Feb. 13, 2001
|Player||Pos.||Hometown/High School||Club Team|
|Mary Boland||M/D||Hudson, Ohio/Hudson||Ohio Internationals|
|Candace Chapman||F||Ajax, Ontario/Archbishop O’Connor||Canada Under-18 Nat’l Team|
|Gudrun Gunnarsdottir||D||Seltjarnames, Iceland/Menntaskolinn I Reykjavik||Iceland National Team|
|Reagan Jones||M||Tampa, Florida/Hillsborough||Blackwatch Stirling|
The Notre Dame women’s soccer program has signed a diversely-talented group of four high school seniors to national letters of intent, as announced today by head coach Randy Waldrum.
The signees include midfielder/defender Mary Boland (Hudson, Ohio), forward Candace Chapman (Ajax, Ontario), defender Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (Seltjarnames, Iceland) and midfielder Reagan Jones (Tampa, Fla.).
Boland was named a high school All-American after leading Hudson High School to the Ohio state title (she scored twice in the final six minutes of that 2-1 win) and Jones is a leading scorer for one of the nation’s top club teams, Blackwatch Stirling (both players attended the Notre Dame Soccer Camp during the summer of 2000), while Chapman has starred for Canada’s under-18 national team and Gunnarsdottir is a starter with Iceland’s up-and-coming national team.
Notre Dame is set to return 13 of its top 17 players from the 2000 squad that spent most of the season ranked No. 1, advanced to the NCAA semifinals and finished with a final record of 23-1-1. The team’s losses include its top two scorers and four total starters, led by midfielder and consensus national player of the year Anne Makinen (14 goals-15 assists in 2000, Notre Dame’s fourth all-time leading scorer with 63G-56A).
Forward Meotis Erikson (13G-12A, ND’s seventh all-time leading scorer with 58G-41A) likewise has moved on as a hopeful entry in the fledgling Women’s United Soccer Association while two-year team captain Kelly Lindsey and Kerri Bakker are set to graduate after helping anchor the 2000 Irish defense that led the nation with an 0.39 goals-against average.
“By losing four starters from every position but goalkeeper, we had some clearcut goals in assembling this class and we feel that we met those goals by adding four talented players who will fit well into our system,” said Waldrum, whose squad also anticipates the addition of forward Melissa Tancredi-a former member of Canada’s under-18 national team who missed all of her freshman season at Notre Dame in 2000 due to an ACL injury.
“We essentially view Melissa Tancredi as part of this newcomer group and she will combine with Candace and our returning forwards to provide tremendous quickness and athleticism to our offense. Overall, we have added significantly to our team speed and should provide fans with a very attractive style of soccer . Our basic goal was to match up better athletically with the other top teams while still maintaining the high level of soccer skill that has characterized past Notre Dame teams.
“In the midfield, we know that there is no way to replace a player of Anne’s ability but at this point we anticipate moving (sophomore-to-be) Randi Scheller into that attacking midfielder role. Reagan Jones is the type of player that can provide solid depth for us in the midfield and she has the playmaking and distribution skills that are so important to our system of three central-based midfielders.
“Mary Boland is a player who could make an impact at any position on the field and we are excited to see where she can be most effective in the fall. And Gudrun seems to be a natural addition at the central defender position, due to her speed, height (5-9), ability to read the game well and that intangible quality that comes from playing internationally against some of the top forwards in the world.”
Notre Dame returns three players with starting experience at forward (junior-to-be Ali Lovelace and rising sophomores Amy Warner and Amanda Guertin) while senior-to-be Mia Sarkesian and rising junior Ashley Dryer return to lead the midfield. Battle-tested Monica Gonzalez is expected to return at the left outside back position while senior-to-be Lindsey Jones will be back on the other side, with rising junior Vanessa Pruzinsky likely to return in 2001 at a central defender spot. Goalkeeper Liz Wagner will head into her senior season after leading the nation in 2000 with an 0.39 season GAA.
