Nov. 7, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Three Notre Dame women's soccer players have been recognized for their on-field achievements this year, earning all-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) honors as part of the conference's slate of regular season awards announced Thursday following a vote of the ACC's 14 head coaches.
Freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H.) garnered three separate honors, including her selection as the 2013 ACC Freshman of the Year. She also was named an All-ACC Second Team choice (one of just three rookies to make any of the three all-conference squads this season), and was part of the ACC All-Freshman Team.
Sophomore forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) represented Notre Dame on the All-ACC First Team, while senior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) was chosen for a spot on the All-ACC Third Team.
Collectively, this midfield trio has played a pivotal role in helping Notre Dame to an 11-7-1 record, including a 7-5-1 mark in its inaugural season in the ACC. The Fighting Irish currently are ranked 16th in the Soccer America poll and 23rd in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) balloting.
"I'm so proud of Mandy, Cari, and Morgan on being named to the various ACC all-conference teams," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "I'm certain these three would be the first to credit their teammates for their part in achieving these awards, and I'm certain they feel honored as well."
Andrews is the 11th Notre Dame women's soccer player to be named conference Freshman of the Year (covering the program's membership in the Midwestern Collegiate and BIG EAST conferences), and the second in as many seasons following Roccaro's selection as last year's BIG EAST Rookie of the Year.
Andrews ranks second on the Fighting Irish roster this season with five goals, five assists, 15 points and 23 shots on goal, in addition to recording a team-high 59 total shots and three match-winning goals. Her most notable strike of the season came on Sept. 15, when she headed in the lone goal in Notre Dame's 1-0 win at top-ranked North Carolina, the program's first regular-season win over a No. 1 team since 1996.
"I'm so thrilled for Morgan to be named the ACC Freshman of the Year," Waldrum said. "I think she was, without question, the best freshman in the conference and it's great that the other ACC coaches felt that way, too. Morgan continues to grow as a player, but since she came on campus she has performed like a veteran. She's a special talent and I look forward to great things from her in the remainder of this season and throughout the rest of her career at Notre Dame."
Roccaro earned first-team all-conference honors for the second consecutive season, having capped her rookie year in the BIG EAST with first-team accolades. A versatile player who has seen time at every field position throughout her two-year college career, Roccaro has four goals and two assists this season, including her first career hat trick in Notre Dame's 5-0 win over No. 21/22 Maryland on Sept. 26 at Alumni Stadium.
"Cari is the one player that has played in just about every position on the field during her first two years," Waldrum said. "We have used her at center mid, forward, outside back, and center back in just this season alone. It's a credit to her overall talent as a player to be named to the All-ACC First Team, in spite of the fact that she has been moved all over the field. I'm really proud of her willingness to do whatever it takes for us to win."
A two-year team captain at Notre Dame, Laddish received her third all-conference citation in as many years after earning second-team all-BIG EAST recognition the past two seasons. One of the engines in the Fighting Irish offense, Laddish has started all 82 matches she has played in during her college career, missing just seven of Notre Dame's contests in that span, all during the early portion of the 2012 campaign while teaming with Roccaro to help the U.S. Under-20 National Team win the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Japan.
This season, Laddish has tied her career high with nine points, collecting two goals and five assists, the latter figure tying for second-best on the team. Her season highlight thus far came on Oct. 24 in her final regular-season home match when she registered a goal and an assist in Notre Dame's 3-1 victory over Boston College.
"Mandy has been the one player who has consistently played in our midfield, though she has been asked to play various roles in that position over her four years," Waldrum said. "She's really grown into a leader for us, and I'm proud of her development. Her selection to the All-ACC Team is a great way to reward her for not only this year, but her four years here."
The Fighting Irish are awaiting the announcement of the 64-team field for the 2013 NCAA Championship, which will be unveiled at 4:30 p.m. (ET) Monday live at NCAA.com. Notre Dame is seeking its 21st consecutive berth in the NCAA tournament, having posted a 62-17-1 (.781) record in its 20 prior postseason trips (the second-longest active streak and third-longest all-time), winning three national championships and advancing to the NCAA Women's College Cup 12 times (both second-most in tournament history).
Last year, the Fighting Irish reached the NCAA quarterfinals with a home win over Milwaukee (3-1), followed by a neutral-site victory over third-seeded Wake Forest (2-1) and a road win at second-seeded Florida (2-0) before bowing out at top-seeded Florida State (1-0).
First-round matches in this year's NCAA Championship will be played during the weekend of Nov. 15-17, with the second and third rounds scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 22-24, and the quarterfinals penciled for Nov. 29-Dec. 1, with all matches in those first four rounds played at campus sites. The 2013 NCAA Women's College Cup will take place Dec. 6 & 8 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDsoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director