Nov. 7, 2001
vs. Boston College
BIG EAST Semifinals (Nov. 9)
TITLE ON THE LINE – The sixth-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team (14-2-1) continues its quest for a seventh consecutive BIG EAST Conference title with a semifinal matchup versus Boston College (11-8-1), on Friday, Nov. 9 at Rutgers University’s Yurcak Field (5:00 p.m. EST) … the Irish won the BIG EAST Mid-Atlantic Division title (5-1-0) before beating St. John’s 2-0 in the quarterfinal round … Boston College rallied for a second-place finish in the Northeast Division (3-2-1) and survived a 4-3 quarterfinal versus Rutgers …the second semifinal will feature Northeast Division champion Connecticut (a 1-0 winner over Villanova) versus Mid-Atlantic runner-up West Virginia, which defeated Miami 2-0 … the championship game will be played Sunday at noon, with the winner receiving an automatic bid into the 64-team NCAA Championship.
TV OFFERINGS – The BIG EAST Championship game will be broadcast live by two Fox Sports Net affiliates, in addition to six delayed broadcasts … Sunday’s title game (noon EST) will be aired live by the Madison Square Garden Network and the Empire Sports Network … one-hour-delayed broadcasts will be available at Fox Sports Net Chicago (noon CST) and Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia (1:00 p.m. EST), with two-hour-delayed broadcasts at Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and Fox Sports Net New England (both 2:00 p.m. EST) … Fox Sports Net Florida and Comcast Sports Net Washington both will air delayed broadcasts at 3:00 p.m. EST.
NCAA FIELD ANNOUNCEMENT – The 64-team field for the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship will be announced on Monday, Nov. 12, at 3:00 p.m. EST … the NCAA selection show will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net South, Fox Sports Net Northeast, Fox Sports Net Northwest, Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and Empire Sports (FSN South also will re-air the selection show at 7:00 p.m. on Monday night) … the selection show also will unveil the brackets, first-round pairings and the top-16 seeded teams, which are guaranteed home field for the first two rounds (seeds 1-8 will clinch home field for the third round while the top four seeds are guaranteed quarterfinal hosts).
IRISH HOPE FOR FINAL PUSH – Notre Dame heads into the BIG EAST semifinals looking to make a final impression on the NCAA selection committee, which faces the daunting task of seeding the top teams for the 64-team tournament (aside from top-ranked North Carolina, the rest of the spots in top 10 of the national polls have featured weekly fluctuation all season) … the top four seeds are guaranteed home field through the quarterfinal round while seeds 1-8 will be at home for potential third-round games … Notre Dame made its run to the 2000 NCAA semifinals with home wins over Michigan (3-1), Harvard (2-0) and Santa Clara (2-1, OT), pushing the program’s all-time NCAA Tournament home record to 17-1-0 … the Irish are unbeaten in their last 38 overall home games (37-0-1).
NCAA ALTERS SCHEDULE – The NCAA approved a change in scheduling for the expanded 64-team women’s soccer field, with the change coming after most Notre Dame schedules already had been printed (including schedule cards and media guides) … all first-round games will be played on Friday, Nov. 16, with the second-round games on Sunday, Nov. 18.
SERIES NOTES – Notre Dame has won each of its previous six games versus Boston College (including two wins in 2000), outscoring the Eagles 19-3 in those games … the teams met every year from 1995-98 but did not face each other during the 1999 or 2001 regular seasons … in the 2000 BC-ND game at Alumni Field, Meghan Moore scored on a 10th-minute counterattack for an early Eagles lead (that remained ND’s only deficit of 2000 until the lategoing of the 2-1 NCAA semifinal loss to UNC) … Mia Sarkesian then turned in one of her patented clutch plays, scoring on a looping 20-yard shot late in the first half … Amanda Guertin scored the gamewinner in the 53rd minute, after picking off a clear attempt and sending the ball inside the near right post (ND finished with a 21-5 shot edge) … the 2000 rematch came at ND in the BIG EAST semifinals, with goals from Sarkesian (heading in a Meotis Erikson cross), Anne Makinen and Erikson giving the Irish a 3-0 win (ND outshot BC 27-4 in that game, with a 12-0 corner kick edge) … Sarkesian and Ali Lovelace combined to set up Makinen’s blast in that semifinal win … Sarkesian (2G-1A), Guertin (G) and Lovelace (A) are the only ND players with career points versus BC (see p. 4)-but Guertin and Sarkesian both netted gamewinners vs. the Eagles last season.
