Oct. 21, 2004

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NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S SOCCER – vs. Rutgers and Seton Hall (Oct. 22 and 24, 2004)

The No. 1-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team (15-0-0, 8-0-0 BIG EAST) is set for its final two regular-season games of the season, vs. Rutgers (Fri., Oct. 22, 7:30) and Seton Hall (Sun., Oct. 24, 1:00; see TV info. below) … a win over RU will match the 2000 team for the best start in ND history (16-0-0) … the Irish technically have played 21 games this season (going 5-1-0 in the preseason Brazil trip) and thus took several days off from training over the past two weeks while playing just once in an 11-day stretch (the 1-0 win over #20 Boston College, on Oct. 16) … ND already has clinched at least a share of the BIG EAST regular-season title and will be the No.1 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament (the Irish are slated to host an Oct. 31 quarterfinal, at 1:00) … ND has won the BIG EAST regular-season title 9 of 10 times (all but ’02, plus tournament titles from ’95-’01) … based on the current standings, ND could face St. John’s (3-5-0, now 7th), Syracuse (2-5-1), Georgetown (2-4-1) or Pittsburgh (2-4-1) in the quarterfinals … ND is the nation’s only unbeaten/untied team and is 35-1-1 in its last 37 regular-season games … 19 players have started for ND this season (17 with 4-plus starts) … since a rare deficit vs. Pittsburgh on Sept. 24, ND has outscored the opposition 17-2 (1 GA in last 4-plus gms) … since joining the conference in ’95, ND is 103-9-2 in all games vs. BIG EAST teams, with 53 straight home wins vs. BIG EAST squads … the Irish have not allowed a corner kick in 4 of the last 7 games, with 29 opponent CKs all season (1.9/gm) … ND has been ranked 1st or 2nd in the NSCAA coaches poll during eight of 11 seasons since ’94 (all but ’99, ’01 and ’02; also #1 in ’94, ’95, ’96 and ’00) … the Irish posted a pair of impressive wins at the ND Adidas Classic (1-0 vs. #13 Stanford, 5-2 vs. #4 Santa Clara) … 6th-year Irish head coach Randy Waldrum registered his 100th win with the Irish (now 109-19-4/.841) in the Sept. 12 Texas Tech game … senior F and All-America candidate Mary Boland suffered a season-ending broken leg midway through the SCU game (Sept. 7) … the Irish recently received a big piece of good news as junior F and national player-of-the-year frontrunner Katie Thorlakson announced she will remain at ND for the entire ’04 season, rather than leaving to play with Canada at the Under-19 World Championship (Nov. 10-27, in Thailand) … Thorlakson has combined with 5th-year D Melissa Tancredi and senior Candace Chapman (formerly right back with the Irish who has played mostly forward in ’04) as ND’s potent “Canadian Connection” while three Chicago-area sophomores – central M Jen Buczkowski (who opted not to play with U.S. squad in U-19s), defensive M Jill Krivacek and D/M Kim Lorenzen – also are key starters for the ’04 Irish squad.

FOUR TV GAMES ON TAP – Notre Dame is slated to be featured on television in two upcoming games and also could play on TV twice in the BIG EAST Tournament … the Oct. 24 Seton Hall game will be aired on a delayed basis by Comcast SportsNet Detroit (Oct. 28 at 2:00 p.m. EDT; Oct. 30 at 9:30 p.m. EDT) while Comcast Chicago will air the ND-SHU game on Oct. 26 at 7:00 p.m. CDT/EST … the Oct. 28 ND-Michigan game then will be aired by Comcast Detroit on Oct. 31 (2:30 p.m. EST) and Nov. 1 (1:30 p.m. EST) and by Comcast Chicago on Oct. 30 at 8:00 p.m. CDT/EST … Comcast Chicago is available on South Bend Comcast cable channel 37 … if ND wins its BIG EAST quarterfinal game, the Irish will play in the late semifinal (7:00 EST) on Nov. 5 (at UConn), with that game to be telecast on a delayed basis by College Sports Television (Nov. 6, 7:30 EST) … the BIG EAST title game (Nov. 7, noon) then will be telecast live by CSTV, Comcast Net Chicago and various other affiliates (full list is TBA) … CSTV can be found on DirectTV channel 610 and via a growing number of cable outlets nationwide (see www.cstv.com).

INFORMATION HIGHWAY – Gametracker livestats for ND home games can be accessed via the www.und.com main page … internet audio broadcasts are planned for all remaining games, home and away, available to College Sports Pass subscribers (see audio/video link on und.com main page) … College Sports Pass subscribers can view video/audio of the ND soccer coaches television show while listening to game audio of several sports (men’s soccer, football, basketball, hockey, baseball and more) from ND and other schools … game broadcasts are archived via the women’s soccer schedule page at und.com (see audio/video button for links to coaches shows) … game recaps are available via the ND Sports Hotline at (574) 631-3000 (press “4” for soccer, then ‘2″ for women’s soccer).


THAT WAS THEN … THIS IS NOW – As shown in the below chart, Notre Dame’s current stats include a slight dropoff in scoring numbers when compared to the 2003 season … despite the loss of several top forwards (to graduation, injuries and national-team duty), the Irish have generated more shots per game but have not been as accurate as in ’03 … corner kicks and 1st-half defense also are improved but the Irish already have allowed more 2nd-half goals (6) than in 2003 (5) … here’s a comparison of the ’03 and ’04 stats (see PDF):

SHANER SHINES AS MEMBER OF DOMINATING DEFENSE – Sophomore left back Christie Shaner, considered by coach Randy Waldrum to be ND’s “most consistent defender” in ’04, was named BIG EAST defensive player of the week after helping hold #20 Boston College to one shot on goal, in the 88th minute of that 1-0 win … Shaner is part of a veteran back line that also includes: 5th-year central back Melissa Tancredi (a 2003 All-American and one of 12 final candidates for the ’03 Hermann Trophy), senior central back Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (a starter with the Icelandic National Team) and sophomore right back Kim Lorenzen … Lorenzen all-around athleticism affords her the versatility to play any field position (she often shifts to a flank M role) and she recently has delivered a clutch GWG at West Virginia (3-1) and the late primary assist to beat Boston College, 1-0 (both teams were #20 at game time) … Tancredi is a starter with the Canadian National Team while Shaner is in the U.S. Under-21 National Team player pool … Shaner’s ’03 honors included 2nd team all-BIG EAST and BIG EAST rookie of the year … the ’04 defense has allowed just 9 goals (0.60 GAA), 98 total shots (6.5/gm), 47 shots on goal (3.1/gm), 29 corner kicks (1.9/gm) and just three deficits (58 min.) … the backline starters have combined for 201 career games played at ND (160 starts) … Tancredi (1,279; 85/gm) and Shaner (1,240/83) lead the ’04 team in minutes played while Lorenzen is 5th (1,041), with Gunnarsdottir logging 847 (dnp 3 games/minor injury).

TALE OF THE TAPE (see PDF for stat comparisons between ND, RU and SHU

DEPTH CHARGES – The 2004 season has been a unique one in many ways for Randy Waldrum’s squad, as the veteran Irish coach and his players have embraced a system of deeper substitution and rotating lineups … 19 different players have started for the Irish this season, including 17 who have logged at least four starts … ND often has elected to not start several top players on the second game of a weekend, instead bringing them off the bench for a “shock troops” effect that was made popular by legendary ND football coach Knute Rockne (he often would start his entire 2nd team, then bring in the top group later in the game) … the team’s top reserves in general situations have included a pair of freshmen – F/M Jannica Tjeder and M Ashley Jones – along with senior F/D Candace Chapman or sophomore F/M Lizzie Reed (Chapman and Reed have split time as a starting F in ’04) … Chapman starred as a right back with ND in ’01 and ’02 (when she was an All-American) and has shifted back to the defense at times this season (she also has been a standout flank M with the Canadian National Team) … others who have turned in strong efforts off the bench and as spot starters include junior F Maggie Manning, senior outside back Kate Tulisiak, junior D/M Jenny Walz, sophomore defensive M Claire Gallerano and freshman G Lauren Karas.

ONE-TWO PUNCH – Notre Dame boasts possibly the best forward/defender combination in the nation, as junior F Katie Thorlakson (Langley, B.C.) and 5th-year central D Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ont.) have led the Irish domination from their respective positions … Thorlakson (11 goals, 12 assists, 34 points, 6 gamewinning goals) entered the week ranked 8th in the nation for points, 4th in assists and 24th in goals (she is one of just three players with 11-plus goals and 11-plus assists) … Thorlakson has been the BIG EAST player of the week three times (also named to Soccer America and Soccer Buzz national teams of the week twice each) and has posted three 8-point weekends (2G-3A vs. Baylor, 1A vs. Eastern Illinois; 3G-2A vs. Santa Clara; 1G-1A vs. Pittsburgh, 2G-1A vs. UW Green Bay) … Tancredi, a 2003 All-American and reigning BIG EAST defensive player of the year, has earned thee BIG EAST defensive player-of-the-week honors this season and was one of 12 final candidates for the ’03 MAC Hermann Trophy national player-of-the-year award … see more on each player below in Canadian Connection not

LAST-MINUTE HERO – Jen Buczkowski goal at Georgetown on Oct. 10 (2-1), with 44 seconds left in regulation, held special significance in the program’s history … the sophomore M became the first ND player since ’94 – and just the third in the program’s 17-year history – to win a game by scoring in the final minute of play (regulation or OT) … just four of the program’s 380 all-time games have featured a last-minute gamewinning goal (by either team) but GU’s Harbin Field has been the site for two of those fantastic finishes … Buczkowski’s goal helped avenge the heartbreaking loss suffered by the Irish on their previous visit to GU … the Hoyas won that day, 4-3, on a goal with 24 seconds left in regulation, in a game that also remains the only time in the last 10 seasons that the Irish have scored three goals and failed to win (111-1-0) … the last ND player to win a game in the final minute of play was Michelle McCarthy, whose goal with 25 seconds left in OT (119:35) completed a wild comeback vs. William & Mary, 4-3 … Jody Hartwig’s goal in the 85th minute had forged a 2-2 tie for the Irish in that game but the Tribe scored first in OT (non-sudden death) before future All-American Rosella Guerrero answered with another tying goal … the only other Irish player to score a last-minute GWG was future All-American Ragen Coyne, vs. Wright State in the 1992 Midwest Conference championship game (89:24).

