Katie Thorlakson hit the ground running with a 7-point game vs. Baylor in the season opener and has rolled on to a 61-point season that includes 6G-6A in five postseason games.

Katie Thorlakson Receives National Player Of The Year Award From SIOC

Nov. 17, 2004

Notre Dame junior forward Katie Thorlakson (Langley, B.C.) has been recognized by Sports Illustrated on Campus as its 2004 national player of the year for Division I women’s soccer. Thorlakson – who has scored or assisted on 18 of Notre Dame’s last 21 goals and is the 10th Division I player ever to reach 20 goals and 20 assists in the same season – is featured in this week’s issue of SIOC (Nov. 18), along with the magazine’s picks for players of the year in field hockey, volleyball and women’s cross country.

Thorlakson currently leads the nation in assists (21) while ranking second in points (61) and sixth in goals (20, second-most among players whose teams advanced to the 64-team NCAA field). She has joined an elite list of 10 all-time Division I players to reach 20 goals and 20 assists in a season. Six of those players – former Notre Dame great Cindy Daws (26G-20A, ’96), the North Carolina trio of Mia Hamm (32-33, ’92), Robin Confer (20-22, ’97) and Lindsay Tarpley (23-27, ’03), UConn’s Sarah Whalen (21-22, ’97) and Santa Clara’s Mandy Clemens (24-23, ’99) – each received some type of national player-of-the-year recognition during their 20-20 seasons. The others on that short list include another former Irish player, Jenny Streiffer (22G-22A, ’96), four-time All-American and UC Santa Barbara legend Carin Jennings (20G-26A, ’86) and UNC Greensboro’s Kati Kantanen (24G-20A).

The SI On Campus text on Thorlakson reads as follows: “…British Columbia native Thorlakson joins the list of Canadian imports currently starring on U.S. soil. The 5’3” spark-plug forward is fisrt in the nation in assists (21) and second in points (61, including a school-record 10 in a blowout win over St. John’s on Oct. 31). rather than playing for her home country in this month’s U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand, the BIG EAST offensive player of the year is focused on helping the fourth-seeded Irish in their quest for [the] NCAA title. …”

Another BIG EAST student-athlete (Providence cross country runner Kim Smith) was recognized by the SIOC player-of-the-year awards for women’s fall sports, as were Wake Forest field hockey player Kelly Dostal and Stanford volleyball player Oganna Nnamani.

By scoring one more goal, Thorlakson would become just the sixth player ever to reach 21 goals and 21 assists (joining Hamm, Tarpley, Whalen, Clemens and Streiffer in that distinction). By adding two moer goals and one assist, she would be the fifth to reach 22G-22A (all of the above except Whalen); with three more goals and two assists, Thorlakson would join Hamm, Tarpley and Clemens as the only “23-23” players; and with four more goals and three assists, she would rank alongside Hamm as the only Division I players ever to reach 24 goals and 24 assists in the same season.

