Oct. 4, 2001

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Notre Dame Women’s Soccer 2001 Game Notes – at Rutgers (Oct. 5) and Seton Hall (Oct. 7)

The third-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team (8-0-1, 3-0-0 BIG EAST Mid-Atlantic Division) embarks on its first extended road trip of the season this week, with games at Rutgers (Friday, 9:00 p.m.) and Seton Hall (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.) … the Irish would clinch the Mid-Atlantic Division title (and a top seed for the eight-team BIG EAST Championship) with a win at Rutgers … ND just completed a stretch of five games in 10 days, including a challenging six-day span that saw the Irish beat then-No. 3 Nebraska (1-0) and win on the road vs. Pittsburgh before returning home for a 2-1 overtime win over 19th-ranked West Virginia … Rutgers (7-4-0, 2-1-0) dropped a 2-1 game on Tuesday vs. No. 25 Princeton, with divisional wins over SHU (3-1) and Georgetown (3-2) and a 2-0 loss to WVU … Seton Hall (3-6-1, 0-4-0) lost at Villanova on Wednesday (3-0), with other divisional losses coming to RU (3-1), WVU (4-0) and Pitt (1-0, OT).

ONE-TOUCH NOTES – The Irish are 14-2-2 in their last 18 games away from home (both losses to UNC in the College Cup) … ND is unbeaten in its last 31 regular-season games (29-0-2), one shy of the team record (30-0-2) set from 1993-95 … Friday’s game will provide the Irish an early look at RU’s Yurcak Field, site of the 2001 BIG EAST semifinals and championship game … ND won the ’97 and ’99 BIG EAST titles at RU and owns a 7-0-0 all-time record in games played at Rutgers (with a 37-4 scoring edge) .. senior midfielder Mia Sarkesian and fifth-year D Monica Gonzalez were named the BIG EAST’s offensive and defensive players of the week for their effort in last week’s three wins (both also were named to Soccer America’s 11-player national team of the week while Sarkesian and freshman D Candace Chapman were named to the “Elite Feet” team by Soccer Buzz) … ND has scored two goals in seven of nine games this season (including the first six), with five 2-1 wins … the Irish have allowed just one first-half goal-with five of the seven goals by ND opponents coming in the final 20 minutes, plus Penn State’s goal in the 68th minute and Wisconsin’s at 0:31 … ND set a team record on Sept. 7 with its 29th consecutive home win (2-1 in OT vs. Indiana) before seeing that streak snapped in a 2-2 tie vs. Wisconsin … Vanessa Pruzinsky and Liz Wagner were named the BIG EAST defensive player and goalkeeper of the week for their opening-week efforts vs. Penn State and Hartford … ND is 7-0-3 in its last 10 OT games … freshman D Gudrun Gunnarsdottir missed the Pitt and WVU games while playing in Spain with her native Icelandic national team … Randy Waldrum’s first three ND teams have combined for a record of 52-5-3 … Kelly Tulisiak (2G-2A in 2001) has eight career goals on 34 shots (4.3 shots/goal) … Mary Boland returned vs. Villanova, after missing five games due to injury (Randi Scheller also returned, after missing the Wisconsin game) … the Irish are played their first seven games at home … Boland’s goal vs. Penn State (at 6:54) was the earliest by an ND freshman in a season opener since ’89 … the Irish are 106-3-2 in their last 111 home games … former ND players Kate Sobrero, LaKeysia Beene and Kelly Lindsey were named to the 18-player U.S. team that competed in the recent Nike Cup.

ND-RU SERIES NOTES – Notre Dame leads the Rutgers series 8-0-1, including 7-0-0 (28-1 scoring edge) since both joined the BIG EAST in ’95 … the Irish outshot the Knights 89-6 in the past three meetings … Anne Makinen (PK) and Amanda Guertin scored second-half goals in ND’s 2-0 win over RU last season at Alumni Field (Randi Scheller and Vanessa Pruzinsky assisted on Guertin’s goal) … the Irish held a 32-0 shot edge in the 2000 game vs. RU (20-0 in second half) …. ND’s 4-0 win at RU in ’99 included a 23-4 Irish shot edge and goals from Makinen, Jen Grubb, Jen Strieffer and Meotis Erikson (Ashley Dryer assisted on Makinen’s goal, Strieffer added two assists, Makinen one) … ND beat RU 3-0 in 1998 (at Alumni Field), 34-2 shot edge, with Lindsey Jones opening the scoring, followed by goals from Erikson (assisted by Jones and Jenny Heft) and Streiffer (assisted by Makinen) … the teams played to a 1-1 tie in ’92.

