Nov. 25, 1997
Captains Help Put Irish Women's Soccer on Top
A national title, two-time run-ner-up to the national championships,
four NCAA tournament appearances, three BIG EAST Championships, one
Midwest Collegiate Conference championship and a 90-5-4 record. When a
freshman soccer player begins her first season of play she never
imagines that by the time she is about to close out her career these
numbers would reflect her accomplishments. For Notre Dame women's
soccer captains Holly Manthei and Kate Sobrero neither did they.
"I knew we would be good throughout my stay here, but I never
thought we would achieve the status we have now," says Sobrero.
While at Detroit Country School, Sobrero excelled throughout her
career. She earned United States Youth Soccer Association All-America
laurels, three-time all-area choice, as well as three-time all-state
choice. As the Bloomfield Hills, Mich., native began to be recruited,
she was quickly offered a scholarship by Notre Dame, a team that had
just reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in the six years of
the programs existence.
"I decided to attend Notre Dame because it offered me the chance to
get a great education as well as a place to develop my Catholic
background," says Sobrero. "Notre Dame was a place that I could see
myself fit in."
Notre Dame was a great place for her to thrive. As a freshman,
Sobrero stepped right into head coach Chris Petrucelli's starting lineup
as a defender. She quickly became known as one of the best marking
backs in the country. In the 1994 national semifinals, she found the
back of the net with a header from fellow freshman Holly Manthei's
corner in the 1-0 victory over Portland. Sobrero was rewarded for her
play by being named All-America by Soccer News, and all-freshman by
Her sophomore year was no different. Sobrero continued to shut down
the nation's top forwards, helping the Irish defense record 18 shutouts
during the season including all five opponents on their run to the
national championship. Sobrero once again was rewarded for her good
play by being named defensive player of the tournament and All-American
for the second straight year.
Last year she anchored a defense that allowed only 0.20 goals a game
in BIG EAST competition. She earned defensive MVP in two different
tournaments during the season and was selected an All-American for the
third straight year.
This season has been nothing different for the three-year starter.
Sobrero anchored the United States under-20 team's defense to the gold
medal this past summer. Her cat-like reactions on defense garnered her
with the BIG EAST defensive player of the year. Her teammates also
recognized her leadership skills and choose her to be captain with
Manthei and fellow senior Julie Maund.
"Kate leads on the field as well as off the field," says Irish
freshman Meotis Erickson. "When I was battling during my slump at the
beginning of the year, Kate came over and talked to me and helped me
through that rough time."
While Sobrero controls the backfield, her partner Manthei controls
the midfield. Manthei like Sobrero earned All-America honors as well as
three-time all-state selection in high school. Manthei joined the Irish
team in the fall of 1994 and quickly made an impact starting in all 25
games that season. She aided on 30 percent of the 100 goals scored by
the Irish that year and helped her receive All-American honors.
She was instrumental in the NCAA championship game. Her placement of
a cornerkick allowed Sobrero to head it past Portland's goalie for a 1-0
victory and a spot in the national championship game.
Known to most soccer aficionados as the best ball-handling
midfielder in the collegiate ranks, Manthei recorded 44 assists, the
most by anyone in college woman's soccer history. During last year's
run in the NCAA tournament, she totaled five assists giving her 10
assists for her career. Once again she was rewarded for her outstanding
play by being named to the All-American team for the third straight
This year has been no different for Manthei. She once again leads
the team in assists, as she has done for four years..
As these two continue their final journey, hosting UCLA in the third
round. A national championship, the greatest class record in the history
of Notre Dame, and four-time All-American honors are just a few of their
many accomplishments. But for Sobrero and Manthei these may not be the
things they remember most.
"When I look back an my career I will remember the incredible
friends I have made here and all the good times we had," stated Sobrero.
"Championships may come and go, but friendships will always remain."
For four years, these two have been the ones to watch at their
positions, and the players that fill those spots next year will have big
shoes to fill both on and off the field.