Nov. 18, 2005
Katie Thorlakson and Kerri Hanks cemented their place in history as the second set of Division I teammates ever to reach 70 points in the same season but their fellow forward Amanda Cinalli played just as important a role - scoring the first goal and adding the primary assist on the Hanks goal that provided the key 4-2 cushion - as the fifth-ranked Notre Dame women's soccer team defeated No. 22 Yale, 5-2, in Friday night's NCAA third-round action at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame (22-2-0) extended its winning streak to 13 games and the defending national champs now move on to the NCAA quarterfinals for the ninth time in the past 12 seasons, facing another perennial contender in sister-school the University of Portland (both universities were founded by the Order of the Holy Cross). Portland (21-0-1) advanced on Friday with a 4-0 win over Arizona and will play host to the Irish during next weekend's quarterfinal round. The game - now set for Friday, Nov. 25, at 7:00 PST - will serve as a rematch from the 2004 NCAA quarterfinal that saw Notre Dame top Portland, 3-1 at Alumni Field.
The Irish now own a 64-12-1 all-time record (.838) in postseason play, including 35-10-1 in the NCAAs (.772, 2nd-best among all teams) and 28-3-0/.903 in NCAA games played at home (39-3-0/.929 in all home postseason games).
Notre Dame has reached 22 wins for the sixth time in the past dozen seasons, with three previous Irish teams ('94, '97 and '00) winning 23 games while the '96 squad was a 24-game winner and the 2004 NCAA champs won 25.
Thorlakson assisted on three goals to firmly establish herself among the top playmakers in the history of Division I women's soccer. The senior frontrunner now has totaled 34 assists this season and 72 for her career, with both marks tied for second in the NCAA record book (another former ND great, Holly Manthei, holds each of those records with 44 assists in '96 and 129 from '94-'97). Thorlakson's 72 career assists tie her with former North Carolina great Mia Hamm for second in NCAA history while her 34 assists this season have bested the 33 posted by Hamm in '92 (the NCAA record until Manthei had 44A in '96, followed by 34 in '97).
The Notre Dame record book made more room for Thorlakson after the hard-fought win over Yale, as the Canadian national teamer became the program's first player ever to record points in 13 straight games - besting a record (12) that she first tied earlier this season and then matched last week before going one better with Friday's production.
Hanks capped the game with a pair of goals, giving her 28 for the season to tie the Irish record set by Jenny Heft in 1998. Just three freshmen in the history of D-I women's soccer have scored more goals that the rookie sensation Hanks. One of those players - Baylor's Molly Cameron (32, in '96) - played for current Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum during his first season with the Bears. Hanks and Cameron are the only D-I freshman to score 28-plus goals in the past 15 seasons, dating back to the 30-goal season from Washington State's Kim Lynass in 1990. The NCAA record for goals by a freshman is the 37 posted by SMU's Lisa Cole in 1987, with Hanks currently ranking 20th overall on the NCAA single-season goals list.
Hanks (71; 28G-15A) edged a point ahead of Thorlakson (70; 18G-34A) atop the Notre Dame scoring charts. The dynamic duo joined two former SMU players - Danielle Garrett (83) and Courtney Linex (77), in '95 - as the only sets of Division I teammates ever to reach 70 points in the same season. Hanks currently stands 17th in the NCAA record book for single-season points while Thorlakson is tied for 19th on that list (with, among others, her '04 season total).
Former midfield standout Cindy Daws remains the only Notre Dame player ever to total more points in a season than the current dynamic duo, with Daws posting 72 points during her 1996 Hermann Trophy season.
Thorlakson - who totaled 23G-24A (70 points) in her stellar 2004 season - also became just the second Division I player ever to post 70-plus points in multiple seasons. Garrett (who later took her married name of Fotopoulos) followed up her 83 points in '95 with 81 in '96 (at SMU) and later added a 75-point season at Florida in '98.
