Oct. 30, 2012
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2012 Notre Dame Women's Soccer -- Match 20
BIG EAST Conference Championship -- Semifinal
#25/24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-4-2 / 8-1-1 BIG EAST) vs. #15/12 Marquette Golden Eagles (14-2-2 / 9-0-1 BIG EAST)
DATE: November 2, 2012
TIME: 4:00 p.m. ET
AT: Storrs, Conn. - Morrone Stadium (4,407)
SERIES: ND leads 7-4-1
1ST MTG: MU 2-1 (10/2/88 @MU)
LAST MTG: ND 1-0 (10/30/11 @MU)
TV: CBS Sports Network (live) (Eric Frede, p-b-p / Shep Messing, color)
LIVE STATS: UND.com
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TICKETS: (877) 288-2666
StorylinesNotre Dame has advanced to the BIG EAST Championship semifinals for the 16th time since joining the conference in 1995.
The Fighting Irish will be playing Marquette for the sixth time in BIG EAST Championship play, and the fourth time in five seasons.
No. 25/24 Irish Take On No. 15/12 Marquette Friday In BIG EAST Semifinals
Notre Dame and Marquette will look to write the next chapter in one of the BIG EAST Conference's top women's soccer rivalries, when the No. 25/24 Fighting Irish take on the No. 15/12 Golden Eagles at 4 p.m. (ET) Friday in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. The match will be televised live to a national cable audience by CBS College Sports.
Notre Dame (13-4-2) is the second seed in the BIG EAST's National Division (and its co-champion) and earned its spot in Friday's semifinal with a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Syracuse on Oct. 28 at Alumni Stadium. Freshman forward Cari Roccaro scored with 12:47 left in regulation as the Fighting Irish broke through to remain unbeaten in 11 of their last 12 matches.
Marquette (14-2-2), the four-time American Division champion, is on a 12-match unbeaten streak following a 4-1 quarterfinal win over Connecticut on Oct. 28.
RankingsNotre Dame is ranked No. 25 in the latest NSCAA poll and was ranked No. 24 in last week's Soccer America poll.
Marquette is ranked No. 15 in the latest NSCAA poll and was ranked No. 12 in last week's Soccer America poll.
A Quick Look At The Fighting IrishThey waited until the final day of the regular season to do it, but the Fighting Irish earned a share of their 14th BIG EAST regular-season title (division or overall) since joining the conference 18 years ago, including regular-season crowns in nine of the past 10 years. Notre Dame finished with an 8-1-1 record during the 2012 BIG EAST slate, splitting top honors in the National Division with Georgetown after the Fighting Irish won 1-0 in double overtime at DePaul and the Hoyas lost by the same score (in regulation time) at Villanova on Oct. 19 in the regular-season finale for both contenders.
Notre Dame's season could easily be seen in two parts -- before and after the arrival of two key players (junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish and freshman forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro), who missed the first seven matches of the year while playing for the victorious United States side at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan. Prior to the pair's arrival, the Fighting Irish went 3-3-1 with a 10-7 aggregate score (two shutouts); since the duo's debut on Sept. 14 vs. Louisville, Notre Dame has gone 10-1-1 with a 29-7 aggregate (seven shutouts).
Notre Dame has featured a remarkably balanced offensive attack in 2012, with 12 different players scoring at least one goal (eight with multiple goals; five with at least five goals) and 16 players notching at least one point. Taking out the four goalkeepers on this year's Fighting Irish roster, that means just four players have yet to register either an assist or goal during the 2012 season.
In keeping with its balanced production, Notre Dame has seen 11 different players, including six freshmen, earn weekly honors (national, regional, BIG EAST or all-tournament) at some point this season.
Notre Dame features a very young roster in 2012, with half (12) of the 24-member Fighting Irish squad made up of freshmen (plus another six sophomores). The Notre Dame incoming class was ranked No. 1 in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer, with seven Fighting Irish freshmen appearing in the top 60 of the TDS Class of 2012 rankings. Leading the rookie class is Roccaro, a two-time consensus high school All-American and New York High School Player of the Year after piling up 39 goals and 19 assists during her prep career.
