Nov. 12, 2011
NCAA Championship -- First Round
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-7-3 / 6-3-2 BIG EAST) vs. #16/13 Illinois Fighting Illini (16-4-2 / 8-2-1 Big Ten)
DATE: November 13, 2011
TIME: 1:00 p.m. CT
AT: Champaign, Ill. - UI Soccer Stadium (2,000)
SERIES: ND leads 1-0-0
1ST MTG: ND 2-0 (11/18/07) (NCAA 2nd rd @ ND)
LIVE STATS: UND.com
LIVE CHAT: UND.com/blog
TEXT ALERT: UND.com
TICKETS: Available on-site
Irish Open NCAA Tournament Play Sunday At #16/13 Illinois
After all the ups and downs Notre Dame has experienced this season, the slate is wiped clean and the road ahead is crystal clear as the Fighting Irish kick off their 19th consecutive NCAA Championship appearance at 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET) Sunday with a first-round match against No. 16/13 Illinois at the Illinois Soccer & Track Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
Notre Dame (10-7-3) has been off for the past nine days since it last took the pitch on Nov. 4 and came away with a frustrating 2-1 loss to Louisville in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals at Morgantown, W.Va. Despite allowing two goals in the first 11 minutes, the Fighting Irish dominated the run of play throughout, and had several chances to tie the match in the final 10 minutes, but had one goal disallowed (offside) and hit the woodwork twice in that time.
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
While it might not have been the season any of the Notre Dame players or coaches had hoped for, the goal still remains the same -- and firmly within sight -- as the Fighting Irish (10-7-3) have advanced to the NCAA Championship for the 19th consecutive season.
This year has been one of near-misses and close calls, with six of Notre Dame's seven losses by one goal (four vs. ranked opponents). Still, the Fighting Irish have lived up to their nickname, battling back from a 3-4-1 start by going unbeaten in nine of their final 12 matches and tallying five shutouts after having just one clean sheet in their first eight outings.
Senior forward Melissa Henderson (18G-8A) has consistently maintained her place as one of the nation's elite attackers and comes into Sunday's match riding a five-match point-scoring streak. Classmate and fellow tri-captain Jessica Schuveiller (6G-2A) has added offensive punch during this recent Fighting Irish resurgence, tallying 12 points (all but one of her goals) during the past 10 matches.
Ranked 16th in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll and 13th in the current Soccer America survey, Illinois is one of the nation's hottest teams, going unbeaten in its last 11 matches (10-0-1) since a 1-0 loss at Penn State on Sept. 25.
The Fighting Illini are coming off a stirring three-match run to the Big Ten Tournament title, edging Ohio State on penalties, 4-2 (after a 1-1 draw), before earning overtime decisions against Michigan State (1-0) and Penn State (2-1) to hoist the hardware in Evanston, Ill.
Sophomore midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo (17G-5A) is one of the nation's leading scorers this year, and thus is was no surprise she netted the match-winner (her eighth of the year) 2:04 into extra time of the title contest against Penn State. However, she's not the only weapon in Illinois' arsenal, as senior midfielder Marissa Mykines (8G-3A) had the decisive tally in the semifinal vs. Michigan State, while sophomore forward Megan Pawloski (6G-2A) and junior midfielder Niki Read (4G-7A) have provided critical support.
Junior Steph Panozzo has played all but 5:53 in the Fighting Illini goal this season, posting a 1.01 GAA with seven solo shutouts.
Head coach Janet Rayfield is in her 10th year at Illinois with a 129-70-18 (.636) record. Adding in her six years at Arkansas in the mid-1990s, Rayfield has a career mark of 174-134-25 (.560), with an 0-1 record vs. Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame-Illinois Series
Despite their geographic proximity and numerous meetings during the spring season, Sunday will mark just the second time Notre Dame and Illinois have met on the soccer pitch in a meaningful match. The Fighting Irish won that initial encounter, 2-0, on Nov. 18, 2007, in the second round of the NCAA Championship at old Alumni Field (see following note for recap).
The Last Time Notre Dame And Illinois Met
No. 11 (and fourth-seeded) Notre Dame advanced to the third round of the 2007 NCAA Championship with a 2-0 victory over Illinois on Nov. 18, 2007, at old Alumni Field.
With leading scorer (and All-American) Brittany Bock held out of action due to a minor injury, two other veteran frontrunners -- Amanda Cinalli and Michele Weissenhofer -- stepped up to the occasion for Notre Dame by combining on the first goal midway through the opening half. All-American Kerri Hanks then forced an own-goal with her cross from the right side, giving the Fighting Irish a 2-0 lead with 1:28 left in the first half.
Notre Dame finished with a 13-10 edge in total shots and 6-3 in shots on goal, with Illinois attempting many of its shots in the late stages after committing more players into the attack. Lauren Karas made three saves to secure the clean sheet in the Fighting Irish goal.
