Nov. 11, 2005
Katie Thorlakson extended her points streak to 11 games while becoming Notre Dame’s all-time leading postseason scorer (46 points) – notching her 17th goal of the season and adding a pair of assists – but the senior frontrunner was just one part clicking in the finely-tuned machine that has become the Irish women’s soccer team, as Notre Dame opened defense of its NCAA title with a 6-0 victory over Valparaiso in front of a spirited Friday-night crowd of 1,530 at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame (20-2-0) reached 20 wins for the 10th time in the past 12 seasons while extending its winning streak to 11 games, with an eye-popping 52-1 scoring edge during that six-week span. The Irish also topped 100 goals (101, with just 10 allowed) for the fourth time in the program’s history and the first time since the high-powered 1997 team totaled 135 (one year after a record-setting 140-goal season in ’96).
Michigan State broke open a scoreless game in Friday’s earlier matchup, putting all of the goals on the board in the final 45 minutes for a 4-0 win over Bowling Green. The Irish and Spartans will return to Alumni Field on Sunday, Nov. 13, for their NCAA second-round matchup at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Notre Dame added to its margin of goals scored minus the opponent’s total shots, now standing +6 after holding Valparaiso (12-8-1) to four shots. The stout all-around team defensive effort has yielded just 96 total shots in 22 games this season, with the opponents combining for only 44 shots on goal (including two by the Crusaders).
Four players joined Thorlakson in combining to score the six goals – including a pair of scores from sophomore forward Amanda Cinalli (the first, at 3:03, easily represented ND’s quickest goal of ’05) and the 25th goal in the record-setting freshman season of Kerri Hanks. Senior forward Maggie Manning continued to provide strong play off the bench, assisting on a pair of goals before knocking home her ninth goal of the season (tying Cinalli for fourth on the team).
Freshman midfielder Brittany Bock extended her own recent surge by scoring in the 69th minute for a 5-0 lead, in the process joining Hanks as the seventh set of Notre Dame freshmen to reach double-digit goals.
Bock once again was part of Notre Dame’s four-player midfield rotation – consisting of crafty senior Annie Schefter, junior playmaker Jen Buczkowski and third-year defensive midfielder Jill Krivacek – that helped dominate possession throughout the flow of the game. Valparaiso’s handful of chances quickly were snuffed out of the back line consisting of fifth-year right back Candace Chapman, junior left back Christie Shaner and the central defender tandem of junior Kim Lorenzen and freshman Carrie Dew.
Plenty of reserves logged quality minutes, with the Irish using their maximum permissible number of 22 players (15 total players logged 40 minutes or more and all 22 played at least 17 minutes).
Thorlakson’s 46 career postseason points include 14 goals and 18 assists in 20 games spanning BIG EAST and NCAA tournament play. The spunky Canadian claimed yet another record previously belonging to Anne Makinen, who totaled 43 postseason points from 1997-2000.
Last weekend’s action saw Thorlakson claim the Notre Dame record for career points in the BIG EAST Tournament and she now is on the verge of setting the Irish record for career points in the NCAAs (22; 6G-10A), just two shy of that mark held by Monica Gerardo (24; 10G-4A).
Thorlakson’s current 11-game point streak is one shy of the Notre Dame record she shares with Anne Makinen. The two-time BIG EAST offensive player of the year also has registered points in 13 straight postseason games, factoring into two-thirds of the Notre Dames goals (28 of 42; 12G-16A) during 2004 and ’05 postseason play.
The four-point night leaves Thorlakson with 176 career points (still 7th in the ND record book, one behind Holly Manthei) while her 67 assists have moved past former Notre Dame great Cindy Daws into 6th on the NCAA career assists list (3rd-most ever by an ND player).
Hanks assisted on Cinalli’s second goal to maintain a slim lead atop the team scoring charts with 65 points (25G-15A). Thorlakson’s 64 points include 30 assists, tied for fourth in the NCAA record book behind two seasons posted by former ND great Holly Manthei (44 in ’96, 34 in ’97) and Mia Hamm’s 33-assist season with North Carolina’s 1992 squad.
Notre Dame’s storied history has seen only three players – including Thorlakson (70, in ’04) – total more points in a season than Hanks, with the others coming in 1996 when Cindy Daws racked up 72 points and Jenny Streiffer had 66 (still the record for points by an ND freshman … likely for just a couple more days).