BAM! … BUCZKOWSKI DOES IT AGAIN – Sophomore M Jen Buczkowski did not register a gamewinning goal in the first 37 games of her ND career before delivering a pair of GWGs in the late moments of wins at Georgetown (89:16; 2-1) and vs. #20 Boston College (79:06; 1-0).

FOUR NOMINATED FOR ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA HONORS – Notre Dame’s 2004 roster is stocked with Academic All-America candidates and four of them recently were nominated for the official Academic All-America team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (TBA) … the nominees include junior G Erika Bohn (3.63 cumulative GPA, design major), junior M Annie Schefter (3.73, pre-professional studies and psychology), sophomore M Jen Buczkowski (3.37, business) and sophomore D Christie Shaner (3.42, design) … ND’s stellar Academic All-America tradition includes two Academic All-Americans of the Year (G Jen Renola in ’96, D Vanessa Pruzinsky in ’03) and 13 total Academic All-America selections during the past 10 seasons (the more from any school in that span) … ND’s ’03 team became the first in Division I women’s soccer history ever to produce three Academic All-Americans in the same season: Pruzinsky (1st team), Bohn (2nd team) and current senior F Mary Boland, who is not eligible in ’04 after suffering a broken leg in the 4th game of the season … Boland would have been a strong contender for Academic All-America of the Year this season, with a 3.90 GPA as a psychology major (including a 4.0 in the fall of ’03) … Pruzinsky became the first Div. I player ever to be named 1st team Academic All-America three times (also ’00 and ’01, injured in ’02).

CINALLI TOP ROOKIE – Freshman F Amanda Cinalli scored the late GWG at UConn and had the primary assist on the first goal (by Jen Buczkowski) at Syracuse, earning BIG EAST rookie of the week honors for Sept. 13-19 … Cinalli, tied for 2nd on the team in scoring (17 pts; 7G-3A), then became the first freshman to be honored by the BIG EAST this season as offensive (or defensive) player of the week, after a pair of key goals in BIG EAST road wins over Villanova (1-0) and Georgetown (2-1) on Oct. 8 and 10 … her goal at VU came on a well-placed crossing shot from 30 yards that ripped into the upper right corner of the net … Cinalli’s 18 points and 7 goals both rank 2nd among BIG EAST freshmen, behind West Virginia’s Ashley Banks (8G, 22 pts) … she ranks 7th overall among BIG EAST players in goals and 9th in points … Cinalli scored ND’s first two goals of the season in the 7-2 win over Baylor, becoming just the 4th freshman ever to open the season scoring for the Irish and likewise was the 4th ND player ever to score the first 2G in a season.


Notre Dame – 1st in goals-against avg. (0.60, 16th nationally) and shots per game (21.7); 2nd in goals per game (2.73, 22nd nationally) and shutouts (8, 15th nationally); 3rd in corner kicks per game (5.6)

Rutgers – 2nd in shutouts (8); 5th in goals-against avg. (0.86); 6th in corner kicks per game (4.11); 10th in goals per game (1.22) and shots per game (9.56)

Seton Hall – 6th in goals per game (1.56) and shutouts (6); 8th in goals-against avg. (1.13); 9th in shots per game (10.31); 10th in corner kicks per game (3.56)

Notre Dame Players

Katie Thorlakson – 1st in points (34, 8th national), goals (11, 24th nat.), assists (12, 4th nat.), GWGs (6); 2nd in shots (66)

Candace Chapman – 9th in assists (5), 9th in points (17) and GWGs (2), 10th in goals (6)

Amanda Cinalli – 7th in goals (7), 8th in shots (47), 9th in points (17) and GWGs (2),

Jen Buczkowski – 9th in assists (5), points (17) and GWGs (2), 10th in goals (6)

Annie Schefter – 7th in gamewinning goals (2)

Erika Bohn – 1st in goals-against avg. (0.49), 4th in save pct. (.821) and 7th in solo shutouts (4)

Rutgers Players

Carli Lloyd – 2nd in goals (10), 4th in points (21)

Robyn Jones – 1st in solo shutouts (8), 9th in save pct. (.714)

Seton Hall Players

Carley Piegentini – 4t in assists (7)

Amanda Becker – 5th in save pct. (.817) and solo shutouts (5)

OPPONENT NOTES – Rutgers (9-9-0, 4-5-0 BIG EAST) is 6th in the league standings and likely will play at UConn in the quarterfinals …RU owns wins over Drexel (2-0), Fairleigh Dickinson (3-0), Santa Clara (1-0), Michigan State (2-1/OT), Monmouth (4-0), at Villanova (2-0), Georgetown (2-0), Syracuse (1-0) and at St. John’s (3-0), with losses at LMU (0-1), vs. USC (2-3/OT), at Florida (0-1), vs. Seton Hall (0-1/OT), at UConn (0-2), vs. Boston College (0-3), at Princeton (0-1), and vs. West Virginia (0-2) and Pittsburgh (0-1) … senior All-America M Carli Lloyd (10G-1A) leads the Scarlet Knights in scoring, followed by sophomore M Domenique Esposita (3G-1A) and freshman M/F Amanda Allessio (3G) … sophomore Robyn Jones has logged every minute in goal for RU (0.86 GAA, 40 SV, 16 GA) … RU holds the season edge on its opponents in scoring (22-16), shots (172-107) and corner kicks (74-47) … RU returned 10 starters and 18 of 23 letterwinners from its 2003 team that went 10-7-5 (3-2-1 in BIG EAST Mid-Atlantic Division) … Seton Hall (7-7-2, 2-6-0 BIG EAST) opened 6-1-2 but is 1-6-0 in its last 7 games … the Pirates are 11th in the league standings and still has an outside shot at making the 8-team BIG EAST Tournament … SHU owns wins over Central Conn. (3-0), St. Peter’s (8-0), Monmouth (4-1), Maine (1-0), Navy (3-1), at Rutgers (1-0/OT) and at Syracuse (1-0), with losses at Virginia Commonwealth (0-4), vs. Villanova (0-1), Boston College (0-1), at St. John’s (1-2/OT), vs. Providence (1-3), at UConn (0-3) and vs. West Virginia (1-2), plus ties at Delaware (0-0) and at Richmond (1-1) … top SHU scorers include senior F Carley Piagentini (4G-7A), freshman M/D Kristen Ponichtera (3G-3A), sophomore F Rita Massot (3G-1A) and sophomore M/F Beth Troutman (3G) … freshman Amanda Becker has logged most of the time in the nets for SHU (1.15 GAA, 95 SV, 19 GA) … SHU owns a 25-19 season scoring edge but its opponents have totaled more shots (226-163) and corner kicks (76-57) … SHU returned 7 starters and 18 of 25 letterwinners from its ’03 team (5-12-1, 2-4-0 BE Mid-Atlantic Div.).

SERIES NOTES – ND owns a 40-4 scoring edge and 10-1-1 all-time record vs. Rutgers (5-0-0/22-0 scoring at Alumni Field) … the Irish dropped a 2-1 game at RU in ’01 while ND edged RU in double OT in ’02 at Alumni Field (1-0), followed by a 3-0 Irish win at RU last season … in the ’03 game, Katie Thorlakson (2G-1A) and Melissa Tancredi (1G) scored the goals as ND held a 9-4 shot edge (RU had 5 CKs to ND’s 2) … ND set a team record in that game with its 9th straight shutout … Thorlakson scored at 2:44 (assist from Amy Warner) and Tancredi at 3:53 (header off Thorlakson corner) … RU’s Carli Lloyd scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the ’01 ND-RU game while D Vanessa Pruzinsky scored her first career goal with the Irish (ND 21-9 shot edge) … the ’01 loss to RU halted several ND streaks: a 24-game unbeaten streak vs. BIG EAST teams (23-1-1, dating to ’98) and a 31-game unbeaten streak in regular-season games (30-0-2; one shy of tying the team record), while RU became just the third BIG EAST team ever to beat the Irish … Warner’s goal in the 101st minute gave ND the ’02 win over RU (10-8 shot edge) … ND owns a 9-1-0 series record vs. SHU (44-7 scoring edge), winning the last six meetings after a 3-2 loss at SHU in ’98 (that team was led by England National Team standout forward Kelli Smith) … ND’s 2-0 win at SHU in ’03 stretched the shutout streak to 10 games (5th in ND history), with Warner scoring at the 1:30 mark (assisted by Jill Krivacek) and adding another goal … ND elected to rest All-America D Melissa Tancredi and set a team record with its 24th straight game without allowing multiple goals … ND held an 18-6 shot edge and held the opponent to 0-3 shots on goal (1) for the 16th straight time (4-3 CK edge) … Mary Boland scored on an early diving header in the ’02 win over SHU at Alumni Field (1-0), assisted by Thorlakson’s header … Candace Chapman’s late goal gave ND a 2-1 win at SHU in ’01 (28-3 shot edge).

