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    Women's Soccer Preps for Key Bank Classic

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    Key Bank Classic
    Friday, September 25
    Missouri vs. Wake Forest 5:00 p.m.
    Indiana at Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.

    Sunday, September 27
    Indiana vs. Missouri 11:00 a.m.
    Wake Forest at Notre Dame 1:00 p.m.

    Current Record(6-1-0, 4-0-0)

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame opened a six-game home stand with two BIG EAST shutouts last weekend, beating Rutgers 3-0 and Villanova 5-0. The Irish will play host to the Key Bank Classic this weekend as Indiana, Missouri and 25th-ranked Wake Forest come to Alumni Field.

    This Week for the Irish: Notre Dame will play host to the Key Bank Classic this weekend as the Irish welcome Indiana, Missouri and 25th-ranked Wake Forest to Alumni Field. Missouri and Wake Forest will open the tournament on Fri., Sept. 25 when they square off at 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame and Indiana will meet at 7:30 p.m. On Sun., Sept. 27, Indiana and Missouri play at 11:00 a.m., and Notre Dame and Wake Forest will close out the tournament at 1:00 p.m.

    Indiana enters the Key Bank Classic with a 5-1-0 record on the heels of a 2-1 overtime win over Ohio State. Senior Tracy Grose leads the Hoosiers with six goals and two assists in six games. The Irish and Hoosiers will meet for the 10th time on Friday. After Indiana won the first meeting 2-0 in 1988, Notre Dame has won the last eight meetings, including an 8-0 Irish win in 1997 in Bloomington.

    Wake Forest makes its first trip to Notre Dame after entering the Sept. 21, National Soccer Coaches Association of America rankings at No. 25. The Deamon Deacons are 4-2-1 this season after a 2-1 loss at Clemson in their last game. Senior Meghan Suddes leads Wake Forest with four goals while junior Anne Shropshire has recorded five assists. This will be the first meeting between the Irish and Deamon Deacons.

    Missouri enters the Key Bank Classic with a 3-2-1 record. Sophomore Nikki Thole has scored seven of the Tigers 18 goals this season, while junior Erin Grimsley has four goals and three assists. Missouri head coach Bryan Blitz returns to Alumni Field for the first time since he coached at Butler from 1991-95. Notre Dame beat Butler 1-0 at Alumni Field in 1991 and 4-0 in 1993.

    Last Week for the Irish: Notre Dame freshman midfielder Lindsey Jones (South Bend, Ind.) scored just 56 seconds into the game for the game-winning goal and set up a second goal as the third-ranked Notre Dame women's soccer team blanked Rutgers 3-0 Fri., Sept. 18, at Alumni Field. Sophomore forward Meotis Erikson (Kennewick, Wash.) and junior forward Jenny Streiffer (Baton Rouge, La.) also added goals for Notre Dame, which outshot Rutgers 34-3.

    Junior forward Jenny Heft (Germantown, Wis.) scored the only goal the Irish would need just 1:15 into their 5-0 win over Villanova on Sun., Sept. 20, at Alumni Field. Junior midfielder Anne Makinen (Helsinki, Finland) scored twice, while senior forward Monica Gerardo (Simi Valley, Calif.) and junior defender Jen Grubb (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) each added a goal.

    The Irish outshot the Wildcats 53-2, the most shots Notre Dame has launched since 53 against Georgetown in 1995, but short of the school record 59 set in 1990 against Indiana University-South Bend. Villanova goalkeeper Janel Schilling turned in a strong game in the net, making 25 saves, the most by any goalkeeper in the country in 1998.

    Gerardo Eyes Record: By scoring the second goal of the game against Villanova, Monica Gerardo upped her season goal total to four and her career goal total to 57. She continues to inch her way towards Cindy Daws' school-record of 61 career goals and could reach the mark during Notre Dame's six-game homestand.

    Irish vs. Big 10: After a 4-0 win against Michigan State to open the '98 season, Notre Dame extended its winning streak against Big 10 team to 32, dating back to a loss to the Spartans in 1989. Irish head coach Chris Petrucelli is 30-0-0 against the Big 10 since taking over as the reigns at Notre Dame. The Irish have recorded 22 shutouts in the 32 wins and have outscored their Big 10 opponents 153-14 during the winning streak.

