Aug. 28, 2002


at Providence (Aug. 30), vs. Virginia Tech (Sept. 1)

The seventh-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team opens the 2002 regular season with a BIG EAST Conference cross-divisional game at Providence on Friday, Aug. 30 (4:00 p.m.), before heading back home for another cross-divisional matchup, vs. Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon (1:00 pm.) … the Irish return seven starters from the 2001 team (17-3-0) but the squad’s preseason preparation was slowed with the absence of several key players, due to injuries and the ongoing Under-19 World Championship … the status of several of those players – including senior D Vanessa Pruzinsky, junior F Melissa Tancredi, sophomore D Gudrun Gunnarsdottir and sophomore Mary Boland (who can play several positions) – was to be determined prior to Thursday’s departure for Providence … sophomore D Candace Chapman and freshman M Katie Thorlakson will miss the PC game (and possibly the VT game) while competing with Canada at the Under-19 World Championship (freshman M Anne Schefter also was set to play in that tournament but was lost for the year with an ACL knee injury) … ND split a pair of exhibition games last week at the IPFW Showcase, losing 4-2 to second-ranked North Carolina before beating Kentucky (2-1).

IRISH IN OPENERS – Notre Dame owns a 12-2 all-time record in season openers (7-1 in the last eight), with the losses coming versus top-five teams: #5 N.C. State in 1992 (4-3) and top-ranked UNC in a double-OT thriller (3-2, in ’99) … other openers in the Randy Waldrum era include a 6-0 win over Detroit (2000) and the 2-1 win over #8 Penn State in the 2001 Key Bank Classic.

ND-PC SERIES NOTES – Notre Dame has won all seven previous games vs. Providence, with a 49-1 scoring edge … ND’s three previous visits to PC produced 2-0 (’91), 14-0 (’96) and 8-0 (’98) wins … the last meeting was a 5-1 ND win at Alumni Field (32-2 shot edge), with Amy Warner scoring three times for the earliest hat trick (by date) ever by an ND freshman … Katie Auger’s goal in the 18th minute tied that game while Amanda Guertin and Ashley Dryer also scored for the Irish (Anne Makinen had two assists).

SCOUTING THE FRIARS – Providence returned 10 starters and 16 of 22 letterwinners from its 2001 team that went 7-9-2 overall (1-4-1 in the BIG EAST) … PC’s Caroline Haines was named the BIG EAST preseason goalkeeper of the year … other top returners for the Friars include senior M/F Kyle McAuley (3G-3A) and sophomore M Maura Robertson (5G-6A).

SERIES-OPENER SUCCESS – Virginia Tech will be one of three opponents facing Notre Dame for the first time in the 2002 season (the others are BYU and Purdue) … the Hokies joined the BIG EAST women’s soccer league in 2001 (in the Northeast Division) … since the start of the 1993 season, Notre Dame opponents that were making their first visit to Alumni Field have lost to the Irish 30 times, with just one win and one tie (30-1-1, .953) … ND’s all-time record in series openers is 60-23-2 (.718), including 27-3-0 since 1993 and 40-6-0 in all series openers played at home.

SCOUTING THE HOKIES – Virginia Tech returned seven starters and 14 of 25 letterwinners from its 2001 squad that went 8-9-3 (1-4-1 in the BIG EAST) … the Hokies posted a 5-1 exhibition win last week over George Mason, with goals from Kathy Holdsworth, Andrew Angelos, Amy Rappaport, Nina Figueroa and Ryan Johnson … Virginia Tech head coach Sam Okpodu remains the all-time leading scorer in Atlantic Coast Conference men’s soccer history (191 points, at N.C. State) and served on Nigeria’s coaching staff at the Under-19 Women’s World Championship.

VS. UNRANKED OPPONENTS – Notre Dame owns a 43-3-1 record vs. unranked opponents during the Randy Waldrum era (since ’99), with losses to SMU (1-0 in ’99, minus star player Anne Makinen), at Rutgers (2-1, ’01) and vs. Cincinnati in the 2001 NCAAs (3-2) – plus a 2-2 tie vs. Wisconsin in 2001.