Hanks now is just one goal shy of the 1996 total turned in by Daws (16), needing three more scores to tie the Irish record (28) set by Jenny Heft in ’98.
Kerri Hanks scored her 25th goal of the season in the NCAA opener, ending the night with 65 points for the season (one ahead of teammate Katie Thorlakson and 4th in ND history).
Thorlakson – whose goal was the 54th of her career – crept closer to what would be a truly unique distinction, as she needs just three more goals to become the first player in the 24-year history of Division I women’s soccer with multiple 20-goal, 20-assist seasons (she had 23G-24A in ’04).
In addition to scoring its quickest goal to start a game this season (3:03, more than five minutes sooner that the previous quickest goal), the Notre Dame goalscorers did something that has been much more common in 2005 – as the goals by Hanks (59:39) and Cinalli (62:28) early in the second half represented the 14th time this season that the Irish have scored twice in a span of 3:00 or shorter. Most notably, Notre Dame has scored such quick back-to-back goals in four of the past five games.
Manning’s goal at 76:36 also continued Notre Dame’s recent trend of wearing down the opposition with its tremendous depth, as the Irish now have totaled 19 goals in the final 15 minutes of the second half (plus one in overtime).
Cinalli – who also opened the scoring in last week’s BIG EAST title game vs. UConn – has registered points in eight of the past nine games while her 33 points (9G-15A) would place her as the top scorer for many of the 307 teams currently playing on the Division I level. Instead, she ranks “just” third on the potent forward line with Thorlakson and Hanks – a trio that now has combined for 51 goals, 60 assists and 162 points in 22 games (they are averaging 7.4 points per game as a unit).
In addition to extending the winning streak, Friday’s game continued several other trends for the Notre Dame program, as the Irish now are:
* Unbeaten this season in games started by Lorenzen (15-0-0; 79-2 scoring edge, just 23 shots on goal allowed/1.5 per game)
* Riding a 33-game scoring streak (3rd-longest in ND history, just three shy of the 2nd-longest), with goals in 47 of the past 48 games
* 64-2-0 in their past 66 games when scoring first
* Perfect in their past 223 games (223-0-0) when claiming a 2-0 lead
* 132-1-0 in their past 133 games when scoring 3-plus goals
* 16-0-0 this season when Hanks scores a goal
* Riding a streak of 73 games without being outshot (65-6-2 record)
* Unscored upon in all four games of the ’05 postseason (20-0 scoring edge; 388-minute shutout streak)
* Unbeaten in their past 25 home games (24-0-1)
* 11-0-0 at home this season (54-3 shot edge, 13 SOG allowed)
Hanks started the first-goal sequence by tapping a short corner-kick from the left flag. Thorlakson took the ball and sliced down the endline before slotting a pass into the heart of the goal box. Cinalli’s rugged frame was in position as she ripped her eighth goal of the season into the net for Notre Dame’s quickest goal (3:03) in the past 38 games – dating back to Christie Shaner’s corner-kick header (2:38) at West Virginia o Oct. 1, 2004.
Valparaiso (12-8-1) waged a fierce battle throughout the game and was minutes away from just a one-goal halftime deficit. Bock then fed a pass from the right flank and Manning maneuvered into the upper right corner of the box before sending her shot on net. Erin Murray was able to bat the shot away but Thorlakson came rushing in and redirected the ball into the net before colliding with the ‘keeper (42:50).
“That second goal was the most important, to go into the half up 2-0 and with that mental edge,” said Thorlakson, who ended up scoring or assisting on the first three goals of the night.
“We would have been enthused and energized to get out of that second half down just 1-0,” said Valparaiso head coach Steve Anthony, who previously had seen the Irish up-close during the past four NCAA tournaments on the NCAA’s on-site rep. assigned to Alumni Field during the ’01-’04 seasons.
“Giving up a goal late in the first half probably took the wind of our sails a little bit. But I thought we bounced back and developed a rhythm. The difference between a program like Notre Dame and our program is the ability to sustain that level of play for the full 90 minutes.”
