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    Fighting Irish

    Oct. 23, 1997

    Notre Dame Hosts Seton Hall, Connecticut

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame's second-ranked women's soccer team improved to 14-0-1 with an 8-0 win at Syracuse in the final road game of the regular season for the Irish. The BIG EAST regular season title could be determined this week as Notre Dame plays host to Seton Hall and Connecticut with all three teams sporting 8-0-0 BIG EAST records.

    Week in Review: Freshman forward Meotis Erikson (Kennewick, Wash.) scored her first career hat trick as Notre Dame blanked Syracuse 8-0 in front of a record sellout crowd of 1,500, the largest ever to watch either a men's or women's game at Syracuse. Jenny Heft (Germantown, Wis.) shocked the Orangewomen with the fastest goal of the year for the Irish when she took a pass from Jenny Streiffer (Baton Rouge, La.) that split the defense and scored from eight yards just 52 seconds into the game. Erikson then scored the first of her goals at 3:39 with a blast through the goalkeeper's hands that gave the Irish an early 2-0 lead. From there, the Irish would go on to outshoot the Orangewomen 25-4 for their 14th win of the season.

    BIG EAST Races Heat Up: As most teams have just three conference games remaining, the race for the four spots in the BIG EAST championship is beginning to heat up. With identical 8-0-0 conference records, Notre Dame, Seton Hall and Connecticut have clinched the top three spots in the field. The top seed in the field could be determined this weekend as Notre Dame plays host to both Seton Hall and Connecticut. Connecticut will travel to Seton Hall in the final BIG EAST game for both teams on Oct. 31.

    The race for the fourth spot in the BIG EAST championship, which will be held at Yurcak Field at Rutgers on Nov. 7-9, remained just as heated with Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Boston College and Rutgers vying for the final berth. Of these teams, Villanova controls its own destiny based on head-to-head meetings and number of conference games remaining for these teams.

    Seton Hall Preview: After finishing eighth in the BIG EAST a year ago, the Pirates are the surprise of the year in the conference with a 13-2 record and a perfect BIG EAST 8-0-0 record heading into the Fri., Oct. 24, matchup with the Irish. Seton Hall's turnaround has been spearheaded by sophomore Kelly Smith who has scored 17 goals in the 11 games in which she has played. Junior goalkeeper Stacy Nagle, a two-time All-BIG EAST selection, has allowed just 10 goals this season and boasts a 0.69 goals against average. Notre Dame and Seton Hall have played twice before with the Irish winning both contests. Notre Dame won 5-0 at Seton Hall in 1995 and 10-0 a year ago at Alumni Field.

    Connecticut Preview: After the Notre Dame-Seton Hall contest on Friday, Connecticut comes to Alumni Field on Sun., Oct. 26, in what could unfold in another classic matchup between the two teams. The Irish and Huskies have met five times since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995 with four of these games having been decided by just one goal. Connecticut won the first meeting in 1995, a 5-4 overtime win that clinched the Huskies BIG EAST regular season title. After giving up five goals in the regular season, Notre Dame shut out Connecticut in the 1995 BIG EAST championship with a 1-0 win. On their way to the NCAA title that same year, the Irish blanked the Huskies again with a 2-0 win in the NCAA quarterfinals. In 1996, Notre Dame won a pair of one-goal wins, at Connecticut in the regular season and at Notre Dame in the BIG EAST championship final.

    After dropping a 3-2 decision to Hartford in the second game of the season, the Huskies have won 14 straight games and enter the week with a 15-1-0 record and a perfect 8-0-0 mark in the BIG EAST. Freshman Jen Carlson leads Connecticut with 18 goals and eight assists for 44 points. Goalkeeper Jen Traw has compiled a 0.44 goals against average, allowing just six goals this season.

    Streiffer Fastest To 100: Of the seven 100-point scorers in Notre Dame women's soccer history, sophomore forward Jenny Streiffer has become the fastest Notre Dame player in school history to reach the 100-point plateau in her career, taking just 40 games to reach the milestone. She scored 66 points in 26 games as a freshman and then scored her 34th point in 1997 against Wisconsin, the 14th game of the season. Junior forward Monica Gerardo (Simi Valley, Calif.) reached 100 points in 44 games, the previous mark.

