July 29, 1998

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team will open its 1998 season as the second ranked team in the country, marking the fourth straight year the Irish were ranked second in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason poll. Head coach Chris Petrucelli will open his ninth year at Notre Dame as the Irish begin the ’98 season at Michigan State on Sept. 1.

The Irish return nine starters, including four All-Americans, from the 1997 team which advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the fourth straight year and won the BIG EAST championship for the third straight year. Notre Dame will face four teams ranked by the NSCAA, including roads games at top-ranked North Carolina on Sept. 13, at fourth-ranked Connecticut on Oct. 16 and at 17th-ranked Michigan on Oct. 23. The Irish also will face 10th-ranked Duke in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Sept. 11.

Three Notre Dame’s junior All-Americans have been named to the U.S. under-20 women’s national team for the annual Nordic Cup in Holland, Aug. 3-8, which brings together the world’s top under-21 women’s national teams. Goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene, defender Jen Grubb and forward Jenny Streiffer each will be making a repeat performance after helping the U.S. capture the gold medal in 1997.

Beene and Streiffer will be playing in their second consecutive Nordic Cup while Grubb will be participating in her third straight Nordic Cup. Beene and Grubb started on the ’97 team while Streiffer came off the bench to score the game-winning goal in sudden death overtime against Norway in the gold-medal game. Grubb scored the game-winning goal in sudden death overtime against Germany in ’96 bronze-medal game.

The U.S. will open with Finland on Aug. 3, and play Holland on Aug. 5 and Sweden on Aug. 7. The medal games will be played on Aug. 8.

1998 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Preseason Top 25
1. North Carolina
2. Notre Dame
3. Santa Clara
4. Connecticut
5. Florida
6. Virginia
7. Portland
8. Nebraska
9. Hartford
10. Duke
11. Texas A&M
12. Harvard
13. William & Mary
14. Clemson
15T. Minnesota
17. Michigan
18. Maryland
19. BYU
20. SMU
21. George Mason
22. Massachusetts
23. Vanderbilt
24. Stanford
25. Penn State