Nov. 30, 2007

Final Stats

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The nation’s premier forward trio was on display in Friday night’s action at Alumni Field, as Kerri Hanks, Brittany Bock and Michele Weissenhofer – who now have combined for 130 career goals and 97 assists – dazzled a spirited and hearty crowd while combining for all of the Notre Dame women’s soccer team’s goals and a pair of assists, in a hard-fought 3-2 NCAA quarterfinal win over visiting Duke. The Irish claimed a 2-0 lead early in the second half only to see the determined visitors quickly tie the game with a pair of goals in a span of five minutes. But the decisive score came in the 78th minute, after Hanks took a pass from Amanda Cinalli and sent home the final goal on a shot from the right edge of the box.

Notre Dame (19-4-2) – still unbeaten since mid-September (16-0-1 in that span) – now moves on to the College Cup semifinals for the ninth time in the past 14 seasons and will face Florida State (in College Station, Texas; Friday, Dec. 7, time TBA), in a rematch of the 2006 semifinal that was won by the Irish (2-1). FSU (17-5-3) needed to rally from a late 2-1 deficit to defeat Connecticut, 3-2 in overtime, while USC won its quarterfinal over yet another BIG EAST Conference team (1-0, at West Virginia). The Trojans will face Pac-10 rival UCLA in the other semifinal, after the Bruins came back from an early deficit to beat Portland in an overtime thriller (3-2).

Notre Dame’s nine trips to the NCAA semifinals since 1994 are second-most in the nation, only two behind North Carolina’s 11 and one ahead of Portland’s eight semifinal trips over the past 14 seasons. The Irish now are 44-12-1 all-time in the NCAAs (.781), including 35-3-0 at home (.921).

Passes from Hanks and Bock set up Weissenhofer’s goal in the 20th minute but the Irish had several near-misses during the rest of the opening half and took a tenuous 1-0 lead into the intermission (ND now is 51-2-1 in its past 54 games when scoring first). Hanks then delivered the 12th corner-kick assist of her career and Bock had the finish on the play in classic fashion, outjumping goalkeeper Allison Lipsher for her 20th career header goal and a 2-0 lead in the 52nd minute.

Kelly Hathorn then scored after a corner-kick rebound sequence and CJ Ludemann launched a 22-yard rocket shot that tied the game with 28 minutes left in the second half.

Notre Dame never has lost when claiming a 2-0 lead (285-0-1; including 262 consecutive wins dating back to 1991) and rarely has even allowed a team to tie the game after falling behind the Irish by a 2-0 score. In fact, 175 consecutive teams that had faced 2-0 deficits versus Notre Dame had failed to forge a tie – until the Blue Devils suddenly pulled off that feat in a span of only 4:22. UConn was the previous team to tie the Irish after falling behind 2-0, doing so back in the 1996 BIG EAST title game (ND led that game 3-0, UConn tied it 3-3, and the Irish went on to win 4-3).

This will mark the fifth trip to the College Cup final weekend during the nine-year tenure of Irish head coach Randy Waldrum (1999-2007). Only five coaches in Division I women’s soccer history have taken more of their teams to the College Cup semifinals than Waldrum, who could join even more exclusive company should Notre Dame defeat FSU in the semifinals. A win in that game would put Waldrum in the NCAA for the fourth time, which would tie UConn’s Len Tsantiris for second all-time behind UNC’s Anson Dorrance (UCLA’s Jillian Ellis also has taken her team to three NCAA title games).

Next weekend’s festivities will hold extra meaning for Waldrum – an Arlington native who founded the women’s soccer program at Baylor – along with his assistant coaches (Dawn Greathouse and Ben Waldrum, the coach’s son) and seven Irish players who all are Texas natives. Most notably, Dallas-area products Hanks (Allen) and senior goalkeeper Lauren Karas (Flower Mound) are former standouts with the powerhouse Dallas Texans club program while junior midfield Becca Mendoza (Garland) played for the crosstown rival Dallas Sting. Two other former Texans stars – sophomore center back Haley Ford (Midland) and freshman forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington) – currently are sidelined by injuries, with the team’s other Texas natives including a pair of reserve outside backs who are Plano natives, junior Ashley Galovic (Plano/Solar S.C.) and senior Jennie Bireley (Andromeda S.C.).

