Sept. 26, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior All-America forward and Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) scored twice and sophomore forward Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale) added a goal and an assist as No. 1 Notre Dame remained unbeaten this season with a 4-1 victory over BIG EAST Conference foe Louisville on Friday night before a season-high crowd of 2,264 fans at Alumni Field. The Irish (9-0, 2-0 BIG EAST) are one of only three teams in the country who still hold perfect records through the first month of the season, joining LSU and Oklahoma State with that distinction.
Hanks posted her second multi-goal game of the year, converting on a right-side cross from sophomore defender Julie Scheidler (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) at 16:36, the sixth time in nine games this season that Notre Dame has scored inside the first 20 minutes of play. Hanks then capped the evening with her second score (and ninth of the year) off an assist from fellow senior All-America forward Brittany Bock (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) at 71:34, a mere 16 seconds after Louisville scored its lone goal of the game on a goal-mouth scramble.
“We always try to come away from any win with some positives, and I thought the biggest positive tonight was the way we came right back down and scored after they got their goal,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We looked strong at times in the first half, especially when we built up our lead. I was disappointed with the way we came out to start the second half, but you also have to tip your hat to Louisville for battling as hard as they did for the full 90 minutes.”
Both teams played to a virtual stalemate through the first 15 minutes before the Irish began to exert pressure on the Louisville defense, culminating with Hanks’ first goal. Moments later, Bock and junior midfielder Amanda Clark (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) had chances to finish off a Hanks’ corner kick that pinballed around the six-yard box, but both Irish shots were blocked. Senior defender Elise Weber (Elk Grove, Ill./St. Viator’s Academy) got a look at goal at 20:20, cranking up a rocket from 20 yards out on the left flank, with Louisville goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer pushing the ball around the near post. Weber tried another shot from distance about four minutes later, with her 25-yard bender from the left just missing the far upper 90.
Iantorno continued to cement her reputation as Notre Dame’s “super sub,” registering her three-point night less than 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute at the 31-minute mark. First, she streaked down the right flank and sent a cross into the box that junior forward Michele Weissenhofer (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) dummied beautifully. That left freshman midfielder Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano) wide open at the penalty spot and after dribbling to her right around a defender, she ripped a low shot back to her left inside the post for her first career goal (33:35). Less than seven minutes later, Iantorno converted a gift from the Cardinals’ defense, as Weber sent a ball from the left wing into the box, where Kiefer mishandled the sphere and Iantorno easily slammed the loose ball into an empty net for her third goal of the year (40:32).
Held to one shot on goal in the first half, Louisville (3-4-1, 1-1-0) came out of the intermission with renewed vigor, with Chelsea Spencer testing Irish junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) just over two minutes in with a drive from the top of the box that Lysander parried wide of the right post. The Cardinals also had a golden opportunity in the 55th minute with a free kick at the top of the penalty arc, 22 yards from goal, but Lindsay Boling’s shot sailed well over the bar.
Louisville finally broke through at 71:18, as Mallory Lampson’s corner kick from the right flag was knocked down by the Irish defense, but the ball dropped untouched inside the six-yard box. In serendipitous fashion, Cardinal forward Shannon Smyth seized the opportunity and was just able to get a foot on the ball before Lysander could recover, notching her third goal of the season.
The score seemed to revitalize Notre Dame and the Irish offense — or more specifically, the veteran frontliners Hanks and Bock — angrily responded. On the ensuing kickoff, Bock sprang loose on the left flank and whipped a cross to Hanks, who was parked 12 yards out in the goal mouth, settled the service and delivered a wicked left-footed half-volley that beat Louisville backup goalkeeper Katie Zoeller in the blink of an eye.
The emphatic response seemed to silence all debaters in attendance, although the Irish had several more chances to pad the margin in the final 20 minutes, with Zoeller robbing Bock on a 15-yard blast that was ticketed for the lower right corner of the net (73:53) and sophomore forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) nutmegging a defender on a charge down the left end-line before her cross back into the goal mouth just missed connecting with a crashing Hanks (80:45).
Lysander made a season-high four saves, all in the second half, to procure her ninth win in as many opportunities this year. Notre Dame outshot the Cardinals, 23-10, including an 11-5 edge in shots on goal, and owned a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Notre Dame has a quick turnaround as the Irish head back out on the road Sunday for a 1 p.m. (ET) BIG EAST game at Cincinnati.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame has started a season 9-0 for the seventh time in school history and the fourth time in the 10-year Waldrum era (since ’99); the other 9-0 starts came in 1993 (9-0), 1994 (9-0), 1996 (13-0), 2000 (16-0), 2004 (15-0) and 2006 (13-0) … the Irish improve to 6-1 all-time against Louisville (4-0 in BIG EAST play), although the Cardinals did manage their first goal against Notre Dame since Oct. 25, 1991, and just their third in series history … the Irish stretch their school-record home unbeaten streak against BIG EAST teams to 80 games (79-0-1), dating back nearly 13 years (5-4 OT loss to Connecticut on Oct. 6, 1995) … Notre Dame also extends its school-record overall conference unbeaten streak to 40 games (38-0-2), dating back to Sept. 30, 2005 (a 4-1 loss at Marquette) … the Irish jump to 77-6-3 (.913) all-time as the nation’s No. 1 team … Barg became the 14th different Notre Dame player to score a goal this season and the 18th different Irish player to notch a point; Barg also is the fourth Notre Dame freshman to tally a goal this year, joining forward Melissa Henderson (5), and midfielders Molly Campbell (1) and Ellen Jantsch (1) … Hanks broke out of a tie with William & Mary’s Missy Wycinsky (1996-99) for 17th place on the NCAA Division I career points list; Hanks now has 206 career points (73G-60A), putting her just three away from catching North Carolina’s Robin Confer (209 from 1994-97) for 16th place and five points shy of tracking down former Irish great Jenny Streiffer (211 from 1996-99) for the Notre Dame career points record … Hanks also pulled even with Monica Gerardo (1995-98) for second place on the Irish career goals list (73); Jenny Heft owns the top spot with 80 goals from 1996-99 … with 114 combined goals, Hanks (73) and Bock (41) moved into a tie for third place on Notre Dame’s list for career goals by classmates; Hanks’ two scores against Louisville pushed the current duo past Gerardo and Shannon Boxx (112 from 1995-98) and alongside Michelle McCarthy and Rosella Guerrero (114 from 1992-95); Heft and Streiffer are the record holders in this category with 150 combined goals from 1996-99 … despite starting just once in nine games this year, Iantorno is making the most of her time on the pitch, chalking up her fifth assist in as many games (team-high six this season) and logging her second multi-point game of the year (1G-1A in season opener vs. Michigan on Aug. 22) after not having a single multi-point game all of last season (four total assists) … Scheidler has assisted on Notre Dame’s opening goal in each of the past two games, after having only one assist in the first 33 games of her career (Oct. 14, 2007 vs. Villanova) … Waldrum coached the 400th game of his career Friday night, improving to 301-79-20 (.778) in 19 seasons on the sidelines (194-29-8, .857, in nine-plus years at Notre Dame) … following the game, Irish athletics director Jack Swarbrick presented Waldrum with the game ball from his 300th career win last Sunday at No. 17/16 Penn State, making the Notre Dame skipper the eighth active Division I coach to reach that milestone.