Marquette (14-2-2, 9-0-1) claimed its fourth consecutive BIG EAST American Division title in 2012, and has been ranked in the top 25 of both major national polls throughout the season. The Golden Eagles also come into Friday's BIG EAST semifinal riding a 12-match unbeaten streak (11-0-1) since their only two losses of the year came in consecutive matches (4-0 at No. 14/18 North Carolina; 5-2 at No. 4 Duke on Sept. 7 & 9).
MU punched its ticket to the conference's championship weekend with a 4-1 victory over Connecticut in a quarterfinal match on Oct. 28 in Milwaukee. Junior midfielder Maegan Kelly had a goal and an assist, while another junior midfielder, Taylor Madigan, collected two assists, as the Golden Eagles scored twice in each half before a meaningless UConn goal in the final seven minutes spoiled the shutout.
Kelly (8G-11A) leads a powerful Marquette offense that is tops in the BIG EAST in all major statistical categories. Madigan (7G-4A), junior midfielder Kate Reigle (5G-5A) and senior forward Rachael Sloan (5G-1A) all have made significant contributions to the Golden Eagles' success this season.
Likewise, freshman goalkeeper Amanda Engel (10-0-1 record, 0.53 GAA, 4.5 ShO, .812 save percentage) has stepped right in to replace graduated U-23 National Team netminder Natalie Kulla, ranking among the conference leaders in most areas.
Head coach Markus Roeders is in his 17th season at Marquette with a 250-91-35 (.711) record that includes a 2-7 mark against Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Marquette Series
Notre Dame holds a 7-4-1 edge in the all-time series with Marquette, with the Fighting Irish having won six of the past seven matches after the Golden Eagles claimed three wins and a draw among the first five contests.
Last year, the teams split their two matches, both of which were played at Valley Fields in Milwaukee. Marquette won the regular-season encounter, 3-2 in overtime (on Taylor Madigan's goal 18 seconds into extra time), before Notre Dame responded with a 1-0 victory in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals on Melissa Henderson's goal 8:04 into the match.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Marquette Met
Melissa Henderson scored in the ninth minute off a pinpoint service by Jazmin Hall and Notre Dame used a stellar defensive performance to defeat No. 5/9 Marquette, 1-0, in a BIG EAST Conference Championship quarterfinal match on Oct. 30, 2011, at rain-soaked Valley Fields in Milwaukee.
The win gave Notre Dame a measure of revenge for a 3-2 overtime loss to Marquette on the same pitch exactly five weeks earlier. What's more, it was the first Fighting Irish win over a ranked opponent in 2011, and first on the road at a top-five foe since a 4-1 win at No. 3 North Carolina in the third round of the 2010 NCAA Championship.
The statistics were virtually even, with Marquette holding a narrow 9-7 edge in total shots, and 4-3 advantage in shots on goal, although the Fighting Irish did hit the woodwork twice on the afternoon (one crossbar, one post). Notre Dame had the upper hand in corner kicks by a slim 4-3 margin, while fouls were even at 13-13 -- the Fighting Irish also received the lone yellow card in the match.
Maddie Fox recorded three saves en route to her first postseason shutout, and fourth clean sheet of 2011. Notre Dame also registered a team save, as Hall made a sensational sliding kick save at the left post to keep out Taylor Madigan's bid for an equalizer in the 17th minute. Marquette netminder Natalie Kulla had two saves for the Golden Eagles.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Marquette Met In Storrs, Conn.
Notre Dame earned a gritty 2-1 victory over Marquette to claim the BIG EAST Conference title in a physical matchup of No. 1 seeds on Nov. 8, 2009 at Morrone Stadium.
The Fighting Irish had taken a 1-0 lead early in the first half only to see the Golden Eagles tie the match late in the first half before Amanda Clark scored what proved to be the match-winning goal at 70:13. The win marked the 11th BIG EAST title in program history and Notre Dame's fourth conference crown in five seasons.
