Senior defender Christie Shaner - who was tabbed the BIG EAST's 2006 preseason defensive player of the year - will held lead Notre Dame into a preseason clash with Virginia for the second straight season.

Irish Set For Another Preseason Showdown With Virginia, In Traverse City Exhibition

Aug. 16, 2006

The Notre Dame women’s soccer team – which has checked in ranked 5th in the NSCAA preseason poll (plus 3rd per Soccer Buzz) – will open its 2006 preseason schedule on Wednesday, Aug. 16, versus a University of Virginia team team that is ranked 8th in the NSCAA coaches poll. The game will be played at the Keystone Road Soccer Complex in Traverse City, Mich., with a 1:00 p.m. EDT kickoff. It marks the second straight season in which the Irish and Cavaliers have met in the preseason, with Notre Dame posting the 2-0 win in Fort Wayne last season. Check back to after the game (later Wed. night) for complete postgame coverage, including quotes and photos from the game.

Also look for plenty of upcoming preseason content on, including:

* A look at the preseason rankings that already have been released (NSCAA and Soccer Buzz)

* The BIG EAST Conference preseason rankings and honors, which include ND being picked to repeat as National Division champs while producing five of the 11 preseason all-BIG EAST selections: sophomore F Kerri Hanks (preseason player of the year), senior D Christie Shaner (preseason defensive player of the year), senior M Jen Buczkowski, junior F/M Amanda Cinalli and sophomore M/F Brittany Bock and

* The first diary installment from Bock and sophomore D Carrie Dew, as they prepare to compete in Russia at the Under-20 World Championship with the U.S. Under-20 National Team (first game on Aug. 18, vs. Congo)

* A recap (including quotes and photos) from this summer’s USYS national club championships that saw freshman D Haley Ford captain her Dallas Texans team to the national title while competing against three of her future ND teammates in the final four-team round-robin

* Continuing preseason coverage of the Aug. 17 exhibition vs. Xavier (at ND’s Alumni Field; 1:00 EDT)

* The season preview and updated biographies of the veteran players, the newcomers and the coaching staff (which includes former ND player and South Bend native Lindsey Jones as the new volunteer assistant coach)

Here are some additional quick notes on the ND-UVa matchup:

* This marks the third time in the past four years that Virginia has spent its preseason training in the Midwest, with UVa most recently losing its pair of 2005 preseason games versus Michigan (2-1, in Traverse City) and Notre Dame (2-0, in Fort Wayne, Ind.).

* Notre Dame’s first official game of the 2006 season will be on Aug. 26, versus Iowa State at Alumni Field (1:00).

* Notre Dame and Virginia both feature a strong group of returners from their 2005 teams but each squad will be playing without two key players during the upcoming exhibition matchup … ND’s Bock and Dew will be competing with the U.S. at the U-20 World Championship (from Aug. 17-Sept. 3, in Russia), as will Virginia forward Jess Rostedt and midfielder Nikki Krzysik.

* Virginia went 18-6-1 in the 2005 season, losing to eventual NCAA runner-up UCLA in the NCAA quarterfinals (5-0) … ND also reached the NCAA quarterfinals as part of a 22-3-0 record in 2006, ending its season with a 3-1 loss at NCAA champion Portland.

* In addition to Dew and the five preseason all-BIG EAST players, ND’s other top returners for the 2006 season include, senior defensive midfielder Jill Krivacek and senior central defender Kim Lorenzen (who wills serve as the team’s captain) … Buczkowski and Hanks were 2005 All-Americans and were among the final-15 candidates for the ’05 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy … ND has eight starters back and 17 total veterans, plus a large class of 10 freshmen (five letter-of-intent signees) … other returners who were top reserves in 2005 include junior outside back Ashley Jones, senior F/M Lizzie Reed, junior F/M Susan Pinnick and junior `keeper Lauren Karas, with the veteran contingent also including senior M Claire Gallerano, senior F Molly Iarocci , senior `keeper Nikki Westfall, sophomore M/D Kerry Inglis and sophomore M Becca Mendoza … the large freshman class includes signees Ford, Amanda Clark (M/D), Kelsey Lysander (G), Courtney Rosen (M), Michele Weissenhofer (F), plus five walk-on additions: M Micaela Alvarez, D Ashley Galovic, M Amber Lattner, D Mara Paz de Araujo and D Rachel VanderGenutgen.

* ND’s 2005 preseason win over UVa saw both teams officially credited with seven shots and four corner kicks (the Irish had a 6-4 edge in shots on goal) … Hanks assisted on a 20th-minute goal by Katie Thorlakson, who later set up a Pinnick goal in the lategoing … that marquee game of the four-day IPFW Showcase attracted 3,470 fans to Heffern Field Stadium … Hanks was a threat for large chunks of the game, creating three strong scoring chances for herself in the game’s first 20 minutes before assisting on the Thorlakson goal … the official stats included seven shots and four corner kicks by each team, with the Irish holding a 6-4 edge in shots on goal … Hanks initiated the first goal sequence after intercepting a pass near the center circle and flaring a pass into the right side of the box … Thorlakson raced into the open space before striking a low shot inside the far-left post (19:39) … the Irish withstood Virginia’s attack and were sparked by Pinnick’s entry into the game in the 68th minute … Pinnick struck the ball firmly 10 minutes later to secure the final 2-0 cushion … Candace Chapman set up Pinnick’s goal with an entry pass down the center of the field … Thorlakson had her back to the goal as she prepared to receive the ball 25 yards out, instead playing a slight “dummy” misdirection that swept the ball behind her … Pinnick and UVa’s Alex Singer were converging on the ball and Singer gained a touch but failed to maintain possession, as Pinnick alertly pounced on the ball, turned and delivered a strike from outside the box that looped into the upper right corner of the net.

* In addition to the above-mentioned U.S. U-20 connection (Dew/Bock and Rostedt/Krzysik), there are several other former teammates who play for ND and UVa … Hanks played on the U.S. Under-19 National Team alongside five UVa players: Rostedt, Krzysik, junior D/M Beckey Sauerbrunn, sophomore G Laura Comeau and sophomore M Jen Redmond … UVa sophomore F Kelly Quinn, younger sister of ND football QB Brady Quinn, played on the ODP Region II team alongside Bock, Ingles, Clark, Rosen and Weissenhofer … Bock and Rosen also are former ODP Region II teammates of UVa sophomore D/M Alli Fries … Rosen and Rostedt are products of the Cleveland-based Internationals club program … Mendoza and and UVa sophomore G Celeste Miles were teammates on the Dallas Sting.