Junior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker had two assists in Notre Dame's 4-1 win at Cincinnati last year.

Irish Open BIG EAST Slate This Weekend Against Louisville, Cincinnati

Sept. 13, 2012

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2012 Notre Dame Women’s Soccer — Matches 8-9

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-3-1 / 0-0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Louisville Cardinals (5-1-0 / 0-0-0 BIG EAST)
September 14, 2012
TIME: 4:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Alumni Stadium (3,007)
SERIES: ND leads 8-3-0
LAST MTG: LOU 2-1 (11/4/11 @WVU)
TV: ESPNU (live)/WatchESPN.com (Roxy Bernstein, p-b-p / Cat Whitehill, color)
TWITTER: @NDsoccernews

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-3-1 / 0-0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (3-3-1 / 0-0-0 BIG EAST)
September 16, 2012
TIME: 1:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Alumni Stadium (3,007)
SERIES: ND leads 12-1-1
LAST MTG: ND 4-1 (9/18/11 @CIN)
VIDEO: UND.com (live-free)
TWITTER: @NDsoccernews


  • Notre Dame kicks off a season-long four-match homestand, the second time in three seasons the Fighting Irish have played four consecutive regular-season matches at Alumni Stadium.
  • The Fighting Irish are 16-1 in BIG EAST Conference openers with an 80-5 scoring margin in those lidlifters.

Notre Dame Opens BIG EAST Play This Weekend Against Louisville, Cincinnati
For the fifth time in 14 days, Notre Dame faces a team that is either ranked or receiving votes, as the Fighting Irish open BIG EAST Conference play at 4 p.m. (ET) Friday against Louisville at Alumni Stadium, before entertaining Cincinnati in another league clash at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday. The Louisville match will be televised live to a national cable audience by ESPNU (as well as on-line via WatchESPN.com), while the Cincinnati contest will be streamed live and free of charge at UND.com.

Notre Dame (3-3-1) had mixed results last weekend in the Pacific Northwest, earning a gritty 1-1 double-overtime draw before a sellout crowd at No. 19/18 Portland before falling 3-0 at No. RV/22 Washington two days later.

Sophomore defender Sammy Scofield scored the Fighting Irish goal at Portland, while freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight made it stand up with a season-high nine saves, the most by a Notre Dame player in 13 years.


  • Notre Dame is not ranked.
  • Louisville is receiving votes in this week’s NSCAA poll.
  • Cincinnati is not ranked.

A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish

  • The Fighting Irish were picked to win the BIG EAST National Division title according to a preseason vote of the conference head coaches released Aug. 7. Notre Dame has won 13 BIG EAST regular-season titles (division or overall) since joining the conference 17 years ago, including regular-season crowns in eight of the past nine years.
  • Junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish represented the Fighting Irish on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team, following up her second-team all-conference selection a year ago. Laddish had one goal and a career-high seven assists last season.
  • Notre Dame features a very young roster in 2012, with half (12) of the 24-member Fighting Irish squad made up of freshmen (plus another six sophomores). The Notre Dame incoming class was ranked No. 1 in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer, with seven Fighting Irish freshmen appearing in the top 60 of the TDS Class of 2012 rankings. Leading the rookie class is forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro, a two-time consensus high school All-American and New York High School Player of the Year after piling up 39 goals and 19 assists during her prep career.

Scouting Louisville
Receiving votes in the latest NSCAA poll, Louisville is 5-1 this season after opening with a four-match winning streak, including a 4-3 double-overtime win over Purdue in the Cardinals’ home opener on Aug. 24 – junior defender Katie Walz scored the match-winner from 25 yards out 1:02 into the second overtime after junior midfielder Angelika Uremovich tied the match with 4:31 left in regulation.

With Preseason BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year Christine Exeter playing for her native Canada in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup during the first three weeks of the season, Uremovich has picked up the slack, scoring six times from 10 shots on net in her first six matches after having four goals in 2011. Junior midfielder (and Mexican national) Charlyn Corral also has emerged as a solid playmaker for the Cardinals with four assists.