Lauren Fowlkes fired a low drive into the far right corner of the net to beat Golden Eagle goalkeeper Natalie Kulla at 12:09 for the early Irish lead. It marked the first goal that Kulla had given up in more than 760 minutes of action in the Marquette net.
The Golden Eagles answered with a goal of their own at 22:12 when Julia Victor sent a bounding ball into the box that eluded the Fighting Irish defense and Rachel Sloan nodded it home for her seventh goal of the year.
Notre Dame was able to capitalize for the game winner with just under 20 minutes left. Melissa Henderson found Erica Iantorno's feet with a pass on the far side of the box. Iantorno quickly slid the ball towards the center of the goal and Clark got a touch on the ball to re-direct it past Kulla for her first career post-season tally.
Kulla finished the game with five saves for Marquette, while Nikki Weiss made six saves for Notre Dame. The Golden Eagles held a 5-1 edge on corner kicks, while Marquette held a 21-14 advantage on shots.
Other Notre Dame-Marquette Series TidbitsNotre Dame freshman defender Brittany Von Rueden is a native of the Milwaukee suburb of Mequon, and matriculated from Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, where she graduated last spring as class valedictorian with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Von Rueden did not play high school soccer, instead choosing to sharpen her skills at the club level with the powerful FC Milwaukee program, which she led to the 2011 U.S. Youth Soccer (USYS) Under-18 National Championship (playing up one age-group level).
Among Von Rueden's FC Milwaukee club teammates on that 2011 USYS U-18 championship squad were four current Marquette players -- redshirt freshmen Jacie Jermier and Gabby Kailas, and sophomores Mary Luba and Mady Vicker.
Von Rueden also played two summers (2011-12) with the FC Milwaukee Nationals, an amateur entry into the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Midwest Conference. In 2011, she earned All-Midwest Conference Team honors, earning accolades as part of a squad that included such other notables as former Notre Dame standouts Amanda Cinalli ('08) and Michele Weissenhofer ('10), who were playing for the Chicago Red Stars. Then in 2012, Von Rueden and the Nationals went 5-0 and won the Midwest Conference title, but did not compete in the WPSL playoffs due to roster conflicts with many players returning to their college teams (including several current Marquette players).
Fighting Irish freshman forward Crystal Thomas actually made a verbal commitment to attend Marquette prior to the February 2012 signing period (after a brief interlude with South Carolina). However, Notre Dame had always been Thomas' dream school, and once circumstances changed within the Fighting Irish program to free up financial aid, Thomas changed her commitment and pledged to attend Notre Dame, where she has emerged as one of the leading scorers not only on the team, but in the BIG EAST (8G-2A, tops in goals and points among conference freshmen).
Thomas and fellow Fighting Irish rookie Katie Naughton played their club soccer with Sockers FC in Chicago, where one of their teammates was current Marquette freshman Ann Marie Lynch.
BIG EAST Championship Quick KicksNotre Dame is competing in the BIG EAST Championship for the 17th time in its 18-year league membership (all but 2002), having won the BIG EAST postseason crown 11 times (1995-2001, 2005-06 & 2008-09).
The Fighting Irish are 37-4-1 (.893) all-time in BIG EAST Championship play, including an 18-1 record at home, where Notre Dame has outscored those 19 conference foes by a combined 64-6 margin.
Since the BIG EAST added a quarterfinal round in 1998, the Fighting Irish have played host to a quarterfinal 11 times before going on the road for the first time last year at Marquette (1-0 victory). Notre Dame is 12-1 all-time in BIG EAST quarterfinal contests while posting a 47-3 aggregate score.
The Fighting Irish are competing in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals for the 16th time in their 18-year league membership (all but 2002 and 2010), posting a 13-2 record in its previous 15 semifinal matches (only losses came by identical 2-1 scores to Boston College in 2003 and Louisville in 2011). Notre Dame holds an all-time 47-7 scoring edge in the BIG EAST semifinals.
