Dec. 1, 1997
No. 2 Notre Dame Advances to Fourth Straight NCAA Semifinal
Irish Prepares for Third '97 Meeting with #3 Connecticut
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dameís second-ranked womenís soccer team scored six second-half goals for an 8-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over UCLA on Sat., Nov. 29, at Alumni Field. With the win, the second-seeded Irish advance to face third-seeded Connecticut in the semifinals on Fri, Dec. 5, at UNCG Soccer Stadium in Greensboro, N.C., in what will be the third meeting this year between the BIG EAST rivals. Top-seeded North Carolina will face third-seeded Santa Clara in the other semifinal. The winners will meet on Sun., Dec. 7, at 1:00 p.m. The Irish have won 17 straight games and remain unbeaten at 23-0-1.
UCLA Review: Notre Dame used a Jenny Heft (Germantown, Wis.) hat trick to advance to its fourth straight NCAA national semifinal with an 8-0 win over UCLA at Alumni Field on Sat., Nov. 29. The Irish scored six goals in the second half to break open a 2-0 halftime game. Heft, starting in place of Irish leading scorer Jenny Streiffer (Baton Rouge, La.) who sat out with an injury, scored on her first three shots to build a 3-0 lead for Notre Dame.
Holly Manthei (Burnsville, Minn.), who overpowered the Bruins on the left wing of the midfield, sparked the Irish almost immediately with a hard shot from the top left corner of the box. The ball slipped out of Bruin goalkeeper Lindsay Culpís hands where Heft pounced on the loose ball from three yards for a 1-0 just 1:29 into the game. Heft made it 2-0 at 22:38 when she stripped the ball from a Bruin defender from about 16 yards. Culp had come off her line to cut off the feed that came from Meotis Erikson (Kennewick, Wash.), allowing Heft to punch the ball into the open net.
The Irish erupted in the second half, bombarding the net with 11 shots and three goals in the first nine minutes of the second half. Heft booted in a rebound at 46:25 from a Monica Gerardo (Simi Valley, Calif.) shot that hit the crossbar. Gerardo made it 4-0 at 49:50 with a header from a Manthei cross. Shannon Boxx (Torrance, Calif.) took a cross from Erikson and blasted a shot into the lower right corner at 53:56 for a 5-0 lead.
Kara Brown (Avon, Conn.) scored from the right wing at 66:17, Anne Makinen (Helsinki, Finland) scored on a breakaway at 69:24, and Monica Gonzalez (Richardson, Texas) stripped a defender of the ball inside the box to close out the scoring at 83:43. Irish goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene (Gold River, Calif.) faced just four shots and made three saves to record her school-record 18th shutout of the season. Notre Dame out shot UCLA 32-4 in the contest, scoring on eight of its 32 shots.
Connecticut Preview: The third-seeded Huskies advanced to their sixth NCAA semifinal in school history and their first since 1994 with a 4-0 quarterfinal win over unseeded William & Mary. Connecticut had earlier beaten Fairfield 3-0 in the first round and Hartford 2-1 in overtime in the second round. Connecticut brings a 22-3-0 record into the NCAA semifinals in a season in which the Huskies rattled off 15 straight wins during the year. Senior All-American Sara Whalen leads the Huskies offensively with 19 goals and 22 assists for 60 points.
After second round and quarterfinal wins against two teams the Irish had never played before, Notre Dame will face a familiar foe in a semifinal showdown with BIG EAST rival Connecticut. It will be the third meeting between the Irish and the Huskies in 1997. Notre Dame won both games, 1-0 in the regular season at Alumni Field and 6-1 in the BIG EAST championship finals in Piscataway, N.J. The Irish lead the overall series 6-1-0 and have won the last six.
Life After Death: In an eight-team quarter of the 32-team draw that contained seven ranked teams and that Chris Petrucelli referred to as the "bracket of death," the Irish raced into the semifinals, winning their first three NCAA championship games by a combined score of 21-1 (Cincinnati 7-1, Nebraska 6-0, UCLA 8-0). The 21 goals were the most goals ever scored in three games in NCAA championship history, breaking the 19 scored by North Carolina in three games in the 1992 championship. Notre Dame is already just one short of the record 22 goals scored by North Carolina in five games in the 1996 NCAA championship.
Petrucelli Returns To Alma Mater: Head coach Chris Petrucelli will be taking the Irish back to the site of his collegiate playing days at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Petrucelli played for the Spartans from 1980-83, helping UNCG win NCAA Division III national championships in 1982 and as a captain in 1983. Petrucelli has already won an NCAA national championship at UNCG Soccer Stadium, beating Claremont College in the 1983 NCAA finals. This will be his second trip to Greensboro as head coach. Petrucelli brought the Irish to Greensboro in his first year as head in 1990, a 5-1 win for the Spartans in that game.
Irish NCAA Championship History: Notre Dame is making its fifth straight appearance in the NCAA championship, the eighth-best current streak in the country. The Irish are 14-3 all-time in the NCAA championships for a .824 winning percentage, second best among all participants, and have advanced to each of the last three NCAA title games. Only George Mason (1993 first round) and North Carolina (1994 and 1996 finals) have beaten the Irish in the NCAA championships. Notre Dame's best results came in 1995 when the Irish beat top-seed North Carolina in the semifinals and undefeated Portland in the final, both by 1-0 scores, to win their first NCAA championship.
Notre Dame Schedule Seventh Toughest Among Top 25: According to Jeff Sagarin's latest college women's soccer power ratings, Notre Dame's 1997 schedule is the seventh toughest among teams ranked in the final NSCAA Top 25 and 11th toughest of all teams. Only Maryland, North Carolina, Portland, Duke, Santa Clara and Virginia were computed to have harder schedules among the top 25. Of Notre Dame's 1997 regular-season opponents, six play schedules ranked among the 10 toughest, according to Sagarin.