MARY BOLAND NOTES: Named a high school All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America – scored twice in the final six minutes to lift Hudson High School to 2-1 win over Cincinnati Mother of Mercy in 2000 state championship game (Hudson was runner-up in 1995 and in a 1999 shootout) – played alongside her sister Laura, a midfielder on the Hudson team – three-year member of the Region II Olympic Development Program – also was named an NSCAA youth All-American – member of the under-19 national player pool – an Olympic Development Program Academic All-American – named Ohio state player of the year for 2000 (also conference player of the year) – totaled 27 goals and 12 assists in 23 games with Hudson team that posted 20-1-2 final record – scored twice in the state semifinals before her clutch two-goal outburst in state championship game-played before a large crowd at the Columbus Crew Stadium – also plays for the Ohio Internationals club team – played mostly central midfielder as a prep, with some games at forward – attended Walsh High School as a freshman and sophomore – member of the National Honor Society – previous Notre Dame women’s soccer letterwinners from Ohio include senior-to-be forward Kelly Tulisiak (Medina), midfielder and former ND assistant coach Margaret Jarc (Bay Village, 1989-92), defender Julie Vogel (Cincinnati, 1992-95) and defender Kate Fischer (Cincinnati, 1993-96) – her mother Suzanne Boland is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College while her uncles Robert and Charles Schenkelberg are Notre Dame graduates.
WALDRUM ON BOLAND: “Mary is such a versatile and talented player. She has played a little bit of everything-midfielder with her regional team, some forward in high school and with her club team, and she played great centrally in the back at our summer camp. She is the type of player who will make an impact wherever she is used on the field and it will be exciting to see how that plays out.
BOLAND ON HER DECISION: “Since I was a little girl, I always sort of wanted to go to Notre Dame. When I went to the soccer camps at Notre Dame, coach Waldrum and the players were just so nice and I also loved my official visit that I took last October. The team atmosphere was so great and Randy is a really good coach. I think that he will teach me a lot and make me a much better player. – I’m not sure where I’m going to play but I’d just love to play anywhere. I just want to be able to play wherever they need me.”
CANDACE CHAPMAN NOTES: Set to be reunited at Notre Dame with her former Canada under-18 teammate Melissa Tancredi – has playing experience at forward and flank midfielder with Canada national teams, plus the Ajax United Wildcats (1993-99) and the Burlington Sting (since 1999) – totaled 25 goals in 15 league games during the 2000 club season – has participated in a number of Canada national team programs and training camps – team captain and top goalscorer for Ajax from 1993-99 – six-year member of Ontario’s provincial soccer team while playing with the Ontario Provincial Team/ODP Michigan USA from 1996-2000 – played on all-star Provincial under-18 (200) and under-19 (1999) teams, plus a silver-medalist finish in 1997 and bronze medal in ”98 (both under-17) – helped Ajax Wildcats win three league titles and the 1998 Ontario Cup (after reaching the finals in ’96 and ’97) – teamed with Tancredi on Sting team that won the under-19 club championship, the 2000 Ontario Cup, the Columbia Maryland tournament, the Robbie Tournament and the OYSL League Cup – named junior athlete of the year at O’Connor High School – named MVP of Ontario Cup in 1997 and ’98 – led region in scoring (1998) – an honor roll student at Denis O’Connor Catholic High School – daughter of Gerard and Margaret Chapman – born April 2, 1983.
WALDRUM ON CHAPMAN: “Candace is a player very similar to Amy Warner, due to her speed and ability to beat defenders one-on-one. She has played some as a flank midfielder-which is a position that our system here at Notre Dame doesn’t use-but as a forward that makes her a threat to get free down the sides and provide quality service into the goalbox area. We anticipate having players like Tancredi and Guertin as our primary target players and Candace could add a nice dimension to our team with the ability to provide those long passes from the flank. Adding Candace and Tancredi also gives us tremendous five-player depth up front, which can give you an advantage in terms of having fresh legs at crucial parts of the game. It also will give us the depth at forward to try different combinations or absorb what normally would be an untimely injury.”
CHAPMAN ON HER DECISION: “Notre Dame gives me the best of two worlds, because it has a great soccer program and is a great school. That’s basically how I made my decision. I made my official visit in late September and everyone was very friendly and you could tell that they had the drive to be the best. I could tell that Randy really knew what he was doing and is a great coach. All of the coaches were very friendly and helpful. – I talked with Melissa about Notre Dame and-even through she was not playing last year-she felt very welcomed and part of the team. She had great things to say about the school and I knew it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. – I’m just so excited and really am looking forward to playing for Notre Dame. It’s going to be a great learning experience for me and I just can’ wait.”
