Aug. 29, 2006
Notre Dame women’s soccer freshman forward Michele Weissenhofer has collected BIG EAST Conference rookie-of-the-week honors after leading the Irish with seven points (2 goals, 3 assists) during opening-week victories over Iowa State (9-0) and 24th-ranked Mississippi (2-1). Weissenhofer’s early production included an assist via her unique flip throw-in style – plus a run down the flank and cross that forced an own-goal in the Iowa State game (she officially received no points for that score). Notre Dame team captain and senior central defender was among nine total players named to the week-one BIG EAST Honor Roll, with Notre Dame and Villanova representing the only members of the 16-team league with multiple honorees for opening week.
Weissenhofer’s impressive debut weekend came versus a pair of programs that played in the 2005 NCAAs. Iowa State returned seven starters from the 2005 Big 12 Conference runner-up team while all 11 starters are back from the 2005 Mississippi team that won its Southeastern Conference divisional title. The feisty freshman actually factored into six of the team’s 11 goals during the weekend, when including the own-goal sequence versus ISU.
Senior captain Kim Lorenzen led the Irish defense from her central defender spot, as Notre Dame allowed just one goal, five shots on goal and three corner kicks in the week-one action (photo by Pete LaFleur).
A rightside corner kick from Weissenhofer assisted on a Jill Krivacek flick header early in the ISU game, followed by her primary assist on nice combination play with Krivacek to set up a Kerri Hanks goal for a 3-0 lead. Weissenhofer later scored unassisted in that game and then took a pass from classmate Ashley Galovic and raced down the right flank before driving a low cross that was knocked in by an ISU defender (ND’s Susan Pinnick was filling the middle and nearly poked home the goal herself). A pass from Molly Iarocci later set up Weissenhofer in the center of the field, as she buried a tough 18-yard shot inside the far-right post.
Weissenhofer – who shared the scoring lead (26 goals each) with current Notre Dame sophomore Brittany Bock on the Neuqua Valley High School’s 2005 Illinois state-title team – also was a proven goalscorer on the biggest stage with her Eclipse Select club team, helping that squad win 2004 and ’05 USYS national titles before coming just shy of reaching the 2006 championship game.
The impressive opening weekend for Weissenhofer included her classic flip throw-in (from left side) that assisted on the eventual gamewinning goal at Ole Miss, early in the second half. Krivacek flicked a near-post header and Kerri Hanks finished at the far side of the penalty area for the 2-1 lead on the Rebels.
Weissenhofer had several other strong plays over the weekend (both shots and passes for solid scoring chances and made the most of her time on the field, totaling her seven points and team-best nine shots in just 109 minutes played. She became the third Notre Dame freshman ever to score/assist on four-plus goals in the season opener, joining the impressive All-America duo of Hanks (’05) and Jenny Streiffer (’96) in that distinction.
Michele Weissenhofer should combine with Kerri Hanks, Amanda Cinalli and Susan Pinnick (all members of the 2004 signee class) to give the irish a potent forward rotation in 2006 (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Lorenzen – the second all-time solo captain for Notre Dame and first since the program’s debut season in 1988 – had been slowed by nagging injuries in the 2006 preseason but returned to action to lead the Irish last weekend from her central defender spot. Notre Dame limited Iowa State and Mississippi to one combined goal, 11 shots, five shots on goal and three corner kicks.
Lorenzen’s strong play helped overcame the absence of sophomore center back Carrie Dew (who is playing in Russia with the U.S. Under-20 National Team, as freshman Amanda Clark played at the other central spot during the opening weekend. Lorenzen played the full 90 minutes in the challenging win at #24 Mississippi (with 97-degree and a rowdy crowd). She pushed her career games played total to 71 (ND is 69-7-2 in her career). The Irish are 19-1-0 with Lorenzen in the starting lineup during the past two seasons (5-2-0 when she was out in ’05 due to illness).
The eight-year Randy Waldrum era has seen several other noteworthy debut weekends from Notre Dame freshmen:
â€¢ In 2005, Hanks had a hat trick and added an assist in the 12-1 opener vs. New Hamshite (Vermont) and came back two days later to score four times in a 6-0 win over Vermont. She earned national player-of-the-week honors from Soccer America, after setting the Irish record for most goals totaled in back-to-back games (7) and tying the ND record for goals in a game (4).
Michele Weissenhifer’s flip throw-in style – pictured during her club days – helped produce the gamewinning goal in the 2-1 win at Ole Miss.
â€¢ In 2004, current junior forward Amanda Cinalli scored the first two goals in the opener vs. Baylor (7-2), also adding an assist in that game and setting up a goal two days later vs. Eastern Illinois (3-0). Cinalli beame the fourth freshman ever to score Notre Dame’s first goal of a season and also was the fourth ND player ever to score the team’s first two goals in a season.
â€¢ In 2001, forward Mary Boland scored at the 6:54 mark in the 2-1 win over 8th-ranked Penn State – producing the second-earliest goal in a season opener ever posted by a Notre Dame freshman (now the eighth-quickest goal, by any ND player, in an opener).
â€¢ In 2000, forward Amy Warner erupted for a hat trick in the game-2 win over Providence (5-1), becoming the first Notre Dame freshman to record a hat trick since Anne Makinen had done so in the 1997 BIG EAST title win over Connnecticut (6-1). Warner – who was named BIG EAST rookie of the week – recorded the earliest date (Sept. 3) ever for a hat trick by a Notre Dame freshman, a mark later bested by Hanks.