Nov. 6, 2005
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - In its final tuneup before embarking on defense of the NCAA title, the fifth-ranked Notre Dame women's soccer team made yet another strong statement en route to claiming the program's eighth BIG EAST Tournament title following a 5-0 win over conference rival Connecticut, in Sunday-afternoon action at Marquette's Valley Fields.
Notre Dame (19-2-0) extended its winning streak to 10 games, an impressive five-week display that has included a 46-1 scoring edge and just 14 total shots on goal by the opponents (1.4 per game). The Irish now await Monday's announcement of the 64-team NCAA Tournament field, top-16 seeds and first/second-round host sties, with the selection show to be telecast on ESPN News at approximately 5:00 p.m. EST.
Five different Irish players combined to score the five goals - highlighted by the 24th goal of the season from forward Kerri Hanks, who broke the Notre Dame record for goals by a freshman (23, by Anne Makinen in '97) while pushing her season point total to 62 (with 14 assists). Senior forward Katie Thorlakson added a pair of assists to land on 60 points for the season, making Hanks and Thorlakson the fourth set of teammates (first since another ND duo did it in '96) in the 24-year history of Division I women's soccer who are known to reached 60 points in the same season.
Thorlakson was named the offensive MVP for the 2005 BIG EAST Tournament, after totaling nine points (2G-5A) in wins over Georgetown (6-0), Marquette (3-0) and UConn (5-0). Junior defensive midfielder Jill Krivacek was named the tournament's defensive MVP, after helping the Irish total a 14-0 scoring margin, 59-18 shot edge (32-8 in shots on goal) and 17-3 corner-kick differential during the three games.
Jenny Heft (28, in '98) and Cindy Daws (26, in `96) are the only Notre Dame players ever to score more goals in a season than Hanks' current total.
Notre will enter the NCAAs with three more goals (95) than the opponents' combined shot total (92; 42 on goal) versus the Irish this season.
The game marked the eighth time this season that Notre Dame has scored five-plus goals, with the Irish ranking as the nation's top-scoring team throughout 2005 (now at 4.51 goals/gm, with 95 in 21 GP). The Irish also have scored three-plus goals in eight straight games, tying a record set by four previous ND teams (last in '98).
Sophomore forward Amanda Cinalli opened the scoring in the 24th minute, on a goal that ultimately held up as her second career gamewinner versus the Huskies. Freshman midfielder Brittany Bock then scored two minutes later, lunging in for a leftfooted score after Christie Shaner's header had smacked off the crossbar. The play was set up by Thorlakson's rightside corner kick, producing the team's 13th corner-kick goal of the season.
Notre Dame's tremendous depth put the game out of reach midway through the second half. Senior forward Maggie Manning came off the bench to score her eighth goal of the season (besting her combined total from the previous three seasons) and South Bend native Susan Pinnick capped the scoring with her own sixth goal of 2005 while playing in a reserve role.
Notre Dame improved to 24-2-0 (.923) all-time in the BIG EAST Tournament while claiming its first title since 2001. The Irish now are 8-1-0 in all-time BIG EAST title games, including 7-1-0 in final-game matchups with UConn.
Thorlakson's 66 career assists rank seventh in NCAA history (one behind Daws) while her 28 assists in '05 rank as the fifth-most in a season ever by a Division-I player (former Notre Dame great Holly Manthei posted three seasons with 30-plus assists while former UNC standout Mia Hamm had 33 assists in '92).
The only other Division I teammates known to have posted 60-plus points in the same season include: SMU Danielle Garrett, later Fotopoulos (83) and Courtney Linex (77) in 1995; Notre Dame's Daws (72) and Jenny Streiffer (66) in '96; and North Carolina's Mia Hamm (97) and Kristine Lilly (65) in '92.
Thorlakson bids goodbye to the BIG EAST Tournament having totaled 24 points (8G-8A) in eight career conference tournament games, besting the Notre Dame record for career points in the conference event (Anne Makinen had 23 points in the BET, from '97-'00). Makinen still narrowly holds the Irish record for career points in all postseason games (43) but Thorlakson now is second on that list with 42 (13G-16A).