CONFERENCE CALL – Notre Dame’s all-time record in regular-season conference games is 103-7-2 (.929; 84-7-2/.914 in BIG EAST) … the Irish are 56-1 in home games vs. BIG EAST teams, with 53 straight home wins over BIG EAST teams since a 5-4 OT loss to UConn in ’95 (242-17 scoring edge, 37 shutouts, 14 with 1 GA) … since ’95, ND’s overall record in all games vs. BIG EAST teams now is 103-9-2 (.912; 1-1-0 vs. UConn in NCAAs).

ND Career Stats vs. Rutgers and Seton Hall (see PDF)

FRIEND OR FOE? – ND sophomore D Christie Shaner and SHU Jen Michewicz were teammates with the standout FC Parkwood/Bucks Challenge club team (based in the Philadelphia area) … Shaner also played alongside RU senior M Carli Lloyd last summer during U.S Under-21 training camps.

JERSEY CONNECTIONS – Sophomore M/F Lizzie Reed (Franklin Lakes/Ramapo Regional HS) is one of five New Jersey products to play for the ND women’s soccer program … others of note include M Joy Sisolak (’90; Basking Ridge/Immaculata), M Jodi Hartwig (’95; Ridgewood HS) and D Kerri Bakker (’01; Washington/Warren Hills HS)

THORLAKSON BUILDS PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR RESUME – Here’s a quick look at junior F Katie Thorlakson’s national player-of-the-year credentials:
• Ranks 8th in nation in points (34), 4th in and assists (12), 24th in goals (11)
• Three-time BIG EAST player of the week (Aug. 30, Sept. 6, Oct. 4)
• Three 8-point weekends and one with 6 points
• Has helped overcome loss of several top offensive players due to graduation, injuries and national-team duty
• Has played a role in nearly 65% of team’s goals in 2004 (25 of 41), with many of the other goals coming when she has been on the bench cheering on the Irish reserves
• Posted 5-game goal streak from Sept. 19-Oct. 3 (4 GWGs in that stretch)
• Owns 6 of the team’s 15 GWGs, two shy of ND record (8, set in ’94)
• Her 34 points this season have nearly matched her combined total (42) from her freshman and sophomore seasons.
• Currently one of only three players in the nation with 11-plus points and 11-plus assists
•Leads BIG EAST in points, goals, assists, GWGs and 2nd in total shots (66)
• Owns .167 shot pct. and is averaging 6.0 shots per goal scored (rest of team is just .127/7.9); she is converting 1G for every three shots on goal (11 of 37, or 3.4)
• In five 2004 games vs. nationally-ranked teams, she has totaled 12 points (4G-4A)
•3G-2A vs. #4 Santa Clara (only player in nation with 8-plus pts vs. top-25 team; only 5 players have totaled more than 8 points in a game this season)
• 16th ND player to total 25-plus goals and 25-plus assists in career (25G-26A)
• Averaging 2.27 points/game in ’04 and would total 64 points over full season of 28 games (ND record is 72 points by Cindy Daws in ’96 national player-of-the-year season)
• 12 career GWGs already rank 9th in ND record book (also 20th in points, with 76)
•Only 5 players in the nation have totaled more assists in a game this season than her 3A vs. Baylor.

PUNCHING THE CLOCK – Current junior F Katie Thorlakson missed the first two games of her ND career due to the 2002 Under-19 World Championship but has not missed a game since joining the Irish (58 straight) … junior M Annie Schefter (missed ’02 due to injury) and sophomore M Jen Buczkowski each have appeared in all 39 games over the past two seasons while four sophomore have played in 38 of the 39: D Christie Shaner (36 straight, dnp vs. ASU in ’03), D Kim Lorenzen (29, dnp vs. Indiana State in ’03), F/M Lizzie Reed (28, dnp vs. West Virginia in ’02) and DM Jill Krivacek (23, dnp vs. UConn in ’03).

QUICK NOTES ON THE IRISH – In addition to a 41-9 season scoring edge, the Irish also hold a 325-98 edge in total shots (avg. 22-7), 168-47 in shots on goal (11-3) and 84-29 in corner kicks (6-2) … ND has faced just three deficits in ’04 and has trailed for just 239 total minutes the past two-plus seasons (7% of the total minutes, spanning 44 games) … the Irish own a 20-3 first-half scoring edge and have allowed just 25 first-half goals in the past four seasons (80 games) … ND has limited 29 of its last 36 overall opponents to 0-3 shots on goal and has won its last 36 games when scoring first (dating back to a 3-2 loss to BYU on 10/19/02; ND is 3-3-0 in that span when the opponent scores first) … ND has not lost on the opponent’s field in the past two seasons (15-0-0) … the Irish have seen just five of the last 44 opponents come back to tie the game … ND is the nation’s only unbeaten/untied team, out of 306 in Division I.

THORLAKSON TO STAY – Notre Dame junior F Katie Thorlakson (Langley, B.C.), a top contender for NCAA player of the year, recently announced her intention to remain with the Irish for the entire ’04 season, foregoing the previous plan to leave for three weeks to compete with Canadian side at the Under-19 World Championship (Nov. 10-27, in Thailand) … that event overlaps with the first three rounds of the NCAAs and could prevent players from returning for the fourth/quarterfinal round (Nov. 26-28) … several other players – including ND sophomore M Jen Buczkowski (Elk Grove, Ill.) – have made similar decisions in recent months … Buczkowski is the playmaker of the Irish midfield and has been a starting defender with the U.S. U-19 squad … unlike their Canadian counterparts, the U.S. federation instituted a residency training camp for the months leading up to the U-19 World Championship, meaning team members had to sit out the entire semester from their respective colleges or high schools (ND signee Kerri Hanks is the leading scorer for the U.S. U-19s and has delayed her enrollment until the ’05 spring semester) .. Buczkowski made a surprise announcement at the team’s ’04 spring banquet, informing the team she would be returning to Notre Dame for the fall of ’04.

Katie Thorlakson ON REMAINING AT ND FOR ENTIRE ’04 SEASON – “It was a really hard decision. I thought about all the stress and decisions I’ve had to make the last three years and the positions I’ve put myself in, never really feeling like I was part of something and going back and forth from one team to another. This year has been so special with ND and I just decided to forego going to the U-19 World Championships. With that team, a number of girls will step up and be leaders and maybe it will be a good opportunity for them. … I could have gone for just a couple of weeks to Thailand and coach (Waldrum) allowed me to do that and gave me a lot of space in this process. When it came down to it, I just realized that I needed to be at school and playing soccer here. (At Syracuse) there was an incident where I could have gotten into a scuffle and that’s something I might have done in the past, but then I probably would have been kicked out and would not have been able to score the winning goal. It’s all become a matter of putting the team over myself. I’ve worked hard at showing more restraint in my emotions. … Playing for the National Team is an awesome experience. Most of my best friends are from that team that played in 2002. Playing with them every day is awesome. They are the best players in your country and you are best friends. … At the same time, we are even more like family here at Notre Dame. We are together just about all year-round. Our team concept really came together during the Brazil trip, always playing hard and playing to win.”

NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH Randy Waldrum – “We now have had two players on this team make the decision to forego the Under-19 World Championships, as Jen Buczkowski earlier this summer was one of several U.S. players who have opted out of that great experience. Katie and Jen both love their national teams but they also love this team here at Notre Dame, so it’s a tremendously difficult decision for them. But I also think it shows how both have matured so much in the past year. It says a lot about them as people and teammates and shows how much they care about this program and this school. Katie’s attitude, intensity and leadership this season have been just as phenomenal as her performance on the field. She has made a great commitment to being a great player and I can’t think that anyone in the college game is playing as well as she is right now. This is a huge moment for our program because it shows the commitment of an elite player who is willing to stay and help lead us to a national championship.”

CANADIAN CONNECTION – Notre Dame’s three Canadian natives – 5th-year D Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ont.), senior F/D Candace Chapman (Ajax, Ont.) and junior F Katie Thorlakson (Langley, B.C) – have been key leaders of the ’04 Irish squad … Thorlakson, the first ND player ever to repeat as BIG EAST offensive player of the week, entered the week 8th in the nation (among players from 306 Division I teams) with 34 points and 3rd with 12 assists, plus 24th in goals (11) … her 8 points vs. #4 Santa Clara (3G-2A; most ever by ND player vs. top-25 teem) are 6th-most in the nation this year and made her the 3rd ND player ever to post a hat trick vs. a top-10 opponent … Thorlakson became the only ND player ever to score/assist on ND’s first 5 goals in a game, doing so in the opener vs. Baylor (2G-3A) and then again in the SCU game … Chapman is 3rd on the team in goals (6G-5A) despite playing a reduced number of minutes as she returns from ’03 ACL surgery (she can apply for a 5th year in ’05) … Tancredi, coming off an All-America season in ’03, is the leader of ND’s back line from her central defender spot and has helped the Irish limit the opposition to 98 total shots (6.5/gm), 47 shots on goal (3.1/gm) and 29 corner kicks (1.9/gm) … Chapman, who started at right back for ND in ’01 and ’02, has started with the Canadian National Team (mostly at flank midfielder) while Tancredi emerged as a starting central D with Canada after the ’03 college season … Thorlakson recently made her first appearance with Canada’s full national team and is a standout with the Canadian Under-19 National Team.

