No. 2 Notre Dame Opens 1997 with Two Shutouts
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame's second-ranked women's soccer team heads west this week for its first road games of the season at Washington on Friday, Sept. 5 and at third-ranked Portland on Sunday, Sept. 7. The Irish opened the season with a pair of shutout wins over St. John's and Michigan State.
This Week for the Irish: The Irish hit the road for the first time in 1997 as they travel to the Pacific Northwest for a pair of games. On Friday, Sept. 5, Notre Dame will make its first ever trip to Washington to take on the host Huskies. Notre Dame and Washington met last year in a 4-0 Irish win at Alumni Field. The two teams also met in 1994 in Portland, with Notre Dame edging Washington 1-0. On Sunday, Sept. 7, Notre Dame heads down to Portland to take on the Pilots in what should unfold into yet another classic match up between the sister schools, both founded by the Congregation of the Holy Cross. Portland has lost just three times in its last 53 games, with all three coming to Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament. The Irish hold a 4-1 lead in the series, with all five contests being one-goal games. In the 1996 NCAA semifinals at Santa Clara, Portland jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Notre Dame scored three goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half for a 3-2 win. In 1995, the teams met in the NCAA title game and battled for 125 minutes before Notre Dame won 1-0 in sudden death overtime. Notre Dame made its only trips to Portland in 1994, the first wins of the series for the Irish, a 2-1 regular season win and 1-0 in the NCAA semifinals.
Boerner, Erikson Homecoming: Two of the Notre Dame players making the trip to Washington will return to their home state for the game. Sophomore Mary Boerner hails from Orting, and freshman Meotis Erikson, from Kennewick, will play the first road game of her Notre Dame career against the Huskies on Friday.
Last Week: Notre Dame opened its 10th season of women's soccer this past weekend with a pair of shut out wins against St. John's and Michigan State, out shooting the two teams by a combined 85-4. In the 7-0 win over the Red Storm, Notre Dame used goals by seven different players in a balanced attack. Against the Spartans, Shannon Boxx (Torrance, Calif.) and Jenny Heft (Germantown, Wis.) each scored a pair of goal as the Irish won their 28th straight game against a team from the Big Ten Conference.
Freshmen Shine in Debut: Notre Dame's freshman class lived up to its high billing this weekend as four freshmen contributed points in the wins. Midfielder Anne Makinen (Helsinki, Finland) led the group with two goals and an assist on the weekend, displaying the power and precision of her game on both of her long-range goals. Forward Monica Gonzalez (Richardson, Texas) poured in a goal and two assist for a team-high four points in her collegiate debut against St. John's, earning BIG EAST rookie-of-the-week honors for this performance. Forward Meotis Erikson also scored in her first collegiate game against the Red Storm.
Sobrero Starts Strong: Senior three-time All-American defender Kate Sobrero (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) has started off her final year stronger than ever. In the first two games of the season, Sobrero has dished off five assists with her offensive runs up the field. These five assists already match her entire 1996 total of five assists. She is just one short of her season-best six in 1995. One of the biggest offensive threats of any defender in the country, Sobrero returns this weekend to the site of the biggest of her five career goals. As a freshman in 1994, Sobrero shined in the NCAA semifinals and finals. Against Portland at Merlo Field, Sobrero scored the semifinal's only goal in Notre Dame's 1-0 win over host Portland to put the Irish in the first of their three straight NCAA title games.