The senior frontrunner also has registered points in every game of the current win streak, with Thorlakson totaling 29 points (7G-15A) in those games. She now has points in 10 straight postseason games and has scored or assisted on nearly 70% of Notre Dame's goals (25 of 36) during the '04 and '05 postseasons (11G-14A).
Bock's nine goals leave her one shy of joining Hanks as a rare freshman duo with double-digit goals. Bock heads into the NCAAs having totaled 14 points (5G-4A) in the past eight games, with points in seven of the past nine games.
The Irish finished with a 20-11 edge in total shots, 11-6 in shots on goal and 6-3 in corner kicks, with most of the UConn chances coming in the lategoing when the outcome already was sealed. Notre Dame's pressure also produced nine offside calls, with the Irish still managing to break through for the five scores.
Notre Dame cashed in a breakaway chance to open the scoring midway through the opening half. Bock started the sequence with a short drop pass to 5th-year veteran Candace Chapman, who then launched the ball from her right-back position. The clearance sailed down the center of the field and Cinalli broke free onside, nudging the ball off her left shoulder and gaining possession in stride before slotting her shot at the edge of the six-yard box past the charging `keeper Stephanie Labbe, with the ball carrying into the center of the net for her fifth goal of the season and 15th of her young Irish career (23:10).
"Hanks and Thorlakson have had a record-setting season for us but Cinalli also is a great player who can hurt you," said Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum. "You saw that on the first goal where she set the tone for us. We've got a lot of weapons and if we can get them clicking at the same time, it's usually a good day for us."
Cinalli's score held up as her third gamewinner of the season and seventh of her career, as the Irish improved to 64-2-0 in their past 66 games when scoring first (one of those losses came in the '04 BIG EAST title game, when ND failed to hold its early lead in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Huskies).
Thorlakson officially was not credited with an assist on the game's second goal but her service into a tricky crosswind set up that corner-kick score. Junior defender Christie Shaner elevated in the center of the box and snapped a header that banged off the crossbar. Bock alertly was in position and showed her athleticism, scoring from the same area as Cinalli after lunging in for a leftfooted stab that ripped into the right side of the net to suddenly yield the 2-0 lead in a span of less than three minutes (25:43).
"The wind was really tricky today so I just tried to put it up a little higher, because I know that Shaner can outjump anyone," said Thorlakson, whose corner kicks have led to 15 goals during the past two seasons (seven in '05).
Notre Dame's 15-year dominance when claiming a 2-0 lead continued in Sunday's action, as the Irish now have racked up 224 consecutive wins when claiming a 2-0 lead (dating back to a 1991 tie with Valparaiso).
The score remained 2-0 midway through the second half before the Irish added three more goals in a 10-minute span.
An extended give-and-go sequence between Hanks and Thorlakson produced the game's third goal in the 68th minute, marking the 18th time that the nation's top scoring tandem has combined on a goal in 2005. Hanks broke free down the center of the field and sent a low pass from just outside the top of the penalty area. Thorlakson ran onto the ball in the upper left corner of the box and made a brief hesitation move before driving past her defender to set up a leftfooted cross from the endline. Hanks saw the play developing and was well-positioned at the near post, sliding onto the ball and sending it pass Labbe into the center of the goal for the 3-0 lead (67:15).
Sunday's third goal all but clinched the victory, as the Irish now are 133-1-0 in their past 134 games when scoring three-plus goals (including 47 consecutive wins when scoring at least three goals, dating back to the middle of the '02 season).
Waldrum had plenty of praise for his pair of elite frontrunners following the game.
"It's interesting, one being a senior and one being a freshman, they have not had much time together but from day one, they have seemed to be on the same page," said Waldrum.
"They both are students of the game and understand the game so well and that's why they play so well off each other. It's a great tandem and I'm amazed all the time at Thorlakson. She continues to get marked, everybody tries to stop her and she just continues to finds ways to get goals, assists, whatever it takes. Having Hanks just makes it that much more difficult for teams."
Thorlakson pointed out that the third-goal sequence nearly happened several times earlier in the game.
