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Vanessa Pruzinsky Named Women's Soccer Academic All-American Of The Year

Nov. 25, 2003

Notre Dame fifth-year defender and 4.0 chemical engineering graduate Vanessa Pruzinsky (Trumbull, Conn.) has been named the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for women’s soccer while two other Irish players – junior forward Mary Boland (Hudson, Ohio) and sophomore goalkeeper Erika Bohn (Brookfield, Conn.) – have joined her in earning 2003 Academic All-America honors (both were named to the second team). It marks the first time that three women’s soccer players from the same Division I squad have been named to the official Academic All-America team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Pruzinsky becomes the sixth Notre Dame student-athlete – and third in the last three years – to receive the top Academic All-America award for a specific sport (or combined-sport award program), joining women’s soccer goalkeeper Jen Renola (’96 season), football center Tim Ruddy (’93), men’s basketball forward Pat Garrity (’98), women’s basketball center Ruth Riley (’01) and softball catcher Jarrah Myers (’02) in that distinction. Renola was named Academic All-American of the Year for the former fall and winter at-large program that encompasses nine women’s sports (CoSIDA began selecting an exclusive women’s soccer All-America team beginning in 2001). Pruzinsky – who was selected for the national award over six other women’s soccer players with 4.0-plus GPAs – now is among the favorites to receive the nation’s top award: the Academic All-American of the Year (for all sports), an award won by Riley in 2001 when she was selected over Duke’s Shane Battier, among others.


Pruzinsky graduated last May with a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average as a chemical engineering major.



The past 10 years have seen Notre Dame women’s soccer players combine for 13 Academic All-America awards, more than any other Division I women’s soccer program and nearly double the second team on that list (North Carolina, with seven).

Pruzinsky and another 2003 player – Penn State senior midfielder/forward Joanna Lohman – are the first players in Division I women’s soccer history to be named first team Academic All-America three times. Just two previous players had even earned three Academic All-America awards: Florida’s Erin Baxter (2nd team in ’97, 1st team in 98 and ’99) and Montana’s Courtney Mathieson (2nd team in ’96 and ’98, 1st team in ’97).

Former basketball great Bob Arnzen (’67, ’68, ’69) and Pruzinsky are Notre Dame’s only three-time Academic All-Americans and also hold the distinction of being ND’s only student-athletes to be named first team Academic All-America in both their sophomore and junior years (freshmen are not eligible).


Pruzinsky and another 2003 player – Penn State senior midfielder/forward Joanna Lohman – are the first players in Division I women’s soccer history to be named first team Academic All-America three times.



Pruzinsky – who also is being nominated for prestigious national awards such as the NCAA’s Top Eight Award, Woman of the Year Award and Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship – graduated last May with a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average as a chemical engineering major. She became only the third chemical engineering major, and first since 1974, to graduate from Notre Dame with a 4.0 and currently is enrolled in the chemical engineering master’s program. A two-time NSCAA all-region performer, Pruzinsky finished her career ranked ninth in Notre Dame history with 94 career games started and helped the Irish compile an 82-12-4 record during her four healthy seasons (she missed most of ’02 with a nagging ankle injury).

Boland – a four-time Dean’s List student with a 3.87 cumulative GPA as a psychology major – was named first team all-BIG EAST Conference while leading the 2003 Irish squad in goals (12) and game-winning goals (5).

Bohn – a 3.67 student and business major – led the nation in goals-against average for most of the 2003 season, now ranking fifth with a 0.49 GAA (good for third in the Notre Dame record book).

Notre Dame nearly placed four players on the Academic All-America team, with senior midfielder Kimberly Carpenter earning a spot on the Academic All-District V first team (she carries a 3.41 GPA as a pre-professional science major and was the ’03 team’s fifth-leading scorer, with six goals and five assists).

Each of the above four players has played a central role for 2003 team that was ranked as high as second in the nation while posting the program’s eighth 20-win season (20-3-1). The Irish rank near the top of the national leaders in scoring (3.04 goals per game) and goals-against average (0.49; third in ND history) while trailing in just four of 23 games during the ’03 season.

In addition to their academic pursuits, each of the above honorees is actively involved in the Notre Dame athletic department’s Student Development Program – with activities including the annual student-athlete Christmas Party and bowling nights with children from the St. Joseph’s Hospital pediatric oncology wards and the women’s soccer program’s team project as part of the Tour for Lance campaign that raises funding for cancer research.

Pruzinsky, Boland and Bohn are members of the athletic department’s Academic Honors Program, which pairs high achievers with faculty mentors – while Pruzinsky and Carpenter both received certificates for their participation in the athletic department’s Leadership Institute.

Notre Dame’s Academic All-America history includes the following other eight honorees: Renola and forward Amy Van Laecke in 1995 (both 2nd team) and again in ’96 (both 1st team); forward Jenny Streiffer in 1997 (1st team) and again in ’98 (2nd team); forward Meotis Erikson in 2000 (3rd team); and defender Monica Gonzalez in ’01 (2nd team).

