Aug. 13, 2002

The 2002 Notre Dame women’s soccer team – again picked to win the BIG EAST Conference Mid-Atlantic Division title – is poised to open its preseason training on Wednesday, Aug. 14, with 13 veterans joined by 12 newcomers as the Irish prepare for a challenging schedule highlighted by 11 teams that competed in the 2001 NCAA tournament (most notably perennial powers North Carolina, Santa Clara, Portland and Connecticut).

(Check back to throughout the week for a preview of the upcoming IPFW Showcase, an update on Notre Dame’s incoming freshman class and a complete season outlook on the 2002 Irish women’s soccer team).

Notre Dame – which has won seven BIG EAST regular-season and tournament titles since joining the conference in 1995 – returns seven starters and six other letterwinners from its 2001 team that posted a 17-3-0 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The Irish placed the most players on the 2002 preseason all-BIG EAST team, an11-player group selected by the conference’s coaches. Senior defender and two-time Academic All-American Vanessa Pruzinsky (Trumbull, Conn.) was named the preseason defensive player of the year and was joined on the preseason all-BIG EAST team by sophomore defender Candace Chapman (Ajax, Ontario) and junior forward Amy Warner (Albuquerque, N.M.).

Pruzinsky and Chapman both were named to the 2001 first team all-BIG EAST squad, after helping the Irish post an 0.82 season goals-against average, nine shutouts and eight other games with one goal allowed (Pruzinsky also was a second-team pick in 2000). Pruzinsky – who has maintained her 4.0 GPA as a chemical engineering major – has started every game of her Notre Dame career except one (due to injury), with two goals scored from her defensive position. Chapman, who currently is preparing for the under-19 World Cup with the Canadian under-19 national team, totaled three goals and two assists during the 2001 season (with some time at forward).

Warner has been named to the all-BIG EAST team in each of previous two seasons, as a first-teamer in 2000 and a second-team selection in 2001. She totaled 18 goals (six of them gamewinners) and five assists during her first two seasons with the Irish.

West Virginia was projected to finish second in the Mid-Atlantic Division, followed by Rutgers, Villanova, Georgetown, Seton Hall and Pittsburgh. The top half of the Northeast Division includes UConn, Boston College, Syracuse and Miami, followed by Virginia Tech, Providence and St. John’s.

Next week’s IPFW Soccer Showcase includes games for the Irish versus UNC (Friday, Aug. 23 at 8:30) and Kentucky (Sunday, Aug. 25 at 11:00 a.m.). The games will be played at the Hefner Soccer Fields on the campus of Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne. For complete information on the tournament, please consult the IPFW website at


Offensive Player of the Year – Carli Lloyd (F, So., Rutgers)

Defensive Player of the Year – Vanessa Pruzinsky (Sr., Notre Dame)

Goalkeeper of the Year – Caroline Haines, Jr., Providence

Preseason All-BIG EAST Team:

Notre Dame- Candace Chapman (D, So.), Vanessa Pruzinsky (D, Sr.), Amy Warner (F, So.)

Connecticut – Kristen Graczyk (F, So.), Sarah Popper (M, Sr.)

West Virginia – Chrissie Abbott (F, Jr.), Lisa Stoia (M, So.)

Boston College – Sarah Rahko (M/F, Boston College)

Miami – Vonda Matthews (F, Jr.)

Providence – Caroline Haines (G, Jr.)

Rutgers – Carli Lloyd (F, So.)