Dec. 4, 2007
The Notre Dame women’s soccer team (19-4-2) will battle Florida State (17-5-3) in a nationally-televised NCAA semifinal, on Friday, Dec. 7, in College Station, Texas. The game will kick off at 4:00 p.m. central and be shown live on both ESPN2 and ESPNU. The winner will advance to the championship game on Sunday, Dec. 9, versus the winner of Friday’s second semifinal between UCLA and USC (the title game will be televised live on ESPN2, at 1:00 p.m.).
Notre Dame and FSU also met in the 2006 NCAA semifinals, with the Irish winning that hard-fought battle (2-1) that also was the first meeting of the series between the teams. This marks only the second time in the 26-year history of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship that teams have faced each other in the semifinals during back-to-back NCAA tournaments.
The Irish cruised to the BIG EAST Conference National Division title (11-0-0) before ultimately playing to a 1-1 tie at West Virginia in the BIG EAST Tournament title game (WVU claimed the title in penalty kicks). Florida State tied for second in the Atlantic Coast Conference (6-2-2) and lost to regular-season champion North Carolina in the ACC title game (1-0). Notre Dame’s first four NCAA Tournament games have included home wins over Loyola Chicago (3-0) and Illinois (2-0), a 3-2 third-round game at UNC, and the 3-2 quarterfinal with Duke (at Alumni Field). FSU’s tournament run has featured wins over Kennesaw State (3-0), LSU (4-0), Texas (4-0) and Connecticut (3-2, OT) – all at home.
A “Tale of the Tape” comparison chart of the Notre Dame and FSU women’s soccer teams is linked above, with breakout looks at the various categories included below. While there are several key statistical differences between the teams, there are even more categories in which the teams have similar (and often identical) numbers.
Note: The Irish women’s soccer team held a full media session on Monday, in the Isban Auditorium at the Guglielmino Sports Complex (the site used for ND football press conferencs), and those interviews now are archived on und.com All-Access (which is free of charge) … ND head coach Randy Waldrum was joined by his assistant coaches and an assortment of players, who took turns in special groups at the podium (senior goalkeeper Lauren Karas was unable to participate due to a class conflict but a video interview with Karas will be posted on und.com later in the week) … also that und.com will have a camera crew on the trip to College Station, providing bonus video coverage from the College Cup for Irish women’s soccer fans.
Here is the link to the video offerings from Monday’s media session: http://und.cstv.com/sports/w-soccer/spec-rel/120407aae.html
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY – Notre Dame owns the second-best all-time win pct. (.781; 44-12-1) in the 26-year history of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship, trailing only North Carolina (.927; 94-7-1) … UCLA is next on that lit at .767 (34-10-10, followed by Portland (.755; 40-12-30 and Florida State (.750; 20-6-2).
HOT STREAKS – The Irish are riding a 17-game unbeaten streak (16-0-1) that dates back to late September while the Seminoles are 7-1-0 since early November.
VETERAN LEADERS – Notre Dame returned seven starters and 16 of 24 letterwinners from its 2006 NCAA runner-up squad (25-1-1) while FSU has six starters and 14 of 24 letterwinners back from its NCAA semifinalist squad.
COMMON FOES – The teams faced four common opponents this season (including exhibitions), with the Irish going 4-0-1 vs. those teams (three at home, one away, one neutral; 13-8 scoring edge) while FSU was 1-2-2 vs. those common opponents (two home, two away, one neutral; outscored 7-6) … ND tied UNC (2-2) and beat Virginia (3-1; in Ft. Wayne) during 2007 exhibition play before coming back to beat UConn in overtime (2-1), then winning ay UNC in the NCAA third round (3-2) and topping Duke in the quarterfinals (also 3-2) … FSU’s regular-season games included a 2-1 home loss to UNC, a 1-1 tie at UVa and a 1-1 tie at Duke, plus a loss to UNC in the ACC final (1-0) and a 3-2 win over UConn in the NCAA quarterfinals.
HIGH-POWERED ATTACKS – FSU ranks second nationally with 3.15 goals per game (78 total) while the Irish are 11th at 2.56 (64) … the goals-against stats are closer (ND has allowed 25 total goals for a 0.98 goals-against avg. while FSU has a 0.85 GAA and has allowed 22 goals by the opposition).
SHOT CHARTS – The teams have attempted virtually the same number of total shots this (425 by ND, 422 by FSU; 17.0 and 16.9 per game) … the Irish have the clear edge on the other end of the field, allowing only 7.5 shots pe game (compared to 11.0 by FSU) … when it comes to quality shots allowed, the teams are closer as ND has allowed only 2.8 shots on goal per game and FSU is allowing 3.2 SOG/gm.
SHARPSHOOTERS – The Seminoles are the more efficient shooters, with a .185 team shooting pct. and an avg. of 5.4 shots per goal (also 2.5 SOG per goal) … ND owns only a .151 shot pct. and has needed 6.6 shots per goal (3.2 SOG/goal).
CORNERED – FSU is averaging more corner kicks than ND (5.4 to 4.4 per game) but the Seminoles also allow more CKs than the Irish (3.8 to 2.6/gm).
IN THE NETS – Similar to its edge in shot pct., FSU also has the better team save pct. (.794, to ND’s .643) … both teams have 12 shutouts while ND has held 18 of its 25 opponents to 0-1 goals (FSU has 17 games with 0-1 GA) … the Irish have allowed more than two goals in only one game this season (way back in game #3) while the Seminoles have given up a big goal number (3-plus) three times.
WIN MARGINS – Each team already has battled in five-plus overtime games (ND is 1-2-2, FSU 1-2-3) and both have similar records in one-goal games (ND 4-3; FSU 4-5) … the Seminoles have rolled to 11 wins this season by margins of three or more goals (ND has eight) while FSU also owns four wins by five-plus goals (to ND’s two).
HOME & AWAY – Both teams were strong at home (ND 11-2-1; FSU 12-1-0) but FSU is barely above .500 in all of its road games this season (5-4-3) compared to an 8-2-1 mark by the Irish in all road games (including neutral sites).
HALF & HALF – FSU has dominated first-half scoring this season (42-6, to ND’s 27-8) while the team’s are nearly identical in the second half (ND 36-15, FSU 35-14).
FOUL PLAY – The Irish are averaging nearly twice as many fouls (13.2/gm) as the Seminoles (7.8) and have totaled 20 yellow cards to FSU’s four.
SCORING STARS – Both teams have two players with double-digit goals and each has five different players with five-plus goals … 14 FSU players have scored goals this season (to 12 for ND) … the similarities extend even further, as both teams have two players with 30-plus points, two with 20-plus and eight with double-digit points (ND has 17 total players with points, FSU has 15).
ROSTER MAKEUP – The Irish have five seniors on their roster (FSU has four) while both teams have eight freshmen.
ALL-AROUND TALENTS – FSU junior midfielder Mami Yamaguchi (23G-17A) and ND junior forward Kerri Hanks (14G-20A) are the only players in the nation with 14-plus goals and 14-plus assists … only four other players in all of Division I have reached double-digit goals and assists this season, most notably UCLA’s Lauren Cheney (22G-11A) and Portland’s Michelle Enyeart (12G-15A).