Notre Dame is 4-0 all-time in BIG EAST semifinals played at Morrone Stadium, winning in 1998 (5-1 vs. Syracuse), 2004 (2-0 vs. No. 19 Boston College), 2006 (2-0 vs. Marquette) and 2009 (2-1 in OT vs. St. John's).
The Fighting Irish are 7-1 all-time in BIG EAST Championship matches played at Morrone Stadium, with the lone loss coming to host Connecticut (2-1 in the 2004 final).
Notre Dame has won three of its 11 BIG EAST Championship titles on the Morrone Stadium pitch, hoisting the hardware in Storrs in 1998, 2006 and 2009 (the latter representing the most recent Fighting Irish conference postseason crown that came courtesy of a 2-1 win over Marquette).
The Last Time Notre Dame Played In The BIG EAST Semifinals
Adriana Leon scored in the 72nd minute, and Notre Dame had the tying goal disallowed and hit both the goalpost and crossbar, all in the final 10 minutes, but was not able to complete a valiant second-half comeback, falling to Louisville, 2-1 in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Conference Championship on Nov. 4, 2011, at Dick Dlesk Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Melissa Henderson had the assist on Leon's goal, extending her point-scoring streak to five matches, as the Fighting Irish battled almost all the way back to reach the conference final after trailing by two goals less than 11 minutes into the contest.
Notre Dame outshot the Cardinals, 19-11, including an 8-6 edge in shots on goal. The margins were even greater in the second half, when the Fighting Irish held a 12-5 total shot advantage, and a 5-2 spread in shots on goal. Notre Dame also earned a season-high 11 corner kicks on the day, finishing with an 11-3 edge from the flag (including five of six in the second half).
Maddie Fox registered four saves in the match, while her Louisville counterpart Chloe Kiefer made seven stops. The Cardinals got a goal and assist from Kaitie McDonald, with her 11th-minute score precariously standing up as the match-winner.
Part of Notre Dame's success this season can be traced to its top two goalkeepers -- freshman Elyse Hight and sophomore Sarah Voigt.
Hight (7-3-1, 0.55 GAA, 4.1 ShO, .870 save percentage) earned the starting nod for the first eight matches of the year, posting a 4-3-1 record while recording one shutout (sharing a second with Voigt), and tallying a win and a tie in four contests against ranked opponents (2-1 vs. No. 24/16 Santa Clara on Aug. 31; 1-1 at No. 19/18 Portland on Sept. 7).
Voigt (6-1-1, 0.85 GAA, 3.2 ShO, .708 save percentage) took over at halftime of the team's 2-1 win over Louisville on Sept. 14 in its BIG EAST opener and would hold on to the starting spot for the next eight matches, logging a 6-1-1 record with three solo shutouts (and a shared clean sheet with freshman Naomi Willett) and a scoreless streak of 355:40 that ended early in a 2-2 draw with Rutgers on Oct. 7.
Hight regained the starting goalkeeper role at Villanova on Oct. 14 and has posted consecutive solo shutouts since returning between the pipes, defeating Villanova, DePaul and Syracuse by identical 1-0 scores (the DePaul victory coming in double overtime on Oct. 19).
In fact, since allowing a goal to Washington's Jaclyn Softli on Sept. 9, Hight has not given up a score in her last 402:18 of action, including all four regular-season matches against BIG EAST opponents (0.00 GAA, 2.0 ShO, 10 saves). However, the rookie goalkeeper did not qualify for the BIG EAST goals-agains average or save percentage titles as she did not play in at least half (five) of her team's conference matches ths year, thus denying Hight the chance to challenge former Notre Dame netminder Nikki Weiss for the BIG EAST's single-season GAA record in league play (0.15 in 2009).
Nevertheless, Hight currently leads the BIG EAST and ranks 16th nationally in save percentage (.870), while also ranking third in the conference and 15th in the nation in GAA (0.55).
Giving Cancer A Swift Kick
Notre Dame's regular-season home finale against Rutgers on Oct. 7 at Alumni Stadium was designated as the program's "Kicks Against Cancer" match. At the end of the season, the proceeds from various events during the day will go to Michiana Hematology/Oncology and Kicks Against Cancer, the national soccer initiative to support funding for breast cancer research.