"That was the fourth replay of what that goal could have been," she said. "We had that chance a couple other times and it didn't happen for us. At least we are creating opportunities and eventually putting them away.
Notre Dame's dominance during the current 10-game winning streak has been sparked by the impressive group of reserve forwards - Manning, Pinnick and junior midfielder Lizzie Reed - whose efficiency has mirrored that of a second line in hockey. Those three players have combined for 41 points this season (16G-9A), including 25 points over the course of the current win streak (10G-5A).
Thorlakson had the primary assist on Manning's goal, six minutes after the Hanks score, after sending a lead pass down the right side of the field. Manning ran onto the ball near the upper right corner of the box and angled away from the pursuit before striking a lunging, leftfooted shot that carried into the far side of the net for her 15th career goal with the Irish (73:00).
"Our second forward line came on and did a great for us," said Waldrum. "Maggie was very good for us her first two years but her junior year she kind of just struggled getting through the season and the game wasn't fun for her. This year, she's back to having fun again and is doing a great job off the bench. With players like her, we don't skip a beat. And to get to a title like this and the play well through the NCAAs, you need players like her to win it."
The assist yielded Thorlakson's 60th point of the season, officially placing her and Hanks among the top scorers in NCAA history. And with plenty of individual awards already on her resume, the senior forward admits that this shared honor is even more special.
"Getting 60 points along with Kerri us a great accomplishment and I definitely take a lot of pride in it," said Thorlakson. "Hanks is awesome. I love playing with her and it's great that we can put those numbers up together. She is such a natural goalscorer and is always going to give you her all. She's very smart in the game of soccer and she has that advantage over defenders who are going to try to take her out, She has been playing international soccer for a while and with that experience she is going to be a bit more mature on the ball."
Versatile sophomore Ashley Jones - who has played equally well this season as a midfielder and outside back - set up the final goal, extending a trend that has seen her register six of her nine career points during postseason play (including the goal in the '04 BIG EAST title game and a score in last week's BIG EAST quarterfinal vs. Georgetown). Jones played the ball into her classmate Cinalli, who then sent a cross that found Pinnick on the left side of the box. The former St. Joseph's High School standout then showed her creativity and elusiveness on the ball, sliding to her left to avoid the UConn defense before knocking her shot past Labbe for the 5-0 lead (77:16).
** See quotes and updated notes below statistical summary. **
ND 1. Amanda Cinalli 7 (Candace Chapman, Brittany Bock) 23:10; ND 2. Bock 9 (Christie Shaner) 25:43; ND 3. Kerri Hanks 24 (Katie Thorlakson) 67:15; ND 4. Maggie Manning 8 (Thorlakson) 73:00; ND 5. Susan Pinnick 6 (Cinalli, Ashley Jones) 77:16
Shots: ND 12-8 - 20, UConn 6-5 - 11
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM ND HEAD COACH Randy Waldrum - "I like how we are playing and we will see how the draw goes. ... We've always felt having a strong regular season that puts you in position for the NCAAs was the most important phase. And then we felt the conference tournament was the second-most important phase, and then you see where you fall. We've won the regular-season tournament a lot of times but it's been a while since we won the tournament and it was nice for our seniors to go out winning it. There was a lot more focus on it with them this year. I'm really happy for them. ... Sometimes when you make changes, you worry that you lose a little bit of your rhythm and the past few weeks that group of Manning, Pinnick and Reed has come on and done great for us up front. We've also rotated our midfield with four players sharing the three spots. When we've rotated things, we haven't skipped a beat and that's what will help you get there at the end.
"Katie clearly is the reason we won the NCAA championship last year. We had a lot of great players on that team but she really carried us and I would expect her to do the same thing this year. The good thing is that she has so many great players around her, not only in the front line but if you look at our midfield scoring from Bock, Schefter and Buczkowski. There are just a lot of offensive players coming at you from different parts of the field. There are a lot of players who can win games for us at this time of the year. If we can keep this type of play going defensively, then I think we will have a good shot at making a run in the NCAAs.
