Sept. 16, 1997
#2 Notre Dame Plays Host to #1 North Carolina, #5 Duke at adidas/Lady Footlocker Classic
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame's second-ranked women's soccer team improved to 6-0-0 with wins over Pittsburgh and West Virginia. With a perfect record, the stage is set for another classic matchup with top-ranked North Carolina, also with a 6-0-0 record.
Week in Review: Notre Dame remained unbeaten with two BIG EAST road wins over Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Sophomore forward Jenny Heft (Germantown, Wis.) scored the game's first two goals as the Irish blanked the Panthers 5-0. Against the Mountaineers, sophomore forward Jenny Streiffer (Baton Rouge, La.) contributed to all three goals with two assists and a goal in the 3-0 win. Notre Dame's dominant play in the midfield and backfield helped the Irish out shoot the teams by a combined 68-1. Sophomore defender Jen Grubb (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) was named BIG EAST defensive player of the week in helping to shut down Pittsburgh and West Virginia. She also scored her first goal of the season against Pittsburgh on a free kick from 20 yards out.
This Week for the Irish: Notre Dame plays host to the adidas/Lady Footlocker Classic this weekend as top-ranked North Carolina, fifth-ranked Duke and sixth-ranked Portland come to Alumni Field for one of the top women's soccer tournaments of the regular season. Both days of competition are already sold out with 3,100 fans expected both days, the largest paid attendance in Notre Dame women's soccer history. Duke will take on Portland in the opening game of the tournament on Fri., Sept. 19, at 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame and North Carolina will then square off in a 7:30 p.m. contest that will be televised live by SportsChannel Chicago. On Sunday, Portland and North Carolina play at 11:00 a.m. Duke and Notre Dame will conclude the tournament on Sunday when they play at 1:00 p.m.
Notre Dame and North Carolina Renew Rivalry: Notre Dame and North Carolina meet once again in what has become the premier matchup in college women's soccer. The Irish and Tar Heels split their two meetings in 1996, both one-goal overtime games. The rivalry began when the Irish snapped the Tar Heels 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.
Notre Dame Vs. Duke: After dropping the first three meetings with the Blue Devils, the Irish have won three out of the last four since 1993, with the 2-2 tie in 1995. After beating North Carolina 2-1 in 1996 at the Duke Women's Classic, Notre Dame came back the next day to beat Duke 2-0 in the most recent meeting between the two teams.
Irish at Alumni Field: Notre Dame enters its showdown with top-ranked North Carolina with a 22-game home winning streak dating back to a 5-4 overtime loss to Connecticut on Oct. 6, 1995. The Irish are 47-1-0 in their last 48 games at Alumni Field and 70-5-0 (.933) all time. Creighton in 1990, #14 Duke, #5 Portland and #2 Stanford in 1992 and #4 Connecticut in 1995 are the only teams to defeat Notre Dame at Alumni Field.
North Carolina will also be the first No. 1 team to play Notre Dame at Alumni Field. Second-ranked Stanford was the highest ranked opponent for the Irish at Alumni Field prior to top-ranked North Carolina.
Irish in #1 Vs. #2 Matchups: Notre Dame is 1-2-0 in No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups with all three meetings pitting the Irish and the Tar Heels. In what is indicative of the competitiveness of the series, the second-ranked team has won all three games. 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. 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.
Opposition at Alumni Field: Duke and Portland are making their second trips to Alumni Field while North Carolina has never played at Notre Dame. The Blue Devils and Portland both came to Alumni Field in 1992 and both left with 2-1 wins. In back-to-back games, Notre Dame lost to #14 Duke on Sept. 25, and #5 Portland on Sept. 28. The Pilots also beat Michigan State in that same trip to Alumni Field.
Irish Crowd Pleasers: A sellout crowd of 3,100 will watch Notre Dame face both North Carolina and Duke this weekend at the adidas/Lady Footlocker Classic, which will be just two of a number of large crowds that have come to watch Notre Dame women's soccer. The win over Portland on Sept. 7, was played in front of a sellout crowd of 5,041. In 1996, the Irish played in front of four record crowds. Notre Dame's first ever trip to Connecticut brought out a Connecticut record 3,711 fans to watch the Irish beat the Huskies 2-1 at Connecticut Soccer Stadium. Santa Clara set a women's soccer record at Buck Shaw Stadium when 3,714 came to watch the Broncos and the Irish. At the 1996 NCAA semifinals and finals, a college women's soccer record of 8,800 watched Notre Dame in the semifinals and finals at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Irish also beat North Carolina in front of 3,000 fans at Duke Soccer Stadium in 1996. Notre Dame won the 1995 NCAA national championship in front of 7,212 in the semifinals and 6,926 in the finals. The Irish are 8-3 in games played in front of 3,000 or more people.
Notre Dame Outscores Opponent Shots: Through six games, Notre Dame's offense has scored 25 goals while the defense has allowed just 21 shots and one goal. The Irish are averaging almost 34 shots per game while the opposition has taken just under four per game.
Sobrero Continues Stellar Play: Senior three-time All-American defender Kate Sobrero (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) has played a key role in helping the Irish outscore their opponent's shots. She has been stifling on defense, shutting down any attempts at organized attacks. Also one of the most dangerous offensive threats of any defender in the country, Sobrero has also been instrumental in Notre Dame's offense, assisting on almost a quarter of the team's 25 goals. Of her six assists this season, her most important came against Portland when she made one of her distinctive runs through the midfield and found Jenny Streiffer on the left wing who crossed to junior Monica Gerardo (Simi Valley, Calif.) for a header. Her six assists in 1997 already match her career single-season best when she had six assists in all of 1995.
Irish in September: Since a 2-1 loss to Portland on Sept. 28, 1992, Notre Dame has been unbeatable in the early season, building a 39-0-1 record in September since.
Manthei Tops Among Returning Midfielders: Senior three-time All-American midfielder Holly Manthei (Burnsville, Minn.) 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 99 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 (Avon, Conn.) for the NCAA single-tournament record.
Makinen in the Midfield: Freshman midfielder Anne Makinen (Helsinki, Finland) has already stepped in as a dominant force in the central midfield for the Irish, replacing three-time All-American and Hermann Trophy winner Cindy Daws. Makinen possesses the talent to score from long range with both of her goals coming at least 25 yards from the net. She has also proven difficult to win the ball against with her tremendous possession and distribution skills.
Head Coach Chris Petrucelli: 1996 BIG EAST coach of the year Chris Petrucelli is in 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 137-18-8 record with an .865 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.