Nov. 11, 2004

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NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S SOCCER – NCAA First Round vs. Eastern Illinois (Nov. 12, 2004)

The nation’s No. 4-seeded Notre Dame women’s soccer team (19-1-1; 59-12 scoring edge) – ranked 2nd in the NSCAA poll and 3rd per Soccer America – begins its annual quest for the NCAA title this weekend at Alumni Field, with the Irish playing host to first and second-round action in the 64-team NCAA Tournament … the first game on Friday, Nov. 12, will feature the University of Dayton (20-1-0) vs. the University of Wisconsin (15-5-1) at 5:00 p.m. EST, followed by the Irish vs. Eastern Illinois (13-5-2) at 7:30 … the winners will play two days later in Sunday’s second-round game (1:00), with the third round following on the weekend of Nov. 19-21 and the quarterfinals on Nov. 26-28 (all on campus sites) … EIU won the Ohio Valley Conference tournament (3-2 vs. Samford in the title game) and Dayton claimed the Atlantic-10 title (1-0 vs. Rhode Island) while Wisconsin (15-5-1) lost a 1-0 game to Michigan in the 1st round of the Big Ten Tournament.

FEARSOME FOURSOME – The four teams converging on Alumni Field this weekend have the most combined wins (67-12-4) among any of the 16 first/second-round sites … ND beat EIU early in the ’04 season (3-0, on Aug. 29) and also defeated the Panthers in the ’01 NCAAs (EIU lost to Purdue in the ’02 NCAAs, at ND) … Dayton junior M Laura Boland is the sister of ND senior F Mary Boland (they helped lead Hudson HS to the 2000 Ohio state title) … Wisconsin played the Irish to a 2-2 tie early in the 2001 season, ending ND’s record-setting home winning streak at 32 games (dating back to ’99).

QUICK NOTES ON THE IRISH – Notre Dame – which spent six weeks at No. 1 in the polls – completed the 4th unbeaten regular season in the program’s history and was unbeaten after 20 games for the 4th time (the ’94, ’97 and ’00 teams all went 23-0-1 before losing) … after handing Seton Hall an early lead on an errant goal kick (Oct. 22), ND scored the next 17 goals over the course of 5 games (before UConn rallied to win the BIG EAST title game, 2-1) … Jen Buczkowski has 4 GWGs in the last 7 games while Erica Bohn now ranks 3rd in the nation with a 0.44 GAA and saw her 639-minute shutout streak snapped last weekend in the UConn game … ND owns a 52-11-1 all-time record in postseason play (.820), including 31-3-0 at home (.912) and 26-10-1 in the NCAA Tournament (.716) … the Irish have gone 13-1-0 on the opponent’s field the past two seasons (8-0-0 in ’04) and held 16 straight opponents to 0-1 goals before the loss to UConn … ND had just 4G in a 4-game stretch before totaling 21G in the next 4 (vs. SHU, Michigan, St. John’s, BC) … since a rare deficit vs. Pittsburgh on Sept. 24, ND has outscored the opposition 34-5 … since joining the conference in ’95, ND is 108-10-3 in all games vs. BIG EAST teams … the Irish have more goals (59) than opp. shots on goal (58; 2.8/gm) and have allowed just 34 corner kicks all season (1.6/gm, with 2 total opp. CKs in last 5 games) … 6th-year coach Randy Waldrum is 113-20-5/.837 in 6 seasons at ND and is four wins shy of his 300th overall win as a college coach (296-125-24) … the 0-0 game vs. Rutgers on Oct. 22 prevented ND from matching the program’s best start (16-0-0, in ’00) … the Irish technically have played 27 games this fall (5-1-0 in preseason Brazil trip) and took several days off from training during the final weeks of the regular season … the Irish have won the BIG EAST regular-season title 8 of 10 times (all but ’98 and ’02) … ND was the nation’s final unbeaten/untied team and is 37-1-2 in its last 40 regular-season games … 19 players have started for ND this season (17 with 5-plus starts) … ND has been 1st or 2nd in the NSCAA coaches poll 8 of 11 seasons since ’94 (all but ’99, ’01, ’02; #1 in ’94, ’95, ’96, ’00) … senior F and All-America candidate Mary Boland suffered a season-ending broken leg in the SCU game (Sept. 7) … the Irish recently received a big piece of good news as junior F and national player-of-the-year frontrunner Katie Thorlakson announced she will remain at ND for the entire ’04 season, rather than leaving to play with Canada at the Under-19 World Championship (Nov. 10-27, in Thailand) … Thorlakson has combined with 5th-year D Melissa Tancredi and senior Candace Chapman (formerly right back with Irish who has played mostly forward in ’04) as ND’s potent “Canadian Connection” while three Chicago-area sophomores – central M Jen Buczkowski (who opted not to play with U.S. squad in U-19 Worlds), defensive M Jill Krivacek and D/M Kim Lorenzen – also are key starters for the ’04 Irish squad … the Irish are two wins shy of posting the program’s ninth 20-win season in the last 11.

INFORMATION HIGHWAY – Livestats for all ND postseason games can be accessed via the main page … internet audio broadcasts are planned for all remaining games, home and away, available to College Sports Pass subscribers (see audio/video link on main page) … College Sports Pass subscribers can view video/audio of the ND soccer coaches television show while listening to game audio of several sports (men’s soccer, football, basketball, hockey, baseball and more) from ND and other schools … game broadcasts are archived via the women’s soccer schedule page at (see audio/video button for links to coaches shows) … game recaps are available via the ND Sports Hotline at (574) 631-3000 (press “4” for soccer, then ‘2″ for women’s soccer).


THAT WAS THEN … THIS IS NOW – Despite the loss of several top forwards (to graduation, injuries and national-team duty), the Irish have produced a similar goal average and have generated more shots per game but have not been as accurate as in ’03 … the Irish also have seen a big boost in corner-kick margin from ’03 to ’04 while the team’s overall save pct. and 1st-half defense also are improved (see PDF):

CRUNCH TIME – Here’s a look at Notre Dame’s all-time postseason records:
• MCC Tournament – 5-0-0 (all neutral)
• BIG EAST Tournament – 21-2-0/.913 (10-0-0 home, 2-1-0 away, 9-1-0 neutral)
• NCAA Tournament – 26-10-1/.716 (21-3 at home/.875, 2-1-1 away, 3-6 neut.)
• Postseason Totals – 52-12-1/.808 (31-3 home/.912, 4-2-1 away, 17-7 neutral)

ND-EIU SERIES NOTES – Notre Dame has won both previous games vs. Eastern Illinois (2-0 in 2001 NCAA 1st round, 3-0 in ’04), both at Alumni Field … in the ’01 game, Amanda Guertin tied an ND record by scoring for the 9th consecutive game while her classmate Randi Scheller set up both Guertin goals (ND held a 32-1 shot edge, 12-0 in shots on goal, 7-0 in corner kicks) … that game extended ND’s unbeaten streak at Alumni Field to 39 games (38-0-1) … in the 3-0 game earlier this season, Katie Thorlakson set up all three goals as ND limited EIU to one shot on goal, two total shots and a single corner kick (the other side of the field produced 38 shots, 23 on goal, and 14 CKs) … EIU registered its first shot and only corner in the 14th minute of play, with ND then logging 48 minutes without allowing a shot while playing the final 76 minutes without allowing an EIU corner … Annie Schefter scored for an early lead (short corner from Thorlakson, 20-yard shot from left side) before Jen Buczkowski sent home a header (via right-endline chip from Amanda Cinalli) and Candace Chapman came off the bench for another goal (putting back her own shot, off a Thorlakson corner) … EIU’s Tiffany Groene totaled 18 saves (see PDF for game stats).

TALE OF THE TAPE (see PDF for statistical comparison of ND and EIU)

(See PDF for lists of the teams with most NCAA Tournament appearances and ND’s game-by-game NCAA history)


Notre Dame – 1st in goals-against avg. (0.57, 11th nationally), goals per game (2.76, 16th nationally) and shots/gm (21.5); 2nd in shutouts (12, 9th nationally) and corner kicks/ gm (5.7)

Notre Dame Players
Katie Thorlakson – 1st in points (56, 3rd nationally), goals (19, 6th nat.), assists (18, 1st nat.), GWGs (8) and shots (102)
Candace Chapman – 3rd in points (26), 5th in goals (9) and assists (8)
Amanda Cinalli – 9th in shots (55), 13th in goals (7)
Jen Buczkowski – 2nd in assists (10, 26th nationally), 3rd in points (26), 3rd in GWGs (4) and 10th in goals (8)
Erika Bohn – 1st in goals-against avg. (0.44; 3rd in nation), 4th in save pct. (.811), 5th in solo shutouts (6)

PANTHERS NOTES – Eastern Illinois (13-6-1) is making its 4th straight NCAA appearance (3rd at Alumni Field) after rallying for two goals in the final three minutes to beat Samford in the Ohio Valley Conference title game (3-2) … EIU faced three teams in the ’04 regular season that have advanced to the NCAAs, losing games at Notre Dame (0-3) and Nebraska (0-4) while posting a 2-0 win over Bowling Green … for additional info. on the Panthers, see the Tale of the Tape note in this release and consult the official EIU website:

NCAA REMATCH HISTORY – Notre Dame is 13-5 in 18 previous NCAA Tournament games that served as rematches from the regular season … the 1994 team posted NCAA rematch wins over George Mason (3-1), William & Mary (2-1) and Portland (1-0) before dropping the title game to UNC in another rematch (0-5) … ND’s 1995 NCAA title team then posted NCAA rematch wins over Wisconsin (5-0), UConn (2-0) and UNC (1-0) … the ’96 team won postseason rematches vs. Indiana (8-1) and Wisconsin (5-0) before losing the title rematch vs. UNC (0-1), with the ’97 squad losing its lone NCAA rematch (1-2 vs. UConn) … the Irish have won five of their last seven NCAA-rematch games: vs. Michigan in 1998 (3-0) and 2000 (3-1), Santa Clara in 1999 (1-0) and 2000 (2-1) and Purdue in 2002 (3-1), with the losses coming to UNC in the 1999 title game (0-2) and Michigan in the 2003 second round (0-1).

