May 5, 2005

By Pete LaFleur

The football team was not the only varsity sports program at Notre Dame to sponsor reunion events during the annual Blue-Gold Weekend – as the Notre Dame men’s and women’s soccer teams also shared some memorable moments with their alums during a series of activities held on campus during the weekend of April 22-24.

(Note: check back to this page and also see the respective soccer pages for enlarged versions of the 1995 NCAA champions reunion photo and the men’s soccer alumni game group photo; links to the enlarged photos will be added to the respective sites and this page.)

Alumni Field was the place to be on Friday night, April 22, as the Irish soccer teams waged battle with talented opposition from the Mexican national team programs. Special VIP seating was provided to the soccer alums, positioning them on bleachers adjacent to the team benches as they cheered on the current Irish players.

The Notre Dame women faced the Mexican Women’s National Team – captained by former ND All-American Monica Gonzalez – for the fifth straight spring and emerged with a 2-2 tie, thanks to a goal by freshman Kerri Hanks near the end of stoppage time. The Irish men then used a second-half goal from freshman Joe Lapira to defeat the Mexican Men’s Under-17 National Team, 1-0. See more information on both games below and on the men’s and women’s soccer pages (both include additional photos from the games).

Both soccer programs then were slated to hold alumni games on Saturday, April 23, but the women’s alumni game was a short one due to the weather. Four-time All-America midfielder and NCAA career assist leader Holly Manthei scored a rare goal in the game and enjoyed the thrill of having some 30 fellow alums chase her around the field in celebration.

The men then opted to play their alumni game inside at the Loftus Center and the current squad edged the “old timers” by a 2-1 margin. Paul Rodriguez scored for alumni side on a great volley strike while Bruce “Tiger” McCourt saw his chance at the net snuffed out on a save by Chris Cahill.

Greg Tait and Dave Krus split time in the goal for alumni team, as goals from Tony Megna and Lapira gave the varsity the friendly victory.


Former Notre Dame goalkeepers (from left) Greg Tait, Chris Sawyer and Garick Short were guarding their own table at the men’s soccer banquet.



Each alumni group then joined their respective teams for the annual banquets that signal the end of the spring season. The men’s banquet was held at The Morris Inn while the women’s event – which served as a joint tribute to the 1995 and 2004 national championship teams – was held on the fifth floor of the Notre Dame Stadium press box.

The alumni contingent on hand for the women’s banquet included 11 members of the 1995 NCAA championship team: the aforementioned Holly Manthei Doyle, three-time All-America goalkeeper Jen Renola, current U.S. national team defensive midfield standout (and ’04 Olympic gold medalist) Shannon Boxx, the potent forward trio of Monica Gerardo, Michelle McCarthy Restovich and Amy VanLaecke, and starting defender plus Jean McGregor Ansourian, Julie Maund, Megan Middendorf O’Sullivan and Laura Vanderberg. VanLaecke actually returned to Notre Dame earlier this academic year, as she know is the group manager for engineering careers at the Career Center.

Others in attendance at the women’s soccer reunion events included All-America goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene (’00), All-America forward Amy Warner (`04), the program’s all-time leading goalscorer Jenny Heft Erickson (’00) and three-time Academic All-America defender Vanessa Pruzinsky (5-year player from ’99-’03). The impressive alumni turnout also included: one of the program’s first players and current ND Adidas rep. Molly Lennon Anderson (’92), early scoring leader Stephanie Porter (’94), current Monogram Club board member Jill Matesic (’94 fall grad.), Brenda Gorski (’94), Robyn Mego Lynch (’95), ’97 team member Kristin Danielsen, excitable defender Kelly “Boof” Lindsey (’01), 2001 team captains Mia Sarkesian and Lindsey Jones and their classmates, goalkeeper Liz Wagner and forward Kelly Tulisiak, and ’00-’03 midfielder Kimberly Carpenter.


Notre Dame seniors (from left) Kate Tulisiak, Sarah Halpenny, Gudrun Gunnarsdottir and Mary Boland (Melissa Tancredi not present due to national-team duty).



The 2005 graduating seniors – Mary Boland, Gudrun Gunnarsdottir, Sarah Halpenny and Kate Tulisiak – sat with the alumni in the special bleacher section during the game vs. Mexico, serving as their official indoctrination into the ND women’s soccer alumni family (with Lindsey providing plenty of her unique sideline entertainment). Kelly and Kate Tulisiak are the first sisters among the ND women’s soccer alumni group.

The women’s soccer banquet included a “Flashback to 1995” segment, as sports psychologist Dr. Mick Franco prodived his unique insights into both the ’95 and ’04 national championship seasons. Manthei then took the microphone and shared some tales from the magical ’95 season while offering some heartfely words to her fellow alums that were in attendance. A 1995 NCAA champions highlight video also was shown to the crowd later in the evening.


