Nov. 28, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Senior All-America forward and Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas/Allen) assisted on both Notre Dame goals and the sturdy Irish defense was rock solid against one of the nation's most explosive offenses as top-ranked Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Women's College Cup for the third consecutive season with a 2-0 victory over No. 6 Florida State on a clear and cold Friday night before a boisterous crowd of 2,332 in the final game ever at Alumni Field (which is being replaced with the brand-new Alumni Soccer Stadium next season).
The Irish advance to the NCAA College Cup semifinals next Friday, Dec. 5, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., against fifth-ranked Stanford, which got an 86th-minute goal from Christen Press for a 1-0 victory over No. 3 Portland in another Friday night quarterfinal out in the Bay Area. The start time for Notre Dame's national semifinal contest and broadcast coverage will be announced after each of the tournament's quarterfinal games are complete (UCLA hosts Duke Saturday night in Los Angeles).
"I couldn't be more pleased with our effort out there tonight," Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. "That was one heck of a team we just beat and it took a determined and focused game from everyone up and down our lineup to make it happen. We've always enjoyed tremendous success here at Alumni Field and I'm so glad we could send this place out the way it deserves to go out. I'm also so happy for our seniors, who have been such an important part of our program these past four years and now have the chance to go and play on the final weekend of the season."
In addition to leading Notre Dame (25-0-0) to its fourth College Cup berth in five years and 10th in the past 15 years, Hanks marched into NCAA Division I women's soccer history on Friday, as her two helpers give her 83 career goals and 73 career assists, making her the first D-I player ever to amass 73G-73A in her career. The incomparable Mia Hamm finished her career at North Carolina (1989-90, 1992-93) with 103 goals and 72 assists, with Hanks also moving past Hamm into a tie for second place on the NCAA career assists chart (a perch she now shares with former Irish teammate Katie Thorlakson, 2002-05).
Hanks' first assist came at 18:10, as she drilled a corner kick from the left flag into the box, where freshman defender Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) rose above the pack and was able to drive home a header from short range for her first career goal. Schuveiller becomes the 19th different Irish player to score a goal this season, extending a school record, while Hanks stretched her school-record point-scoring streak to 19 games.
Notre Dame then potted its all-important second goal at 76:06, and again, Hanks was right in the thick of things. This time, she drove hard to the left endline before snapping a crisp service back into the six-yard box that snuck through traffic. Sophomore forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas/Martin) alertly crashed the net and was able to pounce on the loose ball, depositing her fifth goal of the year and fourth in the past eight games.
Hanks' assist on the Knaack score put her on top of yet another major career statistical list, as it was her 20th career assist in the NCAA Championship, passing former North Carolina standout (and current U.S. National Team member) Lindsay Tarpley for top honors in that category (Tarpley had 19 helpers from 2002-05).
Collectively, Notre Dame held a narrow 12-11 edge in shots against Florida State, including a 5-3 margin in shots on goal (the Seminoles had only one shot on goal in the second half). The Irish also took six corner kicks to FSU's four, while Notre Dame was whistled for 13 of the 21 fouls in the contest, and four yellow cards were evenly divided between the clubs. Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) made two saves and senior defender/co-captain Carrie Dew (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon) came up with a timely intervention of her own late in the second half to help the Irish preserve their 17th shutout of the season (and Lysander's ninth solo clean sheet this year).
Goalkeeper Kate Milstead made three saves for the Seminoles (17-3-3), who also got single shots on goal from Casey Short, Tiffany McCarty and Rachel Lim.
-- ND --
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame posts its 25th consecutive win, setting a new record for the longest winning streak in school history (previous: 24 from Oct. 19, 1995 through Oct. 11, 1996); the 25 wins also tie the school record for victories in one season, previously achieved in 2004 and 2006 (both 25-1-1 records) ... the Irish are 41-1-1 in their last 43 games, with the lone defeat being a 3-2 loss to Florida State in last year's College Cup semifinals in College Station, Texas ... this will mark the second time Notre Dame has made three consecutive NCAA Women's College Cup appearances, having strung together four trips to the national semifinals from 1994-97 (winning the title in 1995) ... with their 10th College Cup berth (others in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2007), the Irish tie Santa Clara for the second-most NCAA semifinal appearances in tournament history, trailing only North Carolina, which qualified for its 24th College Cup with a 2-1 double-overtime win over visiting Texas A&M on Friday ... all 10 of Notre Dame's College Cup appearances have come in the past 15 seasons (1994-2008), with only UNC having more semifinal berths (12) in that span ... head coach Randy Waldrum now has guided Notre Dame to six NCAA College Cup appearances in his 10 years under the Golden Dome; only four Division I coaches have ever taken their teams to more NCAA semifinals than Waldrum (UNC's Anson Dorrance with 24; Santa Clara's Jerry Smith with 10; and seven each for Connecticut's Len Tsantiris and Portland's late Clive Charles -- UCLA's Jillian Ellis can also make her sixth trip with a win Saturday over Duke), while Waldrum has already tied for third all-time with three trips to the championship game ... the Irish improve to 10-2 all-time in NCAA quarterfinal games, including a 9-1 record at Alumni Field ... overall, Notre Dame closes out its 19-year run at Alumni Field with a 39-3 (.929) record in NCAA Championship play, and an overall mark of 220-16-4 (.925) ... the Irish senior class finished 20-0 in postseason games (BIG EAST/NCAA) at Alumni Field, shutting out 16 of their 20 opponents ... those seniors also raise their record in NCAA postseason play to 16-3 ... Notre Dame winds up 50-4 (.926) against first-time visitors to Alumni Field since 1993, the first year the Irish took part in the NCAA Championship ... the Irish pick up their ninth win over a Top 25 opponent this season and second over a Top 10 squad (they earned a 1-0 win at third-ranked UNC on Sept. 5) ... Notre Dame still has trailed for only 1:59 all season (all coming on Oct. 5 vs. Marquette) ... the Irish scored in the first 20 minutes of play for the 15th time this season ... Notre Dame has scored in 50 consecutive games (dating back to last year's season-opening 0-0 tie vs. Michigan on Aug. 31, 2007, at Alumni Field), the second-longest streak in school history behind a 55-game run from Aug. 29, 1997-Sept. 17, 1999 ... the Irish improve to 302-0-1 all-time when holding a 2-0 lead and are unbeaten in their last 279 games when going up by that score; what's more all but two of the past 191 Irish opponents have failed to force even a tie after trailing Notre Dame 2-0 ... the Irish also are 375-9-15 (.959) all-time when limiting their opponents to 0-1 goals in a game ... the 17 shutouts match the fourth-highest total in school history, exceeding only by a school-record 19 whitewashes in 2006, and 18 clean sheets in both 1995 and 1997 (Notre Dame also had 17 shutouts in 2005) ... the Irish also notch their ninth shutout in 11 games and held their opponents to three or fewer shots on goal for the 18th time this season ... senior All-America forward/Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks now is one of only two players in the country with at least 15 goals and 15 assists this season (19G-15A), joining Cynthia Morote-Ariza (18G-19A) of Loyola-Chicago, which did not qualify for this year's NCAA Championship ... Hanks has scored a point in 25 of 28 career postseason games (with goals in 14) ... Hanks has logged the game-winning point in all four of Notre Dame's NCAA Championship wins this season, with assists in the first two rounds against Toledo and Michigan State, as well as Friday's quarterfinal vs. Florida State, and adding the gamewinning penalty kick in overtime of the third-round win over No. 22/24 Minnesota.