Scouting the '97 Irish: Notre Dame is its 10th season of women's soccer with perhaps its deepest and most talented team ever to take the field. Heading up this group is senior three-time All-American Holly Manthei (Burnsville, Minn.), the college women's soccer all-time leader in single-season and career assists. Joining Manthei in the midfield will be freshman Anne Makinen, an internationally experienced player who has played over 40 games with Finnish national team. Junior Shannon Boxx will be the player the Irish play the ball to in the air. Sophomore Kara Brown (Avon, Conn.) looks to build on the solid play she showed during the 1996 NCAA tournament. Junior Laura Vanderberg (Kalamazoo, Mich.) will give the Irish depth in the midfield off the bench. Up front, the Irish forwards are more talented than ever, led by 1996 BIG EAST rookie of the year Jenny Streiffer (Baton Rouge, La.). The team's top returning scorer, Streiffer was equally adept at distributing or putting the ball on goal with 22 goals and 22 assists as a freshman. Junior Monica Gerardo (Simi Valley, Calif.) returns her explosive goal-scoring ability to the lineup with 43 goals in just 51 career games. Through two seasons at Notre Dame, she is on pace to become the all-time leading goal scorer in Irish history. National Soccer Coaches Association of America high school player of the year Meotis Erikson will give the Irish another proficient scorer up front. Sophomore Jenny Heft, with 12 goals and 12 assists last year, will spark the Irish off the bench once again. Freshman Monica Gonzalez gives Notre Dame another talented forward off the bench. Defensively, Notre Dame will field its most athletic backfield in history. Senior three-time All-American Kate Sobrero headlines the defense for the fourth-straight year. Sophomore Jen Grubb (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) returns after her play at sweeper earned her All-America honors, the only freshman defender in the country to be awarded. Freshman Kelly Lindsey (Omaha, Neb.) has stepped in during the preseason practices to win the final defender spot. Sophomore Mary Boener has developed into a solid backup defender. Notre Dame will look to sophomore LaKeysia Beene (Gold River, Calif.) to take over the goalkeeping duties. Her athleticism and great reflexes should enable Beene to emerge as one of the best goalkeepers in the country.
Manthei Tops Among Returning Midfielders: Senior midfielder Holly Manthei enters her final season after collecting the most votes for the 1996 Missouri Athletic Club player of the year award of any returning midfielder in the country. She is also the only active player who was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy in both 1995 and 1996. Manthei has used her pinpoint corner kicks and speedy runs down the left sideline to create and assist on 95 goals in her three-year career, including 44 in 1996, both college soccer records formerly held by national team member and gold medalist Mia Hamm. Manthei's 10 assists in just 13 career NCAA championship games breaks another of Hamm's records, and her five in the 1996 NCAA tournament ties teammate Kara Brown for NCAA single-tournament record.
Head Coach Chris Petrucelli: 1996 BIG EAST coach of the year Chris Petrucelli enters his eighth season as head coach of Notre Dame's women's soccer team after leading the Irish to their third straight NCAA championship game. 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 133-18-8 record with an .862 winning percentage that is second best among NCAA Division I women's soccer coaches. During his seven seasons as head coach, Petrucelli has coached his players to 17 NSCAA All-America selections, including 14 since 1994, the most in the country during that span.
Notre Dame Favored For Third BIG EAST Title: Notre Dame's two-time defending BIG EAST women's soccer champion has been unanimously selected to win its third title, according to the preseason coaches' poll. The Irish received a maximum of 121 points while Connecticut was picked to finish second. Rutgers, Syracuse and Boston College round out the top five.
NSCAA Preseason Top 25 Team Points 1. North Carolina * 200 2. NOTRE DAME 191 3. Portland * 182 4. Connecticut * 180 5. Santa Clara 168 6. Nebraska 158 7. Maryland 153 8. Penn State 139 Texas A&M 139 10. Wisconsin * 117 11. Virginia 111 12. Harvard 95 13. James Madison 89 14. Vanderbilt 87 15. Massachusetts 83 16. Duke * 74 17. Florida 67 18. George Mason 59 19. William & Mary 53 20. Clemson 51 21. UNC-Greensboro 32 Kentucky 32 23. Wake Forest 23 24. Stanford 19 25. Minnesota
Soccer America Top 20 (9/1) Team Record Last Week 1. North Carolina * 2-0-0 1 2. NOTRE DAME 2-0-0 2 3. Portland * 0-0-0 3 4. Connecticut * 0-0-0 4 5. Nebraska 2-0-0 5 6. Santa Clara 1-0-0 6 7. Virginia 0-0-0 7 8. Clemson 0-0-0 8 9. Texas A&M 1-0-0 9 10. Maryland 0-0-0 10 11. William & Mary 1-0-0 11 12. Duke * 1-0-0 12 13. Florida 0-1-0 13 14. Harvard 0-0-0 14 15. Wake Forest 2-0-0 15 16. Stanford 1-0-0 16 17. Penn State 1-0-0 17 18. George Mason 1-0-0 19 19. UNC-Greensboro 1-0-0 20 20. Wisconsin * 0-0-1 18
* indicates 1997 Notre Dame opponents