Nov. 7, 2009
STORRS, Conn. – With a thrilling 2-1 overtime win over St. John’s in the BIG EAST semifinals on Friday night at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn., the Fighting Irish will meet the Marquette Golden Eagles in the BIG EAST Championship match on Sunday afternoon. The Irish, who are making their sixth consecutive BIG EAST title game appearance, will be looking to secure the program’s 11th conference crown and their fifth title in the past six seasons.
In the semifinals, the Irish took an early 1-0 lead against St. John’s when junior forward Lauren Fowlkes headed a Rose Augustin free kick into the back of the net at 8:34. The Red Storm answered with a goal off of a corner kick at 68:59, setting the stage for the overtime dramatics. In the first extra stanza, Jessica Schuveiller headed home an Augustin free kick with just over a minute remaining to propel the Irish to the finals.
Both teams won their respective division during the year as Notre Dame captured its 12th regular-season crown by winning the National Division. Marquette earned its first BIG EAST regular-season title by claiming the league’s American Division. In 10 years of Divisional Play, it is the sixth time the league’s regular-season winners have met in title game. Prior to the 2009 matchup, it also happened in 2007, 2005, 2002, 2000 and 1999.
CBS College Sports will televise the BIG EAST Championship live. In addition, Sunday’s title game will be broadcast live online via www.BIGEAST.tv for $3.95 as well as numerous regional sports networks including SNY – SportsNet New York, Cox Sports Television (New England, Louisiana, Florida and Texas), Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Time Warner Cable Sports 32 (Wis.), West Virginia Public Television and Bright House Sports Network (Tampa and Orlando). In addition, Time Warner Cable (Syracuse-Albany, Rochester and Buffalo) will show the game live. Comcast (Philadelphia), MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) and FSN Pittsburgh will air the game same-day tape delay.
2009 ND Women’s Soccer — Game 21
BIG EAST Championship — Finals
#4/7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (16-3-1 / 10-0-1 BIG EAST) vs.
RV/10 Marquette Golden Eagles (15-4-2 / 7-2-2 BIG EAST)
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Notre Dame knew this season would be a challenging one, especially with the loss of six talented seniors, including four who went in the first 21 picks of the 2009 WPS Draft. But even Nostradamus couldn’t have predicted the hurdles the Irish have encounter this year.
Injuries have been the primary albatross for Notre Dame this season, with senior midfielder/tri-captain Courtney Rosen (broken foot), senior midfielder Micaela Alvarez (torn ACL) and freshman forward Tereza Stastny (torn ACL) all likely sidelined for the year — Rosen’s injury occurred in the preseason. Add to that extended downtime for senior forward Michele Weissenhofer (hamstring), senior center back Haley Ford (hamstring) and freshman left back Jazmin Hall (quad), and you can understand why Irish trainer Dave Ludwig has more than earned his paycheck in 2009.
Notre Dame also battled through a brutal non-conference schedule that included top-three opponents North Carolina and Stanford, as well as perennial power Santa Clara and up-and-coming programs Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. However, following a 3-3-0 start, the Irish have been among the nation’s hottest teams, going unbeaten in their last 14 outings (13-0-1) and outscoring the opposition, 34-5 in that span.
Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson (11G-2A) leads the Irish in scoring, while junior forward Lauren Fowlkes (9G-3A) is enjoying a breakout season, fueled in part by her move to the front line at the start of the current Notre Dame unbeaten streak. Junior forward Taylor Knaack (6G-4A) and junior midfielder Rose Augustin (5G-9A) also have played a significant role in the recent Irish resurgence, as has junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (9-1-1, 0.49 GAA, 5 ShO), who has allowed just two goals in her last 761:50 of action.
Scouting The Golden Eagles
The Golden Eagles advanced to the BIG EAST Championship match versus the Irish by virtue of a 1-0 semifinal win over West Virginia on Friday evening at Morrone Stadium. It marks the Golden Eagles’ first ever appearance in the BIG EAST title game.
Marquette sophomore Rachael Sloan scored the only goal of the first BIG EAST semifinal game 26:35 into the first half following a West Virginia foul. The Golden Eagles’ set play began 35-yards out as junior Julia Victor sent a feed in to the left side of the box. Senior Brittany Bares received the pass and guided a pass in front of the net where Sloan knocked it home from a few yards out. Sophomore goalkeeper Natalie Kulla, who has played every minute of every game this season for Marquette, made six saves and increased her league-leading shutout total to 15.