Freshman midfielder Brittany Bock continued her strong play while scoring the second goal of the game (and her 11th of the season) while sophomore forward Susan Pinnick came off the bench to score her seventh goal of the season, yielding a 3-1 lead late in the first half and holding up as the eventual gamewinner.
The 13-game winning streak is tied for seventh-longest in Notre Dame history while the Irish added to several other noteworthy streaks, with: a 28-game home unbeaten streak (7th in NCAA history and one shy of the ND record, set from '99-'01); a 35-game scoring streak (3rd in the ND record book, one behind a scoring streak from '95-'96); 11 straight games with 3-plus goals (extending the '05 team's ND record); a 66-2-0 record in the past 68 games when scoring first; 227 consecutive wins when claiming a 2-0 lead; and a 134-1-0 record in the past 135 games (51 straight wins) when scoring three-plus goals. The junior class has yet to be see the Irish be outshot during their three-year careers, with Notre Dame going 67-6-2 (.907) in that '03-'05 span.
Notre Dame finished with a 23-6 shot edge vs. Yale (15-4-1), including 11-3 in shots on goal. The Irish also owned an 8-2 corner-kick margin, marking the 18th time this season than the opponent has been limited to 0-2 corners.
The Irish cracked the five-goal mark for the 11th time this season and now have totaled 109 goals in 24 games, for a nation-leading average of 4.54 goals per game. Notre Dame's opponent shot total (111) is nearly equal to the Irish goal output, with the '05 opponents totaling just 48 shots on goal (2.0/gm) and 39 corner kicks (1.6/gm).
The five goals given up by Yale were nearly half of the total (11) allowed by the Bulldogs in 19 previous games this season (Columbia scored twice vs. Yale, marking the only previous time that a Yale opponent had scored multiple goals in '05).
Yale head coach Rudy Meredith - who saw his team cash in two counterattack chances to avert the blowout fate of most Irish opponents this season - left Alumni Field on Friday night coming away impressed with Notre Dame's dynamic attack and he predicted a repeat national title for the Irish this season.
"There's a reason why they are the defending national champions: the way they pass the ball, they are well-coached, they work hard. They have so many weapons - there are six or seven people that can score goals and you can't just mark one player. That's why they are such a great team and they are by far the best team we've played all season," said Meredith, whose team dropped a 1-0 game to North Carolina earlier this season.
"North Carolina maybe is a little bit more athletic but I think Notre Dame is the better soccer team. They have more weapons and they play better soccer. In general, Notre Dame would be the tougher team to play against because their soccer is better. North Carolina might be a little big more athletic ... but not much more. I expect to see [Notre Dame] repeating as champions."
Thorlakson registered three-plus assists for the fourth time this season and has posted points in all 15 of Notre Dame's postseason games during the past two years, factoring into 70% of the teams goals (35 of 50; with 14G-21A) during that 14-1-0 postseason run. She has factored into more goals this season (52) than any other player in Division I, spanning more than 300 teams.
"(Thorlakson) is the best, as far as being dangerous and putting the other team's defense under pressure," said Meredith. "Constantly when she touched the ball, I was scared she was going to score. That's the first player we've played all season where I felt every time she touched the ball she was going to score or set up her teammates to score."
Hanks found the net for the seventh straight game, tied for the fourth-longest goalscoring streak in Notre Dame history. She has scored in all six postseason games this season, one shy of Amanda Guertin's team record for consecutive postseason games with a goal scored (7, from '01-'02).
Cinalli would be the star player and leading scorer for most teams in the nation, instead ranking "just" third on the Irish with 37 points this season (10G-17A). But the sophomore frontrunner has proven to be a clutch goalscorer during the past two seasons and now has opened the scoring in three of the six 2005 postseason games (including the BIG EAST title game vs. UConn).
Junior left back Christie Shaner set up the first goal with a cross to the top of the box from deep on the left flank. Thorlakson then played a short chip over the defense and Cinalli quickly showcased her diverse skills by trapping the ball off her chest, sizing up 'keeper Chloe Beizer and volleying a low, six-yard shot inside the left post for her 10th goal of the season and 20th of her young Irish career (15:39).