ND IN THE NCAAs – Notre Dame is one of five teams to appear in each of the last 12 NCAA Championships (since ’93, with the others including UNC, UConn, Santa Clara and William & Mary) … the Irish made six trips to the College Cup semifinals in the previous 10 years, including four title-game appearances (’94-’96, ’99) and the 1995 championship season … the Irish own an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 26-10-1 (.716, second-best in NCAA record book), with four losses coming at the hands of UNC in title games (5-0 in ’94, 1-0 in OT in ’96, 2-0 in ’99, 2-1 in ’00) … ND dropped its first-ever NCAA Tournament game to George Mason in 1993 (2-1) while ending the ’97 season with an NCAA semifinal loss to UConn (2-1) and closing ’98 with a 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Portland at Alumni Field … that game and second-round losses to Cincinnati (3-2) and Michigan (1-0) remain ND’s only postseason losses at home (31-3-0; 21-3-0 in the NCAAs) … ND’s 2002 season ended with a third-round NCAA loss at top-ranked Stanford (0-1) … the Irish claimed the 1995 NCAA title with a semifinal win over UNC (1-0) and a triple-OT win over Portland in the title game (1-0) … ND is 20-5-1 in its last 26 postseason games (61-21 scoring edge), 25-7-1 in the last 33 (74-22).

NOTES ON THE NCAA FIELD – The winner of Sunday’s second-round game at Alumni Field will play a third-round game the following weekend (Nov. 19-21), vs. the winner of games being hosted by the University of Connecticut (Colgate faces 13th seed Arizona while Harvard and UConn will meet in the other first-round games at that site) … the winner of the above third-round game then will head to the quarterfinals (Nov. 26-28), versus the team that emerges from games involving 5th-seeded Portland and 12th-seeded Texas … the top-16 seeds are as follows: 1. North Carolina, 2. Penn State, 3. Virginia, 4. Notre Dame, 5. Portland, 6. Ohio State, 7. Princeton, 8.Kansas, 9. Texas A&M, 10. Florida, 11. Tennessee, 12. Texas, 13. Arizona, 14. UCLA, 15. Washington and 16. Santa Clara.

VS. THE FIELD – Notre Dame faced eight of the 2004 NCAA Tournament teams (a total of 10 times) during the ’04 regular season and BIG EAST Tournament, going 9-1-0 in those games – with wins over Eastern Illinois (3-0), Stanford (1-0), Santa Clara (5-2), at Connecticut (1-0), at West Virginia (3-1), at Villanova (1-0), vs. Boston College (1-0, 2-0 BET) and at Michigan (4-0), plus the 2-1 BIG EAST final loss at UConn … ND’s top 2004 scorers vs. teams from the NCAA field include: junior F Katie Thorlakson (7G-7A, 21 pts, GWG, 10 GS) , sophomore M Jen Buczkowski (5G-3A, 13 pts, 3 GWG, 10 GS), senior F Candace Chapman (3G-2A, 8 pts, 10 GP/5 GS) and freshman F Amanda Cinalli (2G-3A, 7 pts, 2 GWG, 10 GP/9 GS) … the Irish compiled a 22-5 scoring edge vs. the above NCAA Tournament teams (with a 186-65 shot edge and 51-25 in corner kicks) … 3 of Buczkowski’s 4 GWGs and half of her 26 points have come vs. NCAA Tournament teams.

POSTSEASON AWARDS BEGIN TO ROLL IN – The past few days have seen several Notre Dame players recognized on the conference, regional and national level:
• 5th-year D Melissa Tancredi and junior F Katie Thorlakson are among the 15 final candidates for the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy national player-of-the-year award … Thorlakson also was recognized by College Sports Television as the CSTV National Student-Athlete of the Week (for all sports) after totaling 6G-4A in wins over Michigan and St. John’s
• Three Irish players – junior G Erika Bohn, junior M Annie Schefter and sophomore M Jen Buczkowski – have been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District V first team and now advance to the ballot for the official Academic All-America team (as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America) … sophomore D Christie Shaner was a 2nd team Academic All-District selection.
• ND became the first team since ’95 to sweep the top three BIG EAST awards – offensive (Thorlakson) and defensive (Tancredi) player and coach (Randy Waldrum) of the year.
• Buczkowski and freshman F Amanda Cinalli joined Tancredi and Thorlakson on the first team all-BIG EAST squad while three others were named to the 3rd team: Shaner, senior F Candace Chapman, sophomore defensive M Jill Krivacek.

DYNAMIC DUO – Two members of ND’s Canadian Connection – 5th-year central D Melissa Tancredi and junior F Katie Thorlakson – are among the 15 final candidates named for the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy … ND is the only team with a D and F on that elite list … Portland (junior F Christine Sinclair, junior M Lindsey Huie) and UNC (junior F Lindsay Tarpley, sophomore F Heather O’Reilly, junior F Lori Chalupny) also have multiple players on the final 15 … Tancredi (and former Irish F Amy Warner) also were on the list of 2003 final-15 candidates for the Hermann Trophy … five others who have returned to the final ballot in ’04 include Tarpley, Chalupny, Stanford senior G Nicole Barnhart, Tennessee senior D Keeley Dowling and Penn State junior F Tiffany Weimer … Tancredi and Dowling are the only D among the 2004 final-15 … others on the list include two BIG EAST players (UConn senior F Kristen Graczyk and Rutgers senior M Carli Lloyd), plus Hawaii junior F Natasha Kai, Santa Clara senior M Leslie Osborne and Nebraska sophomore M Brittany Timko … Thorlakson, Sinclair and Timko (all products of the Canadian National Team program) are among nine of the final-15 candidates who are set to return in 2005 … three finalists will be announced in early Dec., with the winner announced on Jan. 7 at the MAC … two members of the ND men’s program – senior D Kevin Goldthwaite and Jack Stewart – are among the final 15 for the men’s Hermann Trophy, making ND the only school with multiple candidates for both awards.

ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA HOPEFULS – ND’s ’04 roster is stocked with Academic All-America candidates and four recently were nominated for the official Academic All-America team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America … three of those individuals were named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District V team and now have advanced to the Academic All-America ballot: junior G Erika Bohn (3.63 cumulative GPA, art studio), junior M Annie Schefter (3.73, pre-professional studies and psychology) and sophomore M Jen Buczkowski (3.37, business) … sophomore D Christie Shaner (3.42, design) was a 2nd team Academic All-District pick … the ND women’s soccer program’s stellar scholar-athlete tradition includes two Academic All-Americans of the Year (G Jen Renola in ’96, D Vanessa Pruzinsky in ’03) and 13 total Academic All-America selections in the past 10 seasons (most from any school in that span) … ND’s ’03 team became the first in Division I women’s soccer history ever to produce three Academic All-Americans in the same season: Pruzinsky (1st team), Bohn (2nd team) and current senior F Mary Boland, who is not eligible in ’04 after suffering a broken leg in the 4th game of the season … Boland would have been a strong contender for Academic All-America of the Year, with a 3.90 GPA as a psychology major (including a 4.0 in the fall of ’03) … Pruzinsky became the first Division I player ever to be named 1st team Academic All-America three times (also ’00 and ’01, injured in ’02).

PUNCHING THE CLOCK – Current junior F Katie Thorlakson missed the first two games of her ND career due to the 2002 Under-19 World Championship but has not missed a game since joining the Irish (64 straight) … junior M Annie Schefter (missed ’02 due to injury) and sophomore M Jen Buczkowski each have appeared in all 45 games over the past two seasons while four sophomore have played in 44 of the 45: D Christie Shaner (42 straight, dnp vs. ASU in ’03), D Kim Lorenzen (35, dnp vs. Indiana State in ’03), F/M Lizzie Reed (34, dnp vs. West Virginia in ’02) and DM Jill Krivacek (29, dnp vs. UConn in ’03).

FIRST-HALF FORTRESS – The ND defense has been particularly stingy in the 1st half the past four seasons, allowing just 26 goals in the 1st half of those 85 games (0.31/gm) … the 1st half in ’02 saw little scoring (12-10 ND edge), compared to a 40-7 first-half edge in ’03 (26-4 in ’04) … the Irish have been equally dominant in the first (66-11) and second half (59-13) over the past two seasons.

20-SOMETHING – Notre Dame is one victory shy of reaching the 20-win plateau for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons … the 1996 team racked up an ND-record 24 wins, with 23 victories in 1994, ’97 and ’00, 21 wins in ’95, ’98 and ’99, and 20 Ws in 2003.

