Oct. 17, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The second-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team overcame the absence of its leading scorer while turning in the type of strong defensive effort that steadily has become routine, as the Irish completed a rare eight-game homestand with their seventh straight shutout, 2-0 over 15th-ranked Connecticut, in Friday-night action at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame (15-0-1) played for the first time this season without junior forward Mary Boland, who was attending a family funeral but is set to rejoin the team for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. Sophomore forward Katie Thorlakson picked up the slack by scoring her sixth goal of the season on a first-half corner-kick sequence while versatile freshman Lizzie Reed – seeing her first action at forward with the Irish – added her own first-half goal to provide some cushion.
The Irish finished with an 11-4 shot edge (7-2 in shots on goal), with the hosts holding UConn without a shot on goal for the final 60 minutes of play.
No previous team in the Notre Dame program’s storied history has allowed fewer goals at the 16-game mark than the current squad, with the Irish now owning a 57-5 overall scoring edge.
The Notre Dame shutout streak spans seven full games and 674 minutes, trailing only the 1995 national championship team that posted eight straight shutouts over a span of 726 minutes. Sophomore Erika Bohn – who lowered her NCAA-leading goals-against average to 0.27 – also now owns the second-longest individual shutout streak in the program’s history (699 minutes), just two minutes shy of Liz Wagner’s 2000 shutout streak (701) that ranks 15th in the NCAA record book.
The Irish now have held 13 straight opponents to 0-2 shots on goal and edged past North Carolina into the national lead for team goals-against average, with both teams having allowed five goals while Notre Dame has played nine more minutes (both squads own a 0.31 GAA).
Connecticut (8-4-3) is the last BIG EAST team to defeat Notre Dame at Alumni Field, doing so in a 1995 overtime game (5-4), but the Huskies have lost their last seven games versus the Irish at Alumni Field – part of Notre Dame’s BIG EAST home winning streak that now includes 49 wins, a 239-16 scoring edge and 48 of the 49 games with the opponent held to 0-1 goals (35 of them shutouts).
Notre Dame improved its series record versus UConn to 12-3-2, including 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings, while the Irish now are 24-10-3 vs. NSCAA top-25 teams during the five-year Randy Waldrum era. The current senior class owns a 27-8-2 record over the past four seasons when facing an NSCAA ranked or postseason opponent.
Freshman central back Christie Shaner registered her second corner-kick assist in as many games, from the same left-side flag where her service helped open the scoring in Sunday’s win over Miami. Friday’s corner found fellow central back at the far left post and the feisty senior cracked a sharp header toward the goalline – with Thorlakson nudging the ball into the net for the 1-0 lead (19:14).
Reed – who has played in the midfield and at outside back in previous games – checked in as part of the forward rotation and made a quick impact, burying a crossing shot into the left side of the net after jumping onto a loose ball near the top of the six-yard box (40:33). It was the second goal of the season and first in seven games for Reed, who totaled 126 goals during her All-America career at Ramapo Regional (N.J.) High School.
Bohn earlier had made a tough point-blank save in the 30th minute to preserve the shutout streak, sprinting off her line and leaping forward to thwart Jessica Gjersten’s breakaway near the top of the box.
Notre Dame now has outscored the opposition 29-3 in the first half, after managing just a 12-10 first-half scoring edge in 2002.
ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA NOMINEES – Four ND players were nominated earlier this week for Verizon Academic All-America honors, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America: fifth-year defender Vanessa Pruzinsky (4.00 cumulative GPA; chemical engineering major), senior midfielder Kimberly Carpenter (3.41; pre-professional science), junior forward Mary Boland (3.87; psychology) and sophomore goalkeeper Erika Bohn (3.67; business).
NOTE UPDATES: Former ND assistant coach Sue-Moy Chin is the first-year head coach of Pittsburgh, with her assistant coaching staff including former Irish record-setting forward Monica Gerardo (’99) … the Irish owned a 28-1 scoring edge in the 8-game homestand (93-11 in shots on goal) … ND’s goal total (57) is nearly double the opponent’s shots-on-goal total (34) … Bohn is 24-1-1 in her last 26 starts with the Irish (10 GA in those games) and has allowed just one goal in the last 12-plus games (1,074 minutes) … her 699-minute shutout streak bested the 1997 streak posted by former ND great LaKeysia Beene (652) … the Irish improved to 92-8-2 in all-time games vs. BIG EAST teams and 148-12-2 in all-time home games (126-8-2 in the last 136) … ND has yielded just 18 shots on goal in the last 13 games … the Irish have held their last 27 opponents to 0-1 goals … ND still has trailed just once all season (for 7:18 vs. ASU), with no deficits in the last 13 games (ND has led for 73& of the minutes and trailed for just 0.5%) … ND has allowed just 20 first-half goals in the last three seasons (over 58 games) … since allowing a 26th-minute goal by Oklahoma, ND has posted 10 shutouts in the last 12 games (with 2 GA, 50 shots allowed, 17 shots on goal allowed and 27 opponent CKs) … senior F Amy Warner has appeared in 65 straight games while making 59 consecutive starts … fifth-year D Vanessa Pruzinsky has logged 88 career games, with 86 starts (two shy of that ND top-10 list) … Waldrum’s five ND teams have combined for an 89-16-4 record (73-13-3 in the last 89) while he is nearing his 200th career victory as a college head women’s coach (196-66-16 in 13 seasons; 272-121-23 in 22 overall season as a men’s and women’s college head coach) … both of Thorlakson’s three game-winning goals this season include two vs. top-15 teams (also then-#10 Santa Clara; plus in OT vs. Villanova) and she is the only current ND player with multiple career goals vs. UConn (also scoring to tie the 2002 game, 1-1, in a 3-1 ND win) … there now are just 12 teams out of 293 Division I women’s soccer programs with 0-1 losses: undefeated ND and UNC and once-beaten UCLA, Texas A&M, Virginia, Colorado, Princeton, Cal Poly, Southeastern Louisiana, Central Connecticut, Maine and Hofstra.
#15 Connecticut 0 0 – 0
#2 Notre Dame 2 0 – 2
ND 1. Katie Thorlakson 6 (Melissa Tancredi, Christie Shaner) 19:14; ND 2. Lizzie Reed 2 (-) 40:33.
Shots: UConn 3-1 – 4, ND 5-6 – 11.
Corner Kicks: UConn 3-1 – 4, ND 1-2 – 3.
Saves: UConn 5 (Erin Rice), ND 2 (Erika Bohn).
Fouls: UConn 11, ND 15.
Offsides: UConn 0, ND 4.
Yellow Card: Amy Warner 2 (ND) 55:27.