Notre Dame’s all-time roster includes 21 all-time Texas natives, third-most from any state (narrowly behind the 23 from California and 22 from Indiana). The program’s notable alums from the lone star state have included the likes of early scoring leader Stephanie Porter (Spring/Klein HS; ’90-’93), defender Tiffany Thompson (Houston/Cypress Creek; ’91-’94), All-America/Academic All-America defender Monica Gonzalez (Richardson/Plano East; ’97-’01), ND career goals-against avg. leader (0.57) Liz Wagner (Spring/Klein; ’98-’01), and clutch goalscorer Amanda Guertin (Grapevine HS; ’00-’03).

Hanks, Karas and Mendoza will have the rare chance to play on the big stage of the College Cup final weekend while also competing in their home state. Through Notre Dame’s previous eight trips to the College Cup semifinals (and/or final) – four of them held in North Carolina, three in California and one in Portland, Ore. – only five Irish players similarly have experienced the thrill of playing those games in their home state (all California natives): midfielders Cindy Daws (Northridge) and Shannon Box (Torrance), goalkeepers Jen Renola (Los Gatos) and LaKeysia Beene (Gold River), and forward Monica Gerardo (Simi Valley). Daws and her fellow southern California natives Boxx and Gerardo joined Nor-Cal native Renola on the 1996 Irish squad that reached the 1996 NCAA title game (held at Santa Clara) while Beene played relatively near her hometown during the ’99 semifinals and final game (held in San Jose).

Friday’s game saw senior midfielder Ashley Jones come off the bench to log her 104th career game with the Irish, placing her first on the Notre Dame career games played list and tying her for second in the NCAA record book. Cinalli appeared in her 99th career game and will head to the College Cup as the leader of a senior class that has gone 91-9-4 (.894) in its four seasons with the Irish, including 18-2-0 in the NCAAs and 51-2-2 in games played at Alumni Field. The fourth-year players on the 2007 team are the sixth senior class in Notre Dame history – but the first since 2000 – to advance to the College Cup semifinals three or more times in their careers (also done by the 1996-2000 senior classes).

Duke (10-6-7) nearly became the first team to take the lead on Notre Dame during the 2007 postseason, after getting an early counter-attack chance down the right side of the field. CJ Ludemann had a good angle for her shot from the top right corner of the box, but Karas had come off her line and dove to her right to make the huge save in the game’s fifth minute.

The Blue Devils would have only two shots on goal the rest of the night, but both of them found the net when the game quickly became tied. Notre Dame finished the game with a 15-8 edge in total shots, 8-3 in shots on goal and 7-2 in corner kicks. The Irish now have outscored the opposition 50-10 in the 17-game unbeaten streak while allowing only 120 shots (7.1/gm), 44 shots on goal (2.6) and 42 corners (2.5) during that 10-week span.

Hanks registered her 19th assist of the season and 56th of her three-year career in the game’s 20th minute, after playing the ball to Bock, who quickly turned and charged down the center of the field before threading a pass into the top of the penalty area. The leftfooted Weissenhofer received the ball with pressure but was able to squire free on the left side before driving a low, rightfooted shot past the charging `keeper and into the right side of the net (19:30).

The score gives Weissenhofer four goals during the NCAAs, matching her combined total from the regular season (4) and the BIG EAST Tournament (0). After enduring an 11-game goal drought while battling back from an ankle injury, the sophomore forward now has posted goals in three straight games and (prior to the goals by Bock and Hanks) had scored four of her team’s past six goals.

Several frustrating near-goals in the first half nearly came back to haunt the Irish, despite adding the goal by Bock shortly after halftime. Hanks provided the corner-kick service on an outswinger from the right flag and Bock leaped high with Lipsher just a couple feet off the goal line. The header carried squarely under the center of the crossbar for Bock’s team-leading 16th goal of the season and the 40th in her three seasons with the Irish (51:39).

Bock now is tied with Gerardo atop the Notre Dame list for career goals in the NCAAs (10), followed by Hanks, Weissenhofer and Heft with nine each. Notre Dame’s battle-tested offensive foursome – comprised of Bock, Hanks, Weissenhofer and Cinalli (8) – impressively has combined for 36 career goals during NCAA Tournament play.