ND-SHU SERIES NOTES – ND holds a 6-1-0 series lead vs. SHU, with the Pirates posting a 3-2 OT win over the Irish in 1998, at Carroll Field … that game remains one of just two regular-season losses for ND vs. BIG EAST teams (now 58-2-2, since ’95) … ND outshot SHU 119-18 in the past four meetings … last year’s 6-0 win at Alumni Field saw ND post a 34-2 shot edge, with six players finding the net: Anne Makinen, Amy Warner (also 1A), Meotis Erikson (1A), Randi Scheller (1A), Kelly Tulisiak (1A) and Caroline Marino … ND’s 5-0 win over SHU in the 1999 BIG EAST semifinals (34-2 shot edge) included 2G-2A from Erikson, with Jenny Streiffer (also 1A), Jenny Heft and Mia Sarkesian also finding the net (Vanessa Pruzinsky assisted on Erikson’s second goal while Monica Gonzalez had the assist on Sarkesian’s goal) … ND won earlier in ’99 at SHU (4-2, 22-9 shot edge), behind goals from Jen Grubb, Heft, Erikson and Makinen (Strieffer had two assists while Pruzinsky assisted on Makinen’s goal) … in the 1998 meeting (at SHU), ND lost despite a 29-5 shot edge … Heft scored early (assisted by Jen Grubb) but All-American Kelly Smith tied the game in the 53rd minute and assisted on Courtney Wood’s goal nine minutes later … Grubb set up another Heft goal but Wood scored 1:09 into OT.

SARKESIAN, GONZALEZ NAMED BIG EAST PLAYERS OF THE WEEK – Two Notre Dame women’s soccer players were recognized by the BIG EAST and Soccer America for their contributions to Irish victories last week over then-No. 3 Nebraska (1-0), Pittsburgh (4-0) and 19th-ranked West Virginia (2-1) … senior midfielder Mia Sarkesian (Canton, Mich.) was named the BIG EAST’s offensive player of the week while fifth-year player Monica Gonzalez (Richardson, Texas) was named the conference’s defensive player of the week … both players also were named to Soccer America’s 11-player national team of the week … Sarkesian registered a pair of gamewinning goals, including the only goal in the 1-0 battle with Nebraska (after a well-executed free kick sequence that included three crisp passes) … she then assisted on the final Irish goal vs. Pittsburgh before assisting on the first ND goal and scoring the gamewinner in OT vs. WVU, with the clinching goal coming on a double-header combination after another free-kick set play … Sarkesian’s strong midfield play during the week made up for the limited contributions of injured junior Ashley Dryer (who did not play vs. Pittsburgh), with ND owning a 43-22 shot edge during the week … Gonzalez-who has played mostly outside defense the past two seasons-was utilized at one of the central defender spots during last week’s action, in part due to the absence of freshman Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (playing in Spain with the Icelandic national team) … Gonzalez ranked as one of NDs most valuable players in the big win over Nebraska by dominating play in the air and helping shut out Nebraska’s potent formation of four forwards (the Huskers managed just four shots on goal) … she then provided a pair of free kicks that set up ND’s second and third goals in the 4-0 win over Pitt before helping limit WVU to one goal … for the week, Gonzalez helped the Irish defense allow just 22 shots (nine on goal), 12 corner kicks and one goal in three games.