Notre Dame’s 2004 women’s soccer national championship rings were presented at the spring banquet.



The 2004 team members, coaches and support staff received their national championship rings – as provided by the Notre Dame Monogram Club. Matesic, who currently serves on the Monogram Club board of directors, joined assistant coach Dawn Greathouse and assistant AD Tony Yelovich in making the formal presentations.

Candace Chapman and Annie Schefter, who will serve as captains of the 2005 team, then presented gifts to each of the graduating seniors: Mary Boland, Gudrun Gunnarsdottir, Sarah Halpenny, Melissa Tancredi and Kate Tulisiak. Tancredi and junior forward Katie Thorlakson unfortunately were unable to attend the event, as they were competing with the Canadian National Team at a tournament in Europe.


Former Notre Dame soccer player and current Monogram Club board member Jill Matesic (right) presents Kim Lorenzen with her national championship ring.



The night then concluded with a special documentary video – “The Path of a Champion” – that traces Notre Dame’s journey to the 2005 NCAA title.

Several alumni of the Notre Dame men’s soccer program also were in town for that team’s reunion events. Those in attendance included: Tait (’03), Rodriquez (’03), Greg Martin (’04), Chad Riley (’04), Devon Prescod (’04), Kevin Richards (’04), Rafael Garcia (’03), Andreas Forstner (’03), Jason Jorski (’00), Larry Smith (’83), Joe Cuini (’81), Mario Manta (’83), Ted Schwarts (’84), McCourt (’89), Krus (’86), Rob Snyder (’84), John “Jack” Gibbs (’86) and Brian Engesser (’97), among others. The Irish men’s soccer program also was proud to welcome back former Notre Dame head coach Rich Hunter (’77-’83) for the weekend festivities.

The men’s soccer banquet included the formal presentation of the team’s awards for the 2004 season. Forstner presented the Monogram Club team MVP award to defender Jack Stewart while academic advisor Mary Ann Spence presnted the Knute Rockne Student-Athlete Award to John Stephens, who will serve as a 2005 team tri-captain alongside Greg Dalby and Dale Rellas. Chris High received the team’s Spirit Award while the “Bert” Award -presented to an amum and named in honor of former head coach Mike Berticelli – was awarded to Bruce Novotny, with Ken Hergenriter providing a videotaped presentation.


(from left) Current player John Stephens visits with alums Steve Chang, Mario Manta, Tiger McCourt, Stewart McDonald and Larry Smith.



Top 2004 team awards for the Notre Dame women’s team included Thorlakson as MVP and Boland (3.89 cumulative GPA, psychology major) as the Rockne Student-Athlete Award winner.


ND Women vs. Mexico final stats

Candace Chapman didn’t want to lose. And Kerri Hanks had not experienced much losing in her pre-Notre Dame career. So perhaps it was fitting that the two combined on the equalizing goal, as the Notre Dame women’s soccer team scored in the final seconds of stoppage time to forge a 2-2 tie in the program’s fifth annual spring game versus the Mexican Women’s National Team. The Notre Dame men then took the field on Friday night, April 21 – with one of the largest crowds (3,050) in Alumni Field history looking on – and used a 60th-minute goal by freshman Joe Lapira to beat Mexico’s Under-17 Men’s National Team, a quality squad that had knocked off defending NCAA champion Indiana just days earlier.

The brisk ticket sales and festive crowd of 3,000-plus was an impressive turnout from the Michiana-area soccer community, as many hearty fans braved the tough weather conditions to cheer on the four squads during a night of high-level soccer.

The impressive doubleheader completed a strong spring season for both Notre Dame teams, with the women going unbeaten (6-0-1) while the only loss for the Irish men was versus the U.S. Under-17 National Team.

The Notre Dame women overcame the task of playing without college soccer’s best player from the 2004 season, as junior forward Katie Thorlakson currently is competing in Europe with the Canadian National Team (as is 2004 fifth-year defensive leader Melissa Tancredi … fortunately for the Irish, Chapman was not named to Canada’s travel squad for the current tournament).


Former Notre Dame standout and current Mexico captain Monica Gonzalez (left) battles for a head ball with Amanda Cinalli in the exciting action.



