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    Irish And Tar Heels Set To Square Off In NCAA Championship Semifinals

    FIGHTING IRISH Courtney Barg scored the lone goal in Notre Dame's 2008 NCAA Championship semifinal win over Stanford.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Courtney Barg scored the lone goal in Notre Dame's 2008 NCAA Championship semifinal win over Stanford.
    FIGHTING IRISH

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    Notre Dame College Cup Central

    2009 ND Women's Soccer -- Game 26
    NCAA Championship -- Quarterfinals
    #5/5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (21-3-1 / 10-0-1 BIG EAST) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (21-3-1 / 7-3-0 ACC)

    DATE:December 4, 2009
    TIME: 8:00 pm ET
    AT: College Station, Texas; Aggie Soccer Stadium (9,000)
    SERIES: UNC Leads, 11-4-2
    TV: ESPNU (Live)
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    There is no shortage of storylines as the Fighting Irish pursue their third national championship at the 2009 NCAA Women's College Cup in College Station, Texas. For starters, Notre Dame is making its fourth consecutive appearance at the event, and its fifth College Cup trip in the past six seasons. As the Irish look ahead to a rematch of last season's championship match with the Tar Heels of North Carolina, they may also notice that Stanford and UCLA will meet in the other national semifinal contest- meaning that all four of last season's final four participants have successfully navigated through the NCAA Championship field of 64 to return to the College Cup, marking the first time since 1986 that a repeat of the previous season's final four will take place.

    Another storyline features a homecoming of sorts as head coach Randy Waldrum and six of his players return to their native state of Texas in pursuit of the 2009 National Championship.

    Storylines
    Notre Dame is making its 11th appearance in the NCAA Championship College Cup, including its fourth consecutive trip to the final four (ND is 7-3 in NCAA semifinal games).

    During their current 19-game unbeaten streak, the Irish have led or been tied for nearly 99 percent of the total minutes played (all but 16:38 of 1,738:56).

    Rankings
    Notre Dame is ranked fifth in the NSCAA poll and Soccer America polls.
    North Carolina is ranked fourth in the NSCAA poll and third by Soccer America.

    A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
    Notre Dame knew this season would be a challenging one, especially with the loss of six talented seniors, including four who went in the first 21 picks of the 2009 WPS Draft. But even Nostradamus couldn't have predicted the hurdles the Irish have encountered this year.

    Injuries have been the primary albatross for Notre Dame this season, with senior midfielder/tri-captain Courtney Rosen (broken foot), senior midfielder Micaela Alvarez (torn ACL) and freshman forward Tereza Stastny (torn ACL) all likely sidelined for the year -- Rosen's injury occurred in the preseason. Add to that extended downtime for senior forward Michele Weissenhofer (hamstring), senior center back Haley Ford (hamstring) and freshman left back Jazmin Hall (quad), and you can understand why Irish trainer Dave Ludwig has more than earned his paycheck in 2009.

    Notre Dame also battled through a brutal non-conference schedule that included top-three opponents North Carolina and Stanford, perennial power Santa Clara and up-and-coming programs Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. However, following a 3-3-0 start, the Irish have been among the nation's hottest teams, going unbeaten in their last 19 outings (18-0-1), outscoring the opposition 50-7 in that span, while locking up their 12th BIG EAST regular season title and 11th BIG EAST postseason crown.

    Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson (18G-5A) leads Notre Dame in scoring, while junior forward Lauren Fowlkes (10G-4A) is enjoying a breakout season, fueled in part by her move to the front line at the start of the current unbeaten streak. Junior forward Taylor Knaack (6G-5A) and junior midfielder Rose Augustin (7G-10A) also have played a significant role in the recent Irish resurgence, as has junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (14-1-1, 0.47 GAA, 7 ShO).

