Oct. 26, 2001

The eighth-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team (12-2-1) concludes the regular season at home on Sunday, Oct. 28, versus 24th-ranked Michigan at Alumni Field (1:00 EST) … the Irish won the BIG EAST Conference Mid-Atlantic Division title (5-1-0) and will play host to St. John’s (the No. 4 seed in the Northeast Division) during the BIG EAST tournament quarterfinal round (that game will be Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1:00 p.m.) … the ND-SJU winner then will play the winner of the Rutgers at Boston College game in the first BIG EAST semifinal, Nov. 9 at RU’s Yurcak Field (5:00 p.m. EST) … the other BIG EAST quarterfinal matchups include Villanova at Connecticut and Miami at West Virginia … Michigan (10-5-1, 8-2 Big Ten Conference) posted a 2-1 home win over Michigan State on Friday, after managing an 0-0 tie last Sunday vs. Oakland … see www.mgoblue.com for additional information on the Wolverines … the first 500 fans at the ND-Michigan game will receive a free Notre Dame autograph book.

SENIOR SALUTE – Notre Dame’s five-player senior class will be making its final regular-season appearance at Alumni Field, with the seniors to be honored prior to the Michigan game … the seniors have helped ND compile a record of 77-10-4 (.868) during the 1998-2001 seasons, 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, G Liz Wagner and F Kelly Tulisiak.

UNBEATEN AT HOME – Notre Dame-which is unbeaten in its last 36 home games (35-0-1)-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 9-0-1 at Alumni Field this season and own an impressive home record of 108-3-2 (.965) since losing to Stanford on Oct. 2, 1992.

GERTY ON A ROLL – Sophomore F Amanda Guertin (8G-6A), who leads ND in goals and points, takes a four-game goalscoring streak into the Michigan game and has registered points in nine of the previous 11 games … Guertin scored all three of ND’s goals during the fall-break games at UConn (a 3-1 loss) and Yale (2-0) … she has totaled 19 goals in her young Irish career, including seven game-winning goals (three in 2001).

FIRST-HALF FORTRESS – Notre Dame has allowed just four 1st-half goals all season, with Wisconsin, Rutgers (2) and Seton Hall being the only teams to score vs. the Irish during the first 45 minutes … ND has not allowed a first-half goal in its last four games, en route to shutout wins over St. John’s, Miami and Yale (UConn scored three 2nd-half goals to beat the Irish) … ND also has allowed just 41 first-half shots this season, for an average of 2.7 opponent shots and 0.27 goals during the first half.

THE MICHIGAN SERIES – ND has won all seven previous games vs. Michigan: 4-3 in ’89 (@ND), 5-0 in ’97 (@ND), 1-0 in ’98 (double OT, @UM), 3-0 in ’98 (@ND, NCAA 2nd rd), 4-1 in ’99 (@ND) and 5-1 in 2000 (@UM) and 3-1 in the 2000 NCAAs (@ND) … the Irish hold a 25-6 series scoring edge and have three-plus goals in six of the seven games.

SERIES STATS – Junior M Ashley Dryer totaled just 2G-11A in her first two seasons but that included 1G-2A in three games vs. UM … fifth-year D Monica Gonzalez also owns 1G-2A in five career games vs. the Wolverines … other current ND players with previous points vs. UM include senior D Lindsey Jones (2A), sophomore M Randi Scheller (2G in last year’s 5-1 win), junior F Ali Lovelace (2A) and sophomore F Amanda Guertin (G-A, GWG in last year’s 3-1 NCAA win) … senior M Mia Sarkesian scored the GWG in the 5-1 win at UM last season … sophomore F Amy Warner did not start vs. UM last season while coming back from a knee injury (she came off the bench in both 2000 games vs. UM, capping the scoring in the 5-1 win).