"Coach always talks about having composure in the box and I hit it well," said Cinalli, in reference to the advice from seventh-year Irish head coach Randy Waldrum.
Her coach came away impressed once again with his second-year frontrunner.
"Amanda Cinalli has turned in a great season for us in many ways, including with her ability to set up her teammates and even shift into the midfield at times," said Waldrum, who now owns an .854 win pct. with the Irish (141-22-5).
"But Amanda also is a tremendous goalscorer and teams often make the mistake of underestimating that part of her game, because they are focusing so much on Thorlakson and Hanks. Amanda scores great goals for us all the time and she played great tonight, just as she has all season."
Hanks was not officially credited with an assist on the second goal but she did provide the pass into the box for her classmate. Bock then displayed her devastating ability on the ball, combining strength and ball control to battle her way past three Yale players before sending her 11th goal of the season by the charging 'keeper (21:18).
Bock and Hanks are the fifth set of Notre Dame freshmen to post 11-plus goals in the same season, joining: Anne Makinen (23) and Meotis Erikson (22) from 1997, Jenny Streiffer (22) and Heft (12) from '96, Daws ('93) and Stacia Masters (13) from '93, and the '92 duo of Rosella Guerrero (13) and Michelle McCarthy (12).
Yale displayed an impressive counterattack and that ability produced a goal in the 32nd minute, halting Notre Dame's 510-minute shutout streak that had included 29 consecutive goals by the Irish - the 7th-longest string of unanswered goals in ND history and longest since a record-setting 50 straight goals by the 1997 team.
Freshman forward Emma Whitfield provided a booming cross in transition from the right flank and senior midfielder Lauren Karnes adjusted her run by angling for the near post before squeezing off a shot from close range for her seventh goal of the season (31:11).
"They are a dangerous team on the counterattack, one of the best teams we played all year making a commitment to defending and attacking," said Waldrum. "In transition, they are a very good team. They are going to be handful for the Ivy League the next few years."
Notre Dame answered with its third goal of the season, on a goal set up by more classic playmaking from Thorlakson. With several of her teammates making runs into the box, Thorlakson shook free on the left endline and struck a low ball into the heart of the penalty area. Senior midfielder Annie Schefter had the near-post run and made a "dummy" play on the ball, which skipped into the six-yard box for an easy tap-in from Pinnick (39:16).
Teams making their first visit to Alumni Field traditionally have not fared well (ND now is 40-3-1 in those games, dating back to '93) and many of those first-time visitors have folded their tents well before the final whistle. But the Bulldogs had plenty of bite for the full 90 minutes, including a goal early in the second half that threw the game into another gear.
"They tried to get forward more than most teams we play and were relentless," said junior All-America midfielder Jen Buczkowski, who was taking a brief breather when the second Yale goal was scored.
"Most teams tend to give up when we are up 2-0 and they fall back - but Yale kept going, they wouldn't stop coming at us."
Whitfield's eighth goal of the season forged the 3-2 score, with the sequence set up when one of the Irish defenders mistimed a ball in the air. Freshman midfielder Crysti Howser end up with the ball at the edge of the attacking third and quickly sent a thru-ball towards the upper left corner of the box. Whitfield had a small opening and sent her shot past charging 'keeper Erika Bohn to provide an exciting one-goal game (50:40).
It marked just the third time this season that a Notre Dame opponent has scored multiple goals, with the Irish allowing just 12 total scores in the 24 games.
Notre Dame once again had an answer, on a display of great precision that was capped by a devastating finish off the foot of Hanks. Junior defensive midfielder Jill Krivacek - who now has posted nearly half of her career points with the Irish (9 of 19; 2G-5A) in postseason games - set up the fourth goal with a well-played pass from outside the top of the box. Cinalli received the ball near the PK spot and shielded her defender before tapping the ball to the left.
Hanks then ran onto the ball and redirected the pass into the lower-right corner of the net, completing the quick-moving sequence with her 27th goal of the season (63:42). The Irish went on to improve to 18-0-0 this season when Hanks scores a goal.