    Scouting The Tar Heels
    North Carolina enters Friday's semifinal clash with a 21-3-1 record (identical to Notre Dame's overall record) and a 7-3-0 mark in ACC regular season action. The Tar Heels have advanced to the NCAA College Cup for the 25th time in the last 28 years.

    North Carolina opened the season with an 11-game unbeaten streak (10-0-1) before losing three of its next five contests, ending with a 2-1 loss at Miami on Oct. 25. Since that loss, UNC has posted nine consecutive wins.

    In the first round of NCAA Championship play, the Tar Heels edged High Point by a score of 1-0. Then, in second round action, they downed No. 25 Georgia, 4-0, and followed with a 1-0 win over No. 19 Maryland in the round of 16. In the quarterfinals, UNC beat No. 9 Wake Forest, 5-2. In the win over Wake Forest, the Tar Heels took a 3-0 lead at half and cruised to the 5-2 win on the strength of a hat trick by senior forward Casey Nogueira. Ashlyn Harris went the distance in the UNC net, making two saves.

    On the season, Nogueira leads the Tar Heel offense with team-highs of 12 goals, 9 assists and 33 points. Junior forward Jessica McDonald is second on the team with eight goals and six assists for 22 points, while sophomore forward Courtney Jones (19), senior midfielder Tobin Heath (18) and junior midfielder Ali Hawkins (15) have all registered at least 15 points. In the Tar Heel net, Harris has seen the majority of the action, posting a 19-3-1 record. She has made 42 saves on the year and posted a 0.45 goals against average.

    North Carolina is led by head coach Anson Dorrance, who is in the midst of his 31st season behind the Tar Heel bench. His teams have an all-time record of 670-35-20 (.938) and he has guided UNC to 20 national championships.

    The Notre Dame-North Carolina Series
    Notre Dame and North Carolina have played 17 times, with UNC holding an 11-4-2 edge in those games, although the teams have each won two of the past four meetings. Of the 17 all-time meetings, eight have come in NCAA Championship play, including five with the College Cup Championship on the line (1994, '96, '99, 2006 and '08).

    Additionally, four of the 17 meetings have gone to overtime (ND is 1-2-1 in those OT contests), while 11 of the 17 have been decided by one goal or fewer, including five of the past six (and six of the eight in the Randy Waldrum era from 1999 to the present).

    Most recently, North Carolina travelled to Notre Dame, Ind. for the first time since 1999 and earned a 6-0 win on Sept. 4. At the time, the Tar Heels were ranked first in the nation and the Irish were ranked second. The Fighting Irish had their 30-game regular-season winning streak, 27-game home winning streak and 54-game goal scoring streak all snapped in the loss, which took place before a boisterous overflow crowd of 3,007 fans in the first women's soccer match played at the brand-new Alumni Stadium. Jessica McDonald had two goals and an assist for the Tar Heels, while Casey Nogueira added a goal and an assist for North Carolina. Senior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander made four saves in the first half for Notre Dame, while junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss did not record a save in the final 45 minutes. Harris got the victory in the North Carolina goal, working the first 70:42 and making four saves, before giving way to Hannah Daly, who did not make a save in the last 19:18 of the contest.

    The teams also met twice last season, with Notre Dame and North Carolina each earning a win. The Irish proved victorious on Sept. 5, when they knocked off UNC, 1-0, in Chapel Hill, N.C. Brittany Bock scored the game-winning strike at 50:21 on that day and Lysander made three saves to preserve the win.

    Three months later in the NCAA Championship match in Cary, N.C., the Tar Heels earned a come-from-behind 2-1 win to erase Notre Dame's run at a perfect season. The Irish jumped out to an early lead when Kerri Hanks scored off a Courtney Rosen cross just 16 seconds into the match (the fastest score in NCAA championship game history), but UNC's Nogueira netted goals at 51:08 and 87:54 to secure the win.

    Notre Dame and North Carolina first met in Houston, Texas on October 15, 1993 when UNC came up with a 3-0 win. For a complete series breakdown, see page 106 of the 2009 Notre Dame women's soccer media guide.