Seven of Bock’s past eight goals have come on headers and she maintains her pace of one goal per game played during the current unbeaten streak (15G in 15 GP; DNP vs. Rutgers in the BIG EAST quarters and vs. Illinois in the NCAA second round). Her 20 career header goals now include five as a freshman, seven as a sophomore and eight this seasons (she also has four rare header assists in her career). Bock entered the week ranked 14th among the nation’s goalscoring leaders.

Notre Dame has scored six goals off corner-kick sequences this season and Hanks has been involved in four of them, with three CK assists and another goal scored directly on the corner. Her 185 career points with the Irish include 50 (15G-20A) that have come on set-play/dead-ball situations: eight free-kick assists (three in ’07), 12 CK assists, seven free-kick goals (two in ’07), seven penalty-kick goals (5-of-5 in ’07) and the CK goal. Her 50 points this season include 22 that have come from the above categories (7G-6A).

Bock was subbed out after her goal and watched as Duke jumped back in the game by capitalizing on a corner-kick rebound sequence that included the initial service from Jane Alukonis before Ludemann worked the ball to Hathorn in the middle of the box. The resulting shot into the lower right corner of the goal (57:55) cut the deficit in half but the game would be tied just a few minutes later.

Short passes from Elisabeth Redmon and Alukonis set up Ludemann for her shot from outside the top right corner of the box. Ludemann had enough space to uncork a shot that bent into the far-left sidenetting for her fifth goal of the season (62:17). Bock then returned to the Irish lineup, after an 11-minute rest that saw the game go from 2-0 to 2-2.

Cinalli’s 36th career assist proved to be a huge play, as she beat a pair of Duke defenders to the ball outside the top of the penalty area and played Hanks down the right side. Hanks took the pass in stride and made a couple quick touches before launching a slipping shot that was headed for the far post. Weissenhofer was being marked tightly as she made a near-post run and slid in at the top of the six-yard box. The ball then appeared to skip past Weissenhofer, the defender and Lipsher (who possibly was thrown off by Weissenhofer’s sliding motion) and the shot carried on into the net for the gamewinner (77:35), giving Hanks 14 goals for the season and 64 in her career.

Hanks – who is on pace to graduate in May but could return in the fall of 2008 for her final season of eligibility – departed Alumni Field on Friday night with several more Notre Dame records to add to her overflowing soccer resume. The junior forward now owns Irish records for career shots (355), career postseason points (57; 16G-25A), career postseason gamewinning points (15; 4 GWG-7 GWA), career points in the NCAAs (32; 9G-14A) and career gamewinning points in the NCAAs (10; 3 GWG-4 GWA) while the goal on Friday added to another record she already held (now with 18 career postseason goals). Hanks has registered points in 20 of 23 postseason games during her college career and now is tied for 13th in NCAA history with 57 career assists (leaving her 3A shy of becoming the sixth D-I player ever to reach the 60G-60A career milestone). She would rank as the career assist leader at 308 of the 314 current D-I programs but stands only fifth on an impressive list of all-time Notre Dame assist leaders (she also is behind four former UNC players and one each from Jacksonville, Santa Clara, UConn and UC Santa Barbara on the NCAA career assists list).

The four-point night gives Hanks 185 career points to rank sixth in the Notre Dame record book, passing former teammate Katie Thorlakson (183) and now only one behind 2000 Hermann Trophy winner Anne Makinen (186), three shy of Jenny Heft and ’96 Hermann winner Cindy Daws (both 199), and five behind the program’s #2 all-time point leader Monica Gerardo (190; with Jenny Streiffer’s 211 being the ND record).

Quotes and additional notes follow below, as does the statistical linescore.

NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH Randy Waldrum -“It was a great game and when you get down to eight teams, everybody is going to be good. Hats off to Duke, after going down two away from home and coming back. I felt like we could be dangerous when we got the ball forward, but what a great game. … I don’t know that we’ve had any other team in the history of this program that has struggled with the won-loss results so much early in the season and regrouped in this fashion, making it all the way back to the College Cup for the semifinals. Back in mid-September when we were 3-4-1, we basically sat down with the girls and told them that we could not lose any more games. We gave away too many games early in the season. To come back and run off the stretch we have is a great feeling. It was fitting that Duke came back and tied it, and then you saw our character to come back and win it. I was very proud of them tonight, in particular for the seniors. … Nobody ever got discouraged when Duke came back. It was two big mistakes we made. We gave away a corner and they scored off a dead-ball situation, which always happens in tight games like this And then on the second goal by Ludemann, she struck a ball with no pressure on her and hit a great shot. We should have closed that quicker and not given her that shot to strike the ball. But give credit to the kids, we didn’t lose control of the game. … It was great to see Hanks get the last goal, she has had such a great year for us. … Cinalli kind of epitomizes the day. She dove in and dug a ball out right before the two Duke defenders could get it and tapped it into space for Hanks. Kerri did a great job of cutting it in and creating a great angle for herself . She is the best finisher in the county if you give her chances like that. … We still have work to do to get where we want to be. Considering the start that we had, I’m proud of the way we have been resilient and not given up. The players have shown what they are made of to come back like this.”

DUKE HEAD COACH ROBBIE CHURCH -“What a terrific side Notre Dame is and we wish them the best of luck. We hope they win it all. Randy does a phenomenal job here. They are a handful and came out and really pressured us early in the match. We have not seen that much pressure since we played North Carolina in the middle of October. We did not handle it really well in the first half. We made some adjustments and got more aggressive in the second half. We had to press and try to win more first- and second-balls. … When it went to 2-0, we just wanted to get one back and put the pressure back on them. Then we really started to press hard and were winning balls in the midfield and running at their back line. The first goal put the pressure back on them and then CJ just buried that shot. She’s had three of four goals like that this season. The game was on at that point but give them credit for coming back and seizing the momentum. We spent a lot of energy tying the game up and then tried to put some fresh, but inexperienced, legs in there. … On the final goal, one of our backs got turned and then the ball got played across the six. … The Notre Dame events staff did a fantastic job with the field. It’s tough to come up here and you are facing a great side in Notre Dame. I’m just proud of the effort and heart that our girls showed during the course of the 90 minutes.”

NOTRE DAME JUNIOR FORWARD Kerri Hanks – “Over the course of the season, we have learned how to play with each other and learn from our mistakes and it pays off. … I want to win a national championship. To win it for our seniors will mean everything. … Duke such a good team and they play so many good teams in the ACC. We went in at halftime and knew that one or two goals would not do it. It was amazing how we came back to get the final goal. I believe in our team and everybody just trusts each other and we did it. … Duke did great to come back and tie the game. We have had to battle so many times this season and we knew what it took to get the lead back. We played our hearts out and that’s what counts. I’m just so proud of the team that we get to go to the `final four’ again. … Duke is a great team and you can’t let down. We made two mistakes and it cost us. We had so many opportunities I the first half but only had the one goal. We knew we had to keep going, play with our hearts and pressure all the time. We had faith and pulled it off. … Every time Amanda Cinalli steps on the field she is going to give you her best game ever. She is going to be so positive and encouraging and cheer us up. She is amazing, on and off the field. She is one of the best leaders I’ve ever seen.

NOTRE DAME SOPHOMORE FORWARD Michele Weissenhofer – “Brittany played a great ball and I cut it back, saw where the goalkeeper was and placed it in the right corner. It was with my right foot, just like the two goals at UNC. … I am more confident in myself over the past few weeks and am just so happy for the team and how we are playing. We all are more confident and unified right now because we are nearing the end of a common goal. … We like to keep the game’s entertaining and that was the case tonight when they came back and tied it. Their second goal was a great shot but there are little moments in games where you can’t turn your back on the opponent. We have to stay focused on everything throughout the game and finish it out.”

