Michele Weissenhofer - one of the youngest players on the U.S. Nordic Cup roster - scored on a header in the title-game win over Germany.

Nordic Cup Diary #2: Cinalli And Weissenhofer Involved In Pair Of Goals As USA Tops Germany In 4-0 Gold-Medal Game

July 24, 2007

VAASA, Finland – Notre Dame women’s soccer players Amanda Cinalli and Michele Weissenhofer played lead roles in the United States Under-21 National Team’s victory at the 2007 Nordic Cup, an annual event that serves as the world’s top tournament for youth women’s soccer. The Americans won their group last week with 1-0 victories over Norway and Sweden before topping Germany in Tuesday’s 4-0 title game, in a rematch of the 2006 final that was won by the Germans. The U.S., which now has won nine of the past 11 Nordic Cup titles, fielded a considerably younger team than the rest of the field at this year`s event, which consisted primarily of under-23 national teams.

(Note: full game stats and lineup are included below, as is a second short Nordic Cup diary entry from Cinalli and Weissenhofer, with a final diary entry to come later in the week; also note that – unlike recent Nordic Cups – game photos are not available from US Soccer for this event.)

Cinalli – a rising senior who started all three games for the U.S. (at midfield) – set up the second goal in the title game, after maintaining possession through the penalty area and being taken down with a hard tackle. University of Portland veteran Angie Woznuk then converted the ensuing penalty kick for a 2-0 lead early in the second half.

Weissenhofer, one of the youngest players on the U.S. team, came off the bench as a reserve forward in all three games and provided an added offensive weapon with her flip throw-in style (one of which hit the goalpost in the Sweden game, moments before another sailed into the goal – which does not count as a score because free throws are indirect reset plays). The rising sophomore capped the scoring in the gold-medal game, heading in a cross from former Virginia midfielder Sarah Huffman in the 76th minute.

Notre Dame’s 2007 women’s soccer roster now includes 16 players (out of 27) who have won a national championship with their club team and/or won a major international tournament with a U.S. youth national team. Cinalli – who also was a member of the 2006 Nordic Cup runner-up squad – and Weissenhofer join seven former Notre Dame players who have played on winning U.S. teams at the Nordic Cup.

Weissenhofer earlier won two USYS national club titles with the Chicago-based Eclipse Select (in 2004 and ’05). She joins rising junior forward Kerri Hanks as current Irish players who own both club and international titles on their soccer resumes. Hanks was one of the youngest players on the U.S. Under-19 National Team that won the 2002 U-19 World Championship and she then led the Dallas Texans to a 2002 national cub championship.

Another Notre Dame player could joining the program’s growing list of club champions, as rising sophomore defender Ashley Galovic and her Dallas-based Solar Soccer Club team begin play this week at the USYS nationals (as one of four teams remaining in their age group). Look for more on Galovic and Solar in the coming days on und.com.

The USA finished with a 12-4 edge in total shots during the Tuesday’s championship game and owned a 6-2 margin in shots on goal, plus 6-3 in corner kicks. The Americans did not allow a goal in their three Nordic Cup games while racking up a 35-16 shot edge in the tournament (18-10 in shots on goal, 17-9 in corner kicks).

UCLA forward Danesha Adams opened the scoring in the 11th minute, after sending home a rebound of a shot by Illinois veteran Ella Masar. Germany goalkeeper Stephanie Ullrich failed to hold on to the initial shot from Masar, with Adams then tucking the ball into the right corner of the net.

“We dug deep today,” said Adams. “We said before the game that we didn’t work this hard for six months, all the traveling and training camps, to come here and lose. We changed our attitude and we refused to lose.”

Cinalli played the first 60 minutes of Tuesday’s game before being replaced by Santa Clara’s Kiki Bosio. Just moments before departing the game, Cinalli’s strong possession skills – which have led to plenty of PKs for the Irish during her career – produced the 58th-minute penalty kick. Woznuk then placed her shot into the left corner for the 2-0 lead.

The USA then scored two goals in a three-minute span to seal the win. UCLA midfielder Tina DiMartino took a pass from Adams and dribbled around the goalkeeper before finishing into the open net (74th minute). Huffman’s cross then set up the header by Weissenhofer, her first career goal in a major international tournament.

