Sept. 15, 2011
DATE: September 16, 2011
TIME: 5:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. - Alumni Stadium (2,500)
SERIES: ND leads 8-1-0
LAST MTG: ND 5-0 (9/26/10)
WEBCAST: UND.com (live-free)
STATS/BLOG: UND.com (live)
#12/14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-3-1 / 0-0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (4-2-2 / 0-0-0 BIG EAST)
DATE: September 18, 2011
TIME: 3:30 p.m. ET
AT: Cincinnati, Ohio - Gettler Stadium (1,400)
SERIES: ND leads 11-1-1
LAST MTG: ND 4-0 (9/24/10)
WEBCAST: gobearcats.com (live-PPV)
STATS/BLOG: UND.com (live)
No. 12/14 Irish Open BIG EAST Play This Weekend
After battling through arguably the nation's toughest non-conference schedule, No. 12/14 Notre Dame kicks off its 17th BIG EAST season on Friday, welcoming Louisville to Alumni Stadium for a 5 p.m. (ET) match, before heading to Cincinnati for a Sunday matinee (3:30 p.m. ET) against the Bearcats.
Notre Dame (3-3-1) is coming off a loss and a tie last weekend at the Stanford Invitational. The Fighting Irish dropped a 2-1 decision at No. 2 Stanford (a match in which Notre Dame led inside the final 10 minutes before the Cardinal rallied for the win), and then outplayed No. 17/18 Santa Clara for much of the day before settling for a 1-1 draw with the Broncos.
Senior All-America forward and Hermann Trophy candidate Melissa Henderson scored both Notre Dame goals last weekend and now has a team-high seven goals and 17 points this season. Sophomore midfielder Mandy Laddish set up Henderson's score at Stanford, giving her a BIG EAST-leading five assists this season.
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
After a frustrating weekend in which 43 shots (20 on frame) yielded just two goals, No. 12/14 Notre Dame looks for better results as it turns its attention to the start of the BIG EAST Conference action this weekend.
Not only did the Fighting Irish hold the upper hand in shots on goal in both contests on the West Coast last week at No. 2 Stanford (11-4) and No. 17/18 Santa Clara (9-6), but Notre Dame also held the edge in possession time (55/45 at Stanford, close to 65/35 at SCU). What's more, the Fighting Irish were less than 10 minutes away from a statement win at Stanford before the Cardinal rallied with two late scores, while SCU's goal came against the run of play and was one of just three shots on goal the Broncos had outside the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Senior forward Melissa Henderson had both Notre Dame goals last weekend, and now has scored in each of the past four matches, piling up six goals in that span. Sophomore midfielder Mandy Laddish added her conference-leading fifth assist of the year on Henderson's go-ahead strike in the 67th minute at Stanford.
Louisville comes into Friday's conference lidlifter with a 2-4-1 record, most recently defeating Butler, 1-0 in double overtime last Sunday in Lexington, Ky., on a goal by sophomore defender Katie Walz just 48 seconds into the second extra period.
A pair of sophomores -- midfielder Angelika Uremovich and defender/forward Jordan Pawlik -- share the team lead with two goals, while four other players have one goal each. Senior Chloe Kiefer has played every minute in goal for the Cardinals this season, posting a 1.20 goals-against average (GAA) and .757 save percentage with two shutouts.
Head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes is in her 11th year at Louisville with a 93-106-17 record, including an 0-6 mark vs. Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Louisville Series
Notre Dame and Louisville will square off for the 10th time on Friday night, with the Fighting Irish holding an 8-1 advantage in the series (23-3 aggregate score), including a 4-1 record at home (13-3 aggregate).
