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    #RV/23 Irish Host Milwaukee Friday In NCAA Tournament Opener

    FIGHTING IRISH Freshman Cari Roccaro and Notre Dame will open the 2012 NCAA Championship at 7 p.m. (ET) Friday when they play host to Milwaukee at Alumni Stadium.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Freshman Cari Roccaro and Notre Dame will open the 2012 NCAA Championship at 7 p.m. (ET) Friday when they play host to Milwaukee at Alumni Stadium.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 8, 2012

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    2012 Notre Dame Women's Soccer -- Match 21
    NCAA Championship -- First Round
    #RV/23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-5-2 / 8-1-1 BIG EAST) vs. Milwaukee Panthers (8-8-1 / 5-2-0 Horizon League)

    DATE: November 9, 2012
    TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
    AT: Notre Dame, Ind. - Alumni Stadium (3,007)
    SERIES: ND leads 6-1-0
    1ST MTG: UWM 2-1 (9/8/89 @UWM)
    LAST MTG: ND 3-0 (8/22/10 @ND)
    VIDEO: UND.com (live-free)
    LIVE STATS: UND.com
    TEXT ALERT: UND.com
    TWITTER: @NDsoccernews
    TICKETS: (574) 631-7356 / UND.com/tickets

    Storylines

  • Notre Dame is playing in the NCAA Championship for the 20th consecutive season, the second-longest active streak (and third longest all-time) in tournament history.
  • The Fighting Irish are opening NCAA Championship play at home for the 18th time in their 20 appearances, owning a 44-3-0 home record in NCAA postseason matches.
  • No. RV/23 Irish Host Milwaukee Friday In NCAA Tournament Opener
    After going unbeaten in 11 of the past 13 matches, No. RV/23 Notre Dame will kick off its 20th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship on Friday when it plays host to Horizon League champion Milwaukee in a first-round match at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Alumni Stadium. The contest will be streamed live and free of charge on the official Notre Dame athletics web site, UND.com.

    The Fighting Irish (13-5-2) last took the pitch on Nov. 2, dropping a hard-fought 1-0 decision to No. 15/10 Marquette in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. Notre Dame battled the Golden Eagles all the way, but a goal with less than 19 minutes left was all MU needed to knock the Fighting Irish out of the tournament.

    Freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight did all she could to keep the Fighting Irish in contention, making six saves, including a pair of point-blank stops in the first half.

    Rankings

  • Notre Dame is receiving votes in the latest NSCAA poll and is ranked No. 23 in this week's Soccer America poll.
  • Milwaukee is not ranked.
  • A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish

  • They 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 10-2-1 with a 29-8 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, with four players going on to combine for eight honors at the BIG EAST year-end awards banquet on Nov. 1 in East Hartford, Conn.
  • 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.
  • Scouting Milwaukee
    It's been a tale of two seasons for Milwaukee (8-8-1), as the Panthers went winless in seven of their first eight matches, but have flipped the script dramatically in the final six weeks of the campaign, winning seven of their final nine contests, including identical 1-0 double-overtime victories in the Horizon League Championship semifinals (vs. Loyola-Chicago) and final (Wright State), with the latter victory giving UWM its fifth consecutive Horizon League postseason crown.

    Junior forward Krissy Dorre leads Milwaukee with seven goals and 17 points this season, highlighted by both match-winning goals in the Horizon League tournament, sealing Most Valuable Player honors in the process. Senior forward Sammy Vovos (4G-1A) and a pair of sophomores - forward Kelly Lewers (3G-6A) and midfielder Kelsey Holbert (3G-5A), also contribute to the Panthers' attack.

    Senior goalkeeper Jamie Forbes has played every minute in the UWM net this year, posting a 1.27 goals-against average with seven shutouts and a .791 save percentage.

    Head coach Greg Henschel is in his first season at Milwaukee, following a successful tenure at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he led the Warhawk men's and women's programs to a combined 290 victories and 11 NCAA postseason berths from 1999-2011.

    The Notre Dame-Milwaukee Series
    Notre Dame and Milwaukee will be playing for the eighth time in series history, with the Fighting Irish holding a 6-1-0 edge all-time against the Panthers, including a 5-0-0 record at home (2-0-0 at Notre Dame's current home, Alumni Stadium).

    The Fighting Irish also have won the past six matches in the series with Milwaukee by a 19-0 aggregate after the Panthers won the initial matchup, 2-1 on Sept. 8, 1989, in Milwaukee.

    The Last Time Notre Dame And Milwaukee Met
    Rose Augustin scored twice as part of a three-goal second-half flurry, helping fourth-ranked Notre Dame to a 3-0 win over Milwaukee on Aug. 22, 2010, at Alumni Stadium.

    Elizabeth Tucker scored the match-winning goal for the Fighting Irish, netting her first college tally unassisted in the 52nd minute. Melissa Henderson and Erica Iantorno then set up the two scores by Augustin, who registered her fifth career multi-goal match.