Senior goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer recorded solo shutouts against Butler (2-0) and UNC Greensboro (3-0) while playing all but 4:40 of action this year.

Head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes is 109-110-19 in her 13th season at Louisville, including a 2-6 record against Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame-Louisville Series
Notre Dame holds an 8-3 lead in the all-time series against Louisville, including a 4-2 edge at home. However, the Cardinals have won the past two matches in the series, both one-goal verdicts last season. Those results broke an eight-match series winning streak for the Fighting Irish, including six in a row after Louisville joined the BIG EAST in 2005.

The Last Time Notre Dame And Louisville Met
Notre Dame scored in the 72nd minute, then had the tying goal disallowed and hit both the goalpost and crossbar, all in the final 10 minutes, but was not able to complete a valiant second-half comeback, falling to Louisville, 2-1 in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Conference Championship on Nov. 4, 2011, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.

Melissa Henderson set up Adriana Leon’s goal for Notre Dame, extending Henderson’s point-scoring streak to five matches, as the Fighting Irish battled almost all the way back to reach the conference final after trailing by two goals less than 11 minutes into the contest.

Notre Dame outshot the Cardinals, 19-11, including an 8-6 edge in shots on goal. The margins were even greater in the second half, when the Fighting Irish held a 12-5 total shot advantage, and a 5-2 spread in shots on goal. Notre Dame also earned a season-high 11 corner kicks on the day, finishing with an 11-3 edge from the flag (including five of six in the second half).

Goalkeeper Maddie Fox registered four saves in the match, while her Louisville counterpart Chloe Kiefer made seven stops. The Cardinals got a goal and assist from Kaitie McDonald, with her 11th-minute score standing up as the match-winner.

The Last Time Notre Dame And Louisville Met At Alumni Stadium
Louisville’s Erin Yenney scored the lone goal of the match in the 56th minute and the Cardinals made it stand, upsetting No. 12/14 Notre Dame, 1-0 in the BIG EAST Conference opener for both teams on Sept. 16, 2011, before a crowd of 2,501 fans at Alumni Stadium. The loss was the first for the Fighting Irish in BIG EAST regular-season action since Sept. 30, 2005 (a 4-1 defeat at Marquette), snapping a 62-match unbeaten streak in the process.

Notre Dame doubled up Louisville in total shots by a 20-10 margin (including 13 shots in the second half alone) and corner kicks by a 6-3 spread, although the shots on goal were even at 6-6. The Cardinals also were whistled for eight of the 14 fouls during the match.

Christine Exeter had the assist on Yenney’s first collegiate goal, which came at 55:52. Louisville goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer came up with five saves to post the clean sheet, and also got some help from her defense when Casey Whitfield cleared a shot off the line just five minutes after the Cardinals took the lead.

Goalkeeper Maddie Fox registered a (then) career-high five saves for the Fighting Irish.

Blowing The Lid Off
Notre Dame is 16-1 all-time in BIG EAST Conference openers, having outscored its opponents, 80-5 in those lidlifters. What’s more, the Fighting Irish are 8-1 when they kick off the BIG EAST season at home with a 42-3 combined scoring margin in those matches.

Prior to last year’s 1-0 loss to Louisville in its BIG EAST opener at Alumni Stadium, Notre Dame had not allowed a goal in the preceding nine conference openers from 2002-10, outscoring the opposition, 30-0 in that time.

Scouting Cincinnati
Cincinnati’s season has been full of ups and downs thus far, with the Bearcats going unbeaten in their first four matches, including a 3-1 win at ACC member North Carolina State on Aug. 19. However, UC enters the opening weekend of BIG EAST play (that starts for the Bearcats on Friday at DePaul) on a three-match losing streak, dropping all three by identical 2-1 scores to Nebraska (home), UC Irvine and Colorado (the latter two at the Denver Invitational).