GUERTIN DELIVERS IN OT AGAIN – Sophomore F Amanda Guertin scored the OT gamewinner at West Virginia last season (2-1) before providing last week’s free kick that beat WVU in overtime (also 2-1) … Guertin’s overtime magic is no surprise, as she has scored (1) or assisted (2) on three of the five OT goals scored by the Irish during the past two seasons (a sixth OT game ended with an own goal, beating Stanford 2-1 last season) … in the 2000 game, Guertin emerged with the ball and dribbled down the center of the field before striking a low shot inside the left post … in last week’s game, Guertin lofted a free-kick cross from the right flank, with Mary Boland heading the ball across the goalmouth (left to right) for Mia Sarkesian gamewinning header goal … in the 2000 NCAA quarterfinal win over Santa Clara (2-1) Guertin dug the ball out of the left corner and passed to Randi Scheller, who sent the ball from the left endline to set up Meotis Erikson’s dramatic OT score.

MIA’S MAGIC – Senior midfielder Mia Sarkesian continues to make a name for herself as a big-game goalscorer, after netting gamewinners last week vs. No. 3 Nebraska (1-0) and No. 19 West Virginia (2-1, OT) … Sarkesian’s 11 career goals at ND include six gamewinners, plus pressure-packed scores vs. top-ranked North Carolina in 1999 (2-1 lead, lost 3-2 in OT) and vs. Boston College in 2000 (ends ND’s only deficit of regular season, win 2-1) … Sarkesian’s more noteworthy gamewinners also include the lone score in a 1-0 win over Stanford, during third-round action of the 1999 NCAAs.

SET PIECE EXECUTION – Set plays have let to five of ND’s last nine goals, including Amanda Guertin’s gamewinner vs. Georgetown (directly from corner kick), the three-pass sequence off a free kick vs. Nebraska (scored by Mia Sarkesian), goals by Guertin and Melissa Tancredi vs. Pittsburgh (both set up by deep free kicks from Monica Gonzalez) and the overtime gamewinner vs. West Virginia (double-header sequence from Mary Boland to Sarkesian, via long free kick from Guertin).

CHAPPY MAKES HER MARK – Irish freshman Candace Chapman – who made a name for herself as a speedy goalscorer with the Canadian national program – has totaled two goals and two assists this season, despite playing mostly in the defense at outside back (a new position for the talented rookie) … Chapman scored her first two goals of the season in last week’s 4-0 road wins over Pittsburgh, blasting a shot from outside the box in the fourth minute of play (3:30) before scoring late in the game as a forward, off a right endline cross from Lindsey Jones … Chapman’s quick goal ignited an early 3-0 lead for the Irish and ranks as ND’s second-quickest goal during the past two seasons (Mia Sarkesian scored at the 1:32 mark, last season at Syracuse).

50TH WIN ONE TO REMEMBER – Randy Waldrum’s 50th career win at Notre Dame (1-0) certainly will qualify as one of his most memorable, as the fourth-ranked Irish women’s soccer team used precision execution to score in the 18th minute on a three-pass set play before limiting third-ranked Nebraska to just pair of shots on goal … sophomore M Randi Scheller initiated the indirect free kick, from 10 yards outside the top of the box … Scheller quickly sent a low pass into the box and her classmate Amanda Guertin, who flicked the ball into an open space on the right side. … fellow sophomore forward Melissa Tancredi beat the Huskers to the ball and continued towards the right endline before serving a low pass to senior midfielder Mia Sarkesian, who one-timed the ball into the net for her timely first goal of the season (17:30) … ND shifted fifth-year player Monica Gonzalez into the central defender spot while returning senior Lindsey Jones to her customary right back position (freshman Candace Chapman then switched to the left).

EXTRA-TIME SUCCESS – Since losing to UNC in the 1999 opener (3-2, OT), the Irish are unbeaten in their last 10 overtime games (7-0-3). ND already has played four OT games this season, tying the team record for OT games in a season (also 1995, 2000) and tying team record for OT wins in a season (3, also in 2000). The six OT wins during the past two seasons have featured GWGs from five different players-Amanda Guertin, Meotis Erikson, Kelly Tulisiak, Amy Warner and Mia Sarkesian (the 2000 Stanford game ended on an own goal).

BIG-GAME RESULTS – The Irish are an impressive 16-4-2 vs. NSCAA top-25 teams in the three-year Randy Waldrum era (52-5-3 overall), with three losses vs. UNC (when UNC was ranked 1, 3 and 5) plus a loss at Santa Clara when the Broncos were top ranked … half of ND’s eight wins this season have come vs. top-25 teams (#8 Penn State, #25 Hartford, #3 Nebraska and #19 West Virginia).

