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Jen Buczkowski Named First Team Freshman All-American; Three Others Among Final National Honorees

Feb. 9, 2004

Final national soccer awards have been announced from various organizations, with Notre Dame midfielder Jen Buczkowski (Elk Grove, Ill.) receiving first team Freshman All-America honors from both Soccer America magazine and the Soccer Buzz website. Soccer Buzz also named Notre Dame central defender Christie Shaner (Ambler, Pa.) to its second team Freshman All-America squad, with Irish senior central defender Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ont.) named a Soccer Buzz first team All-American while senior forward Amy Warner (Albuquerque, N.M.) was a second-team All-America selection (reversing their respective spots on the earlier All-America selections from the NSCAA).

Buczkowski – currently a member of the United States Under-19 National Team – becomes the 14th Notre Dame player (in the last 11 years) ever named to Soccer America’s exclusive 11-player Freshman All-America squad. She follows Cindy Daws (’93), Holly Manthei (’94), Shannon Boxx (’95), Kara Brown (’96), Jenny Streiffer (’96) and Anne Makinen (’97) as the seventh Notre Dame midfielder ever named to the team, with the program’s other previous honorees including forwards Monica Gerardo (’95) and Meotis Erikson (’97), defenders Kate Sobrero (’94), Jen Grubb (’96), Kelly Lindsey (’97) and Candace Chapman (’01), and goalkeeper Jen Renola (’93).

Buczkowski joined Florida State’s India Trotter as the only midfielders named to the 11-player squad. North Carolina forward Heather O’Reilly was named the national freshman of the year by both Soccer America and Soccer Buzz, which listed Buczkowski and Virginia defender Becky Sauerbrunn among the top three finalists for its freshman-of-the-year award.

Each of the four Notre Dame players mentioned above currently is in the mix with various national teams. Warner and Shaner recently were invited to a U.S. Under-21 National Team camp (Warner as an overage exemption) while Tancredi’s rising stock was validated by a recent invitation to train with Canada’s full national team (see upcoming release with comments from all four players on their national-team experience).

Buczkowski filled a primarily defensive midfielder role with the Irish in 2003 but is being groomed to play on the three-player back line with the U.S. Under-19s, alongside Sauerbrunn (the U-19 team captain) and Portland’s Stephanie Lopez. The BIG EAST all-rookie team selection was a central member of the Irish midfield throughout the 2003 season, appearing in all 24 games (23 starts) while totaling four goals and six assists. She was named offensive MVP of the Notre Dame Classic, after totaling 2G-3A in wins over ASU and Oklahoma, and she added a pair of goals in the NCAA win over Loyola Chicago.

Tancredi – who has the option to apply for a fifth year of eligibility in 2004 – was one of 12 finalists for the Soccer Buzz national player-of-the-year award and was joined by UNC senior Cat Reddick, UCLA senior Nandi Pryce and Tennessee junior Keeley Dowling as the four defenders on the first team All-America unit. Tancredi’s earlier honors include second team All-America from the National Soccer Coaches Association and BIG EAST Conference defensive player of the year. She also was one of the 15 final candidates for the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, presented by the NSCAA as the Division I player-of-the-year award.

Known for her wide array of skills, including dominating play in the air and the ability to quickly join the attack, Tancredi burst onto the national scene in 2003 while leading Notre Dame’s dominating backline from her central defender spot. She combined with Shaner as key members of the ’03 Irish defense that allowed just 12 goals in 24 games, finished 5th in the nation with a 0.49 goals-against avg. (3rd in ND history) and 4th nationally with 15 shutouts, compiled a 956-minute shutout streak that ranks 5th in NCAA history, totaled 20 more goals (73) than opponent shots on goal allowed (53), set an ND record for consecutive games without facing a deficit (16) and tied another team mark for consecutive games without allowing multiple goals (24).

A converted forward, Tancredi also led ND’s 2003 defenders in scoring with four goals and five assists in 21 games (20 starts) while regularly pushing into the attack, with her limited late-season play (due to injury) contributing to the Irish losing three of their final five games.

Warner and Tancredi also were named to the NSCAA first team all-Great Lakes Region squad, with junior forward Mary Boland (Hudson, Ohio) and sophomore goalkeeper Erika Bohn (Brookfield, Conn.) earning second team all-region honors (both of those players earlier were named second team Academic All-Americans. with fifth-year defender Vanessa Pruzinsky named the Academic All-American of the Year for Division I women’s soccer).