Notre Dame has won the past eight matches with the Cardinals after Louisville won the inaugural meeting, 1-0 on Sept. 24, 1989, at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish also are 6-0 against Louisville since the Cardinals joined the BIG EAST in 2005, winning three times at home and three on the road by a combined 16-1 margin.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Louisville Met
Melissa Henderson turned in a five-point day with two goals and an assist, leading No. 5/9 Notre Dame to an impressive 5-0 victory at No. 24/18 Louisville on Sept. 26, 2010, at Cardinal Park. It was the largest margin of victory ever recorded by a Fighting Irish team against a ranked opponent on its home field.
Taylor Knaack and Ellen Jantsch both opened their seasonal goal accounts by bookending the Notre Dame offensive output, while Erica Iantorno added her second goal of the season, and Adriana Leon capped a strong weekend with two exceptional plays (although uncredited assists) to create the final two Notre Dame scores.
Notre Dame posted season-high shot totals with 22 attempts and 16 on goal. Louisville held a slim 4-3 edge in corner kicks, while fouls were nearly even (9-7 against the Fighting Irish. Cardinals' netminder Taylor Vancil went the distance for the hosts and made a season-high 11 saves.
Other Notre Dame-Louisville Series Tidbits
Cincinnati enters its conference opener at DePaul on Friday with a 4-2-2 record, following a successful two-match sweep to the title at the College of Charleston Tournament last weekend in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. The Bearcats dispatched the hosts, 3-2 in double overtime in the opener before downing Coastal Carolina, 4-0 two days later.
Freshman forward Mackenzie Grause chalked up eight points (3G-2A) in the tournament and was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week for her efforts. She leads UC in goals (4) and points (10) and is tied for second in assists (2). Three other players -- redshirt senior forward Emily Hebbeler, sophomore forward Jazmine Rhodes, and freshman midfielder Christi Howard -- have three goals each, while senior defender Kelli Pawelko has dished out a team-high three assists.
Freshman Kristina Utley has started all eight matches in goal for the Bearcats, registering a 0.96 goals-against average (GAA) with two shutouts and a .778 save percentage.
Head coach Michelle Salmon is in her fourth season at Cincinnati with a 30-30-7 record, and she owns an 11-year career coaching mark of 102-92-21 when factoring in prior stops at Maryland-Baltimore County and Ball State. She is 0-4 all-time against Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Cincinnati Series
Sunday will mark the 14th time Notre Dame and Cincinnati have met on the soccer pitch, with the Fighting Irish owning an 11-1-1 series lead on the Bearcats (4-0-1 at Cincinnati), including wins in all seven matches played since UC joined the BIG EAST in 2005. Notre Dame also holds a 55-9 scoring edge in the 13 prior series meetings, following last year's 4-0 victory at Alumni Stadium.
The last time the Fighting Irish visited Gettler Stadium, they earned a 2-1 win on Sept. 25, 2009, rallying with a pair of goals 4:38 apart in the final 13 minutes to secure the victory. Lauren Fowlkes tied the match at 77:14, just 78 seconds after the Bearcats had taken the lead on Emily Hebbeler's 76th-minute score, and Jessica Schuveiller won it for Notre Dame on a goal with 8:08 to play.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Cincinnati Met
Four different Notre Dame players scored goals, and Lauren Fowlkes dished out a pair of assists as the No. 5/9 Fighting Irish put together a dominating 4-0 win over Cincinnati on Sept. 24, 2010, at Alumni Stadium.
Rose Augustin netted her fifth goal of the season in the 12th minute, before three other Notre Dame players tallied their first scores of the season. Mandy Laddish started the goal parade with her first career tally in the 37th minute, before Adriana Leon did likewise in the 42nd minute. Julie Scheidler capped the Fighting Irish offensive outburst with the second goal of her career in the 62nd minute.
That firepower would prove to be more than enough for Nikki Weiss, who worked the first 60 minutes in the Notre Dame nets before turning things over to Maddie Fox, who made her season debut over the final half-hour, preserving Notre Dame's seventh shutout of the year.