"Candace [Chapman] has found her rhythm again as the outside back. She played mostly forward last year and it took her a while to be flying up and down the line again. With her international experience, I think she will be one of the future stars of the women's game internationally. She is must so composed and such a weapon coming out of the back. She can keep other teams from playing certain ways because she is so athletic and is a good tackler of the ball, but she also creates a lot for us offensively. She was the one who created the third goal for us against Marquette on Friday night, digging the ball out and getting forward.
"When we were here the first time [a 4-1 loss to Marquette], we were a little shaky in the back but we didn't make excuses because of the injuries. We did not have Kim Lorenzen in the starting lineup and Krivacek and Bohn were out. It was one of those things that snowballed. Every chance they got, they capitalized on. More than anything, we got healthy. I'm, never a fan of saying that sometimes losing is good. But, at the same time, it may have been a good thing at that time of year because we got is straightened out and the players took the responsibility."
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM ND SENIOR FORWARD Katie Thorlakson - "We took one game at a time last year and it proved successful and hopefully we can do it again this year. ... Winning the BIG EAST Tournament feels great. I was getting to the point where I felt it never was going to happen. It's good that we won so handily. ... I've been pretty closely marked the past couple years and I play better when I am closely marked. That's the kind of thing that gets me going. If teams laid off me, I wouldn't know what to do. ... We are a little bit more mentally prepared going into the NCAAs this year. We know what it's going to take and that we can't take any game for granted. It's going to take all our players, like the Wisconsin game last year when Jill [Krivacek] scored on that late header. It's going to take everyone performing on any given day."
WONDERFUL WOMEN'S TEAMS - Despite Sunday's loss by the Irish volleyball team, Notre Dame has emerged as the nation's top program for women's teams during the fall season ... the women's soccer (19-2-0) and volleyball (22-2-0) teams - both ranked 5th in last week's national coaches polls - have combined for a .911 win pct. (41-4), with the soccer team currently riding a 10-game win streak that includes a 46-1 scoring edge while the volleyball team just had its 15-match winning streak that included a 45-4 edge in games won (for a combined streak 91-5 in soccer goals/vb games) ... not to be outdone, the 4th-ranked ND women's cross country team recently won the BIG EAST title with the best score at that prestigious event since '94.
CHAPPY HAPPY WITH ANOTHER TITLE - Fifth-year right back Candace Chapman was a member of ND's 2001 team that won the BIG EAST Tournament title and had been the only current Irish player with a BET title prior to Sunday's win ... Chapman's journey with the Irish has included its share of heartache, as illness and injuries prevented her from helping the Irish contend for BIG EAST and NCAA titles in the '01-'03 seasons ... that trend began to change in '04, as Chapman was a leading force during that NCAA championship season (her 10 goals including the memorable score in the 1-0 semifinal win over Santa Clara).
ROOKIE TANDEMS - Kerri Hanks (24) and Brittany Bock (9) are on the verge of becoming the seventh set of Notre Dame freshmen - but first since 2000 - to post double-digit goals in the same season ... others include: Alison Lester (14) and Stephanie Porter (10) in 1990; Rosella Guerrero (13) and Michelle McCarthy (12) in '92; Stacia Masters (13) and Cindy Daws (16) in '93; Jenny Streiffer (22) and Jenny Heft (12) in '96; Anne Makinen (23), Meotis Erikson (22) and Monica Gonzalez (10) in '97; and Amanda Guertin (11) and Amy Warner (10) in '00.
BLAME IT ON RIO (actually Campinas) - Since making its 2004 preseason training trip to Campinas, Brazil, the ND women's soccer team has racked up a 56-3-3 (.926) overall record spanning the games in Brazil (5-0-1), the '04 NCAA title season (25-1-1), the '05 spring season (7-0-1) and the current 2005 campaign (19-2-0).
IRISH NEARING TENTH 20-WIN SEASON - Notre Dame now is one win shy of posting its 10th season with 20-plus wins, in the 18-year history of the program ... the Irish set the team record for wins in 2004 (25-1-1), with other 20-win seasons including 24 in '96; 23 in '94, '97 and '00; 21 in '95, '98 and '99; and 20 in '03.