READY TO ROLL- Mary Boland’s goal in the seventh minute vs. Penn State (6:54) is the second-earliest ever scored by an ND freshman in an opener and is the earliest in 12 seasons, dating back to ’89 season vs. St. Joseph’s when Margaret Jarc scored just 80 seconds into her ND career … Boland’s goal is the sixth-earliest in an opener ever by any ND player, with the other five coming vs. unranked teams … Rosella Guerrero scored ND’s first goal of 1992 (18:02, vs. N.C. State), 1993 (7:45, vs. LaSalle) and 1995 (7:36, vs. Rutgers) seasons.

HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE – Notre Dame posted the fifth-longest home winning streak in NCAA history (29 games) before the 2-2 tie vs. Wisconsin on Sept. 9 … the Irish still own a 34-game unbeaten streak at home (33-0-1) and have not tasted defeat at Alumni Field since a heartbreaking 3-2, double-overtime loss to top-ranked North Carolina in the 1999 season opener … the current home streak includes 12 wins over top-25 nationally-ranked teams (six vs. top-10 teams) … the 29-game home winning streak (with a 74-13 scoring edge) bested the Notre Dame team record (28) that began after that 1992 Stanford loss and ended with a 5-4 overtime loss to Connecticut on Oct. 6, 1995 (since that loss, ND is 76-2-2 in its last 80 home games, or 96.3 pct.) … the 1992-95 streak included seven wins over top-25 teams (five vs. top-10 teams).

HOMESTANDERS – Since losing to Stanford on Oct. 4, 1992, ND has posted 106 home wins while losing just three times at home in that span, with two ties (106-3-2 or 95.5 pct.) … that 111-game span includes winning streaks of 29, 28, 23 and 22 games … in addition to the OT losses to UConn in ’95 (5-4) and UNC in ’99 (3-2), the other recent home loss came to Portland in the 1998 NCAA quarterfinals (2-1) while the ties were vs. UNC, on Sept. 19, 1997 (2-2) and vs. Wisconsin on Sept. 9, 2001 (2-2) … the Irish own a 125-7-2 (.940) record in 13 seasons of play at Alumni Field … ND’s all-time record at Alumni Field vs. teams not ranked in the NSCAA poll is 85-1-1 (40-6-1 vs. ranked teams), with 76 straight home wins over unranked teams before the tie with Wisconsin, dating back to a 2-0 loss to Creighton in ’90 … the Irish played at Moose Krause Field in the program’s first two seasons (’88 and ’89), with a home record of 19-5-1 during that span (all vs. unranked teams).

SENIOR SPARK- Senior F Kelly Tulisiak provided a huge spark to the ND offense during the Key Bank Classic, assisting on the gamewinning goal vs. No. 8 Penn State (2-1) before scoring the gamewinner vs. No. 25 Hartford (2-0) … she then came through in the clutch vs. Indiana, scoring in OT for a 2-1 win … a nose for the goal is nothing new for Tulisiak, who has come off the bench in 49 career games (no starts) while totaling eight goals on just 34 shots (4.3 shots per goal) … vs. PSU, Tulisiak made the most of her entry into the game early in the second half, setting up Amanda Guertin’s goal with a thru-ball near the top of the box … vs. Hartford, Tulisiak found the net with 23 minutes to play, five minutes after checking in … Amy Warner set the sequence in motion, using her speed and moves to work into the right side of the box before her low shot was cleared off the goalline by a Hartford defender guarding the near post … Warner then poked the deflected ball to Tulisiak, whose quick shot was knocked down by Hawks ‘keeper Anne Lise Nilssen-but Tulisiak sent the second deflection into open side of the goal, with the ball sailing into the upper left corner for the 1-0 lead … in the IU game, Warner’s looping pass down the center of the field bounced at the top of the box-with Tulisiak beating her defender to the spot and sending a leaping header over the charging ‘keeper.