The Fighting Irish recorded 20 shots, including six on goal, while Cincinnati was limited to six total shots for the match, including just two on frame. Notre Dame also held a sizeable 7-1 advantage in corner kicks, while the foul totals were virtually identical (10-9 to the Fighting Irish).
Rachel Barnette went the first 63-plus minutes in goal for the Bearcats, making one save and giving up all four goals. Like Fox, Ashley Daniels made her season debut between the pipes, coming on for the final 26:40 and also stopping one shot.
Other Notre Dame-Cincinnati Series Tidbits
Notre Dame is 16-0 all-time in BIG EAST Conference openers, having outscored its opponents, 80-4 in those lidlifters. What's more, the Fighting Irish are 8-0 when they kick off the BIG EAST season at home with a 42-2 combined scoring margin in those matches.
Notre Dame has not allowed a goal in its last nine conference openers, outscoring the opposition, 30-0 in that time. The last BIG EAST team to find the back of the net against the Fighting Irish in a league opener was Villanova on Sept. 21, 2001 (Notre Dame won 2-1 at old Alumni Field on Amy Warner's goal in the second overtime -- it was the team's first contest after the 9/11 attacks).
No Worries ... We've Got This
A few observers around the country may have raised an eyebrow at Notre Dame's early 3-3-1 start this season. But consider the following:
Keep Chopping Wood
One of the reasons for Notre Dame's slow start this season has been its polish in the final third. The Fighting Irish have created numerous golden scoring opportunities throughout their first seven outings, but they're still seeking that cutting edge in front of the net.
A prime example of this has come in the past two weekends. Notre Dame has rolled up a staggering 116 total shots (29 per match), including 45 shots on goal (11.25 per match), and yet the Fighting Irish have just 13 goals in that span (one goal every nine shots, or one every 3.5 shots on frame).
Still The Beast Of The BIG EAST
Although Notre Dame's NCAA Division I record 77-match unbeaten streak (72-0-5) against conference foes ended with last year's BIG EAST Championship quarterfinal loss to Connecticut (2-0 on Oct. 31 at Alumni Stadium), the Fighting Irish still maintain a slightly more modest 62-match regular-season unbeaten streak (58-0-4) against conference teams, beginning after a 4-1 loss at 15th-ranked Marquette on Sept. 30, 2005.
Overall, Notre Dame is 132-7-6 (.931) in BIG EAST regular-season matches, 35-3-1 (.910) in the BIG EAST Championship, and holds a 742-94 scoring edge dating back to its first league season in 1995.
Notre Dame is unbeaten in 21 of its last 23 matches on Sunday (18-2-3), including a 17-match unbeaten streak that was snapped with a 2-0 loss to Connecticut in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals on Oct. 31, 2010.
Still, the Fighting Irish own a 37-4-4 (.867) record in the past 45 contests when closing out the weekend, dating back to September 2007 (when Notre Dame lost three consecutive Sunday matches to nationally-ranked Stanford, Oklahoma State and Penn State, all by 2-1 scores and the first two in overtime).
Henderson A Trend Setter
If you're looking to spot a trend in Notre Dame's success during the past four seasons, look no further than senior forward Melissa Henderson. Since the Garland, Texas, native arrived in South Bend, she has scored 59 goals (second-most among active Division I players, and tied for seventh in school history) and added 21 assists for 139 career points (12th in school history), making her one of 26 Fighting Irish players with at least 20 goals and 20 assists in her career.
This season, Henderson leads Notre Dame in goals (7) and points (17) and ranks second in assists (3). She leads the BIG EAST in goals per match (1.0) and points per match (2.43), as well as total shots (33), and she is second in the conference in total goals, total points and shots per match (4.71).
On the national stage, Henderson ranks among the top 20 in four NCAA statistical categories -- points per match (12th), goals per match (13th), total points (15th) and total goals (16th).