GUDRUN GUNNARSDOTTIR NOTES: Her name is pronounced Gud (as is bud)-run Goon-us-dott-err and she is most known by the nickname “Gunna” – set to become the second European player to join the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, following in the footsteps of 2000 national player of the year Anne Makinen (a native of Helsinki, Finland) – lives in Seltjarnames, Iceland (near the capital city of Reykjavik) while attending high school at Menntaskolinn I Reykjavik (the school does not sponsor a girls soccer team) – has played 13 games with Iceland’s (under-21) national team, plus eight games with the under-18 team and 13 with the under-17 team – a starter at central defender for Iceland – started in Iceland’s 0-0 tie with the USA national team, in a game held in Charlotte, N.C., during March of 2000 – had the challenge of marking a variety of tough U.-. forwards during that game, including Mia Hamm – several of her past K.R. club teammates have gone on to play in the U.-., including ones who have attended Duke and Vanderbilt (several have hopes of playing in the WUSA) – set to make her first visit to visit Notre Dame this weekend (Feb. 16-18) – has made two other visits to the U.-. (on vacations), in addition to the game vs. Team USA – began playing soccer at the age of seven, on boys team (she resumed playing the sport at age 10) – also participated in basketball, gymnastics and dancing as youth – her parents names are Gunnar and Einar.
WALDRUM ON GUNNARSDOTTIR: “Gudrun provides tremendous speed and athleticism in the back, although we will be losing a pair of quality players in Kelly (Lindsey) and Kerri (Bakker) who were great leaders, tough markers and organizers of the defense. Gudrun certainly gives us a new look in the back due to her height and speed and she has more international experience than anyone on our team except Monica Gonzalez (who plays for Mexico’s national team). She plays the game on a very simple-yet effective-level and could blend well with our returning defenders.
GUNNARSDOTTIR ON HER DECISION: “I know that Notre Dame has a very strong soccer team and is a great sports school and also a great school for studies. It’s great to know what a player like Anne was able to do, coming there from Finland. It will be a great experience for me to be there all by myself, away from home. I hope to get to be a stronger player and to grow up as a person. I’m looking forward to coming for the visit and am excited to be a part of the soccer team and the school next year.”
REAGAN JONES NOTES: Member of the Florida Olympic Development Program state team since 1999 – participated in regional ODP camp in 1999 and 2000 – named all-conference, all-county and all-state – four-year captain of one of the nation’s top club programs (Blackwatch Stirling) while also serving as two-year captain at Hillsborough High School – Blackwatch team MVP during each of the past three seasons – four-year recipient of scholar-athlete award – led Blackwatch to state final four in summer of 2000 while helping team win the 2000 Superclubs Summer National Championship-in addition to winning that event in the fallS has totaled 25 goals and 20 assists during current club season, over the course of 37 games on team that owns a 32-2-3 record – also led Blackwatch to semifinals of prestigious Raleigh Shootout national tournament (the rest of the event was snowed out) before leading team to semifinals of Miami Junior Orange Bowl tournament – took first place in her age group at annual Plant City Strawberry Festival 5K Run (as a freshman) – a talented student who owns a 6.13 weighted GPA (3.89 unweighted) as a student in her county’s International Baccalaurette program – set to follow in the footsteps of former Irish forward and fellow Tampa native and Leto HS product Stacia Masters (1993-96) – other former Irish players from Florida have included midfielder/goalkeeper Kelly McCrystal (Vero Beach, 1988) and midfielder Jean McGregor (Longwood, 1994-97) – her brother Sam Jones was salutatorian of his class at Sickles High School (2000) while her father David has a Ph.D in chemistry – daughter of Dave and Sue-Ann Jones – born Sept. 16, 1983 (she skipped third grade while her family was living in Austin, Texas).
WALDRUM ON JONES: “Reagan should add some quality depth to our midfield, which includes three quality veterans in Mia, Ashley and Randi. Reagan is a very skilled player whose strengths lie in her playmaking and distribution-which are important attributes for all three of our midfielders to have.
JONES ON HER DECISION: “When I went to camp at Notre Dame last summer, I just knew it was the place for me. The coaches were so nice and helpful and I just had the feeling that it was the place I would end up. – I took my visit in late September and just came to realize that Notre Dame has the best combination of academics and athletics. That made the decision very easy. All the girls on the team were great and that was really important to me. I ‘clicked’ with them and just knew what my decision would be. – I’m the type of player who really likes to be involved at the center of the field and that’s the way Notre Dame plays with its three midfielders, with a lot of variation to move around and distribute-which are things that I try to be good at doing. – Ever since I signed with Notre Dame, all sorts of people are coming up to me telling me how they have a friend or relative who went to Notre Dame. It’s been pretty unbelievable.