Marquette enters Sunday’s Championship contest with a 15-4-2 overall record. The Golden Eagles finished the BIG EAST regular season with a 7-2-2 mark, good for first place in the American Division, setting up a title game which features both No. 1 seeds as the Irish finished atop the National Division. The Golden Eagles earned a 1-0 home win over Villanova in the BIG EAST quarterfinals.
Sloan leads the Marquette offense with six goals and five assists for 17 points, with all three totals representing team-high marks. Becky Ryan has chipped in with three game-winning goals and nine points. In addition to her 15 shutouts, Kulla has posted a 0.46 goals against average and made 50 saves.
The Golden Eagles are led Marcus Roeders, who is in his 14th season as Marquette’s head coach. He carries a 202-79-30 record into Sunday’s championship match and has led the Golden Eagles to seven NCAA tournament appearances.
The Notre Dame-Marquette Series
Dating back to the 1988 season, Notre Dame leads in the all-time series with Marquette, 5-3-1. In 1988, Marquette downed the Irish in the teams’ first ever meeting, 2-1, in Milwaukee, Wis. The Irish hold an 18-12 edge in scoring margin as well.
Since Marquette joined the BIG EAST conference, the teams have met on five occasions, with Notre Dame owning a 4-1-0 record in those five contests, including an active four game winning streak. Three of the five BIG EAST clashes have come in BIG EAST tournament play. On Nov. 4, 2005, the Irish posted a 3-0 semifinal win at Marquette. In 2006, Notre Dame netted a 2-0 semifinal win in Storrs, Conn.
Last season, the Irish played host to the Golden Eagles in a BIG EAST semifinal match and proved victorious, 2-0, on Nov. 7. Michele Weissenhofer gave the Irish a 1-0 lead 27 minutes into the game (with Melissa Henderson earning her first career assist on the play) and Taylor Knaack scored early in the second half to lead the Irish. Notre Dame outshot the Golden Eagles, 27-4, including an 11-1 margin in shots on goal. The Irish also hit the post or crossbar five times. Marquette goalkeeper Natalie Kulla was outstanding between the pipes, making a then career-high nine saves. Notre Dame goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander made one save to record her fifth shutout of the season.
BIG EAST Championship Quick Kicks
Notre Dame is competing in the BIG EAST Championship for the 14th time in its 15-year league membership (all but 2002), having won the BIG EAST postseason crown 10 times (1995-2001, 2005-06 & 2008).
The Irish are 34-2-1 (.932) all-time in BIG EAST Championship play.
The Irish are competing in the BIG EAST Championship finals for the 13th time in its 15-year league membership, posting a 10-1-1 record in its previous 12 championship matches (only loss in 2004 to Connecticut, 2-1). The Irish hold an all-time 31-12 scoring edge in the BIG EAST finals.
Notre Dame is 2-1 all-time in BIG EAST final games played in Storrs, Conn. The Irish earned wins in 2006 (4-2 vs. Rutgers) and in 1998 (1-0 vs. UConn) and lost in 2004 (2-1 vs. UConn).
Since the BIG EAST added a quarterfinal round in 1998, the Irish have played host to a quarterfinal every year they have made the tournament (all but 2002), winning all 10 of those contests by a combined 40-1 score.
Beasts Of The BIG EAST
With a 2-1 overtime win over St. John’s in the BIG EAST semifinals on Nov. 6, Notre Dame now owns an NCAA Division I-record 65-game unbeaten streak (62-0-3) against BIG EAST opposition, dating back to a 4-1 loss at No. 15 Marquette on Sept. 30, 2005. In that time, the only ties were a 0-0 draw at Connecticut (Oct. 13, 2006), a 1-1 deadlock at No. 12 West Virginia in the 2007 BIG EAST final on Nov. 11 (WVU won 5-3 on PKs, but the game is recorded as a tie) and a 0-0 tie at Pittsburgh on Oct. 4, 2009.
Since joining the BIG EAST, the Irish are 133-8-5 (.928) all-time in regular-season conference games, 34-2-1 (.932) in the BIG EAST Championship, and hold a 711-84 scoring edge dating back to that first league season in ’95.