Fueled in part by her 4G-2A performance at the Notre Dame adidas Invitational, Henderson was voted by the participating coaches as the tournament's Offensive Most Valuable Player. She went on to be chosen as the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week, in addition to earning a spot on the Soccer America, Top Drawer Soccer and Our Game Magazine national teams of the week.
These markers have been particularly valuable to Fighting Irish fortunes. In fact, during Henderson's career, Notre Dame is 38-1-3 when she scores a goal, something she's done in 15 of her last 22 outings, dating back to last season. The Fighting Irish also are 47-1-3 all-time when Henderson tallies a point, which she has done in 31 of the past 42 contests, a stretch that carries back to 2009.
The only time Notre Dame has lost when Henderson had a goal or point was last Friday (Sept. 9, 2011), when Henderson gave the Fighting Irish a 1-0 lead in the 67th minute at No. 2 Stanford before the Cardinal rallied with two goals in the final 10 minutes to snatch away the victory.
Sophomore midfielder Mandy Laddish has emerged as one of the leading playmakers in the nation this season, currently ranked 10th in the NCAA and tops in the BIG EAST Conference with five assists (and 19th in the nation with a league-leading 0.71 assists/match).
Not bad for someone who played much of her rookie season at the holding midfield spot (in place of the injured Courtney Barg) and thus ended up with five points (2G-1A) for the year.
Sophomore forward Adriana Leon had already stamped her name in Notre Dame women's soccer history before she even took the pitch this season after scoring the lone goal in the 1-0 national championship match victory over Stanford at last year's NCAA Women's College Cup.
Not resting on her laurels, Leon has virtually equalled her offensive production from a season ago with four goals and one assist (she had 4G-2A last year). What's more, the Canadian striker has the match-winning goal in all three of Notre Dame's victories this season, ranking her eighth in the nation (and first in the BIG EAST) in that category.
As Tough As An Old Schu
Senior defender Jessica Schuveiller has been a mainstay for the Notre Dame defense throughout her career. In fact, the rugged (and still remarkably underrated) center back from Plano, Texas, has started all 85 Fighting Irish matches and played 93.3 percent of her team's minutes (7,249 of a possible 7,769) since she set foot on campus more than three years ago.
In that time, Schuveiller has helped Notre Dame post 71 wins, 50 shutouts and a 0.61 goals-against average (GAA), with only two teams scoring more than two goals in a single match against the Fighting Irish under her watch (UNC 6-0 on Sept. 4, 2009, at Alumni Stadium; Duke 3-1 on Aug. 28, 2010, in Chapel Hill, N.C.).
A two-time NSCAA all-region pick and the 2010 NCAA Women's College Cup Most Outstanding Defensive Player, Schuveiller was one of 25 players (along with classmate Melissa Henderson) named to this year's Soccer America Preseason All-America Team.
When healthy, senior midfielder Courtney Barg is among the best at her position in the country. A 2009 NSCAA first-team All-American, Hermann Trophy semifinalist and the BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year, Barg had her value on full display last season, coming back from a preseason injury to play the final six weeks (11 matches) of the season, including starts in all six NCAA Championship contests.
In fact, it was her calm demeanor and poise in the possession game that was a major factor in Notre Dame's run to its third national championship. Most notably in the title match against top-ranked Stanford, she helped the Fighting Irish control the flow of the contest before ultimately scoring the winning goal in the 63rd minute. Barg went on to be named to the NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team, one of six Notre Dame players on that squad.
As a senior, Barg already has been tapped as one of 45 preseason candidates for the Hermann Trophy (along with classmate Melissa Henderson), and down the road, she could even be in a position to join the U.S. National Team player pool after electing to bypass the U-23 pool the past two summers while taking part in job-related internships (including one in England in the summer of 2010).