Irish Against NCAA Field: The Irish have played five of the 32 teams that made the NCAA championship, recording a 5-0-1 record against these teams. Notre Dame has two wins over third-seeded Connecticut and wins over fifth-seeded Duke, seventh-seeded Portland and Michigan. The Irish tied the Tar Heels 2-2.
Manthei Matches NCAA Mark: Holly Manthei matched another NCAA championship assist record with her three assists against UCLA. Manthei became one of just seven players in NCAA championship history to dish off three assists in an NCAA championship game. Prior to Manthei's record tying performance against the Bruins, Kara Brown had most recently become the fifth player with her three assists against Indiana in the NCAA championship first round in 1996.
Manthei has recorded four assists in Notre Dame's three NCAA games, just one short of the single-championship assist mark of the five that both she and Brown set in 1996. Manthei entered the 1997 NCAA championship with 10 career assists, already a career record, and has upped that record to 14.
Heft Joins Select Hat Trick Company: Jenny Heft's hat trick against UCLA was the second of Heftís career and the second in an NCAA championship game. She scored her first hat trick in the 1996 NCAA first round against Indiana. The three goals match a single-game NCAA record held by 12 other players, including Monica Gerardo against Cincinnati, Notre Dame's Amy VanLaecke in 1996 and Shannon Boxx in 1995. Heft joins Mia Hamm as the only players in championship history to score hat tricks in two NCAA games in their careers.
BIG EAST Championship Review: Freshman midfielder Anne Makinen scored a hat trick to lead Notre Dame to its third straight BIG EAST championship with a 6-1 win over fourth-ranked and second-seeded Connecticut at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. The Irish used five first-half goals and outshot the Huskies 17-1 to take control of the game at halftime. Against Villanova in the semifinals, the Irish used two goals each from Meotis Erikson and Jenny Streiffer for a 7-0 win over the fourth-seeded Wildcats. Notre Dame outshot Villanova 38-3 in the contest.
Makinen "Outstanding" In BIG EAST Championship: Anne Makinen
Sobrero Voted BIG EAST Defensive Player Of The Year: Three-time All-American
Irish Outshoot Opponent Shots: By a difference of 39, Notre Dame's powerful offense has scored 134 goals while the stingy defense has allowed the opposition just 95 shots, scoring on seven of those shots.
Notre Dame Tough At Home: Notre Dame has been unbeatable at home during the NCAA championships, building a 10-0-0 record at home and a 9-0-0 record at Alumni Field (Notre Dame played Maryland in the 1996 third round at nearby Saint Mary's). The Irish have outscored the opposition 48-4 in those nine contests with first home NCAA game coming in 1994 in a 3-1 win against George Mason. The Irish are 56-1-1 in their last 57 home games and 79-5-1 (.935) all-time at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame In Conference Championships: The Irish have played in five conference championships beginning in 1993 and have left with the title in each of those five tournaments. Notre Dame won Midwestern Collegiate Conference titles in 1993 and 1994 and has three BIG EAST titles since joining the conference in 1995.
Road Sweet Road: 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. With two wins at Rutgers over Villanova and Connecticut in the BIG EAST championship, Notre Dame is 12-0-0 this year in road games.
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 three 55-point scorers on the team and three others with at least 40 points. Eight players have scored at least 20 points.
Beene Continues To Lead Nation, Earns BIG EAST Honors: For the ninth straight week, sophomore goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene (Gold River, Calif.) owns the lowest goals against average in the country at 0.29 among goalkeepers who have played at 60% of their team's total minutes. She has allowed just seven goals in 2141 minutes of action.
Beene also has bettered former Irish All-American Jen Renola's school record for shutouts in a season. In 1995, Renola blanked 13 opponents in 25 games. In 24 games of the 1997 season, Beene shut out 18 opponents, including four top-10 opponents, third-ranked Portland, fourth-ranked Connecticut, fifth-ranked Duke and sixth-ranked Nebraska.
Head Coach Chris Petrucelli: Chris Petrucelli is in his eighth season as head coach of Notre Dame's women's soccer team and has guided the Irish to their fifth straight NCAA appearance and fourth straight NCAA semifinal appearance. 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 154-18-9 record with an .876 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.
Irish Nominated for MAC Award, Hermann Trophy: 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 (Hoffman Estates, Ill.), senior midfielder Holly Manthei, senior defender Kate Sobrero 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.
Manthei and Anne Makinen have been selected as two of 10 finalists for the Hermann Trophy, which recognizes the most outstanding collegiate soccer player and will be awarded on Dec. 13. Manthei was previously named a finalist in both 1995 and 1996. Makinen is the only freshman among the 10 finalists. Former Notre Dame All-American midfielder Cindy Daws was the recipient of last year's award.
Manthei Surpasses Century Mark: Senior midfielder Holly Manthei, who already has set college womenís soccer records for assists in a season with 44 in 1996 and career assists, reached yet another milestone against Duke earlier in the season. Against the Blue Devils, her assist on Monica Gonzalez's (Richardson, Texas) second goal marked the 100th of Manthei's career.
She entered 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 128 goals in her career, including 44 in 1996, both college soccer records formerly held by national team member and gold medalist Mia Hamm. Manthei's 14 assists in just 17 career NCAA championship games broke another of Hamm's records, and her five in the 1996 NCAA tournament is tops with teammate Kara Brown for the NCAA single-tournament record. She has 33 assists and four goals in 1997.
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. Monica Gerardo reached 100 points in 44 games, the previous mark.