WINDY-CITY TRIO – The “Canadian Connection” is not the only noteworthy trio on the ND women’s soccer team, as three Chicago-area natives have played key roles … the three sophomores – M Jen Buczkowski (Elk Grove HS), D/M Kim Lorenzen (Naperville North HS) and defensive M Jill Krivacek (Geneva; Rosary HS) – led the Illinois team to the 2003 Olympic Development national title before starting their Notre Dame careers … each of the Chicago natives play key, but subtle, roles on the Irish squad, with Lorenzen’s great versatility allowing her to play anywhere on the field (she scored the gamewinning goal in the 74th minute at #20 West Virginia) … the 5-foot-10 Krivacek has fortified the defensive midfield spot while Buczkowski is the classic field general and is tied for 2nd on the team with 17 points (6G-5A).

BIG & BRIGHT – The lone star state also has deep connections to the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, as all three coaches and three players are Texas natives … 6th-year ND head coach Randy Waldrum is a native of Irvin, Texas, played at Midwestern State (in Wichita Falls, Texas) from ’77-’80, coached the men’s teams at Austin College (’82) and Texas Wesleyan (’88) and coached the Baylor women from ’96-’98 (he also was the Texas Longhorns soccer club’s director of coaching from ’87-’89) … 2nd-year assistant Alvin Alexander is an Arlington native and his Lamar HS team was a rival of Waldrum’s MacArthur HS squad (they then were teammates at Midwestern) … Alexander’s extensive background in Texas youth soccer includes eight years as a staff coach and trainer with the North Texas and Midland Olympic Development Programs (’93-’01) … he also coached the u-13 and u-15 girls and u-11 boys with the elite Dallas Texans club program (’02-’03) and built the Black Magic soccer club into one of best programs in West Texas (from ’89-’99) … Alexander also help coaching and/or administrative duties with soccer teams at Oakridge HS (’99-’03), the American Eagles girls developmental team in Colleyville (’01-’02), the Arlington Strikers boys teams (’99-’00) and the Texas-Permian Basin men’s team in Odessa (’95-’97) – in addition to being a player/coach with the Permian Basin Mirage professional indoor soccer team … 2nd-year assistant Dawn Greathouse is a native of Allen, Texas, and played for Waldrum as the starting `keeper at Baylor … she also starred for the Texas Longhorns club program and the Region III and North Texas ODP squads … current ND sophomore M Claire Gallerano (Dallas/Ursuline HS) helped lead the Dallas Texans to the 2003 national club championship … prep All-America F Kerri Hanks – a 2003 signee who will not enroll at ND until next string, due to Under-19 World Championship training with the U.S. team – earned the USYSA’s Golden Boot Award as the tournament’s top scorer with that 2003 Dallas Texans team … current freshman G Lauren Karas (Flower Mound HS) also has starred for the Dallas Sting and Texans club teams, plus the Region III and North Texas ODP teams (she earned the Golden Glove Award with North Texas at the 2004 ODP nationals) … ND’s all-time roster includes 16 Texas natives, most notably: one of the program’s early scoring leaders, F Stephanie Porter (’90-’93; Spring/Klein HS); steady M Tiffany Thompson (’91-’94; Houston/Cypress Creek HS); clutch `keeper Liz Wagner (’98-’01; Spring/Klein HS); All-America D Monica Gonzalez (’97-’01; Richardson/Plano East HS); and high-scoring F Amanda Guertin (’00-’03; Grapevine HS).

WEEKLY HONORS – Notre Dame players have combined to earn 9 of the 17 BIG EAST offensive (4) and defensive (5) player-of-the-week honors this season, including at least one honoree in all eight weeks of the season … junior F Katie Thorlakson received the offensive honor on Aug. 30, Sept. 6 and Oct. 4 while fifth-year center D Melissa Tancredi has earned three of the defensive honors (Sept. 6, 13 and 27) while senior left back Kate Tulisiak was the Sept. 20 honoree and sophomore left back Christie Shaner the Oct. 18 selection … freshman F Amanda Cinalli is the BIG EAST’s only freshman to earn the offensive (or defensive) weekly honor, on Oct. 11 (she also was rookie of the week, on Sept. 20).

PLAYING THE BEST – Notre Dame has played some of its best soccer vs. ranked opponents, going 27-11-3 (.695) vs. NSCAA top-25 teams in the Waldrum era (since ’99) … that trend held true in ’01 (5-1-0): 2-1 vs. Penn State, 2-0 vs. Hartford, 2-1 vs. West Virginia, 3-0 vs. Miami, 0-3 at UConn, 2-1 vs. Michigan … the Irish had ’02 wins over #25 Maryland (5-2), #8 UConn (3-1), #13 Michigan (1-0) and #14 Purdue (3-1) … over the course of ’01-’04, ND has owned a 12-7-1 record vs. NSCAA top-25 teams (50-7-1 vs. unranked teams), including 2003 wins over #16 Santa Clara (2-1), #8 West Virginia (2-0) and #15 UConn (2-0) and a scoreless tie vs. #24 Stanford – plus ’04 wins over #2 SCU (5-2), #24 WVU (3-1) and #20 Boston College (1-0).

NUMBER-ONE NOTES – This marks the 5th season in the last 11 that the Irish have been No. 1 (also ’94, ’95, ’96, ’00), with all but the ’95 team earning the top ranking prior to the final poll (the ’95 team never reached No. 1 before winning the NCAA title) … two familiar landmarks have returned to campus, as the lighted No. 1 sign can be seen atop the Grace Hall tower on the northwest corner of campus while the No. 1 flag now waves in front of the Joyce Center … both displays reappear any time an ND team earns the nation’s top ranking (or wins a national title) … ND has been No. 1 in 22 NSCAA polls, plus 39 all-time appearances at No. 2 in the NSCAA poll … during the past 12 years, the Irish have been 1st or 2nd in the NSCAA poll during 10 seasons while appearing in the top five of 98 of 126 NSCAA polls (78%) over that 12-year span (1st-3rd in 73 NSCAA polls since ’93) … only five weekly polls in the past 12 seasons have seen ND outside the top eight of the NSCAA rankings … the Irish spent most of ’03 and the first few weeks of ’04 ranked No. 2 in the national polls … ND owns an all-time record of 43-4-1 as the top-ranked team in the NSCAA poll (27-1-1 in regular-season play).

No. 1 SIGN RETURNS – The eight-foot No. 1 sign perched atop the Grace Hall tower dates back to the 1974, when it was built by Fr. Bob Malone and a group of seminarians in recognition of the 1973 national championship football team … the sign was placed atop Moreau Seminary and later moved to Howard Hall before shifting high in the sky to the roof of Grace Hall … the sign was displayed during the 1988 national-title football season and returned in parts of the ’89, ’90 and ’93 football seasons … it shone brightly in recognition of ND’s 1994 fencing and 1995 women’s soccer national championships, followed by No. 1 rankings for the women’s soccer program in ’96 and ’00 and for the fencing teams in 2001, ’02, ’03 (also national champs) and ’04 – plus the ’00-’01 academic year saw an unprecedented four Notre Dame teams earn the No. 1 ranking: women’s soccer, women’s basketball (also national champs), baseball and men’s fencing.

SOCCER “BUZZ” – Sophomore M Jen Buczkowski opened the scoring in the 2-1 win at Syracuse, matching her goal total (4) from all of ’03 after playing just eight games in ’04 … she now is tied for 2nd on the team with 17 points (6G-5A) and has tripled her regular-season goal output from 2003 (2).


WALDRUM PICKS UP 100TH ND WIN – Sixth-year ND head coach Randy Waldrum posted his 200th career win as a Division I women’s head coach in the 2-1 game vs. Miami on Nov. 2, 2003, and recently registered his 100th win at Notre Dame in the 3-0 game at Texas Tech … Waldrum also coached eight seasons as college men’s soccer head coach and is 11 wins shy of his next milestone: 300 combined wins as a men’s and women’s college head coach (292-124-23/.691, in 23 seasons) … Waldrum now owns a 216-69-16 mark (.744) in 15 combined seasons as the women’s head coach at Tulsa, Baylor and Notre Dame … the Irish are 109-19-4 (.841) in the Waldrum era, including 98-16-3 (.850) in the past 117 games (since losing 4-2 at SCU on Oct. 17, 1999) …Waldrum repeated as BIG EAST coach of the year in 2000 and then became the first three-time BIG EAST women’s soccer coach of the year (in ’03) … in ’99, he became the only coach in the history of the NCAA women’s soccer championship to lead a team to the title game in his first season as that team’s head coach … he was the fourth 1st-year coach to take his team to the NCAA semifinals, beating top-ranked and unbeaten Santa Clara in San Jose … his women’s soccer record includes 61-36-9 in six years at Tulsa, 46-14-3 in three seasons at Baylor … Waldrum ranks 8th among active women’s coaches for career win pct. (min. 10 Div. I seasons)

