Oct. 26, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Oft-injured senior forward Kerry Inglis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Snider) delivered one of the more memorable Senior Day performances in school history, scoring the first two goals of her career to help No. 1 Notre Dame wrap up its first unbeaten and untied regular season with a 6-0 win over BIG EAST Conference foe Seton Hall on a wind-swept Sunday afternoon at Alumni Field. Freshman forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) also scored twice, while senior All-America forwards/Hermann Trophy candidates Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) and Brittany Bock (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) each added a pair of assists, with Hanks extending her point-scoring streak to a school record-tying 14 games.
The Irish (18-0-0, 11-0-0 BIG EAST) will have a first-round bye for the BIG EAST Championship, and will play host to a tournament quarterfinal game on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Field against the winner of the opening-round contest between Cincinnati and St. John’s, to be played Thursday night in Jamaica, N.Y. Notre Dame visited Cincinnati back on Sept. 28 and defeated the Bearcats, 6-0, while the Irish did not face St. John’s during the ’08 regular season.
“I don’t think you could have written a better script than what happened today,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “It was just so special to see Kerry Inglis, a player who has worked hard and never once complained about all the injuries she’s had to deal with, come through and not only score twice, but get the gamewinning goal. Our senior leaders have been a big reason for our success this year, and it was fitting that each of them played an important role on Senior Day to help us get this win.”
The Irish dominated the run of play throughout Sunday’s game, finishing with a 27-2 edge in total shots (11-0 in shots on goal), as both Seton Hall shots — one in each half — came harmlessly from well outside the penalty area, and the first-half try was blocked before it even became an issue. Notre Dame also earned all 15 corner kicks in the game, tying a Waldrum-era school record for attempts from the flag (Sept. 1, 2000, vs. Tulsa), and saw eight of its 10 starters in the field register at least one point.
Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) worked the first half in the Irish goal before giving way to sophomore netminder Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) for the final 45 minutes. Neither player was called upon to make a save as Notre Dame turned in its 11th shutout of the season, and the seventh combined clean sheet for Lysander and Weiss.
Following a pre-game Senior Day ceremony, Waldrum elected to start all six of his seniors — Inglis, Hanks, Bock, midfielder Rebecca Mendoza (Garland, Texas/North Garland), and defenders Carrie Dew (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon) and Elise Weber (Elk Grove, Ill./St. Viator Academy) — with Inglis making her first career start in her 18th career game. The soccer gods sometimes work in mysterious ways, and it didn’t take long for those higher powers to reward Inglis for her patience, as Bock sent a cross from the right side of the area that found its way through the Seton Hall defense and right on the foot of Inglis at the back post, where she tapped in her first career goal (11:18). Sophomore midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) earned the secondary assist on the score, freeing Bock with a precision through ball down the right side.
Notre Dame appeared to double its lead 10 minutes later, when Bock curled another cross from the right flank that Hanks timed perfectly with a diving header inside the left post. However, the assistant referee ruled Hanks was in an offside position on Bock’s service, even though the wind held up the cross enough for Hanks to get back on-side by the time the ball arrived. It mattered little, as the two All-Americans hooked up again moments later, with Hanks working the left side and finding Bock on a diagonal run into the box, where she tried to chip SHU goalkeeper Elizabeth Bond, who could only deflect it across the goal mouth. Henderson made a timely run to the back post and was able to easily slip the ball into the vacated net at 31:21.
Similar persistence paid off for the Irish second unit in the waning moments of the first half, as sophomore forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) ran on to a loose ball in the area and fired a rising point-blank shot that Bond did well to repel. However, the rebound was returned to sender and Knaack took advantage of the second opportunity, toe-poking a shot into the lower left corner for her second goal of the year at 42:09.
Already with its traditionally impregnable 3-0 lead at halftime, Notre Dame eliminated of the remaining drama in Sunday’s game with a pair of goals just 66 seconds apart midway through the second half. Weber opened the first scoring sequence, driving a cross from the left flank all the way to the right edge of the area, where Henderson was cutting back across the face of goal and volleyed the pass with the outside of her right foot into right sidenetting for her 15th goal of the year and her fourth multi-goal game of the season (62:34).
On the ensuing possession, Hanks got behind the Seton Hall defense, but the Pirates’ backup ‘keeper Chelsea King got a fingertip on Hanks’ shot that was destined for the right post, giving up a corner kick in the process. Hanks then jogged to the far right flagstick and sent a drive all the way to the left post, where junior midfielder Courtney Rosen (Brecksville, Ohio/Hathaway Brown) nodded the ball back inside the goal mouth and junior forward Michele Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) drove home a shot from close range for her third score of the year (63:40).
Inglis capped the festivities and sent the Irish bench into an advanced stage of delirium with her second goal of the game at the 84:24 mark, taking out the trash following a goal-mouth scramble. Sophomore forward Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) and freshman midfielder Ellen Jantsch (Kansas City, Mo./St. Teresa’s Academy) collected assists after keeping alive a play that started with yet another Notre Dame corner kick. In a spooky coincidence, Inglis had one point in her career prior to Sunday’s game, assisting on a Lizzie Reed goal in a 2005 win at … you guessed it … Seton Hall.