    NCAA Championship Quick Kicks
    - Notre Dame is competing in the NCAA Championship for the 17th consecutive year, the second-longest active streak of consecutive berths, trailing only North Carolina (28) in that category.

    - Notre Dame has a 53-14-1 all-time record (.787) in NCAA tournament play, including 43-3-0 (.935) in NCAA games played at home.

    - Notre Dame and UNC remain the only teams to have reached the final-32 or further in every NCAA Championship since 1993, and remain 1-2 in virtually all tournament appearance records in that time -- round-of-16 trips (UNC-16, ND-14, Portland-14), quarterfinals since 1994 (UNC-14, ND-13, Portland-13), College Cup berths since 1994 (UNC-13, ND-11) and title game appearances since 1994 (UNC-10, ND-7; no one else with more than three).

    - The Fighting Irish claimed NCAA titles in 1995 and 2004, joining UNC and Portland as the only repeat 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 10 NCAA College Cup berths (also semifinalist in 1997, 2000 and 2007), all since 1994.

    19 And Counting...
    Since starting the season with a 3-3 record, the Irish have gone unbeaten in their last 19 games (18-0-1) dating back to a 4-0 win over DePaul on Sept. 18.

    The streak is the second-longest in Division I (through Dec. 3) and Notre Dame's lone tie in that stretch came at Pittsburgh when the Panthers and Irish played to a 0-0 stalemate on Oct. 4. During the 19-game unbeaten streak (which includes an active 13-game winning streak), the Irish have logged a 50-7 scoring margin and have shut out their opponents on 13 occasions.

    During the 19-game unbeaten streak, Nikki Weiss has posted a 13-0-1 record including six solo shutouts. Melissa Henderson has led the offense with 14 goals and four assists for 32 points. As a whole, the offense has averaged 2.63 goals per game while the defense has limited the opposition to 0.37 goals per game.

    Senior Moments
    The 2009 Irish senior class is second only to North Carolina as the most successful group in the country on the basis of wins, with a four-year record to date of 91-10-4 (.886) that includes four consecutive trips to the NCAA College Cup and appearances in the 2006 and 2008 national title games.

    The .886 winning percentage compiled by the Notre Dame seniors also is second best on the national scene behind North Carolina.

    The Magnificent Seven
    Though the Irish will face North Carolina over 1,100 miles away from its home field of Alumni Stadium, six of Notre Dame's players will be right at home in College Station, Texas as will head coach Randy Waldrum. The Texas natives include regular starters Taylor Knaack (Arlington/Martin), Melissa Henderson (Garland/Berkner), Haley Ford (Midland/Midland HS), Jessica Schuveiller (Plano/Plano West) and Courtney Barg (Plano/Plano West) as well as freshman Jazmin Hall (Highland Village/Marcus), who has played in 19 games. Additionally, the Irish are led by Waldrum, who is a native of Irving, Texas.

    Combined, Notre Dame's Texas contingent has made 112 starts in 2009. They have registered 30 goals and added 17 assists for 77 points, which equates to 47.5 percent of Notre Dame's offensive output this season.

    Streak Stoppers
    While stringing together an impressive 19-game unbeaten streak and advancing to the College Cup for the fourth consecutive season, the Irish have snapped several impressive streaks held by their opponents in the NCAA Championship. First, with a 6-1 victory over Central Michigan in second round play, the Irish snapped the Chippewas' 18 game unbeaten streak, which was tied for third best in the nation at the time.

    Then, with a 2-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over Florida State, Notre Dame ended the Seminoles' 18-match home winning streak, which dated back to September 25 of last season. The Irish loss also handed FSU its first ever-home loss in postseason play, as the Seminoles entered the game with an 18-0-0 record in home postseason matches.