• Randy Waldrum received an unprecedented fourth BIG EAST coach-of-the-year award (also ’99, ’00, ’03; no other coach has more than two) … he also was the 1998 Big 12 coach of the year (at Baylor) and twice was named Missouri Valley Conference men’s soccer coach of the year at Tulsa (’91, ’93) … Waldrum’s 23 coaching seasons include five NSCAA regional coach-of-the-year honors.
• ND’s seven all-BIG EAST selections were nearly double the highest total from any other team (four schools each had four honorees).
• Junior G Erika Bohn – despite now ranking 2nd in the nation with a BIG EAST-leading 0.34 goals-against average – again was overlooked for the BIG EAST awards (she was an NSCAA 2nd team all-region pick in ’03 but was not named all-BIG EAST).
• Melissa Tancredi is the third player ever to repeat as BIG EAST defensive player of the year, joining former Notre Dame great Jen Grubb (’98, ’99) and Connecticut’s Sara Whalen (’95, ’96) in that distinction.
• Katie Thorlakson amazingly is the first ND player ever named BIG EAST offensive player of the year, despite the fact that former M Cindy Daws (’96) and Anne Makinen (’00) earned the Hermann Trophy while others such as four-time All-American Holly Manthei (the NCAA all-time assists leader) and forward Jenny Streiffer (who joined Mia Hamm as the only women’s soccer players ever to reach 70 career goals and 70 assists) likewise could have preceded Thorlakson as BIG EAST offensive player-of-the-year recipients.
• Thorlakson followed Tancredi’s 2003 lead as the only players ever to receive a major BIG EAST women’s soccer award after not being an all-BIG EAST selection previously in her career.
• Candace Chapman holds the unique distinction of earning all-BIG EAST honors at multiple positions during her career, after being a 1st-team selection as a freshman and sophomore at right back (she also was the 2002 BIG EAST defensive player of the year).
• Jen Buczkowski follows in the footsteps of three all-time greats – Daws (’95, ’96), Makinen (`97-’00) and Manthei (`95-’97) – as the fourth Notre Dame midfielder to earn first team all-BIG EAST honors.
• Thorlakson, Amanda Cinalli and Chapman are the fourth trio of forwards from the same team to earn all-BIG EAST honors, including Streiffer, Monica Gerardo (both 1st team) and Amy Van Laecke (2nd team) in 1996 followed by Jenny Heft, Gerardo (both 1st team) and Streiffer (2nd team) in ’98 … UConn produced three 1st-team forwards in 1995 (Jana Carabino, Kerry Connors, Christy Rowe).
• Thorlakson and Tancredi pulled off the offensive/defensive double, achieved just twice previously in the 10-year history of the BIG EAST women’s soccer awards (by Connors and Whalen with the ’95 and ’96 UConn teams) … Len Tsintaris also was the 1995 coach of the year, the only previous time that a BIG EAST team produced the offensive, defensive and coach awards in the same season.
• Christe Shaner has, in the words of Waldrum, been ND’s “most consistent defender” in 2004 but she failed to improve on her 2nd team all-BIG EAST from 2003, instead slipping to the 3rd team … the ’04 1st team all-BIG EAST selections included seven forwards, two midfielders and just one defender (Tancredi).
• Irish players now have combined to win six of the last eight BIG EAST defensive player-of-the-year awards … ND’s previous recipients include former greats Kate Sobrero (’97) and Grubb (’98, ’99), plus Chapman in ’01 and Tancredi in ’03.
• Cinalli is ND’s eighth freshman ever to be a first-team all-BIG EAST selection, with the others including Gerardo (’95), Streiffer (’96), Grubb (’96), Makinen (’97), Fs Meotis Erikson (’97) and Amy Warner (’00), and Chapman (’01) … two others – M Shannon Boxx (’95) and Shaner – were 2nd team all-BIGE AST picks as freshmen.
• ND produced a pair of 1st-team forwards for the second consecutive season (Warner and Mary Boland in ’03), with no other BIG EAST team including two 1st-team forwards since 1999 (when Streiffer and Heft were so honored).
• 22 ND players now have combined for 38 first team all-BIG EAST honors since ’95, with that group including 7 defenders combining 13 first-team awards, 4 midfielders (10 awards), 8 forwards (12 awards) and 3 goalkeepers.
• Jill Krivacek’s 3rd-team honor fittingly recognizes one of several ND players (such as sophomore D Kim Lorenzen, senior D Gudrun Gunnarsdottir and junior M Annie Schefter) who might be among the top players on other BIG EAST teams.

PRIMETIME PLAYERS – Notre Dame has won more than 75 percent of its “big games” during the Randy Waldrum era (’99-’04), posting a 43-13-3 record (.754) when facing an NSCAA top-25 or postseason opponent.

WALDRUM NEARING 300TH OVERALL WIN – Sixth-year ND head coach Randy Waldrum posted his 200th career win as a Division I women’s head coach in the 2-1 game vs. Miami on Nov. 2, 2003, and recently registered his 100th win at Notre Dame in the 3-0 game at Texas Tech on Sept. 12 … Waldrum also coached eight seasons as college men’s soccer head coach and is four wins shy of his next milestone: 300 combined wins as a men’s and women’s college head coach (296-125-24/.692, in 23 seasons) … Waldrum now owns a 220-70-17 mark (.744) in 15 combined seasons as the women’s head coach at Tulsa, Baylor and Notre Dame … the Irish are 113-20-5 (.837) in the Waldrum era …Waldrum repeated as BIG EAST coach of the year in 2000 and became the first three-time BIG EAST women’s soccer coach of the year (in ’03) before winning the award again in ’04 … in ’99, he became the only coach in the history of the NCAA women’s soccer championship to lead a team to the title game in his first season as that team’s head coach … he was the fourth 1st-year coach to take his team to the NCAA semifinals, beating top-ranked and unbeaten Santa Clara in San Jose … his women’s soccer record includes 61-36-9 in six years at Tulsa, 46-14-3 in three seasons at Baylor … Waldrum ranks 8th among active women’s coaches for career win pct. (min. 10 Div. I seasons).



SCOUTING THE IRISH – The 2004 Notre Dame squad features 23 former letterwinners and 10 with significant starting experience, among them senior F/D Candace Chapman (missed ’03 season due to injury) … the Irish spent most of ’03 ranked No. 2 in the nation and raced out to an 18-0-1 record before losing to Michigan in the regular-season finale (3-2), Boston College in the BIG EAST semifinals (2-1) and Michigan again in the 2nd round of the NCAAs (1-0, with UM converting its only shot on goal) … returning starters include senior Mary Boland (Academic All-American, 12G-4A in ’03; out for ’04 after broken leg vs. SCU on Sept. 5) and junior Katie Thorlakson (Canadian U-19 National Team; 10G-11A in ’03) at the forward positions, plus a pair of proven midfielders who are former U.S. U-19 National Team standouts – junior Annie Schefter (4G-5A in ’03) and sophomore Jen Buczkowski (4G-6A in ’03) – to go along with junior G Erika Bohn (Academic All-American; 0.49 GAA, 967-minute shutout streak in ’03) and three defenders: 5th-year Melissa Tancredi (All-American; 4G-5A in ’03) and the sophomore duo of Christie Shaner (’03 BIG EAST rookie of the year, 1G-3A) and Kim Lorenzen (20 GS in ’03; also has played M in ’04) … other top returners include senior D Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (Icelandic National Team), sophomore M/F Lizzie Reed (2G-1A in ’03) and sophomore defensive M Jill Krivacek (2G-3A in ’03) … the four-member ’03 senior class included F Amy Warner (All-American; 37G-25A career, 10G-12A in ’03) and Amanda Guertin (48G-27A in career, 11G-6A in ’03), attacking M Kimberly Carpenter (6G-5A in ’03) and left back Vanessa Pruzinsky (94 career GS) … ND’s ’03 domination included 20 more goals (73) than opponent shots on goal (53) … ND’s freshman class is rated No. 2 by Soccer Buzz, 4th by Soccer America … four freshmen had impressive debuts on the preseason Brazil trip: F Amanda Cinalli (prep All-American, U.S. U-17 National Team), F/M Jannica Tjeder (Finland U-21 National Team), M Ashley Jones and G Lauren Karas … top scorers in Brazil (5-0-1; 16-3 scoring edge) included Chapman (4G), Thorlakson (6A), Tjeder (3G-2A) and Jones (2G-3A) … leading scorers after 21 games: Thorlakson (19G-18A), Chapman (9G-8A), Buczkowski (8G-10A), Cinalli (7G-5A) and Schefter (4G-5A).