BIG EAST AWARDS TO PRUZINSKY, WAGNER – Junior Vanessa Pruzinsky (Trumbull, Conn.) and senior Liz Wagner (Spring ,Texas) were honored by the BIG EAST Conference as the league’s defensive player and goalkeeper of the week, after helping the Irish post wins over 8th-ranked Penn State (2-1) and No. 25 Hartford (2-0) … Pruzinsky anchored the defense from her central marking back position, with the Irish trying a variety of players alongside Pruzinsky at the other central spot … Pruzinsky played all 90 minutes in both games while helping keep PSU’s national player-of-the-year candidate Christie Welsh from scoring and holding Hartford All-American Katrina Lardiner without a point … named the Key Bank Classic defensive MVP, Pruzinsky helped limit Hartford to four shots (one in the second half) during a tense battle that saw the Irish forward and midfield units affected by injury … Wagner made six saves vs. PSU-including one in which she charged out to stop Welsh’s breakaway just moments after PSU had scored for a 2-1 game … she totaled nine saves for the weekend, with PSU scoring on a tough redirection shot into the upper left corner … Wagner posted the seventh solo shutout of her career in the Hartford game.

REGULAR-SEASON ROMP – Sparked by its 4-2 loss at then-No. 1 Santa Clara on Oct. 17, 1999, ND won its final four regular-season games of ’99 before winning its first 16 of 2000 (followed by an 0-0 tie at UConn) … that streak included a scoring edge of 78-10 and bested the team record of 18 consecutive wins in the regular season, set from Oct. 19, 1995 – Oct. 11, 1996 … ND heads into the Rutgers game riding a 31-game unbeaten streak (29-0-2) in regular-season play, good for second in the Irish record book behind a 30-0-2 regular-season run (Oct. 17, 1993 – Oct. 1, 1995) … the Irish also had a 27-game streak (26-0-1) through the regular season from Oct. 20, 1996 – Sept. 11, 1998.

GERTY’S GAMEWINNERS – Sophomore F Amanda Guertin-who also scored what proved to be the gamewinner in the season-opening 2-1 win over Penn State-delivered a pinpoint corner kick vs. Georgetown, just three minutes after the Hoyas had tied the game in the 76th minute … GU’s ‘keeper Shereena Chang mistimed her jump and the sailing kick crossed the goalline just to the right of center, with Irish freshman Mary Boland skying into the air and heading the ball into the net for good measure … nearly half of Guertin’s career goals at ND (six of 14) have been gamewinners, including four that came in 2-1 games: at West Virginia (OT) and at home vs. vs. Boston College, PSU and GU (she also opened the scoring in last year’s 8-0 win at GU and had the GWG in the 3-1 NCAA win over Michigan).

WHO’S BACK, WHO’S GONE? – Notre Dame returned 13 of its top 18 players from the 2000 team that spent most of the season ranked No. 1 while compiling a 23-1-1 overall record and advancing to the NCAA semifinals … nine of the returners saw significant time as starters in 2000 while eight of the top 10 scorers returned, with the biggest losses being the 2000 team’s top two leading scorers, Anne Makinen (14 goals-15 assists) and Meotis Erikson (13G-13A), plus Kelly Lindsey and Kerri Bakker (who both saw extensive time at the central marking back position).


* Senior goalkeeper Liz Wagner (Spring, Texas) is back in the nets for the Irish, after leading the nation in 2000 with an 0.39 goals-against average … several key defensive regulars also return from a unit that allowed just 10 total goals and 6.4 shots per game last season … Academic All-American Vanessa Pruzinsky (Trumbull, Conn.)-tabbed the BIG EAST preseason co-defensive player of the year, along with UConn’s Casey Zimmy-returns for her junior season at central D, where she will play alongside a new teammate following the graduation of Kelly Lindsey and Kerri Bakker … the Irish have plenty of experience at the outside marking back positions, with senior co-captain Lindsey Jones (South Bend, Ind.) returning on the right side while fifth-year player Monica Gonzalez (Richardson, Texas) is back to patrol the left … Jones and Gonzalez also have been tried at the open center back position, as has promising freshman Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (a member of Iceland’s national team).