    Goals Galore
    Through four games of the NCAA Championship, the Irish have outscored the opposition by a 14-1 margin after wins over IUPUI (5-0), Central Michigan (6-1) Oregon State (1-0) and Florida State (2-0). Notre Dame's six goals versus the Chippewas were the most in NCAA second round play in the Randy Waldrum era and represent the highest second round total since 1997 when the Irish knocked off Nebraska, 6-0, on Nov. 23.

    Notre Dame's 11 goals through the first two NCAA Championship games was also the program's highest two-game total under Waldrum and the most since the 1997 season as well, when the Irish scored seven goals in a first round win over Cincinnati (7-1) to run their two-game total to 13.

    Overall, the 14 goals in four NCAA Championship games is Notre Dame's highest output since 2006 when the Irish combined for 15 goals in the first four rounds of play (W, 7-1 vs. Oakland; W, 1-0 vs. Milwaukee; W, 3-0 vs. Colorado; W, 4-0 vs. Penn State).

    Noting Henderson's Recent Heroics
    Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson has powered the Irish offense as of late, highlighted by a four-goal effort versus Central Michigan. In Notre Dame's seven postseason games thus far, she has notched ten goals and three assists for 23 points, giving her an astonishing 3.3 points/game average this postseason. Notre Dame is 23-0 all-time when Henderson scores a goal (11-0 this year) and 27-0 all-time when she tallies a point (13-0 this year).

    - Henderson's four goals versus CMU set a program record for most goals scored in an NCAA Championship game and tie for the most goals scored in a single game, as it was just the sixth time in program history that an Irish player has scored four goals in a game. Henderson is also the first Irish player to net a first half hat trick in NCAA play, as three of the four goals came in the first half of play.

    - With a hat trick versus USF and four goals against CMU, Henderson notched Notre Dame's 10th and 11th postseason hat tricks in program history. They were the first postseason hat tricks since Nov. 24, 2006, when current Fighting Irish senior forward/tri-captain Michele Weissenhofer had three goals in a 4-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over eighth-ranked Penn State at old Alumni Field.

    - Henderson is the first player in program history to record more than one hat trick in a single postseason.

    - The four goals versus Central Michigan marked Henderson's third consecutive home game with at least two goals, having also notched a hat trick against USF and scored two goals versus IUPUI in Notre Dame's 5-0 NCAA first round win.

    - The hat trick versus USF marked the first Notre Dame hat trick in the BIG EAST Championship in almost five years (Oct. 31, 2004 - Katie Thorlakson four goals in a 7-0 quarterfinal victory over St. John's at Alumni Field), and just the third in the program's 15-year conference affiliation (Anne Makinen also pulled off the feat in the 1997 BIG EAST final vs. fourth-ranked Connecticut in Piscataway, N.J.).

    - Henderson notched the game-winning goal in the NCAA Championship quarterfinal win over Florida State, setting an Irish record for game-winning goals in a season with nine. She bested the previous high of eight originally set by Michelle McCarthy (1994) and later tied by Katie Thorlakson (2004).

    Game 25 Recap: Florida State
    Second seeded Notre Dame scored two goals in a 51 second span to topple top-seeded Florida State, 2-0, in front of a capacity crowd Friday afternoon at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Melissa Henderson took advantage of a loose ball in the box to give the Irish a 1-0 lead at 38:35. Less than a minute later, Haley Ford rose above the pack to head home a Rose Augustin corner kick, providing the final 2-0 victory margin. Nikki Weiss turned in an impressive performance in the Irish net that included five saves for her seventh solo shutout of the season.

    The Irish and the Seminoles finished even in shots, as each team took 14. Notre Dame put three shots on net and Seminole goalkeeper Erin McNulty made one save, while Florida State had five shots on frame, all of which were turned aside by Weiss. Both teams also took five corner kicks.