“We played very well,” said U.S. head coach Bill Irwin. “It was the way we were capable of playing and every player came to play for 90 minutes. The team followed our gameplan very well and we had four great goals. It was a top-class tournament and our hosts were great, This was a valuable experience for these young players and hopefully it will help push them on the full team. The future looks bright.”

Cinalli played at least 58 minutes in all three games at the 2007 Nordic Cup, averaging 63 minutes per game with a high of 71 in the opener versus Norway.

The United States now has defeated Germany three times in the Nordic Cup final (also 2000 and `02). Norway used a 3-0 win over the host team Finland to claim the bronze medal while England was awarded fifth place, after playing to a 1-1 tie with Sweden and finishing with a 4-2 edge in the penalty-kick shootout.

NORDIC CUP DIARY #2 (July 23, 2007) – submitted by Amanda Cinalli and Michele Weissenhofer

Sunday July 22 – “Today we played Sweden in another close match. We were having a little trouble keeping a rhythm and staying on the same page as a whole during the first half, but after a few words from the coaching staff at halftime we managed to pull out of the game with a 1-0 victory. Kiki Bosio scored again late in the second half when she beat a player and cut back to her left foot before curling the ball into the upper left corner from outside the box. It was a great and well-deserved goal.”

Monday July 23, 2007 – “Today we had a light training session and went over tactics for our game against Germany tomorrow. Unlike the other teams we have played, Germany will play and move the ball around instead of just blasting the ball down the field in hopes of getting on the end of it. It should be a great game and we are excited for a rematch with Germany, after what happened in the last Nordic Cup Final.

“After dinner tonight, our team met to go over what we are going to do for our skit during the tournament banquet tomorrow night. We decided that we are going to play `Guess that Tune’ and the `Moo Game’ with the other teams. Of course, we didn’t decide to play the `Moo Game’ until we played this practical joke on someone on our team who is not familiar with the joke. And who better to practice this joke on than Amanda?

“Yes, she completely thought she had figured out the joke – only to find out that she was very, very wrong. Let’s just say that the joke ended with her making a fool of herself and bringing a laugh to everyone else who was in on the joke. We then discussed the big game against Germany and shared some encouraging words before we settled down for a good night’s sleep. Goodnight and sweet dreams. GO USA and GO IRISH!”

– Weissy and Cinalli

(game-3; 2007 Under-23 Nordic Cup; Hietalahti Stadium – Vaasa, Finland; Tuesday, July 24)

USA 1 3 – 4
Germany 0 0 – 0

USA 1. Danesha Adams (Ella Masar) 11th minute; USA 2. Angie Woznuk (penalty kick, set up by ND`s Amanda Cinalli) 58; USA 3. Tina DiMartino (Danesha Adams) 74; USA 4. – Michele Weissenhofer, ND (Sarah Huffman) 76.

Shots: USA 12, GER 4
Saves: USA 2, GER 2
Corner Kicks: USA 6, GER 3
Fouls: USA 1, GER 10
Offside: USA 2, GER 2
Yellow Cards: none

USA: 1-Cori Alexander; 10-Rachel Buehler (16-Stephanie Logterman, 84), 4-Nikki Krzysik, 12-Kendall Fletcher, 13-Manya Makoski; 3-Tina DiMartino, 11-Ali Krieger (23-Becky Sauerbrunn, 79), 6-Angie Woznuk (14-Sarah Huffman, 63); 9-Danesha Adams (5-Kelsey Carpenter, 79), 8-Ella Masar (19-Michele Weissenhofer, 67), 15-Amanda Cinalli (7-Kiki Bosio, 60). … subs not used: 18-Kelsey Davis.

GER: 1-Stephanie Ullrich; 2-Anne van Bonn, 5-Andrea Wilkens, 14-Christina Plessen, 3-Corina Schröder (15-Anne Heller, 72); 4-Juliane Höfler (13-Meike Dinger, 90), 10-Lena Goeßling (18-Caroline Hamann, 66), 16-Aferdita Kameraj (17-Jennifer Ninaus, 89), 8-Karolin Thomas (6-Meike Weber, 72); 7-Lydia Neumann (11-Anna Blässe, 46), 9-Shelley Thompson

Referees: Pernilla Larsson (Sweden), Petra Pohjonen (Finland), Jenny Kaarnassaari (Finland) and Lina Langbacka (Finland)