NCAA Championship Quick Kicks
Match #20 Recap: Louisville
Sophomore forward 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 at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Senior forward/tri-captain Melissa Henderson had the assist on Leon's goal, extending her point-scoring streak to five matches, as the Fighting Irish (10-7-3) 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).
Junior goalkeeper 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 standing up as the match-winner.
Four Irish Nab All-BIG EAST Honors
Four Notre Dame players received honors during the 2011 BIG EAST Conference Awards Banquet at the Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa in Morgantown, W.Va. Two of the three Fighting Irish senior captains -- forward Melissa Henderson and defender/midfielder Jessica Schuveiller collected first-team all-conference citations (the 17th consecutive year Notre Dame has had multiple first-team honorees), while sophomore midfielder Mandy Laddish was a second-team all-BIG EAST choice and freshman forward Lauren Bohaboy was selected for the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
In addition, Notre Dame was named the recipient of the third annual BIG EAST Fair Play Award, which is given to the school which accumulates the fewest fouls, yellow cards and red cards (based on a weighted point system -- one point per foul, five points per yellow card, 10 points per red card) during the course of the conference season. It's the first time the Fighting Irish have received that honor after they logged just 77 points during BIG EAST play (67 fouls, two yellow cards, zero red cards).
Trio Of Irish Earn Academic All-District Honors
Three Notre Dame players -- senior midfielder/tri-captain Courtney Barg, sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Tucker and senior defender Molly Campbell -- were named Capital One Academic All-District V selections, it was announced Nov. 4 by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Barg and Tucker were chosen as first-team academic all-district honorees (the first citations of both players' careers), and each advanced to the national ballot for Academic All-America consideration. Meanwhile, Campbell was a third-team academic all-district selection, marking the third consecutive year she has collected academic all-district recognition (first team in 2009, second team in 2010).
The trio was chosen for district honors through voting by CoSIDA members in their district, which encompasses Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. To be nominated, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) at his/her current institution. In addition, nominated student-athletes must have participated in at least 50 percent of the team's matches at their respective positions.
Barg currently is enrolled in Notre Dame's top-ranked Mendoza College of Business, where she is an accounting major and has a 3.612 cumulative GPA, in addition to twice earning dean's list honors and copping three citations on the BIG EAST All-Academic Team (2009-11).
Tucker presently is enrolled in Notre Dame's top-ranked Mendoza College of Business, where she is an accounting major and has a perfect 4.000 cumulative GPA, having earned dean's list honors in both semesters of her freshman year. She also made the 2010-11 BIG EAST All-Academic Team.
Campbell is presently studying in the College of Arts and Letters, where she has recorded a 3.589 cumulative GPA as a political science major. Along with her three academic all-district certificates, Campbell also is a three-time BIG EAST All-Academic Team selection (2009-11).
The Notre Dame women's soccer program has produced 24 Academic All-Americans in its history (a national-best 16 since women's soccer was separated from the at-large Academic All-America program in 2002), including Lauren Fowlkes' first-team citation last year.
More Than Meets The Eye
A few observers around the country may have raised an eyebrow at Notre Dame's 10-7-3 record this season. But consider the following:
Notre Dame is unbeaten in 26 of its last 29 matches on Sunday (22-3-4), 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 41-5-5 (.853) record in the past 50 contests when closing out the weekend, 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).
Henderson A Trend Setter
If you're looking to spot a trend in Notre Dame's success during the past four seasons, look no further than senior forward Melissa Henderson. Since the Garland, Texas, native arrived in South Bend, she has scored 70 goals (second-most among active Division I players, and tied for fourth in school history) and added 26 assists for 166 career points (ninth in school history), making her one of 26 Fighting Irish players with at least 20 goals and 20 assists in her career.
This season, Henderson leads the BIG EAST in goals (18), goals per match (0.90), points (44) and points per match (2.20). She also is among the top five in the conference in total shots (2nd - 75), shots per match (3rd - 3.75), assists (tied-4th - 8) and assists per match (4th - 0.40).
On the national stage, Henderson ranks among the top 10 in total goals (fifth), goals per match (fifth), points per match (sixth) and total points (ninth). She is one of seven players in the country currently in the top nine in all four categories (as of Nov. 7).
What's more, Henderson has a school record-tying three hat tricks this season (vs. Indiana, Cincinnati and DePaul), making her one of only four BIG EAST players with a three-goal night, and the only one to do it more than once. She also now has six career hat tricks, tying the school record held by two-time Hermann Trophy recipient Kerri Hanks (2005-08) and Jenny Heft (1996-99).
