March 30, 2004
The Notre Dame women’s soccer team’s 2004 spring exhibition schedule again will include a matchup with the Mexican National Team, with that game slated for Friday night, April 23, at Alumni Field (7:00 p.m.). Tickets are $4 for adults and $1 for youth, with Notre Dame students admitted free of charge (call the ND ticket office at 574-631-7356 for advance purchase).
Notre Dame’s spring schedule includes six other exhibition games. The Irish opened their spring competition this past weekend with a pair of solid results at a tournament in Dallas (1-1 vs. the University of Florida, 3-0 vs. the Dallas Texans club team). Notre Dame also will play a pair of exhibitions at Alumni Field on Sat., April 3 (10:30 a.m. vs. Michigan State and 4:00 p.m. vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee) before playing host to Western Michigan on Wed., April 7 (6:00 p.m.). Each of those games is free of charge and open to the public. Notre Dame’s other spring exhibition is set for Sat., April 17, at Kuntz Stadium in Indianapolis (Butler University’s former home facility). The Irish will take on the University of Illinois in an 8:00 p.m. game, as part of a men’s and women’s showcase being held that day (the ND men also are to be participating in the event).
Notre Dame has defeated Mexico in each of the previous three spring seasons: 2-1 in 2001 (at South Bend’s School Field), 3-2 in ’02 (at Alumni Field) and 3-1 in ’03 (again at Alumni Field, with goals from Annie Schefter, Amanda Guertin and Amy Warner).
The Mexican Women’s National Team, which was founded in 1998, steadily has grown into a contender on the international soccer scene and will be competing in the 2004 Olympic Games (after knocking off Canada to join the U.S. with the region’s two Olympic berths). Originally founded on a core of U.S. college players who held Mexican ancestry (including former Notre Dame players Monica Gonzalez and Monica Gerardo), the team has begun to develop a homegrown base of players who are considered some of the more dynamic competitors among the world’s young players. Mexico has indicated that it will bring its full Olympic team (including Gonzalez) to Notre Dame to face the Irish.
Notre Dame is enjoying the benefits of a mostly healthy and deep squad this spring, with 20 players making the trip to Dallas last week for the tournament action. Two veteran players still are in the process of injury rehabilitation, as midfielder Randi Scheller is rehabbing from hip surgery under the watchful eye of a specialist in the Pittsburgh area while outside back Candace Chapman still is working her way back from ACL knee surgery (both players missed all of the 2003 fall season). Scheller is slated to return as a fifth-year senior next fall while Chapman will have the option to apply for a fifth year of eligibility in 2005.
In the recent exhibition vs. Florida (the first-ever meeting between two of the nation’s top programs), Notre Dame controlled run of play and scoring chances but a late defensive lapse allowed the Gators to claim a 1-0 lead. The Irish quickly tied the game when junior forward Mary Boland dragged the defenders with her on a horizontal run from the left side before slotting a pass up the middle. Sophomore forward Katie Thorlakson ran onto the ball and found herself 1-on-1 with the ‘keeper, burying a 10-yard shot into the upper left corner.
Notre Dame’s 3-0 win over the Dallas Texans included goals from junior defender Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (off a corner kick), freshman forward Molly Iarocci and Boland.
Both games allowed the Notre Dame coaches to tinker with the lineup and many reserves saw quality minutes versus the Texans. Gallerano – who trained with the Texans during her prep days (as did ND freshman defender Kerri Kennedy) – had a strong game vs. Florida (as a defensive midfielder), with junior outside back Kate Tulisiak also turning in a strong performance. Freshman ‘keeper Nikki Westfall did a strong job controlling the goalscoring area vs. the potent Florida squad. Sophomore midfielder Jenny Walz has returned to full action, after missing the ’03 season due to ACL surgery, while sophomore ‘keeper Erika Bohn likely will miss the spring season with a minor knee injury.
Notre Dame is playing this spring minus four seniors from the ’03 squad – forwards Warner (a 2003 All-American) and Guertin, midfielder Kim Carpenter and defender Vanessa Pruzinsky (who has earned several national honors in recent weeks and recently began her employment with Merck Pharmaceuticals) – while All-America central defender Melissa Tancredi has applied for a fifth year of eligibility (for the ’04 fall season).
Top players on the 2004 spring roster include Tancredi, Boland and Thorlakson, plus other major contributors from the ’03 season such as Gunnarsdottir, sophomore midfielder Annie Schefter and forward Maggie Manning, and the freshman fivesome of midfielders Jen Buczkowski (who also is training with the U.S. Under-19 National Team) and Jill Krivacek, outside back Kim Lorenzen, central defender Christie Shaner and versatile threat Lizzie Reed. Others on the active roster include Westfall, Kennedy, Iarocci, Gallerano, Walz, Tulisiak, sophomore defenders Miranda Ford and Amber McMillin, and freshman forward Becky Tweneboah.