The game’s third goal featured a clinical three-player combination sequence, with quick, driven passes leading to another unstoppable finish off the foot of Hanks. Schefter started things off from 35 yards out in the center off the field, flaring a pass that led Thorlakson down the left side. Thorlakson then one-timed her low pass into the center of the box and Hanks wasted no time cashing in the chance – with the entire sequence turning the Alumni Field surface into a pinball machine as the Irish stretched to the 3-0 cushion (59:39).
Annie Schefter’s crisp pass started the combination sequence that produced the third goal in the win over the Crusaders.
“The second goal certainly hurt us but it was probably the third goal that changed the complexion of the game,” said Anthony.
With the goal by Hanks, the 2005 Notre Dame team before the first in the program’s history ever to post three-plus goals in nine consecutive games.
Less than three minutes later, Hanks shook free down the right endline and picked up her 15th assist of the season with a pass to Cinalli for the quick redirection and the 4-0 lead (62:28).
“[Thorlakson and Hanks] did amazing things. Just their composure when they got a cross off,” said Murray, whose busy night included 11 saves.
“They would find someone’s foot and pound it into the back of the net. They are a very dynamic duo. You have to give them major props. They never let me get away with anything. I would just fall and – bam – there was a goal. Their work ethic definitely taught me a lot and just going against them was a huge learning experience.”
Bock registered another of her patented header goals in the 69th minute, on a play set up by Krivacek’s pass to the right flank. Manning then lofted the ball into the box and Bock snapped her header into the upper right corner of the net for the 5-0 cushion (68:15).
Manning capped the scoring with her ninth goal of the season in the 77th minute, completing the four-point game to match her career-high. The goal was similar to Cinalli’s score earlier in the half, tapping in a right-endline pass from sophomore Susan Pinnick for Manning’s 16th career goal with the Irish (76:36).
“What a great job from Maggie Manning. She is just having that kind of a year and is having fun again,” said Waldrum during his postgame comments.
“She is a really intelligent player. She sees the game really well, understands the game and makes the most out of the abilities that she has and seems to be on fire. She and Susan Pinnick have started to put together a nice tandem where they play off each other really well.
“We are only going to win [the NCAAs] again because of players like Maggie and Susan and that other group of players we are bringing in as well. It’s going to take more than just the 11 we’ve been starting with.
** Additional quotes and note updates follow below the statistical summary. **
Valparaiso (18-2-1) 0 0 – 0
Notre Dame (20-2-0) 2 4 – 6
ND 1. Amanda Cinalli 8 (Katie Thorlakson 3:03; ND 2. Katie Thorlakson 17 (Maggie Manning) 42:50; ND 3. Kerri Hanks 25 (Thorlakson, Annie Schefter) 59:39; ND 4. Cinalli 9 (Hanks) 62:28; ND 5. Brittany Bock 10 (Manning, Jill Krivacek) 68:15; ND 6. Manning 9 (Susan Pinnick) 76:36.
Shots: Valpo 1-3 – 4, ND 13-20 – 33
Corner Kicks: Valpo 1-0 – 1, ND 4-3 – 7
Saves: Valpo 13 (Erin Murray 11 in 84:19, Danielle Guerra 0 in 5:41), ND 2 (Erika Bohn 0 in 71:44; Lauren Karas 2 in 18:16)
Fouls: Valpo 16, ND 16
Offsides: Valpo 0, ND 0
Yellow Cards: Annie Schefter (ND) 56:13; Reva Van Aartsen (Valpo) 81:48 Attendance: 1,530
A CASE FOR THE DEFENSE – ND entered the week ranked 8th nationally with a 0.47 season goals-against avg. (now 0.43, which would rank 3rd in ND history) .. ND’s 16 shutouts also tie for 3rd in ND history, trailing the 18 in both 1995 and ’97 … the Irish have held their 2005 opponents to 0-1 goals in 20 of the 22 games … since allowing a goal by Gonzaga on Sept. 11, the Irish have posted shutouts in 14 of the past 16 games … senior ‘keeper Erika Bohn’s 0.41 GAA would match her ’04 mark that ranks 3rd in ND history … she would have ranked 9th in the national GAA charts entering the NCAAs but currently is 86 minutes shy of the 50% minimum of minutes played … since returning from injury in early October, Bohn has faced just seven shots on goal in 551 minutes of game action (with no goals allowed).
Erika Bohn has allowed just four goals all season while compiling a 0.41 goals-against avg. that would match her nation-leading mark from the ’04 season.