What’s more, Notre Dame maintains a 14-year, 94-game home unbeaten streak (93-0-1) versus BIG EAST teams, with Connecticut the lone conference team ever to defeat the Irish at home (5-4 in OT on Oct. 6, 1995 at old Alumni Field).
14 And Counting…
Since starting the season with a 3-3 record, the Irish have gone unbeaten in their last 14 games (13-0-1) dating back to a 4-0 win over DePaul on Sept. 18.
The streak is tied for the fifth-longest in Division I (through Nov. 7) and Notre Dame’s lone tie in that stretch came at Pittsburgh when the Panthers and Irish played to a 0-0 stalemate on Oct. 4. During the 14-game unbeaten streak (which includes an active eight-game winning streak), the Irish have logged a 34-5 scoring margin and have shut out their opponents on 10 occasions.
The 2009 Irish senior class is tied with North Carolina as the most successful group in the country on the basis of wins, with a four-year record to date of 86-10-4 (.880) that includes three consecutive trips to the NCAA College Cup and appearances in the 2006 and 2008 national title games.
The .880 winning percentage compiled by the Notre Dame seniors is second best on the national scene behind North Carolina.
Game #20 Recap: SJU
The No. 4/7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s soccer team advanced to the BIG EAST championship match with a 2-1 overtime win over St. John’s Friday Night at Morrone Stadium on the strength of a Jessica Schuveiller golden goal scored with just over a minute remaining in the first overtime stanza.
For the game winner, Schuveiller rose above the St. John’s defense to head home a Rose Augustin corner kick after making a run through the center of the Red Storm box. It marked Schuveiller’s second goal of the year and third of her Irish career. All three goals have proved to be game winners.
Lauren Fowlkes scored early in the first half to give the Irish a 1-0 lead, with the assist also going to Augustin, but the Red Storm answered with a second half goal to send the game into overtime.
Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss earned the win in the Irish net, her eighth win of the year. Notre Dame dominated statistically all night, ending with a 26-5 advantage in shots, a 9-1 advantage in shots on net and a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks but were stymied in part due to the play of Red Storm goalkeeper Kristin Russell, who finished with seven saves.
Sophomore co-captain and 2009 All-BIG EAST First Team defender Jessica Schuveiller scored the golden goal against St. John’s on Friday night to send the Irish to their sixth consecutive BIG EAST title game. She now has three career goals, with each goal proving to be a game-winning strike. Additionally, two of her game-winners have come in postseason play.
Schuveiller, who has started all 47 games of her Irish career, netted her first collegiate goal last season in Notre Dame’s 2-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over Florida State. Then, in 2009 regular season action, she scored a late game winner with 8:08 remaining to propel Notre Dame past Cincinnati, 2-1, on September 25.
Several Irish players carry scoring streaks into the BIG EAST Championship clash with Marquette. Junior forward Lauren Fowlkes has netted a goal in each of Notre Dame’s past three wins and junior midfielder Rose Augustin has notched assists (including two versus St. John’s) in each of Notre Dame’s last four games.
Additionally, junior defender Julie Scheidler has recorded an assist in three of Notre Dame’s previous four games, while sophomore forward Melissa Henderson has four goals in Notre Dame’s last four games.
Golden Domers Golden In OT
Overtime has usually been the right time for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish are 20-3-9 (.766) all-time in the Randy Waldrum era (since ’99) when going to an extra period or two, including a current seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) dating back to the 2007 season.
Notre Dame went to overtime in back-to-back contests in early October. On Oct. 2 at West Virginia, Taylor Knaack scored 41 seconds into the first extra period to give the Fighting Irish a 3-2 victory over the Mountaineers. It was the fastest OT goal in the 11-year tenure of head coach Randy Waldrum, and it’s believed to be the quickest overtime score in the program’s 22-year history (further research pending).
Two days later, Notre Dame went to double overtime at Pittsburgh and wound up finishing in a 0-0 tie. It was only the eighth scoreless draw in school history and the first since Aug. 31, 2007 vs. Michigan at old Alumni Field. It also was the first time the Fighting Irish played a 0-0 contest in BIG EAST play since Oct. 13, 2006 at Connecticut.
Most recently, Jessica Schuveiller scored a Golden Goal versus St. John’s on Nov. 6 to send the Irish to the BIG EAST Championship match for the sixth consecutive season.