"Jill played a really good pass and I just shielded my player and passed it to Hanks, who was making a perfect run from behind," said Cinalli, whose 17 assists are nearly four times as many as she totaled in 2004 (5). "[Kerri] gave me a shout and I just trusted that she'd be there. It was a great goal."
Notre Dame's dynamic duo combined on a goal for the 21st time this season, capping the scoring in the 85th minute. Shaner went high to win a crunching header on the left side and Thorlakson chased down the ball before driving to the endline. The result was another perfectly-placed low cross, as Hanks found herself unmarked at the top of the six-yard box, sending the ball past 'keeper Susan Starr (who played the second half) and into the center of the net for the 5-2 final (84:45).
** Note: see additional quick notes - including a peek ahead at the ND-Portland matchup - plus more postgame quotes all included below the statistical summary **
#22 Yale (15-4-1) 1 1 - 2
#5 Notre Dame (22-2-0) 3 2 - 5
ND 1. Amanda Cinalli 10 (Katie Thorlakson, Christie Shaner) 15:39; ND 2. Brittany Bock 11 (-) 21:18; Yale 1. Laurel Karnes 7 (Emma Whitfield) 31:11; ND 3. Susan Pinnick 7 (Thorlakson); Yale 2. Whitfield 8 (Crysti Howser) 50:40; ND 4. Kerri Hanks 27 (Cinalli, Jill Krivacek) 63:42; ND 5. Hanks 28 (Thorlakson) 84:45.
Shots: Yale 4-2 - 6, ND 13-10 - 23
Corner Kicks: Yale 0-2 - 2, ND 5-3 - 8
Saves: Yale 6 (Chloe Beizer 3 GA/5 SV in 45:00; Susan Starr 2 GA/1 SV in 45:00)
Fouls: Yale 16, ND 13
Offsides: Yale 1, ND 5
Yellow Card: Mary Kuder (Yale) 57:00
QUICK KICKS - Thorlakson (34) nearly has matched her assist total (38) from the previous three seasons ... Hanks scored her two goals in just 70 minutes of game action (due to ND's tremendous depth, she is averaging just 65 minutes per game while scoring once per every 58 minutes of game action - or nearly 2G for every 90 minutes) ... the only ND players with longer goalscoring streaks than Hanks are Guertin (10, in '01), Erikson (9, in '97) and Amy VanLaecke (9, in '95) ... Thorlakson's 182 career points remain 6th in ND history but now are just four behind Makinen on that list ... she also suddenly is just eight points shy of tying for 2nd place on the Irish career scoring list (Heft and Daws are tied for 3rd with 189 points while Monica Gerardo had 190 and Streiffer 211) ... Krivacek (who missed a month due to a knee injury) has 1G-4A in her past 8 GP ... the Irish are 17-0-0 in games started by junior central D Kim Lorenzen, with an 87-4 scoring edge and just 27 shots on goal (1.6/gm) allowed in those 17 games ... Bohn and senior M Annie Schefter will be honored during halftime of Saturday's ND-Syracuse football game, in recognition of their Academic All-America honors received in 2004 (TBA next week for '05) ... Buczkowski and Schefter have appeared in all 75 games during the past three seasons while Thorlakson's string of 94 consecutive games played remains the 5th-longest in ND history ... Thorlakson has totaled 39 points (9G-21A) during her 13-game point streak (3.0/gm) ... she extended her ND record for career points in the NCAAs to 28 (7G-14A; also ND-record 52 career postseason points/15G-22A) ... Thorlakson has scored (4) or assisted (12, ND record for GWAs in a season) on 16 of ND's 22 gamewinning goals this season and extended her ND record for career gamewinning points to 46 (her 22 GWAs trail only Manthei's 25 in the ND record book) ... Thorlakson and Hanks have combined to factor into two-thirds (72-of-109, including 4-of-5 vs. Yale) of ND's goals this season ... ND has allowed just 21 shots on goal in the 13-game winning streak (1.6/gm).