SILVER STREAK – The current 11-game winning streak (52-1 scoring edge) includes a 7-0 win, three by 6-0 margins, wins by 6-1 and 5-0, three others by 4-0, a 3-0 game and the 1-0 overtime win at Rutgers … ND has allowed just 17 shots on goal (1.6/gm) and 21 corner kicks (1.9) during the winning streak … the Irish have erupted for a combined scoring margin of 34-1 in the second half of games during the win streak (22-1 in 2nd half of past six games).
ND-MSU SERIES NOTES – Notre Dame owns a 9-2-0 series edge (5-1-0 at home) and has won the previous nine meetings with Michigan State … Sunday will mark the first fall game between ND and MSU since ’98 (they have met a few times in recent spring games).
DYNAMIC DUO UPDATE – Thorlakson and Hanks suddenly have a shot to become just the second pair of Division I teammates to each reach 70 points in the same season … SMU’s Danielle Garret (now Fotopoulos) had 83 points in 1995 while her teammate Courtney Linex added 77 … Friday’s third score marked the 19th time in ’05 that ND’s potent tandem have combined on a goal (67 other goals have involved combinations involving one, but not both, of those players) … their high rate of point production is all the more noteworthy when considering that each plays on average just two-thirds of a game Hanks is averaging 65 min./gm and Thorlakson 62 min./gm) … Hanks and Thorlakson both have points in 19 of the 22 games this season (Thorlakson has points in 16 of the past 17) … Thorlakson (17G-30A) and Hanks (25G-15A) are closing in on the rare 20G-20A mark from opposite ends of the equation … only one pair of teammates in NCAA history (Daws with 26G-20A and Streiffer with 22G-22A, in ’96) have reached 20G-20A in the same season … Thorlakson has scored (4) or assisted (10, extending her own ND record for GWAs in a season) on 14 of the 20 gamewinning goals this season … her 18 gamewinning points this season are five shy of the ND record she set in ’04 … she extended her ND record for career gamewinning points (54) while her 20 career GWAs still rank 3rd (one behind Streiffer) … Thorlakson’s 54 career goals remain 9th in the ND record book, now one behind Rosella Guerrero … Thorlakson’s 92 career games played ranks 16th in the ND record book and 3rd-most by a four-year forward (behind Meotis Erikson’s 101 and Gerardo’s 98) … Thorlakson has factored into more goals (47) than any other player in the nation this season (Hanks has a G/A on 40) … Thorlakson has points in 30 of the past 33 games and is the 11th player in D-I history to reach 54G-54A in her career.
OTHER PLAYER NOTES – Bock has 6G-5A (17 pts) in her past 9 GP (with points in 8 of past 10 games) … Manning has 6G-3A (15 pts) in her past 10 GP … the “second forward line” of Manning (9G-6A), Pinnick (6G-3A) and junior Lizzie Reed (2G-3A) now have combined for 46 points (17H-12A), including 30 points in the current win streak (11G-8A) … ND’s current roster already includes five players with 50-plus career points (Thorlakson, Chapman, Hanks, Buczkowski and Cinalli), with Manning (43; 16G-11A) and Schefter (42; 11G-19A) making a late push to reach the 50-point mark … Thorlakson (92), Schefter (73), Buczkowski (73), Shaner (70), Chapman (49), Cinalli (49) and sophomore D/M Ashley Jones (49) all extended their games played streaks (Thorlakson, Schefter and Buczkowski have not missed a game since starting their ND careers) … Chapman also has logged 49 consecutive starts (she and Dew are the only players to start every game in ’05) … the ND freshmen now have combined for 108 points this season (41G-26A).
TEAM NOTES – Notre Dame’s 62-12-1 all-time record in postseason games now includes 33-10-1 in the NCAAs, 37-3-0 in all home postseason games and 26-3-0 in home NCAA games … the Irish have scored 3-plus goals in 19 of 22 games this season … ND is 56-15-3 in the seven-year Randy Waldrum when playing an NSCAA top-25 and/or postseason opponent … ND improved to 177-14-3 all-time at Alumni Field.
ADDITIONAL POSTGAME COMMENTS FROM ND HEAD COACH Randy Waldrum – “They had a good strategy and did a great job of it. To be honest, the first half at times they kind of outworked us. We had the possession but weren’t creating the kind of opportunities, But we were much better in the second half.