Last weekend’s losses in Denver were particularly tough, as Cincinnati led UC Irvine at the half before the Anteaters scored twice in 36 seconds midway through the second half. Two days later, Colorado got the match-winner on a Bearcat own-goal with 14:43 remaining, despite a career-high 12 saves from sophomore goalkeeper Kristina Utley.

Freshman forward Laura Rose has been Cincinnati’s talisman early on, with four goals and one assist. Utley also has a 1.21 goals-against average and one shutout to her credit thus far.

Head coach Michelle Salmon is in her fifth season at Cincinnati with a 35-38-10 (.482) record, as well as her 13th year overall with a 107-100-23 (.515) career mark, including an 0-5 record against Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame-Cincinnati Series
Notre Dame is 12-1-1 all-time against Cincinnati, with a 7-1 record against the Bearcats in South Bend. The Fighting Irish also have won all eight matches with Cincinnati since the Bearcats joined the BIG EAST in 2005 (seven in the regular season, one in the conference tournament).

The Last Time Notre Dame And Cincinnati Met
Melissa Henderson posted her second hat trick of the season and fifth of her stellar career, leading No. 12/14 Notre Dame to a clinical 4-1 BIG EAST Conference win at Cincinnati on Sept. 18, 2011, before a sellout crowd of 1,400 fans at Gettler Stadium.

Henderson netted two goals less than nine minutes apart midway through the first half after the Fighting Irish spotted the Bearcats an early lead. She then completed her three-goal day with a key insurance score in the 65th minute. Lauren Bohaboy found the back of the net for the first time in her career with a tally in the final three minutes, while Elizabeth Tucker dished out two assists.

Notre Dame stayed on the front foot for much of the matinee, outshooting Cincinnati by a 29-12 margin, including a 16-3 spread in the second half. The Fighting Irish also more than doubled up the Bearcats in shots on goal, 14-6, while UC had a slim 7-6 edge in corner kicks (with six of the hosts’ tries from the flag coming in the first 10 minutes of play).

Goalkeeper Maddie Fox matched her (then) career high with five saves for the third consecutive outing. Kristina Utley went the distance in the Cincinnati goal, tying a Notre Dame opponent season-high with 10 saves.

The Last Time Notre Dame And Cincinnati Met At Alumni Stadium
Four different Notre Dame players scored goals, and Lauren Fowlkes dished out a pair of assists as the No. 5/9 Fighting Irish put together a dominating 4-0 win over Cincinnati in BIG EAST Conference action on Sept. 24 2010, before a crowd of 1,200 fans at Alumni Stadium.

Rose Augustin netted her (then) team-leading fifth goal of the season in the 12th minute, before three other Notre Dame players tallied their first scores of the season. Mandy Laddish started the goal parade with her first career tally in the 37th minute, before Adriana Leon did likewise in the 42nd minute. Julie Scheidler capped the Fighting Irish offensive outburst with the second goal of her career in the 62nd minute.

That firepower would prove to be more than enough for Nikki Weiss, who worked the first 60 minutes in the Notre Dame nets before giving way to Maddie Fox, who made her season debut over the final half-hour. Both Fighting Irish goalkeepers made one save in combining for the shutout.

The Fighting Irish recorded a (then) season-high 20 shots, including six on goal, while Cincinnati was limited to six total shots for the match, including just two on frame. Notre Dame also held a sizeable 7-1 advantage in corner kicks, while the foul totals were virtually identical (10-9 against the Fighting Irish).

Rachel Barnette went the first 63-plus minutes in goal for the Bearcats, making one save and giving up all four goals (a then-season-high by a Cincinnati opponent). Like Fox, Ashley Daniels made her season debut between the pipes, coming on for the final 26:40 and also stopping one shot.

What Brown Does For Others
At halftime of Sunday’s match with Cincinnati, former Notre Dame women’s soccer player (and current University senior) Lindsay Brown will be honored for being selected as the 2012 winner of the Seventeen Magazine Pretty Amazing Contest, earning her a spot on the cover of the October 2012 issue of the magazine.

