Dec. 4, 1997
Notre Dame Women's Soccer (23-0-1, 11-0-0 BIG EAST)
NCAA Women's Soccer Championship
Notre Dame's second-ranked women's soccer team has advanced to its fourth straight NCAA semifinal in its fifth straight appearance in the NCAA championships. The Irish have beaten UCLA in the quarterfinals, Nebraska in the second round and Cincinnati in the first round to reach the semifinals. Notre Dame will face third-seeded Connecticut in the semifinals, the third meeting between the two teams in 1997. North Carolina and Santa Clara will square off in the other semifinal.
Road To The Semifinal: Notre Dame won three home games at Alumni Field to advance to the NCAA semifinal:
Quarterfinal: Notre Dame 8, UCLA 0 Notre Dame used a Jenny Heft 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 who sat out with an injury, scored on her first three shots to build a 3-0 lead for Notre Dame.
Holly Manthei, 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 Culp's hands where Heft pounced on the loose ball from three yards for a 1-0 lead 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, 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 shot that hit the crossbar. Gerardo made it 4-0 at 49:50 with a header from a Manthei cross. Shannon Boxx took a cross from Erikson and blasted a shot into the lower right corner at 53:56 for a 5-0 lead.
Kara Brown scored from the right wing at 66:17, Anne Makinen scored on a breakaway at 69:24, and Monica Gonzalez stripped a defender of the ball inside the box to close out the scoring at 83:43. Irish goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene 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.
Second Round: Notre Dame 6, Nebraska 0 Nebraska would manage just 10 shots against the Irish but the Cornhuskers came out strong with three shots in the first 13 minutes of the contest before Notre Dame took a shot. Becky Hogan broke through the Irish back line and forced Irish goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene to come off line. Hogan launched a shot over Beene from the left wing from 12 yards but the ball hit square off the crossbar. Eddleman collected the rebound for an open net shot from the right wing from 15 yards but the ball sailed over the crossbar for what would be the best scoring chances in the game for the Huskers, who would get off just one more shot in the first half.
Notre Dame quickly recovered and scored on its first shot of the game at 17:10 when Meotis Erikson turned and fired a shot from 18 yards out near the right post into the upper left corner of the net past diving Nebraska goalkeeper Becky Hornbacher. The Irish then blitzed the Cornhuskers with back-to-back goals on consecutive shots. Anne Makinen collected a free ball from 25 yards out and blasted a hard shot that went through the hands of Hornbacher and into the left corner of the net at 23:39. Just over a minute later, Makinen passed a ball through the Nebraska back line at midfield and watched Holly Manthei dribble in for a breakaway at 24:44.
Notre Dame came out in the second half and scored on three consecutive shots in an eight-minute span to put the game away. Monica Gerardo sparked the Irish in the second half when she stole possession of the ball from a Nebraska defender from 30 yards out and dribbled to just inside the box and dumped the ball into the lower right corner at 55:07.
Makinen scored her second goal of the game on the next Irish shot at 60:16 on a free kick from 26 yards out into the upper left corner of the net. Two minutes later at 62:33, Erikson took a pass from Manthei and scored into the lower right corner of the net from the left side from 16 yards.
Notre Dame's defense held Nebraska to just six shots in the second half and 10 shots for the game while the Irish launched 24 shots. The six goals were the most ever allowed by Nebraska and the 6-0 loss was the worst in school history dating back to a 5-1 loss to Washington and a 4-0 loss to USC in 1995.
First Round: Notre Dame 7, Cincinnati 1 The Irish used a Monica Gerardo hat trick to advance to the NCAA second round with a 7-1 win over Cincinnati at Alumni Field. Cincinnati would manage just three shots in the game but the Bearcats took advantage of their first shot, building a 1-0 lead just 3:55 into the contest. Cincinnati's Suzanne Paulette served a ball just past midfield from the center of the field to Tina Matlock who broke free from the Irish defense. She dribbled in on a breakaway to just inside the box and put the ball past Notre Dame goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene who came off line but could not make the save.
The Bearcats would hold lead for 10:32, the longest Notre Dame has trailed all season and just the second time all year. Gerardo would knot the score with her first goal of the game at 14:27. Shannon Boxx volleyed in the game-winning goal from 15 yards at 28:31.
The Irish then used two unassisted goals to break the game open and build a 4-1 halftime lead. Kelly Lindsey dribbled in from midfield and slashed through the Cincinnati defense to score from eight yards at 36:16. Makinen connected just before halftime when she put in a failed Bearcat clear from just inside the box at 44:44. Gerardo found Meotis Erikson on the left wing for a quick score to open the second half at 47:08. Gerardo then closed the scoring for the Irish with goals at 54:00 and at 73:27.
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 beat 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:
H: 3-1-0 A: 1-0-0 N: 2-0-0
Once, Twice, Three Times...: Notre Dame and Connecticut will meet for the third time in 1997 when they battle for a spot in the NCAA finals. The Irish and Huskies played each other three times in 1995, the only other time Notre Dame has played an opponent three times in one season. The Irish lost 5-4 in overtime in the first meeting in 1995, also the first-ever meeting between the two teams. That loss still stands as the only conference loss in Notre Dame history and the only loss at Alumni Field in the last 58 games. Notre Dame came back to defeat Connecticut 1-0 in the BIG EAST finals and 2-0 in the NCAA quarterfinals.
BIG EAST Showdown: The Notre Dame-Connecticut BIG EAST matchup will mark just the third time that two teams from the same conference will play each other in an NCAA women's soccer championship semifinal. Atlantic Coast Conference members North Carolina beat North Carolina State in 1989 and beat Virginia 1991 in the NCAA semifinals, the only conference members to play each other for a spot in the NCAA final.
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 coach in 1990, a 5-1 win for the Spartans in that game.
