Nov. 13, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Kerri Hanks and Katie Thorlakson took another step to becoming one of the elite scoring tandems in Division I women's soccer history, combining for two goals and an assist while leading the Notre Dame women's soccer team to its 11th straight win, a 3-0 victory over Michigan State in NCAA Tournament second-round action at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame (21-2-0) - which has outscored its opponents 55-1 during the current winning streak and 104-10 overall this season - now advances to the round-of-16 for the 10th time in the past 12 years and will play host to Yale on Friday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. EST.
Yale pulled off a thrilling upset of visiting Duke (2-1) by scoring in the final second of regulation during Sunday's other second-round action. Duke had been the No. 3-seeded team in the quadrant of the bracket that includes survivors Yale, Portland (a 3-2 winner Sunday at Nebraska), Notre Dame and Arizona (a 1-0 winner over Utah on Saturday). Duke joins BYU (#4) as teams seeded in the quadrant that failed to advance to the round-of-16. Arizona will travel to Portland next weekend, with the winner of that game to face the Notre Dame-Yale winner in the quarterfinal round (during Thanksgiving weekend).
The 2005 Notre Dame team's goal production (104) has been topped by just two previous Irish teams while the current squad's nation-leading 17 shutouts also rank third in the program's storied history, one shy of the shutout record shared by the '95 and '97 teams.
Notre Dame has led the nation in scoring all season (currently 4.52 goals per game) and now has risen to fifth nationally with a 0.43 season goals-against average. Portland is the only other team that can boast such offensive/defensive balance, currently ranking fourth nationally in scoring (3.24 goals/gm) and third defensively (0.38).
Hanks opened the scoring with her 26th goal of the season (just two shy of the Irish record held by Jenny Heft) while Thorlakson - who notched her 31st assist of the season on the Hanks goal - scored five minutes later for her 18th goal of the '05 season and a 2-0 lead at the intermission. The assist was the 68th of Thorlakson's career (moving her into sixth place in NCAA history), followed moments later by the 55th goal of her stellar career.
Hanks (15 assists) and Thorlakson both have 67 points for the season, becoming just the second set of teammates in the 24-year history of Division I women's soccer history to reach 67 points in the same season. They now will set their sites on both reaching 70 points, a distinction held only by 1995 SMU players Danielle Garrett (83; now Danielle Fotopoulos) and Courtney Linex (77).
"Notre Dame has two of the best forwards in the country on their team and it's tough to play against that," said Michigan State head coach Tom Saxton. "I was reading an article the other day about the top five forwards in the country and pictured across the pages were the two of them out of the five nationwide. So we knew that was going to be a formidable task today and they are great players.
"[Thorlakson] is one of the top forwards in the country and certainly in the world. She belongs right up there with all of them."
Cindy Daws (72, in '96) and Thorlakson (70, in '04) are the only Notre Dame players ever to total more points in a season than the 2005 production of Thorlakson or Hanks - whose 134 combined points are just shy of the Irish record for points by teammates (Daws and Jenny Streiffer combined for 136 in '96).
Each passing game sees Thorlakson's name become more entrenched in the Irish record book but Hanks has snatched one of those records away, as her three shots on Sunday give her 128 for the season (23 more than all of ND's '05 opponents combined shots vs. the Irish) to best the single-season shot record set by Thorlakson in '04 (127).
Thorlakson's four-point game helped compensate for the loss of that record as she has posted points in 12 consecutive games (36 points; 9G-18A), tying a record she already shared with Anne Makinen. Thorlakson - who is averaging 3.0 points per game in her current point streak (36; 9G-18A) - recently became Notre Dame's all-time leading scorer in BIG EAST Tournament and overall postseason games but she now also holds the Irish record for career points in the NCAAs, with 25 (7G-11A) in 13 NCAA games played (Monica Gerardo previously held the mark, with 24).
The two-time BIG EAST player of the year also has scored in every one of Notre Dame's postseason games during the past two seasons (14), totaling 43 points in those games (13G-17A).
Senior midfielder Annie Schefter had the primary assist on Thorlakson's goal and capped the scoring with her third goal of the season, early in the second half. All 12 of Schefter's career goals with the Irish have come within the friendly confines of Alumni Field.
The Irish extended their team record by scoring three-plus goals for the 10th straight game. Several other streaks also continued as Notre Dame has: scored in 34 straight games (still 3rd-best in ND history); gone unbeaten in its past 26 home games (25-0-1); gone 65-2-0 in its past 67 games when scoring first; won 224 consecutive games when claiming a 2-0 lead; and won 50 straight when scoring 3-plus goals (133-1-0 in past 134).
Notre Dame doubled up Michigan State (12-6-5) for an 18-9 shot edge, with many of the MSU chances coming in the lategoing. The Irish also finished with an 8-1 edge in shots on goal and 7-1 in corner kicks (the 12th time this season that the opponents have been held to 0-1 corners).
MSU's late shots resulted in Notre Dame's season totals now including 104 goals scored, 105 opponent shots, 45 opponents shots on goal and 37 opponent corner kicks.