* Senior co-captain Mia Sarkesian (Canton, Mich., 5G-3A in 2000, 2G-4A in 2001) and junior Ashley Dryer (Salt Lake City, Utah, 2G-5A in ’00, no pts in ’01) provide veteran midfield experience while promising sophomore Randi Scheller (Kutztown, Pa., 6G-7A in ’00, 1G-2A in ’01) has stepped into the attacking midfielder role, a spot vacated by the graduation of Anne Makinen (the 2000 national player of the year) … freshman Reagan Jones (Tampa, Fla.) and sophomore Kim Carpenter (Webster, N.Y.) fill a role similar to Scheller’s in 2000, when she was the first midfielder off the bench.

* Notre Dame has a surplus of forward options in 2001, led by its top returning scorers-sophomores Amanda Guertin (Grapevine, Texas, 11G-4A in ’00, 3G-4A in ’01) and Amy Warner (Albuquerque, N.M., 10G-4A in ’00, 4G-1A in ’01), who joined junior D Vanessa Pruzinsky as ND’s pair of players on the 2001 preseason all-BIG EAST team … junior Ali Lovelace (Dallas, Ga., 4G-5A in ’00, 1A in ’01) and senior Kelly Tulisiak (Medina, Ohio, 4G-1A in ’00, 2G-2A in ’01) add to an experienced forward unit that also could see contributions from three newcomers: sophomore Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ontario, 2G-1A)-who missed all of 2000 due to an ACL knee injury-and the freshman duo of Mary Boland (Hudson, Ohio, 2G-2A) and Candace Chapman (Ajax, Ontario, 2G-2A) … the versatile Boland also is a strong midfield option while Chapman has received some early looks in the defense at outside back.

THE FORTRESS – Notre Dame’s strength lies in its defense, after leading the nation with an 0.39 GAA in 2000 … three of the team’s five seniors-goalkeeper Liz Wagner, rightside back Lindsey Jones and fifth-year Monica Gonzalez at left back-play in the defensive third while junior marking back Vanessa Pruzinsky is considered the heart and soul of the stingy Irish defense.

PYRAMID POWER – Notre Dame’s unique 4-3-3 “inverted pyramid” formation returns two of its three central-based midfielders in senior Mia Sarkesian and junior Ashley Dryer while promising sophomore Randi Scheller has filled Anne Makinen’s attacking role at the third midfield spot … Dryer missed the Key Bank Classic while recovering from a bout with mononucleosis but returned to the lineup in the second week (Scheller was out with an injury in the 2-2 tie with Wisconsin).

FORWARD THINKING – ND’s roster is overflowing with quality forwards, including three-junior Ali Lovelace and the sophomore duo of Amy Warner and Amanda Guertin-who combined with 2001 graduate Meotis Erikson for most of the time in 2000 … senior Kelly Tulisiak has been a proven goalscorer off the bench in 49 career games while three “newcomers” also factor heavily in the forward mix: sophomore Melissa Tancredi, who missed all of 2000 due to an ACL knee injury, and the exciting freshman tandem of Candace Chapman and Mary Boland … Chapman (who also has been tried in the defense at outside back) is a former teammate of Tancredi’s on club and national-team squads in their native Canada while the versatile Boland could be used at a number of positions.

FIRE & ICE – That old clich? aptly applies to the equally-effective styles of sophomore forwards Amy Warner (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Amanda Guertin (Grapevine, Texas) … Warner-who leads ND with four goals this season-burst onto the scene early in 2000, buzzing around the offensive zone and ranking as the team’s second-leading scorer through 10 games (7G-4A) before a knee injury caused her to miss seven games (she returned in reserve duty beginning with the final regular-season game and scored as a starter in the 2-1 NCAA semifinal loss to UNC) … a first team all-BIG EAST and third team all-region selection, Warner finished her truncated first season with 9G-4A, including the earliest hat trick ever posted by an ND freshman (she leads the 2001 team with 4G-1A) … the poised and multi-talented Guertin quietly turned in a rookie season that included 11G-4A (her 26 points trailed only seniors Anne Makinen and Meotis Erikson on the Irish scoring charts) while starting 22 games and tying for second on the team with four GWGs, including an OT score to end West Virginia’s upset bid (she is tied for second on the 2001 team in scoring, with 2G-2A) … Guertin leads the 2001 Irish with 10 points (3G-4A).