PORTLAND PRIMER - The ND-Portland game will showcase the nation's top-three scorers: UP's Christine Sinclair (84 points; 37G-10A), Hanks (71; 28G-15A) and Thorlakson (70; 18G-34A) ... Thorlakson and Hanks are the only players in the nation with at least 15G-15A ... ND (1st with 4.54 goals per game; 5th with 0.50 GAA) and Portland (4th with 3.19 gpg; 3rd with 0.38 GAA) were the only teams in the nation that entered this week ranked in the top-5 for scoring and team goals-against avg. ... ND owns a 109-12 season scoring edge, Portland 68-8 ... ND and Portland have fashioned a memorable series between the sister schools, as both are Roman Catholic institutions founded by the Congregation of the Holy Cross ... the Irish hold a 7-3-0 lead in the series, with nine games decided by one goal (five 1-0) and five coming in the NCAAs ... the home team is just 1-7-0 in the series, with two games played on neutral fields ... ND is 1-3-0 at home vs. UP and 4-0-0 vs. the Pilots at Merlo Field ... ND wins over the Pilots include the 2000 win (1-0, on an early Meotis Erikson goal) that elevated the Irish to the No. 1 ranking, two 1-0 wins in the NCAAs ('94 semifinal at UP, '95 title game at UNC) and a 3-2 win in the '96 semifinals (at SCU) - plus two other wins at Merlo Field (2-1 in '94, 1-0 in '97) and the '04 quarterfinal at ND (3-1) ... ND's 4-0-0 mark at Merlo Field stands in stark contrast to the Pilots' longtime success at the facility (UP has won 90% of its other games at Merlo Field, going 142-14-5) ... Portland's wins at Alumni Field came in '92 (2-1), in the '98 NCAA quarterfinals (2-1, on a Jessica Talbot goal in the 88th minute) and at the '02 ND Classic (1-0, on a late Sinclair goal) ... ND's 3-2 win over UP in the '96 NCAA semifinals saw the Irish rally from a 2-0 halftime deficit, thanks to goals from Shannon Boxx, Amy VanLaecke and Monica Gerardo (all in the first 15 minutes of the second half) ... the Pilots win over the Irish in the 1998 quarterfinals was the first postseason loss ever for the Irish at Alumni Field (now 39-3-0) ... Heft scored a dramatic game-tying goal in the 73rd minute of that game but Talbot netted the gamewinner with 2:54 left to play (Brooke O'Hanley gave UP the 1-0 lead midway through the first half, with ND holding an 18-12 final shot edge) ... in ND's '97 visit to Merlo Field, Gerardo scored the game's only goal to end Portland's 25-game home unbeaten streak .. the teams battled for 125 minutes in the '95 title game before ND won 1-0 in sudden death OT, on a free-kick goal by Cindy Daws ... the Pilots first win of the series came in '92, behind goals from Tiffeny Milbrett and Shannon MacMillan (2-1) ... Portland made a return trip to Alumni Field in '97 but did not face the Irish, beating Duke and losing to UNC ... this will mark the 9th time in 11 meetings that ND (5) and Portland (1) both are ranked in the NSCAA top-25 poll ... the lower-ranked team owns a 3-7-0 record in the series, with those upset wins including: #4 ND over #2 UP, 1-0 in '95 NCAA title game at UP; #6 UP winning 2-1 at #4 ND in '98 NCAA quarterfinal; and #19 UP winning 1-0 at #6 ND in '02 ... two of those previous wins by the lower-seeded squad saw the teams separated by just two spots in the poll ... SIX of the games in the series have seen both teams ranked 6th or higher in the NSCAA poll (two of the games mentioned above and the upcoming, plus the '96 NCAA semifinal that saw #1 ND beat #3 UP 3-2 and the '97 game when #2 ND won 1-0 at #3 UP) ... Sinclair, Thorlakson and ND fifth-year right back Candace Chapman star alongside each other with the Canadian National Team while Sinclair and Thorlakson were the offensive leaders of the Canadian team that lost in overtime to the U.S. in the 2002 Under-19 World Championship ... ND's Schefter and Portland junior M Lisa Saari were teammates on the Washington state ODP team (Schefter also has played with the ODP Region IV team alongside Portland junior G Cori Alexander and junior D Kari Evans) ... ND senior F Maggie Manning hails from Lake Oswego, Ore., and played at Jesuit HS (as did UP sophomore D Emily Michaelson) ... Manning also played vs. UP sophomore F Natalie