Taking The Offensive: In the first 12 games of the season, three of which were against ranked teams, the Irish offense averaged 4.49 goals per game. In the last 12 games, five of which have been against ranked teams, Notre Dame has scored over two more goals per game, averaging 6.75 goals per game. Overall, the Irish are averaging 5.63 goals per game, currently higher than the school record 5.25 in 1996.
Life After Death: Notre Dame's eight-team quarter of the 32-team draw contained seven ranked teams in the final Soccer America top 20, including four top-eight teams (#2 Notre Dame, #4 Texas A&M, #6 Nebraska and #8 Portland). In this quarter 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.
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.
Irish Trail Less Than One Percent Of Minutes: On their way to outscoring the opposition 134-7, the Irish have led 80.9 percent of their minutes played in 1997, have been tied in 18.3 percent and have trailed just 0.7 percent of the total minutes played, less than 41 seconds per game. Notre Dame has been losing in just two games and both times struck back quickly to tie the score. After leading North Carolina 1-0, the Irish allowed back-to-back goals before scoring the tying goal just 5:32 after falling behind. In the NCAA first round, Cincinnati was winning for 10:32 before Notre Dame tied the game and later went ahead 14:04 after tying the game.
Offense Strikes Early, In Bunches: Some of Notre Dame's 134 goals in 1997 have been scored early on in games and have come in bunches. The Irish...
Going To Carolina: Chris Petrucelli's first road trip with the Irish as head coach in 1990 was to UNC Greensboro and Duke. Petrucelli left North Carolina with his first two losses. On his next road trip to North Carolina, he squared off with North Carolina and Portland in Chapel Hill and left with his first NCAA national championship in 1995. On his third trip to North Carolina in 1996, Petrucelli led the Irish to wins over North Carolina and Duke in Durham and left with the No. 1 ranking. Notre Dame is 4-2-0 all-time in the state of North Carolina with two wins over North Carolina, its only two wins against the Tar Heels, and wins over Duke and Portland.
Showering Shots: Notre Dame is on a record-setting goals-per-game pace thanks in part to the 31 shots per game that the Irish have launched, currently shattering the school-record 23 shots per game in 1996. Notre Dame's opponents have taken just four shots per game, giving the Irish an advantage of 27 shots per game.
Defensive Dominance: While the Irish are putting up near record offensive numbers in 1997, one of the keys to Notre Dame's success in 1997 has been the record-shattering pace of the Irish defense. In 24 games this season, opponents have scored just seven goals, half of the 14 goals in 20 games in 1990, the previous fewest single-season goals allowed by Notre Dame. The Irish defense has allowed just 0.29 goals per game, almost half of the school-record 0.56 allowed in 1995.
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 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. Notre Dame is appearing in its fourth straight NCAA semifinal, the third longest streak in NCAA championship history, behind North Carolina's 16 straight from 1982-97 and Massachusetts five straight appearances from 1983-87. 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 and nine-time defending champion North Carolina in the semifinals and undefeated Portland in the final to win their first NCAA championship.
Home Sweet 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 58 home games and 79-5-1 (.935) all-time at Alumni Field.
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.
Irish Are Crowd Pleasers: The sellout crowd of 9,025 at UNCG Soccer Stadium in the NCAA semifinal against Connecticut will be the 14th game in which the Irish have played in front of a crowd of 3,000 or more fans. A sellout home crowd of 3,300 at Alumni Field watched Notre Dame face both North Carolina and Duke at the adidas/Lady Footlocker Classic. Notre Dame's win over Portland on Sept. 7, was played in front of a sellout crowd of 5,041 at Merlo Field. 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 9-3-1 in games played in front of 3,000 or more fans.
Largest Notre Dame Crowds
1. 8,800 1996 NCAA Final Buck Shaw Stadium North Carolina 1, Notre Dame 0 (OT) 8,800 1996 NCAA Semifinal Buck Shaw Stadium Notre Dame 3, Portland 2 3. 7,212 1995 NCAA Semifinal Fetzer Field Notre Dame 1, North Carolina 0 4. 6,926 1995 NCAA Final Fetzer Field Notre Dame 1, Portland 0 (3OT) 5. 5,041 1997 Reg. Season Merlo Field Notre Dame 1, Portland 0
Heft Joins Select Hat Trick Company: Jenny Heft's hat trick against UCLA was the second of Heft's 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 scored a tournament-record four goals, including a hat trick in the championship game, and was named the BIG EAST championship most outstanding player, joining Amy VanLaecke in 1995 and Cindy Daws in 1996 as other Notre Dame players to win the award. Makinen's three goals in the final were the most scored by an individual in a championship game and her four goals were the most scored in a championship.
Sobrero Voted BIG EAST Defensive Player Of The Year: Three-time All-American Kate Sobrero was honored by the BIG EAST Conference at the championship banquet as the Conference defensive player of the year, the first time a Notre Dame player has won the award in its three years in the league. She was also a first team all-BIG EAST selection for the second consecutive year. Sobrero has anchored a Notre Dame defense that has held the opposition to just 95 shots while the Irish have scored 134 goals. Notre Dame is outshooting its opponents by an average of 31-4 per game and outscoring them 5.63-0.29.
Irish Outshoot Opponent Shots: By a difference of 39, Notre Dame's offense has scored 134 goals while the stingy defense has allowed the opposition just 95 shots, scoring on seven of those shots.
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: For the last nine weeks, sophomore goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene has owned the lowest goals against average in the country among goalkeepers who have played at 60 percent of their team's total minutes. She has allowed just seven goals in 2141 minutes of action for a 0.29 goals against average.
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. Jen Grubb, Holly Manthei, Kate Sobrero and 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 Irish 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: Holly Manthei, who already has set college women's 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 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 16 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, 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.