Oct. 17, 2000

The top-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team picked up two more BIG EAST Conference weekly awards, as junior midfielder Mia Sarkesian earned the offensive award and sophomore Vanessa Pruzinsky earned her third straight defensive player-of-the-week award, after helping the Irish post a pair of victories last week over Boston College (2-1) and Syracuse (3-0).

Notre Dame players have combined to earn 15 of 25 BIG EAST offensive, defensive and rookie-of-the-week awards during the past seven weeks–including seven straight defensive awards (with three by Kelly Lindsey and another by her fellow senior Kerri Bakker). Sarkesian follows senior midfielder Anne Makinen and senior forward Meotis Erikson as ND’s third straight BIG EAST offensive honoree while three Irish freshman have earned the rookie honor (forward Amy Warner three times and one each for midfielder Randi Scheller and forward Amanda Guertin).

Sarkesian entered the week with just one point in the 2000 season before posting five points and having a hand in three of five Irish goals versus BC and SU. Her first goal of the season-and fifth of her career-came on a looping shot from 20 yards out and forged a 1-1 tie with the Eagles, after the Irish had faced their first deficit of the season.

Two days later, Sarkesian put the Irish on the board in the second minute versus the Orangewomen–after a skillful trap and volley from close range, set up by a rightside corner kick. She later helped put the game out or reach in the 70th minute, after working a give-and-go outside the top of the box to set up Scheller’s goal for the 3-0 lead.

Pruzinsky again played a leading role in the sturdy Irish defense that allowed just five shots (three on goal) during last week’s two games, despite the absence of injured senior captain Kelly Lindsey. She helped limit BC to three shots and one corner kick while helping hold SU to a pair of shots and two CKs.

The strong play of the Irish defense has helped ND add to its dominating season statistical edges in scoring (52-5), shots (393-66, avg. 26-4), shots on goal (235-35, avg. 16-2) and corner kicks (105-30, avg. 7-2). The Syracuse game marked the 10th shutout of the season-and sixth in the last seven games-for an Irish defense that has allowed just five goals in 15 games while allowing 0-2 shots on goal in 10 of those games.


Notre Dame (15-0-0) returns to action this week with a pair of 7:00 p.m. games at Yale (Wed., Oct. 18) and BIG EAST rival Connecticut (Sat., Oct. 21), with the Irish on the verge of tying the Notre Dame record for consecutive wins in a season (the `97 squad won 17 straight midseason games).

The five-day roadtrip will include a Tuesday-night dinner hosted by Pruzinsky’s family (in their native Trumbull, Conn.) and a full day of sightseeing in New York City on Wed., Oct. 18.

Notre Dame’s last regular-season loss came exactly one year ago today (Oct. 17, 1999), in a 4-2 game at then-No. 1 Santa Clara. Since that time, the Irish have tied a team record by winning 18 straight regular-season games (and 24 of the last 25 overall).

The Irish also have won their last 25 games versus BIG EAST opponents and are 67-3-1 (.951) vs. BIG EAST teams since joining the conference in 1995.

A pair of wins this week likewise would produce the second-longest overall winning streak in the 13-year history of the Notre Dame women’s soccer program (the 1995 and `96 teams combined to win 24 straight).

The Irish will be looking to maintain the improved shooting accuracy they displayed in the Syracuse game, when Notre Dame scored once per every 4.0 shots it attempted (3G on 12 shots).