Notre Dame now will enjoy a well-deserved week off before its BIG EAST quarterfinal game, benefitting from its longest break since a similar seven-day hiatus back in mid-September. The Irish also are scheduled to play host to the BIG EAST semifinals (Nov. 7) and final (Nov. 9) at Alumni Field, with tickets for all BIG EAST tournament contests available by visiting the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office in person (Joyce Center second floor ticket windows, accessible via Gate 1) or by calling (574) 631-7356 weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET). Tickets also may be purchased by going on-line to the “tickets” page of the official Irish athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets), or visiting the Alumni Field ticket booths on game day. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youths (21-and-under) and seniors (55-and-older), with Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s/Holy Cross students admitted free when presenting their valid student ID — restrictions for some pricing offers may apply.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame’s 18-game winning streak now stands alone as the second-best success string in program history, exceeded only by a 24-game run from Oct. 19, 1995 to Oct. 11, 1996 … the Irish stretched their unbeaten streak against BIG EAST Conference opponents to 49 games, moving within one of catching Florida for the second-longest streak in NCAA Division I history (North Carolina is the record holder with a 55-game unbeaten streak against Atlantic Coast Conference opposition from 1994-2000) …the Irish also remain unbeaten in their last 84 home games against BIG EAST teams (83-0-1), a streak that dates back more than 13 years (5-4 OT loss to Connecticut on Oct. 6, 1995) … Notre Dame will take a school-record 28-game regular-season winning streak into the 2009 season, while its 28-game unbeaten string also ties for the third-longest in school history (school record is 32 games from Oct. 17, 1993 to Oct. 1, 1995) … the Irish senior class now has posted an 84-9-3 (.891) record during their four years at Notre Dame, matching North Carolina (84-7-4, .905) for the most wins in the country by a current senior class … Notre Dame scored three-plus goals for the 10th time in 11 games and extended its run of two-goal outings to 11 in a row, tying for the fifth-longest streak in school history (done three other times, most recently from Sept. 30-Nov. 9, 2007) … the Irish run their consecutive goalscoring streak to 43 games, still the third-longest in school history … for the 12th time in 18 games this season, Notre Dame scored in the opening 20 minutes of play, thanks to Inglis’ 12th-minute goal against Seton Hall … Inglis becomes the 21st different point scorer (on a 29-player roster) this season, breaking the school record of 20 different point scorers set by the 1996 Irish squad; Inglis also is the 16th different goalscorer for Notre Dame this season, one shy of the school record that also was set in 1996 … Inglis’ story is even more remarkable in that she was injured on the first day of preseason camp during her freshman season (2005), then missed large portions of her first three years (including the entire 2006 campaign) because of multiple ankle surgeries … Inglis is believed to be the first Irish senior ever to score her first career goal (let alone her first two career goals) on Senior Day … Hanks had her school-record 11-game goalscoring streak snapped on Sunday, settling for a fifth-place tie with Hartford’s Maria Kun on the NCAA Division I list … Hanks did tie Katie Thorlakson’s school record by extending her point-scoring streak to 14 consecutive games, matching her former teammate’s run over the final 14 games of the 2005 season (Hanks’ freshman year and Thorlakson’s senior season) … Hanks turned in her sixth multi-point game in the past seven outings and ninth of the season … with 82 goals and 66 assists in her brilliant career, Hanks now is just four assists shy of becoming the third Division I player ever to amass 70 goals and 70 assists, joining U.S. National Team legend/North Carolina standout Mia Hamm (103G-72A from 1989-93) and former Notre Dame great Jenny Streiffer (70G-71A from 1996-99) … Bock has been a playmaking machine in the past eight games, chalking up 17 points (5G-7A) and tying her career-high with nine assists this season (she also had nine as a freshman in 2005) … Henderson ranks eighth all-time among Notre Dame freshmen with 15 goals, with only two other Irish rookies able to reach that mark since 1997 — current teammates Hanks (school-record 28 in 2005) and Michele Weissenhofer (18 in 2006) … Henderson’s goal efficiency remains staggering with 15 goals despite playing less than a full half of soccer (43.8 minutes) per game; at her current scoring pace, if she averaged a full 90 minutes, Henderson would have 30 goals this season, already two more than Hanks’ single-season school record and 10 ahead of current national leader Sarah Hagen of Wisconsin-Milwaukee … for the third time this season, Notre Dame held an opponent without a shot on goal, also doing so in wins at Cincinnati (6-0 on Sept. 28) and at home vs. South Florida (3-0 on Oct. 3) … the 15 corner kicks taken by the Irish not only tied the Waldrum-era record, but also matched the seventh-highest total in school history … Notre Dame continues to pepper opposing defenses with shots, averaging 23 shots per game, including 25.6 shots in the past five contests.