    Irish Against The 2009 NCAA Field
    Notre Dame owns a 11-3-0 record this season versus teams selected to the 2009 NCAA Championship field, posting wins at West Virginia (3-2 OT) and Rutgers (1-0), as well as home victories over Wisconsin (3-0), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (3-0), Villanova (2-0), IUPUI (5-0), Central Michigan (6-1) and Oregon State (1-0).

    The Fighting Irish also collected neutral-site wins over St. John's (2-1 OT) and Marquette (2-1) in the BIG EAST Championship at Storrs, Conn., while all three losses came in the opening month of the season -- home vs. North Carolina (6-0), at Santa Clara (2-0) and at a neutral site vs. Stanford (2-0) -- with two of those clubs (UNC and Stanford) earning No. 1 seeds in this year's NCAA Championship.

    Game #24 Recap: Oregon State
    Rose Augustin scored her seventh goal of the season in the 62nd minute, as Notre Dame advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship for the sixth consecutive year with a hard-fought 1-0 win over upset-minded Oregon State on Friday night before a boisterous crowd of 1,500 fans at Alumni Stadium.

    Augustin's goal was her third career game-winner in NCAA tournament play, and it was made possible by a brilliant individual effort from forward Melissa Henderson, who picked up a point for the fourth consecutive game and now has 21 points (9G-3A) in the postseason this year.

    Goalkeeper Nikki Weiss made four saves in the Notre Dame net to earn her first career postseason solo shutout. Oregon State outshot Notre Dame, 14-12, in the contest, although the Fighting Irish held a 5-4 edge in shots on goal. The Beavers earned three of the four corner kicks.

    Irish Against The 2009 NCAA Field
    Notre Dame owns a 12-3-0 record this season versus teams selected to the 2009 NCAA Championship field, posting wins at West Virginia (3-2 OT) and Rutgers (1-0), as well as home victories over Wisconsin (3-0), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (3-0), Villanova (2-0), IUPUI (5-0), Central Michigan (6-1) and Oregon State (1-0).

    The Fighting Irish also collected neutral-site wins over St. John's (2-1 OT) and Marquette (2-1) in the BIG EAST Championship at Storrs, Conn., while all three losses came in the opening month of the season -- home vs. North Carolina (6-0), at Santa Clara (2-0) and at a neutral site vs. Stanford (2-0) -- with two of those clubs (UNC and Stanford) earning No. 1 seeds in this year's NCAA Championship.

    Most recently, the Irish travelled to Tallahassee, Fla. and knocked of the top-seeded Seminoles, 2-0 to advance to the 2009 NCAA College Cup.

    Captain Clutch
    Sophomore co-captain and 2009 BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Defensive Player Jessica Schuveiller scored the golden goal against St. John's on Nov. 6 to send the Irish to their sixth consecutive BIG EAST title game. She now has three career goals, with each goal proving to be a game-winning strike. Additionally, two of her game-winners have come in postseason play.

    Schuveiller, who has started all 48 games of her Irish career, netted her first collegiate goal last season in Notre Dame's 2-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over Florida State. Then, in 2009 regular season action, she scored a late game winner with 8:08 remaining to propel Notre Dame past Cincinnati, 2-1, on Sept. 25.

    Golden Domers Golden In OT
    Overtime has usually been the right time for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish are 20-3-9 (.766) all-time in the Randy Waldrum era (since '99) when going to an extra period or two, including a current seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) dating back to the 2007 season.

    Notre Dame went to overtime in back-to-back contests in early October. On Oct. 2 at West Virginia, Taylor Knaack scored 41 seconds into the first extra period to give the Fighting Irish a 3-2 victory over the Mountaineers. It was the fastest OT goal in Waldrum's 11-year tenure, and it's also believed to be the quickest overtime score in the program's 22-year history.

    Two days later, Notre Dame went to double overtime at Pittsburgh and wound up finishing in a 0-0 tie. It was only the eighth scoreless draw in school history and the first since Aug. 31, 2007 vs. Michigan at old Alumni Field. It also was the first time the Fighting Irish played a 0-0 contest in BIG EAST play since Oct. 13, 2006 at Connecticut.