- 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, with the biggest losses being top scorers Anne Makinen (14G-15A) and Meotis Erikson (13G-13A), plus Kelly Lindsey and Kerri Bakker (who both saw extensive time at the central marking back position).
- ND’s typical starting 11 (from seven states and Ontario) is representative of the ND’s national student body … the 23-player roster includes players from 16 states, two foreign countries.
- The Irish are 58-7-3 (.875) in the three-year tenure of head coach Randy Waldrum, including a 47-4-3 mark in the last 54 games (since losing 4-2 at SCU on Oct. 17, 1999).
- The current senior class has helped ND compile a 79-10-4 (.871) record from 1998-2001.
- Only three teams in the top 25-North Carolina, UCLA and Santa Clara-own records of two losses (UCLA, SCU) or better (UNC), with ND among the next group at two losses and one tie.
- The Irish closed the regular season with a 2-1 overtime win over No. 23 Michigan (ND and UNC were the only teams in that week’s NSCAA top eight who went unbeaten).
Inside The Numbers
- ND’s season statistical edgeinclude: 40-14 in scoring (avg. 2.4-0.8), 313-130 in shots (avg. 18-8), 181-60 in shots on goal (avg. 11-3), 99-47 in corner kicks (avg. 6-3).
- ND owns an 18-4 scoring edge in its last six games.
- The Irish have allowed just four 1st-half goals all season (none in the last six games).
Schedule and Location Notes
- The semifinal matchup vs. Boston College will mark ND’s seventh road game in the last 11.
- ND is 129-7-2 (.940) at Alumni Field, including 110-3-2 in the last 115 and 88-1-1 vs. unranked teams … ND’s current 38-game home unbeaten streak (37-0-1) includes a 92-19 scoring edge.
- The Irish are 7-1-0 in games at Yurcak Stadium, including four BIG EAST Tournament wins (in 1997 and ’99) and a 3-1 record vs. Rutgers.
Streaks and Records
- The Irish set a team record on Sept. 7 with their 29th consecutive home win (2-1 in OT vs. Indiana) before seeing that streak snapped in a 2-2 tie vs. Wisconsin.
- The Irish are 34-2-2 in their last 38 regular-season games (the 2-1 loss at Rutgers prevented the Irish from tying the team record for regular-season unbeaten streak, 30-0-2 from 1993-95).
- Notre Dame is 8-0-3 in its last 11 overtime games.
- The Irish have not lost consecutive games since Sept. 28, 1992.
- The 7-0 win over St. John’s is ND’s most goals at home in the last 35 home games (since 10-0 win over Georgetown in 1999) while the 11 combined goals vs. SJU and Miami are most by the Irish in back-to-back games since totaling 13 at Wisconsin (9-2) and Indiana (4-1) on Oct. 27 and 31, 1999.
Postseason and NCAA Notes
- Notre Dame’s all-time NCAA Tournament winning pct. (.758, 23-7-1) ranks 2nd in NCAA history.
- ND is 13-2-1 in its last 15 postseason games (39-10 scoring edge), 18-3-1 in the last 22 (56-14).
- The Irish own a 17-1-0 all-time record at home during NCAA Tournament play.
- ND is 34-2-1 in its last 37 games vs. BIG EAST teams (76-5-2/.928 since joining in ’95).
- The Irish own a 16-0-0 all-time record in the BIG EAST Tournament (62-7 scoring edge).
Liz Wagner Notes (second team all-BIG EAST, first team all-region in 2000)
- Has come up big in the big games, totaling 67 saves and just 11 GA in 20 career starts vs. ranked teams and/or in the postseason (with a 17-2-1 record in those games).
- Her 0.39 season GAA in 2001 (8 solo shutouts, 8 shared) ranked 1st in the nation and 19th in NCAA Division I women’s soccer history … saw her 2000 shutout streak snapped at 700 minutes ( ND record, 12th in NCAA history), with the streak ending in the NCAA 2nd-round game vs. Michigan.
- Her 0.53 career GAA is on pace to best the Irish record set by Beene (0.63 career, 0.36 in ’97) and ranks 8th in NCAA history, within range of third (0.47).