    Makinen Missed: While the Irish traveled to Syracuse, freshman midfielder Anne Makinen (Helsinki, Finland) traveled to France to represent Finland in a World Cup qualifying match against host France. Makinen assisted on Finland's first goal in a 2-2 tie with France.

    Spreading The Wealth: Perhaps nowhere has Notre Dame's depth been more apparent than in the scoring column. The Irish have distributed their scoring evenly in 1997, with seven 20-point scorers on the team and three with at least 30 points. Of the 15 top scorers in the BIG EAST, almost half are from Notre Dame. Seven Irish players are in the top 15, with three from Connecticut, two from Seton Hall and one each from Rutgers, Syracuse and Villanova.

    Beene Sets BIG EAST Record, Continues To Lead Nation: Sophomore goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene (Gold River, Calif.) established a BIG EAST record for single-season shutouts in her first year as a starting goalkeeper with seven shutouts in her eight BIG EAST games. Her seven shutouts top former Irish goalkeeper Jen Renola and Connecticut's Siobhan Harold who both had six shutouts in 1995. Only Rutgers has scored on Beene in conference play.

    While Beene is the best goalkeeper in the BIG EAST with a 0.13 goals against average in conference play, she also continues to lead the country as the nation's top goalkeeper. Her 0.27 goals against average is the nation's best for the third straight week according to the weekly national statistics. She has allowed just four goals in 1331 minutes of action this season.

    Beene is quickly approaching former Irish All-American Jen Renola's Notre Dame record for shutouts in a season. In 1995, Renola blanked 13 opponents in 25 games. Just 15 games into the 1997 season, Beene has shut out 12 opponents, including two top 10 opponents, third-ranked Portland and fifth-ranked Duke. She has tied the Irish record for consecutive shutouts set in 1989 when Michelle Lodyga blanked six straight opponents. Beene's shutout streak and microscopic goals against average will be severely tested this weekend in games against Seton Hall and Connecticut.

    Irish Return Home With Best Road Record In History: After a stretch of 32 days with just one home game, Notre Dame returns with four home games to close out the regular season after posting its best regular season road record in school history. The Irish went a perfect 10-0-0 on the road during the 1997 regular season, bettering the previous best of the 1994 team which was 9-0-1 on the road in the regular season.

    Notre Dame is 41-1-1 (.965) in games played on opponents' home fields since a 3-1 loss at sixth-ranked SMU on Oct. 17, 1992. Among these 41 wins are victories in some of the toughest stadiums for opposing teams including a 1-0 win at Fetzer Field over North Carolina in the 1995 NCAA semifinals and a 1996 BIG EAST regular season 2-1 win at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. The Irish are also 3-0 against Portland at Merlo Field with the latest trip resulting in a 1-0 win on Sept. 7. Notre Dame lost 3-1 at Santa Clara in 1996 and tied Cincinnati 2-2 in 1995.

    The Irish have never lost a conference road game at 28-0-1 in both the regular season and conference championships since joining the Midwestern Collegiate Conference in 1991 and the BIG EAST Conference in 1995. A 0-0 tie at Dayton in 1991 is the only blemish for the Irish. Notre Dame is a perfect 15-0-0 in BIG EAST road games heading to the trip to Syracuse.

    Grubb Takes Offensive: While sophomore defender Jen Grubb (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) has helped to shut out Notre Dame's last six teams, she also has been lethal offensively. Grubb has pounced on the little offensive pressure from the opposition and has penetrated into the box, dishing off 10 assists and scoring her second goal of the season in the last five games. Against Wisconsin she began the game with an assist on Shannon Boxx's game-winning goal at 5:43 and then recorded three more assists in the first half to tie an Irish record for assists in a half with four. Grubb also assisted on the game-winning goal against Syracuse, her second in as many games.

    Heft Works Fast: While sophomore forward Jenny Heft is known for her fast footwork on the field, she wasted no time in scoring the game-winning goal against Syracuse. She took a pass from Jenny Streiffer and scored just :52 into the contest, the fastest goal scored by the Irish since Julie Vogel connected at 0:27 against Georgetown on Oct. 22, 1995. Michelle McCarthy holds the school record for the fastest goal when she scored just 15 seconds into the game against Xavier on Oct. 8, 1993.