Budge (Tualatin HS) during their prep days ... ND sophomore M/D Ashley Jones played for the Region IV ODP team alongside UP junior D Stephanie Lopez ... ND's Buczkowski teammate of Lopez, UP sophomore F Megan Rapinoe and junior F Angie Woznuk with the U.S. Under-19 National Team program ... Buczkowski and Bohn then played alongside Lopez on the U.S. Under-21 team that won the Nordic Cup in the summer of '05 (Buczkowski and Lopez were two of three U.S. players to log every minute at that elite tournament) ... Hanks played with the U.S. in the 2004 Under-19 World Championship (in Thailand) alongside three UP players (Lopez, junior F Angie Woznuk and freshman F Megan Rapinoe) ... ND junior F Molly Iarocci and Evans both are products of the Arizona ODP system and were teammates on the Sereno Golden Eagles club team ... ND's Shaner and Bohn played alongside UP senior M Lindsey Huie at the U.S. Under-21 National Team camps in the summer of '04 ... Chapman, Thorlakson, Buczkowski, Hanks, Sinclair and Huie comprise six of the 15 semifinalists for the 2005 Hermann Trophy ... check back later in the weekend for more on the ND-UP series, including a "Tale of the Tape" statistical comparison.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM YALE HEAD COACH RUDY MEREDITH - "We played North Carolina and Duke earlier tin the season and were able to create chances on those teams, so that gave us confidence. It was surprising to look at their statistics and see that Notre Dame had only given up like one goal in the past 11 games. We knew it was going to be tough to score against them but we kept working hard. ... Our philosophy was stay in the game as long as we can, put their defense under pressure and force them to do some things differently and get out of their comfort zone. ... They still were able to maintain their confidence and keep playing the way they like to play, kicking the ball around and maintaining possession. We weren't; able to knock them out of that rhythm, maybe in spurts here and the but that's all."
YALE FRESHMAN FORWARD EMMA WHITFIELD - "Duke was an amazing game, it was an emotional high for all of us. We came into this game knowing that we have nothing to lose, we've been an underdog and you have to fight for everything you have. We put it in perspective and knew Notre Dame is better than Duke. ... Rudy always tells us if you can compete, you can defeat. ... I felt like that second goal put us right back in the game and we did a great job of keeping our composure and kept fighting."
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM ND JUNIOR MIDFIELDER Jen Buczkowski - "It was key that we got those goals after they had scored. They were a very good team and it was very important that we kept our focus and played tough throughout the whole game. ... We were disappointed in ourselves and the way we were handling their counterattack. the first goal wasn't a build-up play. We knew they would try to get down on a counter and serve it in. ... We are really excited and these are the games we have been waiting for all season. It was really good to be in that position, up 2-0 but then 2-1 and be able to fight through it."
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM ND HEAD COACH Randy Waldrum - "I said going in that Yale was going to be a better team than a lot of people thought they were. ... Rudy is a great coach and did a great job tonight. To be down 1-0 to us on our home field a playoff game, it didn't rattle them at all. It was a battle to put it away. We had some chances in the first half to go up 3-0 and that might have put it away. It seemed like the few times we were disorganized, they capitalized on it. ... At this time of the year, you just want to win. Every time they came back to make it a game, we came back and responded to that. It would have been very easy for us to panic and them tie the game up and anything can happen at that point. To finish it out the way we did says a lot and that is what championship teams are able to do. ... [Buczkowski] is the one player that can settle things down. She can get the ball in pressure and settle it. ... It was a great game for the fans."