BIG EAST Awards Recap
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish earned two of the six major individual awards and placed five players on All-BIG EAST conference teams during Thursday night’s annual BIG EAST women’s soccer banquet at the Hartford Hilton. Junior forward Lauren Fowlkes earned co-BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year honors while sophomore Courtney Barg was named the conference’s Midfielder of the Year award.
Fowlkes and Barg were also named to the All-BIG EAST First Team and were joined on that squad by sophomore defender Jessica Schuveiller. Junior midfielder Rose Augustin and sophomore forward Melissa Henderson were All-BIG EAST Second Team selections.
Fowlkes follows in a long line of Irish players who have captured BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year honors. Combined with Kerri Hanks (who earned the award in 2008 and 2006), Brittany Bock (2007) and Katie Thorlakson (2004 and 2005), Fowlkes is the sixth consecutive member of the Fighting Irish to earn the award.
Barg became the first member of the Fighting Irish to be named the conference’s BIG EAST midfielder of the year since Jen Buczkowski earned the award as a junior in 2005 and just the third all-time (Anne Makinen 2000). Barg is also the first sophomore to earn the honor since 2001, when Boston College’s Sarah Rahko won it.
Henderson: Hat Trick Hero
With a hat trick versus USF in the BIG EAST quarterfinal game, Melissa Henderson recorded Notre Dame’s 10th postseason hat trick in program history, and the first since Nov. 24, 2006, when current Fighting Irish senior forward/tri-captain Michele Weissenhofer had three goals in a 4-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over eighth-ranked Penn State at old Alumni Field.
It also marked the first Notre Dame hat trick in the BIG EAST Championship in almost exactly five years (Oct. 31, 2004 – Katie Thorlakson four goals in a 7-0 quarterfinal victory over St. John’s at Alumni Field), and just the third in the program’s 15-year conference affiliation (Anne Makinen also pulled off the feat in the 1997 BIG EAST final vs. fourth-ranked Connecticut in Piscataway, N.J.).
It’s Academic For This Irish Duo
Two Notre Dame players and Kansas City-area natives — junior forward Lauren Fowlkes and sophomore defender Molly Campbell — have been named ESPN The Magazine first-team Academic All-District V selections, it was announced Oct. 29 by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Both student-athletes are first-time academic all-district honorees and now will advance to the national ballot for Academic All-America consideration. The Notre Dame women’s soccer program has produced 22 Academic All-Americans, while its 14 selections since 2002 are the most in the nation (2002 was when women’s soccer earned its own ballot separate from the at-large category).
Fowlkes has blossomed as a primary offensive threat for Notre Dame, appearing in all 20 games and starting 18 times after moving back to the forward line three weeks into the season (a position she initially started at in her college career, before moving to holding midfielder and central defender last season and earlier this year).
Fowlkes currently is enrolled in the College of Science, where she has compiled a 3.657 cumulative GPA as a science-business major and was named to the dean’s list in the fall of 2007 (3.804 semester GPA).
Campbell is one of the more improved players on the Notre Dame roster this season, having seen time primarily at left back, a position she had almost never played prior to the spring of 2009. Mixed with her stints as an attacking midfielder, she has started all 20 games for the Fighting Irish this year.
Campbell is presently studying in the College of Arts and Letters, where she has recorded a 3.667 cumulative GPA as a double major in psychology and American studies.
Taylor Made For Goal Scoring
Junior forward/midfielder Taylor Knaack has had a breakout year for the Irish, scoring five goals in Notre Dame’s past seven matches while also adding an assist. Her recent 11-point outburst included a career-high five-point night in Notre Dame’s 6-1 defeat of UConn on Oct. 16.
Entering the year, Knaack had five goals and two assists in 27 games played. Through 19 games this season, Knaack has already totaled six goals and four assists for 16 points.
Nikki In The Irish Net
Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss has helped lead the Irish over the past nine games as the Redding, Conn. native has posted seven shutouts (5 solo) and a 8-0-1 record in those nine matches.
The impressive stretch began when Weiss earned her first career solo clean sheet on Oct. 4 at Pittsburgh (a 0-0 double-overtime tie), and followed with shutouts versus No. 10/12 Rutgers and Seton Hall. In the Rutgers match, she turned in a career high six saves. She then played the first 82:00 in Notre Dame’s 6-1 win over Connecticut, with her personal 377:25 scoreless streak coming to an end in the second half (the scoreless streak had started at Santa Clara on Sept. 11). Weiss blanked Providence and Villanova, 2-0, on Oct. 18 and 23 for her fourth and fifth solo shutouts of the year.
