September 9, 1998

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame opened its 11th season of women’s soccer with three wins over Michigan State and BIG EAST opponents West Virginia and Pittsburgh. The Irish will head to North Carolina for the Carolina Classic this weekend for games against 14th-ranked Duke on Fri., Sept. 11, and against top-ranked North Carolina on Sun., Sept. 13 at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.

This Week for the Irish: Notre Dame will make its first regular season trip to North Carolina this week for the Carolina Classic. The Irish will play both Duke and North Carolina in the same weekend for the sixth straight year. Duke enters the game with a 2-1-0 record and will be playing its third straight BIG EAST opponent. The Blue Devils lost to Connecticut 3-2 on Sat., Sept. 5, and beat Rutgers 2-0 on Sun., Sept. 6. Junior Emily Feeney has scored three goals for Duke while senior Kristy Whelchel has scored twice.

Friday’s game will mark the ninth meeting between the Irish and Blue Devils. Duke won the first three games against Notre Dame while the Irish have won four of the past five meetings. The teams tied 2-2 in 1995.

The Tar Heels enter the weekend with a 2-0-0 record after wins over Colorado and Colorado College this past weekend in Boulder, Colo. North Carolina is led by senior Cindy Parlow, winner of the 1997 Hermann Trophy and Missouri Athletic Club player of the year award. Parlow and senior Rakel Karvelsson each scored three goals while sophomore Raven McDonald added three assist to lead North Carolina in Colorado.

North Carolina leads the series 4-2-2 and has beaten Notre Dame more than any other opponent with Duke second with three wins over the Irish. The Irish have won both meetings with the Tar Heels in the state of North Carolina. This will be the earliest in the season the two teams have met.

Last Week for the Irish: Notre Dame opened its season with three wins last week at Michigan State and at Alumni Field against West Virginia and Pittsburgh. The Irish used two goals by senior forward Monica Gerardo (Simi Valley, Calif.) and a 38-3 advantage in shots to blank the Spartans 4-0.

Junior forwards Jenny Heft (Germantown, Wis.) and Jenny Streiffer (Baton Rouge, La.) each record hat tricks as Notre Dame won its home opener 7-0 against West Virginia. Six different players scored, including two goals each by senior midfielder Shannon Boxx (Torrance, Calif.), Heft and sophomore midfielder Anne Makinen (Helsinki, Finland) in a 9-1 win over Pittsburgh. The Irish outshot the opposition 107-10.

Notre Dame and North Carolina Renew Rivalry: Notre Dame and North Carolina meet once again in one of the premier matchup in college women’s soccer. The Irish and Tar Heels tied in their only meeting in 1997 when lightning halted the game Sept. 19 game at Notre Dame at 71:16. The rivalry began when the Irish snapped the Tar Heels NCAA-record 92-game winning streak in 1994 with a 0-0 tie. North Carolina won the next two games before Notre Dame beat North Carolina for the first time in five meetings on its way to the NCAA title in 1995. The Irish used a Tar Heel own goal in the NCAA semifinals for the 1-0 win in Chapel Hill, just the second-ever loss for North Carolina at home. Notre Dame followed up that win with a 2-1 overtime win in 1996, becoming the first collegiate team to beat the Tar Heels in consecutive games. North Carolina reclaimed the NCAA championship with a 1-0 overtime win in the 1996 NCAA finals.

Return to Glory: Notre Dame returns to North Carolina’s Fetzer Field after winning the 1995 NCAA championship on the Tar Heels’ home field. The Irish were the last team to beat the Tar Heels at home with the 1-0 semifinal win. Notre Dame then outlasted Portland to win the championship game 1-0 in triple overtime.

Irish in #1 Vs. #2 Matchups: Notre Dame is 1-2-1 in No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups with all three meetings pitting the Irish and the Tar Heels. The second-ranked teams have accounted for the three wins in the series. In the 1994 NCAA finals, No. 2 North Carolina beat No. 1 Notre Dame 5-0 and in the 1996 regular season, the second-ranked Irish beat the top-ranked Tar Heels 2-1 in overtime. North Carolina then beat top-ranked Notre Dame 1-0 in overtime in the 1996 NCAA finals. Second-ranked Notre Dame tied top-ranked North Carolina in the 1997. The Irish were ranked third in 1994 when they snapped the Tar Heels’ 92-game winning streak and later took over the No. 1 ranking when North Carolina lost to Duke.

Out of the Gates: Since a 2-1 loss to Portland on Sept. 28, 1992, Notre Dame has not lost in the early season, building a 49-0-2 record in August and September since its loss to Portland.

Heft, Grubb Earn BIG EAST Honors: Junior forward Jenny Heft scored five goals in Notre Dame’s two BIG EAST wins last week, including both game-winning goals to share BIG EAST offensive player of the week honors with Seton Hall’s Kelly Smith. Heft had a hat trick against West Virginia and two goals against Pittsburgh. For the week, Heft scored on five of 14 shots for a .357 shooting percentage. She earns the honor for the second time in her career. Junior defender Jen Grubb (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) was named BIG EAST defensive player of the week after recording four assists in Notre Dame’s three wins, including three against Pittsburgh. She led the Irish defense which held the opposition to just 10 shots in three games and held West Virginia without a shot in the first half and Pittsburgh without a shot in the second half. Grubb earns the honor for the third time in her career.