- Has started all 41 games the past two seasons, allowing just 23 goals while playing nearly 93% of the minutes and allowing more than one goal in just four games (more than two in just one) … has logged nearly 97% of the team’s minutes in 2001 (1,568 of 1,621).
Other Player Notes
- Six players have started all 17 games this season, including the defensive core of fifth-year player Monica Gonzalez, senior Lindsey Jones and freshman D Candace Chapman (the other D, junior Vanessa Pruzinsky, has 16 starts) … others who have started all 17 games include senior M Mia Sarkesian, sophomore F Amy Warner and senior G Liz Wagner.
- Sophomore F Amanda Guertin takes a six-game goalscoring streak into the BC game and has points in 11 of the last 13 games (she has scored five of ND’s last seven games).
- Freshman M/F Mary Boland returned to action vs. Villanova (Sept. 21), after missing five games due to an injury suffered in the final seconds of the opening win over Penn state (2-1) … Boland also missed the last six games, since suffering an ankle injury late in the Oct. 7 game at Seton Hall.
- Sophomore F Melissa Tancredi’s goal vs. St. John’s at 0:27 tied for the second-quickest in ND history (and quickest since Michelle McCarthy’s 0:15 goal at Xavier in 1995) .
EAGLES NOTES (also see www.bceagles.com)- Boston College (11-8-1, 3-2-1) returned many of its top players from the 2000 team that posted a 14-7-0 record and finished second in the BIG EAST Northeast Division (4-1-0) … BC’s top returning players include senior F Meghan Moore (1st team all-BIG EAST in 2000) and sophomore D Sarah Rahko, a 2nd team all-BIG EAST pick and the 200I BIG EAST rookie of the year … the Eagles lost BIG EAST defensive player of the year Sarah Powell to graduation … Rahko (9G-8A) and Moore (9G-6A) are the top scorers for a BC team that is averaging 2.1 goals and 16.3 shots per game … sophomore G Elyse Meredith has played most of the minutes in her first season of action, with a 1.33 GAA, 93 saves and 20 goals against … BC suffered early divisional setbacks vs. Providence (2-2), St. John’s (1-0) and Syracuse (3-2, OT) before rallying to the postseason with wins over Miami (4-2), UConn (2-0) and Virginia Tech (2-0) … BC’s challenging non-conference slate included losses to UMass (4-3, OT), Georgia (3-2), Dartmouth (3-0) and Harvard (1-0), plus 3-1 wins over Ohio State and Boston University.
- 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 no conference tournaments for the Irish prior to 1993).
- Notre Dame owns a 96-5-3 (.938) all-time record in 11 years of regular-season games vs. conference teams (’91-’94 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, ’95-present in the BIG EAST), plus a 20-0-0 record in conference tournament action (16-0-0 in the BIG EAST Tournament, see p. 2).
- Since 1995, the Irish own a 61-4-2 (.925) record in regular-season games vs. BIG EAST teams (26-2-1 in last 29), including cross-divisional games and the last two games at UConn (0-0 in 2000, 3-1 loss in ’01), which were not part of the official BIG EAST schedule.
- Prior to the 2000 tie at UConn, the Irish had won 25 straight games vs. BIG EAST teams (19 regular season, six BIG EAST Tournament).
- Notre Dame’s only other blemishes in BIG EAST regular-season play are a 5-4 OT loss to UConn during ND’s 1995 NCAA Championship season, a 1-1 tie at UConn in ’98, a 3-2 loss two days later at Seton Hall, and this season’s 2-1 loss at Rutgers.
- Since joining the BIG EAST in ’95, the Irish are 76-5-2 (.928) in all games vs. BIG EAST opponents, with a 2-0 win over UConn in the 1995 NCAA quarterfinals and 2-1 loss to UConn in the ’97 NCAA semifinals.
- Notre Dame’s 83 games vs. BIG EAST teams since 1995 have included nearly a 10-to-1 scoring edge (391-41), including 62-7 in 16 BIG EAST Tournament games (with 13 BET shutouts).