SCOUTING THE IRISH – The 2004 Notre Dame squad features 23 former letterwinners and 10 with significant starting experience, among them senior F/D Candace Chapman (missed ’03 season due to injury) … the Irish spent most of ’03 ranked No. 2 in the nation and raced out to an 18-0-1 record before losing to Michigan in the regular-season finale (3-2), Boston College in the BIG EAST semifinals (2-1) and Michigan again in the 2nd round of the NCAAs (1-0, with UM converting its only shot on goal) … returning starters include senior Mary Boland (Academic All-American, 12G-4A in ’03; now out for ’04 after broken leg vs. SCU on Sept. 5) and junior Katie Thorlakson (Canadian U-19 National Team; 10G-11A in ’03) at the forward positions, plus a pair of proven midfielders who are former U.S. U-19 National Team standouts – junior Annie Schefter (4G-5A in ’03) and sophomore Jen Buczkowski (4G-6A in ’03) – to go along with junior G Erika Bohn (Academic All-American; 0.49 GAA, 967-minute shutout streak in ’03) and three defenders: 5th-year Melissa Tancredi (All-American; 4G-5A in ’03) and the sophomore duo of Christie Shaner (’03 BIG EAST rookie of the year, 1G-3A) and Kim Lorenzen (20 GS in ’03; also has played M in ’04) … other top returners include senior D Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (Icelandic National Team), sophomore M/F Lizzie Reed (2G-1A in ’03) and sophomore defensive M Jill Krivacek (2G-3A in ’03) … the four-member ’03 senior class included F Amy Warner (All-American; 37G-25A career, 10G-12A in ’03) and Amanda Guertin (48G-27A in career, 11G-6A in ’03), attacking M Kimberly Carpenter (6G-5A in ’03) and left back Vanessa Pruzinsky (94 career GS) … ND’s ’03 domination included 20 more goals (73) than opponent shots on goal (53) … ND’s freshman class is rated No. 2 by Soccer Buzz, 4th by Soccer America … four freshmen had impressive debuts on the preseason Brazil trip: F Amanda Cinalli (prep All-American, U.S. U-17 National Team), F/M Jannica Tjeder (Finland U-21 National Team), M Ashley Jones and G Lauren Karas … top scorers in Brazil (5-0-1; 16-3 scoring edge) included Chapman (4G), Thorlakson (6A), Tjeder (3G-2A) and Jones (2G-3A) … leading scorers after 15 games: Thorlakson (11G-12A), Cinalli (7G-3A), Chapman (6G-5A), Buczkowski (6G-5A) and Schefter (4G-4A).

HOME SWEET HOME – The Irish own a 158-14-2 all-time record (.914) at Alumni Field (134-10-2 in last 146) – with a 29-game home win streak (5th NCAA history) from ’99-’01 … 8 of ND’s last 10 home losses have been by a single goal … ND’s Alumni Field record vs. teams not in the NSCAA top-25 is 112-4-1/.962 (46-10-1 vs. ranked teams) … junior F Katie Thorlakson has totaled 45 points at Alumni Field the past two seasons (16G-13A, 7 GWG in 23 GP) while junior M Annie Schefter has scored all 8 of her career goals (4 GWG) at home … sophomore M Jen Buczkowski has registered 8 of her 10 career goals and 24 of her 31 career points with the Irish in the confines of Alumni Field.

PRIMETIME PLAYERS – Notre Dame has won more than 75 percent of its “big games” during the Randy Waldrum era (’99-’04), posting a 41-12-3 record (.759) when facing an NSCAA top-25 or postseason opponent.

TURNAROUND SUCCESS – Notre Dame is 17-0-0 the past two seasons (10-0 in ’03, 7-0 in ’04) when playing a regular-season game two days after a previous game (46-6 scoring edge) … that’s a big improvement from ’02, when the Irish were just 4-5 (18-16 scoring edge) in regular-season “bounceback” games … the 2003 bounceback games included the big 2-1 win at Santa Clara while the ’04 season has yielded a 5-2 bounceback win over that same SCU team.

SEEING 20-20 – Junior F Katie Thorlakson’s GWG at Syracuse on Sept. 19 made her the 19th player in ND’s storied history to total 20-plus goals and 20-plus assists in her career … she is the program’s 16th player to reach 25G and 25A (25G-26A), doing so over the course of 54 games (now 58) … 9 previous ND players reached 30G-30A … Thorlakson is on pace for 41 points (which would nearly match her 42 combined points in ’02 and ’03) in the 18-game regular season and could become the first ND player with 50-plus points in a season since Jenny Streiffer had 53 in the first year of the Randy Waldrum era (’99) … Thorlakson has 6 GWGs in ’04 (6th in ND history) and 12 in her career, good for 9th in the ND record book (one behind ’01 grad. Meotis Erikson) … her 76 career points would rank near the top of many school’s record books but she is 20th in ND career scoring … the other 15 ND players in the 25-goal, 25-assist club: Shannon Boxx (39G-57A), Cindy Daws (61-67), Erikson (59-46), Monica Gerardo (73-44), Rosella Guerrero (55-32), Amanda Guertin (48-27), Jodi Hartwig (27-33), Jenny Heft (80-29), Alison Lester (45-36), Anne Makinen (65-56), Michelle McCarthy (59-38), Streiffer (70-71), Tiffany Thompson (27-37), Amy Warner (37-25) and Suzie Zilvitis (43-26).

BEWARE OF THOR! – Junior F Katie Thorlakson has emerged as a frontrunner for national player-of-the-year honors, entering the week ranked 8th nationally in points (34), 3rd in assists (12), 24th in goals (11) … two of her Canadian national teammates own 42-plus points (Nebraska’s Brittany Timko has 43, Portland’s Christine Sinclair 42) … Thorlakson and Timko (135-13A) entered the week as two of only three players in the nation with 11-plus goals and 11-plus assists … her eight points vs. #4 Santa Clara on Sept. 5 (3G-2A) are 6th-most by a Div. I player this season (among players from 306 schools) and most vs. a top-25 opponent while her seven points in the opener vs. Baylor (2G-3A) rank 15th on that list … only five players in the nation have totaled more assists in a game this season than Thorlakson’s three vs. Baylor (see PDF for stat charts)

BACK OF THE NET – Despite the absence of several top offensive players, Notre Dame ranks 22nd in the nation with 2.73 goals per game … ND entered the week with a deceiving 0.60 team goals-against avg. (16th in nation) but has dominated opposing offenses, allowing just 98 total shots (6.5/gm), 47 shots on goal (3.1/gm) and 29 corner kicks (1.9/gm) … the Irish also rank 15th in the nation with 8 shutouts … ND is one of just four teams ranked among the NCAA top-25 in scoring and GAA … UNC is the only other team in the top-25 of the national polls that also stands 24th or better in the NCAA scoring and defense stat charts (others are South Alabama and Central Florida) … ND is the only unbeaten/untied team among 306 in Division I … UNC (14-0-1) is the only unbeaten team with one tie while only two others have one loss/no ties (14-1-0 Dayton, 11-1-0 Princeton), one has a single loss and tie (11-1-1 Penn State) and Campbell is 9-1-4 – meaning that all but six teams in the nation have at least two losses.

ACCURACY ADJUSTMENT – Notre Dame recently had struggled with its shot efficiency, scoring just three times on 45 shots spanning games at Connecticut and Syracuse and most of the 3-1 win over Pittsburgh … Melissa Tancredi’s game-tying goal vs. Pittsburgh sparked a flurry of shot accuracy for Notre Dame, as 7 of 12 shots found the back of the net over the course of the next 60 minutes of game time (final 29 vs. Pittsburgh, and 31 vs. UWGB) … those seven goals included three by Katie Thorlakson and one each from Tancredi, Candace Chapman, Amanda Cinalli and Annie Schefter … the Irish then totaled 6 goals on 55 totals shots (25 on goal) vs. West Virginia and Providence but had just 3 goals on 43 shots (19 on goal) at Villanova and Georgetown, followed by 1G on 12 shots vs. Boston College (5 SOG).

GREAT STARTS – The 2003 season saw ND go unbeaten after 19 games for the fourth time in the program’s history while the 2004 team is the 4th Irish team in the past 11 years to go unbeaten after 15 games … the ’04 season marks the second time an ND team has won the first 15 games of the season, one shy of the 16-0-0 start in 2000 … here’s a look at the other longest season-opening unbeaten and unbeaten/untied streaks in the ND record book (see PDF):

FIRST-HALF FORTRESS – The Notre Dame defense has been particularly stingy in the first half the past four seasons, allowing just 25 goals in the first half of those 80 games (0.31/gm) … the first half in ’02 featured little scoring (12-10 ND edge), compared to a 40-7 first-half edge in 2003 (plus 21-3 in ’04) … the Irish have been equally dominant in the first (61-10) and second half (51-11) over the past two seasons.

TANCREDI TABBED THREE TIMES FOR WEEKLY DEFENSIVE HONORS – Another leader of Notre Dame’s Canadian connection, fifth-year D Melissa Tancredi, picked up defensive MVP honors at the Adidas Classic (and BIG EAST defensive player of the week), after leading the Irish squad that allowed just 2 goals, 11 shots, 6 shots on goal and 8 corner kicks in action vs. two top teams … she combined with fellow backline veterans Gudrun Gunnarsdottir and Christie Shaner and defensive M Jill Krivacek in neutralizing Stanford All-America F Marcie Ward before shutting out Santa Clara for the first 60 minutes and not allowing the second SCU goal until the 82nd minute … Tancredi repeated the BIG EAST weekly honor on Sept. 13, after wins at #11 ASU (2-1) and Texas Tech (3-0), with ND allowing just 11 shots, 5 SOG and 2 CKs over the weekend … she picked the perfect time for her first goal of ’04, on a classic leaping volley via a free-kick service from fellow Canadian Katie Thorlakson for the gamewinner at ASU … Tancredi received the BIG EAST honor for the third time on Sept. 27, after playing a lead role in wins over Pittsburgh (3-1) and Wisconsin-Green Bay (4-0) … Tancredi scored the game-tying goal and had the primary assist on the final goal (by Candace Chapman) vs. the Panthers while helping the Irish allow just 7 total shots (one inside the 18-yard box), 5 SOG and no CKs over the weekend games.