The Notre Dame players wore special gold jerseys with a pink ribbon insignia for the match. These limited edition jerseys, which were designed for the Fighting Irish by Notre Dame's official athletics apparel provider, adidas, recently were up for public bidding through the official Fighting Irish athletics auctions web site (UND.com/auctions), with the on-line bidding ending Oct. 31.
While the final donation totals are still to be calculated, it is estimated that the Fighting Irish will have raised more than $2,500 for local and national breast cancer charities.
Match #19 Recap: Syracuse (BIG EAST Championship Quarterfinal)
Freshman forward Cari Roccaro scored with 12:47 remaining to lift No. RV/24 Notre Dame to a 1-0 victory over defensive-minded Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Conference Championship on a cold and blustery Oct. 28 afternoon at Alumni Stadium.
Roccaro gathered in a long lead pass from junior midfielder/tri-captain (and United States Under-20 World Cup champion teammate) Mandy Laddish, beating Syracuse goalkeeper Brittany Anghel to the ball at the top of the box, dribbling around an Orange defender and then scoring from 15 yards out into the empty net, sending the Fighting Irish to the BIG EAST semifinals for the 16th time in their 18 seasons as a conference member.
Notre Dame (13-4-2) is unbeaten in 11 of its last 12 matches, but had to work hard all afternoon to pry open a stout Syracuse defense, not to mention solve one of the BIG EAST's top netminders in Anghel. The Fighting Irish finished with a 17-7 shot advantage, including a 7-2 edge in shots on goal (plus two other tries that hit the crossbar), and earned a 7-3 margin on corner kicks.
Freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight was strong when she had to be, making two saves for her third consecutive solo shutout, and her fourth of the season (to go along with one shared clean sheet). Anghel kept her side in contention with six saves, including a huge stop on Roccaro's point-blank header in the opening 45 seconds that kept the Fighting Irish from immediately gaining the upper hand.
Beyond The Box Score: SyracuseRoccaro is the fifth Fighting Irish player this season to score at least five goals, while Laddish is the sixth Notre Dame player with at least three assists this year.
Roccaro is the first Fighting Irish freshman to score a goal in BIG EAST Championship play since Nov. 9, 2008, when Melissa Henderson scored 6:58 into the first overtime to give Notre Dame a 1-0 victory over Connecticut in the BIG EAST title match at old Alumni Field.
The Fighting Irish move to 9-0 all-time against Syracuse, including a 4-0 record at home, and have outscored the Orange, 38-3 in the series.
This marked the first postseason match between Notre Dame and Syracuse since Nov. 6, 1998 (a 5-1 Fighting Irish victory in the BIG EAST semifinals at Storrs, Conn.).
Meet The (Not So) #BabyIrish
Combine Notre Dame's youthful roster (which includes 12 freshmen and six sophomores) and head coach Randy Waldrum's growing fascination with Twitter and it's no surprise that this year's squad spent the first six weeks of the campaign with its own unique hashtag, courtesy of their coach ... #BabyIrish.
Not only did the hashtag pay tribute to the median age of his team, but Waldrum also used the term to refer to the (sometimes painful) growing process that the Notre Dame squad is going through this season.
Although he knew his team had to crawl before it can walk, Waldrum insisted that he didn't plan to keep the hashtag for long. Thus, with Notre Dame's late-season surge (unbeaten in 10 of its last 11 matches) and return to the Top 25 in the national polls (currently 24th in the Soccer America poll), the Fighting Irish coach has been more than willing to lift the social media moniker, or at least trade it in for a more adolescent version (he continues to remain open to suggestions through his Twitter account, @NDCoachWaldrum).
The ongoing goal of the #BabyIrish hashtag 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
Junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish and freshman forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro now can add the label of "World Cup champion" to their respective resumes, after the Fighting Irish duo helped the United States win the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten (and reigning U-20 champion) Germany in the championship match on Sept. 8 in Tokyo, Japan.