KEYS TO THE CITY – Randy Waldrum doesn’t mince words when evaluating one of the key aspects of his 2001 squad: the play of the team’s pair of returning midfield starters, senior co-captain Mia Sarkesian (Canton, Mich.) and junior Ashley Dryer (Salt Lake City, Utah) … “As they go, so will the team go,” says Waldrum. “Mia and Ashley are such key elements but they are more than capable of handling that pressure. Winning the midfield battle is critical in our system and they’ve come into their own as strong all-around players who consistently get the job done.” … Sarkesian and Dryer have yet to gain significant national recognition-due, in large part, to playing in the shadow of 2000 national player of the year Anne Makinen … some attention did come their way late in 2000, with Sarkesian named the BIG EAST Championship MVP while Dryer’s value was magnified in her absence, missing most of the NCAA quarterfinals and all of the NCAA semi’s due to injury … minus Dryer, the Irish went 77 minutes vs. Santa Clara without a shot and switched to a 4-2-4 system (four forwards, two midfielders) in the semifinals.

GAMES IN THE BANK – The Irish return four of five starters in the defensive third (including Liz Wagner in the goal), with a wealth of experience contained in the threesome of Monica Gonzalez, Lindsey Jones and Vanessa Pruzinsky … those three-who each trained previously at forward or midfield-have combined to play in 226 career games at Notre Dame, with 154 starts.

WORKING WONDERS – Third-year ND head coach Randy Waldrum-who repeated as BIG EAST coach of the year in 2000-has seen his Irish teams post an impressive 52-5-3 combined record (.892), including a 16-4-2 mark vs. NSCAA top-25 teams and a ’99 season that ended in the NCAA title game (the 2000 squad then was ranked No. 1 for most of the season and advanced to the NCAA semifinals) … Waldrum in ’99 became the only coach in the 18-year 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 first-year coach to take his team to the NCAA semi’s, with the Irish beating top-ranked and previously unbeaten Santa Clara in their backyard of San Jose, Calif. … Waldrum’s 20-year record as a college head coach (with both men’s and women’s teams) is 235-110-22 (.670) … he owns a 159-54-15 (.730) record in 11-plus seasons as a Division I women’s coach, including 61-36-9 in six years at Tulsa (.580) and 46-14-3 in three seasons at Baylor … Waldrum entered the 2001 season ranked 14th among active women’s coaches for career winning percentage (he ranks 25th on the total wins list).

STRAIGHT-A SHOOTER – Junior defender Vanessa Pruzinsky (Trumbull, Conn.)-who had started all 56 games of her Irish career before missing the Georgetown game (she now has started 59 of 60)-earned preseason billing as the BIG EAST’s co-defensive player of the year, a fitting tribute to the central intimidator of the Irish defense whose skills make her a strong All-America candidate … she already has earned first team Academic All-America honors, as a 4.0 chemical engineering major … Pruzinsky-who scored 79 goals as a prep forward-has the power to win most “50-50” balls and the recovery speed to close quickly on forwards who venture into her vicinity.

PRIME-TIME PLAYER – The strong play of Liz Wagner (Spring, Texas) often was lost on observers from the 2000 season, particularly if they witnessed a game where she hardly touched the ball (she faced just 19 shots in 13 regular-season games vs. unranked teams) as compared to seeing one of her many stellar efforts vs. ranked teams and in the postseason-when she made 42 saves and allowed just six goals in 12 such “big games” … she added nine saves and one goal allowed in the opening week of 2001 vs. Penn State and Hartford, two saves vs. Nebraska (1-0) and four vs. West Virginia (2-1)-yielding a total of 57 saves and seven goals allowed in 16 career “big games” … Wagner’s nation-leading 0.39 goals-against average in 2000 included a 700-minute shutout streak (12th-longest in NCAA history) and a pair of prime-time, eight-save efforts at Connecticut (0-0) and vs. Santa Clara in the NCAA quarterfinals (2-1, OT) … she did not give up multiple goals until the 2-1 NCAA semifinal loss to North Carolina-just the second time that Wagner and the Irish trailed during the entire 2000 season, spanning just 35 minutes.