In addition to outscoring the opposition 55-1 during the current 12-game winning streak, the Irish also have allowed just 18 shots on goal (1.5/gm) and 22 corner kicks during that six-week stretch. Notre Dame has yet to allow a goal in the 2005 postseason, pushing the current shutout streak to 478 minutes.
Yale could face a tough task next weekend when it faces a Notre Dame team that has won all of its home games this season (12-0-0) while allowing a total of just 14 shots on goal in those 12 games (1.2/gm). The Irish also own an all-time record of 27-3-0 in home NCAA Tournament games, as part of the program's 34-10-0 all-time record in NCAA Tournament play.
Thorlakson now has scored (4) or assisted (11) on 15 of Notre Dame's 21 gamewinning goals this season. Her career assists total (69) still ranks sixth in the NCAA record book but now is just one behind former Jacksonville player Marit Foss and two shy of the 71 career assists posted by Streiffer and recent UNC player Alyssa Ramsey. Thorlakson's 31 assists in '05 now rank alone in fourth on that NCAA single-season list, two behind Mia Hamm's total with the 1992 UNC squad.
The player who owns the top single-season assist total in Notre Dame history ¬- Holly Manthei, dropped down a spot on the Irish career points list, as Thorlakson (178) moved past her into sixth on that chart (next up is Makinen, with 186). Thorlakson's 55th career goal ties her with Rosella Guerrero for eight in the Notre Dame record book, four back of Meotis Erikson and Michelle McCarthy.
Thorlakson now needs just two goals to become the first Division I player ever to post 20G-20A in multiple seasons (she had 23G-24A in '04) while five more goals would make her the sixth D-I player ever to reach 60G-60A in her career.
A leftside corner kick again set up the game's first goal, with Thorlakson serving the ball and junior midfielder Jen Buczkowski jousting with 'keeper Nicole Galas at the near post. Thorlakson collected the deflection outside the box and juked her way free on the endline before placing the ball at the feet of Hanks, who had made the quick near-post run and slid in for the tap-in (32:34).
"We spend a lot of time on those little sequences down on the endline and getting runners into the seams," said seventh-year Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum, whose 138-22-5 record (.852) with the Irish includes 14 straight postseason victories.
"Katie did a great job of turning the corner and getting down to the endline and then Kerri was great, timing that run to the near-post and kind of fighting it out before the defender got on her and the 'keeper could react. It was a great goal for us."
It marked the 20th time that Thorlakson and Hanks have combined on a goal this season, with the dynamic duo also getting plenty of other teammates involved in the act. At least one of the tandem has registered a goal or assist on 65% of the team's goals this season (68 of 105), as Thorlakson has combined with 12 different teammates on goalscoring sequences this season (Hanks has combined with 10 teammates on '05 goalscoring plays).
"I know where Katie's going to play it and have the timing to be there," said Hanks, in reference to Sunday's first goal. "We combine really well together and that gives us an advantage over most teams."
Notre Dame had several near-chances in the first half while accumulating several of its nine offside calls. Schefter nearly sprung Thorlakson for a chance into the right side of the box (it was whistled offside) but they connected moments later, after senior forward Maggie Manning had won the ball in a collision on the right flank. Schefter settled the ball showed her savvy by sending a driven ball right up the seam.
Thorlakson raced into the upper right corner of the box and the sharpshooter buried the chance into the lower left corner (37:50), giving the Canadian national teamer 18 goals this season on just 68 shots and 41 shots on goal (she now is averaging one goal per every 3.8 shots and 2.3 shots on goal she takes in '05).
"It was really important for us to get that second goal in the first half," said Waldrum, the current leader of a program that never has lost when taking a 2-0 lead (247-0-1). "Psychologically, that's when it starts to take its toll on teams."
Thorlakson has scored or assisted on nearly 50 goals this season (49), the most among any player from more than 300 Division-I women's teams.
Sophomore forward Amanda Cinalli entered the week ranked sixth nationally in assists and she picked up assist #16 early in the second half, on a cross in transition from the right flank. Schefter was making a long run on the far side and was unmarked all the way, striking her header into the left side of the net for the final goal of the game (48:04).
Just two days after scoring its quickest first-half goal of the season (3:03), the Irish added their quickest goal to start the second half. Previously, the quickest second-half goal actually had come in the season-opening win over New Hampshire, when Thorlakson scored at the 48:13 mark.