A detailed account of Brown’s many service-related achievements that played a pivotal role in being chosen for the national award may be found in the sidebar on page 8 of the PDF version of this notes package.

Brown, who is pursuing a degree in political science with a second interdiscplinary major in poverty studies through Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, played both forward and midfield for the Fighting Irish from 2009-11, registering two assists in 35 career matches. She elected to give up her athletic scholarship at Notre Dame midway through the 2011 season in order to focus her time and energy on her service work around the world and her added academic pursuits.

World (Cup) Champions
Junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish and freshman forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro now can add the label of “World Cup champion” to their respective resumes, after the Fighting Irish duo helped the United States win the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten (and reigning U-20 champion) Germany in the championship match on Sept. 8 in Tokyo, Japan.

Both Notre Dame players were on the pitch when the final whistle sounded, signifying the Americans’ third title since this tournament began as the FIFA Under-19 World Championship in 2002. Four-time Fighting Irish All-America forward and two-time Hermann Trophy recipient Kerri Hanks (’08) was one of the youngest members (at age 17) of that victorious 2002 U.S. side (that defeated host Canada in the final), while Lauren Fowlkes (’11) helped the United States win the 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile, downing North Korea in the title match.

Similar to Hanks in 2002, Roccaro was the second-youngest player on this year’s American roster, but hardly showed her age, emerging as a mainstay for the United States at center back. She appeared in five of the Americans’ six matches at this year’s U-20 World Cup, starting four times and helping the U.S. to a 4-1-1 record that included three shutouts, most notably over Nigeria (2-0) and Germany (1-0) in the semifinals and championship match. The Stars & Stripes also had to battle through a 2-1 extra-time victory over North Korea in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, Laddish proved to be a vital second-half substitute for the United States, coming off the bench to lend support in three matches, including the semifinal win over Nigeria and the title match victory against Germany. She becomes the second Fighting Irish player ever to earn both a U-20 Women’s World Cup title and an NCAA national championship, having joined Fowlkes as a member of the title-winning 2010 Notre Dame squad.

In addition to Laddish, Roccaro, Hanks and Fowlkes, the Fighting Irish have been represented at two other U-20 Women’s World Cups. In 2004, Hanks deferred her enrollment at Notre Dame to help the United States to a third-place finish in Thailand, scoring the opening goal in the third-place match. Two years later, a pair of future Notre Dame All-Americans, midfielder/forward Brittany Bock (’09) and defender Carrie Dew (’09), donned the Stars & Stripes for the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship (as it was then called) in Russia, where the United States finished fourth after scoreless ties in both the semifinal against China and the third-place game against Brazil (both went against the U.S. on penalty kicks by identical 6-5 scores).

Match #6 Recap: Portland
Sophomore defender Sammy Scofield scored her second goal of the year and freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight rang up a season-high nine saves as Notre Dame and No. 19/18 Portland played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw on Sept. 7 before a sellout crowd of 4,932 fans at Merlo Field in Portland, Ore.

Scofield headed home a corner kick from freshman forward Anna Maria Gilbertson at 38:54, less than nine minutes after the Pilots had taken the lead. The two sides then played more than 70 minutes of scoreless soccer that was not without its share of drama, including two shots that hit either the post or crossbar (both by Notre Dame, as well as a third that came earlier in the contest) and a missed penalty kick (by Portland’s Amanda Frisbie in the 56th minute).

Hight also was a major factor in the final result, registering the most saves by a Notre Dame goalkeeper in a single match in more than 13 years, dating back to All-America netminder LaKeysia Beene’s 15 stops against North Carolina in a 3-2 double-overtime loss on Sept. 3, 1999, at old Alumni Field in head coach Randy Waldrum’s first match at the Fighting Irish helm.

Portland finished with a narrow 17-16 edge in total shots, with a wider 10-3 advantage in shots on goal (not counting the three Notre Dame tries that hit the woodwork). The Pilots also had a slim 8-6 margin in corner kicks, as well as a 10-9 differential in fouls, with each side receiving one yellow card.