Three Best Friends Anyone Could Have
Chemistry is key to the success of any team, but Notre Dame has a unique formula that supports its framework this season. The Fighting Irish are led by three senior captains -- midfielder Courtney Barg, forward Melissa Henderson and defender Jessica Schuveiller -- who not only form the backbone of their starting lineup, but have been best friends since the fifth grade growing up back in suburban Dallas. In fact, the trio played together on age-group teams for the elite Dallas Texans soccer club starting with the U-11s and continuing through the rest of their pre-college days (although they did move to the newly-formed Sting Dallas club for their final season in 2007-08 before coming to Notre Dame).
Actually, Barg and Schuveiller have known each other even longer, going back nearly 15 years to the second grade before linking up with Henderson three years later.
We Love The New Digs
Alumni Stadium is quickly earning a reputation as not only one of the nation's finest college facilities, but also a truly intimidating place for visiting teams. In fact, following Notre Dame's loss to top-ranked North Carolina in its first match at the new stadium (Sept. 4, 2009), the Fighting Irish have won 28 of their last 29 at home, outscoring their opponents, 82-9 in that span while recording 21 shutouts. Notre Dame also had a 23-match home winning streak before it was snapped on Oct. 31, 2010, with a 2-0 loss to Connecticut in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals.
Packing Them In
Not only has Notre Dame experienced great success at Alumni Stadium, but the Fighting Irish also are seeing the rewards at the turnstiles as well. Notre Dame currently is averaging 2,229 fans per home match this season, which would easily top the old school record for single-season average attendance (1,938 in 2007).
Notre Dame's rise in attendance this season includes a stadium-record 3,511 fans for its Sept. 2 contest against Tulsa on the opening night of the Notre Dame adidas Invitational. That crowd was not only the second sellout in stadium history (after 3,007 attended the opener vs. North Carolina on Sept. 4, 2009), but also the ninth-largest crowd in the nation this season.
Incidentally, Notre Dame's match at North Carolina on Aug. 26 attracted the largest crowd of the 2011 season thus far, with 5,236 fans on hand for the Tar Heels' 2-1 overtime win.
ND Seniors Among Nation's Best
The 2011 Notre Dame senior class currently is the third-most successful group in the country on the basis of total victories, with a four-year record to date of 71-10-4 (.849) that includes a national championship (2010), an NCAA runner-up finish (2008) and a trip to the 2009 NCAA Women's College Cup semifinals.
The .849 winning percentage compiled by the Fighting Irish seniors is fourth-best on the national scene.
Henderson was a double honoree, joining Barg on the 45-player watch list for the 2011 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy (presented annually by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America to the nation's top Division I player), and also appearing with Schuveiller on the 25-person Soccer America Preseason All-America Team.
Notre Dame was one of eight schools to place two players on this year's Hermann Trophy watch list, with the others being Boston College, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Stanford and Texas A&M.
Henderson was the first runner-up for the 2010 Hermann Trophy (and is the lone returnee from among last year's three finalists), while Barg was a semifinalist for the `09 Hermann Trophy. The BIG EAST Conference had a total of five players named to this year's Hermann Trophy watch list, tying the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences for the second-most selections from one league behind the Atlantic Coast Conference (9).
Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish also were one of just three teams in the nation with multiple selections to the Soccer America Preseason All-America Team, joining Boston College and Stanford in that select company. The BIG EAST had four honorees on the list, placing second among all conferences behind only the ACC (7).
Our Fearless Leader
Now in his 13th season at Notre Dame, head coach Randy Waldrum ranks third on the NCAA Division I career winning percentage list with a .788 (363-89-24) mark in his 22 years in the women's game. He also is second among active coaches for career winning percentage, while his 363 career wins rank fifth on the all-time NCAA Division I charts -- Waldrum earned his 350th career victory on Oct. 3, 2010, vs. St. John's at Alumni Stadium.
A two-time National Coach of the Year (2009 by Soccer America, 2010 by NSCAA), Waldrum has led Notre Dame to eight NCAA College Cups, five NCAA finals and two national championships (2004 and 2010). He also is second in NCAA Division I history with eight College Cup appearances and five title-match berths in his storied career.