Here are additional notes on Notre Dame’s 2003 women’s soccer Academic All-Americans:

Vanessa Pruzinsky (Sr., D; Trumbull, CT; 4.00 GPA, chemical engineering) – her career honors include first team Academic All-America (’00, ’01, ’03), NSCAA second team all-Great Lakes Region (’00, ’01), all-BIG EAST first (’01) and second (’02) team, BIG EAST rookie of the year (’99) and five-time BIG EAST defensive player of the week … also a former member of the U.S. Under-21 National Team player pool and a finalist for the 2001 Missouri Athletic Club National Player of the Year Award … joined former basketball great Bob Arnzen (’67) as only ND student-athletes ever named first team Academic All-America as a sophomore and junior (freshmen are not eligible) and ND’s only three-time Academic All-Americans … key member of 2003 defense that posted 10-game shutout streak (5th in NCAA history), went 16 consecutive games without a deficit (ND record), completed streak of 24 consecutive games without allowing multiple goals (tying ND record) and logged 16 consecutive games with 1-3 shots on goal from the opponent (also holding 20 of final 21 to 1-3 SOG) – plus a 0.49 season goals against average that ranked sixth in the nation and just 116 shots/53 shots on goal allowed (for per-game averages of 4.8 opponent shots and 2.2 shots on goal) … second-year team captain … her 96 career games played rank 11th in ND history while her 94 starts rank 9th in the ND record and 3rd among defenders (behind Jen Grubb’s 100 and Kate Sobrero’s 97) … sidelined with ankle injury for most of 2002 season (she was the ’02 preseason BIG EAST defensive player of the year) … member of four regular-season BIG EAST champs (’99-’01, ’03), three BIG EAST Tournament champs (’99-’01), the 1999 NCAA runner-up squad and the top-ranked 2000 team that advanced to the NCAA semifinals … helped the Irish post an 82-12-4 record (.857) in her four healthy seasons (just 13-8 during her injured ’02 season) … was first female student ever to receive an A grade in Notre Dame’s introduction to chemical engineering course … also received the engineering department’s Steiner Prize (recognizing all-around excellence) … one of three 4.0 graduates in the entire class of 2003 … currently enrolled in master’s-level program, taking courses in biochemistry, molecular biophysics and mechanical chemistry … volunteered during summer of ’03 at South Bend’s Logan Center, working primarily with the elderly and Downs Syndrome children … served a 2002 summer internship at Wivest LLC (working with osmosis systems and the chemical cleaning procedure for circulation boilers) … also was a 2003 summer research assistant at ND’s biochemistry engineering lab, preparing cultured hepatocyte cells and working with UV absorption spectroscopy … has been featured this year by College Sports Television, Sports Illustrated On Campus and Sports Illustrated (Nov. 17), plus a feature by South Bend Tribune news columnist Bill Moor.

Pruzinsky Article Links – see the below links for articles on Vanessa Pruzinsky:


Mary Boland is a four-time Dean’s List student with 3.87 cumulative GPA as a psychology major.



Mary Boland (Jr., F; Hudson, OH; 3.89 GPA, psychology) – First team all-BIG EAST performer who entered the NCAAs ranked 31st nationally and 3rd in the BIG EAST with 12 goals, plus 4 assists and a team-best 5 game-winning goals (her 28 points ended up third on the ND scoring charts) … combined with senior Amy Warner as first pair of forwards from same team to be named first team all-BIG EAST since ND’s 1999 dynamic duo of Jenny Streiffer and Jenny Heft … first player ever named BIG EAST offensive and defensive player of the week at some point during her career … posted an ND-record six goals in the first three games of ’03 … her seven points (3G-A) vs. Hartford are most by an ND player since ’99 … her other ’03 highlights include 2G vs. Arizona State(GWG), 1G-1A in 2-1 win at Santa Clara and the early strike vs. West Virginia (3-0) … named all-tournament at the ’03 UConn, ND and SCU Classics … former member of the U.S. Under-19 National Team … also an Academic All-District V selection in 2002 … four-time Dean’s List student with a 3.87 GPA as a psychology major.


Erika Bohn – a 3.67 student and business major – led the nation in goals-against average for most of the 2003 season,



Erika Bohn (So., G; Brookfield, CT; 3.69 GPA, business) – Entered NCAAs week with nation’s best season GAA (0.48), finishing at 0.49 to rank fifth in the nation and third in the ND record book, behind LaKeysia Beene’s 0.36 in ’97 and Liz Wagner’s 0.39 in ’00 … posted 12 solo and three shared shutouts in ’03 … fashioned 981-minute shutout streak that ranks 5th in NCAA history … allowed just one goal in stretch of 15-plus games, spanning 1,256 minutes … owns 29-4-1 record with 17 goals allowed in her last 34 starts with the Irish (4-1-0 in ’02 fall, 5-0-0 in ’03 spring, 20-3-1 in ’03 fall), with those 34 games including 20 shutouts and 12 games with one goal allowed … helped set ND record by logging 16 consecutive games without facing a deficit … made key penalty-kick save in early ’03 win over Arizona State (preserving 2-1 lead in 3-1 win) … named all-tournament and ’03 UConn and ND Classics … logged 94% of ND’s minutes in 2003 … in 2002, was first freshman to start in goal for ND since 1993 … her 3.67 GPA includes Dean’s List effort in 2003 spring semester (3.87) … an undeclared business major.