Images from Notre Dame's 2010 women's soccer season that saw the Irish claim their third NCAA title.
Former Baylor All-American and veteran professional goalkeeper Dawn Siergiej (pronounced SIR-gay) enters her 11th season as an assistant coach on the Notre Dame women's soccer staff in 2013, having reunited with her former college coach Randy Waldrum, who departed Baylor for Notre Dame after the 1998 season. Siergiej also currently holds a premier diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Siergiej has provided valuable instruction and insight for some of the greatest goalkeepers in program history including 2006 graduate Erika Bohn (who went on to be one of two goalkeepers on the U.S. U-21 National Team at the 2005 Nordic Cup) and 2008 graduate Lauren Karas. Bohn - a rare three-time Academic All-American - earned NSCAA all-region honors in 2003 and then was an all-BIG EAST Conference selection in 2005. She ranks fourth in the Notre Dame record book with a 0.69 career goals-against average (GAA) and is third in Irish women's soccer history with 6,788 career minutes played. While under the tutelage of Siergiej, Karas posted the second highest career winning-percentage among Irish goalkeepers (.902) and the third-best GAA (0.65).
Siergiej made an immediate impact in her first two seasons at Notre Dame, the second of which saw the Irish win their second national championship. In 2003, the Irish finished fifth in the nation with a 0.49 season goals-against average in 2003 and were fourth with 15 shutouts - also compiling a 956-minute shutout streak that ranks fifth in NCAA history (longest since 1999). Notre Dame faced just one deficit in the first 19 matches of the 2003 season, en route to a 20-3-1 record. The 2004 national championship season then saw the Irish lead the nation with 18 shutouts while nearly reclaiming the GAA title (4th, 0.51). The 25-1-1 season featured just 108 minutes with the Irish playing from behind, limiting 24 of the 27 opponents to one goal or fewer, while the other three foes managed to score twice (two coming in the first four matches, with only 10 goals allowed over the final 25).
Following the 2004 NCAA title-match win over UCLA, Bohn quickly credited Siergiej when asked about her clutch performances in that pressure-packed contest. Bohn's six saves that day included three in penalty-kick situations, one coming late in regulation to preserve the 1-1 tie while her final save (in the shootout) clinched the title.
Most recently, Siergiej tutored Kelsey Lysander (`10) and Nikki Weiss (`11) to consecutive standout seasons. During the 2008 campaign, the Irish netminding duo combined for 18 shutouts (second-most in school history) with an 0.44 GAA (fourth-lowest in program annals). Individually, Lysander set or tied school records for wins (26), winning percentage (.963, 26-1-0) and total shutouts (18) while ranking sixth in the nation in GAA (0.44) and being named to the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team.
The following two seasons (2009-10), it was Weiss' turn, as she stepped in as the starter midway through `09 and wound up posting a 14-2-1 record and seven solo shutouts (part of the team's 16 clean sheets), helping spark Notre Dame's 19-match unbeaten streak during the final two months of the season. Weiss also set a new BIG EAST record with a 0.15 GAA in regular-season league play, allowing just one goal in 597 minutes.
In 2010, Weiss backstopped the Irish to their third national title, starting all 25 matches (21-2-2 record) and logging a 0.49 GAA with 10 solo shutouts and an .876 save percentage (second-best in school history).
"Dawn has done a great job with our `keepers and we expect that to continue on an even higher level in the future," Waldrum said. "Dawn is one of the best goalkeepers I've ever coached and her skills and knowledge are further legitimized by the fact that she played in the WUSA. She brings a great level of experience but also knows what the expectations are on the pro level. Dawn is able to expose our players to what the inner workings of elite-level soccer are all about and that supports what our staff as a whole is trying to teach the players."
Under her maiden name of Dawn Greathouse, Siergiej - who trained with the U.S. Under-20 National Team in 1998 - played with the Washington Freedom in the first two seasons of the Women's United Soccer Association (2001 and 2002), also playing for the San Jose CyberRays in 2002 and `03. She made eight career starts in the WUSA while backing up U.S. National Team players Siri Mullinix (Washington) and former Notre Dame All-American LaKeysia Beene (San Jose).
Siergiej logged 7,121 minutes (sixth in NCAA history at the time) in her four-year Baylor career while posting a 1.20 goals-against average, an .802 save percentage and 28 shutouts. The three-time All-Big 12 Conference and three-time Big 12 All-Academic Team honoree turned in her best season as a sophomore in 1998, earning NSCAA second team All-America honors after ranking 12th in the nation with a 0.69 GAA. She helped the 1998 team win Baylor's first Big 12 title in any sport - before a knee injury sidelined her from Baylor's second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship.
Siergiej's remarkable college career has not gone unnoticed by her alma mater. In 2011, she was inducted into the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame, becoming the first soccer player in school history to earn that prestigious honor.
An NSCAA and Parade All-American at Allen (Texas) High School, Siergiej helped the Texas Longhorns club program place second nationally and trained with the U.S. U-16 and U-17 national teams.
During her youth soccer days, Siergiej played goalkeeper for her club team but also was a skilled forward with the Allen High School squad. She set the school record for career goals and also held the single-season goals record that later was broken by former Notre Dame All-American Kerri Hanks.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Siergiej graduated from Baylor in 2001 with a degree in health fitness. She and her husband, Nick (Notre Dame's director of hockey operations) were married in May 2014 and make their home in South Bend.