Despite the absence of Thorlakson’s tremendous combination of goalscoring ability and playmaking skill, Notre Dame had the clear advantage in quality scoring chances – outshooting Mexico 15-7 (6-4 in shots on goal) while attempting all 11 of the game’s corner kicks – but the visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the intermission. Former Notre Dame All-America defender Monica Gonzalez, a founding member of the Mexican Women’s National Team and the team’s current captain, converted a penalty kick in the 19th minute and Patricia Perez later ran onto a thru-ball and scored on a leftside crossing shot in the final minutes of the first half. Gonzalez took her PK within earshot of her fellow alums in the special bleacher section, who did their best trying to distract her well-placed shot. alum Gonzalez during her PK shot …

Notre Dame – now 3-1-1 in the five games vs. Mexico – began its comeback in the 56th minute when junior midfielder Annie Schefter buried a penalty kick. The dramatic equalizer then came with just 10 seconds left in the four minutes of stoppage time, as Chapman chased down an Ashley Jones throw-in and sent a leftside cross to Hanks for the flick header.

Chapman opened the game alongside sophomore Christie Shaner at the central back positions that were held down in 2004 by Tancredi and graduating senior Gudrun Gunnarsdottir. The Irish then opted to shift Chapman to forward (where she played for most of ’04) in the second half and she arguably was the player-of-the-game after that point, repeatedly harassing the Mexico defense with her great array of offensive skills.

Several times during the second half, Chapman was taken down hard in the box but no penalty-kick was called. Her frustration and competitiveness continued to flow as the clock ticked down before the game-tying sequence averted what would have been a tough loss to swallow for the defending NCAA champions.

Notre Dame’s starting lineup also included sophomore Kim Lorenzen and freshman Ashley Jones at the outside back spots while Schefter, sophomore Jill Krivacek and freshman Jannica Tjeder were the starting midfielders. The team’s tremendous depth at forward included Friday-night starts by freshman Amanda Cinalli, sophomore Jen Buczkowski (a 2004 All-America midfielder) and freshman Susan Pinnick, the South Bend native who has made an inspiring comeback after missing all of the 2004 season due to injuries suffered in a summer van accident with her former club team.

Eight players – Chapman, Shaner, Lorenzen, Jones, Schefter, Krivacek, Buczkowski and Cinalli – played the full 90 minutes, with Hanks, sophomore Lizzie Reed and freshman Lauren Karas (who split the game in goal with junior Erika Bohn) each playing for all or most of the second half.

Notre Dame signee Rebecca Mendoza (a native of Garland, Texas, who holds joint citizenship) played the game’s first 75 minutes for Mexico, at a right flank position.


Ashley Jones – whose throw-in set up the game-tying sequence – fights for possession with Notre Dame signee Rebecca Mendoza.



Notre Dame owned an 8-4 shot edge in the second half and made a strong push for the equalizer, holding Mexico without a shot in the final 30 minutes while uncorking seven shots in that span.

Cinalli had several solid chances in the first half but was unable to find the net. The game’s first goal came in the 19th minute, after Chapman was called for a hard foul in the box. Gonzalez stepped forward and sent a rising shot into the right side of the net (18:13). Bohn guessed right and jumped to her left but did not extend her hand enough to make a save that would have closely resembled her regulation save vs. UCLA’s Kendall Billingsly in the 2004 NCAA championship game.

Monica Vergara’s thru-ball from the right flank later sent Perez down the center of the field in the 42nd minute. Perez outraced the pursuit and slanted into the left side of the box before placing a crossing shot past Bohn and inside the far-right post (41:35).


Holly Manthei Doyle lent her spirited support to the alumni cheering section vs. Mexico before serving as one of the speakers at the spring banquet.



Hanks – who began her college career this semester after training and competing with the U.S. Under-19 National Team during the 2004 fall semester – actually had a hand in both Notre Dame goals, as she was forcing the issue in the box before a hard tackle produced the PK chance. Schefter was the top option in Thorlakson’s absence and she calmly sent her shot into the lower left corner for a 2-1 game (55:52).

Minutes later, Karas made a pair of huge saves to maintain the one-goal deficit. Midfield standout Fatima Leyva ripped a 25-yard shot from the center of the field and the shot looked to be dipping under the crossbar when Karas leaped to tip the shot off the bar. Leyva was tracking her own rebound and had another chance from close range but Karas smothered that try to complete Notre Dame’s only saves of the game.

Shaner had a corner-kick header chance in the 67th minute and Hanks nearly scored from close range on the left side three minutes later.

Notre Dame continued its relentless pressure as the game entered the international-format of stoppage time. Jones quickly grabbed the ball in front of the Irish bench and sent a leftside throw-in down the line. Chapman – who is slated to return for her fifth year of eligibility next fall – tracked the ball near the endline and sent a perfect leftfooted cross into the box.


(from left) Notre Dame’s 2005 captains Annie Schefter and Candace Chapman provided a banquet tribute to athletic trainer Jaime Scollon, who is departing for nursing school and worked her final women’s soccer game in the exciting tie vs. Mexico.