RECAPPING THE QUARTERFINAL WIN – Amanda Guertin extended her goalscoring streak to six games and Mia Sarkesian likewise scored an early goal as ND opened postseason play with a 2-0 win over St. John’s … SJU managed just seven shots (to ND’s 22), with the Irish holding an 11-3 edge in shots on goal and a 9-2 m corner kick margin … ND scored on its second shot of the game-but the play began as a corner kick, with Guertin drilling a leftside corner towards the goal in the eighth minute … SJU ‘keeper Tina Fogg went up for the ball in a crowd at the near post but the kick cleared all players and bent towards the right side, with a sliding Red Storm player clearing the ball after it had crossed the goalline (7:17) … Sarkesian notched the fifth postseason goal of her career five minutes later, after receiving a pass near the top of the box, using her dribbling skills to shake her defender and gain space for a 20-yard shot, lofting the ball into the upper left side of the net for the quick 2-0 lead and her career-best sixth goal of the season (12:15).
“SECOND-SEASON” SURGE – The Notre Dame offense will be looking for a postseason surge, as the Irish have averaged just 2.4 goals per game (40)-with just three games of more than two goals (4-0 at Pitt and Miami, 7-0 vs. St. John’s) … by comparison, the 2000 ND team averaged 3.8 goals in the regular season and hit three-plus goals in nine of 18 games … surprisingly, the 2000 Irish team (7.3 shots per goal in regular season) and the 2001 ND squad (7.8) have posted similar shooting efficiencies-with the major difference coming in shots per game (the 2000 team averaged 24.8 shots in the regular season, compared to just 18.4 this season).
BIG-GAME RESULTS – The Irish are 18-5-2 vs. NSCAA top-25 teams in the Randy Waldrum era (58-7-3 overall), with three losses vs. UNC (when UNC was ranked 1, 3 and 5) plus a 1999 loss (4-2) at Santa Clara when the Broncos were top ranked and the recent 3-1 loss at No. 15 UConn … ND is 6-1-0 vs. top-25 teams this season, with wins over #8 Penn State, #25 Hartford, #3 Nebraska, #19 West Virginia, #24 Miami and #23 Michigan.
POSTSEASON PRODUCTION – Junior F Ali Lovelace (5G-3A) and senior M Mia Sarkesian (5G-3A) lead Notre Dame in career postseason points (each with 13) … in fact, more than half of Lovelace’s 24 career points (8G-8A) have come in the postseason, including five of eight goals (three in the BIG EAST Tournament), while one-third of Sarkesian’s career goals (5 of 15, three in BET) have come in postseason … the only other ND player with more than 10 career points in the postseason is fifth-year D Monica Gonzalez (3G-5A) … Sarkesian’s postseason heroics include three gamewinning goals, trailing only Monica Gerardo (five postseason GWGs) and Amy Van Laecke (four) in Irish history.
THE ANSWERS – The biggest question for ND heading into 2001 was who would play alongside junior Vanessa Pruzinsky at the central D position … the ultimate solution was fifth-year player Monica Gonzalez, with senior Lindsey Jones and freshman Gudrun Gunnarsdottir also seeing time at the position … Gonzalez-who combined with Jones as the returning starters at the outside back positions-has been a steady performer at her new position during the past six weeks (since the Sept. 25 Nebraska game), earning two BIG EAST defensive player-of-the-week honors … another part of the solution has been the strong play of converted forward Candace Chapman, as the freshman has started all season at right back (with Jones shifting from the right to Gonzalez’ vacated left back spot).
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), with Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ontario) rounding out the promising sophomore trio of forwards (Tancredi missed all of the 2000 season due to injury) … Warner (7G-1A in 2001) 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 … 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 … 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 26 points (10G-6A).
“GERTY” GETTING GOALS – Sophomore F Amanda Guertin (10G-6A), who leads ND in goals, points (26) and gamewinning goals (5), owns a six-game goalscoring streak and has registered points in 11 of the previous 13 games … Guertin was named BIG EAST player of the week after scoring both Irish goals in the recent 2-0 win at Yale before scoring in overtime to beat #23 Michigan (2-1) … her six-game goalscoring streak is longest by an ND player since Nov. 14, 1999-when Jenny Heft scored for the eighth straight game and Jenny Streiffer for the seventh consecutive game in a 5-1 NCAA win over Dayton (neither scored in the next week’s 1-0 win over Stanford) … her recent streak includes scoring five of ND’s last seven goals, six of the last nine and seven of the last 12 … she has 21 goals in her young Irish career, including nine gamewinners (four in 2001).