ND IN THE NCAAs – Next week’s ND-FSU game will mark only the second time in the 26-year history of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament that teams have faced each other in the semifinals during consecutive years (UNC beat Santa Clara in the ’96 and ’97 semi’s, 2-1 in both games) … the Irish are 6-2-0 in eight previous NCAA semifinal games (vs. five different teams), with 1-0 wins over Portland in ’94 and UNC in ’95, a 3-2 win over UP in ’96, a 2-1 loss to UConn in ’97, a 1-0 win over SCU in ’99, a 2-1 loss to UNC in 2000, a 1-0 win over SCU in ’04 and the 2-1 win over FSU in ’06 … in addition to Notre Dame (18-2-0), the other top records during NCAA Tournament play over the past four seasons (2004-07) include UCLA (18-3-0),UNC (12-2-1), FSU (11-2-2) and Portland (13-3-1) … the four remaining teams in the 2007 NCAAs include one that was a #1 seed in its quadrant of the bracket (UCLA), another that was the #2 seed from its grouping (USC), a #3 seed (FSU) and a #4 (ND) … the Irish now are 8-2-1 in NCAA quarterfinal games (28-11 scoring edge) … a win over FSU would send ND to the NCAA title game for the seventh time since 1994 (second only to UNC’s nine titles games since ’94, with no other team having more than three title-game appearances in the 14-year span).

GIVING THANKS FOR HANKS – Hanks now has scored (17) or assisted (16) on 33 gamewinning goals in her ND career … her 50 career GW points remain third in the ND record book, one behind Streiffer and six back of Thorlakson’s record … Hanks has points in 63 of 77 total games with the Irish while maintaining the ND records for career points per game (2.40) and goals per game (0.83, tied with Heft) … her career avg. of 0.74 assists/gm ranks sixth in the NCAA record book … Hanks has scored (1) or assisted (5) on six GWGs in ND’s past eight wins … she is nearing a third straight season with 50 points (48; 14G-20A) and has joined former greats Holly Manthei, Thorlakson and Daws as the only ND players ever to have 20-plus assists in multiple seasons (also 22 in ’06) … her 64 career goals still are fifth in ND history, one behind Makinen … her 57 assists are tied with Boxx for fifth in the ND record book … recent UNC players Kacey White (58) and Lindsay Tarpley (59) are right above Hanks on the NCAA career assists list … Streiffer (19), Michelle McCarthy (19) and Amanda Guertin (18) are the only ND players ever to total more career gamewinning goals than Hanks (17) … Hanks is 3A shy of joining the exclusive 60G-60A club that includes: former UNC great Mia Hamm (103G-72A), ND’s Streiffer (70G-71A) and Daws (61G-67A), UC Santa Barbara alum Carin Jennings (102G-60A) and former SCU player Mandy Clemens (67G-65A) … Thorlakson (23) is the only ND player with more career assists in the postseason than Hanks (21) and more career assists in the NCAAs (15, to 14 for Hanks) … Hanks, Bock and Cinalli each have four career GWGs in the postseason (Weissenhofer owns that ND record with six while Gerardo has five) … Gerardo and Weissenhofer share the ND record for career GWGs in the NCAAs (4), followed by Hanks, Cinalli and Guertin (3) … Thorlakson saw Hanks surpass her ND records for career points in the postseason (53) and in the NCAAs (29), and for career GW points in the postseason (14) and in the NCAAs (9) … Daws was the previous ND recordholder for career shots (354).

POSTSEASON POSSE – The fantastic foursome of Hanks (18G-21A), Bock (15G-8A), Cinalli (10G-7A) and Weissenhofer (11G-2A) now has combined for 54 career goals and 38 assists in postseason play, with 36 of those goals and 18 assists coming in the NCAAs (Hanks 9G-11A, Bock 10G-3A, Cinalli 8G-4A and Weissenhofer 9G) … in addition to sharing the ND record for career goals in the NCAAs (10), Bock also ranks second in the ND record book with 15 career postseason goals (behind Hanks) and is fourth all-time in career NCAA Tournament points (23, one behind Gerardo) … Bock’s 38 career postseason points are sixth in ND history (one shy of Streiffer, two back of Gerardo and five behind Makinen) … Cinalli remains ninth on that list with 27 career postseason points and is third in ND history with nine career GW points in the NCAAs (3 GWG-3 GWA) … Cinalli (34G-32A) and Bock (40G-20A) landed on 100 career points on the same night, joining 15 previous ND players in that century club … Bock moved into 14th on the ND career goals list, three behind Susie Zilvitis … Bock is the 26th ND player ever to reach 20G-20A in her career.