ONE-TOUCH NOTES – After struggling to score for much of the season, ND erupted for big wins vs. St. John’s (7-0) and Miami (4-0) before last week’s low-scoring games at UConn (1-3) and Yale (2-0) … sophomore F Amy Warner (Albuquerque, N.M.) was named BIG EAST offensive player of the week after totaling three goals vs. SJU and Miami (2) … sophomore F Melissa Tancredi’s goal vs. SJU at 0:27 tied for the second-quickest in ND history (and quickest since Michelle McCarthy’s 0:15 goal at Xavier in 1995) … the 7-0 win over SJU was ND’s most goals at home in 33 games (since a 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 … the Irish are 33-2-2 in their last 37 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) … ND is 7-0-3 in its last 10 OT games … 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 … Randy Waldrum’s first three ND teams have combined for a record of 56-7-3 … ND returned 15 of 22 letterwinners and eight players with starting experience from the 2000 squad that went 23-1-1 and advanced to the NCAA semifinals … six of senior M Mia Sarkesian’s 13 career goals have been gamewinners (vs. NU and WVU this season) … promising freshman M/F Mary Boland has missed the last two weeks due to an ankle injury and is out indefinitely … Boland’s goal vs. Penn State (at 6:54) was the earliest by an ND freshman in a season opener since ’89.

BIG-GAME RESULTS – The Irish are 17-5-2 vs. NSCAA top-25 teams in the Randy Waldrum era (56-7-3 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 last week’s 3-1 loss at No. 15 UConn … ND is 5-1-0 vs. top-25 teams this season, with wins over #8 Penn State, #25 Hartford, #3 Nebraska, #19 West Virginia and #24 Miami.

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 headed into the 2001 Rutgers game (a 2-1 loss) riding a 31-game unbeaten streak (29-0-2, now 33-2-2) 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 regular-season streak (26-0-1) from Oct. 20, 1996 – Sept. 11, 1998.

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 13 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 (she also scored the GWG in the 5-1 win at Michigan in 2000).

WHO’S BACK, WHO’S GONE? – ND 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 leading scorers, Anne Makinen (14G-15A) and Meotis Erikson (13G-13A), plus central backs Kelly Lindsey and Kerri Bakker.


* Senior Liz Wagner (Spring, Texas) is back in the nets, after leading the nation in 2000 with an 0.39 GAA … 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 Pruzinskyv(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 four weeks (she played sweeper for the Mexican National Team last summer).

* Senior co-captain Mia Sarkesian (Canton, Mich., 5G-3A in 2000, 5G-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.

* Notre Dame has a surplus of forward options, led by its top returning scorers-sophomores Amanda Guertin (Grapevine, Texas, 11G-4A in ’00, 8G-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 also has see 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 also is a strong midfield option while Chapman has played mostly in the defense, at outside back.

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 244 career games at Notre Dame, with 172 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 a 56-7-3 combined record (.871), including a 17-5-2 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 239-112-22 (.670) … he owns a 163-56-15 (.729) record in 12 seasons as a Division I women’s coach, including 61-36-9 in six years at Tulsa (.580), 46-14-3 in three at Baylor … Waldrum entered 2001 ranked 14th among active women’s coaches for career winning percentage (25th in total wins).

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 89 career games (43 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).

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 65 of 66)-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.

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 … ND 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 19-0-0 record in conference tournament action … since 1995, the Irish own a 61-4-2 (.925) record in regular-season games vs. BIG EAST teams (26-2-1 in last 28), 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) … 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, a 3-2 loss two days later at Seton Hall and the recent 2-1 loss at Rutgers … since joining the BIG EAST in ’95, the Irish are 75-5-2 (.927) in all games vs. BIG EAST opponents (with a 2-0 win over UConn in the ’95 NCAA quarterfinals and 2-1 loss to UConn in the ’97 NCAA semi’s) … ND’s 82 games vs. BIG EAST teams since ’95 have included nearly a 10-to-1 scoring edge ( 389-41, including 60-7 in 15 BIG EAST Tournament games).

PUNCH THE CLOCK – Senior G Liz Wagner has started all 40 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 65 of 66) … four others have appeared in each of the last 40 games: sophomore F Amanda Guertin (36 GS), senior M Mia Sarkesian (39 GS) and senior D Lindsey Jones (38 GS) … sophomore M Randi Scheller missed the first (and still only) game of her Notre Dame career in the 2-2 game vs. Wisconsin.