Katie Thorlakson's early-season production has played a leading role in Notre Dame's rise to the top of the national polls.

Thorlakson's Record-Setting Performance Leads The Way In 7-2 Win Over Baylor

Aug. 27, 2004

Final Stats

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – There’s little doubt that Katie Thorlakson was “ready for some futbol” on Friday night at Alumni Field, as the junior forward tied the Notre Dame record for points in a half (7) while becoming the first player in the program’s history ever to score or assist on the first five goals of a game. She then handed off the 5-0 halftime lead to her teammates and the Irish quickly scored twice more en route to a 7-2 win over a Baylor team that also was playing its 2004 season opener.

(Note: check back to und.com throughout the weekend and into next week for photos from this weekend’s games and some final offerings from the Brazil trip, including the tri-captains’ much-anticipated Brazil Trip Top-10 List.)

Notre Dame – which has won 11 of its last 12 season openers and five straight – showed good marksmanship and strong finishing skills, placing all but six of its 32 shots on frame while converting on seven of its first 25 total shots. The Irish, ranked second or third in all four national polls, finished with sizable margins in total shots (32-9), shots on goal (25-5) and corner kicks (8-1) while Baylor was whistled for 20 of the game’s 32 fouls.

Dating back to 1993, teams making their first visit to Alumni Field now are just 3-37-1 in those games versus the Irish (that record includes some teams that previously played ND at other sites). Notre Dame also improved to 34-5-0 in its last 39 games versus a first-time opponent (regardless of the site) and now is 22-3 since 1993 when facing a first-time opponent at Alumni Field.

Thorlakson was not the only Notre Dame player whose performance caused the record books to be scoured during the postgame hours, as freshman forward Amanda Cinalli worked her own magic by scoring the team’s first two goals of the season.

Cinalli opened the scoring with goals in the 13th and 22nd minutes, via primary assists from Thorlakson. A three-minute stretch late in the opening half then saw three more goals, as Thorlakson and sophomore midfielder Jen Buczkowski took turns setting up each other’s goals before Thorlakson scored again on a strong individual effort.

Senior Candace Chapman, who is returning from an ACL knee injury that held her out for all of the 2003 season, scored twice early in the second half to further extend the cushion. Chapman – primarily a starter at outside back in her first two seasons with the Irish – was inserted at forward and again showed her instant offense that produced a team-leading four goals in the recent trip to Brazil.

The Irish used 22 players in the game, with Baylor averting the shutout in the 85th minute and scoring again with two minutes left to play.

The game held special significance for sixth-year Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum – who started the Baylor women’s program, compiling a 46-14-3 record from ’96-’98 – and second-year Irish assistant coach Dawn Greathouse, a standout goalkeeper with the Bears during the Waldrum era.

The fact that Waldrum expressed general “disappointment” over a seemingly dominant performance hints at the lofty goals set before his 2004 Irish squad (see quotes from both head coaches below).

Thorlakson – a star player with Canada’s Under-19 National Team – set up the first goal after battling into the top of the box, where she sent a close-range shot off charging ‘keeper Ashley Holder. The deflection went to Holder’s left and Cinalli was in position to drive a 16-yard shot into the vaceted net (12:49).

Cinalli – who showed flairs of excellence during the Brazil trip but somehow failed to find the net during that six-game slate (with several near-misses) – scored again midway through the first half. Sophomore defender/midfielder Kim Lorenzen played a perfect long ball to set the play in motion, reversing the flow to the left side as Thorlakson ran onto the lead pass. The ensuing cross from the left endline found Cinalli filling the middle and the U.S. Under-17 National Teamer slid onto the play to produce a shot that kicked off the right post for the 2-0 lead (21:02).

The early flurry leaves Cinalli with two rare distinctions in Notre Dame’s 17-year history of women’s soccer. She joins three previous Irish standouts – Margaret Jarc (1989, 4-1 vs. St. Joseph’s), Rosella Guerrero (1992, 3-4 vs. N.C. State) and current senior Mary Boland (2001, 2-1 vs. Penn State) – as the only freshmen ever to score Notre Dame’s first goal in a season.

Cinalli’s pair of goals also represented the fourth time that the same Notre Dame player has scored the team’s first two goals in a season. Alison Lester opened her sophomore season (1991) by scoring twice in a 2-0 win over Mercyhurst while Guerrero scored the first two Irish goals in the 1992 opening loss to N.C. State (her goals made the score 1-0 and 2-2) and the scored the first two ND goals of the ’93 season as well (a 12-0 win over LaSalle).

Notre Dame quickly added three goals in Friday night’s game to take a 5-0 lead into the intermission. Buczkowski’s long lead pass sprung Thorlakson for a well-timed shot from 16 yards that skipped past the ‘keeper (38:21). Less than two minutes later, Thorlakson returned the favor after runing onto junior midfielder Annie Schefter’s touch pass. Thorlakson gained space on the right endline and cut the ball back to Buczkowski, who roofed a shot off Holder’s gloves and into the top-netting for the 4-0 cushion (40:11).

Thorlakson – who assisted on six of the 16 goals during the Brazil trip – scored exactly one minute later to cap her record-tying half and gain a well-deserved rest over the final 45 minutes. Her second goal of the night fittingly was of the unassisted variety, showcasing her tough 1-on-1 skills as she rumbled into the top of the box, beat her defender and quickly reversed her angle for a leftfooted shot that sailed into the left side of the goal (41:11).