GOALS-A-PLENTY – Stretching from ’92-’04, the Irish have scored in 95.0% of their games (284 of 299) … since ’94, the Irish have scored in 243 of 255 (.953; three shutouts in NCAA title games) – with goals in 189 of 196 regular-season games (.964) over that 11-year stretch … ND saw its 31-game scoring streak (3rd-best in Irish history) end in ’02.

GOAL PATROL – Notre Dame players have combined for 17 multiple-goal games over 39 games in the past two seasons (’03-’04; compared to just five in all of ’02), by 10 different players … most recently, three different players – Amanda Cinalli, Katie Thorlakson and Candace Chapman – had two goals in the 2004 opener vs. Baylor, with Thorlakson adding 3G vs. Santa Clara and 2G vs. UWGB while Maggie Manning had 2G at Texas Tech … the ’03 opener saw multiple goals from Mary Boland vs. Hartford (3) and ASU (2), with Manning and Amanda Guertin each adding 2G vs. Hartford (Guertin also vs. Georgetown), followed by 2-goal efforts in ’03 from Jen Buczkowski vs. Oklahoma, Thorlakson and Annie Schefter vs. Western Kentucky, Melissa Tancredi vs. North Texas, Thorlakson at Rutgers and Amy Warner at Seton Hall.

MAGIC NUMBERS ¬- The 3-goal mark has been virtually an automatic for ND, with the Irish 207-3-1 all-time (.983) when scoring 3-plus, losing to N.C. State in the ’92 opener (4-3), UConn in ’95 (5-4, OT) and at Georgetown in ’02 (4-3), plus a 3-3 tie vs. Vanderbilt in ’91… the Irish had won 88 straight when scoring 3-plus, before the GU loss (now 111-1-0 since 10/6/95) … ND is 289-9-11 (.953) in all-time games when holding the opponent to 0-1 goals (93-3-4 since 9/9/99), including tough 1-0 losses in ’02 to eventual NCAA champ Portland and top-ranked Stanford … prior to the UP loss, the Irish had been 56-0-3 in the previous 59 games when allowing 0-1 GA (dating back to 1-0 loss to SMU in ’99, playing minus Finnish national teamer Anne Makinen) … the program’s 17-year history includes just 297 goals allowed in 379 games (0.79 GA per game) … the Irish have allowed more than one goal in only 72 all-time games (19%) and have yielded 3-plus goals in just 33 all-time games (9%; including two 6-goal games by the opponent, four 5-goal and six 4-goal) … 91% of ND’s all-time games have seen the Irish hold the opponent to 0-2 goals (ND is just 4-28-1 all-time when allowing 3-plus).

QUICK-STRIKE ARTISTS – Notre Dame has scored in the first seven minutes of 11 games the past two seasons (12 “quick-strike” goals in that 36-game span) … Mary Boland is responsible for three of those early scores while Katie Thorlakson has two and seven others have scored one quick goal in ’03 or ’04 … the quickest goals in ’03 came vs. West Virginia (1:24; Boland volley on long serve from Melissa Tancredi), at Seton Hall (1:30; Amy Warner near-post shot after taking pass from Jill Krivacek) and twice at Rutgers (2:44 by Thorlakson from close range, after leftside pass from Warner; and at 3:53 on Tancredi header, via Thorlakson corner kick) … the second game of ’04 saw Annie Schefter score vs. Eastern Illinois at 4:35 (20-yard shot after short CK) while Thorlakson scored at 2:54 in the 4-0 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay (volleyed in Schefter free kick) and Christie Shaner headed in a Thorlakson corner at 2:38 of the 3-1 win at WVU … other quick-strike goals by ND in 2003 came vs. Hartford (6:32; Boland rebound after 5-player combination, with right-endline cross from Warner), vs. Oklahoma (5:58; Jen Buczkowski rebound after flurry), at Santa Clara (5:03; Boland lunging poke, leftside service from Thorlakson), vs. North Texas (4:28; Amanda Guertin top of box, short pass from Warner) and vs. Georgetown (5:39; Kimberly Carpenter redirects Vanessa Pruzinsky shot).

FRONTRUNNERS – Since a 3-2 loss to BYU (10/19/02), ND has trailed in just 8 of 44 games for 239:10 (6.0% of 3,999:29), going 39-4-1 in those games … four of ND’s eight deficits in that span have been for 11 minutes or shorter while only three teams have led the Irish more than 40 minutes over that 44-game stretch (Michigan for 60, Boston College for 83, Pittsburgh for 41) … teams to lead ND since the ’02 BYU game: Stanford (9:02; ’02 NCAA 3rd-round at Maloney Field, 1-0), Arizona State (1-0 for 7:18 in ’03, ND wins 3-1), Michigan (1-0 for 1:01, retake lead for final 58:17 and 3-1 win), BC (2-1 win in BIG EAST semifinals, lead for 82:28), Michigan again in 2nd round of ’03 NCAAs (lead for 28:22, 1-0), ASU again in ’04 (lead for 11:26, ND wins 2-1), and Pittsburgh (lead for 40:18, ND wins 3-1) and Georgetown (lead for 0:59, ND wins 2-1) in ’04 … prior to the first goal by Michigan in ’03, ND had not faced a deficit for nearly two months and 16-plus games, the longest streak in the program’s history … Santa Clara and Miami (BIG EAST quarterfinal) were the only teams to come back and tie the Irish in ’03 (ND retook the lead for good 12 minutes later vs. SCU) while SCU, Syracuse and West Virginia have forged ties vs. ND in ’04 … the previous team record for longest streak without a deficit was 14 games in ’97, starting with a 5-0 win over Duke (9/21, after trailing two days earlier in a 2-2 tie vs. UNC) … the ’97 streak continued vs. UConn (6-1, BIG EAST title game; 11/9) and ended when Cincinnati opened the scoring in a 1st-round NCAA Tournament game (ND won 7-1) … ND’s 2000 squad earned the top ranking after seven games, did not face a deficit the first 13 games (BC then led for 28 minutes, in a 3-1 ND win) and added six more games without trailing before falling behind UNC in the 82nd minute of the NCAA semifinals (2-1 loss).

FAR & WIDE – ND’s ’04 roster includes players from 13 states, two Canadian provinces, Iceland and Finland … the program’s all-time roster canvasses 30 states and three foreign countries … ND’s student-athlete population in ’02-’03 included nearly 800 individuals from 47 states (all but Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada) and 20 foreign countries.

CLUTCH CANADIAN – Sophomore F Katie Thorlakson (Langley, B.C.) picked key times for all four of her game-winning goals in ’03, with two vs. top-15 teams (#10 Santa Clara, #15 UConn), plus the OT goal vs. Villanova and the early strike at Rutgers (3-0) … she is the only current ND player with multiple career goals vs. UConn (her goal tied the ’02 game, 1-1, in a 3-1 win) … the ’02 ND-UConn game proved to be a key turning point for the program, with current 5th-year senior Melissa Tancredi making the full-time move from F to central D while Thorlakson shifted permanently from M to F … since those key shifts, the Irish are 41-5-1 in their past 47 games.

THORLAKSON BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE WEEK … AGAIN … AND AGAIN – Junior F Katie Thorlakson was named BIG EAST offensive player of the week, after playing a role in eight of ND’s 10 goals during opening wins over Baylor (7-2) and Eastern Illinois (3-0) … she became the first ND player ever to repeat that honor after a strong all-around game vs. #13 Stanford (1-0) and 3G-2A vs. #4 Santa Clara (5-2) … her 7 points in the 1st half vs. Baylor ranks as one of the top performances in ND’s storied history and she duplicated the 7 points in the 2nd half vs. Santa Clara (3G-1A) … Thorlakson was one of 11 players named to Soccer Buzz “Elite Feet” national team of the week and the Soccer America team of the week (both weeks) … she was the only player to repeat on the SA list and joined three others who were named to both the SA and SB weekly teams for Aug. 30-Sept. 5 … Thorlakson became the first ND women’s soccer player ever to score or assist on the team’s first five goals in a game (vs. both Baylor and SCU) … she then picked up her third BIG EAST player-of-the-week honor after totaling 1G-1A in both wins last week (at #20 West Virginia and at home vs, Providence) … a standout with Canada’s Under-19 National Team, Thorlakson totaled had team-best six assists in ND’s preseason training trip to Brazil.