    Nikki Weiss went the distance to earn her second solo shutout, making five saves (all in the first 49 minutes). Milwaukee split its goalkeeping duties, with Leslie Deebach working a scoreless opening half and stopping two shots before Jamie Forbes came on to play the final 45 minutes and make three saves.

    UWM wound up with a slim 13-12 shot advantage for the game, although Notre Dame had a 7-3 edge after halftime. The Fighting Irish also held the upper hand in shots on goal (8-5), corner kicks (6-2) and fouls (6-3).

    The Last Time ND And Milwaukee Met In The NCAA Championship
    Michele Weissenhofer scored in the fifth minute and top-ranked Notre Dame held on from there versus Milwaukee, as the Fighting Irish overcame yet another challenging NCAA second-round match, winning 1-0 on Nv. 12, 2006, at Alumni Field.

    Weissenhofer's goal was Notre Dame's third-quickest of the 2006 season (4:37), with Kerri Hanks and Jen Buczkowski picked up assists on the play. The Fighting Irish won while continuing to play with two freshmen (Haley Ford and Amanda Clark) starting on the back line, as center back Carrie Dew remained out due to her ACL knee injury while left back Christie Shaner missed her second consecutive game due to illness.

    Buczkowski set up the decisive goal with a driven ball down the center of the field. Hanks received the pass and appeared ready to try the shot from the top of the box before alertly sending a short thru-ball into the left side. Weissenhofer was angling in and used some quick thinking to strike the ball with her off-foot, resulting in a shot from the outside of her right foot. UWM goalkeeper Erin Kane was caught wrong-footed, as the shot from eight yards out carried into the right side of the net.

    Notre Dame finished with a narrow shot edge (9-7) that produced the rarity of both teams having single-digit shot totals. The game also featured just five shots on goal (three for the Fighting Irish) and each team attempted five corner kicks, with Notre Dame totaling more than double UWM's number of fouls (17-8). In addition, the Fighting Irish were whistled offside six times in the game (none for the visitors).

    Other Notre Dame-Milwaukee Series Tidbits

  • Notre 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).
  • 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.
  • Notre Dame sophomore defender Sammy Scofield and Milwaukee senior goalkeeper Jamie Forbes have been teammates the past two summers with the WPSL's Chicago Red Stars. Together, Scofield and Forbes helped form the backbone of a Red Stars' defense that paced Chicago to consecutive appearances in the WPSL Championship Match (overall in 2011; Elite League in 2012).
  • NCAA Championship Quick Kicks

  • Notre Dame is competing in the NCAA Championship for the 20th consecutive year, the second-longest active streak of consecutive berths, trailing only North Carolina (30) in that category. The 20-year run also is the third-longest in the tournament 30-year history, with Connecticut having a 26-year stretch (1982-2007) and Santa Clara also going to the tournament for 19 consecutive seasons (1989-2007).
  • Notre Dame has a 59-16-1 (.783) all-time record in NCAA tournament play, going 44-3 (.936) at home -- 38-3 at old Alumni Field, 5-0 at its current home, Alumni Stadium, and 1-0 at nearby Saint Mary's College (the 1996 third-round match vs. Maryland, won by the Fighting Irish, 2-0, was moved across State Route 933 to the SMC campus due to wet grounds at old Alumni Field).
  • The Fighting Irish are opening the NCAA Championship at home for the 18th time in their 20 NCAA postseason appearances, but first since the 2010 campaign, when they opened with a 3-0 victory over New Mexico at Alumni Stadium.
  • In five NCAA Championship matches played at Alumni Stadium, Notre Dame has outscored its opponents, 19-1. The lone opponent goal was scored by Central Michigan's Molly Gerst at 55:42 of a 6-1 Fighting Irish second-round win on Nov. 15, 2009.
  • Notre Dame and North Carolina remain 1-2 in virtually all NCAA Championship appearance records since 1994 -- round-of-16 trips (UNC-18, ND-15, Portland-14), quarterfinal berths (ND-14, UNC-14, Portland-13), College Cup spots (UNC-13, ND-12) and title game visits (UNC-11, ND-8; no one else with more than three).
  • Notre Dame has advanced to six of the past eight NCAA College Cups, beginning with its 2004 national championship.
  • The Fighting Irish claimed NCAA titles in 1995, 2004 and 2010, joining North Carolina as the only three-time winners in the history of the tournament. Notre Dame also has finished as the NCAA runner-up five times (1994, 1996, 1999, 2006 and 2008) as part of its 12 NCAA College Cup berths (also semifinalist in 1997, 2000, 2007 and 2009), all since 1994.
  • Four Irish Players Honored At BIG EAST Awards Banquet
    Four Notre Dame players received honors during the 2012 BIG EAST Awards Banquet that was held Nov. 1 at the Marriott Hartford Downtown in Hartford, Conn.

    Freshman forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro took home three awards, most notably the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year trophy, becoming the first Fighting Irish recipient of the award since Melissa Henderson in 2008. Roccaro also was a first-team all-BIG EAST and BIG EAST All-Rookie Team selection, according to a vote of the conference's 15 head coaches.

