Irish forward Joe Lapira netted the only goal in Notre Dame's 1-0 win over the Mexican U-17 National Team last spring.

Spring Soccer Fiesta To Feature Return Of Mexican Teams For Games Versus The Notre Dame Men And Women

March 23, 2006

Both Notre Dame soccer teams have some top games on tap for their 2006 spring seasons – including a much-anticipated return to Alumni Field by Mexico’s Women’s National Team and its Men’s Under-17 National Team that will be part of a special three-game Spring Soccer Fiesta. The Notre Dame men will face Mexico’s under-17 team on Friday, April 21 (7:00 p.m. EDT), while the Irish women will battle the Mexican national team for the sixth straight spring on the following Friday, April 28 (7:00). The Mexican women also will face Illinois earlier that week at Alumni Field, in a 5:00 game.

The Spring Soccer Fiesta will feature three high-energy games at Alumni Field in a span of eight days, providing South Bend-area soccer fans the chance to cheer on elite college players from Notre Dame and Illinois while also witnessing some of the top players from one of the world’s most soccer-crazed nation’s, in Mexico.

Tickets for each day are $5 for adults and $2 for youth, with Notre Dame faculty, staff and students admitted free of charge. Tickets are available at the Joyce Center ticket office, with phone orders accepted at (574) 631-7356. Online orders also may be placed via the following link: http://ev12.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetGroupList?groupCode=GS&linkID=notre-dame&shopperContext=&caller=&appCode=

Fans are encouraged to make advance purchases, thus avoiding the ticket lines on the nights of the games and ensuring seats for events that could be advanced sellouts (additional bleachers may be installed to handle the potential overflow crowd). Gates will open at 5:30 for the Friday games and at 3:30 for the Illinois-Mexico game.

(Please note that the Illinois-Mexico game originally was scheduled for 7:00 but was moved back to a 5:00 start … as a reminder, South Bend now will be on east-coast time throughout the year – meaning that fans coming from the Chicago area should allow for the one-hour time difference … South Bend previously was EST year-round, aligned with the east cost for half of the year and with Chicago for the other six months).

The Friday-night game between the Notre Dame men and the Mexican under-17s will take place during an exciting weekend on the Notre Dame campus, highlighted by the annual Blue-Gold intrasquad football game on Sat., April 22 (1:30). The Irish baseball team also will be playing a three-game home series versus BIG EAST rival Rutgers (Fri. at 6:05; Sat. at 3:05; Sun. at 12:05) while the softball team will be at home for doubleheaders that weekend with Villanova (Sat., noon) and Rutgers (Sun., 11:00).

The Mexican Women’s National Team – which is captained by former Notre Dame standout defender Monica Gonzalez and includes current ND freshman Becca Mendoza among its midfield unit (she played most of the 2004 game vs. the Irish) – is one of the world’s top emerging teams and reached the quarterfinals of the 2004 Olympic Games. Mexico’s Under-17 Men’s National Team also is considered one of the world’s top teams in its age group, with Mexico recently beating Brazil 3-0 to win the 2006 Under-17 World Championship.

Details for other Spring Soccer Fiesta events – including possible free youth clinics that would be attended by members of the Notre Dame and Mexican teams – will be finalized and announced at a later date.

Fans of the Notre Dame women’s soccer program will have the chance to see the Irish in action all over the country this spring – including games in Fort Wayne, Ind. (March 25, 4:30; vs. Dayton, at Univ. of St. Francis), Omaha, Neb. (April 1, 7:00; at Creighton), and Temecula, Calif. (April 8-9, 1:00 and 11:00; vs. San Diego State and USD). The Notre Dame women also will play one other spring home game, on April 13 vs. Western Michigan (7:00; see more spring-schedule details below).

The Notre Dame men again will be playing host to a pair of spring tournaments (April 1 and 23), in addition to heading to Indianapolis for an April 8 game versus Indiana and playing at nearby Bethel College on April 12.

The 2005 spring season saw the two Mexico teams visit Notre Dame for a spirited doubleheader that attracted one of the largest crows (3,050) in Alumni Field history. The Mexican women claimed a 2-0 halftime lead after Gonzalez scored on a penalty kick and Patti Perez cashed in a thru-ball chance – but the Irish battled back for a dramatic tie, with Annie Schefter converting on her own PK while Kerri Hanks flicked in the game-tying header with 10 seconds left in the international stoppage time. An Ashley Jones throw-in set that play in motion while Candace Chapman supplied the leftside cross for Hanks, who earlier had forced the action and was tackled hard to force Schefter’s penalty-kick goal.