Hanks has been a highly-regarded scorer throughout her impressive youth soccer career and she displayed that flair by beating the Mexico defense in the air for the tying goal. Hanks elevated centrally in the box, from eight yards out, and flicked a header that carried past former Colgate goalkeeper Jen Molina and into the right sidenetting.

The highly-competitive and emotional game included 22 fouls (12 on Mexico) and one yellow-card issued to each team (Shaner and Luz del Rosario).

Mexico’s roster included familiar forward Iris Mora, who has played in several of the previous games vs. the Irish and was a member of the UCLA squad that battled Notre Dame in the 2004 NCAA title game (she was the player that fell after contact at the top of the box from Tancredi, producing the controversial penalty kick that Bohn quickly negated to maintain a 1-1 score late in the NCAA title game).

Another familiar Mexican frontrunner, Maribel Dominguez, currently is competing in Europe with F.C. Barcelona and did not face the Irish on Friday night.

ND MEN 1, MEXICO U-17s 0

ND Men vs. Mexico U-17s final stats

The Notre Dame men received a strong effort from their defensive players and goalkeepers while coping with the absence of three key departing seniors – All-America goalkeeper Chris Sawyer, All-America defender Jack Stewart and standout left back Kevin Goldthwaite. The Irish starters in the back included Ryan Miller, John Moushino, Ben Crouse and Dale Rellas, plus midfielders Greg Dalby, Ian Etherington, John Stephens and Alex Yoshinaga and the familiar forward duo of Justin McGeeney and Tony Megna. Junior Justin Michaud and sophomore Chris Cahill split time in the goal, with each delivering four key saves.


Junior forward Tony Megna and his Irish teammates earned the hard-fough win over a talented Mexico under-17 squad.



Lapira – who provided a goalscoring spark in the 2004 midseason – joined Cahill, Jon Mark Thompson, Kurt Martin and Nate Norman as the Irish players who saw time off the bench in Friday’s spirited win.

McGeeney had Notre Dame’s best chance in the first half but his leftside shot was saved in the 10th minute. Neither team was able to dent the net in the first 45 minutes but Lapira delivered early in the second half.

Martin’s pass down the left side set up the goal, with Lapira opting for a 25-yard shot that appeared to surprise the `keeper Jesus Gallardo – as the ball curling into the upper right corner for the game’s only goal (59:15).

Norman had a pair of solid scoring chances 10 minutes later but Mexico ultimately owned the top chances in the lategoing, outshooting the Irish 7-3 in the final 35 minutes, including a rocket shot from just outside the top of the box by Manuel Biniegra (the ball went over the crossbar, just seconds before the end of stoppage time).

The Mexico U-17s finished with a 16-12 shot edge (8-4 in shots on goal) while attempting six of the game’s 10 corner kicks. The highly-physical game featured 25 fouls (13 on the Irish) while Rellas and Miller were the only players issued yellow cards.

Note: check back to next week for a complete ND women’s soccer 2005 spring wrapup, including quotes from head coach Randy Waldrum.


(from left) Current player Dale Rellas catches up with former student manager Jess Lauer and former teammate Kevin Richards at the spring banquet.



Notre Dame women vs. Mexico Women’s National Team
Mexico 2 0 – 2
Notre Dame 0 2 – 2

MEX 1. Monica Gonzalez (PK) 18:13
MEX 2. Patricia Perez (Monica Vergara) 41:35
ND 1. Annie Schefter (PK) 55:52.
ND 2. Kerri Hanks (Candace Chapman, Ashley Jones) 89:50.

Shots: MEX 3-4 – 7, ND 7-8 – 15.
Corner Kicks: MEX 0-0 – 0, ND 7-4 – 11.
Saves: MEX 4 (Jennifer Molina), ND 2 (Erika Bohn 0, Lauren Karas 2).
Fouls: MEX 12, ND 10.
Yellow Cards: Luz del Rosario (MEX) 36:18; Christie Shaner (ND) 81:30).
Offsides: MEX 2, ND 3.


Sophomore midfielder Ian Etherington battles for possession during the 1-0 win.



Notre Dame Men vs. Mexico Under-17 National Team
Mexico U-17s 0 0 – 0
Notre Dame 0 1 – 1

ND 1. Joe Lapira (Kurt Martin) 59:15.

Shots: MEX 6-10 – 16, ND 5-7 – 12.
Corner Kicks: MEX 4, ND 3.
Saves: MEX 3 (Jesus Gallardo), ND 8 (Justin Michaud 4, Chris Cahill 4).
Fouls: MEX 12, ND 13.
Yellow Cards: Dale Rellas (ND) 38:16; Ryan Miller (ND) 87:47.
Offsides: MEX 2, ND 1.