ND RECORD BOOK (see PDF for Throlakson’s stat rankings)
THORLAKSON BUILDS PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR RESUME – Here’s a look at junior forward Katie Thorlakson’s ever-growing player-of-the-year credentials:
NATIONAL LEADER – enters NCAAs ranked 1st in nation in assists (18), 3rd in points (56) and 6th in goals (19, 2nd among players from top-25 teams)
MULTIPLE THREAT – equally dangerous as a finisher and set-up player … one of 10 ND players ever to reach 30 goals and 30 assists in her career (33G-32A), reaching that milestone 4th-quickest in ND history (62 games) … on verge of becoming 3rd ND player ever to reach 20G-20A in a season (19G-18A), with no previous ND player reaching 23G-23A … currently one of just 4 players in nation with double-digit goals and assists (no others have 14G-14A)
RISING TO THE CHALLENGE – has helped overcome loss of several top offensive players due to graduation, injuries and national-team duty (ND’s other starting F are freshman Amanda Cinalli and senior Candace Chapman, a converted D coming back from ACL injury)
RUNAWAY – her 56 points are more than double team’s 2nd-leading scorer (two with 26)
PERFECT TEN – named CSTV National Student-Athlete of the Week after setting ND record with 10 pts in game vs. St. John’s (4G-2A, also tied ND record for goals in gm/most since ’97)
BIG WINNER – has tied ND record for gamewinning goals in a season (8, by Rosella Guerrero in ’94), with no other player on ’04 team having more than 4 GWGs … also ranks 8th in ND record book with 14 career GWGs, 5 shy of Jenny Heft’s record
ON A ROLL – has totaled 22 points (13G-6A) in last 5 games (1G-1A vs. Seton Hall, 2G-2A vs. Michigan, 4G-2A vs. St. John’s, 1G vs. BC, 1A vs. UConn), after rare 4-game point “slump”
PULLING HER WEIGHT – has played role in nearly 70% of team’s goals in ’04 (39 of 58, two “unofficial assists”), with many other goals coming with her on the bench cheering the reserves
SIX-PACK – first ND player ever to score or assist on team’s first five goals in a game (in ’04 opener vs. Baylor and again vs. #4 Santa Clara) … went one better by having a hand in each of first six scores vs. St. John’s, yielding even more impressive streak of 12 straight Irish goals in which she scored or assisted (now 13 of 14, dating back to 2nd goal in 3-1 win over SHU)
SHARPSHOOTER – owns .186 shot pct. and is averaging 5.4 shots per goal (rest of team is just .106/9.4) … also converting 1G every 3.0 shots on goal (19 of 58)
RECORD PACE – averaging 2.67 pts/gm in ’04 and would total 72 points over full season of 27 games (ND record is 72 points by ’96 national player-of-the-year Cindy Daws)
PRIMETIME PERFORMER – has totaled 14 pts (5G-4A) in six ’04 games vs. top-25 teams, including 3G-2A vs. #4 Santa Clara (only player in nation with 8-plus pts vs. top-25 team)
PILE-O-POINTS – her 56 points rank 7th in ND history (most since ’98) and bested her combined total from ’02 and ’03 (42) … could join Cindy Daws (72; ’96), Jenny Streiffer (62; ’96) and Jenny Heft (61; ’98) as only ND players with 60-plus points in season
CENTURY MARK – her 98 career pts would rank near top of many school’s record books but she is 15th in ND career scoring (32G-32A), still 12G and 9A away from those top-10 lists
BIG GAMES – only player from top-25 team with 8-plus pts in game … one of two players in nation to post 8-plus pts in multiple ’04 gms (only player with 4G in a game and 3A in another)
BIG EAST’S BEST – three-time BIG EAST player of the week: 2G-4A vs. Baylor and EIU (Aug. 30); 3G-2A vs. #13 Stanford and #4 SCU (Sept. 6); and 1G-1A vs. #20 West Virginia and Providence (Oct. 4), with no award after final week (6G-4A vs. Michigan and SJU) … named to Soccer Buzz and Soccer America national team of the week (Aug. 30 and Sept. 6)
WARMUP – totaled most regular-season goals (13) by ND player since ’99 (Jenny Heft, 16) … 3rd ND player to reach 14G-14A in reg. season (10th ND history with 43 reg.-season pts)
FINDING THE NET – posted 5-game goal streak from Sept. 19-Oct. 3 (4 GWGs in that stretch)
CONFERENCE CALL – leads BIG EAST in points, goals, assists, GWGs and total shots (102)
RACKING ‘EM UP – has posted games with 10 pts (4G-2A , SJU), 8 pts (3G-2A, SCU), 7 pts (2G-3A, Baylor) and 6 pts (2G-2A, Michigan), with 5 multi-goal games
REPEAT OFFENDER – joined Jenny Streiffer (’96) as only ND players with 8-plus pts in multiple games of same season (Monica Gerardo only other player to do in career) … first ND player with 3-plus goals in multiple games of season since Jenny Heft’s three hat tricks in ’98
OL’ RELIABLE – has appeared in 64 straight games with ND (since ’02 U-19 World Champ.)
HOME SWEET HOME – has totaled 58 points in 26 games at Alumni Field during past two seasons (21G-16A, 9 GWG)

NOTRE DAME PLAYER QUICK-FACT SHEET (see PDF for stats and notes on ND regulars)

NET ZERO – Junior G Erika Bohn saw her 639-minute shutout streak end in the 73rd minute of the BIG EAST title game vs. UConn (1-2) … that streak had dated back to the 2-1 win at Georgetown on Oct. 10 … Bohn also has surged to 3rd in the nation with a 0.44 goals-against average, within range of the ND record of 0.36 set by LaKeysia Beene in ’97 … Bohn’s 0.72 career GAA is just shy of Jen Renola’s 0.69 for 3rd in ND history (also behind Liz Wagner’s 0.57 and Beene’s 0.62) … Bohn is 46-5-2 in her last 53 overall decisions with the Irish (since 3-2 loss to BYU on 10/19/02), allowing just 26 goals in that 53-game stretch (32 with 0 GA, 16 with 1 GA) … that span includes a 4-1 mark to close the ’02 season, 5-0 in the ’03 spring season (dnp ’04 spring), the 20-3-1 record in the fall of ’03 and 17-1-1 this fall (two wins in Brazil) … her only losses in that stretch: final ’02 loss at #1 Stanford (0-1, goal in 81st minute), 3-2 loss to Michigan in final game of ’03 regular season (UM’s final two goals came on CK breakdowns by ND defense), 2-1 loss to Boston College in ’03 BIG EAST semi’s, 1-0 loss to Michigan in ’03 NCAAs (with a 0-0 tie vs. Rutgers this season) and the 2-1 loss to UConn … prior to the first ’03 loss to Michigan, Bohn logged 29 consecutive games with the Irish (24 fall, 5 spring) without allowing multiple goals (previously by BYU in ’02) … her 59 official starts at ND (in fall games) include 34 in which she has not allowed a goal, 15 with one goal allowed, 4 with two goals allowed and just 5 with three-plus goals (3-4 at Georgetown, 0-3 vs. West Virginia, 1-3 vs. Purdue and 2-3 vs. BYU in ’02, plus 2-3 vs. Michigan in ’03) … since the BYU game, Bohn has limited the opponent to 0-1 goals in 44 of her last 48 fall games (33 with 0 GA, 11 with 1 GA, 2-1 loss to BC, 3-2 loss to UM, 5-2 win over Santa Clara, 2-1 loss to UConn) … see PDF for ’04 GAA leaders.

BAM! … BUCZKOWSKI DOES IT AGAIN – Sophomore M Jen Buczkowski did not register a gamewinning goal in the first 37 games of her ND career before delivering a pair of GWGs in the late moments of back-to-back wins at Georgetown (89:16; 2-1) and vs. #20 Boston College (79:06; 1-0) … three games later, she added her 3rd GWG in the 4-0 win at Michigan and then had the GWG in the BIG EAST semifinal vs. BC (2-0, giving her 4 GWGs in 6 games) … Buczkowski also has surged to 2nd among BIG EAST players with 10 assists (26th nationally), trailing only her teammate Katie Thorlakson’s 17 (tops in the nation).

GOING THE DISTANCE – ND is unbeaten in its last 17 overtime games (12-0-5), since the 3-2, double-OT loss to UNC in the ’99 opener … prior to the recent 0-0 game vs. Rutgers, the Irish played 18 straight non-OT games (longest since the ’97 and ’98 teams combined for 31 straight non-OT games) … after the opening ’99 loss to UNC, that Irish team went on to post a 2-1, double-OT win at UConn and played to a 1-1 tie at Nebraska in the NCAA quarterfinals (adv. on PKs) … the 2000 team had OT wins over Stanford, at West Virginia and vs. Santa Clara in the NCAA quarterfinals (all 2-1) plus a 0-0 tie at UConn … ’01 featured an unprecedented five OT games (2-1 vs. Indiana, Villanova, WVU and Michigan; 2-2 vs. Wisconsin) while the ’02 team added 1-0 OT wins over Rutgers and BC … the ’03 team had a 0-0 tie with Stanford (at SCU) and OT wins over Villanova (1-0) and Miami (2-1, BE quarter’s).

SHARING THE WEALTH IN OT – ND’s 12 overtime wins in the Waldrum era include goals from seven players (own goal vs. Stanford in ’00): Anne Makinen (vs. UConn, ’99), Amanda Guertin (ND record 4; vs. West Virginia in ’00, Michigan in ’01, Boston College in ’02, Miami in ’03 BIG EAST quarter’s), Meotis Erikson (vs. SCU in ’00 NCAA quarter’s), Kelly Tulisiak (vs. Indiana, ’01), Amy Warner (2; vs. Villanova in ’01, Rutgers in ’02), Mia Sarkesian (vs. WVU, ’01) and Katie Thorlakson (vs. Villanova, ’03).

BIG EAST BEAST – The BIG EAST Conference is well-represented in the 2004 NCAA Tournament field by five teams: No. 4 seed ND, West Virginia, Boston College, UConn and Villanova … the Atlantic Coast Conference (8) was the only league with more teams in the field than the BIG EAST’s five.

FRONTRUNNERS – Since a 3-2 loss to BYU (10/19/02), ND has trailed in just 10 of 48 games for 269:26 (6.0% of 4,469:29), going 42-5-2 in that 49-game stretch … five of ND’s nine deficits in that span have been 11 minutes or shorter while only three teams have led the Irish more than 40 minutes over that 48-game stretch (Michigan for 60, Boston College for 83, Pittsburgh for 41).