    Grubb Earns BIG EAST Honors: Jen Grubb was named BIG EAST defensive player of the week for the second this season and for the fourth time in her career. The BIG EAST preseason defensive player of the year scored her first goal of the season when she curved her corner kick into the net against Villanova. She later added an assist against the Wildcats. She anchored Notre Dame's backline which limited Rutgers and Villanova to just four shots combined in 180 minutes of soccer.

    Versus Ranked Team at home: Since 1993, Alumni Field has not been kind to ranked opponents of Notre Dame. The Irish are 20-1-1 against ranked teams at Alumni Field since the start of the 1993 season and 13-0-1 in the last 14 games against ranked teams.

    Irish in Among NCAA Leaders: Notre Dame is third in scoring offense in the latest NCAA statistics with an average of 4.57 goals per game, behind Mississippi's 5.67 and North Carolina's 5.17. The Irish are tied for sixth with five shutouts in seven games. In individual statistics, Jenny Heft is 12th in the country in points per game with 2.71 and 16th with 1.14 goals per game. Meotis Erikson and Jen Grubb are tied for 13th in assists per game with 0.86.

    Striking Irish: In each of the last three games, Notre Dame has scored in the first 1:15 of the game, including twice in the first minute. Against North Carolina on Sept. 13, Monica Gerardo scored just 55 second into the contest, and Lindsey Jones scored in 56 seconds against Rutgers on Sept. 18. Jenny Heft scored at 1:15 against Villanova to keep the streak of quick strikes alive.

    Irish Alumni Weekend: Notre Dame will welcome back more than 30 former Irish women's soccer player next weekend, Oct. 2-4, in a "Past Meets the Present" reunion. The reunion will celebrate the first decade of women's soccer at Notre Dame and the recent successes of the NCAA participant teams as well as recognize the founding teams which forged the path for later successes. The former players will be honored at halftime of the Notre Dame-Butler women's soccer game on Fri., Oct. 2, and at halftime of the Notre Dame-Stanford football game on Oct. 3. Other activities will include a 9:00 a.m. alumni game on Saturday and a Saturday night banquet with the 1998 Irish women's soccer team.

    BIG EAST Picks Notre Dame First: The Irish have been picked to win their third straight BIG EAST regular season title in a preseason poll of the 12 BIG EAST coaches. Notre Dame picked up 10 first-place votes, while Connecticut garnered the other two votes. The Irish have won the last two regular season titles and all three BIG EAST tournaments since joining the conference in 1995. In 1997, Notre Dame beat Connecticut 1-0 to win the regular season title and 6-1 in the BIG EAST championship final to win the tournament title.

    The Irish received individual preseason honors from the BIG EAST as junior LaKeysia Beene (Gold River, Calif.) has been selected preseason goalkeeper of the year and Grubb preseason defensive player of the year. Notre Dame accounted for six of the 11 players voted to the preseason all-BIG EAST team. In addition to Beene and Grubb, Shannon Boxx, sophomore forward Meotis Erikson (Kennewick, Wash.), Anne Makinen and Jenny Streiffer have been voted preseason all-BIG EAST.

    Head Coach Chris Petrucelli: Chris Petrucelli is in his ninth season as head coach of Notre Dame's women's soccer team after leading the Irish to their fourth straight NCAA championship weekend appearance in 1997. Petrucelli was named NSCAA coach of the year for the second consecutive year after guiding Notre Dame to its first NCAA women's soccer title in 1995, becoming the first coach to win the honor two straight years. The Orange, N.J., native owns a 160-20-9 record with an .870 winning percentage that is second best among all NCAA Division I women's soccer coaches, active and nonactive. During his eight seasons as head coach, Petrucelli has coached his players to 21 NSCAA All-America selections, including 18 since 1994, the most in the country during that span.

    Scouting the 1998 Irish: With nine starters returning and the loss of just eight goals scored by players gone through graduation, the Irish will field one of the more experienced teams in the country. In what has become a perennial strong spot in the Irish lineup with an All-American every year since 1994, Notre Dames goalkeeper duo of Beene and freshman U.S. womens national under-20 team member Elizabeth Wagner (Spring, Texas) should be one of the top pair of goalkeepers in the country.

    Beene played every minute of every game in 1997, allowing just nine goals for a 0.36 goals against average. She set a Notre Dame record by shutting out 18 of 25 opponents and set a BIG EAST single-season shutout record with nine shutouts in 11 conference games.

    Grubb and sophomore Kelly Lindsey (Omaha, Neb.) return to the defense from 97 and are joined by junior Kara Brown (Avon, Conn.), who moved to the back from the midfield to replace graduated national team member Kate Sobrero.