ND-UCONN SERIES - The Irish now hold a 16-4-2 series edge vs. the Huskies, outscoring UConn 11-0 in the past three meetings ... Thorlakson now has 4G-5A in her career vs. UConn (Cinalli 2G-2A; Bock 1G-3A, all this season).
SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY - The Irish extended their Sunday domination this season, improving to 10-0-0 with a 50-2 scoring edge in Sunday games (compared to 9-2-0 and 42-8 in Friday games) ... all but one of the Sunday games this season was the second game of the weekend.
BIG-GAME POISE -Notre Dame also has won nearly 80 percent of its games (56-15-3, .777) during the Waldrum era (since '99) when facing an NSCAA top-25 (40-13-3) and/or postseason opponent.
ANOTHER SHUTOUT STREAK - Notre Dame enters the NCAAs riding a 298-minute shutout streak (18-0 scoring edge) spanning three-plus games ... that streak dates back to the final game of the regular season (6-1 vs. Georgetown), when the Hoyas scored early in the second half to halt a 571-minute ND shutout streak.
THE X FACTOR - ND now is 14-0-0 with a 73-3 scoring edge in games started by junior central back Kim Lorenzen this season ... Lorenzen's past 11 starts have produced 10 shutouts for the Irish, with a 51-1 scoring margin in those games ... her 14 starts also have featured a 339-55 shot edge (avg. 24.2-3.9), plus 196-21 in shots on goal (14.0-1.5) and 100-25 in CKs (7.1-1.8)
SHUTOUT CITY - Notre Dame registered its 15th shutout of 2005 (10 of the past 11) and 31st during the past two seasons.
SCORING STREAK HITS 32 - Amanda Cinalli's goal extended Notre Dame's scoring streak to 32 games, 3rd-longest in the program's history (the '97-'99 teams combined to score in 55 straight while the '95-'96 teams had a 36-game scoring streak).
A TRUE 90-MINUTE, ALL-AROUND TALENT - Katie Thorlakson entered the week having scored (now 16) or assisted (28) on more goals (now 44) than any other player in the countr.y
GOALS IN BUNCHES - Notre Dame now has scored three or more goals in each of the past eight games, matching the team record of eight straight games with three-plus goals ... the Irish have notched three-plus goals in 18 of the 21 games this season, are 18-0-0 in '05 when scoring multiple goals and have posted 18 wins this season by a margin of three-plus goals (all but the 1-0 overtime game at Rutgers) ... Sunday's win marked the eighth time in '05 that ND has scored 5-plus goals.
10-GAME WIN STREAK - The current 10-game win streak is the program's 10th all-time double-digit win streak ... the winning streak is 4th-longest in the seven-year Randy Waldrum era (behind win streaks of 16 games in 2000, 15 in '04 and 12 in '03) ... the current streak includes a 46-1 scoring edge, plus 245-44 in shots (avg. 24.5-4.4), 135-15 in shots on goal (13.5-1.5) and 76-20 in CKs (7.6-2.0) ... the Irish have dominated the second half during the streak (30-1 scoring edge).
SHOOTING FOR THE TOP - Notre Dame's junior class has yet to experience a game in which the Irish have been outshot, a span of 72 games that includes a 64-6-2 record during that '03-'05 span ... ND has held the shot edge in all 21 games this season and in 69 of the past 72, with three teams managing to tie the Irish in shots during that three-year span: UCLA in the '04 NCAA title game (11-1), Boston College in the '03 BIG EAST semifinals (6-6) and Arizona State early in the '03 season (11-11).
DYNAMIC DUO UPDATE - Hanks (62; 24G-13A) and Thorlakson (60; 16G-28A) now have combined for 122 points, 40 goals and 42 assists (with an avg. of 5.8 pts/gm as a tandem) ... Hanks now is 4th on the ND single-season points list, behind Cindy Daws (72, in '96), Thorlakson (70, in '04) and Jenny Streiffer (66, in `96) ... Thorlakson is 6th on that single-season scoring list ... the Irish are 15-0-0 this season when Hanks scores (she has points in 18 of the 21 games) ... Hanks had three shots on Sunday and now has 122 for the season (five shy of Thorlakson's ND record) ... Thorlakson has points in 29 of the past 32 games (18 in '05) and has scored/assisted on 52% of ND's goals during the past two seasons (91 of 165) ... she remains 7th on the ND career points list (172, five behind Holly Manthei) and logged her 91st career game with the Irish (16th in the ND record book) ... Thorlakson's current 10-game point streak is tied for 6th in the ND record book (she also owns the record with a 12-game point streak from '04-'05 and had a 9-game point streak earlier in `04).
