Sept. 20, 2005
Notre Dame senior forward Katie Thorlakson has been named the BIG EAST Conference women’s soccer offensive player of the week for the second time in the 2005 season, after totaling two goals and four assists in wins over DePaul (6-0) and Michigan (3-0). It marks the fifth career BIG EAST offensive weekly honor for Thorlakson, trailing only former Seton Hall standout Kelly Smith (6, from ’97-’99) in the 11-year history of the BIG EAST women’s soccer awards.
Thorlakson recently became the 22nd player in the 24-year history of Division I women’s soccer to reach 45 goals and 45 assists in her career, currently ranking 10th in the Notre Dame record book with 140 career points (45G-50A). The Canadian national teamer currently leads the nation with 12 assists while ranking fourth with 28 total points (including eight goals).
Junior defender Christie Shaner – whose corner-kick header helped produce the first goal vs. Michigan – was named to the BIG EAST weekly honor roll, after shifting from her left back spot to a central defender position (where she played for much of the ’03 season). The veteran leader of the Notre Dame defense took on an even greater role in the weekend action, as the Irish coped with playing minus three top defensive players (each out to injury or illness): senior goalkeeper Erika Bohn, junior central defender Kim Lorenzen and junior defensive midfielder Jill Krivacek. Shaner has missed just one game in her Notre Dame career (58 of 59 GP), appearing in 56 straight.
Christie Shaner has been the veteran leader of a Notre Dame back line that has yielded just 15 shots on goal and eight corner kicks this season (all photos by Pete LaFleur).
Thorlakson’s eight-point weekend and Shaner’s stout defensive play helped the Irish dominate the Blue Demons and Wolverines, with a 9-0 scoring edge and a 48-5 shot margin in the two games (24-3 in shots on goal). Notre Dame also attempted 14 of the 15 corner kicks in the weekend action. The team’s season stats now include a 41-5 scoring edge (avg. 5.4-0.7), plus 173-28 in shots (21.1-3.9), 105-15 in shots on goal (12.9-2.0) and 50-8 in CKs (5.9-1.1).
The 2G-2A vs. DePaul yielded Thorlakson’s seventh career game with six-plus points, each coming in the past two seasons (in 35 games played). She opened the scoring vs. DePaul after racing onto an Annie Schefter thru-ball, ultimately producing her 14th career gamewinning goal (still 8th in ND history). Thorlakson later knocked in a Kerri Hanks rebound for her 10th career multiple-goal game and added primary assists on a pair of second-half goals from Hanks, as the second-semester freshman scored from a similar spot in the right side of the box.
Thorlakson’s fifth corner-kick assist of the season (and 13th in the past two years) set up the first goal vs. Michigan, on a double-header sequence by Shaner and Jen Buczkowski. The service held up as Thorlakson’s 15th career gamewinning assist, good for fourth in the ND record book. She later ran onto a well-placed Brittany Bock header and fed a pass to Maggie Manning for the 2-0 lead on the Wolverines (becoming the seventh ND player ever to reach 50 career assists).
Notre Dame continues to feature the nation’s top-scoring forward tandem, as Thorlakson leads the nation in assists (12) and is fourth in points (28) while Hanks is third nationally with 29 points (13G-3A). Other top scorers include Portland’s Christine Sinclair (16G-3A, 35 pts) and Alabama’s Libby Probst (13G-6A, 32 pts). Thorlakson is the only player in the nation with 8-plus goals and 8-plus assists, reaffirming her status as the nation’s top all-around offensive player (she has totaled 31 goals, 36 assists and 98 points during the past two seasons, spanning 35 games).
Thorlakson – who has played in all 78 games of her ND career – is on the verge of becoming the 17th “50-50” player in Division I history, needing five more goals to join that elite group. She has registered points in 17 of her past 19 games played with the Irish, has scored of assisted on 44 of ND’s past 69 goals (64%), has totaled 41 points in her past 10 home games (13G-15A) and has racked up 86 points at Alumni Field in the past three seasons (’03-’05; 29G-28A, in 35 GP).
Notre Dame (7-0-1) continues to lead nation in scoring with 5.13 goals per game (41 goals overall), among 308 current Division I programs. North Carolina is the only other team in the current national top-25 polls that is averaging more than 3.5 gpg. There are only 13 unbeaten teams remaining in all of Division I women’s soccer, including three teams with one tie and a pair of twice-tied teams.
Kerri Hanks (13G-3A) has paired with Katie Thorlakson (8G-12A) as the nation’s top-scoring forward tandem, combining for 21 goals and 15 assists in eight games this season.
Thorlakson (2G-4A vs. New Hampshire) and Hanks (4G vs. Vermont) are two of nine players in the nation who have posted 8-plus points in a game this season. Thorlakson is one of three with 4-plus assists in a game while Hanks and five others have posted 4-plus goals in a game. Thorlakson, Hanks and sophomore forward Amanda Cinalli (4G-5A) currently rank 1-2-3 among the top scorers from BIG EAST teams, with Cinalli ranking 15th nationally in assists. The three Irish forwards have combined for 25 goals, 20 assists and 70 points in just eight games this season.
The BIG EAST weekly awards now have seen 16 Notre Dame players combine for the offensive player-of-the-week honor 37 times, led by Thorlakson (5; also Aug. 30, Sept. 6 and Oct. 4 of 2004, and Sept. 5 of ’05) and three four-time honorees: Monica Gerardo (95-96-98-98), Jenny Streiffer (96-97-97-99) and Jenny Heft (97-98-98-99). Two others – Anne Makinen (97-99-00) and Amy Warner (01-02-03) – have been two-time honorees. Notre Dame’s 37 all-time BIG EAST offensive player-of-the-week honors are well ahead of the second team on that list (Connecticut, with 27), followed distantly by West Virginia (12), Seton Hall (8) and Villanova (8).