OVERTIME MASTER – Guertin scored the OT gamewinner at West Virginia last season (2-1) before providing this season’s free kick that beat #19 WVU in overtime (also 2-1) and scoring in OT in the regular-season finale to beat #23 Michigan (2-1) … she has scored (2) or assisted (2) on four of the six OT goals by the Irish during the past two seasons (a seventh OT game ended with an own goal, vs. Stanford last season) … in the 2000 WVU game, Guertin emerged with the ball and dribbled down the center of the field before striking a low shot inside the left post … in this year’s meeting with WVU, 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’s gamewinning header … vs. Michigan, she picked off a clearing attempt and calmly converted from six yards … 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.
A TRUE GAMEWINNER – 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 this season 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 … Guertin then scored a similar GWG in the BIG EAST quarterfinals vs. St. John’s (2-0), from the same spot on the field … nearly half of Guertin’s career goals at ND (nine of 21) have been gamewinners (three in the postseason), including six that came in 2-1 games: at West Virginia (OT) and at home vs. vs. Boston College, PSU, GU, WVU and Michigan (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).
MAKING HER MARK – Irish freshman Candace Chapman – who made a name for herself as a speedy goalscorer with the Canadian national program – has totaled 3G-2A this season, despite playing mostly in the defense at outside back (a new position for the talented rookie) … Chapman (Ajax, Ontario) scored her first two goals in the 4-0 road win over Pittsburgh, blasting a shot from outside the box in the fourth minute before scoring late 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 third-quickest goal during the past two seasons (Mia Sarkesian scored at the 1:32 mark, last season at Syracuse, while Melissa Tancredi scored at 0:27 this year vs. St. John’s) … Chapman was shifted to forward during the second half at Seton Hall and used her quickness to shake free for the 2-1 gamewinner, in the 82nd minute (she also played some forward last week vs. SJU).
PRUZINSKY NAMED MAC FINALIST – ND junior Vanessa Pruzinsky (Trumbull, Conn.) has been named one of 15 finalists for the 2001 Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Player of the Year Award … a 2000 first team Academic All-American and the 2001 preseason BIG EAST defensive player of the year, she is one of just three defenders and seven non-seniors on the 15-player list … Pruzinsky has missed just one game in her ND career while starting all 67 she has played for the Irish .. a chemical engineering major with a 4.0 cumulative GPA, she became just the fourth ND sophomore (in any sport) to earn first team Academic All-America honors … a hard-nosed central defender with the speed to match her physical play, Pruzinsky played a leading role on the 2000 Irish defense that led the nation with an 0.39 goals-against average … she is the cornerstone of a veteran 2001 Notre Dame defense that has allowed just four first-half goals this season (13 overall) … other defenders on the MAC finalist list include UNC senior Danielle Borgman and Santa Clara senior Danielle Slaton … the other six juniors on the list include Penn State F Christie Welsh (the 2000 runner-up), BYU midfielder Aleisha Cramer, Nebraska F Christine Latham, California F Laura Schott and Washington G Hope Solo (Clemson F Lindsay Browne is the only sophomore on the list).
EXPERIENCE IN THE BACK – Fifth-year player Monica Gonzalez (91 games played) and senior Lindsey Jones (92) are just the second pair of Notre Dame defensive teammates to reach 90 career games, lending veteran stability to a defense that includes junior Vanessa Pruzinsky (a three-year starter) and surging freshman Candace Chapman … ND’s only other pair of defensive teammates with 90-plus career GP were Jen Grubb (100) and Kara Brown (99) in 1999 … senior M Mia Sarkesian (87) is on the verge of playing her 90th game … just three previous ND senior classes have included three-plus players with 90 or more GP: the five-player 1999 group (also Fs Jenny Streiffer, 100, and Jenny Heft, 96, plus G LaKeysia Beene at 90), the 1996 group of D Kate Fisher (98), G Jen Renola (98) and M Cindy Daws (94) and the 2000 seniors that included F Meotis Erikson (101), D Kelly Lindsey (91) and M Anne Makinen (90).
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” … Wagner added nine saves and one goal allowed in the opening week of 2001 vs. Penn State and Hartford, two saves vs. Nebraska (1-0), four vs. both West Virginia (2-1) and Miami (4-0), two at UConn (1-3) and one vs. Michigan (2-1), before making three saves in the 2-0 BIG EAST quarterfinal win over St. John’s (yielding a total of 67 saves and 11 goals allowed in 20 career “big games”) … Wagner’s nation-leading 0.39 GAA in 2000 included a 700-minute shutout streak (12th-longest in NCAA history) and a pair of prime-time, eight-save efforts at UConn (0-0) and vs. Santa Clara in the NCAA quarterfinals (2-1, OT) … she did not give up multiple goals in 2000 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.