The Henderson Effect
Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson has made quite an impact on the Notre Dame offense since arriving on campus last fall, netting 28 goals (including 11 gamewinners) and adding four assists for 60 points in less than two full seasons with the Irish.
In fact, through her first 45 games, Notre Dame is 20-0 when Henderson scores a goal and 22-0 when she picks up a point.
In a unique twist, 16 of Notre Dame’s 20 games this season have been decided by shutout (12 for the Fighting Irish, three for the opposition and one scoreless draw). During Notre Dame’s current 14-game unbeaten streak (13-0-1), nine of the 13 Irish wins were shutout victories, while the tie was also a 0-0 draw (at Pittsburgh on Oct. 4).
Nikki Weiss has posted five solo shutouts in Notre Dame’s last nine games, while she shared the shutout win over Georgetown with senior Kelsey Lysander and then shared the shutout over USF with Lysader and Maddie Fox. Lysander also has three solo shutouts on the year.
The 2-0 Guarantee
Notre Dame is 313-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and is unbeaten in its past 290 contests when going ahead 2-0 (dating back to a 3-3 tie with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati). In fact, just two of the past 197 Irish opponents to face a 2-0 deficit have forced a tie, something achieved by four opponents in Notre Dame history: Duke on Oct. 17, 1993, in Houston (Irish won 3-2), Connecticut on Nov. 10, 1996, in the BIG EAST final at 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 Alumni Field (Irish won 3-2), and most recently, Villanova on Oct. 12, 2008 in Villanova, Pa. (Irish 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 284-3-1 (.988) record in those games, including a 186-1-0 (.995) mark since Oct. 6, 1995. The Irish also are 386-9-15 (.960) when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals.
Our Fearless Leader
Eleventh-year Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum reached another milestone with Notre Dame’s 2-1 win over Cincinnati on Sept. 25, recording the 400th win of his NCAA Div. I coaching career (counting his stints with both men’s and women’s college teams during the past 28 seasons).
Waldrum is also one of eight active women’s Division I head coaches to record 300 career wins. He now has a record of 334-83-21 (.787) in 20 seasons (including six at Tulsa and three at Baylor). His winning percentage ranks fourth among active coaches, while his 332 wins are fifth on the NCAA Division I career list.
Pick Three For The Hermann Watch
Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson, junior defender/midfielder Lauren Fowlkes and senior midfielder Courtney Rosen have been named to the 45-player watch list for the 2009 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, it was announced by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
The Hermann Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s top Division I women’s soccer player, with Notre Dame’s Kerri Hanks earning the prestigious crystal ball trophy last year. In the process, Hanks became the fourth Fighting Irish player to collect the award, not to mention just the fourth two-time Hermann Trophy honoree since the award debuted in 1988, as well as the first two-time national player of the year (in any sport) in the 122-year history of Notre Dame athletics.
Your 2009 Captains
The 2009 Notre Dame squad features three first-time captains, with seniors Michele Weissenhofer and Courtney Rosen and sophomore Jessica Schuveiller all selected via a vote of their teammates.
Schuveiller’s selection is noteworthy, in that she is the first non-senior to serve as a team captain since Amy Warner was one of Notre Dame’s three captains in 2002 (her junior season). This year’s triumvirate also marks the first time since 2004 (Mary Boland, Gudrun Gunnarsdottir and Melissa Tancredi) that the Irish have named three captains.
The M*A*S*H Unit
Senior midfielder/tri-captain Courtney Rosen is out indefinitely after breaking her left foot during preseason training. Rosen underwent successful corrective surgery on Aug. 13 and is in the midst of rehabilitating her injury.
Freshman forward Tereza Stastny and senior midfielder Micaela Alvarez are out for the season with a torn ACL. Stastny’s injury (right knee) occurred on Oct. 13, while Alvarez (left knee) went down one week later — both injuries were suffered during training.
Our New Digs
Located just east of the Joyce Center and approximately 500 yards west of its predecessor, Alumni Stadium is the new home for Notre Dame soccer, having opened its doors Sept. 4 to an overflow crowd of 3,007 for its debut match against top-ranked North Carolina (the Irish men played three nights earlier, blanking Michigan, 5-0).