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).
The 2-0 Guarantee
Notre Dame is 340-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and has won its last 317 contests when going ahead 2-0 (since a 3-3 draw with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati).
In fact, just two of the past 229 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 308-3-1 (.989) record in those games, including a 210-1-0 (.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 21-6-16 (.674) all-time in the Randy Waldrum era (since 1999) when going to an extra period or two. Notre Dame also is unbeaten in 15 of its last 18 overtime contests, going to double OT in its four extra-time matches, including all three this season -- a 1-0 win at DePaul on Oct. 19, and a pair of draws (1-1 at No. 19/18 Portland on Sept. 7; 2-2 at home vs. Rutgers on Oct. 7).
Last year, the Fighting Irish tied two school records by going to extra time on five occasions (also in 2001 and 2007) and registering three draws (also in 1991 and 2001).
Sophomore forward Lauren Bohaboy became the first current Notre Dame player to score an overtime goal, netting the match-winner with 4:52 left in the second extra session at DePaul. It was the first overtime victory for the Fighting Irish since Nov. 6, 2009, when Jessica Schuveiller headed home the "golden goal" off a cross from Rose Augustin at 98:42 to beat St. John's in the BIG EAST semifinals at Storrs, Conn.
Bohaboy's goal at DePaul also was the latest Notre Dame match-winning score (105:08) since Sept. 21, 2001, when Amy Warner's goal at 114:11 defeated Villanova, 2-1 at old Alumni Field (matches featured 15-minute overtime periods during that era).
Any Given Sunday
Notre Dame is unbeaten in 32 of its last 37 matches on Sunday (27-5-5), 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 46-7-6 (.831) record in their last 59 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
Now in his 14th season at Notre Dame, head coach Randy Waldrum ranks fourth on the NCAA Division I career winning percentage list (second among active coaches) with a .780 (383-98-28) mark in his 23 years in the women's game. Waldrum ranks fifth on the all-time NCAA Division I wins list, having earned his 375th career victory on Sept. 16 vs. Cincinnati at Alumni Stadium, and he recently coached the 500th match of his women's soccer career (a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh on Sept. 21 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.
Oh Captain, My Captain
The 2012 Notre Dame squad is being led by a trio of first-time captains, as senior defender Jazmin Hall, and junior midfielders Mandy Laddish and Elizabeth Tucker were selected via a preseason vote of their teammates.
In an interesting twist illustrating the youth on the current Fighting Irish roster, this year's captains also represent three of just four active Notre Dame players who earned a 2010 NCAA national championship ring (the other is junior forward/midfielder Rebecca Twining).
Coming Soon: Irish in the ACC
The University of Notre Dame announced Sept. 12 that it has accepted an offer of admission into the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for all sports except football (the league does not offer championships in ice hockey or fencing).
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 currently hold a 146-11-9 (.907) regular-season conference record since joining the BIG EAST in 1995.
Next Up: BIG EAST Final
With a victory over Marquette on Friday, Notre Dame would advance to the BIG EAST Championship title match at noon (ET) Sunday against either Georgetown (the National Division co-champion and top seed) or South Florida (the second-seeded team in the American Division) at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. The BIG EAST final will be televised live to a national cable audience via the CBS Sports Network and the BIG EAST syndicated television package (check local listings).
The Fighting Irish suffered their only conference loss of the season at Georgetown, falling to the Hoyas, 2-0, on Oct. 12 in Washington, D.C. The two programs have met twice in BIG EAST Championship competition, with Notre Dame winning both prior matches (6-0 in the 2005 quarterfinals; 2-0 in the 2007 semifinals).
The Fighting Irish are 3-0-1 all-time against USF, whom it did not play during the 2012 regular season. The last time the teams met on Sept. 22, 2011, they played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw in Tampa after the Bulls scored the tying goal with 3:39 left in regulation.
Notre Dame also faced USF once before in the BIG EAST Championship, defeating the Bulls, 5-0 in a 2009 quarterfinal at Alumni Stadium.
-- ND --