BALANCE OF POWER – Despite the absence of several top offensive players, Notre Dame ranks 16th in the nation with 2.73 goals per game and also enters the NCAAs ranked 11th in the nation with a 0.57 team goals-against avg., dominating opposing offenses by allowing just 123 total shots (5.9/gm), 58 shots on goal (2.8/gm) and 33 corner kicks (1.6/gm) … the Irish also rank 9th in the nation with 12 shutouts … ND, UNC, Virginia, Princeton and Central Florida are the only teams ranked 16th or better in scoring and GAA … in 2003, ND joined North Carolina in finishing ranked among the top-5 for scoring scoring (3rd; 3.04 goals/gm) and GAA (5th; 0.49).

AVOIDING THE PITFALLS – Prior to its 0-0 game vs. Rutgers (Oct. 22), Notre Dame was the only unbeaten/untied team left among 306 in Division I … North Carolina (18-0-2) enters the NCAAs as the only unbeaten team while ND joins Dayton (20-1-0) and seven-times-tied Campbell (12-1-7) as the nation’s only one-loss teams.

DEPTH CHARGES – The 2004 season has been a unique one in many ways for Randy Waldrum’s squad, as the veteran Irish coach and his players have embraced a system of deeper substitution and rotating lineups … 19 different players have started for the Irish this season, including 17 who have logged at least five starts … ND often has elected to not start several top players on the second game of a weekend, instead bringing them off the bench for a “shock troops” effect that was made popular by legendary ND football coach Knute Rockne (he often would start his entire 2nd team, then bring in the top group later in the game) … the team’s top reserves in general situations have included a pair of freshmen – F/M Jannica Tjeder and M Ashley Jones – along with senior F/D Candace Chapman or sophomore F/M Lizzie Reed (Chapman and Reed have split time as a starting F in ’04) … Chapman starred as a right back with ND in ’01 and ’02 (when she was an All-American) and has shifted back to the defense at times this season (she also has been a standout flank M with the Canadian National Team) … others who have turned in strong efforts off the bench and as spot starters include senior outside back Kate Tulisiak, junior D/M Jenny Walz and sophomore defensive M Claire Gallerano.

FURIOUS FLURRIES – Notre Dame turned in a three-goal flurry in a five-minute stretch midway through the first half of the BIG EAST quarterfinal vs. St. John’s but the Irish then outdid themselves early in the second half, tacking on three more goals in a span of just 78 seconds to suddenly lead by a 6-0 margin.

CONFERENCE CALL – ND’s all-time record in regular-season conference games is 104-7-3 (.925; 85-7-3/.913 in BIG EAST) … the Irish are 58-1-1 in home games vs. BIG EAST teams, with the 0-0 tie v. Rutgers on Oct. 22 ending a string of 53 straight home wins over BIG EAST teams since a 5-4 OT loss to UConn in ’95 (now 55-0-1 in last 56 BIG EAST home games, with a 252-18 scoring edge, 38 shutouts, 15 with 1 GA) … since ’95, ND’s overall record in all games vs. BIG EAST teams now is 108-10-3 (.905; 1-1-0 vs. UConn in NCAAs).

CANADIAN CONNECTION – Notre Dame’s three Canadian natives – 5th-year D Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ont.), senior F/D Candace Chapman (Ajax, Ont.) and junior F Katie Thorlakson (Langley, B.C) – have been key leaders of the ’04 squad, combining for 51% of the team’s goals (30 of 59) and 48% of the points (88 of 182) this season … Thorlakson enters the NCAAs 3rd in the nation (among players from 306 Division I teams) with 56 points and 1st with 18 assists, plus 6th in goals (19) … she set an ND record with 10 points vs. St. John’s (the 4G tied an ND record) while her 8 points vs. #4 Santa Clara (3G-2A; most ever by ND player vs. top-25 teem) are 7th-most in the nation this year and made her the 3rd ND player ever to post a hat trick vs. a top-10 opponent … she became the only ND player ever to score/assist on ND’s first 5 goals in a game, vs. Baylor (2G-3A) and SCU, before having a hand in the first six goals vs. SJU (and 12 straight over 3 games, with 7G-5A) … Chapman ranks 3rd in the BIG EAST in points (26) and 5th in goals (9) and assists (7) despite playing a reduced number of minutes as she returns from ’03 ACL surgery (she can apply for a 5th year in ’05) … Tancredi, coming off an All-America season in ’03, is the leader of ND’s back line from her central D spot and has helped the Irish limit the opposition to 128 total shots (5.9/gm), 58 shots on goal (2.8/gm) and 34 corners (1.6/gm) … Chapman, who started at right back for ND in ’01 and ’02, has started with the Canadian National Team (mostly at flank midfielder) while Tancredi emerged as a starting central D with Canada after the ’03 college season … Thorlakson recently made her first appearance with Canada’s full national team and is a standout with the U-19 National Team.

SHANER SHINES AS MEMBER OF DOMINATING DEFENSE – Sophomore left back Christie Shaner, considered by coach Randy Waldrum to be ND’s “most consistent defender” in ’04, was named BIG EAST defensive player of the week after helping hold #20 Boston College to one shot on goal, in the 88th minute of that 1-0 win (Oct. 16) … Shaner, a 2nd team all-BIG EAST pick in ’03 and a 3rd teamer in ’04, is part of a veteran back line that also includes: 5th-year central back Melissa Tancredi (a 2003 All-American and one of 12 final candidates for the ’03 Hermann Trophy), senior central back Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (a starter with the Icelandic National Team) and sophomore right back Kim Lorenzen … Lorenzen’s all-around athleticism affords her the versatility to play any field position (she often shifts to a flank M role) and she has surged to 6th on the team in scoring (2G-4A, 8 pts), recently delivering a clutch GWG at West Virginia (3-1) and the late primary assist to beat Boston College, 1-0 (both teams were #20 at game time), plus 1G-1A in the BIG EAST quarterfinal vs. St. John’s … Tancredi – the ’03 and ’04 BIG EAST defensive player of the year and one of 15 final candidates for the Hermann Trophy – is a starter with the Canadian National Team while Shaner is in the U.S. Under-21 National Team player pool …the ’04 defense has allowed just 12 goals (0.57 GAA), 128 total shots (5.9/gm), 58 shots on goal (2.8/gm) and 34 corner kicks (1.6/gm) with just five deficits (88 min.) … the four backline starters have combined for 225 career games played at ND (182 starts) … Tancredi (1,787; 85/gm) and Shaner (1,733/83) lead the ’04 team in minutes played while Lorenzen is 5th (1,466), with Gunnarsdottir logging 1,314 (dnp 3 gms/minor inj.).

FAR & WIDE – ND’s ’04 roster includes players from 13 states, two Canadian provinces, Iceland and Finland … the program’s all-time roster canvasses 30 states and three foreign countries … ND’s student-athlete population in ’02-’03 included nearly 800 individuals from 47 states (all but Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada) and 20 foreign countries.

THOR BRINGS THUNDER AND LIGHTNING – Katie Thorlakson continues to lead the nation in assists (18) while ranking 3rd in points (56) and 6th in goals (19, 2nd among players from ranked teams) and she is one of just four players in the nation with even 12-plus goals and 12-plus assists (no other player has 14 of each) … Thorlakson’s 10 points vs. St. John’s (4G-2A) are 5th-most by a Div. I player this season (among players from 306 schools) while her 8 points vs. #4 Santa Clara are tied for 8th and are most by any player vs. a top-25 opponent … she is the only player from a current top-25 team who has posted 8-plus points in a game (doing so twice) and joins Detroit’s Mary Parker (12 vs. Cleveland State, 8 vs. Niagara) as the only players to post 8-plus points in multiple games this season … Thorlakson’s 4-goal game has been bested just four times this season by Division I players while only six players in the nation have totaled more assists in a game this season than Thorlakson’s 3A vs. Baylor … she combines with Sam Houston State’s Yoanna Garcia as the nation’s only players to post 4-plus goals and 3-plus assists in games this season (Thorlakson did so in different games while Garcia had 5G-4A vs. Texas Southern) … here are the NCAA stat leaders entering this week’s action (see PDF).

HOME SWEET HOME – The Irish own a 162-14-3 all-time record (.913) at Alumni Field (135-10-2 in last 147) – with a 29-game home win streak (5th NCAA history) from ’99-’01 … 8 of ND’s last 10 home losses have been by a single goal … ND’s Alumni Field record vs. teams not in the NSCAA top-25 is 114-4-2/.958 (46-10-1 vs. ranked teams) … junior F Katie Thorlakson has totaled 58 points at Alumni Field the past two seasons (21G-16A, 9 GWG in 26 GP) while junior M Annie Schefter has scored all 8 of her career goals (4 GWG) at home … sophomore M Jen Buczkowski has registered 8 of her 10 career goals and 29 of her 38 career points with the Irish in the confines of Alumni Field.