WAGNER IN THE NCAA RECORD BOOK – Liz Wagner’s 0.54 career GAA would rank 8th in NCAA history, just behind former UMass ‘keeper Brianna Scurry (0.56, ’90-’93) … Wagner’s 0.54 GAA also ranks first in ND history, followed by LaKeysia Beene (12th in NCAA history, 0.63, ’96-’99) and Jen Renola (16th in NCAA history, 0.69, ’93-’96) … with a strong showing in the 2001 postseason, Wagner could finish as high as 3rd on the NCAA career GAA list.
THE VETERAN – Versatile defender Monica Gonzalez (Richardson, Texas) is the battle-tested veteran of the Irish squad, completing her fifth year due to a sophomore season lost due to injury … in addition to logging 91 career games (45 starts), Gonzalez-a converted forward and the team’s tallest player at 5-11-is a founding member of the three-year-old Mexican National Team … she opened 2001 at the left back position where she made most of her 18 starts in 2000, when she chipped in one goal and four assists while ranking as one of the best players on the field in the regular-season showdown at UConn and the NCAA semifinal matchup with North Carolina … Gonzalez also had a solid showing the past four weeks at another new position, central defender, with her dominating play in the air helping neutralize Nebraska’s four-player forward unit in that key 1-0 Irish win (she also has been shifted to the midfield, and even to forward, at times during the 2001 season).
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 35 shots (4.4 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, knocking in her own deflected shot for the 1-0 lead … in the IU game, Amy 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.
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.
UNBEATEN AT HOME – Notre Dame-which is unbeaten in its last 38 home games (37-0-1)-is aiming for its sixth unbeaten season at home, with the others coming in 1993 (9-0-0), 1994 (10-0-0), 1996 (15-0-0), 1997 (11-0-1) and 2000 (15-0-0) … the Irish are 11-0-1 at Alumni Field this season and own an impressive home record o 110-3-2 (.965) since losing to Stanford on Oct. 2, 1992.
50TH WIN ONE TO REMEMBER – Randy Waldrum’s 50th career win at ND (1-0) qualifies as one of his most memorable, as the fourth-ranked Irish used precision execution to score in the 18th minute on a three-pass set play before limiting third-ranked Nebraska to just a 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 flicked the ball into an open space on the right side. … fellow sophomore F Melissa Tancredi beat the Huskers to the ball and continued towards the right endline before serving a low pass to senior M Mia Sarkesian, who one-timed the ball into the net for her first goal of the season (17:30) … ND shifted fifth-year player Monica Gonzalez into the central D 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 11 overtime games (8-0-3) … ND has played five OT games this season, besting the team record for OT games in a season (four, in 1995 and 2000) and also setting a team record for OT wins in a season (the 2000 team won three) … the seven OT wins the past two seasons have featured GWGs from five different players: Amanda Guertin (2), Meotis Erikson, Kelly Tulisiak, Amy Warner and Mia Sarkesian (the 2000 Stanford game ended on an own goal).
GOALS-A-PLENTY – Notre Dame-currently riding a 25-game scoring streak (3rd in ND history)-scored in a record 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 96.1 percent of its games (224 of 233) … since 1994, the Irish have scored in 189 of 195 (.969, three shutouts in NCAA title games)-with goals in 144 of 147 regular-season games (.980) during that eight-year stretch.
NATIONAL TEAMS x 4 – ND’s 2001 roster includes four players who were active in the summer of 2001 with different national teams, including fifth-year D Monica Gonzalez (Mexican national team) and three freshmen: D/F Candace Chapman (Canadian under-19 team), M Mary Boland (U.S. under-19s) and D Gudrun Gunnarsdottir (Icelandic national team), who missed ND’s 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 while four other former ND players-Ds Kelly Lindsey and Jen Grubb, M Shannon Boxx and G LaKeysia Beene-joined Sobrero among the 10 players called into the late-Oct. U.S. training camp.
FAR & WIDE – Much like the composition of the ND student body, players come from far and wide to be a part of the Irish women’s soccer program … the 2001 Irish roster includes players from 16 different states, plus Canada and Iceland … since the beginning of ND women’s soccer in 1988, the program’s players have come from 28 different states and three foreign countries (also Finland) … home states on the current Irish roster include: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.
