May 21, 2013
The Fighting Irish, who begin their inaugural season in the ACC this fall, will play two-thirds (12) of their 18 regular season matches against teams that advanced to the NCAA Championship last year, a group that is led by defending national champion North Carolina and 2012 NCAA Women's College Cup qualifier (as well as the defending ACC regular season champion) Florida State, along with NCAA quarterfinalists UCLA and Duke and NCAA third-round participant (and reigning ACC tournament champion) Virginia.
In total, Notre Dame has 11 regular season home matches on this year's schedule, with Illinois (Aug. 23), UCLA (Sept. 1), Maryland (Sept. 26), Wake Forest (Oct. 3), Duke (Oct. 20) and Boston College (Oct. 24) all slated to visit Alumni Stadium during the 2013 campaign.
The UCLA match will be one of the cornerstones of the 21st annual Notre Dame adidas Invitational, which has traditionally been among the premier events in the nation. Defending BIG EAST Conference champion Marquette and reigning Summit League champion Oakland (which joins the Horizon League this fall) round out this year's tournament field, with Marquette and UCLA tangling on the opening day (Aug. 30; 5 p.m. ET) before Notre Dame meets Oakland (7:30 p.m. ET). The pairings switch for the second day (Sept. 1), with Marquette facing Oakland (11 a.m. ET) and Notre Dame taking on UCLA (1:30 p.m. ET).
A select number of Notre Dame's matches this season may be televised, although those coverage plans have not yet been finalized. The complete Fighting Irish broadcast schedule for the 2013 season will be announced at a later date.
"I'm really excited about what we have lined up with this year's schedule," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "Not only will it be one of our most challenging schedules since I've been here, but we're moving into arguably the best women's soccer conference in the country in the ACC. Our players are all looking forward to the high level of competition we're going to see in the ACC week after week, and we should be very well-prepared by the time the postseason rolls around."
The Fighting Irish compiled a 16-6-2 record in 2012, advancing to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals for the 15th time in program history while also earning a share of the BIG EAST National Division title, their 14th regular season crown in 18 seasons as a member of that conference. Notre Dame also finished the season ranked 13th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll and 23rd in the Soccer America poll (the latter taken before the start of the NCAA Championship).
When the Fighting Irish begin preseason camp in early August, they expect to have 10 starters and 21 veterans returning, led by sophomore All-America forward/midfielder/defender (and U.S. Under-20 National Team mainstay) Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) and a pair of NSCAA all-region selections in senior midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) and sophomore defender Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove), along with high-scoring sophomore forward (and second-team all-BIG EAST pick) Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy). Collectively, Notre Dame's returning group accounted for all 46 goals and 126 of 127 points last season.
In addition, the Fighting Irish will welcome a stellar incoming freshman class that was ranked third in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer. The Notre Dame rookie contingent is paced by the consensus No. 1 high school player in the country (and a longtime U.S. Soccer veteran at several age groups), midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H./Milford), as well as two-time NSCAA All-Americans goalkeeper Kaela Little (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley) and midfielder Sandra Yu (Strongsville, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit), and midfielder Cindy Pineda (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield East), who was elevated to the Mexico Under-20 National Team program earlier this year.
Notre Dame's 2013 schedule opens with a pair of home exhibitions against Xavier (Aug. 14) and defending Big 12 Conference tournament champion Baylor (Aug. 17). Both matches will kick off at 1 p.m. (ET) and will be played on the team's practice field, located directly east (behind the right field wall) of Eck Baseball Stadium. There will be free admission (but no live video or GameTracker live stats coverage) for these exhibition contests, with fans asked to park in the Eck Stadium lot and then walk a short distance along the service road separating the baseball facility from Alumni and Arlotta stadia, a road that ends at the soccer practice field.
The Fighting Irish kick off the regular season with a five-match homestand (its longest since 2006), beginning at 5:30 p.m. (ET) Aug. 23 when they play host to Illinois at Alumni Stadium. Notre Dame has split its two prior meetings with the Fighting Illini, with both coming in the NCAA Championship. The teams last played in the first round of the 2011 NCAA tournament in Champaign, Ill., with Illinois earning a 1-0 victory.
Two days later, the Fighting Irish welcome another Big Ten Conference foe to town, as Northwestern comes calling for a 3:30 p.m. (ET) contest. Notre Dame is 4-0 all-time against the Wildcats, most recently collecting a 2-1 victory on Sept. 19, 2010, in Evanston, Ill. -- current Fighting Irish senior midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) scored the opening goal just 4:16 in that match.
Notre Dame continues its opening homestand with the adidas Invitational, meeting Oakland for the second consecutive season. Last year, the Fighting Irish registered a 3-0 win over the Golden Grizzlies at Alumni Stadium, needing a little more than a half to untangle the OU defense before Roccaro sparked the home side with a goal and an assist.
When Notre Dame plays UCLA in the adidas Invitational finale on Sept. 1, it will mark the first time the Bruins have visited South Bend since Nov. 29, 1997, when the Fighting Irish earned an 8-0 win in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals at old Alumni Field behind a hat trick from Jenny Heft and a goal and an assist each from future U.S. Women's National Team midfielder (and three-time Olympic gold medalist) Shannon Boxx, 2000 Hermann Trophy recipient Anne Makinen and future Mexico National Team forward Monica Gerardo.
In addition, it will be just the second time Notre Dame and UCLA have met since the epic 2004 NCAA national championship match in Cary, N.C., won by the Fighting Irish on penalty kicks, 4-3, after the teams played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw (it remains the only NCAA title contest to be decided on penalties). The two teams last squared off on Sept. 10, 2010, in Westwood, Calif., with UCLA edging Notre Dame, 2-1 in overtime.