IRISH SQUADS MAKES CASE FOR BEST COMBINED SOCCER PROGRAM – Notre Dame has made a strong case in 2004 for having the nation’s top combined men’s and women’s soccer programs:
• As of Oct. 31, Notre Dame’s soccer teams had more combined wins (31-2-3, .903; now 32-3-4/.872) than any other Div. I school … only three others – Virginia (28-5-1), UNC-Greensboro (29-4-2) and Dayton (28-7-1) – had reached more than 26 combined wins (as of Oct. 31).
• The No. 2 ND women are 19-1-1 and rolled to the BIG EAST regular-season title (9-0-1) while the Irish men (No. 4 NSCAA) are 13-2-3 and won their first BIG EAST regular-season title (8-1-1; 17-1-2 combined with the women).
• ND was the only school with its men’s and women’s teams in at least the top nine of the Nov. 1 NSCAA polls … Virginia had both teams in the top 10 while Penn State and UCLA were the only other school with both teams in the top 15 of the NSCAA polls … just two others (Washington and Boston College, Duke and Santa Clara) had both teams somewhere in the top 25 … the Irish women have lost just once in their last 40 regular-season games (37-1-2).
• UConn, in ’98, is the only other school ever to post the best BIG EAST men’s and women’s soccer records in the same regular season (excluding ties in the standings).
• As of Nov. 10, the ND men are riding a 9-0-2 streak (18-1 scoring edge) while the women have a 34-5 scoring margin over their last 13 games, yielding a 52-6 combined scoring margin in the past two months.
• ND was the only school that saw both its men’s (Bobby Clark) and women’s (Randy Waldrum) coaches honored as NSCAA regional coaches of the year in ’03 … Waldrum (112-19-5) and Clark (53-18-9) have combined to win nearly 80% of their games at ND (165-37-14, .796) and they have combined for 500-plus wins in their careers as college head coaches (501-205-58, .694) … Waldrum’s 23-year college coaching career (295-124-23) includes previous stints at Tulsa (where he coached the men’s and women’s teams) and Baylor while Clark also enjoyed great success in previous stops at Dartmouth and Stanford (he is 206-81-34 in 18 college seasons).
• The ND women’s soccer roster includes four straight classes that have been ranked among the top-15 recruiting classes (14th in ’01, 9th in ’02, 5th in ’03, 2nd in ’04), with UVa and UNC the only other women’s teams that can make that claim … the ND women also join Texas as the only schools with top-5 recruiting classes each of the past two seasons … each of the past four seasons have seen the seen ND men’s classes ranked 18th or higher (18th in ’01, 14th in ’02, 5th in ’03 and 11th in ’04) … only four other men’s teams – perennial powers Indiana, SMU, UCLA and Virginia – can make such a claim of recruiting class success during the past four seasons.
• Nine current members of the ND women’s program have been active with various national teams, including senior F/D Candace Chapman and fifth-year central D Melissa Tancredi as starters with Canada’s full national team … Chapman and junior F Katie Thorlakson have been standouts with Canada’s Under-19 National Team … four others – junior M Annie Schefter, senior F Mary Boland, sophomore M Jen Buczkowski and F Kerri Hanks – have been starters with the U.S. Under-19s (Hanks currently is training for the Under-19 World Championship and will enroll at ND next semester) while senior central D Gudrun Gunnarsdottir is a standout with Iceland’s national team and freshman M/F Jannica Tjeder has been a regular with Finland’s Under-17, -19 and -21 teams .. the ND men’s program includes three members of the sophomore class – D Greg Dalby, F/M Nate Norman and M Ian Etherington – who were top players on the U.S. Under-18 National Team, with Dalby and Norman now members of the U.S. Under-20 squad … their classmate, D Jorge Schippes, has starred on the national-team stage with Guatemala’s Under-17 and Under-20 national teams.
• Both programs are stocked with former Olympic Development Program standouts … each ND soccer team currently includes 25 non-foreign players, with 19 members of the Irish women’s squad being former ODP state players while the ND men’s team includes 17 state ODP products … the current ND women’s roster also includes 14 players who starred for elite ODP region teams while eight such players currently star for the Irish men’s team.
• The ND student body truly is a national (and international) sampling and that holds true with the various athletic teams … ND’s student-athlete population in ’02-’03 included nearly 800 individuals from 47 states (all but Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada) and 20 foreign countries … the ’04 rosters for the Irish men’s and women’s soccer teams touch all corners of the U.S. while also including players from Canada, England, Finland, Guatemala and Iceland … the current Irish soccer players hail from 20 different states, with both teams including players from California, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Texas … other states represented by the current ND soccer teams include: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.
• Both Irish teams also are coming off stellar 2003 seasons, as the ND women were ranked No. 2 for most of `03 (finishing 20-3-1) while the men earned the highest ranking (No. 3) in the program’s history during the ’03 season.
• Notre Dame also joined North Carolina as the only schools with multiple players on the preseason watch lists for both the men’s and women’s MAC Hermann Trophy, presented to the national player of the year … 5th-year central D Melissa Tancredi and senior F/D Candace Chapman were included on the women’s watch list while G Chris Sawyer and senior D Jack Stewart were on the men’s list.

GOALS-A-PLENTY – Stretching from ’92-’04, the Irish have scored in 94.7% of their games (288 of 304) … since ’94, the Irish have scored in 245 of 260 (.950; three shutouts in NCAA title games) – with goals in 190 of 198 regular-season games (.960) over that 11-year stretch … ND saw its 31-game scoring streak (3rd-best in Irish history) end in ’02.

LOFTY COMPANY – Here’s a look at the former Irish players who have welcomed Katie Thorlakson as one of the most accomplished scorers in the program’s history:
• She and Amy Warner (’00 and ’02) are the only ND players since 2000 with 3-plus goals in a game more than once in their careers
• She and Jenny Streiffer (2G-5A vs. Providence, 3G-2A vs. Seton Hall, in ’96) are the only ND players with 8-plus points in multiple games during the same season (Streiffer also had a 4G/8-point game in ’97 while Monica Gerardo had 4G games in
• The other nine ND players in the 30-goal, 30-assist club: Shannon Boxx (39G-57A), Cindy Daws (61-67), Meotis Erikson (59-46), Gerardo (73-44), Rosella Guerrero (55-32), Alison Lester (45-36), Anne Makinen (65-56), Michelle McCarthy (59-38) and Streiffer (70-71) … all but Guerrero also reached 35G-35A … Daws, Erikson, Gerardo, Makinen and Streiffer are five of 33 all-time Division I players to reach 40G-40A while Daws, Streiffer and Makinen are among 16 in the 50G-50A club … Daws, Streiffer and just thee other players in NCAA history have reached 60G-60A (Streiffer and former UNC great Mia Hamm are the only 70-70 players).
• She is the third ND player to reach 14G-14A in regular season (1st since ’97), joining Daws (21G-17A in ’96) and Streiffer (18G-21A in ’96, 16G-16A in ’97) in that distinction
• She could join Daws (26G-20A) and Streiffer (22G-22A) as the only ND players to reach 20G-20A in a season (both in ’96)
• Her 10-point game vs. St. John’s bested the Notre Dame record of nine, previously shared by 1996 teammates Streiffer (2G-5A vs. Providence) and Gerardo (4G-1A vs. Seton Hall).
• Her 4G vs. SJU were the most by an ND player in seven seasons and tied the team mark shared by Streiffer (’97 vs. Georgetown) and Gerardo (’96 vs. SHU and Indiana).

GREAT STARTS – The 2003 season saw Notre Dame go unbeaten after 19 games for the fourth time in the program’s history while the 2004 team surpassed that feat with a 19-0-1 start … the ’04 season marked the second time an ND team has won the first 15 games of the season (before the 0-0 tie vs. Rutgers), one shy of the record-setting 16-0-0 start in 2000 … here’s a look at the top season-opening streaks in the ND record book (see PDF):

THORLAKSON TO STAY – Notre Dame junior F Katie Thorlakson (Langley, B.C.), a top contender for NCAA player of the year, recently announced her intention to remain with the Irish for the entire ’04 season, foregoing the previous plan to leave for three weeks to compete with Canadian side at the Under-19 World Championship (Nov. 10-27, in Thailand) … that event overlaps with the first three rounds of the NCAAs and could prevent players from returning for the fourth/quarterfinal round (Nov. 26-28) … several other players – including ND sophomore M Jen Buczkowski (Elk Grove, Ill.) – have made similar decisions in recent months … Buczkowski is the playmaker of the Irish midfield and has been a starting defender with the U.S. U-19 squad … unlike their Canadian counterparts, the U.S. federation instituted a residency training camp for the months leading up to the U-19 World Championship, meaning team members had to sit out the entire semester from their respective colleges or high schools (ND signee Kerri Hanks is the leading scorer for the U.S. U-19s and has delayed her enrollment until the ’05 spring semester) … Buczkowski made a surprise announcement at the team’s ’04 spring banquet, informing the team she would be returning to Notre Dame for the fall of ’04.

Katie Thorlakson ON REMAINING AT ND FOR ENTIRE ’04 SEASON – “It was a really hard decision. I thought about all the stress and decisions I’ve had to make the last three years and the positions I’ve put myself in, never really feeling like I was part of something and going back and forth from one team to another. This year has been so special with ND and I just decided to forego going to the U-19 World Championships. With that team, a number of girls will step up and be leaders and maybe it will be a good opportunity for them. … I could have gone for just a couple of weeks to Thailand and coach (Waldrum) allowed me to do that and gave me a lot of space in this process. When it came down to it, I just realized that I needed to be at school and playing soccer here. (At Syracuse) there was an incident where I could have gotten into a scuffle and that’s something I might have done in the past, but then I probably would have been kicked out and would not have been able to score the winning goal. It’s all become a matter of putting the team over myself. I’ve worked hard at showing more restraint in my emotions. … Playing for the National Team is an awesome experience. Most of my best friends are from that team that played in 2002. Playing with them every day is awesome. They are the best players in your country and you are best friends. … At the same time, we are even more like family here at Notre Dame. We are together just about all year-round. Our team concept really came together during the Brazil trip, always playing hard and playing to win.”

NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH Randy Waldrum – “We now have had two players on this team make the decision to forego the Under-19 World Championships, as Jen Buczkowski earlier this summer was one of several U.S. players who have opted out of that great experience. Katie and Jen both love their national teams but they also love this team here at Notre Dame, so it’s a tremendously difficult decision for them. But I also think it shows how both have matured so much in the past year. It says a lot about them as people and teammates and shows how much they care about this program and this school. Katie’s attitude, intensity and leadership this season have been just as phenomenal as her performance on the field. She has made a great commitment to being a great player and I can’t think that anyone in the college game is playing as well as she is right now. This is a huge moment for our program because it shows the commitment of an elite player who is willing to stay and help lead us to a national championship.”

GOAL PATROL – Notre Dame players have combined for 20 multiple-goal games over 43 games in the past two seasons (compared to just five in all of ’02), by 10 different players … three different players – Amanda Cinalli, Katie Thorlakson and Candace Chapman – had two goals in the 2004 opener vs. Baylor, with Thorlakson adding 3G vs. Santa Clara, 2G vs. both UWGB and Michigan and then 4G vs. St. John’s while Maggie Manning had 2G at Texas Tech and Chapman added 2G vs. Seton Hall … current players who posted multiple-goal games in ’03 included: Manning vs. Hartford (2), Jen Buczkowski vs. Oklahoma, Thorlakson and Annie Schefter vs. Western Kentucky, Melissa Tancredi vs. North Texas and Thorlakson at Rutgers.

SOCCER “BUZZ” – Sophomore M Jen Buczkowski opened the scoring in the 2-1 win at Syracuse, matching her goal total (4) from all of ’03 after playing just eight games in ’04 … she now is 3rd on the team with 26 points (8G-10A) and more than tripled her regular-season goal output from 2003 (2), closing with 3G-3A (2 GWG) in the final five games of the ’04 regular season (then 2A in the BIG EAST quarterfinals vs. St. John’s and 1G vs. BC in the semifinals).

OVERCOMING ADVERSITY – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team has been forced to overcome injuries to some top players during the past five seasons, most notably in 2002, ’03 and ’04 (260 total games lost to injury in that 3-year span) … many of those players were sidelined for large chunks of the season or were lost at key postseason junctures … here’s a sampling of some of the more noteworthy injuries that the Irish have overcome in the past five seasons (see PDF):

SUPER FROSH – Freshman F Amanda Cinalli scored the late GWG at UConn and had the primary assist on the first goal (by Jen Buczkowski) at Syracuse, earning BIG EAST rookie of the week honors for Sept. 13-19 … Cinalli, currently 4th on the team in scoring (19 pts; 7G-5A), then became the first freshman to be honored by the BIG EAST this season as offensive (or defensive) player of the week, after a pair of key goals in BIG EAST road wins over Villanova (1-0) and Georgetown (2-1) on Oct. 8 and 10 … her goal at VU came on a well-placed crossing shot from 30 yards that ripped into the upper right corner of the net … Cinalli’s 19 points and 7 goals both rank among the BIG EAST freshman leaders and she ranks 13th overall among BIG EAST players in goals… Cinalli scored ND’s first two goals of the season in the 7-2 win over Baylor, becoming just the 4th freshman ever to open the season scoring for the Irish and likewise was the 4th ND player ever to score the first 2G in a season.

LAST-MINUTE HERO – Jen Buczkowski’s goal at Georgetown on Oct. 10 (2-1), with 44 seconds left in regulation, held special significance in the program’s history … the sophomore M became the first ND player since ’94 – and just the third in the program’s 17-year history – to win a game by scoring in the final minute of play (regulation or OT) … just four of the program’s 380 all-time games have featured a last-minute gamewinning goal (by either team) but GU’s Harbin Field has been the site for two of those fantastic finishes … Buczkowski’s goal helped avenge the heartbreaking loss suffered by the Irish on their previous visit to GU … the Hoyas won that day, 4-3, on a goal with 24 seconds left in regulation, in a game that also remains the only time in the last 10 seasons that the Irish have scored three goals and failed to win (111-1-0) … the last ND player to win a game in the final minute of play was Michelle McCarthy, whose goal with 25 seconds left in OT (119:35) completed a wild comeback vs. William & Mary, 4-3 … Jody Hartwig’s goal in the 85th minute had forged a 2-2 tie for the Irish in that game but the Tribe scored first in OT (non-sudden death) before future All-American Rosella Guerrero answered with another tying goal … the only other Irish player to score a last-minute GWG was future All-American Ragen Coyne, vs. Wright State in the 1992 Midwest Conference championship game (89:24).

TOURNAMENT TOUGH – Notre Dame owns an 87-26-7 all-time record (.754) in tournament action, including 37-13-6 in regular-season tournaments (19-3-2 at home, with 61-23 scoring edge), 25-2-0 in conference tournaments and 25-11-1 in the NCAAs … since ’94, ND is 25-6-3 in regular-season tournaments (18 wins vs. NSCAA top-25), and 20-4-2 from ’97-’04.

IRISH COMPLETE UNBEATEN HOME SLATE – Notre Dame went unbeaten at home in the 2004 regular season (9-0-1), marking the 9th time in the 15-year history of Alumni Field that ND has not lost a regular-season home game (all but ’90, ’92, ’95, ’02, ’03) … the Irish have won nearly 92% of their all-time regular-season home games at Alumni Field (133-11-3, .915), including four seasons with one loss … in 10 of the last 11 seasons (all but ’03), the Irish have suffered 0-1 regular-season losses at home (97-7-3, .921 in that 11-year stretch).

WINDY-CITY TRIO – The “Canadian Connection” is not the only noteworthy trio on the ND women’s soccer team, as three Chicago-area natives have played key roles … the three sophomores – M Jen Buczkowski (Elk Grove HS), D/M Kim Lorenzen (Naperville North HS) and defensive M Jill Krivacek (Geneva; Rosary HS) – led the Illinois team to the 2003 Olympic Development national title before starting their Notre Dame careers … each of the Chicago natives play key, but subtle, roles on the Irish squad, with Lorenzen’s great versatility allowing her to play anywhere on the field (she scored the gamewinning goal in the 74th minute at #20 West Virginia and had the primary assist on Buczkowski’s GWG vs. #20 Boston College) … the 5-foot-10 Krivacek has fortified the defensive midfield spot while Buczkowski is the classic field general and is 3rd on the team with 19 points (6G-7A).

BIG & BRIGHT – The lone star state has deep connections to Notre Dame women’s soccer, as all three coaches and three players are Texas natives:
• Sixth-year ND head coach Randy Waldrum is a native of Irvin, Texas, played at Midwestern State (Wichita Falls, Texas) from ’77-’80, coached the men’s teams at Austin College (’82) and Texas Wesleyan (’88) and coached the Baylor women from ’96-’98 (he was the Texas Longhorns club’s director of coaching from ’87-’89).
• 2nd-year assistant Alvin Alexander is an Arlington native and his Lamar HS team was a rival of Waldrum’s MacArthur HS squad (they were teammates at Midwestern) … Alexander’s background in Texas youth soccer includes eight years as a staff coach/trainer with the North Texas and Midland Olympic Development programs (’93-’01) … he coached the u-13 and u-15 girls and u-11 boys with the elite Dallas Texans club (’02-’03) and built Black Magic into one of best clubs in West Texas (from ’89-’99) … Alexander also held coaching and/or administrative duties with teams at Oakridge HS (’99-’03), the American Eagles girls developmental team in Colleyville (’01-’02), the Arlington Strikers boys teams (’99-’00) and the Texas-Permian Basin men’s team in Odessa (’95-’97) – in addition to being a player/coach with the Permian Basin Mirage pro indoor soccer team.
• 2nd-year assistant Dawn Greathouse is a native of Allen, Texas, and played for Waldrum as the starting ‘keeper at Baylor … she also starred for the Texas Longhorns and the Region III and North Texas ODP squads.
• Current ND sophomore M Claire Gallerano (Dallas/Ursuline HS) helped lead the Dallas Texans to the ’03 USYSA national club championship.
• Prep All-America F Kerri Hanks – a ’03 signee who will not enroll at ND until next string, due to Under-19 World Championship training with the U.S. team – earned the USYSA’s Golden Boot Award as the tournament’s top scorer with that ’03 Dallas Texans.
• Current freshman G Lauren Karas (Flower Mound HS) also has starred for the Dallas Sting and Texans club teams, plus the Region III and North Texas ODP teams (she earned the Golden Glove Award with North Texas at the 2004 ODP nationals).
• ND’s all-time roster includes 16 Texas natives, most notably: early scoring leader Stephanie Porter (’90-’93; Spring/Klein HS); steady M Tiffany Thompson (’91-’94; Houston/Cypress Creek HS); clutch ‘keeper Liz Wagner (’98-’01; Spring/Klein HS); All-America D Monica Gonzalez (’97-’01; Richardson/Plano East HS); and high-scoring F Amanda Guertin (’00-’03; Grapevine HS).