DOUBLE DYNAMIC DUOS – The ND-FSU game will feature two of the nation’s top scoring tandems, in Hanks and Bock (30G-21A, 81 points, 12 GWGs between them) and the FSU pair of Mami Yamaguchi (23G-17A, 63 pts, 5 GWG) and Sanna Talonen (17G-5A, 39 pts, 6 GWG) that has combined for 40G-22A, 102 pts and 11 GWGs … UCLA also has a noteworthy duo in Lauren Cheney (22G-11A, 55 pts, 9 GWG) and Danesha Adams (15G-8A, 38 pts, 5 GWG), with their combined totals including 37G-19A, 93 pts and 14 GWGs … Hanks (64) and Bock (40) have combined for 104 career goals, still the fifth-most ever by ND classmates … their 29 career GWGs (17 for Hanks, 12 for Bock) are tied for the third-most ever by classmates at ND, behind the 35 for McCarthy (19) and Rosella Guerrero (16) and the 34 y Heft (19) and Streiffer (15) … Hanks and Bock have combined on 10 goals this season (each with G/A on those 10 plays).

SENIOR SALUTE – Former UNC player Robin Confer (107; ’94-’97) is the only D-I player ever to log more career games played than Jones (104) … former UNC player Rebekah McDowell (`96-’99) and Penn State alum Bonnie Young (’98-`01) are tied with Jones for second on the NCAA career GP list … Jones and Cinalli have tied Buczkowski and Christie Shaner (100) for the most combined games played by ND classmates (203) … the 2007 seniors are one win shy of tying the 2006 seniors (92) for most career wins at ND (the ’97 seniors also had 91 career wins) … the ’07 seniors are tied for having the 15th-most career wins of any senior class in D-I women’s soccer history (behind ND’s ’06 seniors and 13 former UNC senior groups) … Cinalli’s next game will make her the ninth ND player ever to appear in 100 or more games … in addition to ND (91-9-4), the other 2007 senior classes with the most career wins are UNC (89-7-1) and UCLA (80-14-4) …

QUICK KICKS – The Irish are one victory shy of reaching 20 wins for the fifth straight season and 12th time in the past 14 years … the 17-game unbeaten streak ranks ninth-longest in ND history and is fifth-best in the Waldrum era (behind a 26-game unbeaten streak in ’06, a 24-game in 2000, a 20-game in ’04 and a 19-game in ’03) … ND also is riding a 24-game scoring streak that ranks fifth in the ND record book … the Irish have been outshot in the unbeaten streak only once (by UNC) and have trailed for a total of only 72 minutes (4.7% of the time) … ND has not trailed for the entire 2007 postseason (seven games) and has gone a total of 708 minutes since its previous deficit (early in the regular-season finale at Rutgers) … Santa Clara remains the only team to score more than two goals vs. ND all season … the Irish own 79 consecutive wins when scoring three-plus goals (161-1-0 in the past 162 when scoring three-plus) … ND also has played 79 straight home games without being outshot … ND now is 7-3-1 in the all-time series with Duke … the Irish are 16-2-0 this season when leading at the half and 18-2-1 when outshooting the opponent … ND ended with a 40-10 scoring edge at home this season, led by Hanks (11G-10A, 4 GWG) and Bock (9G-2A, 4 GWG) … Waldrum’s career record as a D-I women’s soccer coach now stands at 292-78-19 (.775), including 185-28-8 (.855) at ND … Karas improved her career record with the Irish to 54-4-2 (.917), the top win pct. ever by an ND goalkeeper.

Duke (10-6-7) 0 2 – 2

Notre Dame (19-4-2) 1 2 – 3

ND 1. Michele Weissenhofer 8th of season/26th of career (Brittany Bock, Kerri Hanks) 19:30; ND 2. Bock 16/40 (Hanks) 51:39; Duke 1. Kelly Hathorn 6 (Jane Alukonis, CJ Ludemann) 57:55; Duke 2. Ludemann 5 (Alukonis, Elisabeth Redmon) 62:17; ND 3. Hanks 14/64 (Amanda Cinalli) 77:35.

Shots: Duke 2-6 – 8, ND 9-6 – 15.
Corner Kicks: Duke 0-2 – 2, ND 4-3 – 7.
Saves: Duke 5 (Allison Lipsher), ND 1 (Lauren Karas).
Fouls: Duke 18, ND 12.
Yellow Cards: Lipsher (Duke) 77:21; Hanks (ND) 83:43. .