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Ian Etherington and his Notre Dame teammates will be looking to repeat their 2005 spring victory over a Mexican Under-17 National Team that went on to win the 2006 u-17 world title.

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The Notre Dame men used a 60th-minute goal by Joe Lapira to beat Mexico’s Under-17 Men’s National Team, completing the festive 2005 doubleheader.

The Irish women are 3-1-1 in the five previous spring games versus Mexico. Notre Dame defeated Mexico in their first three spring matchups: 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). Mexico then won a hard-fought game in the 2004 showdown, 3-2.

The Mexican Women’s National Team, which was founded in 1998, steadily has grown into a contender on the international soccer scene and reached the quarterfinal round of 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 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. The team has included forward Iris Mora, who just completed her four-year career at UCLA, and another familiar Mexican frontrunner, Maribel Dominguez, who recently has competed in Europe with F.C. Barcelona.

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Monica Gonzalez (left) – who earned All-America and Academic All-Ameica honors as a stadout defender at Notre Dame – is a founding member of Mexico’s Women’s National Team and currently serves as the team’s captain.

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The Notre Dame women will be playing this spring minus seven departing seniors – most notably a pair of All-Americans in forward Katie Thorlakson and defender Candace Chapman, plus the Academic All-America duo of goalkeeper Erika Bohn and Annie Schefter – but the Irish are expected to have most of their other players available for most of the spring season. Freshman midfielder/defender Kerry Inglis (a Fort Wayne native) will miss the spring season after undergoing ankle surgery to correct the nagging injury that hampered her for most of the 2005 fall season. Junior defenders Kim Lorenzen and Christie Shaner each recently underwent minor knee surgery, with Lorenzen expected to play all spring whiler Shaner will miss the Dayton game but likely will play the rest of the spring.

Two members of the freshman class – midfielder Brittany Bock and defender Carrie Dew – recently were named to the U.S. Under-20 National Team that will compete this summer at the Under-20 World Championship. Bock and Dew will miss the Dayton game due to national-team training but are expected to be available for the other spring games. Junior midfielder Jen Buczkowski and forward Kerri Hanks (now in her third semester at Notre Dame) currently are training with the U.S. Under-21 National Team but will not miss any of the spring games due to commitments with that national team.

NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S SOCCER 2006 SPRING SCHEDULE

Sat., March 25 (4:30 p.m.) – ND vs. Dayton (D’Arcy Stadium, University of St. Francis; Fort Wayne, Ind.)

Sat., April 1 (7:00 p.m.) – ND vs. Creighton (Morrison Stadium; Omaha, Neb.)

Sat., April 8 (1:00 a.m.) – ND vs. San Diego State (Blanche Soccer Complex; Temecula, Calif.)

Sun., April 9 (11:00 a.m.) – ND vs. University of San Diego (Blanche Soccer Complex; Temecula, Calif.)

Thur., April 13 (7:00 p.m.) – ND vs. Western Michigan (Alumni Field)

Wed., April 26 (5:00 p.m.) – Illinois vs. Mexican National Team (Alumni Field)

Fri., April 28 (7:00 p.m.) – ND vs. Mexican National Team (Alumni Field)

