Sept. 27, 2012
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-3-1 / 3-0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Providence Friars (7-4-1 / 2-2-0 BIG EAST)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-3-1 / 3-0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Connecticut Huskies (6-4-1 / 2-2-0 BIG EAST)
Irish Head To New England For BIG EAST Weekend Matches
Notre Dame ran its current winning streak to a season-high four matches with a 3-0 non-conference win over Oakland on Sept. 23 at Alumni Stadium. The Fighting Irish dominated the offensive statistical categories, outshooting the Golden Grizzlies, 23-2, including a 12-0 edge in shots on goal.
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
PC is coming off a narrow 1-0 loss at No. 19/20 Georgetown last Sunday in Washington, D.C. The Friars allowed a goal in the 28th minute, but played tough defense the rest of the way, paced by four saves from sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Goudreault.
Providence's early success was fueled in large measure by its two-time BIG EAST Rookie of the Week selection, freshman forward Catherine Zimmerman (7G-1A), while a trio of players each have three goals this year -- redshirt senior forward Laura DiClemente, senior midfielder Mary Vercollone and freshman forward/midfielder Lauren Elia. Goudreault, a BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week pick earlier this season, has a 1.05 goals-against average and .730 save percentage, with two shutouts (one solo/one shared).
Head coach Jim McGirr is in his ninth season at PC with a 50-69-21 (.432) record, including an 0-8 mark against Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Providence Series
The Fighting Irish also have a 79-2 aggregate scoring margin in the series, with the Friars scoring their most recent goal against Notre Dame the last time the teams squared off in Providence in 2010.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Providence Met
Melissa Henderson chipped in her sixth assist of the season, while Molly Campbell and Sammy Scofield also added assists for the Fighting Irish -- for Scofield, it was the first point of her collegiate career.
Notre Dame owned an 18-2 edge in total shots, including an 11-2 margin in shots on goal (the two total shots and two shots on goal by PC both were opponent season lows). The Fighting Irish also had a season-high 10-1 advantage in corner kicks, while Providence was called for 13 of the 20 fouls in the physical match, as well as all three yellow cards.
Maddie Fox worked the first 86:03 in the Notre Dame net, making two saves, both on Friar shots that came from well outside the penalty area. Sarah Voigt came on to spell Fox during the final four minutes and did not need to make a stop in completing the shutout.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Providence Met In Providence
The win, coupled with Georgetown's simultaneous loss at West Virginia, clinched Notre Dame's sixth consecutive BIG EAST National Division title and its 13th conference regular-season crown (division or overall) since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96.
Notre Dame outshot Providence, 15-12 for the match, along with a 7-6 edge in shots on goal -- in the second half, the Fighting Irish outshot PC, 9-5, including a 5-2 edge in shots on goal. The Friars took the advantage on corner kicks, 8-6, although Notre Dame attempted four of the five tries from the flag in the final 45 minutes.
Nikki Weiss collected five saves in the Fighting Irish cage, including three high-quality stops in the first half. Providence goalkeeper Jill Schott turned aside four shots for the hosts.
UConn most recently picked up a 2-1 double-overtime win at Villanova last Sunday, evening its conference record through the first two weekends of league play. Redshirt freshman forward Andrea Plucenik was the hero, scoring the golden goal with 4:08 left in the second extra period.
Senior forward Danielle Schulmann (9G-7A) has been the BIG EAST's talisman this year, while Plucenik (5G-1A) has proven to be a sparkplug off the bench. Junior goalkeeper Leigh-Ann Jaggon has stepped into the starter's role between the pipes in recent weeks, currently sporting a 2.07 GAA and a .700 save percentage.
Now in his 32nd season at his alma mater, Connecticut head coach Len Tsantiris is one of the legends in women's college soccer, entering this weekend's action with a 497-177-52 (.720) record, including a 5-21-4 mark against Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Connecticut Series
In recent season, the matchup has been tight, with Notre Dame breaking a two-match winless streak against the Huskies (its first since 1997-98 and second all-time) last year. The Fighting Irish also are 2-2-2 in their last six matches against Connecticut at Morrone Stadium, although Notre Dame has found the facility more inviting in the postseason, winning three of its 11 BIG EAST Championship titles in Storrs, including the last two times the tournament's final weekend was played there (2006 and 2009).
The Last Time Notre Dame And Connecticut Met
Schuveiller and Bohaboy scored 40 seconds apart midway through the first half to stake Notre Dame to a lead it would never relinquish. Bohaboy then added a key insurance tally less than five minutes into the second half, converting a cross from Schuveiller, with Melissa Henderson setting up both of Bohaboy's goals on the night.
Maddie Fox registered four saves in 76:34 of playing time in the Fighting Irish goal, highlighted by three sparkling stops in the first half. Sarah Voigt came on for the final 13-plus minutes and was not asked to make a save in completing the shutout.