The "Texas" hat trick she bagged vs. DePaul on Oct. 21 was notable in that she became just the fifth player to score four goals in a BIG EAST regular-season match, and the first in more than 13 years -- former Seton Hall All-American and England National Team striker Kelly Smith was the last to do so on Oct. 16, 1998, at Pittsburgh.
These markers have been particularly valuable to Fighting Irish fortunes. In fact, during Henderson's career, Notre Dame is 42-3-3 when she scores a goal, something she's done in 21 of her last 35 outings, dating back to last season. The Fighting Irish also are 53-4-3 all-time when Henderson tallies a point, which she has done in 40 of the past 55 contests, a stretch that carries back to 2009.
The only times Notre Dame has lost when Henderson had a goal or point came earlier this season, when she scored goals at No. 2 Stanford (lost 2-1 on Sept. 9) and No. 14/15 Marquette (lost 3-2 in overtime on Sept. 25), as well as at home vs. Georgetown (lost 3-2 on Oct. 14), and delivered an assist vs. Louisville in the BIG EAST semifinal (lost 2-1 on Nov. 4).
Henderson Called Into U-23 Camp
Last month, senior forward Melissa Henderson completed a week-long training camp with the United States Under-23 National Team at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The camp, which took place Oct. 3-7 and featured 25 of the nation's top college players and young professionals, was jointly overseen by U.S. Soccer Women's Development Director Jill Ellis, U.S. Soccer Women's Technical Director April Heinrichs and U.S. Women's National Team head coach Pia Sundhage.
Sundhage was at the camp to evaluate players for possible call-ups to U.S. National Team camps heading into next January's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver, and potentially for the run to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Henderson is no stranger to U.S. Soccer, having played with age-group national teams since 2006, including the past three years with the U-23 National Team. In that program's most recent cycle, which concluded this summer, Henderson scored five goals and added an assist, including three goals at the Four Nations Tournament in Leicester, England, in February/March 2011, leading the United States to the tournament title.
Sophomore midfielder Mandy Laddish has emerged as one of the leading playmakers in the BIG EAST this season, currently tying for sixth in the conference and ranking second on the Fighting Irish roster with seven assists.
Not bad for someone who played much of her rookie season at the holding midfield spot (in place of the injured Courtney Barg) and thus ended up with five points (2G-1A) for the year.
As Tough As An Old Schu
Senior defender/midfielder Jessica Schuveiller has been a mainstay for the Notre Dame defense throughout her career. In fact, the rugged (and still remarkably underrated) native of Plano, Texas, has started all 98 Fighting Irish matches and played 95.1 percent of her team's minutes (8,455 of a possible 8,889) since she set foot on campus more than three years ago. This season, she is actually averaging more than a full 90 minutes played per match (92.1; 1,841 total minutes).
In that time, Schuveiller has helped Notre Dame post 78 wins, 55 shutouts and a 0.73 goals-against average (GAA), with only one team scoring more than three goals in a single match against the Fighting Irish under her watch (UNC 6-0 on Sept. 4, 2009, at Alumni Stadium).
Lately, Schuveiller has assumed a more attack-minded role for the Fighting Irish at the holding midfielder, leading Notre Dame to a 6-2-1 record with five shutouts since she stepped into that position full-time on Sept. 30 vs. Connecticut. Schuveiller also has chalked up five goals and two assists in the past 10 contests after having scored five goals in the first 88 matches of her career.
A two-time NSCAA all-region pick and the 2010 NCAA Women's College Cup Most Outstanding Defensive Player, Schuveiller joined classmate Melissa Henderson as a first-team all-BIG EAST Conference selection (the third all-league citation of her career).
Getting The Hang Of Things
It may have taken her a little while to get going, but freshman forward Lauren Bohaboy appears to have found her stride. The Mission Viejo, Calif., native (who scored a combined 79 goals in her final two prep seasons) didn't find the back of the net for the first time until Sept. 18 at Cincinnati (Notre Dame's ninth match of the year).
However, that score turned out to be the first sign of Bohaboy's uncanny attacking presence, with the Fighting Irish rookie having scored six goals and added three assists this season, all (except one assist) coming in BIG EAST Conference play. Included in that flurry was a two-goal effort in a nationally-televised 3-0 win over Connecticut on Sept. 30 at Alumni Stadium.
As a result, Bohaboy currently leads all conference freshmen in goals (6) and points (15), and during BIG EAST play, she tied for fifth in the league in goals and goals per match (0.55), and shared ninth in the loop in points (14) and points per match (1.27). Those numbers were good enough for Bohaboy to earn a place on this year's BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
Three Best Friends Anyone Could Have
Chemistry is key to the success of any team, but Notre Dame has a unique formula that supports its framework this season. The Fighting Irish are led by three senior captains -- midfielder Courtney Barg, forward Melissa Henderson and defender/midfielder Jessica Schuveiller -- who not only form the backbone of their starting lineup, but have been best friends since the fifth grade back in suburban Dallas. In fact, the trio played together on age-group teams for the elite Dallas Texans soccer club starting with the U-11s and continuing through the rest of their pre-college days (moving to the newly-formed Sting Dallas club for their final season in 2007-08 before coming to Notre Dame).
