Freshman forward Melissa Henderson (left) and senior All-America forward/Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks (right) are part of the most productive front line in college soccer, with Hanks leading the BIG EAST in goals (15) and Henderson right behind her in second place (12).

Present And Future Stars Team Up To Guide #2 Irish Past SMU, 5-0

Sept. 12, 2008

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Freshman forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) scored twice in a six-minute span early in the second half, and senior All-America forward and Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) reached a career milestone as the No. 2 Notre Dame women’s soccer team cruised to a 5-0 win over SMU on a rainy Friday night before a crowd of 1,412 fans at Alumni Field.

After taking a 2-0 lead at halftime, Henderson doubled the Irish lead virtually in the blink of an eye, taking a cross from Hanks and blasting a shot from close range into the left side of the net at 53:27. Henderson added her fourth goal of the year (and second of the night) at 59:32, using a textbook chest trap to settle a pass from sophomore midfielder Rose Augustin (Silver Lake, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) and then hammering her shot from 10 yards out high under the crossbar for her first career multi-goal game.

Hanks’ assist on the first score was noteworthy, as it was the 60th of her career, making the award-winning striker just the sixth player in NCAA Division I women’s soccer history to register 60 goals and 60 assists (she also has 69 goals). Three of those six are Notre Dame standouts, with Jenny Streiffer (70G-71A from 1996-99) and Cindy Daws (61G-67A from 1993-96) the other Irish greats to reach that milestone.

“We’re so proud of everything Kerri has been able to accomplish in her career and what she’s meant to our program,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “Her initials are all over the school and NCAA record books, and we were absolutely ecstatic that she was able to hit this milestone in front of our home fans, who are so loyal and supportive, especially on a rainy night like this. It also says a lot that the assist that put Kerri over the top went to Melissa Henderson, who has a really bright future in her own right.”

Three other players tallied their first goal of the season for the Irish (6-0) on Friday, with junior midfielder Courtney Rosen (Brecksville, Ohio/Hathaway Brown) getting things started at 19:59 with a rocket from the slot after Henderson’s cross was punched out by SMU goalkeeper Ashley Gunter. Freshman Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa’s Academy) got into the act in the 40th minute, running on to a loose ball just inside the penalty area and driving it through traffic and off the left post before caroming in for her first career goal. Junior midfielder Amanda Clark (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) capped the scoring for Notre Dame with a shot from long distance, as her chip from 45 yards out looped over Gunter’s head and found the upper right corner of the goal (83:50).

Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) went the first 67:20 in goal for the Irish, making one save. Sophomore Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) completed the shutout for Notre Dame (its fifth in six games this season and third shared whitewash), also turning aside one shot in her 22:40 of work.

As a unit, the Irish defense was spectacular, holding SMU (1-3-1) without a shot in the first half and outshooting the Mustangs for the game by a 28-4 margin (13-2 in shots on goal). Notre Dame also dominated in corner kicks by a 14-1 spread, with SMU getting its lone corner kick right at the death.

“I was very pleased with the way our defense minimized their opportunities and kept the play in our offensive third,” Waldrum said. “There also was no drop-off in our intensity level and our focus when we brought different players in off the bench. Besides her goal, I thought Amanda Clark played a very strong game, and (sophomore defender) Stephanie Sohn and (junior defender) Haley Ford both gave a great effort out there as well. It’s a balanced performance like this one that makes a win like this even more rewarding.”

Notre Dame will return to the pitch next Friday, Sept. 19, when it kicks off BIG EAST Conference play with a 4 p.m. (CT) match against DePaul at Wish Field in Chicago. The Irish then will head east for their final non-conference game of the regular season, visiting No. 11/10 Penn State Sept. 21 for a 1 p.m. (ET) contest that will air live on the Big Ten Network.

— ND —

POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame is off to a 6-0 start for the 10th time in the program’s 21 seasons of existence (first time since 2006) … the Irish are 3-2 all-time against SMU, with Notre Dame becoming the first team to win consecutive games in the series … not only did Hanks become the sixth Division I player to reach 60G-60A, but she also moved into a tie for 10th place on the NCAA career assists chart with 60 handouts, passing former North Carolina standout (and current U.S. National Team member) Lindsay Tarpley (59 from 2002-05) and pulling even with former UC Santa Barbara great Carin Jennings (1983-86) … Hanks now has 198 career points (69G-60A), putting her on the brink of becoming the 18th player in Division I history to hit the 200-point mark; she also is just behind Santa Clara’s Mandy Clemens (199 from 1996-99) for 18th place on the NCAA all-time points list … Notre Dame now has scored a goal in the first 20 minutes of each of its four home games this season … the Irish have outscored their opponents, 18-0, at Alumni Field this year … for the season, Notre Dame is outscoring the opposition, 22-1, with a 69-13 edge in shots on goal; in fact, the Irish have nearly twice as many shots on goal (69) as their opponents have total shots (37) … Notre Dame has amassed 27 corner kicks in the past two games, with Friday’s season-high 14 inswingers tying the second-highest total in the Waldrum era (15 vs. Tulsa on Sept. 1, 2000) … the Irish had 28 of the 29 players on their roster see action against SMU, with only freshman forward Jennifer Nordine not getting onto the pitch (she’s recovering from a preseason knee injury).