    Erikson Nets Hat Trick, Earns BIG EAST Honors: For the second time in three weeks, freshman forward Meotis Erikson has been named BIG EAST rookie of the week. She scored 10 points in wins at Wisconsin and Syracuse with a goal and an assist against the Badgers and an assist and her first career hat trick against the Orangewomen. Erikson has scored at least one point in each of the last eight games and at least one goal in each of the last seven. Erikson is tied for second on the team in scoring with 13 goals and six assists for 32 points. In BIG EAST games, she leads the Irish in scoring and is third in the conference with 10 goals and three assists for 23 points.

    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 145-18-9 record with an .869 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.

    Four Nominated for MAC Award: Four Notre Dame players have been selected as finalists for the 1997 Missouri Athletic Club Sports Foundation Collegiate Player of the Year which will be awarded on Jan. 9, 1998. Sophomore defender Jen Grubb, senior midfielder Holly Manthei, senior defender Kate Sobrero (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) and sophomore forward Jenny Streiffer are Notre Dame's four of the 15 finalists. Manthei collected the most votes for the 1996 Missouri Athletic Club player of the year award of any returning midfielder in the country. Former Notre Dame All-American midfielder Cindy Daws was the recipient of last year's award.

    Irish Outscore Opponents Shots: Anchored by three-time All-American defender Kate Sobrero, Notre Dame's defense has held the opposition to just 52 shots while the Irish have scored 80 goals. Notre Dame is outshooting its opponents by an average of 29-3 per game. Of the 52 shots allowed, Washington and North Carolina have accounted for 11 each with the Tar Heels taking their 11 shots in just 71:16 of play in the halted game. In the seven wins since the North Carolina game, Notre Dame has outscored the opposition 53-1 and outshot them 225-20.

    Soccer America Top 20 (10/20)
            Team                Record  Last Week
     1.     North Carolina *    15-0-1  1
     2.     NOTRE DAME          14-0-1  2
     3.     Santa Clara         12-1-1  6
     4.     Portland *          9-3-0   4
     5.     Connecticut *       15-1-0  7
     6.     Virginia            12-1-2  5
     7.     Duke *              12-2-0  8
     8.     Texas A&M           13-2-0  3
     9.     Florida             13-2-1  10
    10.     Nebraska            12-2-0  11
    11.     Minnesota           14-1-1  12
    12.     William & Mary      11-4-0  13
    13.     Hartford            12-1-1  14
    14.     SMU                 11-4-0  15
    15.     Massachusetts       13-2-0  17
    16.     Maryland            7-5-2   16
    17.     Clemson             10-4-0  12
    18.     George Mason        9-2-4   NR
    19.     UNC-Greensboro      13-4-0
    20.     UCLA                12-2-0  20
        * indicates 1997 Notre Dame opponents
        
    NSCAA Top 25 (10/20)
            Team                Record  Points
     1.     North Carolina *    15-0-1  300
     2.     NOTRE DAME          14-0-1  288
     3.     Portland *          9-3-0   274
     4.     Duke *              12-2-0  254
     5.     Virginia            12-1-2  250
     6.     Santa Clara         12-1-1  238
     7.     Texas A&M           13-2-0  234
     8.     Connecticut *       14-1-0  226
     9.     Nebraska            12-2-0  198
    10.     Minnesota           14-1-1  188
    11.     Hartford            12-1-1  178
    12.     George Mason        9-2-4   160
    13.     Michigan *          13-2-1  152
    14.     Florida             12-2-1  148
    15.     Massachusetts       13-2-0  134
    16.     William & Mary      11-4-0  124
    17.     SMU                 11-4-0  118
    18.     USC                 13-1-1  88
    19.     Maryland            7-5-2   84
    20.     Clemson             10-4-0  70
    21.     BYU                 14-1-0  52
    22.     Harvard             8-3-2   48
    23.     Vanderbilt          9-6-0   40
    24.     UNC-Greensboro      13-4-0  20
    25.     Penn State          11-4-1  16
        * indicates 1997 Notre Dame opponents

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