CONFERENCE COMMAND – Notre Dame’s 1-0 win over UConn in the 2000 BIG EAST title game marked the eighth consecutive year the Irish have won their conference tournament … with last week’s wins over Pittsburgh and West Virginia, ND owns a 93-3-3 (.955) all-time record in 10-plus years of regular-season conference games (’91-’94 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, ’95-present in the BIG EAST), plus a 19-0-0 record in conference tournament action … since 1995, the Irish own a 58-2-2 (.952) record in regular-season games vs. BIG EAST teams (23-0-1 in last 24), including cross-divisional games and the 2000 tie at UConn (0-0), which was not part of the official BIG EAST schedule … prior to that tie, the Irish had won 25 straight games vs. BIG EAST teams (19 regular season, six BIG EAST Tournament) … ND’s only other blemishes in BIG EAST regular-season play are a 5-4 OT loss to UConn during ND’s ’95 NCAA Championship season, a 1-1 tie at UConn in ’98 and a 3-2 loss two days later at Seton Hall … since joining the BIG EAST in ’95, the Irish are 72-3-2 (.948) in all games vs. BIG EAST opponents (with a 2-0 win over UConn in the ’95 NCAA quarterfinals ad 2-1 loss to UConn in the ’97 NCAA semi’s) … ND’s 77 games vs. BIG EAST teams since ’95 have included a 374-35 scoring edge (60-7 in 15 BIG EAST Tournament games).

GOALS-A-PLENTY – Notre Dame scored in 55 consecutive games from Aug. 29, 1997 to Sept. 17, 1999 (all of the ’97 and ’98 seasons and the first five games of ’99) … the streak came to an end in a 1-0 loss to SMU, with All-America midfielder Anne Makinen not playing for the Irish due to commitments with Finland’s national team … ND scored in 98 of the 101 games in Makinen’s career and injuries limited her play in the other two games where the Irish were shut out (she played just the first 30 minutes of the 2-0 loss to UNC in the ’99 NCAA title game and came off the bench late in the first half of an 0-0 tie at UConn in 2000) … ND’s previous record for scoring streak was a 36-game run from Oct. 19, 1995 to Dec. 6, 1996 (ending with the 1-0 OT loss to UNC in the title game) … stretching from 1992-2001, ND has scored in 96.0 percent of its games (216 of 225) … since 1994, the Irish have scored in 181 of 187 (.968, three shutouts in NCAA title games)-with goals in 137 of 140 regular-season games (.979) during that eight-year stretch.

ROAD WARRIORS – Since dropping a 4-2 game at Santa Clara on Oct. 17, 1999, ND heads into this week’s Rutgers game with a record of 14-2-2 in its last 18 games away from Alumni Field … the Irish put up solid numbers on the road in 2000 (10 games), including a 30-3 scoring edge (before winning 4-0 on the road vs. Pittsburgh last week).

NATIONAL TEAMS x 4 – ND’s 2001 roster includes four players who were active in the summer of 2001 with different national teams, including senior defender Monica Gonzalez (Mexican national team) and three freshmen: forward Candace Chapman (Canadian under-19 team), midfielder Mary Boland (U.S. under-19s) and defender Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (Icelandic national team), who missed last week’s ND games vs. Pittsburgh and West Virginia while playing in Iceland’s game vs. Spain … former Irish D Kate Sobrero is one of the top young players currently on the U.S. National Team.

PUNCH THE CLOCK – Senior G Liz Wagner has started all 34 of Notre Dame’s games during the past two seasons while junior D Vanessa Pruzinsky did not play vs. Georgetown, ending her streak of 56 consecutive starts (every game of her ND career, she now has started 59 of 60) … four others have appeared in each of the last 34 games: sophomore F Amanda Guertin (30 GS), senior M Mia Sarkesian (33 GS) and senior D Lindsey Jones (32 GS) … sophomore M Randi Scheller missed the first game of her Notre Dame career in the 2-2 game vs. Wisconsin.