Actually, Barg and Schuveiller have known each other even longer, going back nearly 15 years to the second grade before linking up with Henderson three years later.
ND Seniors Among Nation's Best
The 2011 Notre Dame senior class currently is tied for the second-most successful group in the country on the basis of total victories, with a four-year record to date of 78-14-6 (.827) that includes a national championship (2010), an NCAA runner-up finish (2008) and a trip to the 2009 NCAA Women's College Cup semifinals.
The .827 winning percentage compiled by the Fighting Irish seniors is third-best on the national scene.
Packing Them In
Not only has Notre Dame experienced great success at Alumni Stadium, but the Fighting Irish also are seeing the rewards at the turnstiles as well. Notre Dame currently ranks ninth in the nation with an average of 1,570 fans per home match this season, its best single-season average attendance since 2007 (school-record 1,938 fans per match).
Notre Dame's rise in attendance this season includes a stadium-record 3,511 fans for its Sept. 2 contest against Tulsa on the opening night of the Notre Dame adidas Invitational. That crowd was not only the second sellout in stadium history (after 3,007 attended the opener vs. North Carolina on Sept. 4, 2009), but also the 11th-largest crowd in the nation this season.
Incidentally, Notre Dame's match at North Carolina on Aug. 26 attracted the largest crowd of the 2011 season thus far, with 5,236 fans on hand for the Tar Heels' 2-1 overtime win.
The Fighting Irish also have played in front of three sellout crowds this year (home vs. Tulsa on Sept. 2; at Stanford on Sept. 9; at Cincinnati on Sept. 18).
Our Fearless Leader
Now in his 13th season at Notre Dame, head coach Randy Waldrum ranks third on the NCAA Division I career winning percentage list with a .783 (370-93-26) mark in his 22 years in the women's game. He also is second among active coaches for career winning percentage, while his 370 career wins rank fifth on the all-time NCAA Division I charts -- Waldrum earned his 350th career victory on Oct. 3, 2010, vs. St. John's 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.
New Kid On The Block
Notre Dame added another player to its roster on Sept. 13, as junior midfielder Nicole Borner joined the squad after successfully competing in preseason tryouts.
A native of Pendleton, N.Y., and a 2009 graduate of Starpoint High School, Borner spent the 2009-10 academic year at Binghamton University, where she played in 15 matches for the Bearcats, helping them to a 9-7-2 record and berth in the America East Conference championship semifinals. She then transferred to Notre Dame prior to the 2010-11 academic year, but did not play soccer after undergoing a pair of surgeries on her right foot.
The 2-0 Guarantee
Notre Dame is 332-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and has won its last 309 contests when going ahead 2-0 (dating back to a 3-3 draw with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati).
In fact, just two of the past 221 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 303-3-1 (.989) record in those games, including a 205-1-0 (.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 20-6-14 (.675) all-time in the Randy Waldrum era (since 1999) when going to an extra period or two. Notre Dame also is unbeaten in 12 of its last 15 overtime contests.
The Fighting Irish have gone to extra time on five occasions this year, tying the school record first set in 2001 and duplicated in 2007. Notre Dame also has tied a school record with three draws, a mark the Fighting Irish first set in 1991.
Two current Notre Dame players have scored "golden goals" in their college careers -- senior forward Melissa Henderson (Nov. 9, 2008 vs. UConn in the BIG EAST final at old Alumni Field) and senior defender/midfielder Jessica Schuveiller (Nov. 6, 2009 vs. St. John's in the BIG EAST semifinals at Storrs, Conn.).
A trio of seniors -- midfielder Courtney Barg, forward Melissa Henderson and defender/midfielder Jessica Schuveiller -- were selected to serve as Notre Dame's captains this year through a preseason vote of their teammates.
Schuveiller is making history as the first three-year captain in the 24-year history of Fighting Irish women's soccer. When she first earned the armband in 2009, Schuveiller was Notre Dame's first non-senior captain since Amy Warner in 2002.
Barg and Henderson are in their first seasons as team captains.
Next Up: NCAA Second Round
The winner of Sunday's match will advance to the second round of the NCAA Championship next Friday (Nov. 18) at No. 4 (and second-seeded) Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. The Cowgirls advanced to the second round with a 9-1 home victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff last Friday (Nov. 11).
Notre Dame met OSU in last year's NCAA quarterfinals, defeating the Cowgirls, 2-0 in Stillwater behind two second-half goals by then-freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker.