Aug. 29, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Senior All-America forward and Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) showed why she is one of the nation’s elite players on Friday, registering her school-record sixth career hat trick to single-handedly lead No. 4 Notre Dame to a 4-0 victory over Loyola Marymount on the opening night of the Inn at Saint Mary’s Soccer Classic before 1,363 fans at Alumni Field.
Hanks scored twice on penalty kicks in the first 12 minutes of the contest, before capping off her record-setting night by delivering a highlight-reel goal with 37 seconds to play. Hanks’ sixth hat trick ties the school record held by Jenny Heft (1996-99). Freshman forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) also continues to be a stealth weapon for the Irish early on this season, coming off the bench to collect her second goal of the year in the 67th minute with an assist from senior defender Elise Weber (Elk Grove, Ill./St. Viator Academy).
Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) went the first 75 minutes between the pipes for Notre Dame, making two saves before sophomore Nikki Weiss came on to complete the shutout.
The Irish (2-0) held a sizeable statistical advantage across the board against Loyola Marymount (0-1-1), which was making its first-ever visit to Alumni Field. Notre Dame outshot the Lions, 23-4, with an 11-2 edge in shots on goal. The Irish also took nine corner kicks to just one for LMU, and Notre Dame once again was able to go deep into its bench, with 22 different players seeing action on Friday.
For the second consecutive game, the Irish jumped in front early, this time needing just 2:39 to dent the scoreboard. Junior midfielder Courtney Rosen (Brecksville, Ohio/Hathaway Brown) got loose on a through-ball to the short right corner of the area, and LMU goalkeeper Allyssa Clark bowled over Rosen while going after the ball, resulting in a penalty kick. Hanks then stepped to the spot and made no mistake, putting the hosts on top. It marked Notre Dame’s 11th-fastest goal in the 10-year Randy Waldrum era (since ’99) and quickest since Nov. 5, 2006, when Hanks scored 57 seconds into the BIG EAST final against #20 Rutgers (a game Notre Dame ultimately won 4-2).
The Irish returned to the penalty spot less than nine minutes later, when Weber broke free on an overlapping run down the left side. As she angled into the area, Lions defender Shannon Omahan got caught out of position and brought down Weber with an ill-timed tackle. Hanks teed up her second penalty kick of the night and easily beat a diving Clark to double Notre Dame’s lead at the 11:29 mark. Sophomore forward Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) had a chance to pad the margin even more, but Clark saved her short-side blast from 10 yards out on the left flank (17:50).
Loyola Marymount had its first (and best) offensive chance of the night at the 25-minute mark, as Lily Sorentino cracked a 15-yard shot from the left side, but Lysander was able to get enough of the ball to slow it down, and Weber swept away the leftovers to prevent any further LMU challenges. Irish junior forward Michele Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) then made a bid for a goal in the final minute of the first half, seizing a loose ball in the six-yard box and trying to jam it in the lower right corner past Clark, but the LMU netminder dove back and stopped the sphere on the goal line to keep the score at 2-0 heading to the locker room.
As the sun disappeared behind the Notre Dame campus skyline after halftime, Notre Dame kept the heat on Loyola Marymount in the second half. Henderson made several crisp runs through the Lions’ defense in the period, including a 48th-minute charge to the right endline where she set a pass back to the high slot where Iantorno’s 15-yard shot was blocked. However, Henderson would get another chance less than 20 minutes later, as Weber’s looping shot into the box caught Clark off her line and forced the LMU goalkeeper to furiously backpedal. She was able to parry the ball off the crossbar, but it landed at Henderson’s feet and she easily converted into an almost-empty net for a 3-0 Irish lead (66:51).
Hanks put the icing on another Notre Dame victory with one of the finest goals of her brilliant career. Collecting the ball at the edge of the midfield circle in the offensive end, she dribbled nearly 40 yards through at least four Loyola Marymount defenders, cut back and unleashed a swerving 25-yard shot that disappeared snugly in the top right corner of the goal before LMU backup goalkeeper Katie Graul could even begin to make a diving save attempt.
Notre Dame will return to action Sunday at 1:30 p.m. (ET) against #21 Santa Clara in the championship game of the Inn at Saint Mary’s Soccer Classic at Alumni Field. In Friday’s early game, SCU defeated #11 West Virginia, 2-1 in double overtime on Kendra Perry’s second goal of the game at 101:33. WVU and Loyola Marymount will meet in the Sunday’s opening game at 11 a.m. (ET), and tickets for these, and all Notre Dame home games this season, are available through the Irish Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), on-line at the official Notre Dame athletics web site ( www.UND.com/tickets), and at the Alumni Field ticket windows on game day.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame moves to 25-4-2 (.839) all-time in its home tournament, while owning an 89-30 scoring advantage in those games … the Irish also are now 47-4-1 (.913) against first-time visitors to Alumni Field, and have won 13 of the last 14 times they have played an opponent for the first time at home … Notre Dame’s 11 goals in its first two games ties for the sixth-highest number of goals in consecutive games during the Waldrum era; the record is 17 in wins over New Hampshire (11-1) and Vermont (6-0) to open the 2005 season at the TD Banknorth Classic in Burlington, Vt. … with six points against Loyola Marymount, Hanks surged into second place on Notre Dame’s career points list with 195 (68G-59A), breaking out of a third-place tie with Cindy Daws (189 from 1993-96) and Jenny Heft (189 from 1996-99) and easing by Monica Gerardo (190 from 1995-98); Jenny Streiffer holds the school record with 211 points from 1996-99 … with her three goals on Friday, Hanks also took over sole possession of fourth place on Notre Dame’s career goals list with 68 tallies (she came into the night tied with Anne Makinen, who had 65 goals from 1997-2000); next up for Hanks is Streiffer, who scored 70 goals from 1996-99 … in addition, Hanks collected her 18th career game-winning goal, tying her with Amanda Guertin (2000-03) for third on the Irish all-time list, and only one behind co-record holders Heft and Michelle McCarthy (1992-95) … furthermore, Hanks now has 55 career game-winning points (18G-19A), leaving her one behind Katie Thorlakson (56 from 2002-05) for the school record in that department … all of this doesn’t even take into account that Hanks still is just one assist away from becoming the sixth NCAA Division I player ever to register 60 goals and 60 assists in her career … with her two PKs against Loyola Marymount, Hanks is now 9-for-9 all-time on in-game penalty kicks (she had one saved in the shootout that decided last year’s BIG EAST final) … Hanks also scored twice on PKs in the same game for the second time in her career (also Sept. 21, 2007, vs. DePaul at Alumni Field).