Aug. 21, 2008
#5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-0-0 / 0-0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Michigan Wolverines (0-0-0 / 0-0-0 Big Ten)
DATE: August 22, 2008
TIME: 7:30 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. - Alumni Field (2,500)
SERIES: ND leads 12-2-1
1ST MTG: ND 4-3 (10/1/89)
LAST MTG: Tied 0-0 (8/31/07)
WEBCAST: UND.com (live) (Michael Scholl, p-b-p / Tyler Profilet, color)
LIVE STATS: UND.com
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#5 Irish Open Regular Season Friday Night Against Michigan
Following a split of its two exhibition games, #5 Notre Dame gets going for real on Friday night when it plays host to Michigan in a 7:30 p.m. (ET) contest at Alumni Field. In a scheduling oddity, the Irish and Wolverines will be opening the season in South Bend for the second consecutive year, a move that came about when UM discovered its new home field would not be ready in time for Friday's contest.
The Irish are coming off a 2-1 loss to #6 Virginia in their exhibition finale last Saturday afternoon in Traverse City, Mich. Despite leading in virtually every statistical category, Notre Dame was not able to hold the upper hand in the one area that mattered -- the scoreboard. Junior midfielder Courtney Rosen drew the Irish level at 1-1 with her 23rd-minute goal, but UVa scored early in the second of three 30-minute periods and turned back several good scoring changes by the Irish to take the win.
Notre Dame outshot the Cavaliers, 14-10, including a 4-3 edge in shots on goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Nikki Weiss went the distance and made one save.
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Notre Dame should roll out one of its deepest teams in years, with 19 monogram winners (including nine starters) back from last season's squad that went 19-5-2 (11-0-0 in the BIG EAST) and advanced to the NCAA College Cup semifinals for the ninth time in the past 14 years. The Irish also bring back a powerful offensive punch, with 83.3 percent of their goalscoring (55 of 66) returning.
As if that weren't enough, Notre Dame welcomes a highly-regarded nine-player freshman class to campus, with three of those incoming players having earned multiple national All-America honors during their prep or club careers.
Leading the way for Notre Dame this season will be two of the country's premier front-line players (and '07 NSCAA first-team All-Americans) in senior forward Kerri Hanks and senior midfielder/forward Brittany Bock.
Hanks (14G-21A in 2007) continues to blaze new trails through the NCAA and Notre Dame record books, having led the nation in assists the past two seasons, and aiming to become the third Division I player ever to log 70 goals and 70 assists in her career (64G-58A entering this year). Among the nation's most gifted players, she also can become the 23rd Division I player ever to collect four All-America citations, and she remains a prime candidate for the Hermann Trophy, an award she claimed as a sophomore in 2006.
Bock (16G-4A), one of the Irish co-captains in 2008, emerged as a genuine offensive threat last season, leading the team in goals and finishing second with 36 points. The reigining BIG EAST Co-Offensive Player of the Year, Bock could see time at either forward (where she has spent much of the past two seasons) or midfield (her natural position) depending on other personnel moves.
Another key player for the Irish this season will be senior center back and co-captain Carrie Dew (2G-3A), the 2006 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year who made a successful recovery from an ACL injury late in the '06 regular season with a solid '07 campaign. She also anchored a Notre Dame back line that allowed only 10 goals and less than three shots per game during a 17-game unbeaten string in the final two months of the season.
A Quick Look At Michigan
Michigan enters a new era in its history on Friday, as first-year head coach (and former U.S. National Team skipper) Greg Ryan assumes the reins. He takes over a club that went 3-9-6 last season (1-5-4 in the Big Ten Conference), but brings back 15 letterwinners and eight starters to provide veteran leadership.
Michigan's top returning offensive threat is sophomore forward/midfielder Amanda Bowery (5G-2A), but the Wolverines rely largely on their defense, which will be anchored by senior goalkeeper Madison Gates (3-9-5, 1.16 GAA , 3 ShO in 2007), who turned aside 10 shots in last year's 0-0 tie at Notre Dame.
Ryan has a 185-81-18 (.683) career record in 15 seasons, making stops at Wisconsin (1986-93), SMU (1996-98) and Colorado College (1999-2002) before moving on to the U.S. National Team program. He is 1-2 all-time against the Irish (all while at UW).
The Notre Dame-Michigan Series
Notre Dame holds a 12-2-1 series lead against Michigan, including a 7-2-1 advantage at Alumni Field. The Irish have shut out the Wolverines in each of their last four meetings, going 3-0-1 in those contests. In fact, Notre Dame owns a streak of 428:22 against UM, dating back to Michigan's 1-0 upset win over the Irish on Nov. 16, 2003, in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Alumni Field.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Michigan Met
Second-ranked Notre Dame and Michigan played to a scoreless tie on Aug. 31, 2007, in front of the largest regular-season crowd in Alumni Field history (3,264) in the season opener for both teams. A career-best 10 saves from Michigan goalkeeper Madison Gates prevented the Irish from cashing in on a 28-6 edge in total shots (10-2 in shots on goal) and a 10-1 corner kick margin.
The tie ended Notre Dame's home winning streak at 32 games, which tied for the third-longest in NCAA Division I women's soccer history.
Notre Dame's best scoring chance came in the third minute of the second half, as forward Kerri Hanks delivered a free kick to the top of the 18-yard box, where midfielder Lauren Fowlkes struck a sharp header that smacked off the center of the crossbar.
The Irish held the Wolverines without a shot for 92 straight minutes of game time, stretching into the second of the two 10-minute overtimes. Notre Dame also extended its school-record overtime unbeaten streak to 21 games (14-0-7), dating back to the 1999 season.
Goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander started the season opener for the second consecutive season, making one save in the first half before Nikki Weiss came on to complete the shutout through the final 65 minutes (one save).
Blowing The Lid Off
Notre Dame is 17-2-1 (.875) all-time in season openers, including a 10-1-1 (.875) mark when that first game is played at home (9-1-1 at Alumni Field).
The Balancing Act
In a possible preview of Notre Dame's depth this season, eight different Irish players scored points during their two exhibition games this season, including four different goalscorers. Kerri Hanks, Erica Iantorno and Taylor Knaack all found the net against Memphis, before Courtney Rosen tallied the lone Irish goal against Virginia.
Exhibition Game #2 Recap: Virginia
Despite holding the upper hand in nearly every statistical category in its exhibition game against No. 6 Virginia, the fifth-ranked Notre Dame women's soccer team didn't have the edge in the column that mattered, as the Irish dropped a 2-1 preseason decision to the Cavaliers on Aug. 16 at the Keystone Soccer Complex in Traverse City, Mich.
Junior midfielder Courtney Rosen scored the only goal for Notre Dame in the 23rd minute. Freshman back Jessica Schuveiller started the sequence with a run to the right corner before her cross to the six-yard box was punched out. The ball landed at Rosen's feet and the Irish veteran took one dribble before powering a 25-yard rocket into the far right-side netting.
Notre Dame ended up with a 14-10 edge in total shots (4-3 in shots on goal), as well as a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks. Sophomore goalkeeper Nikki Weiss went the distance for the Irish, making one save.
Bock, Hanks On Hermann Trophy Watch List
Senior All-America forwards Kerri Hanks and Brittany Bock have been named to the 47-player watch list for the 2008 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, which is presented annually to the nation's top Division I women's soccer player. Notre Dame is one of 13 teams to place more than one player on this year's Hermann Trophy watch list, with Hanks being the lone previous winner on the `08 preseason Hermann Trophy chart.
A three-time All-American (twice on the first team) and the 2006 Hermann Trophy recipient (the first sophomore to garner the honor), Hanks is poised to become only the fourth multiple winner of the award, and the first to do so in non-consecutive years.
Bock emerged as one of the nation's top offensive threats last season, earning first-team All-America honors and joining Hanks and recently-graduated forward (and current volunteer assistant coach) Amanda Cinalli on the Hermann Trophy final-15 (semifinalists) list.
Notre Dame is one of only two programs to field three or more different recipients of the prestigious Hermann Trophy, with Cindy Daws (1996) and Anne Makinen (2000) joining Hanks in this elite sorority. The 2008 Hermann Trophy winner will be announced during a news conference on Jan. 9, 2009, at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
ND Picked To Win BIG EAST National Division
Notre Dame was the unanimous favorite to win the 2008 BIG EAST Conference National Division title, according to a vote of the league's 16 head coaches released Wednesday afternoon. The Irish picked up the maximum 120 points, including all 15 possible first-place tallies (coaches may not vote for their own teams), in the balloting, as they seek their 12th BIG EAST regular-season crown and sixth in a row -- seven of the previous 11 ('99-'01, '03, '05-'07) have been divisional championships (including the past three), while the other four were overall regular-season titles ('95-'97, '04).
Notre Dame went 11-0-0 in the BIG EAST a year ago, and will head into the 2008 season with a 38-game unbeaten streak against conference opponents (36-0-2 since October 2005), the longest run in school history and tied for the fourth-longest in NCAA Division I history.
Bock Voted BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player Of The Year
Along with their preseason poll, the conference coaches chose Irish senior All-America midfielder/forward (and co-captain) Brittany Bock as the 2008 BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Bock, who also was a unanimous selection to the '08 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team, led the league in goals (16) last year and became Notre Dame's fourth consecutive winner of the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year award.
Fellow senior forward Kerri Hanks also was a unanimous choice on the preseason all-conference team following a 2007 campaign that saw her lead the nation in assists (21) for the second consecutive year and set the BIG EAST pace in points (49) while earning NSCAA first-team All-America honors for the second time. Hanks had been the BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year the past two seasons and earned the league's postseason Offensive Player of the Year honor in 2006.
The Golden Girls
Former Notre Dame standouts Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf ('98) and Shannon Boxx ('99) helped the United States successfully defend its Olympic gold medal with a 1-0 overtime win over Brazil in the 2008 title game on Thursday in Beijing, China. Both players started and played all 120 minutes in the final on the way to earning their second consecutive gold medal.
The duo join fencer Mariel Zagunis ('10) as Notre Dame Olympians with multiple gold medals. Markgraf also matches Zagunis' career total of three medals (Markgraf won silver with the USA at the '00 Sydney Games), a standard also equalled by former track & field great Alex Wilson ('32).
Due to ongoing construction within the Notre Dame Athletics Quad, parking for Irish soccer games this year is limited to the Eck Baseball Stadium and Joyce Center lots. Fans are asked to walk around the south end of Eck Stadium, then proceed north between the stadium's right-field wall and the soccer practice field before entering at the south end of Alumni Field.
Next Game: Loyola Marymount
Notre Dame continues its season-opening three-game homestand Aug. 29 when it plays host to Loyola Marymount at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on the first day of the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic at Alumni Field. Fellow BIG EAST member (and 12th-ranked) West Virginia and #22 Santa Clara will tangle in the tourney opener at 5 p.m. (ET).
Loyola Marymount went 12-6-1 last season, tying for third in the West Coast Conference. The Lions return 23 letterwinners and nine starters from that club, as they head into their season opener Friday night at home against UNLV.