UP went in front just past the half-hour mark after winning a free kick 20 yards away, just outside the left edge of the area. Notre Dame tracked the initial service well, but couldn’t clear its lines, and after a seemingly endless scramble of players at the top of the six-yard box, Kurle found herself in the right place at the right time and hammered a rising shot into the roof of the net (30:20).

Just when it seemed the momentum was all in Portland’s favor, the Fighting Irish counterpunched in textbook fashion. Freshman forward Mary Schwappach gave Notre Dame life by rising to head a cross from junior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker towards the left post, with UP netminder Erin Dees having to dive to push the ball wide of the mark. On the ensuing corner kick, Gilbertson drove a precision service to the heart of the six-yard box, where Scofield timed her run perfectly and went high to bury a driven header that drew the Fighting Irish level (38:54).

Beyond The Box Score: Portland

  • Notre Dame is 7-4-1 all-time against Portland, including a 4-1-1 record against the Pilots at Merlo Field.
  • This was the second overtime match between the two schools in their 12-match series history, and the first since Dec. 3, 1995, when the Fighting Irish edged Portland, 1-0 in triple overtime to win the NCAA national championship at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • The sellout crowd (4,932) was the largest road audience for a Notre Dame match since Aug. 26, 2011, when 5,236 fans watched North Carolina earn a 2-1 overtime win over the Fighting Irish at Fetzer Field.
  • Scofield has scored both goals of her career on the past two Friday nights, and both against West Coast Conference opponents (she had the match-winning goal with 18:25 left to beat No. 24/18 Santa Clara, 2-1 on Aug. 31 at Alumni Stadium on the first night of the Notre Dame adidas Invitational).
  • In a strange coincidence, Scofield scored her latest goal on one of her former club teammates (Dees), who played with Scofield for the Chicago-based Eclipse Select program.
  • The Fighting Irish are 22-11-2 (.657) all-time against the current WCC alignment, with a 6-6-2 record when playing WCC schools on the road.
  • Gilbertson notched her first career assist, after scoring her first career goal on Aug. 26 in a 5-0 win over East Carolina at Alumni Stadium.
  • In noting Hight’s remarkable nine-save performance, it should be mentioned that months after Beene’s 15 saves against UNC, she officially had seven saves in Notre Dame’s 1-1 4OT draw at Nebraska on Nov. 28, 1999, in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals, and then had two more saves in the penalty kick shootout (statistics in the shootout are not counted, according to NCAA rules), the last coming on Amy Walsh’s try in the sixth round to give the Fighting Irish a 4-3 win on penalties and a berth in the ’99 NCAA College Cup (the first of eight College Cup appearances in the Waldrum era, and among 12 in program history).

Match #7 Recap: Washington
Notre Dame gave up two unassisted goals in a nine-minute span midway through the first half and was not able to recover, as No. RV/22 Washington posted a 3-0 victory over the Fighting Irish on Sept. 9 at the Husky Soccer Field in Seattle.

Lindsay Elston and Jaclyn Softli scored in the first half to put Washington in front, with Falon Miller adding the final tally against the run of play in the 89th minute off an assist from Isabel Farrell.

Freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight played the 45 minutes for Notre Dame and was not credited with a save, before sophomore Sarah Voigt came on at halftime and recorded two saves the rest of the way. UW goalkeeper Kari Davidson logged four saves for the home side.

Playing their fourth consecutive ranked opponent (all in a nine-day span), the Fighting Irish finished with a narrow 17-16 edge in total shots, while Washington held a similar margin in shots on goal (5-4). Notre Dame also had the upper hand in corner kicks (5-3), while fouls were almost even (8-7 against UW), although the Fighting Irish were assessed both yellow cards during the match.

Washington got the first shot on goal for either side and it put the hosts in front in the 29th minute. Elston latched on to a loose ball on the right side near the box, cut inside two defenders and drilled a rising 18-yard shot that found the far upper left corner (28:47).