RECORD-SETTING START – Here’s a look at the historical significance behind Katie Thorlakson’s early fireworks:
• Her 7 points vs. Baylor at the time tied for most by a ND player in the six-year Randy Waldrum era … just two other Waldrum-era players had totaled seven points in a game (both 3G-1A): Jenny Streiffer vs. Miami on Oct. 24, 1999, and current senior F Mary Boland in the ’03 opener vs. Hartford (Aug. 29, at the UConn Classic).
• She is the first ND player to score or assist on 5-plus goals during a game since Anne Makinen’s 8-point game vs. Syracuse in ’98 … the Irish had played 123 straight games without seeing an ND player factor into 5-plus goals.
• It had been six years since an ND player had 7 points in a half, as current Pittsburgh assistant coach Monica Gerardo scored goals 2-4 and assisted on the 5th (by Jenny Heft) as part of the 6-0 halftime lead at Providence on Oct. 11, 1998 (8-0) … Tasha Strawbridge had 7 points in the second half of a 12-1 win over Valparaiso on Sept. 14, 1990 … Strawbridge scored the first goal of the half (7-1), assisted on the 9th goal (by Denise Chabot) and added goals 10-11.
• It had been five years since an ND player even had opened a game with points on the team’s first four goals (done eight times): Suzie Zilvitis vs. Alma (10/13/89; G-G-A-A; 6-0 final); Alison Lester at Indiana (9/14/93; G-G-A-A for 4-0 lead; 5-1 final); Rosella Guerrero one week later (9/17/93) vs. Michigan State (A-A-G-G; 6-0); Lester again that season at Ohio State (10/23/93; G-G-A-G; 6-0); Michelle McCarthy vs. St. John’s (9/3/95; A-G-A-G; 9-0); Holly Manthei vs. Ohio State (11/1/96; A-A-G-A; 7-0), and at Villanova (9/28/9; A-A-A-A; 4-0); and Meotis Erikson vs. Seton Hall, in the BIG EAST semifinals at Rutgers (11/5/99; A-G-G-A; 5-0).
• She then was an easy choice the next week for offensive MVP honors at the ND Adidas Classic, after a primetime effort vs. #4 Santa Clara (3G-2A) as she again factored into ND’s first 5 goals (5-2 win) … the 8 eight points vs. the Broncos (3G-2A) are the most ever by an Irish player vs. a team ranked in the top 25 and seven of her points came in the 2nd half (3G-1A), tying another ND record that she already had shared with two others (after the 2G-3A vs. Baylor) … she now has scored or assisted on all 7 goals ND has scored vs. SCU the past two seasons, also setting up a Mary Boland goal and scoring the late GWG at SCU in ’03 (2-1).
• She had the first hat trick of her career and added assists on the 1st and 4th goals vs. SCU … it marks just the 9th time in the program’s storied history that an ND player has registered a hat trick vs. a top-25 opponent – and first since Jenny Heft in ’98 vs. #25 Wake Forest (3-0) … two previous ND players had a hat trick vs. a top-10 team: Rosella Guerrero at #5 N.C. State in the ’92 opener (4-3 loss) and Anne Makinen vs. #4 UConn in ’97 BIG EAST title game (6-1, at RU).
• Her output is all the more noteworthy due to the fact that the ’04 squad was looking to replace graduated top goalscorers Amy Warner and Amanda Guertin while coping with the absence of two freshman frontrunners who were prep All-Americans (Kerri Hanks is training with the U.S. Under-19 National Team; Susan Pinnick was injured in a summer team van accident with her club team) … another top rookie, Finnish national Jannica Tjeder, injured her ankle vs. Baylor and missed five games while senior F Mary Boland suffered a season-ending broken leg in through the ’04 SCU game.
• With the above limits at forward, Thorlakson took it upon herself to factor into nearly every goal the Irish scored … in the first two weeks, she totaled 5G-6A and two other plays where she directly set up goals (no official assist) – meaning she played a lead role in 13 of 16 goals (now 25 of 41, or 61%) … she did not play the 2nd half vs. Baylor, when two of the other goals were scored, and was taking a short breather when the late PK was scored vs. Stanford … that all shakes out to 13 goals scored by the Irish in the first four games with Thorlakson on the field – and she played a lead role in all 13.
• Her 8 points vs. SCU are most by an Irish player in six years and one shy of the ND record, shared by ’96 teammates Jenny Streiffer (2G-5A, vs. Providence, Aug. 31) and Monica Gerardo (4G-1A vs. Seton Hall, Oct. 27) … ND players have combined for seven other 8-point games, the last coming when Makinen had 3G-2A vs. Syracuse (Nov. 1, 1998) … the other eight-point games: Stacia Masters vs. Loyola (3G-2A, 12-0, 10/20/93), Michelle McCarthy vs. St. John’s (3G-2A, 9-0, 9/3/95), Gerardo’s four-goal game at Indiana (7-0, 9/7/95), Streiffer in the game where Gerardo also had nine points vs. Seton Hall (3G-2A, 10-0, 10/27/96), Cindy Daws vs. Villanova (3G-2A, 10-1, 11/3/96), Meotis Erikson vs. SHU (3G-2A, 7-1, 10/24/97) and Streiffer’s four-goal game at Georgetown (10/11/97).

OPENING-DAY RECORDS – Amanda Cinalli’s goal vs. Baylor made her just the 4th freshman ever to score ND’s first goal of a season, with others including Margaret Jarc (’89; 4-1 vs. St. Joseph’s), Rosella Guerrero (’92; 3-4 vs. N.C. State) and current senior Mary Boland (’01; 2-1 vs. Penn State) … Cinalli became the 4th ND player ever to score the team’s first two goals in a season, with others including Alison Lester (’91; 2-0 vs. Mercyhurst) and Guerrero (’92; 3-4 vs. N.C. St.; ’93, 12-0 vs. LaSalle) … Katie Thorlakson’s 2G-3A vs. Baylor tied the ND record for points in a half (7) shared by Tasha Strawbridge (3G-1A vs. Valparaiso in ’90) and Monica Gerardo (3G-1A at Providence in ’98).

BOHN IN THE NETS – Junior G Erika Bohn is 42-4-1 in her last 48 starts with the Irish (since 3-2 loss to BYU on 10/19/02), allowing just 24 goals in that 48-game stretch (28 games with 0 GA, 16 with 1 GA) … that span includes a 4-1 mark to close the ’02 season, 5-0 in the ’03 spring season (dnp ’04 spring), the 20-3-1 record in the fall of ’03 and 13 wins this fall (two in Brazil) … her only losses in that stretch: final ’02 loss at #1 Stanford (0-1, goal in 81st minute), 3-2 loss to Michigan in final game of ’03 regular season (UM’s final two goals came on CK breakdowns by ND defense), 2-1 loss to Boston College in ’03 BIG EAST semi’s and 1-0 loss to Michigan in ’03 NCAAs … prior to the first ’03 loss to Michigan, Bohn logged 29 consecutive games with the Irish (24 fall, 5 spring) without allowing multiple goals (previously by BYU in ’02) … her 54 official starts at ND (in fall games) include 30 in which she has not allowed a goal, 15 with one goal allowed, four with two goals allowed and just five with three-plus goals (3-4 at Georgetown, 0-3 vs. West Virginia, 1-3 vs. Purdue and 2-3 vs. BYU in ’02, plus 2-3 vs. Michigan in ’03) … since the BYU game, Bohn has limited the opponent to 0-1 goals in 38 of her last 41 fall starts (27 with 0 GA, 11 with 1 GA, 2-1 loss to BC, 3-2 loss to UM, 5-2 win over Santa Clara).

TULISIAK TAKES CHARGE – Senior D Kate Tulisiak played a reserve role her first two seasons and missed most of ’03 due to a back injury, but she picked an ideal time for the first point of her career after intercepting a pass and providing the endline cross as Amanda Cinalli scored in the 84th minute for the 1-0 win at UConn on Sept. 17 … she also helped hold UConn (1-0) and Syracuse (2-1) to 14 combined shots, 4 shots on goal and 3 corner kicks, en route to earning BIG EAST defensive player of the week.

GOING THE DISTANCE – ND is unbeaten in its last 16 overtime games (12-0-4), since the 3-2, double-OT loss to UNC in the ’99 opener … the Irish actually have played 18 straight non-overtime games, the longest streak without OT since the ’97 and ’98 teams combined for 31 straight non-OT games … after the opening ’99 loss to UNC, that Irish team went on to post a 2-1, double-OT win at UConn and played to a 1-1 tie at Nebraska in the NCAA quarterfinals (adv. on PKs) … the 2000 team then had OT wins over Stanford, at West Virginia and vs. Santa Clara in the NCAA quarterfinals (all 2-1) while also playing to 0-0 at UConn … ’01 featured an unprecedented five OT games (2-1 vs. Indiana, Villanova, WVU and Michigan; 2-2 vs. Wisconsin) while the ’02 team added 1-0 OT wins over Rutgers and BC … the ’03 team had a scoreless tie with Stanford (at SCU), plus OT wins over Villanova (1-0) and Miami (2-1, BIG EAST quarter’s).

SHARING THE WEALTH IN OT – ND’s 11 overtime wins in the six-year Randy Waldrum era include goals from seven players (own goal vs. Stanford in ’00): Anne Makinen (vs. UConn in ’99), Amanda Guertin (ND record 4; vs. WVU in ’00, Michigan in ’01, BC in ’02 and Miami in ’03), Meotis Erikson (vs. SCU in ’00 NCAA quarter’s), Kelly Tulisiak (vs. IU in ’01), Amy Warner (2; vs. VU in ’01, Rutgers in ’02), Mia Sarkesian (vs. WVU in ’01), Katie Thorlakson (vs. Vill. in ’03).

FIRST-TIME VISITORS – Since 1993, Notre Dame opponents making their first visit to Alumni Field now have lost to the Irish 37 times, with just three wins for first-time visitors and one tie in that 12-year stretch (37-3-1; .915) … ND’s all-time record in series openers is 68-25-2, including 35-5-0 since ’93 and 47-8-0 in all series openers at home (21-3-0 since ’93).

