Junior All-America forward Melissa Henderson was chosen by her teammates as this year's recipient of the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award, receiving the honor from assistant coach Dawn Greathouse during Sunday's awards banquet at Club Naimoli inside Purcell Pavilion on the Notre Dame campus.

National Champion Women's Soccer Team Honored At Awards Banquet

April 17, 2011

media-icon-photogallery.gifPhoto Gallery

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Junior All-America forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) added yet another award to her already-overflowing trophy case on Sunday when she was selected by her teammates as this year’s recipient of the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award, it was announced during the 2010 Notre Dame Women’s Soccer Banquet on Sunday afternoon inside Club Naimoli at Purcell Pavilion. In addition, midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit) was chosen as the Notre Dame Freshman of the Year, while senior co-captain Lauren Fowlkes (Lee’s Summit, Mo./St. Teresa’s Academy) earned the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award.

A record-setting crowd joined in celebrating the 2010 Fighting Irish squad that captured the program’s third NCAA national championship with a 21-2-2 record, ignoring a No. 4 regional seed (No. 13-16 overall) in the NCAA Championship by reeling off six consecutive wins in the tournament, the last four against seeded squads and two against No. 1-seeded teams. Notre Dame ultimately hoisted the hardware on the back of consecutive 1-0 College Cup wins over Ohio State and Stanford in Cary, N.C., two of the five shutout victories the Fighting Irish registered during their NCAA postseason run when they outscored the opposition by a staggering 15-1 margin.

Besides Sunday’s award recipients, the Notre Dame players, coaches, and support staff were presented with their national championship rings by Beth Hunter, executive director of the Monogram Club, and the banquet’s keynote speaker, Kate Markgraf (’98), a three-time All-American and three-time Olympian (two-time gold medalist) and a member of Notre Dame’s 1995 NCAA national championship team. What’s more, the five departing Fighting Irish seniors received framed jerseys in honor of their memorable tenure under the Golden Dome.

Several highlight videos were played during the banquet, including the debut of “The Extra Mile: The Story of the 2010 Notre Dame National Champion Women’s Soccer Team,” an exclusive documentary with behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and stories about the Fighting Irish during their memorable 2010 season. Produced in conjunction with LeSea Broadcasting and WHME-TV in South Bend, DVD copies of the documentary will go on sale to the general public in the coming days, with an order form to be posted on-line through the women’s soccer page at the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com.

Led by the reigning National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Mondo National Coach of the Year Randy Waldrum, the Fighting Irish will return seven starters (plus three others with previous starting experience) and 20 total players from their national championship team, led by Henderson — the 2010 Hermann Trophy runner-up/Honda Sports Award recipient/NSCAA first-team All-American and United States Under-23 National Team forward, as well as 2010 College Cup Most Outstanding Defensive Player/co-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) and 2009 NSCAA first-team All-America midfielder/Hermann Trophy semifinalist Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West). Notre Dame also welcomes a stellar six-player incoming freshman class that includes five players ranked among the top 60 in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer.

For more information on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women’s soccer news Twitter page (www.twitter.com/NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women’s soccer page at UND.com.

Here’s a closer look at the 2010 Fighting Irish women’s soccer award recipients:

Melissa Henderson (Jr., F, Garland, Texas/Berkner) – Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP
As she has been in each of her three years at Notre Dame, Henderson arguably was the nation’s most electric offensive threat in 2010, scoring 17 goals and dishing out a career-high 11 assists en route to a career-high 45 points. The Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the NCAA Women’s College Cup, she was one of only three players in the country (along with Nebraska’s Morgan Marlborough and Dayton’s Colleen Williams) to rank among the top 20 in goals (sixth), assists (tied-20th) and points (fourth) — while being one of just two players (along with Williams) to also compete in the 2010 NCAA Championship and the only one to take her team beyond the first two rounds of the tournament — and she was one of 10 players nationwide to post double-digit totals in both goals and assists.

Furthermore, the speedy Texan ranked at or near the top of the BIG EAST Conference in every major offensive category, including those already named, plus game-winning goals (first – 6), which also ranks eighth in school history. Her 16 game-winning points (6G-4A), capped by her assist on freshman forward Adriana Leon’s decisive 63rd-minute goal in the NCAA national championship match (a 1-0 win over top-ranked and previously-unbeaten Stanford), are tied for ninth-most on the Fighting Irish single-season charts.

Awards were plentiful for Henderson this season. In addition to her All-America citations and College Cup accolades, she also was the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team all-BIG EAST honoree, in addition to being named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Year (first team) and earning TDS National Player of the Week laurels on Oct. 4.

In her 76-match career, Henderson has piled up 52 goals (11th in school history) and 18 assists for 122 points (15th in school history), while her 20 career game-winning goals are second in program annals behind two-time Hermann Trophy recipient Kerri Hanks’ 23 scores. What’s more, the Fighting Irish are unbeaten all-time when Henderson scores a goal (35-0-2) or registers a point (44-0-2).

Mandy Laddish (Fr., M, Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit) – Freshman of the Year Award
Thrust into a critical defensive midfield role early in her freshman season while Barg recovered from injury, Laddish performed brilliantly as a rookie, starting all 25 matches and ranking fifth on the team (tops among freshmen) with 2,158 minutes played. She also chalked up two goals and one assist in 2010, with no score bigger than her strike in the 83rd minute of the NCAA Women’s College Cup semifinal against Ohio State that lifted Notre Dame into the national championship match. Her play in both the semifinal and title matches more than cemented her place on the College Cup All-Tournament Team.

Laddish also earned several other honors this past season, most notably garnering Soccer America All-Freshman First Team honors and first-team rookie status on the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Year. She also was a member of the NSCAA All-Northeast Region Third Team and the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team, and regularly has represented the United States in international competition, currently with the USA Under-20 National Team, whom she will rejoin April 23-30 for a training camp at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Lauren Fowlkes (Sr., D/M, Lee’s Summit, Mo./St. Teresa’s Academy) – Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award
One of the most versatile players in the country, Fowlkes capped off a stellar career that saw her spend time at all three field positions for Notre Dame. A two-time NSCAA All-American and Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American (just the 13th Fighting Irish student-athlete ever to couple those honors in the same season twice, doing so in 2009 and 2010), Fowlkes went on to earn an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and the BIG EAST Institutional Scholar-Athlete Award, as she wound up her academic career as a science-business major in Notre Dame’s College of Science, where she sported a 3.619 cumulative grade-point average (GPA).

On the pitch, Fowlkes started all 25 matches in 2010, ranking fourth on the team in scoring with four goals and 13 points. She also was third on the squad with five assists, piling up the majority of offensive production during the NCAA Championship, when she tallied three goals and three assists (nine points).

Also a two-time all-BIG EAST selection, including the 2009 BIG EAST Co-Offensive Player of the Year, Fowlkes did some of her best work on the Fighting Irish back line as a central defender. In 2010, she teamed with Schuveiller and senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) to form the core of a Notre Dame defense that allowed 13 goals all season — including just one in six NCAA Championship matches — and collected 15 shutouts with a 0.51 goals-against average.

Fowlkes finished her career with 17 goals and 10 assists (44 points) in 95 career matches, starting 82 times. She also was a finalist for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and remains a vital contributor to the United States youth national team programs, having played for her country at both the U-20 and U-23 levels, and helping Team USA strike gold at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile.

In January, Fowlkes was selected in the first round (fifth overall pick, tying the highest selection ever by a Notre Dame player) of the 2011 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) College Draft by the Philadelphia Independence, for whom she now plays.

— ND —