After Notre Dame peppered the Huskies’ cage looking to equalize, Washington took advantage of a Fighting Irish miscue to double its lead. Hight attempted to play the ball out of the back up the left side of the defense, but the clearance was knocked down by Softli just outside the top of the box. She then outraced Hight and two retreating defenders to drive a low 12-yard shot inside the far left post (37:50).

After being pinned down in their end of the pitch for the majority of the second half, the Huskies finally caught Notre Dame on one of its numerous offensive rushes and counterattacked for the final goal of the day. Farrell took a through-ball down the left channel and tried to slip a pass on to Miller, but it looked as though the Fighting Irish defense was there to clear. Yet, the defender mis-hit the clearing attempt, with the ball settling perfectly for Miller 10 yards out in the box and she alertly fired a low shot past Voigt inside the far right post (88:16).

Beyond The Box Score: Washington

  • Notre Dame was making its first appearance in Seattle in 15 years, and just the second in program history (following a 3-1 victory over Washington on Sept. 5, 1997).
  • The Fighting Irish fall to 4-1 all-time against the Huskies (Notre Dame had a 13-1 aggregate scoring total against Washington before this latest result), as well as 19-8-2 all-time against the current Pac-12 Conference alignment (2-5 on the road).
  • Notre Dame drops consecutive matches on Sunday for the first time since the 2007 season, when it lost three in a row on Sundays from Sept. 9-23, all by 2-1 scores against No. 5 Stanford, No. 16 Oklahoma State and No. 14 Penn State, the first two in overtime.
  • The three-goal margin is the largest against the Fighting Irish since a 6-0 loss to North Carolina on Sept. 4, 2009, at Alumni Stadium.
  • Sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy’s eight shots were her second-highest total of the season, eclipsed only by her 10-shot day against East Carolina on Aug. 26 at Alumni Stadium.

Meet The #BabyIrish
Combine Notre Dame’s youthful roster (which includes 12 freshmen and six sophomores) and head coach Randy Waldrum’s growing fascination with Twitter and it’s no surprise that this year’s squad already has its own hashtag, courtesy of their coach … #BabyIrish.

Not only does the hashtag pay tribute to the median age of his team, but Waldrum also has used the term to refer to the (sometimes painful) growing process that the Notre Dame squad is going through this season.

Although he knows his team must crawl before it can walk, Waldrum insists that he doesn’t plan to keep the hashtag for long. The goal is see his charges continue developing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to the point where they’re just the #Irish by the end of the 2012 campaign.

The 2-0 Guarantee
Notre Dame is 334-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and has won its last 311 contests when going ahead 2-0 (since a 3-3 draw with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati).

In fact, just two of the past 223 Fighting Irish opponents to face a 2-0 deficit have forced a draw, something achieved by four opponents in Notre Dame history: Duke on Oct. 17, 1993, in Houston (ND won 3-2), Connecticut on Nov. 10, 1996, in the BIG EAST final at old Alumni Field (ND led 2-0, later tied 2-2 and 3-3, ND won 4-3), Duke on Nov. 30, 2007, in the NCAA quarterfinals at old Alumni Field (ND won 3-2), and most recently, Villanova on Oct. 12, 2008 in Villanova, Pa. (ND won 3-2 in OT).

Three … Is The Magic Number
Scoring three goals has meant virtually an automatic win in Notre Dame women’s soccer history, with a 304-3-1 (.989) record in those games, including a 206-1-0 (.995) mark since Oct. 6, 1995.

Golden Domers Golden In OT
Overtime has usually been the right time for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish are 20-6-15 (.671) all-time in the Randy Waldrum era (since 1999) when going to an extra period or two. Notre Dame also is unbeaten in 13 of its last 16 overtime contests, including a 1-1 double-overtime draw at No. 19/18 Portland on Sept. 7.

Last year, the Fighting Irish tied a pair of school records by going to extra time on five occasions (also in 2001 and 2007) and registering three draws (also in 1991 and 2001).