    Grubb joined Sobrero on the NSCAA first-team All-America list in 97 and was a finalist for the Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year award. Lindsey battled through early-season injuries to be an immediate success on the Irish defense as a freshman. Soccer America selected her as a member of its all-freshman team with her tremendous speed and athletic ability which frustrated opponents. Brown should make the switch from outside midfielder to defender in her junior year.

    Senior Laura Vanderberg (Kalamazoo, Mich.) also can contribute on defense after playing in 66 games in her career in a key reserve role. Most of her play has come in the midfield but she also has the ability to play in the back.

    Like its solid goalkeeper, Notre Dames run of strong central midfielders continues with the return of sophomore Anne Makinen, Soccer Americas womens freshman player of the year and the only freshman midfielder named NSCAA All-American. Leader of the Finnish national team, Makinen had an immediate impact on college soccer last year, averaging a goal per game with 23 goals in 23 games to go along with 12 assists.

    Joining Makinen in the central midfield is three-year starter and two-time all-BIG EAST honoree Shannon Boxx, who has developed as a midfielder with the ability to score, create and drop back defensively, with her versatility complementing Makinens abilities. Streiffer has the ability to play in the midfield or up front and has been equally adept at scoring or finding others with 42 goals and 40 assists in her first two years as she became the fastest player in Notre Dame history to reach 100 points.

    Freshmen Lindsey Jones starred at John Adams High School and should utilize her speed to contribute in the midfield while Mia Sarkesian (Canton, Mich.) can also be a factor in the midfield.

    Monica Gerardo, sophomore Meotis Erikson and Jenny Heft will fill out the forward ranks. The talented trio combined to score 52 goals a year ago with each bringing a different style to the field to complement each other. Gerardo returns to Notre Dame for her senior year after gaining international experience with the Mexican national team in 1998 and needs just eight more to match Cindy Daws school-record 61 goals.

    Erikson contributed immediately to Notre Dames offense, scoring 22 goals as a freshman in 97. Soccer America put her on its all-freshman team, and she was named first team all-BIG EAST and to the BIG EAST all-rookie team. Heft, who split the starting role with Erikson last season, upped her scoring from 12 goals as a freshman to 20 last year, including five game-winning goals. The Irish will once again rely on Hefts speed and goal-scoring abilities as she looks to move into a starting role.

    World Cup Qualifying: In addition to playing key roles in Notre Dame's lineup, Monica Gerardo and sophomore Anne Makinen (Helsinki, Finland) have been helping Mexico and Finland in their efforts to qualify for the 1999 Women's World Cup. Gerardo, whose Mexican heritage qualified her to join the Mexican national team, helped the Mexicans to a second-place finish at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament.

    Following Notre Dame's 4-0 win at Michigan State, Gerardo flew from East Lansing, Mich., to Toronto for the CONCACAF qualifying. She scored in the 2-2 tie with Trinidad and Tobago and scored two goals in an 8-0 win over Guatemala, but Canada edged Mexico 1-0 to earn the first place and a spot in the World Cup. Mexico will play a home-and-home series with Argentina later in the fall with the winner qualifying for the World Cup. Gerardo missed Notre Dame's 7-0 win over West Virginia and 9-1 win over Pittsburgh.

    Makinen traveled to Moscow, Russia, this past weekend for the first game of a home-and-home series with Russia on Sept. 12. She assisted on Finland's only goal as Russia edged Finland 2-1. Finland will need to win the second game 1-0 or win by more than two goals to qualify for the World Cup.

    Poll Position: Following the loss to North Carolina, Notre Dame slipped to third in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, marking the first time the Irish have been ranked out of the top two spots for the first time since the final poll of the 1995 season when Notre Dame finished fourth before going on to win the NCAA championship.

    Irish Draw Record Setting Crowds: Notre Dame and North Carolina played in front 6,024 fans at Fetzer Field on Sunday, the largest regular season crowd in Tar Heel history. The Irish also have drawn record setting crowds at Connecticut and Santa Clara in 1996 and at Portland in 1997. The Irish beat the Huskies 2-1 in front of a record 3,711 fans at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium on Sept. 22, 1996. The Broncos beat the Irish 3-1 in front of a regular-season record 3,714 fans at Buck Shaw Stadium on Oct. 13, 1996. Notre Dame beat Portland 1-0 in front of 5,041 fans at Merlo Field on Sept. 7, 1997.


     

     

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