GERTY’S GOALS – Junior forward Amanda Guertin scored a goal in each of the final 10 games of the 2001 season – good for the third-longest goalscoring streak in Division I women’s soccer history (Brandi Chastain had a 15-game streak while playing for Santa Clara in 1990, with Hartford’s Maria Kun compiling an 11-game streak in 1997) … Guertin also scored in six of seven games during the 2002 spring season and in last week’s exhibition game vs. Kentucky.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STARS – Two Notre Dame players – sophomore D Candace Chapman and freshman M/F/ Katie Thorlakson – are wrapping up play at the Under-19 World Championship, as members of the host country Canada’s under-19 squad … the semifinal games are slated for Thursday at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, with the U.S. facing Germany in the early game (4:15 pacific time) followed by the Canada-Brazil game (the U.S. beat Denmark in the quarterfinals, 6-0) … Chapman started the three round-robin games and the 6-2 quarterfinal win over England (all at right back) while Thorlakson has been a starter or top reserve at attacking midfielder (she scored for a 3-0 halftime lead in the win over England) … several other players from teams in next week’s Notre Dame Classic also are playing in the Under-19 World Championship, including three from Santa Clara and Portland’s ace forward Christy Sinclair (the tournament’s top scorer, including a five-goal outburst in Canada’s win over England) … SCU midfielder Aly Wagner also appears cleared for the ND Classic, as there was a chance she could have been called into training for the U.S. National Team.

FOX SPORTS WORLD TO TELEVISE U.S. SEMIFINAL AND TITLE GAME: Fox Sports World will air Thursday’s U.S.-Germany semifinal match against Germany (Thursday, 4:15 p.m. pacific), in addition to airing a live broadcast of Sunday’s championship game (1:00 p.m.) … games involving Canada also are shown in Canada on Rogers Sports Net.

IRISH OPEN SEASON SEVENTH IN NSCAA POLL – Notre Dame heads into the 2002 season ranked seventh in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll … the Irish have been ranked in the top seven of the NSCAA poll every season since 1994 … six of ND’s 2002 regular-season opponents are ranked in the NSCAA preseason poll: Santa Clara (1st), Portland (4th), UConn (9th), Michigan (18th), Rutgers (19th) and West Virginia (25th) … other teams in the top 10 include UNC (2nd), UCLA (3rd), Texas A&M (5th), Virginia (6th), Penn State (8th) and Nebraska (10th) … next week’s Notre Dame Classic ranks as one of the nation’s top four-team tournaments, with top-ranked Santa Clara, No. 4 Portland, 8th-ranked Notre Dame and No. 14 Clemson.

CONFERENCE COMMAND – Notre Dame’s all-time record in regular-season conference games is 78-3-2 (.952), including 59-4-2 (.923) in BIG EAST games (since ’95) … the Irish also own a 42-1 record in all-time home games vs. BIG EAST opponents (with 38 straight home wins vs. BIG EAST teams, since a 5-4 OT loss to UConn in ’95).

HOME, SWEET HOME – Notre Dame’s all-time overall record at Alumni Field is 129-8-2 (.935), including 105-4-2 in the last 111 … the Irish own a 37-1-1 record in their previous 39 home games, with a 2-2 tie vs. Wisconsin and the 3-2 NCAA loss to Cincinnati (both in 2001).

SCORING STREAK NEARS 30 GAMES – Notre Dame carries a 29-game scoring streak into Friday’s action at Providence (third-best in ND history, behind a 55-game streak from 1997-99 and a 36-game streak from ’95-’96) … the last time that the Irish failed to score in a game was the 0-0 tie at UConn on Oct. 22, 2000 … since 1994, ND has scored in 142 of 145 (.979) regular-season games (also an 0-0 tie vs. UNC in ’94 and a 2-0 loss to UNC in ’95) and 49 of 52 postseason games, with three shutout losses to UNC in NCAA title games.

SOCCER SHOWCASE RECAP – Notre Dame split a pair of exhibition games last weekend in Fort Wayne at the IPFW Soccer Showcase, losing to UNC (4-2) and beating Kentucky (2-1) … some 4,200 fans turned out for the ND-UNC game, which featured 11 shots from each team and an equal number of quality scoring chances (UNC held a 13-2 edge in corner kicks) … the Irish played without several key returners and newcomers, with just four returning starters in action … sophomore D Candace Chapman was competing with Canada at the Under-19 World Championship (as was Irish freshman M Katie Thorlakson) while three other top returners – senior D Vanessa Pruzinsky, junior F Melissa Tancredi and sophomore Mary Boland (who can play multiple positions) – did not suit up due to injury or illness … juniors Amanda Guertin and Amy Warner combined with freshman Maggie Manning in the sequence of both Irish goals, with Warner again proving to be a crowd favorite as she flashed the bursts of speed that characterized the first half of her freshman season … in the win over Kentucky, Lauren Kent made five second-half saves and Ashley Dryer scored with 39 seconds left as ND overcame the absence of the above players – plus sophomore D Gudrun Gunnarsdottir … Kent made a kick save with her back foot in the lategoing to preserve the 1-1 tie … both teams had scored in the game’s eighth minute, with the Irish striking first on Guertin’s booming leftfooted shot from 20 yards out … Warner again had a big impact, helping set up both goals … freshman M Annie Schefter – who suffered a season-ending ACL knee injury in late July – joined the Irish in Fort Wayne, after cheering on her U.S. teammates at the Under-19 Championship.