No current Notre Dame player has scored a “golden goal” in her college career. Jessica Schuveiller netted the most recent overtime matchwinner for the Fighting Irish on Nov. 6, 2009, heading home a cross from Rose Augustin at 98:42 to beat St. John’s in the BIG EAST semifinals at Storrs, Conn.

Any Given Sunday
Notre Dame is unbeaten in 26 of its last 31 matches on Sunday (22-5-4), including a 17-match unbeaten streak that was snapped with a 2-0 loss to Connecticut in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals on Oct. 31, 2010.

Still, the Fighting Irish own a 41-7-5 (.821) record in their last 53 contests when closing out the weekend (usually on the back end of a two-match set), dating back to September 2007 (when Notre Dame lost three consecutive Sunday matches to nationally-ranked Stanford, Oklahoma State and Penn State, all by 2-1 scores and the first two in overtime).

Our Fearless Leader
Now in his 14th season at Notre Dame, head coach Randy Waldrum ranks fourth on the NCAA Division I career winning percentage list (second among active coaches) with a .778 (373-97-27) mark in his 23 years in the women’s game. As he closes in on his 500th career match (expected to come Sept. 21 when the Fighting Irish face Pittsburgh), Waldrum ranks fifth on the all-time NCAA Division I wins list, having earned his 350th career victory on Oct. 3, 2010, vs. St. John’s at Alumni Stadium.

A two-time National Coach of the Year (2009 by Soccer America, 2010 by NSCAA), Waldrum has led Notre Dame to eight NCAA College Cups, five NCAA finals and two national championships (2004 and 2010). He also is second in NCAA Division I history with eight College Cup appearances and five title-match berths in his storied career.

Oh Captain, My Captain
The 2012 Notre Dame squad is being led by a trio of first-time captains, as senior defender Jazmin Hall, and junior midfielders Mandy Laddish and Elizabeth Tucker were selected via a preseason vote of their teammates.

Coming Soon: Irish in the ACC
The University of Notre Dame announced Sept. 12 that it has accepted an offer of admission into the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for all sports except football (the league does not offer championships in ice hockey or fencing).

The change in conference affiliation (for which a timetable has not yet been established) will be the first for Notre Dame since 1995, when the Fighting Irish moved from the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now known as the Horizon League) to the BIG EAST Conference.

In its first 17 seasons in the BIG EAST, the Notre Dame women’s soccer program has been the conference’s flagship, winning 13 regular-season titles and 11 postseason crowns, along with three NCAA national championships. The Fighting Irish kick off the 2012 BIG EAST season this weekend with a 138-10-8 (.910) regular-season conference record.

Next Up: Pittsburgh/Oakland
Notre Dame winds up its season-long four-match homestand next weekend at Alumni Stadium, playing host to BIG EAST foe Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Sept. 21 before stepping out of conference one final time to take on defending Summit League Tournament champion Oakland at 1 p.m. (ET) Sept. 23. Both matches will be streamed live and free of charge through the official Notre Dame athletics web site, UND.com.

Pittsburgh entered the opening weekend of BIG EAST play with a 5-4 record, with a home match against 24th-ranked Marquette (Thursday) and a road contest at South Florida (Sunday) on the docket before heading to South Bend.

Notre Dame is 9-0-1 all-time against the Panthers, but hasn’t faced Pittsburgh since the 2009 season, when the two sides played to a 0-0 double-overtime draw in the Steel City. The Fighting Irish last welcomed the Panthers to town in 2006, earning a 5-0 victory at old Alumni Field.

Oakland is 2-2-2 this season, including a scoreless draw at home against Michigan State on Sept. 5, and a 1-0 loss to Michigan, also at home, on Sept. 9. The Golden Grizzlies will visit Northern Kentucky (Friday) and play host to Northwestern (Sunday) before turning their attention to Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish are 1-0 all-time against Oakland, having earned a 7-1 victory in the clubs’ only prior match on Nov. 10, 2006, in the first round of the NCAA Championship at old Alumni Field.

— ND —