UPDATED INDIVIDUAL NOTES - Randy Waldrum's ND teams now have won better than 85% of their games from '99-'05 (138-22-5, .852) ... junior M Jen Buczkowski and senior M Annie Schefter have appeared in all 73 games during the past three seasons, Shaner in 72 of the 73 (69 straight) ... Chapman logged her 88th career game with the Irish, including 48 straight (37 consecutive starts) ... senior G Erika Bohn has faced just five shots on goal since returning from her injury (spanning 479 minutes of game action) ... Bohn has made 79 career starts, second all-time among ND `keepers behind Jen Renola's 98 ... Bohn's current 0.47 season goals-against avg. would rank 4th in ND history.
UPDATED TEAM NOTES - ND still has trailed in just two games all season for a total of 77 minutes (4.1% of the 1,895 total minutes) ... the Irish posted their 61st all-time victory in postseason play (61-12-1, .831) ... the Irish also have scored in 46 of the past 47 games ... the ND players have combined to log 1,167 career games played (698 starts) ... the Irish are 122-11-3 (.908) in all games vs. BIG EAST teams since joining the conference in '95 ... ND owns a 51-5 scoring edge in the 2nd half this season (18-1 in 2nd half of past five games) ... the Irish have held 19 teams to 0-1 goals this season (41 of ND's past 44 opponents, and 65 of 72 in the past three seasons, have been kept from scoring multiple goals) ... ND's all-time record now is 338-59-17 (.837).
TEAM STATS IN THE ND RECORD BOOK - The '05 ND team is poised to take its spot among the tops in the program's storied history ... the team is on pace for the best stats of the Waldrum era ('99-'05) in scoring margin (+85), goals/gm (4.52), players with goals (15), players with pts (19), goalscoring accuracy (5.1 shots per goal), shots per game (23.0), corners per game (7.1) - and fewest shots (4.4), SOG (2.0) and CKs (1.7) allowed per game, plus the best shot (+18.6), SOG (+10.6) and CK (+5.4) margins of the Waldrum era ... the team's 95 goals (three more than the opponents' 92 combined shots, 42 on goal) are most by an ND team since the '99 team had 98 (Waldrum's first year) ... the +85 scoring margin (95-10) is best of the Waldrum era and best since '97 (+126) ... ND's 4.52 goals/ gm ranks 3rd in ND history and best since the '97 team (5.45) ... 15 ND players have scored goal in '05 (most since 15 did so in '97) while 19 have registered points (2nd-best in ND history, best since 20 had points in '96) ... Kerri Hanks and Katie Thorlakson are the program's first pair of players with 15-plus goals since Heft and Streiffer in '99 ... the team's six players with 20-plus points are the most since '99 (6) ... ND is scoring at a rate of one goal per every 5.1 shots (4th all-time, best since 4.4 in '96) ... the Irish are averaging 23.0 shots per game (4th all-time, best since 26.8 in '98), 12.6 shots-on-goal/gm (3rd, best since 12.8 in '00) and 7.1 corners/gm (best since 10.5 in '97) ... defensively, the Irish own a 0.47 season goals-against avg. (3rd-best, best since 0.39 in '00) and are on pace to challenge the ND records for fewest shots allowed (4.4 per game; standing record is 4.0 in '97) and fewest shots on goal allowed (2.0/gm; record is 2.1 in '97) ... ND has allowed just 1.7 CKs per game (2nd-best all-time; 1.2 in '97) ... the team's season stat margins include +18.6 in shots (2nd all-time, behind 20.0 in '98), +10.6 in SOG (on pace to break record of 10.4 in '96) and +5.4 in CKs (2nd all-time, behind 8.4 in '98).