Schedule Notes: The first annual Cougar Women’s Soccer Festival will be held on March 25 at Bishop John M. D’Arcy Stadium in Fort Wayne … an all-day admission ticket is $5 (available at the stadium on the day of the event only … a portion of the proceeds to be donated to Augie Gonzalez, a Fort Wayne-area soccer official, to aide in his recovery from cancer … for more information, visit www.sf.edu/athletics or http://www.geocities.com/fwsportclub/USF_Cougar_Soccer_Festival.pdf or http://www.geocities.com/fwsportclub/welcome.htm or call (260) 434-3269 … the schedule includes Saint Francis vs. Saint Joseph’s (10:00 a.m.), Indiana State vs. Cleveland State (noon), Valparaiso vs. Evansville (2:00) and Notre Dame vs. Dayton (4:30) … Creighton’s Kicks for a Cure weekend will feature collegiate soccer teams competing to raise money and awareness in the fight against women’s cancer … former U.S. Senator David Karnes and his daughters Korey, Kalen, Kara and Laurel are serving as honorary chairs … all of the proceeds of this event will benefit Liz’s Legacy, the fund started by the Karnes family in memory of the late Dr. Liz Karnes … funds will be directed toward research projects at both the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center and the Hereditary Cancer Institute at Creighton University … the April 1 schedule at Creighton’s new Morrison Stadium includes the following games: Iowa State vs. Nebraska-Omaha (1:00), Yale vs. Kansas (3:00), Nebraska vs. Minnesota (5:00) and Notre Dame vs. Creighton (7:30) … an autograph session with the participants will take place immediately following each game … the weekend concludes on April 2 with Creighton facing Minnesota at noon … more information on the event can be found at www.kicksforacure.org … tickets are available at the Morrison Stadium box office … tickets (admission to all five games) are $15 for adults reserved, $10 for adults GA and students reserved and #5 for students GA … ND also will be playing in the huge multi-level Toyota College Classic, at the John Blanche Memorial Soccer Complex in Temecula, Calif. … the six-day tournament includes men’s youth club and college teams playing from March 31-April 2, with the women’s teams competing on April 7-9 … the women’s college games for April 8 include: USC-Denver, Long Beach State-San Diego State and CS Northridge-Wyoming (all at 9:00 a.m.); LBSU-Fresno State, New Mexico-UCLA and Air Force-UC Irvine (all at 11:00); SDSU-ND, CSN-USC and Wyoming-LBSU (1:00); and UCLA-Air Force and Fresno-UNM (both at 3:00) … the April 9 college games include: Cal-Pepperdine, Wyoming-UC Riverside and Air Force-Cal Poly (all at 9:00); ND-San Diego, Northern Arizona-UC Santa Barbara and Denver-UCI (all at 11:00); UCR-Cal, Cal Poly-UNM and Pepperdine-Air Force (all at 1:00); and UCSB-USD at 3:00 … note that the schedule for this event has changed several times, see http://gotsoccer.com/Tournament2000/College_Classic.asp or http://www.collegeclassic.com/ for the most updated info.

NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER SPRING SCHEDULE

Sat., April 1 – Notre Dame Spring Tournament #1
Noon (Eck Field 1) – ND vs. Michigan State
Noon (Eck Field 1) – Northern Illinois vs. Oakland
1:15 p.m. (Eck Field 1) – ND vs. NIU
1:15 p.m. (Eck Field 1) – Oakland vs. MSU
2:30 p.m. (Eck Field 1) – ND vs. Oakland
2:30 p.m. (Eck Field 1) – MSU vs. NIU

Sat., April 8 (7:30 p.m.) – ND vs. Indiana (Indianapolis, Ind.; Kuntz Stadium)

Wed., April 12 (7:30 p.m.) – ND at Bethel College (Mishawaka, Ind.)

Friday, April 21 (7:00 p.m.) – ND vs. Mexican Under-17 National Team (Alumni Field)

Sun., April 23 – Notre Dame Spring Tournament #2
Noon (Eck Field 1) – ND vs. IPFW
Noon (Eck Field 1) – Valparaiso vs. Loyola
1:15 p.m. (Eck Field 1) – ND vs. Loyola
1:15 p.m. (Eck Field 1) – IPFW vs. Valparaiso
2:30 p.m. (Eck Field 1) – ND vs. Valparaiso
2:30 p.m. (Eck Field 1) – Loyola vs. IPFW

Sat., April 29 (2:00 p.m.) – ND varsity vs. ND alumni (Alumni Field)

Schedule Notes – The ND-IU game is part of the fourth annual Indiana Soccer Showcase, at Kuntz Memorial Stadium in Indianapolis … proceeds benefit the Indy Parks’ Urban Soccer Development Program … tickets are $5 for the entire event and are available at the game … other teams competing at the ISS include IUPUI, Butler, Marian, Anderson, DePauw, Vanderbilt, Purdue and Dayton … for more info., see http://www.indygov.org/eGov/City/DPR/Programs/Urban+Soccer+Development+Program.htm