    Freshman defender Katie Naughton and freshman forward Crystal Thomas were double honorees, with both making the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team in addition to earning all-conference accolades (Thomas was a second-team choice, while Naughton was a third-team selection). Together with Roccaro, they gave Notre Dame three BIG EAST All-Rookie Team picks in the same year for the first time since 2000, when Amanda Guertin, Randi Scheller and Amy Warner represented the Fighting Irish on the BIG EAST's rookie squad.

    Rounding out this year's Notre Dame honorees was junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish, who garnered second-team all-conference status for the second consecutive season. As a group, the Fighting Irish had four all-conference selections, their best showing since 2010, when five Notre Dame players took home all-BIG EAST plaques.

    They're Keepers
    Part of Notre Dame's success this season can be traced to its top two goalkeepers -- freshman Elyse Hight and sophomore Sarah Voigt.

    Hight (7-4-1, 0.59 GAA, 4.1 ShO, .868 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 posted three 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), before dropping a 1-0 decision to No. 15/10 Marquette in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals on Nov. 2 in East Hartford, Conn.

    In fact, the goal Hight allowed to Marquette's Ally Miller was the first yielded by the rookie netminder in 473:38, dating back to a goal to Washington's Jaclyn Softli on Sept. 9. Hight also was unblemished in all four regular-season matches against BIG EAST opponents (0.00 GAA, 2.0 ShO, 10 saves), but she did not qualify for the BIG EAST goals-against 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 (.868), while also ranking third in the conference and 22nd in the nation in GAA (0.59).

    Match #20 Recap: Marquette (BIG EAST Championship Semifinal)
    No. 25/20 Notre Dame gave No. 15/10 Marquette all it wanted in their BIG EAST Championship semifinal, but the Golden Eagles eventually managed a goal with 18:40 to play to claim a 1-0 victory over the Fighting Irish on Nov. 2 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.

    After a physical and largely defensive standoff through the first 70 minutes, Marquette broke through when Ally Miller registered the first shot on goal by either team in the second half (and one of two in the period, both by MU), converting a short-range header off a free kick from Maegan Kelly. Notre Dame elevated its offensive pressure down the stretch in search of the equalizer, but came up empty and was eliminated in the semifinal round of the conference tournament for the second consecutive season.

    Marquette finished with a narrow 13-11 edge in total shots, as well as a 7-2 advantage in shots on goal and 4-2 margin on corner kicks. The teams also combined for 30 fouls (Notre Dame 19-11), with the Fighting Irish also picking up the lone yellow card of the afternoon.

    Freshman goalkeeper Elyse Hight was superb between the pipes for Notre Dame, making six saves, including a pair of point-blank stops in the first half. Amanda Engel earned the shutout in the Marquette goal, registering two saves.

    Beyond The Box Score: Marquette

  • Notre Dame falls to 37-5-1 (.872) in BIG EAST Championship matches, including a 13-3 record in the semifinal round (where the Fighting Irish still have a 47-8 aggregate scoring margin).
  • Notre Dame drops to 7-5-1 all-time against Marquette, with this marking the first loss for the Fighting Irish against the Golden Eagles in six all-time BIG EAST Championship contests (Notre Dame won last year's quarterfinal, 1-0 in Milwaukee).
  • The past four matches in the Notre Dame-Marquette series each have been decided by one goal (one in overtime), with both schools winning twice in that span.
  • Marquette was the sixth ranked opponent for the Fighting Irish this season, with Notre Dame now 1-4-1 against Top 25 foes this year (2-1 win over No. 24/16 Santa Clara, 1-1 draw at No. 19/18 Portland), although two of the four losses have been 1-0 decisions (also Sept. 2 vs. No. 19 North Carolina).
  • Hight's scoreless streak in the Fighting Irish nets ended at 473:38, dating back to a goal by Washington's Jaclyn Softli at 37:50 on Sept. 9 in Seattle.
  • Notre Dame registered a season-high 19 fouls (previous was 17 at Connecticut on Sept. 30) and tied its season-low mark with two corner kicks (previous was two against North Carolina on Sept. 2).
  • 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 $4,000 for local and national breast cancer charities.

    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 .778 (383-99-28) 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: NCAA Second Round
    With a victory over Milwaukee, Notre Dame would advance to the second round of the NCAA Championship, where it would play the winner of the Wake Forest-Georgia Southern match. That second-round contest is slated for Nov. 16, with the site to be determined (Florida is the highest seed in this portion of the bracket and would play host to second- and third-round matches if it defeats Florida Gulf Coast in its opening-round contest).

    Notre Dame is 2-0-0 all-time against Wake Forest, but has not faced the Demon Deacons since Aug. 31, 2003, when the Fighting Irish posted a 3-0 victory in Storrs, Conn.

    Should Notre Dame play Georgia Southern, it would not only be the first meeting between the Fighting Irish and Eagles, but also the first time Notre Dame has played any school from the state of Georgia.

    -- ND --
     

     

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