Aug. 16, 2001
The Notre Dame women’s soccer team has been ranked fourth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll, with the Irish set to return many of the key components from their 2000 NCAA semifinalist squad. The Irish also were ranked sixth in the preseason poll released by the Soccer Buzz internet publication.
The top three teams in both polls were defending champion North Carolina, 2000 runner-up UCLA and Portland (which rounded out the group of 2000 semifinalists).
Six of Notre Dame’s 2001 opponents were listed among the NSCAA preseason top 25, including top-10 teams Nebraska (No. 5), Santa Clara (6), Penn State (8) and Connecticut (10), plus 15th-ranked Stanford and No. 25 Hartford. Three other Irish opponents-Michigan, Boston College and West Virginia-also received mention in the NSCAA preseason poll.
The Soccer Buzz poll lists Penn State, Nebraska and Stanford at the 7-8-9 spots, plus Santa Clara at No. 10, UConn at 11th and B.C. at the 22nd spot (with Hartford and WVU also receiving votes).
Notre Dame-which held its first practice Wednesday night-returns 13 of its top 18 players from the 2000 squad that posted a 23-1-1 record and advanced to the NCAA semifinals while occupying the No. 1 spot in the national polls for most of the season. Top losses from 2000 include four graduates who were regular members of the starting lineup, among them the 2000 team’s top scorers-midfielder Anne Makinen (the consensus 2000 national player of the year) and forward Meotis Erikson-plus marking backs Kelly Lindsey and Kerri Bakker.
Nine returners have starting experience with the Irish, including four who play in the defensive third: senior goalkeeper Liz Wagner, fifth-year left outside back Monica Gonzalez, senior right back Lindsey Jones and junior marking back Vanessa Pruzinsky.
Senior Mia Sarkesian and junior Ashley Dryer return to Notre Dame’s unique formation of three central-based midfielders-with sophomore Randi Scheller set to fill Makinen’s attacking midfielder role-while there are plenty of options at the forward position, with the returners including junior Ali Lovelace and sophomores Amy Warner and Amanda Guertin.
The Irish will play a pair of exhibition games next week: Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Wisconsin-Milwaukee (5:00 p.m.) and Friday, Aug. 24, vs. Iowa (2:00 p.m. at Alumni Field).
Notre Dame then will open its 2001 season by again playing host to one of the nation’s premier women’s soccer tournaments (Aug. 31 and Sept. 2), with the four-team KeyBank Classic field including No. 8 Penn State, No. 10 UConn and 25th-ranked Hartford. The Friday-night matchups are Hartford-UConn (5:00) and ND-PSU (7:30) while Sunday’s action will feature PSU-UConn (11:00) and ND-Hartford (1:00.
2001 NSCAA Women’s Soccer Division I – Preseason Poll
2000 Record 2000 NCAAs1. North Carolina 21-3-0 Champion2. UCLA 19-4-1 Runner-up3. Portland 18-4-0 Semifinals4. Notre Dame 23-1-1 Semifinals5. Nebraska 22-2-0 Round of 166. Santa Clara 16-7-1 Quarterfinals7. Washington 17-3-0 Round of 168. Penn State 22-3-1 Quarterfinals9. Virginia 11-8-1 Round of 1610. Connecticut 17-7-2 Quarterfinals11. Texas A&M 18-7-0 Round of 1612. Clemson 19-3-1 Quarterfinals13. BYU 21-4-0 Round of 1614. California 17-3-1 Second Round15. Stanford 14-5-1 Second Round16. Florida State 14-8-2 Round of 1617. Duke 14-8-2 Second Round18. Florida 16-8-0 Second Round19. USC 14-6-2 Second Round20. Texas 12-7-0 N.A.21. Dartmouth 13-4-0 Round of 1622. Wake Forest 11-8-2 Second Round23. Harvard 17-3-0 Round of 1624. Marquette 20-3-1 Second Round25. Hartford 17-3-0 Second Round
Also mentioned: William & Mary, Richmond, Arizona State, Michigan, Southern Methodist, Boston College, Tennessee, Georgia, Illinois, Dayton, West Virginia.
2001 Soccer Buzz Women’s Soccer Division I – Preseason Poll
2000 Record 2000 NCAAs1. North Carolina 21-3-0 Champion2. UCLA 19-4-1 Runner-up3. Portland 18-4-0 Semifinals4. Virginia 11-8-1 Round of 165. California 17-3-1 Second Round6. Notre Dame 23-1-1 Semifinals7. Penn State 22-3-1 Quarterfinals8. Nebraska 22-2-0 Round of 169. Stanford 14-5-1 Second Round10. Washington 17-3-0 Round of 1611. Santa Clara 16-7-1 Quarterfinals12. Connecticut 17-7-2 Quarterfinals13. Florida State 14-8-2 Round of 1614. Clemson 19-3-1 Quarterfinals15. Texas A&M 18-7-0 Round of 1616. Florida 16-8-0 Second Round17. Wake Forest 11-8-2 Second Round18. Texas 12-7-0 N.A.19. William & Mary 15-6-0 First Round20. Duke 14-8-2 Second Round21. Arizona State 14-7-1 Second Round22. Boston College 14-7 N.A.23. Illinois 14-8 Second Round24. Richmond 13-7 Second Round25. Kentucky 15-6 N.A.
Also receiving votes: BYU (19-4-1), Hartford, (17-4), Harvard (12-8), N.C. State (10-7-3), Purdue (12-6-1), SMU (13-5-1), West Virginia (15-6).