EAST rookie of the year (’99) and five-time BIG EAST defensive player of the week … also a former member of the U.S. Under-21 National Team player pool and a finalist for the 2001 Missouri Athletic Club National Player of the Year Award … joined former basketball great Bob Arnzen (’67) as only ND student-athletes ever named first team Academic All-America as a sophomore and junior (freshmen are not eligible) … key member of 2003 defense that posted 10-game shutout streak (5th in ND history), 16 games without a deficit (ND record), completed streak of 24 consecutive games without allowing multiple goals (tying ND record) and 16 consecutive games with 0-3 shots on goal from the opponent (now 18 of the last 19) – plus a 0.49 season goals against average and just 111 shots/53 shots on goal allowed (for per-game averages of 5.0 opponent shots and 2.4 shots on goal) … second-year team captain … her 94 career games played are three shy of that ND top-10 list while her 92 starts rank 9th in the ND record and 3rd among defenders (behind Jen Grubb’s 100 and Kate Sobrero’s 97) … sidelined with ankle injury for most of 2002 season (she was the ’02 preseason BIG EAST defensive player of the year) … member of four regular-season BIG EAST champs (’99-’01, ’03), three BIG EAST Tournament champs (’99-’01), the 1999 NCAA runner-up squad and the top-ranked 2000 team that advanced to the NCAA semifinals … has helped the Irish post an 81-11-4 record in her four healthy seasons (just 13-8 during her injured 2002 season) … was first female student ever to receive an A grade in Notre Dame’s introduction to chemical engineering course … also received the engineering department’s Steiner Prize (recognizing all-around excellence) … one of three 4.0 graduates in the entire class of 2003 … currently enrolled in master’s-level program, taking courses in biochemistry, molecular biophysics and mechanical chemistry … volunteered during summer of ’03 at South Bend’s Logan Center, working primarily with the elderly and Downs Syndrome children … served a 2002 summer internship at Wivest LLC (working with osmosis systems and the chemical cleaning procedure for circulation boilers) … also was a 2003 summer research assistant at ND’s biochemistry engineering lab, preparing cultured hepatocyte cells and working with UV absorption spectroscopy … has been featured this year by College Sports Television and Sports Illustrated On Campus – with upcoming features from Sports Illustrated (Nov. 17) and South Bend Tribune columnist Bill Moor.

Carpenter – key impact player and leader in 2003, totaling 5 goals and 5 assists (compared to just 2G-1A over the course of the 2000-02 seasons) … posted six-game point streak in midseason … has provided set-play assists on overtime goals by Katie Thorlakson (vs. Villanova) and Amanda Guertin (vs. Miami, in BIG EAST quarterfinal) … her other season highlights include a goal in the 3-0 win over #5 West Virginia, the GWG vs. Butler, a goal in the opener vs. Hartford … filled in as starter at outside back for injury-depleted 2002 squad … three-time Dean’s List student with a 3.41 GPA as a pre-professional science major.

Boland – First team all-BIG EAST performer who ranks 31st nationally and 3rd in the BIG EAST with 12 goals, plus 4 assists and a team-best 5 game-winning goals … combined with senior Amy Warner as first pair of forwards from same team to be named first team all-BIG EAST since ND’s 1999 dynamic duo of Jenny Streiffer and Jenny Heft … first player ever named BIG EAST offensive and defensive player of the week at some point during her career … posted an ND-record six goals in the first three games of ’03 … her seven points (3G-A) vs. Hartford are most by an ND player since ’99 … her other ’03 highlights include 2G vs. Arizona State(GWG), 1G-1A in 2-1 win at Santa Clara and the early strike vs. West Virginia (3-0) … name all-tournament at the UConn, ND and SCU Classics … former member of the U.S. Under-19 National Team … also an Academic All-District selection in 2002 … four-time Dean’s List student with a 3.87 GPA as a psychology major.


Erika Bohn



Bohn – Entered week with nation’s best season GAA (now 0.48, trailing only LaKeysia Beene’s 0.36 in ’97 and Liz Wagner’s 0.39 in ’00 in the ND record book) …has posted 11 solo and three shared shutouts … fashioned 981-minute shutout streak that ranks 5th in NCAA history … allowed just one goal in stretch of 15-plus games, spanning 1,256 minutes … owns 28-3-1 record with 16 goals allowed in her last 32 starts with the Irish (4-1-0 in ’02 fall, 5-0-0 in ’03 spring, 19-2-1 in ’03 fall) … helped set ND record by logging 16 games without facing a deficit … made key penalty-kick save in early win over Arizona State (preserving 2-1 lead in 3-1 win) … named all-tournament and UConn and ND Classics … has logged 94% of ND’s minutes in 2003 … in 2002, was first freshman to start in goal for ND since 1993 … her 3.67 GPA includes Dean’s List effort in 2003 spring semester (3.87) … an undeclared business major.