New Kid On The Block
Notre Dame added another player to its roster this week, as junior midfielder Nicole Borner joined the squad after successfully competing in preseason tryouts.
A native of Pendleton, N.Y., and a 2009 graduate of Starpoint High School, Borner spent the 2009-10 academic year at Binghamton University, where she played in 15 matches for the Bearcats, helping them to a 9-7-2 record and berth in the America East Conference championship semifinals. She then transferred to Notre Dame prior to the 2010-11 academic year, but did not play soccer after undergoing a pair of surgeries on her right foot.
The 2-0 Guarantee
Notre Dame is 328-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and is unbeaten in its past 305 contests when going ahead 2-0 (dating back to a 3-3 draw with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati).
In fact, just two of the past 217 Fighting Irish opponents to face a 2-0 deficit have forced a draw, something achieved by four opponents in Notre Dame history: Duke on Oct. 17, 1993, in Houston (ND won 3-2), Connecticut on Nov. 10, 1996, in the BIG EAST final at old Alumni Field (ND led 2-0, later tied 2-2 and 3-3, ND won 4-3), Duke on Nov. 30, 2007, in the NCAA quarterfinals at old Alumni Field (ND won 3-2), and most recently, Villanova on Oct. 12, 2008 in Villanova, Pa. (ND won 3-2 in OT).
Three ... Is The Magic Number
Scoring three goals has meant virtually an automatic win in Notre Dame women's soccer history, with a 298-3-1 (.988) record in those games, including a 200-1-0 (.995) mark since Oct. 6, 1995.
Golden Domers Golden In OT
Overtime has usually been the right time for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish are 20-5-12 (.703) all-time in the Randy Waldrum era (since 1999) when going to an extra period or two. Notre Dame also is unbeaten in 10 of its last 12 overtime contests.
The Fighting Irish already have gone to extra time twice this season, falling at No. 3 North Carolina, 2-1, on Aug. 26 on a goal 5:25 into overtime, and then drawing at No. 17/18 Santa Clara, 1-1 on Sept. 11.
Two current Notre Dame players have scored "golden goals" in their college careers -- senior forward Melissa Henderson (Nov. 9, 2008 vs. Connecticut in the BIG EAST final at old Alumni Field) and senior defender Jessica Schuveiller (Nov. 6, 2009 vs. St. John's in the BIG EAST semifinals at Storrs, Conn.).
A trio of seniors -- midfielder Courtney Barg, forward Melissa Henderson and defender Jessica Schuveiller -- were selected to serve as Notre Dame's captains this year, according to a preseason vote of their teammates.
Schuveiller is making history this season as the first three-year captain in the 24-year history of Fighting Irish women's soccer. When she first earned the armband in 2009, Schuveiller became Notre Dame's first non-senior captain since Amy Warner in 2002.
Barg and Henderson are in their first seasons as team captains.
Next Up: South Florida/Marquette
Notre Dame embarks on the BIG EAST's longest road swing next week, heading down to South Florida on Sept. 22 for a 7 p.m. (ET) match that will air live on Fox Soccer Channel before turning north up to No. 8/9 Marquette on Sept. 25 for a 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET) contest.
USF (4-2-1) is unbeaten in its last three matches (all at home), following a scoreless draw with Murray State with wins over Akron (1-0) and Jacksonville (2-1, ot). The Bulls played host to West Virginia Thursday night, and will visit Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon.
Marquette (7-1-0) enjoyed a near-flawless non-conference season, defeating two ranked opponents along the way (2-1 over No. rv/23 Long Beach State, 1-0 in 2ot at No. 14 Wisconsin-Milwaukee), with only a 3-1 loss at No. 7/10 Florida State marring its resume. The Golden Eagles were home to Pittsburgh Thursday night and head to West Virginia for a Sunday matinee.