A state-of-the-art facility built at a cost of $5.7 million, Alumni Stadium has a permanent seating capacity of approximately 2,500 fans, along with grass berm seating on the east end of the grounds. The stadium also offers upgraded and expanded restroom and concession areas, elevator access to the main concourse level, as well as numerous amenities for both Fighting Irish soccer programs (expansive locker rooms with custom-made wood lockers, spacious team lounges with flat-screen plasma TVs and high-speed Internet access, and a fully-equipped athletic training center).
What’s more, Alumni Stadium features an LED scoreboard (installed by industry leader Daktronics), enhanced lighting structures and top-of-the-line sod for the pitch (cultivated in Fort Morgan, Colo., at Graff’s Turf Farms, which also has provided the turf for numerous facilities including Notre Dame Stadium, Wrigley Field, Busch Stadium and the new MLS grounds outside Denver and Salt Lake City).
In addition, media members will enjoy the spacious new air-conditioned press box, which includes power and high-speed Internet portals at every seat (along with wireless Internet capability), three individually-wired broadcast booths and an expansive, unblocked midfield vantage point, all of which make Alumni Stadium unlike any other on-campus facility in college soccer.
The construction of Alumni Stadium was made possible because of numerous generous donations, including those by lead benefactors Tom Crotty and Rob Snyder, both former Fighting Irish men’s soccer players.
Crotty was a three-year monogram winner from 1977-79, earning team MVP honors in 1979 before graduating the following spring with a degree in finance. He currently is general partner at Battery Ventures LP in Wellesley, Mass., while he and his wife, Shari, live in Southborough, Mass.
Snyder earned two monograms from 1980-83, piling up 23 goals and 22 assists (the latter figure ranking seventh in school history). He also potted a team-high 12 goals in 1981. A 1984 graduate of Notre Dame, Snyder went on to become founder and CEO of Stream Energy in Dallas, Texas.
Taking It To The Next Level
Notre Dame had 10 players appearing on opening-day rosters for the inaugural season of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) in 2009, ranking second among all colleges in that category. Four of those 10 (all members of the ’08 Fighting Irish NCAA runner-up squad) were selected in the league’s first-ever college draft back in January — Brittany Bock (first round, fifth overall, Los Angeles Sol), Kerri Hanks (first round, sixth overall, Saint Louis Athletica), Carrie Dew (second round, 12th overall, FC Gold Pride) and Elise Weber (third round, 21st overall, Saint Louis Athletica).
That quartet was joined by: Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol), Jen Buczkowski and Christie Shaner (Sky Blue FC), Candace Chapman (Boston Breakers), and Amanda Cinalli and Melissa Tancredi (Saint Louis Athletica).
In addition, Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf was assigned to the Chicago Red Stars as part of the U.S. National Team draft, but sat out the ’09 season while on maternity leave (she gave birth to twins in June). Kelly Lindsey began the season as an assistant coach at Sky Blue FC, then took over as interim head coach at midseason before resigning late in the year.
Midseason trades saw Hanks sent to Sky Blue FC, while Shaner went out to Los Angeles. Shaner subsequently was sidelined for the season with a broken leg.
Of the 10 active Notre Dame alums in WPS, eight saw their teams advance to the league playoffs (all but Chapman and Dew). Led by arguably the world’s top defensive midfielder in Boxx and one of WPS’ top rookies in Bock (who played center back after never playing that position at Notre Dame), Los Angeles won the regular season title and the right to host the first-ever WPS Championship Game.
In the end, five Fighting Irish alums (tying North Carolina for the most representatives from one college) worked their way into the WPS final — Bock, Boxx and Shaner for L.A., along with Hanks and Buczkowski for Sky Blue FC. The New Jersey-based club then capped an amazing string of three playoff road wins in eight days with a 1-0 upset of Los Angeles to win the inaugural WPS Championship.
Boxx was subsequently named a starter for the first WPS All-Star Game, which took place at Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park in suburban St. Louis on Aug. 30.
On Sept. 16, Buczkowski was chosen by the Philadelphia Independence with the third overall pick in the 2009 WPS Expansion Draft, with Cinalli going one selection later to the Atlanta Beat.
Offseason personnel moves at the end of September have seen Chapman released by Boston (then signed by FC Gold Pride) and Shaner released by Los Angeles, while Tancredi was declared a free agent by Saint Louis.