It had been six years since a Notre Dame player racked up seven points in a half, as current University of Pittsburgh assistant coach Monica Gerardo (who was on campus this summer as an instructor at the ND Soccer Camps) scored goals 2-4 and assisted on the fifth (by Jenny Heft) as part of the 6-0 halftime lead at Providence on Oct. 11, 1998 (8-0).

Eight years earlier, Tasha Strawbridge had collected her seven points during the second half of a 12-1 win over Valparaiso (Sept. 14, 1990). Strawbridge scored the first goal of the half for a 7-1 lead, later assisting on the ninth goal (by Denise Chabot) before adding goals 10 and 11.

No previous Notre Dame player had registered a point on the first five goals in a game before Thorlakson’s dizzying display on Friday night. In fact, it had been five years since an ND player even had opened a game with points on the team’s first four goals.

Eight times previously, a Notre Dame player has scored or assisted on the first four goals of a game: Suzie Zilvitis vs. Alma on Oct. 13, 1989 (goal-goal-assist-assist; 6-0 final); Lester at Indiana on Sept. 14, 1993 (G-G-A-A for 4-0 lead; 5-1 final); Guerrero one week later (Sept. 17, 1993) versus Michigan State (A-A-G-G; 6-0); Lester again that season at Ohio State on Oct. 23, 1993 (G-G-A-G; 6-0); Michlelle McCarthy with the eventual NCAA championship squad vs. St. John’s on Sept. 3, 1995 (A-G-A-G; 9-0); Holly Manthei vs. Ohio State on Nov. 1, 1996 (A-A-G-A; 7-0), and again at Villanova on Sept. 28, 1997 (A-A-A-A; 4-0); and most recently Meotis Erikson vs. Seton Hall, in the BIG EAST semifinals at Rutgers on Nov. 5, 1999 (A-G-G-A; 5-0).

Most teams don’t have the luxury of bringing an All-American off the bench but such was the case with Chapman, who continues to work back from the injury that ultimately will provide her the option of applying for a fifth year of eligibility in 2005.

Cinalli played a thru-ball early in the second half and Chapman raced free for a crossing shot that ripped into the left side of the net (49:02). Five minutes later, Buczkowski took a feed from senior defender Melissa Tancredi and sent the ball forward to spring Chapman once again. Holder was well off her line and tried to meet Chapman beyond the top of the box but the Canadian National Team veteran calmly struck her shot from 20 yards for the 7-0 lead (54:41).

One streak that did come to an end was Boland’s proclivity for season-opening goals, as she had scored in each of the previous three season openers. Guerrero is the only other Notre Dame player ever to score in three season openers (Boland would have become the first to score in four).

POSTGAME COMMENTS – NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH Randy Waldrum: “For the first game, I was really disappointed. I didn’t think we were sharp the whole night. I didn’t feel like we really got into a rhythm. Now, we scored some fantastic goals but I didn’t feel like we ever controlled the tempo of the game like I expected us to against them. They played very flat in the back and we were able to get behind them a lot and that’s how we got so many of our goals. … It was great to see Cinalli break through and get a couple goals and I think Katie Thorlakson is going to be one of the best forwards in the country. It was great to see Candace (Chapman) get in and get some goals and that’s something we expect her to do as she gets healthier. … I was especially disappointed after we made the changes at the end, to give up two goals. Those kids have to take care of business when they go in. In the final third, we were very sharp and that’s usually the hardest part. We had some great combinations.”

POSTGAME COMMENTS – BAYLOR HEAD COACH GEORGE VAN LINDER: “We had seven freshmen out there but when you play the No. 2 team you expect a lopsided result. We were real impressed with them. They certainly are far from being overrated. … We wanted to play Notre Dame to prepare for a Texas or Texas A&M. Notre Dame seems to have all the pieces with no visible weaknesses right now. … They did a great job of of finishing. Coming in, we tried to disrupt their possession but they read that well and reacted well to it. But I don’t think we even saw the best of Notre Dame tonight. … In the back, they were so strong in the air with Shaner and Tancredi. They were just animals and that’s what makes them so special when you are comparing them with what teams like Texas and A&M have – Notre Dame is just so strong in the back and it’s hard to win balls in the air. The thing is that Notre Dame is able to play that possession and attractive style while still being able to handle teams that want to play a hockey’ style.”

Baylor 0 2 – 2

#2 Notre Dame 5 2 – 7

ND 1. Amanda Cinalli (Katie Thorlakson) 12:49; ND 2. Cinalli (Thorlakson, Kim Lorenzen) 21:02; ND 3. Thorlakson (Jen Buckowski) 38:21; ND 4. Buczkowski (Thorlakson, Annie Schefter) 40:11; ND 5. Thorlakson (-) 41:11; ND 6. Candace Chapman (Cinalli) 49:02; ND 7. Chapman (Buczkowski, Melissa Tancredi) 54:41; BAY 1. Ginny Rosario-Tull (-) 84:29; BAY 2. Margaret Kaderli (Anna Schuch) 87:59.

Shots: BAY 4-5 – 9, ND 21-11 – 32.

Corner Kicks: BAY 0-1 – 1, ND 3-5 – 8.

Saves: BAY 18 (Ashley Holder 15, team 3), ND 3 (Erika Bohn 2, with 0 GA in 45:00; Lauren Karas 1, with 2 GA in 45:00).

Fouls: BAY 20, ND 12.

Offsides: BAY 0, ND 5.

Yellow Card: Kristin Ruef (BAY) 9:40.