Oct. 2, 2007
Notre Dame junior center back Carrie Dew (Encinitas, Calif.) has been named the BIG EAST Conference defensive player of the week while also earning a spot on the Soccer America national team of the week, after playing a lead role in the Irish women's soccer team's wins over 25th-ranked Louisville and Cincinnati. The 2006 BIG EAST defensive player of the year, Dew was one of two defenders among the 11 players named to the SA national team of the week after leading a Notre Dame defense that allowed only one goal during the weekend action while limiting the Cardinals and Bearcats to 10 combined shots, three shots on goal and two corner kicks. The 5-foot-9 Dew also had the long lead pass that sprung Michele Weissenhofer for a breakaway goal in the 6-1 win over Cincinnati.
Dew similarly received both of the above honors last season, following a 2-0 win over Louisville on Sept. 24, 2006 (she also was named the Soccer Times national player of the weeek and was included on the Soccer Buzz and Top Drawer Soccer national teams of the week after that 2006 win over UL). Dew scored the first goal in the 2006 game with Louisville while helping hold the Cardinals to four shots (none on goal) and no corner kicks in that 2-0 victory at Alumni Field.
Three times earlier in her career, Dew has been named to the BIG EAST weekly honor roll, including yet another strong effort against Cincinnati (4-0; goal) and Louisville (3-0) during the 2005 season. The 2006 season saw Dew named to the league's weekly honor roll for Sept. 25-Oct. 1 (3-1 win over #6 West Virginia, 5-0 win over Pittsburgh; ND allowed 8 shots, 3 SOG and 3 CKs that weekend) and again for the week of Oct. 16-22 (4-2 win over Villanova, 2-0 win over Georgetown; 12 shots allowed, 3 SOG, 9 CKs in the two games).
Dew's leadership of the young Notre Dame defense has been a key factor to the team's stronger play in recent weeks. The Irish have played three straight weeks without the services of the team's other starting center back (sophomoe Haley Ford, out with a hamstring injury), with Dew helping mentor converted freshman midfielder Lauren Fowlkes at the center back spot in the past two weeks. Both starting outside backs - junior transfer Elise Weber (left) and freshman Julie Scheidler (right) - also are newcomers while sophomore Amanda Clark is settling into her role as the starting defensive midfielder.
After missing all of the 2006 postseason due to a knee injury, Dew now is the only player currently active in the Irish defense who was among the team's top six defensive players last season - due to the graduation losses of Kim Lorenzen (center back), Christie Shaner (left back) and Jill Krivacek (defensive midfielder), plus Ford's injury and senior Ashley Jones being used more in her natural postion of midfield this season (Jones had shifted to being the primary starter at right back in '06).
Two other Notre Dame players have received weekly honors this season, including Weber's inclusion on the Soccer Buzz week-1 "elite feet" national team of the week (which was announced late) and junior forward Kerri Hanks being named to the BIG EAST weekly honor roll for Sept. 17-23. Weber helped Notre Dam shut out Michigan in the season opener (0-0) and then had a goal and assist two days later in the 2-0 win at Florida (which was ranked as high as 7th in the national polls). Hanks posted her fifth career hat trick in the 4-0 win over DePaul on Sept. 21 and then opened the scoring two days later versus 14th-ranked Penn State (2-1 loss).
Hanks (7G-5A) - who has points in eight of 10 games this season and goals in five of the past six - currently is one of 13 players in the nation with five-plus goals and five-plus assists while ranking 18th nationally with 19 points (most in the BIG EAST). Her seven goals are tied with Marquette's Ashley Bares for the most by any BIG EAST player, with Hanks also ranking fourth among BIG EAST players in assists (5) and third in shots (37) while being one of three BIG EAST players to post a hat trick during the 2007 season. Senior F/M Amanda Cinalli's four assists are tied for sixth place in the BIG EAST.
Notre Dame - which has allowed only three goals (two of them by PSU) in its past four games - ranks third among BIG EAST teams in goals (21; 2.1/gm) and shots (17.6/gm) but is only seventh in shutouts (4), 10th in goal margin (+5) and 12th in goals-against average (1.55). Despite their inconsistent defensive play in some of the early games, the Irish have allowed more than two goals in a game only once this season.
Notre Dame enters this weekend's games at Syracuse and St. John's ranked as high as 20th in the national polls (per Soccer America) and currently is projected by Top Drawer Soccer as the 11th-best team for the 2007 NCAA Tournament field. Unlike many teams in the top-25, the Irish have yet to lose to a team that was ranked outside the top-20 - with the losses coming to current #1 Stanford and last week's #1 Santa Clara, plus Penn State (currently ranked as high as #8) and Oklahoma State (#16 at game time; currently as high as #22).
Prior to last week's pair of wins, Notre Dame was listed 21st in the soccerratings.com power rankings (next update on Oct. 4). The first release of the NCAA ratings percentage index (RPI) is due to be released next week (Oct. 8) and likely will recognize the challenging early-season schedule faced by the Irish.