Notre Dame outshot Connecticut, 18-10 in the match, holding the Huskies to just one shot in the second half (an ambitious try from outside the penalty area that was well off the mark). The Fighting Irish also finished with a 7-4 edge in shots on goal, and a 5-4 advantage on corner kicks, while the fouls were nearly even (6-5 against Connecticut).
The Last Time Notre Dame And Connecticut Met In Storrs
Reserve forward Erica Iantorno set up Henderson's go-ahead score, which looked as though it would stand up as the winner before the Huskies netted the tying goal on Linda Ruutu's free kick with 2:35 left.
The Fighting Irish outshot Connecticut, 21-12 in the match, with each side recording seven shots on goal. Notre Dame also held a distinct advantage from the corner flag with an 8-1 corner kick edge.
Playing in her home state for the final time as a collegian, Nikki Weiss registered six saves in the Fighting Irish net. Her UConn counterpart, Jessica Dulski, also came up with six stops, including three point-blank saves against Henderson in the second half.
Match #10 Recap: Pittsburgh
Roccaro netted her second goal in as many matches, converting a short-range volley in the 16th minute off a cross from senior defender/tri-captain Jazmin Hall. Williams then doubled the Fighting Irish lead with her first college goal, heading in a corner kick by junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish in the 58th minute.
Pittsburgh spoiled the shutout when Ashley Cuba scored an unassisted goal with 4:39 left. However, it was the lone blemish for Notre Dame on a night when the Fighting Irish outshot the Panthers, 21-6, including a 9-2 edge in shots on goal (not counting two other Notre Dame shots that hit the post and a goal wiped out by an offensive foul in the penalty area). Notre Dame also chalked up a season-high 12 corner kicks en route to the victory.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Voigt went the distance in the Fighting Irish cage, making one save. Nicole D'Agostino also played the full 90 minutes in the Pittsburgh goal and registered seven saves.
Beyond The Box Score: Pittsburgh
Match #11 Recap: Oakland
Freshman forward Crystal Thomas scored her team-high fifth goal of the season in the 69th minute, off assists from Roccaro and sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy before Roccaro herself added an insurance goal, her third score in as many matches, by converting a pass from junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish with just under 10 minutes remaining. Freshman forward Anna Maria Gilbertson capped the scoring for Notre Dame, potting her second goal of the year off an assist by sophomore midfielder Karin Simonian in the 83rd minute.
The Fighting Irish held an overwhelming statistical advantage on offense, posting a 23-2 margin in total shots -- in fact, Oakland didn't register its first shot of the day until less than 17 minutes remained in the match, and both of the Golden Grizzlies' shots were taken from outside the penalty area and well off the mark. Notre Dame also had a 12-0 edge in shots on goal and a 6-2 spread on corner kicks.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Voigt did not have to make a save on the way to earning her first career solo shutout and helping the Fighting Irish to their fourth clean sheet of the year. Oakland netminder Shannon Coley did all she could to keep the visitors in the match, recording nine stops.
Beyond The Box Score: Oakland
Roccaro, Naughton Earn BIG EAST Weekly Honors
Roccaro is the first Notre Dame rookie to earn BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week honors since Sept. 25, 2006, when Michele Weissenhofer ('10) garnered that distinction.
Roccaro is coming off a productive weekend that saw her collect a goal and an assist in a 3-0 non-conference win over Oakland on Sept. 23, as well as the opening goal in a 2-1 victory over BIG EAST foe Pittsburgh on Sept. 21. The Oakland match was the first multi-point outing of Roccaro's career, and also extended her current goal scoring streak to three matches.
Meanwhile, Naughton anchored a Fighting Irish defense that was nearly perfect last weekend, allowing a combined eight total shots (and only two on goal) during the two wins. What's more, Notre Dame posted its fourth shutout of the season and did not allow a shot on goal against Oakland, the first time the Fighting Irish have blanked an opponent in that column since Nov. 1, 2009, when they held an 11-0 edge in shots on goal during a 5-0 win over South Florida in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals at Alumni Stadium.
This marks the second time in Naughton's freshman season she was selected for weekly honors. Back on Aug. 27, the Illinois native was named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week after helping Notre Dame to shutout wins at Tulsa (2-0 on Aug. 24) and at home against East Carolina (5-0 on Aug. 26).
Roccaro and Naughton are two of five different Fighting Irish players (four of whom are freshmen) who have earned BIG EAST weekly honors this season. Back on Aug. 27, freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight was chosen as the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week, the same day junior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker appeared on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll. Most recently on Sept. 17, freshman forward Crystal Thomas copped her first career mention on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.
Meet The #BabyIrish
Not only does the hashtag pay tribute to the median age of his team, but Waldrum also has used the term to refer to the (sometimes painful) growing process that the Notre Dame squad is going through this season.
Although he knows his team must crawl before it can walk, Waldrum insists that he doesn't plan to keep the hashtag for long. The goal is see his charges continue developing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to the point where they're just the #Irish by the end of the 2012 campaign.