PYRAMID POWER – Notre Dame’s unique 4-3-3 “inverted pyramid” formation returned 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).
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. 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 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 vs. UNC in the semifinals.
FIRST-HALF FORTRESS – Notre Dame has allowed just four 1st-half goals all season, with three of those goals coming in the same weekend (two in the first 10 minutes at Rutgers and one right before halftime at Seton Hall) … Wisconsin also surprised the Irish with a goal in the first minute of play … ND has not allowed a first-half goal in its last six games, en route to shutout wins over St. John’s (2), Miami, Yale and Michigan (UConn scored three 2nd-half goals to beat the Irish) … ND also has allowed just 45 first-half shots this season, for an average of 2.7 opponent shots and 0.24 goals during the first half.
SENIOR SALUTE – The five-player senior class-has helped ND compile a record of 79-10-4 (.871) from 1998-2001, with four BIG EAST regular-season titles, three BIG EAST tournament titles and an NCAA runner-up finish in 1999 (plus a trip to the 2000 NCAA semifinals and the ’98 quarterfinals) … the senior class includes the team’s co-captains, M Mia Sarkesian (Canton, Mich.) and D Lindsey Jones (South Bend, Ind.), plus fifth-year D Monica Gonzalez (Richardson, Texas), G Liz Wagner (Spring, Texas) and F Kelly Tulisiak (Medina, Ohio) … those five players also have combined for 12 Dean’s List semesters (at least one from each), including four by Gonzalez, three by Tulisiak and two each by Jones and Wagner.
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 (14G-15A) and Meotis Erikson (13G-13A), plus Kelly Lindsey and Kerri Bakker (who both saw extensive time at the central marking back position).
A QUICK LOOK AT THE IRISH
- Senior Liz Wagner (Spring, Texas) returned in the nets, after leading the nation in 2000 with an 0.39 GAA (0.85 in 2001) … several defensive regulars also returned from a unit that allowed just 10 total goals and 6.4 shots/gm last season … Academic All-American Vanessa Pruzinsky (Trumbull, Conn.)-the BIG EAST preseason co-defensive player of the year-returned for her junior season at central D, playing 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) opened 2001 back on 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), with Gonzalez making a solid showing at center back during the past six weeks (she played sweeper for the Mexican National Team last summer).
- Senior co-captain Mia Sarkesian (Canton, Mich., 5G-3A in 2000, 6G-4A in 2001) and junior Ashley Dryer (Salt Lake City, Utah, 2G-5A in ’00, 1G in ’01) provide veteran midfield experience while promising sophomore Randi Scheller (Kutztown, Pa., 6G-7A in ’00, 2G-3A 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, as the first midfielders off the bench.
- ND has a surplus of forward options, led by its top returning scorers-sophomores Amanda Guertin (Grapevine, Texas, 11G-4A in ’00, 10G-6A in ’01) and Amy Warner (Albuquerque, N.M., 10G-4A in ’00, 7G-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, 2A in ’01) and senior Kelly Tulisiak (Medina, Ohio, 4G-1A in ’00, 2G-2A in ’01) add to an experienced forward unit that has seen contributions from three “newcomers”: sophomore Melissa Tancredi (Ancaster, Ontario, 3G-3A)-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, 3G-2A) … the versatile Boland (out indefinitely with an Oct. 7 ankle injury) is a strong midfield option while Chapman has played mostly in the defense, at outside back.
GAMES IN THE BANK – The Irish returned 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 (90 GP/44 GS), Lindsey Jones (91 GP, 65 GS) and Vanessa Pruzinsky (66 GP/66 GS)… those three-who each trained previously at forward or midfield-have combined to play in 247 career games at Notre Dame, with 175 starts … ND’s other starter in the defense, freshman Candace Chapman, is one of six Irish players to start all 16 games in the 2001 regular season (she previously was a forward and never had played defense before 2001).
MIA’S MAGIC – Senior midfielder Mia Sarkesian continues to make a name for herself as a big-game goalscorer, after netting gamewinners vs. No. 3 Nebraska (1-0) and No. 19 West Virginia (2-1, OT) … Sarkesian’s 15 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) … her more noteworthy GWGs also include the lone score in a 1-0 win over Stanford, during third-round action of the 1999 NCAAs.