Warner’s other earlier awards included NSCAA first team All-America (Notre Dame’s first forward ever so honored) and a spot alongside Tancredi as two of the 15 final candidates for the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy. The four-time NSCAA all-Great Lakes Region selection (2nd team in ’02, 3rd team in ’00 and ’01) finished 12th in the nation with a career-best 12 assists in 2003 and became the sixth BIG EAST player ever named to the all-BIG EAST team four times (1st team in ’03). She was the leader of the nation’s third-ranked scoring offense in 2003 (3.04 goals per game) and finished her career ranked 12th in the Irish record book for goals (37), 14th in total points (99, including 25 assists) and ninth in game-winning goals (11) while logging 82 career games (74 starts).

The speedy Warner started 64 consecutive games before an ankle injury sidelined her for the 2003 BIG EAST semifinals, with the second-ranked Irish (20-3-1 final record) losing two of their final three games with their leading scorer (10G-12A) out of the lineup.

Shaner – who joined Buczkowski among the 12 finalists for the Soccer Buzz rookie-of-the-year award – was the 2003 BIG EAST rookie of the year and a second team all-BIG EAST selection. She became the third ND player ever to take home the BIG EAST’s top rookie honor, joining Streiffer (’96) and Pruzinsky (’99) in that distinction. She appeared in 23 of 24 games in 2003 (starting 20), using her strength on restart services to assist on three goals while scoring in the NCAA first-round win over Loyola Chicago. Shaner also was named defensive MVP at the early-season Santa Clara Classic, after helping limit Stanford and SCU to three combined shots on goal.

Here are final bio. notes for Tancredi and Warner:

Melissa Tancredi (Sr., D; Ancaster, Ontario) – Top ’03 honors included Soccer Buzz first team All-America, NSCAA second team All-America, BIG EAST defensive player of the year and one of 15 final candidates for Hermann Trophy … known for her wide array of skills, including dominating play in the air and ability to quickly join the attack … shifted to forward after ND fell behind 2-0 vs. Boston College in ’03 BIG EAST semifinals and promptly sent home a header for her fourth goal of the season (to go along with five assists) … formed the core of ’03 defense that allowed just 12 goals in 24 games, highlighted by a 10-game shutout streak that ranks fifth in NCAA history … led ND defenders with 13 points (4G-5A), starting 21 games (three missed due to injury) with one GWG … her absences in ’03 were significant, with the Irish losing to Michigan (3-2) while struggling in 1-0 wins at Pittsburgh and Seton Hall (just 4-3 scoring edge in those games) … led dominating defensive effort that included: just 53 opponent shots on goal (2.2 per game); a 0.49 team GAA that ranked 5th in nation; a team-record span of 16 games without a deficit; tying another team record by going 24 consecutive games without allowing multiple goals; and allowing just two ’03 opponents to come back and tie the Irish (Santa Clara and Miami, in BE quarterfinal) … first field player ever to earn a top BIG EAST honor despite having no previous all-BIG EAST recognition … ND’s fifth recipient of the BIG EAST defensive player of the year award in the last seven years … a converted forward who missed all of the 2000 season due to injury and played at forward in ’01 before shifting to the defense in the middle of the ’02 season … follows Kate Sobrero (’95-’97), Jen Grubb (’96-’99), Monica Gonzalez (’01) and Candace Chapman (’02) as ND’s fifth defender to earn NSCAA All-America honors.

Amy Warner (Sr., F; Albuquerque, N.M.) – Top ’03 honors included NSCAA first team All-America (first ND forward ever so honored), Soccer Buzz second team All-America, first team all-BIG EAST and one of 15 finalists for Hermann Trophy … speedy frontrunner who finished 12th nationally with 12 assists (plus 10G and 2 GWG) … her absence due to an ankle injury played a key role in BC’s 2-1 win over the Irish in the BIG EAST semifinals and then Michigan’s 1-0 win over ND in the NCAA second round … the loss to BC marked her first game missed in three years (70 games) and ended her streak of 64 consecutive games started … ranks 12th in ND history with 37 career goals and 14th with 99 points, plus 9th with 11 game-winning goals … sixth player (ND’s third) ever named all-BIG EAST in each of her four seasons, also becoming the 11th to be named first team all-BIG EAST in three-plus seasons (’00, ’02, ’03; plus 2nd team in ’01) … her ’03 season highlights included 1G-1A in early 3-0 win over Wake Forest and goal that capped 3-1 comeback win over Arizona State. … named all-tournament at the 2003 UConn, ND and SCU Classics … joined junior Mary Boland as first pair of forwards from same team to be named first team all-BIG EAST since 1999, when Jenny Streiffer and Jenny Heft – still the top goalscorers in the ND record book – were so honored.