World (Cup) Champions
Both Notre Dame players were on the pitch when the final whistle sounded, signifying the Americans' third title since this tournament began as the FIFA Under-19 World Championship in 2002. Four-time Fighting Irish All-America forward and two-time Hermann Trophy recipient Kerri Hanks ('08) was one of the youngest members (at age 17) of that victorious 2002 U.S. side (that defeated host Canada in the final), while Lauren Fowlkes ('11) helped the United States win the 2008 U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile, downing North Korea in the title match.
Similar to Hanks in 2002, Roccaro was the second-youngest player on this year's American roster, but hardly showed her age, emerging as a mainstay for the United States at center back. She appeared in five of the Americans' six matches at this year's U-20 World Cup, starting four times and helping the U.S. to a 4-1-1 record that included three shutouts, most notably over Nigeria (2-0) and Germany (1-0) in the semifinals and championship match. The Stars & Stripes also had to battle through a 2-1 extra-time victory over North Korea in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Laddish proved to be a vital second-half substitute for the United States, coming off the bench to lend support in three matches, including the semifinal win over Nigeria and the title match victory against Germany. She becomes the second Fighting Irish player ever to earn both a U-20 Women's World Cup title and an NCAA national championship, having joined Fowlkes as a member of the title-winning 2010 Notre Dame squad.
In addition to Laddish, Roccaro, Hanks and Fowlkes, the Fighting Irish have been represented at two other U-20 Women's World Cups. In 2004, Hanks deferred her enrollment at Notre Dame to help the United States to a third-place finish in Thailand, scoring the opening goal in the third-place match. Two years later, a pair of future Notre Dame All-Americans, midfielder/forward Brittany Bock ('09) and defender Carrie Dew ('09), donned the Stars & Stripes for the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship (as it was then called) in Russia, where the United States finished fourth after scoreless ties in both the semifinal against China and the third-place game against Brazil (both went against the U.S. on penalty kicks by identical 6-5 scores).
Kicks Against Cancer
Cancer survivors and those currently battling the disease will receive free admission to the match, as well as a lime green "Kickin' It" t-shirt (while supplies last). These courageous individuals also will be recognized on the pitch at halftime as part of a Survivors' Walk.
Other fans attending this year's match will receive a white "Fighting Irish Kicks Against Cancer" t-shirt, and Irish Soccer scarves will be on sale at $15 each (while supplies last).
In addition, the Notre Dame players will be wearing special gold jerseys with a pink ribbon insignia for the match. These jerseys will then be autographed and auctioned off through the official Fighting Irish athletics auctions web site (www.und.com/auctions) beginning the day of the match and continuing through Oct. 31. Due to NCAA regulations, the jerseys must be autographed by at least two persons -- either the player who wore the jersey and a teammate, or the entire team.
The 2-0 Guarantee
In fact, just two of the past 227 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
Golden Domers Golden In OT
Last year, the Fighting Irish tied a pair of school records by going to extra time on five occasions (also in 2001 and 2007) and registering three draws (also in 1991 and 2001).
No current Notre Dame player has scored a "golden goal" in her college career. Jessica Schuveiller netted the most recent overtime matchwinner for the Fighting Irish on Nov. 6, 2009, heading home a cross from Rose Augustin at 98:42 to beat St. John's in the BIG EAST semifinals at Storrs, Conn.
Any Given Sunday
Still, the Fighting Irish own a 43-7-5 (.827) record in their last 55 contests when closing out the weekend (usually on the back end of a two-match set), 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).
Our Fearless Leader
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.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Coming Soon: Irish in the ACC
The change in conference affiliation (for which a timetable has not yet been established) will be the first for Notre Dame since 1995, when the Fighting Irish moved from the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now the Horizon League) to the BIG EAST Conference.
In its 18 seasons in the BIG EAST, the Notre Dame women's soccer program has been the conference's flagship, winning 13 regular-season titles and 11 postseason crowns, along with three NCAA national championships. The Fighting Irish also hold a 141-10-8 (.912) regular-season conference record since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
Next Up: Seton Hall/Rutgers
Prior to the Seton Hall match, the Fighting Irish will honor their three departing seniors -- defender/tri-captain Jazmin Hall, midfielder Nicole Borner and student manager Keith Marrero. Meanwhile, the Rutgers contest has been designated as the program's annual Kicks Against Cancer match, and will feature numerous activities and events designed to raise funds for cancer research.
Seton Hall (6-6, 1-3 BIG EAST) started off the 2012 season extremely well, reeling off five consecutive victories, the first four by shutout. However, the Pirates' ship has hit rough waters in the past three weeks, with SHU having lost six of its last seven contests. The Pirates will be on the road this weekend, visiting Syracuse on Friday night before heading to St. John's on Sunday afternoon.
Rutgers (8-4, 1-3) also got off to a hot start this season, with seven wins in its first eight matches, including a double-overtime win over Ohio State. Yet, the Scarlet Knights have not found the same success so far in BIG EAST play, dropping three of their first four on the conference slate. RU will also be away from home this weekend, playing at St. John's on Friday and then venturing to Syracuse on Sunday.