HIT & MISS – Notre Dame has averaged 22 shots per game this season but has met with mixed results when it comes to finding the net, averaging 7.7 shots per goal … here’s a look at the team’s five best and five worst shooting-pct. games of 2004 (see PDF):

CLUTCH CANADIAN – Sophomore F Katie Thorlakson (Langley, B.C.) picked key times for all four of her game-winning goals in ’03, with two vs. top-15 teams (#10 Santa Clara, #15 UConn), plus the OT goal vs. Villanova and the early strike at Rutgers (3-0) … she is the only current ND player with multiple career goals vs. UConn (her goal tied the ’02 game, 1-1, in a 3-1 win) … the ’02 ND-UConn game proved to be a key turning point for the program, with current 5th-year senior Melissa Tancredi making the full-time move from F to central D while Thorlakson shifted permanently from M to F … since those key shifts, the Irish are 44-6-2 in their past 52 games.

MAGIC NUMBERS ¬- The 3-goal mark has been virtually an automatic win for ND, with the Irish 210-3-1 all-time (.984) when scoring 3-plus, losing to N.C. State in the ’92 opener (4-3), UConn in ’95 (5-4, OT) and at Georgetown in ’02 (4-3), plus a 3-3 tie vs. Vanderbilt in ’91… the Irish had won 88 straight when scoring 3-plus, before the GU loss (now 114-1-0 since 10/6/95) … ND is 292-9-12 (.952) all-time when holding the opponent to 0-1 goals (96-3-5 since 9/9/99), including tough 1-0 losses in ’02 to eventual NCAA champ Portland and top-ranked Stanford … prior to the UP loss, the Irish had been 56-0-3 in the previous 59 games when allowing 0-1 GA (dating back to 1-0 loss to SMU in ’99, playing minus Finnish national teamer Anne Makinen) … the program’s 17-year history includes just 298 goals allowed in 385 games (0.77 GA per game) … the Irish have allowed more than one goal in only 72 all-time games (19%) and have yielded 3-plus goals in just 33 all-time games (9%; including two 6-goal games by the opponent, four 5-goal and six 4-goal) … 91% of ND’s all-time games have seen the Irish hold the opponent to 0-2 goals (ND is just 4-28-1 all-time when allowing 3-plus).

OPENING-DAY RECORDS – Amanda Cinalli’s goal vs. Baylor made her the 4th freshman ever to score ND’s first goal of a season, with others including Margaret Jarc (’89; 4-1 vs. St. Joseph’s), Rosella Guerrero (’92; 3-4 vs. N.C. State) and current senior Mary Boland (’01; 2-1 vs. Penn State) … Cinalli became the 4th ND player to score the team’s first two goals in a season, joining Alison Lester (’91; 2-0 vs. Mercyhurst) and Guerrero (’92; 3-4 vs. N.C. St.; ’93, 12-0 vs. LaSalle) … Katie Thorlakson’s 2G-3A vs. Baylor tied the ND record for pts in a half (7) shared by Tasha Strawbridge (3G-1A vs. Valparaiso, ’90) and Monica Gerardo (3G-1A at Prov., ’98).

TULISIAK TAKES CHARGE – Senior D Kate Tulisiak played a reserve role her first two seasons and missed most of ’03 due to a back injury, but she picked an ideal time for the first point of her career after intercepting a pass and providing the endline cross as Amanda Cinalli scored in the 84th minute for the 1-0 win at UConn on Sept. 17 … she also helped hold UConn (1-0) and Syracuse (2-1) to 14 combined shots, 4 shots on goal and 3 corner kicks, en route to earning BIG EAST defensive player of the week.

GREAT GRADES – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team consistently has performed at a high level on the field and in the classroom … in ’03-’04, the Irish posted a 20-3-1 record followed by a 3.28 team GPA in the ’03 fall semester and a 3.32 in the spring of ’04 (22 of 25 players with GPA of 3.0 or better, 13 at 3.4-plus) … the ’04 team includes two Academic All-Americans – senior F Mary Boland (3.90 cumulative GPA, psychology major) and junior G Erika Bohn (3.63, design) – with other top candidates for that honor in ’04 including junior M Annie Schefter (3.73, pre-professional studies/psychology) and sophomore M Jen Buczkowski (3.37, business).

FRESHMAN CLASS RATED NO. 2 – Soccer Buzz ranked ND’s incoming class as the 2nd-best in the nation while Soccer America had the Irish 5th on its list of top ’04 classes … the six signees for ’04 included four highly-regarded forwards – Amanda Cinalli (Maple Hts, Ohio), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas), Susan Pinnick (South Bend, Ind.) and Jannica Tjeder (Espoo, Finland) – plus M Ashley Jones (Westlake Village, Calif.) and G Lauren Karas (Flower Mound, Texas) … Hanks is the leading scorer for the U.S. Under-19 National Team while Cinalli and Pinnick have been members of the U-17s (all three earned prep All-America honors) … each of the five U.S. signees was a member of her respective Olympic Development regional team, with Karas a member of the U-16 National Team player pool while Jones helped lead both her ODP squad and the Southern California United club program to national titles … Tjeder is one of the top young players in Finland, playing for her national under-17, u-19 and u-21 teams.

RECRUIT RANKINGS HISTORY – ND’s ’04 roster is comprised of four top-ranked recruiting classes … ND joins UNC and Virginia as the only teams to have their recruiting classes in the Soccer Buzz top 15 from ’01-’04 (ND 14th-9th-5th-2nd from ’01-’04; UNC 2nd-1st-6th-3rd; UVa 1st-3rd-11th-12th) … ND and UNC are the only teams to be in the Soccer Buzz top-15 classes every year since those rankings began in ’98 (ND was 11th in ’98, 4th in ’99, 9th in ’00; UNC 2nd-1st-2nd from ’98-’00) … Soccer America has ranked top-10 classes since ’02, with ND and UNC the only teams in the SA top 10 every year from ’02-’04 (ND was 9th by SA in ’02, 5th in ’03 and ’04; UNC 1st in ’02, 6th in ’03) … ND and Texas (3rd in ’03 and ’04) are the only teams to attract SA top-5 classes each of the past two seasons … SB’s top-15 classes for ’04: Texas A&M, ND, UNC, Penn St., Texas, Clemson, Portland, Maryland, Ohio St., Cal, Villanova, UVa, Michigan, Illinois, Santa Clara … SA’s top-10: A&M, UNC, Texas, PSU, ND, Nebraska, OSU, Portland, Florida, Cal.

WINNING TRADITIONS – Several ND women’s soccer players led their clubs and state Olympic Development teams to elite status before becoming part of another winning tradition with the Irish … five members of the current sophomore class helped their teams post top national finishes in ’03 and the current freshman class also lived up to the standard … most notably, Ashley Jones completed the rare double of winning 2004 national titles with her California South state ODP team and her Southern California United club … her classmate Kerri Hanks earlier won the Golden Boot Award as the tournament’s top scorer with the ’03 Dallas Texans national champs while Lauren Karas earned the Golden Glove Award with North Texas at the 2004 ODP nationals (her team lost to Jones and Cal-South, 1-0) … finally, newcomer Susan Pinnick led the Carmel (Ind.) Commotion to a runner-up finish at the 2003 USYSA under-17 nationals while Kelly Simon was a member of the St. Louis-based Busch Soccer Club that was the ’01 and ’02 national runner-up.

NATIONAL TEAMS – Three former ND players – D Kate Sobrero Markgraf, G LaKeysia Beene and defensive M Shannon Boxx – recently have been starters with the U.S. National Team, with Sobrero and Boxx starting for the ’03 World Cup (3rd place) and ’04 Olympic (gold) teams … nine current members of the ND program have been active with various national teams, including Candace Chapman and Melissa Tancredi (starters with Canada’s national team) and Chapman and Katie Thorlakson with Canada’s U-19 National Team … Annie Schefter, Mary Boland, Jen Buczkowski and Kerri Hanks have been starters with the U.S. U-19s while Gudrun Gunnarsdottir is a member of Iceland’s national team and Jannica Tjeder has been a regular with Finland’s U-17, -19 and -21 teams … former Irish D Monica Gonzalez is a founding member of Mexico’s women’s national team and captained Mexico in its historic appearance at the ’04 Olympics (former Irish F Monica Gerardo also was a founding member of the Mexican team).

GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN – Four members of the ND women’s soccer team – plus senior F Mary Boland (broken leg in 4th game of ’04, out for season) – will not compete with the Irish in ’04 … freshman F Kerri Hanks – rated by Soccer America as the nation’s No. 4 signee and part of the No. 2-ranked freshman class (per Soccer Buzz, No. 4 class per SA) – is training with the U.S. for the U-19 World Championship (Nov. 10-27 in Thailand) and will enroll next spring … 5th-year M Randi Scheller (hip), freshman F Susan Pinnick (neck/back; summer club team van accident) and freshman M Kelly Simon (shoulder surgery) are out due to injuries … Pinnick, like classmates Hanks and Amanda Cinalli, was a prep All-American and played alongside Cinalli on the U.S. U-17s.

VIVA BRAZIL! – ND’s preseason training trip in Campinas, Brazil (Aug. 10-19), featured a 5-0-1 record and 16-3 scoring edge vs. top semi-pro women’s teams from the Sao Paulo area … the games attracted local spectators and included traditional exchange of gifts, plus group photos … the Irish enjoyed great camaraderie at the five-star Vitoria Hotel and soaked in the atmosphere at first-division Brazilian men’s games at Ponta Preta and Guarani … meals included Brazil’s many exotic and tasty forms of pizza and the unique Brazilian steakhouses that feature table-top carvings of a variety of entrees … leading scorers on the trip included senior F/D Candace Chapman (4G), junior F Katie Thorlakson (6A) and the freshman duo of F/M Jannica Tjeder (3G-2A) and M Ashley Jones (2G-3A).