Additional notes on Thorlakson’s record-setting season and quotes about her from various Division I coaches follow below:
THOR BRINGS THUNDER & LIGHTNING – equally dangerous as a finisher and set-up player … one of 10 ND players ever to reach 30 goals and 30 assists in her career (34G-35A), arriving at that milestone 4th-quickest in ND history (62 games) … currently only player in nation with more than 15-plus goals and 15-plus assists (well over both totals, at 20G-21A)
STOMPING OUT FIRES – has helped overcome potentially devastating loss of several top offensive players due to graduation (Amy Warner, Amanda Gertin, Kim Carpenter), injuries (Mary Boland, Susan Pinnick, Randi Scheller) and national-team duty (Kerri Hanks) … has shouldered additional pressure due to the fact that ND’s other starting forwards in ’04 are inexperienced duo of freshman Amanda Cinalli and senior Candace Chapman, a converted All-America defender coming back from ACL injury
RUNAWAY – her 61 points are more than double team’s 2nd-leading scorer (Chapman, with 28)
PERFECT TEN – named CSTV National Student-Athlete of the Week after setting ND record with 10 points in game vs. St. John’s on Oct. 31 (4G-2A; also tied ND record for goals in a game, most since ’97)
HOT CORNER – 8 of her 21 assists this season have come on corner-kick services, including four in the postseason … her leftside corners set up both gamewinning goals last weekend in the NCAA games vs. EIU and Wisconsin
BIG WINNER – has tied ND record for gamewinning goals in a season (8, by Rosella Guerrero in ’94), with no other player on ’04 team having more than 4 GWGs … also ranks 8th in ND record book with 14 career GWGs, 5 shy of Jenny Heft’s record
ON A ROLL – has totaled 27 points (14G-9A) in current 7-game points streak (1G-1A vs. Seton Hall, 2G-2A vs. Michigan, 4G-2A vs. St. John’s, 1G vs. BC, 1A vs. UConn, 1G-2A vs. EIU, 1A vs. WIS), after rare 4-game point “slump”
PULLING HER WEIGHT – has played role in nearly 70% of team’s goals in ’04 (41 of 63), with many other goals coming when she has been on the bench cheering the reserves
SIX-PACK – first ND player ever to score or assist on team’s first five goals in a game (in ’04 opener vs. Baylor and again vs. #4 Santa Clara) … went one better by having a hand in each of first six scores vs. St. John’s, yielding even more impressive streak of 12 straight Irish goals in which she scored or assisted (now 18 of 21, dating back to 2nd goal in 3-1 win over SHU)
SHARPSHOOTER – owns .182 shot pct. and is averaging 6.0 shots per goal (rest of team is just .111/9.0) … also converting 1G every 3.1 shots on goal (20 of 62)
RECORD PACE – averaging 2.65 points per game in ’04 and would total 72 points over full season of 27 games (ND record is 72 points by ’96 national player-of-the-year Cindy Daws)
PRIMETIME PERFORMER – has totaled 14 points (5G-4A) in six ’04 games vs. top-25 teams, including 3G-2A vs. #4 Santa Clara (only player in nation with 8-plus pts vs. top-25 team) … also has racked up 18 points (6G-6A) through five postseason games this season, one shy of the ND record for points in one postseason (Anne Makinen, 8G-3A in ’97) … no other player in ND history has more than 15 points in one postseason.
PILE-O-POINTS – her 61 points rank 3rd in ND history (most since ’98) and easily eclipsed her combined total from ’02 and ’03 (42) … has joined Cindy Daws (72; ’96), Jenny Streiffer (62; ’96) and Jenny Heft (61; ’98) as only ND players with 60-plus points in season … her 21A are tied for 6th on that ND season list and no Irish player other than NCAA career assist leader Holly Manthei ever has posted more than 22A in a season … her 20G are tied for 8th in ND single-season history
CENTURY MARK – her 103 career points would rank near top of many school’s record books but she is 14th in ND career scoring (34G-35A), still 11G and 6A away from those top-10 lists
BIG GAMES – only player from top-25 team with 8-plus points in a game this season … one of two players in nation to post 8-plus points in multiple ’04 gms (only player with 4G in one game and 3A in another)
BIG EAST’S BEST – first ND player ever named BIG EASt offensive player of the year and three-time BIG EAST player of the week in ’04: 2G-4A vs. Baylor and EIU (Aug. 30); 3G-2A vs. #13 Stanford and #4 SCU (Sept. 6); and 1G-1A vs. #20 West Virginia and Providence (Oct. 4), with no award after final week (6G-4A vs. Michigan and SJU) … named to Soccer Buzz and Soccer America national team of the week (both on Aug. 30 and Sept. 6)
WARMUP – totaled most regular-season goals (13) by ND player since ’99 (Jenny Heft, 16) … 3rd ND player to reach 14G-14A in reg. season (10th ND history with 43 reg.-season pts)
FINDING THE NET – posted 5-game goal streak from Sept. 19-Oct. 3 (4 GWGs in that stretch)
CONFERENCE CALL – leads BIG EAST in points, goals, assists, GWGs and total shots (110)
RACKING ‘EM UP – has posted games with 10 points (4G-2A , SJU), eight (3G-2A, SCU), seven (2G-3A, Baylor) and six (2G-2A, Michigan), with five multi-goal games
REPEAT OFFENDER – joined Streiffer (’96) as only ND players with 8-plus points in multiple games of same season (Monica Gerardo only other player to do so in her ND career) … first ND player with 3-plus goals in multiple games of season since Heft’s three hat tricks in ’98
OL’ RELIABLE – has appeared in 66 straight games with ND (since returning from 2002 U-19 World Championship)
HOME SWEET HOME – has totaled 63 points in 28 games at Alumni Field during past two seasons (22G-19A, 9 GWG), including 45 points in 13 home games this season (15G-15A, 7 GWG)

What They’ve Said About Katie Thorlakson

Santa Clara Head Coach Jerry Smith – “(Thorlakson) is a player with international experience and she can raise her level to whatever level it needs to be. Good forwards can be quiet for periods of a game and then turn it up. I’m a coach that doesn’t emphasize the physical stature of a player. So I think Katie is an example of why you don’t have to be the biggest or the fastest. She has a nice combination of determination, grit and skillfulness. She has a great feel for the game. She reminds me of a player I used to watch in the `70s, he played for Germany – Gurd Muller. He was a very small forward but was very crafty and sneaky. If you research Gurd Muller, you will know that’s a huge compliment to Katie. She is a terrific player and we have a lot of respect for her.”

Wisconsin Head Coach Dean Duerst (asked to compare Thorlakson and the nation’s points leader, Tiffany Weimer of Penn State) – “They are very comparable and outstanding goalscorers. Weimer has some people around her that play her through a little bit more forward. She scores a lot more goals on just breakaways and she kind of just hides out there whereas Katie is very involved in every aspect of Notre Dame’s game. … They are two of the premier players that I’ve seen in the past few years in the country.”

Eastern Illinois Head Coach Stave Ballard – “Thorlakson is dynamic and does so many things. She knows the game well, she’s technical, she’s quick and she can do it 1-v-1 but she also shares the ball and that’s so nice to see. She is a complete player and I just love watching her play. It’s fortunate in soccer that you don’t have to be 6-10 to be a dominant player, even on the men’s side you see players who are 5-5 or 5-7 who are dominant players. And (Thorlakson) is great in the air. She is 5-3 but she can get up with the best of them. She reads the flight of the ball. There are so many things she adds to that team and it’s a pleasure to watch that on the field.”

Notre Dame Head Coach Randy Waldrum – “Candace Chapman is readjusting to playing forward and Amanda Cinalli is still a young kid. Sometimes they aren’t in sync with Katie and we have to try some different things. But that all shows what Katie does because there have been several games where she’s had to carry it when the others aren’t in sync. It says a lot about what a great year Katie’s had and she is a tremendous model for the other kids to see, to play with a player like Katie and see how she handles different situations. It just amazes me how much she fights people off. She has been double- and triple-teamed for the past month and has had people all over her. That all makes her stats evern more incredible. Most scoring players up front just score goals and don’t do anything else but Katie is in the game for 90 minutes and she brings others in. You rarely find a player with those kind of stats on both sides, with goals and assists.”