“They have come a long way because we have won a lot of games this year 6-0 and all the way to the end they just fought really hard. I was impressed with their fight. The strides they have been making in their program really paid off. Instead of collapsing, they battled real hard. They are going to have something really special.
“We have played Michigan State the past couple of years I the spring and they are very athletic and very organized. They are hard to break down. I thought in the first half that Bowling Green had the run of play but they have some weapons. They are a good, solid team and will give us all we can handle. We are going to be better than we were tonight.
“You saw an example of an experience team in the tournament versus an inexperienced team and were able to capitalize on that in the second half.
“Offensively, we are clearly better at this time of year than we were last year and I would even say that defensively we are the same. We have given up the same number of goals but have limited teams to fewer shots. The one thing that is different is because of Kim and Carrie in the back, we are able to ‘play a little bit more soccer’ building out of the back than we were last year. In Melissa [Tancredi] and Gunna [Gunanrsdottir], we lost two great physical specimens that are athletic and physical but we lacked a little bit in playing ability in the back. But we’ve got that this year and I like where we are. We definitely are a team that is playing better in the final few weeks of the season that we were at this time last year.
“One thing is that we have to keep our players healthy and you have to be smart about the minutes this weekend because you have two games. We learned these lessons over the past couple of years by having injuries in the playoffs and we stayed away from that last year because of me being smarter than in the past. And I think the players have bought into that as well.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM ND SENIOR FORWARD Katie Thorlakson – “I had my foot planted and [the goalkeeper] landed on my leg. I was just being cautious and stayed on the ground a little longer. … My role is just to perform and help this team win. … I didn’t expect them to back off, this was their last couple so you’d expect them to leave it all on the field. They definitely pressured us the whole game. … We have learned in past years that we can’t take if for granted that we are the higher seed. Michigan State is going to come in just as Valpo did and play us hard, probably harder. We have to be ready for that. Tonight was a good game for our younger players to realize that.”
ND JUNIOR DEFENDER Kim Lorenzen – “As in any sport, the offense usually gets more of the attention. I mean, nobody really cares how many balls the backs win. The four of us in the back and even in the midfielders just really focus on limiting how many shots they get on goal. … When you look at us having more goals than the opponents shots, you see that we are doing our job. … The defense jelled a lot later in the season than we probably would have anticipated because a couple of us were out with injury. We finally got the hang of things when I was coming back and now we’ve got things figured out and have finally played with each other long enough.”
ADDITIONAL POSTGAME COMMENTS FROM VALPO HEAD COACH STEVE ANTHONY – “If you look at the way the game was played, out effort and intensity, we learned a lot form this match and that will help our program grow. We represented ourselves very well and know we know what it takes, we know what it’s all about. The players that were on the field today, particularly the senior class, went out in style. The seniors made this program what it is today. They made an impact, they made a difference and the younger players will only improve on that.
“Tonight’s game showed that we were ready to play a team like Notre Dame but we also earned the right to play tonight. We weren’t just happy to be here. We prepared to play hard and the team played hard. There is a true sense of satisfaction in giving our all and there’s no shame in that.
“I probably had a false sense of reality watching them the past four years. I think we had a good gameplan. They are so quick, so fast and so composed. That was the thing I noticed about Notre Dame tonight. They are so good on the ball and they can slow the game down and change pace.
“Notre Dame is deeper than in the past. Any frontrunner they put up there appears like an All-America candidate. They have tremendous players. As we were preparing for the game, you worry about one player and they have two more there you have to deal with. We talked about putting Notre Dame in positions that they had to deal with. Well, they obviously dealt with them very well because they had 11 players that could play at that level.”
VALPARAISO PLAYER QUOTES
Allison Swanson – “We had tremendous fan support the whole year and they helped us get here. Without them keeping us going, it makes it a long 90 minutes. I couldn’t find the tears because I got a chance to play against the defending champs.”
Lorna Torrez – “Their support was the perfect background noise for us and helped keep us going. I was overwhelmed. I could feel their support the entire game.”
Emily King – “We brought everything that I hoped we would. ? People say that to be the best you have to beat the best. This gives us such a great opportunity to learn what Division I soccer is all about and what we have to prepare for. The only way to make something a reality is to live it and we lived it tonight.”