Both Oakland and UCLA will be making their first-ever appearance in the adidas Invitational, while Marquette will take part in Notre Dame's tournament for the second time, having finished as the event's runner-up in 2009.
The Fighting Irish wrap up their non-conference schedule with a rare Sunday night match on Sept. 8, taking on defending Horizon League regular season co-champion Detroit at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Alumni Stadium. Notre Dame is 3-0 all-time against the Titans, but this will be the first contest between the two sides since Aug. 27, 2000, when the Fighting Irish notched a 6-0 season-opening victory at old Alumni Field on the strength of Makinen's four-point afternoon (one goal and two assists).
Notre Dame then embarks on its inaugural season of ACC competition, playing its historic first conference match at 7 p.m. (ET) Sept. 12 when it travels to Raleigh, N.C., to take on North Carolina State at the Dail Soccer Complex.
Three days later, the Fighting Irish venture across the Triangle to Chapel Hill, N.C., and another battle with longtime rival North Carolina at 1 p.m. (ET) at Fetzer Field. The teams have met annually (in either the regular season or NCAA Championship) since 2006, when UNC winning last year's encounter, 1-0 at Alumni Stadium. However, Notre Dame has had the upper hand in the series at Fetzer Field, going 4-2 all-time against the Tar Heels at the facility.
The Fighting Irish return home for their next four ACC matches, taking on fellow conference newcomers Syracuse (Sept. 19) and Pittsburgh (Sept. 29), with a contest against Maryland (Sept. 26) sandwiched between them. The homestand ends Oct. 3 when Notre Dame squares off with Wake Forest in a rematch of last year's NCAA Championship second-round contest between the clubs in Gainesville, Fla., won by the Fighting Irish, 2-1 on Thomas' 71st-minute goal.
Notre Dame's longest road swing of the season, a three-match run, features a pair of meetings with former BIG EAST foes, starting Oct. 6 when the Fighting Irish head to Coral Gables, Fla., and a Sunday matinee with Miami -- Notre Dame went 6-0 against the Hurricanes during their prior conference sisterhood from 1999-2003.
The Fighting Irish have a circuit through Virginia the following weekend, heading to Charlottesville, Va., and the Commonwealth's flagship institution on Oct. 10 (Notre Dame's first regular season encounter with the Cavaliers since 1989) and moving on to Blacksburg, Va., three days later for a contest with Virginia Tech, a program defeated in their lone BIG EAST match (5-0 in 2002 at old Alumni Field).
Notre Dame comes back to Alumni Stadium for its final two regular season home matches on Oct. 20 against Duke and Oct. 24 against Boston College. The Fighting Irish are 8-4-1 all-time against the Blue Devils, but haven't played host to them in a regular season match since Waldrum's first season in 1999. Meanwhile, BC is yet another former BIG EAST rival that Notre Dame will renew acquaintances with, having gone 10-1 against the Eagles under their previous conference banner from 1995-2004.
The Fighting Irish then close out the regular season with trips to Clemson (Oct. 27) and Florida State (Oct. 31). Notre Dame has never faced Clemson on the soccer pitch, while FSU has been a traditional postseason opponent for the Fighting Irish, most recently in last year's NCAA Championship quarterfinals, when the Seminoles ended Notre Dame's season with a narrow 1-0 victory in Tallahassee, Fla.
The top eight teams in the conference standings will qualify for the ACC Championship, with quarterfinal matches to be played Nov. 3 at campus sites. The tournament semifinals and final will take place Nov. 8 and 10 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., also the site of this year's NCAA Women's College Cup.
Ticket packages for the 2013 Notre Dame women's soccer season may be purchased through the University's Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office by calling (574) 631-7356 or visiting the ticket windows at Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET). Tickets also can be ordered on-line 24 hours a day with a major credit card through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets. Groups wishing to attend Fighting Irish soccer matches also can receive a discounted ticket rate -- contact Rita Baxter in the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office to learn more.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccer or @NDsoccernews), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
2013 FIGHTING IRISH SCHEDULE NOTES: In addition to the five teams noted in the release (Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, UCLA and Virginia), the other seven Fighting Irish opponents that advanced to last year's NCAA Championship are Boston College (second round), Illinois (second round), Maryland (second round), Miami (Fla.) (first round), Oakland (second round), Virginia Tech (first round) and Wake Forest (second round) ... seven of Notre Dame's opponents were ranked in both the NSCAA and Soccer America polls at the end of last season -- #1/14 North Carolina, #4/4 Florida State, #6/5 UCLA, #8/15 Duke, #10/2 Virginia, #15/12 Wake Forest and #16/13 Maryland (plus exhibition opponent #11/9 Baylor) -- while three others (Boston College, Illinois and Virginia Tech) were receiving votes in the final 2012 NSCAA poll ... four of Notre Dame's opponents won either their regular season or postseason conference titles last year (Detroit - Horizon League regular season; Florida State - ACC regular season; Oakland - Summit League regular season/tournament; Virginia - ACC tournament), not including exhibition foe Baylor, which won the Big 12 postseason crown in 2012 ... eight of Notre Dame's opponents have reached the NCAA Women's College Cup at least once in their program's history -- Boston College, Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, UCLA, Virginia, Wake Forest -- with six of those doing so within the past four seasons (Boston College, Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, UCLA and Wake Forest) ... 14 of Notre Dame's opponents finished last season with winning records, including five that registered at least 15 wins a year ago (not counting exhibition opponent Baylor which had 19 victories last season) ... the combined record of Notre Dame's 18 regular season opponents from 2012 was 211-130-38 (.607) -- factoring in the two exhibition foes, Fighting Irish opponents had a combined 236-143-44 (.610) record last year.