Oct. 27, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three members of the top-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team were honored Monday afternoon with various awards by both the BIG EAST Conference and Top Drawer Soccer. Senior All-America forward/Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) was a double winner, collecting the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week for a record-setting third consecutive week, fourth time this season and eighth time in her career, while also earning a place on the TDS National Team of the Week for the fourth time this year.
Meanwhile, freshman forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) received her second BIG EAST Rookie of the Week citation this season, and senior defender Elise Weber (Elk Grove, Ill./St. Viator Academy) copped BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll status for the first time this year, and the fourth time since she transferred to Notre Dame prior to last season.
Hanks tallied five points last week (1G-3A) in home conference wins over No. 24/18 Rutgers (3-1) and Seton Hall (6-0). Against RU on Friday night, Hanks assisted on the opening goal by fellow senior All-America forward/Hermann Trophy candidate Brittany Bock (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) in the 24th minute. She then iced the victory with an unassisted goal at 81:42, extending her goalscoring streak to a school-record 11 games, breaking Amanda Guertin’s seven-year-old mark and tying for the fifth-longest streak in NCAA Division I history. On Sunday against SHU, Hanks dished out assists on scores by Henderson and junior forward Michele Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley), stretching her point-scoring streak to 14 games and tying Katie Thorlakson’s 2005 school record in the process.
For the season, Hanks leads the BIG EAST in virtually every offensive category, including goals (18), goals per game (1.00), points (44) and points per game (2.44). She also ranks sixth in the country in points per game and eighth in goals per game, and she’s tied for second in the nation for total points (one off the lead) and third in the nation for total goals (two behind the current leader). These figures have helped her move up the NCAA Division I career rankings, where she now is eighth in points (230 on 82G-66A) and tied for 14th in goals, while standing just four assists away from becoming the third Division I player ever to reach the historic 70-goal, 70-assist career milestone (along with former U.S. National Team legend Mia Hamm and former Notre Dame great Jenny Streiffer).
Prior to this season, no BIG EAST player had ever been named Offensive Player of the Week more than three times in an entire season, let alone in three consecutive weeks as Hanks now has done. Thorlakson (2004 and 2005) and Seton Hall’s Kelly Smith (1999) were the only other players to earn the honor three times in one season, while that pair also shared the previous record with six career BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week plaques (Thorlakson from 2002-05; Smith from 1997-99) before Hanks moved past them this year. All told, Hanks received accolades from the BIG EAST in seven of a possible 10 weeks this season, also garnering three mentions on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.
Hanks has been a mainstay on the national awards circuit as well, collecting a combined seven national team of the week certificates this season, adding three mentions from Soccer America to the four she now has earned from Top Drawer Soccer. By comparison, when she won the Hermann Trophy as a sophomore in 2006, Hanks took home two national team of the week awards, both from Soccer America.
Henderson continues to state her case as one of the nation’s top freshmen this season after scoring three goals in two games last weekend, including a pair of tallies in just 35 minutes against Seton Hall. She ranks second in the BIG EAST in total goals (15) and goals per game (0.83), while also standing 12th in the nation in the latter category. All of this comes even though she averages less than one full half of soccer played per game (43.8 minutes) — at her current scoring pace, if she played a full 90 minutes, Henderson would have 30 goals this season, already two more than the Notre Dame single-season record (Hanks’ 28 in 2005) and 10 more than the current national leader.
Weber played a team-high 162 minutes in last week’s wins, delivering an assist on Henderson’s second goal of the day against Seton Hall. She also helped the Irish blank the Pirates, recording the team’s 11th shutout of the season and sixth over a BIG EAST opponent. Weber has been as consistent and steady as any defender in the country, having started all 44 games since coming to Notre Dame in 2007. This year, she has helped the Irish post a 0.44 goals-against average, while holding opponents to just 2.44 shots on goal per game.
No. 1 Notre Dame (18-0-0, 11-0-0 BIG EAST) already has completed the first unbeaten and untied regular season in the program’s 21-year history. The Irish, who won their 11th BIG EAST regular-season title in 14 seasons of league membership, have earned a first-round bye for the 2008 BIG EAST Championship and will play host to a tournament quarterfinal game on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Field against either Cincinnati or St. John’s.
Tickets for this, and all remaining Irish home games, as well as the 2008 BIG EAST Championship semifinals and finals (to be played at Notre Dame Nov. 7 & 9), can be purchased by contacting the Irish Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356) or by stopping by the Joyce Center Gate 1 ticket windows on the second floor during normal business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET, weekdays). In addition, fans can buy their Irish women’s soccer tickets on-line by going to the tickets page of the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com), or by visiting the Alumni Field ticket windows on game night.
— ND —