Nov. 6, 2003
The Notre Dame women’s soccer team took home three of the six major awards at the 2003 BIG EAST Tournament banquet, with senior central back Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ont.) named the league’s defensive player of the year while freshman central back Christie Shaner (Ambler, Pa.) was named co-rookie of the year and Randy Waldrum received his third BIG EAST coach-of-the-year award (also in 1999 and 2000).
Three others from Notre Dame joined the above players in being named to one of the three all-BIG EAST teams. Senior forward Amy Warner (Albuquerque, N.M.) became just the sixth player in the nine-year history of BIG EAST women’s soccer awards to be named all-BIG EAST in each of her four seasons, also becoming the 11th to be named first team all-BIG EAST in three-plus seasons (’00, ’02, ’03; also 2nd team in ’01).
Junior forward Mary Boland (Hudson, Ohio) and Tancredi joined Warner on the all-BIG EAST first team. Freshman midfielder Jen Buczkowski (Elk Grove, Ill.) joined Shaner on the BIG EAST all-rookie team, with Shaner also earning second team all-BIG EAST honors
Tancredi – the first field player ever to earn a top BIG EAST honor despite having no previous all-BIG EAST recognition – continues the Notre Dame program’s tradition of defensive excellence, with Irish players now having combined to win five of the last seven BIG EAST defensive player of the year awards. Notre Dame’s previous recipients include former greats Kate Sobrero (’97) and Jen Grubb (’98, ’99) and current junior Candace Chapman (’02), who has missed all of the ’03 season due to an ACL knee injury.
Shaner surprisingly is just the third Notre Dame player ever to take home the BIG EAST’s top rookie honor – and the first to do so since current fifth-year defender Vanessa Pruzinsky in 1999 (F/M Jenny Streiffer was voted the league’s top rookie in 1996).
Warner and Boland are the first pair of forwards from the same team to be named first team all-BIG EAST since 1999, when Jenny Heft and Jenny Streiffer – still the top goalscorers in the Notre Dame record book – were so honored.
Tancredi and Shaner have formed the core of a Notre Dame defense that has allowed just nine goals in 21 games, highlighted by a 10-game shutout streak that ranks fifth in NCAA history. Warner ranks fifth nationally with 12 assists (plus 10 goals, ranking 25th nationally with 32 points) while Boland lead the Irish with 12 goals scored this season (good for 31st in the nation).
Waldrum has positioned the Irish for another run at the national title, despite several preseason challenges – a new staff of assistant coaches and the loss of two key starters to season-ending injuries – that could have derailed even the most talented and veteran of teams. He owns a 93-17-4 record in five full seasons with the Irish and posted his 200th career victory as a college women’s soccer head coach in last week’s BIG EAST quarterfinal win over Miami (lifting the third-ranked Irish to a 19-1-1 record).
Notre Dame will face Boston College in the BIG EAST semifinals on Friday, Nov. 7, at 5:00 EST, with the championship weekend’s action slated for Rutgers Yurcak Field. College Sports Television will air delayed telecasts of the game (the first is Nov. 8 at 5:00) while the ND Sports Hotline – 574-631-4780 – will provide regular in-game updates. Live in-game stats are contingent on the availability of phone lines (check the main page at und.com prior to game time for possible stat link).
Additional BIG EAST Award Notes:
* Tancredi – known for her wide array of skills, including dominating play in the air and the ability to quickly join the attack – leads ND defenders with 11 points (3G-5A), starting 18 of 21 games (three missed due to injury) with one game-winning goal … a converted forward, she missed all of the 2000 season due to injury and played at F in ’01 before shifting to the D in the middle of the ’02 season.
* Shaner has appeared in 20 games with 17 starts, using her strength on restart services to assist on three goals this season … she was named defensive MVP at the Santa Clara Classic, after helping limit Stanford and SCU to three combined shots on goal.
* Warner ranks 12th in ND history for goals (37), 14th in points (99) and 9th in game-winning goals (11) … she has started all 21 games (64 consecutive starts overall), with 2 GWG … her season highlights include 1G-1A in the early 3-0 win over Wake Forest and the goal that capped the scoring in the 3-1 comeback win over ASU. … named all-tournament at the UConn, ND and SCU Classics.
* Boland (12G-4A) leads the nation’s second-ranked offense (3.19 goals per game) with 5 game-winning goals and is the first player ever named BIG EAST offensive and defensive player of the week during her career … she has appeared in 18 games this season (13 starts), opening with an ND-record six goals in the first three games … her seven points in the opener vs. Hartford were the most points in a game by an ND player since 1999 … her other season highlights include 2G in the comeback vs. ASU (with the gamewinner), 1G-1A in the 2-1 win at SCU and the early strike in the 3-0 win over West Virginia … currently one of four ND players on the Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-America bally, with a 3.87 cumulative GPA as a psychology major … named all-tournament at the UConn, ND and SCU Classics.
* Buczkowski has been a central member of the Irish midfielder throughout the season, appearing in all 21 games (20 starts) while totaling 2G-10A … named offensive MVP of the ND Classic after totaling 2G-3A in wins over ASU and Oklahoma.
* Tancredi and Shaner have combined with the wily veteran Pruzinsky at left back, freshman right back Kim Lorenzen and sophomore ‘keeper Erika Bohn for a dominating defensive effort that has included: just 50 shots on goal by the opposition, in 21 games; a 0.42 team goals-against avg. that ranks 3rd in the nation (just behind Cal Poly’s 0.41 and UNC’s 0.42); a team-record span of 16 games without facing a deficit (ND has trailed just 66 minutes all season, or 0.3%, compared to 66% of the minutes with the lead); tying another team record by going 24 consecutive games without allowing multiple goals; allowing just two ’03 opponents to come back and tie the Irish (Santa Clara and Miami, in the BIG EAST quarterfinal); and helping rack up a 67-9 team scoring edge.
* Waldrum’s 14-year career 200-67-16 mark (.735) as a women’s soccer head coach includes earlier stints at Tulsa and Baylor … he also is 276-122-23 (.683) in 23 combined seasons as a college men’s and women’s soccer head coach … he entered ’03 ranked 7th among active women’s coaches for career winning percentage (min. 10 Div. I seasons) … his masterful coaching job in 2003 has helped overcome another onslaught of injuries that has caused an assortment of top players to miss a combined 97 games in ’03 (most notably, Chapman has been sidelined all season with a torn ACL while senior M Randi Scheller, a 2nd team all-BIG EAST pick in ’02, also has been out all season after undergoing hip capsule surgery).
* Two former ND greats – D Jen Grubb (’00 grad., played ’96-’99 seasons) and M Anne Makinen (’01) – remain the only BIG players ever named first team all-BIG EAST four times … Warner is one of four others who have received all-BIG EAST honors (first or second-team) in all four seasons of her career, with the others including Rutgers M/F Uchenna Bright (’00), Georgetown M Liz Delgado (’01) and current Boston College M Sarah Rahko.
* The other nine players who join Warner as three-time first team all-BIG EAST picks: Notre Dame M Holly Manthei (’98), UConn D/F Sara Whalen (’97), Seton Hall F Kelly Smith (’00), RU’s Bright, UConn F Jen Carlson (’00) and M/F Mary-Frances Monroe (transferred after ’00 season), Rahko, current West Virginia M Lisa Stoia and current Rutgers M Carli Lloyd.