Nov. 6, 2004
Two Notre Dame women’s soccer players – fifth-year central defender Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ont.) and junior forward Katie Thorlakson (Langley, B.C.) – are among the 15 final candidates for the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy national player-of-the-year award, as announced by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Notre Dame joined North Carolina and Portland as the only schools with multiple players among the final 15 candidates and the Irish were the only team with a forward and defender on that elite list.
Tancredi and former Notre Dame forward Amy Warner also were on the list of 2003 final-15 candidates for the Hermann Trophy, making Tancredi one of six players who have been named among the final 15 in ’03 and ’04, Tancredi also joins Tennessee’s Keeley Dowling as the only defender on the 2004 final 15. Thorlakson is among nine of the final-15 candidates who are set to return in 2005.
The announcement of the final-15 candidates confirms Thorlakson and Tancredi’s status as the nation’s top forward-defender combination and the pair earlier became the first teammates to earn the BIG EAST offensive and defensive player-of-the-year awards since 1996.
Portland’s pair of candidates include junior F Christine Sinclair and junior M Lindsey Huie while UNC has three on the final 15: junior F Lindsay Tarpley, sophomore F Heather O’Reilly and junior F Lori Chalupny.
The six who have returned to the final-15 ballot in ’04 include Tancredi, Tarpley, Chalupny, Dowling, Stanford senior G Nicole Barnhart and Penn State junior F Tiffany Weimer.
The BIG EAST Conference has the most players on the final-15 list, with Connecticut senior F Kristen Graczyk and Rutgers senior M Carli Lloyd joining the pair of Irish players. The other 11 include three each from the ACC (the UNC trio) and West Coast Conference (the Portland players and Santa Clara senior M Leslie Osborne), plus one each from the WAC (Hawaii junior F Natasha Kai), Big 12 (Nebraska sophomore M Brittany Timko), Big Ten (Weimer), Pac-10 (Barnhart) and SEC (Dowling).
Two members of the Notre Dame men’s program – senior defenders Kevin Goldthwaite (Sacramento, Calif.) and Jack Stewart (Torrance, Calif.) – are among the final 15 candidates for the men’s Hermann Trophy, making Notre Dame the only school with multiple candidates for both awards (Indiana and Maryland also have two men among the final 15).
Three finalists for both the men’s and women’s awards will be announced in early December and the winners will be announced on Jan. 7 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
UPDATED THORLAKSON BIO NOTES – First ND player ever named BIG EAST offensive player of the year … entered week ranked 1st in the nation in assists (17), 2nd in points (53, now 55) and 4th in goals (18, now 19) and has tied ND record for gamewinning goals in a season (8) … on verge of becoming 3rd ND player ever to reach 20G-20A in a season and currently is one of just 4 players in the nation with double-digit goals and assists (no others reached have 14G-14A) … her breakout season has helped overcome loss of several top offensive players due to graduation, injuries and national-team duty … her 55 points ranks 8th in ND history and are more than double the team’s 2nd-leading scorer … set ND record with 10 points in a game (4G-2A vs. St. John’s, in BIG EAST quarterfinal), also tying ND record for goals in a game (most since ’97) … has totaled 21 points (13G-5A) in last 4 games (1G-1A vs. Seton Hall, 2G-2A vs. Michigan, 4G-2A vs. St. John’s, 1G vs. BC), after rare 4-game “slump” without a point … has played role in nearly 70% of team’s goals in ’04 (38 of 57, two “unofficial assists”), with many other goals coming with her on the bench cheering the reserves … first ND player ever to score or assist on team’s first 5 goals in a game (in ’04 opener vs. Baylor and again vs. #4 Santa Clara) … went one better by having a hand in each of first six scores vs. St. John’s, yielding even more impressive streak of 12 straight Irish goals in which she scored or assisted (now 13 of last 14, dating back to second goal in 3-1 win over SHU) … owns .192 shot pct. and is averaging 5.2 shots per goal (rest of team is just .112/8.9) … also converting 1G every 3 shots on goal (19 of 57) … averaging 2.75 pts/gm in ’04 and would total 77 points over full season of 28 games (ND record is 72 points by ’96 national player-of-the-year Cindy Daws) … has totaled 14 pts (5G-4A) in five ’04 games vs. top-25 teams, including 3G-2A vs. #4 Santa Clara (only player in nation with 8-plus points vs. top-25 team; most points ever by ND player vs. top-25 team) .. has posted games with 10 pts (4G-2A , SJU), 8 pts (3G-2A, SCU), 7 pts (2G-3A, Baylor) and 6 pts (2G-2A, Michigan), with 5 multi-goal games … followed Tancredi’s 2003 lead as the only players ever to receive a major BIG EAST women’s soccer award after not being an all-BIG EAST selection previously in her career.
UPDATED TANCREDI BIO NOTES – third player ever to repeat as BIG EAST defensive player of the year, joining former ND great Jen Grubb (’98, ’99) and UConn’s Sara Whalen (’95, ’96) in that distinction … veteran leader of ND defense who also was one of 15 final candidates for 2003 Hermann Trophy while earning NSCAA 2nd team All-America honors … has played key role for ’04 defense that has allowed just 10 goals (0.49 GAA, 8th-best in nation), 110 total shots (5.8/gm), 55 shots on goal (2.9/gm) and 33 corner kicks (1.7/gm) with just four deficits (spanning 85 minutes) … only player to start all 20 games and leads team with 1,697 minutes played (85/gm) … leads ND defenders in scoring (2G-2A), including GWG at #20 Arizona State and goal that tied game in 3-1 win over Pittsburgh … has logged 75 career games with the Irish (66 starts) … has helped ND total more goals (57) than opponent shots on goal (54) this season, with the Irish also allowing holding 6 of the last 12 opponents without a corner kick … part of ND program that has earned 6 of the last 8 BIG EAST defensive player-of-the-year awards (also Kate Sobrero in ’97, Grubb in ’98 and ’99 and Candace Chapman in ’01) … also has helped ND defense limit last 16 opponents to 0-1 goals while scoring 16 straight unanswered goals (active) … since a rare deficit vs. Pittsburgh on Sept. 24, ND has outscored the opposition 33-3 (2 GA in last 9-plus gms) … the Irish rank 8th nationally with 12 shutouts.