** See additional quotes and notes below the statistical summary **
Michigan State (12-6-5) 0 0 - 0
Shots: MSU 1-8 - 9, ND 12-6 - 18
ADDITIONAL PLAYER NOTES - Senior 'keeper Erika Bohn's 0.37 season GAA would rank 5th nationally but she is 65 minutes shy of the minimum (50% of team minutes) due to an ankle injury that sidelined her for a month .., since returning from the injury, Bohn has enjoyed the strong play in front of her while facing just seven shots on goal in 618 minutes of game action (88 minutes per SOG, or nearly one per full game) ... Thorlakson pushed her consecutive games played streak to 94 (the 5th-longest streak in ND history) ... the Irish are 17-0-0 this season when Hanks scores a goal and 16-0-0 (82-2 scoring edge) in games started by junior central D Kim Lorenzen ... Hanks is tied with Daws (26, in '96) for 2nd on the ND season goals chart, two behind Heft's 1998 total ... Cinalli's 34 points this season (9G-16A) rank 3rd on the '05 team but would have been good enough to lead eight of the previous 17 ND teams in scoring (including the '01-'03 teams) ... super-sub Manning has 6G-4A in the past 11 games ... Thorlakson's 21 career gamewinning assists are tied with Streiffer for 2nd in the ND record book (Manthei had 25 GWAs) ... Thorlakson extended her ND records for career gamewinning points (44) and career postseason points (49, 15G-19A in 21 GP) ... Buczkowski and Schefter have joined Thorlakson in playing in all 74 games during the past three seasons, with the Irish racking up a 66-6-2 record (.905) during that '03-'05 span.
UPDATED TEAM NOTES - The current 0.43 team GAA would rank 3rd in ND history behind the 1997 (0.36) and 2000 (0.39) teams ... this marks ND's ninth season with 21-plus wins, with six teams posting more victories (25 in '04, 24 in '96, 23 in '94, '97 and '00) ... the only ND teams with more goals were the 1996 (140) and '97 (135) teams ... the Irish have held their opponents to 0-1 goals in 21 of the 23 games this season ... the current 26-game home unbeaten streak is approaching the team record (29) set from 1999-2001 (the '92-'95 teams went 28 home games without a loss) ... the 12-game winning streak ranks 8th in ND history ... ND now leads the series vs. MSU 10-2-0 and is 50-3-1 vs. Big-10 teams since mid-1989 ... ND is 8-2-0 in all-time NCAA round-of-32 games (7-2-0 in the round-of-16) ... the program's all-time postseason record is 63-12-1 (34-10-1 in NCAAs), including 38-3-0 at home (27-3-0 in NCAAs) ... the past two Irish teams have combined for a 46-3-1 record, the 2nd-best win total and pct. over a two-year span in the program's history (the '96-'97 teams were a combined 47-3-1) ... ND is 12-0-0 on Sundays this season (59-2 scoring edge).
ADDITIONAL QUOTES FROM ND HEAD COACH Randy Waldrum - "Considering the wind and the weather today, it's a difficult condition for anyone to play in and I actually was fairly pleased with the way we played with that. In fact, I thought we played better going against the wind in the second half. Michigan State has had a great season and we were really concerned going in. They are very organized defensively.
"Our defense is starting to develop into one of the better we have had here and each of those players has grown as the season has gone on. I was really worried in the first half how we were going to handle their 'keeper's big punts with the wind but Shaner, Dew and Lorenzen did a great job of winning those balls and not letting them bounce. That's not an easy thing to do, winning those balls coming out so high. The defense has continued to get better and they really are starting to play well as a group.
"We knew how good defensively they were going to be and we've face a lot of counterattacking strategies. Your back four have to really be on top of things and, more importantly, we have to be organizing when we have the ball. Because if we are ball-watching as we're building up and we lose it and we're disorganized, that counter-attack can get you and that's what we learned the hard way in the loss earlier in the year up at Marquette. We've done a much better job of dealing with the counter-attack.
ND JUNIOR DEFENDER Christie Shaner - "Obviously, we lost two big personalities in the back in Melissa Tancredi and Gunna Gunnarsdottir. They provided a huge presence on the field and we've got different players this year and people have been filling in and stepping up. Our whole defense has been getting better every game and playing well as a unit. We're even able to rotate players in, because we've been playing so solid. As a team, we've been defending starting with our forwards and through our midfield and that has taken a lot of pressure off the defense. ... It is a pride issue. Now we go into every game saying this is our zone and we're not going to let anyone by. Defense wins games for you. ... We didn't want to give up a goal at the end. It's still a pride issue. You've got to stay focused and it's a 90-minute game. ... We have to win next weekend before we think about anything else. We can't underestimate Yale because they already have proven themselves and we've already seen some other upsets in the NCAAs this year. That also happened last year, some upsets happened around the country as we were going to the final four."
ND JUNIOR MIDFIELDER Jill Krivacek - "Most importantly. my job is to kill most counter-attacks. If I can win that first ball and put it back to our forwards or another midfielder, it will kill the opportunity for a counter-attack. My biggest role is to kill those counters, win the 50-50 balls and get it to our forwards as soon as possible. ... In the beginning of the year, we were trying to figure out who we were going to put into the center defense and we had lost some experience there from last year. But we have the personnel to be solid in the back."
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM ND FRESHMAN FORWARD Kerri Hanks - "I go though my times when I get in a funk and need to get out of it. That's just why I'm in the game of soccer. If I was supposed to make every shot, I guess I'd go play basketball. I just go through it, play the game and go from there."
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM MSU HEAD COACH TOM SAXTON - "Notre Dame is just a great team. We had a chance to watch them Friday night and we knew we had our work cut out for us. We tried to play defensive against them, but when they got us isolated they made us pay. ... I think we played a pretty good second half, which is something that we can take and walk away with our chins up."