GREAT GRADES – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team consistently has performed at a high level on the field and in the classroom … in ’03-’04, the Irish posted a 20-3-1 record followed by a 3.28 team GPA in the ’03 fall semester and a 3.32 in the spring of ’04 (22 of 25 players with GPA of 3.0 or better, 13 at 3.4-plus) … the ’04 team includes two Academic All-Americans – senior F Mary Boland (3.90 cumulative GPA, psychology major) and junior G Erika Bohn (3.63, design) – with other top candidates for that honor in ’04 including junior M Annie Schefter (3.73, pre-professional studies/psychology).

TANCREDI, CHAPMAN TABBED FOR TOP NATIONAL HONORS – Two ND players received top preseason billing, as 5th-year central D Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ont.) and F/D Candace Chapman (Ajax, Ont.) were among 12 named to the Soccer Buzz preseason All-America squad while both were among 25 on the 2004 preseason watch list for the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy national player-of-the-year award … Tancredi was one of 11 named to Soccer America ‘s ’04 preseason All-America team … Tancredi was a Soccer Buzz 1st team All-American in ’03 (2nd team from NSCAA) … Chapman was an NSCAA 2nd team All-American in ’02 but missed ’03 with an ACL knee injury … Tancredi – who like Chapman has starred for the Canadian National Team – could prove to be the nation’s top defender, with Tennessee senior Keeley Dowling being the only other D on the SA and SB preseason All-America teams … Tancredi, Chapman, Dowling and Virginia’s Becky Sauerbrunn were the only defenders on the Hermann watch list … Tancredi was one of nine listed on both the SA and SB preseason All-America teams, the others: Dowling, M Carli Lloyd (Rutgers), Lindsey Huie (Portland), Leslie Osborne (Santa Clara) and Lori Chalupny (UNC), Portland F Christine Sinclair and the UNC forward tandem of Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O’Reilly … ND joined UNC and Portland as teams with multiple players on the SB “Elite 12” preseason All-America team while the Irish were one of five with multiple players on Hermann watch list (also UNC, Portland, Texas, UVa) … Chapman was on the ’03 watch list (prior to injury) while Tancredi and former ND forward Amy Warner were on the list of the final 15 candidates for the 2003 MAC Hermann Trophy.

IRISH PICKED TO WIN BIG EAST; TANCREDI, BUCZKOWSKI TAKE PRESEASON HONORS – Notre Dame was the preseason favorite to win the 2004 BIG EAST regular-season title, with the Irish previously winning eight regular-season and seven tournament titles in nine BIG EAST seasons … 5th-year All-America central D Melissa Tancredi was picked to repeat as BIG EAST defensive player of the year and was joined by sophomore M Jen Buczkowski on the 11-player 2004 preseason all-BIG EAST team … ND senior F Mary Boland was overlooked on the preseason all-BIG EAST team (selected by the league’s coaches), despite earning 1st team all-BIG EAST and NSCAA 2nd-team all-region honors in ’03 … sophomore D Christie Shaner – the league’s co-rookie of the year and 2nd-team all-BIG EAST in ’03 – failed to crack the ’04 preseason list, which includes two D (Tancredi, VU’s Michelle Biehl).

20-SOMETHING – Notre Dame has posted 20-plus wins in eight of the previous 10 seasons … the 1996 team racked up an ND-record 24 wins, with 23 victories in 1994, ’97 and ’00, 21 wins in ’95, ’98 and ’99, and 20 Ws in 2003.

TOURNAMENT TOUGH – Notre Dame owns an 85-25-7 all-time record (.756) in tournament action, including 37-13-6 in regular-season tournaments (19-3-2 at home, with 61-23 scoring edge), 23-1-0 in conference tournaments, 25-11-1 in NCAAs … since ’94, ND is 25-6-3 in regular-season tournaments (18 wins vs. NSCAA top-25), and 20-4-2 from ’97-’04. FRESHMAN CLASS RATED NO. 2 – Soccer Buzz ranked ND’s incoming class as the 2nd-best in the nation while Soccer America had the Irish 5th on its list of top ’04 classes … the six signees for ’04 included four highly-regarded forwards – Amanda Cinalli (Maple Hts, Ohio), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas), Susan Pinnick (South Bend, Ind.) and Jannica Tjeder (Espoo, Finland) – plus M Ashley Jones (Westlake Village, Calif.) and G Lauren Karas (Flower Mound, Texas) … Hanks is the leading scorer for the U.S. Under-19 National Team while Cinalli and Pinnick have been members of the U-17s (all three earned prep All-America honors) … each of the five U.S. signees was a member of her respective Olympic Development regional team, with Karas a member of the U-16 National Team player pool while Jones helped lead both her ODP squad and the Southern California United club program to national titles … Tjeder is one of the top young players in Finland, playing for her national under-17, u-19 and u-21 teams.

RECRUIT RANKINGS HISTORY – ND’s ’04 roster is comprised of four top-ranked recruiting classes … ND joins UNC and Virginia as the only teams to have their recruiting classes in the Soccer Buzz top 15 from ’01-’04 (ND was 14th in ’01, 9th in ’02, 5th in ’03, 2nd in `04; UNC 2nd-1st-6th-3rd from ’01-’04; UVa 1st-3rd-11th-12th) … ND and UNC are the only teams to be in the Soccer Buzz top-15 classes every year since those rankings began in ’98 (ND was 11th in ’98, 4th in ’99, 9th in ’00; UNC 2nd-1st-2nd from ’98-’00) … Soccer America has ranked top-10 classes since ’02, with ND and UNC the only teams in the SA top 10 every year from ’02-’04 (ND was 9th by SA in ’02, 5th in ’03 and ’04; UNC 1st in ’02, 6th in ’03) … ND and Texas (3rd in ’03 and ’04) are the only teams to attract SA top-5 classes each of the past two seasons … SB’s top-15 classes for ’04: Texas A&M, ND, UNC, Penn St., Texas, Clemson, Portland, Maryland, Ohio St., Cal, Villanova, UVa, Michigan, Illinois, Santa Clara … SA’s top-10: A&M, UNC, Texas, PSU, ND, Nebraska, OSU, Portland, Florida, Cal.

BALANCED DOMINANCE – The 2003 Notre Dame women’s soccer team joined national champ North Carolina as the only teams in the top five of final NCAA leaders for scoring (3rd; 3.04 goals/gm) and goals-against average (5th; 0.49).

WINNING TRADITIONS – Several ND women’s soccer players led their clubs and state Olympic Development teams to elite status before becoming part of another winning tradition with the Irish … five members of the current sophomore class helped their teams post top national finishes in ’03 and the current freshman class also lived up to the standard … most notably, Ashley Jones completed the rare double of winning 2004 national titles with her California South state ODP team and her Southern California United club … her classmate Kerri Hanks earlier won the Golden Boot Award as the tournament’s top scorer with the ’03 Dallas Texans national champs while Lauren Karas earned the Golden Glove Award with North Texas at the 2004 ODP nationals (her team lost to Jones and Cal-South, 1-0) … finally, newcomer Susan Pinnick led the Carmel Commotion to a runner-up finish at the 2003 USYSA under-17 nationals while Kelly Simon was a member of the St. Louis-based Busch Soccer Club that was the ’01 and ’02 national runner-up.

NATIONAL TEAMS – Three former ND players – D Kate Sobrero Markgraf, G LaKeysia Beene and defensive M Shannon Boxx – recently have been starters with the U.S. National Team, with Sobrero and Boxx starting for the ’03 World Cup (3rd place) and ’04 Olympic (gold) teams … nine current members of the ND program have been active with various national teams, including Candace Chapman and Melissa Tancredi (starters with Canada’s national team) and Chapman and Katie Thorlakson with Canada’s U-19 National Team … Annie Schefter, Mary Boland, Jen Buczkowski and Kerri Hanks – have been starters with the U.S. U-19s while Gudrun Gunnarsdottir is a member of Iceland’s national team and Jannica Tjeder has been a regular with Finland’s U-17, -19 and -21 teams … former Irish D Monica Gonzalez is a founding member of Mexico’s women’s national team and captained Mexico in its historic appearance at the ’04 Olympics (former Irish F Monica Gerardo also was a founding member of the Mexican team).

GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN – Four members of the ND women’s soccer team – plus senior F Mary Boland (broken leg in 4th game of ’04, out for season) – will not compete with the Irish in ’04 … freshman F Kerri Hanks – rated by Soccer America as the nation’s No. 4 signee and part of the No. 2-ranked freshman class (per Soccer Buzz, No. 4 class per SA) – is training with the U.S. for the U-19 World Championship (Nov. 10-27 in Thailand) and will enroll next spring … 5th-year M Randi Scheller (hip), freshman F Susan Pinnick (neck/back; summer club team van accident) and freshman M Kelly Simon (shoulder surgery) are out due to injuries … Pinnick, like classmates Hanks and Amanda Cinalli, was a prep All-American and played alongside Cinalli on the U.S. Under-17 National Team.

VIVA BRAZIL! – Notre Dame’s preseason training trip in Campinas, Brazil (Aug. 10-19), featured a 5-0-1 record and 16-3 scoring edge vs. top semi-pro women’s teams from the Sao Paulo area … the games attracted local spectators and included traditional exchange of gifts, plus group photos … the Irish enjoyed great camaraderie at the five-star Vitoria Hotel and soaked in the atmosphere at first-division Brazilian men’s games at Ponta Preta and Guarani … meals included Brazil’s many exotic and tasty forms of pizza and the unique Brazilian steakhouses that feature table-top carvings of a variety of entrees … leading scorers on the trip included senior F/D Candace Chapman (4G), junior F Katie Thorlakson (6A) and the freshman duo of F/M Jannica Tjeder (3G-2A) and M Ashley Jones (2G-3A).