BIG EAST Picks Notre Dame First: The Irish have been picked to win their third straight BIG EAST regular season title in a preseason poll of the 12 BIG EAST coaches. Notre Dame picked up 10 first-place votes, while Connecticut garnered the other two votes. The Irish have won the last two regular season titles and all three BIG EAST tournaments since joining the conference in 1995. In 1997, Notre Dame beat Connecticut 1-0 to win the regular season title and 6-1 in the BIG EAST championship final to win the tournament title.

The Irish received individual preseason honors from the BIG EAST as junior LaKeysia Beene (Gold River, Calif.) has been selected preseason goalkeeper of the year and Grubb preseason defensive player of the year. Notre Dame accounted for six of the 11 players voted to the preseason all-BIG EAST team. In addition to Beene and Grubb, Shannon Boxx, sophomore forward Meotis Erikson (Kennewick, Wash.), Anne Makinen and Jenny Streiffer have been voted preseason all-BIG EAST.

Head Coach Chris Petrucelli: Chris Petrucelli is in his ninth season as head coach of Notre Dame’s women’s soccer team after leading the Irish to their fourth straight NCAA championship weekend appearance in 1997. Petrucelli was named NSCAA coach of the year for the second consecutive year after guiding Notre Dame to its first NCAA women’s soccer title in 1995, becoming the first coach to win the honor two straight years. The Orange, N.J., native owns a 157-19-9 record with an .873 winning percentage that is second best among all NCAA Division I women’s soccer coaches, active and nonactive. During his eight seasons as head coach, Petrucelli has coached his players to 21 NSCAA All-America selections, including 18 since 1994, the most in the country during that span.

Scouting the 1998 Irish: With nine starters returning and the loss of just eight goals scored by players gone through graduation, the Irish will field one of the more experienced teams in the country. In what has become a perennial strong spot in the Irish lineup with an All-American every year since 1994, Notre Dame’s goalkeeper duo of Beene and freshman U.S. women’s national under-20 team member Elizabeth Wagner (Spring, Texas) should be one of the top pair of goalkeepers in the country.

Beene played every minute of every game in 1997, allowing just nine goals for a 0.36 goals against average. She set a Notre Dame record by shutting out 18 of 25 opponents and set a BIG EAST single-season shutout record with nine shutouts in 11 conference games.

Grubb and sophomore Kelly Lindsey (Omaha, Neb.) return to the defense from ’97 and are joined by junior Kara Brown (Avon, Conn.), expected to move to the back from the midfield to replace graduated national team member Kate Sobrero.

Grubb joined Sobrero on the NSCAA first-team All-America list in ’97 and was a finalist for the Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year award. Lindsey battled through early-season injuries to be an immediate success on the Irish defense as a freshman. Soccer America selected her as a member of its all-freshman team with her tremendous speed and athletic ability which frustrated opponents. Brown should make the switch from outside midfielder to defender in her junior year.

Senior Laura Vanderberg (Kalamazoo, Mich.) also can contribute on defense after playing in 66 games in her career in a key reserve role. Most of her play has come in the midfield but she also has the ability to play in the back to help give the Irish depth on defense.

Like its solid goalkeeper, Notre Dame’s run of strong central midfielders continues with the return of sophomore Anne Makinen, Soccer America’s women’s freshman player of the year and the only freshman midfielder named NSCAA All-American. Leader of the Finnish national team, Makinen had an immediate impact on college soccer last year, averaging a goal per game with 23 goals in 23 games to go along with 12 assists.

Joining Makinen in the central midfield is three-year starter and two-time all-BIG EAST honoree Shannon Boxx, who has developed as a midfielder with the ability to score, create and drop back defensively, with her versatility complementing Makinen’s abilities. Streiffer has the ability to play in the midfield or up front and has been equally adept at scoring or finding others with 42 goals and 40 assists in her first two years as she became the fastest player in Notre Dame history to reach 100 points.

Freshmen Lindsey Jones (South Bend, Ind.) starred at John Adams High School and should utilize her speed to contribute in the midfield while Mia Sarkesian (Canton, Mich.) can also be a factor in the midfield.

Monica Gerardo, sophomore Meotis Erikson and Jenny Heft will fill out the forward ranks. The talented trio combined to score 52 goals a year ago with each bringing a different style to the field to complement each other. Gerardo returns to Notre Dame for her senior year after gaining international experience with the Mexican national team in 1998 and needs just eight more to match Cindy Daws’ school-record 61 goals.

Erikson contributed immediately to Notre Dame’s offense, scoring 22 goals as a freshman in ’97. Soccer America put her on its all-freshman team, and she was named first team all-BIG EAST and to the BIG EAST all-rookie team. Heft, who split the starting role with Erikson last season, upped her scoring from 12 goals as a freshman to 20 last year, including five game-winning goals. The Irish will once again rely on Heft’s speed and goal-scoring abilities as she looks to move into a starting role.