    Most recently, Jessica Schuveiller scored the golden goal against St. John's in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals on Nov. 6 to send the Irish to the conference title match for the sixth consecutive season.

    Beasts Of The BIG EAST
    With a 2-1 win over Marquette in the BIG EAST championship match on Nov. 8, Notre Dame now owns an NCAA Division I-record 66-game unbeaten streak (63-0-3) against BIG EAST opposition, dating back to a 4-1 loss at No. 15 Marquette on Sept. 30, 2005. In that time, the only ties were a 0-0 draw at Connecticut (Oct. 13, 2006), a 1-1 deadlock at No. 12 West Virginia in the 2007 BIG EAST final on Nov. 11 (WVU won 5-3 on PKs, but the game is recorded as a tie) and a 0-0 tie at Pittsburgh on Oct. 4, 2009.

    Since joining the BIG EAST, the Irish are 134-8-5 (.928) all-time in regular-season conference games, 35-2-1 (.934) in the BIG EAST Championship, and hold a 713-85 scoring edge dating back to that first league season in '95.

    What's more, Notre Dame maintains a 14-year, 94-game home unbeaten streak (93-0-1) versus BIG EAST teams, with Connecticut the lone conference team ever to defeat the Irish at home (5-4 in OT on Oct. 6, 1995 at old Alumni Field).

    Academic All-American
    Junior Lauren Fowlkes was named to the 2009 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women's Soccer Team, it was announced on Tuesday, Nov. 17. Fowlkes earned second-team accolades, becoming the 13th different Fighting Irish women's soccer player to collect Academic All-America honors (with those 13 combining for a total of 23 selections). Fowlkes currently is enrolled in Notre Dame's College of Science, where she has compiled a 3.657 cumulative GPA as a science-business major. She was named to the dean's list in the fall of 2007 (3.804 semester GPA).

    Notre Dame leads the nation with 15 women's soccer Academic All-Americans since that sport branched off from the at-large Academic All-America program in 2002. At least one Notre Dame women's soccer player has been chosen as an Academic All-American in 13 of the past 15 seasons (all but `99 and `02).

    As a University, Notre Dame ranks second all-time with 211 Academic All-Americans since the program's inception in 1952. What's more, 85 Fighting Irish student-athletes have earned the Academic All-America distinction during the past decade, tops among any school in the country.

    Taylor Made For Goal Scoring
    Junior forward/midfielder Taylor Knaack has had a breakout year for the Irish, scoring six goals and adding five assists. She had a career-high five-point night in Notre Dame's 6-1 defeat of UConn on Oct. 16. Entering the year, Knaack had five goals and two assists in 27 games played.

    Nikki In The Irish Net
    Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss has helped lead the Irish over the past 14 games as the Redding, Conn. native has posted nine shutouts (seven solo) and a 13-0-1 record in that span.

    The impressive stretch began when Weiss earned her first career solo clean sheet on Oct. 4 at Pittsburgh (a 0-0 double-overtime tie), and followed with shutouts versus No. 10/12 Rutgers and Seton Hall. In the Rutgers match, she turned in a career high six saves. She then played the first 82:00 in Notre Dame's 6-1 win over Connecticut, with her personal best 377:25 scoreless streak coming to an end in the second half (the scoreless streak had started at Santa Clara on Sept. 11). Weiss blanked Providence and Villanova, 2-0, on Oct. 18 and 23 for her fourth and fifth solo shutouts of the year. She has made 44 saves on the year and after helping the Irish to wins over USF, St. John's and Marquette, she was named to the 2009 BIG EAST all-Tournament Team.

    Weiss blanked Oregon State for her first career NCAA Championship solo shutout in Notre Dame's 1-0 third round win and followed with a solo shutout against Florida State to help the Irish to their fourth consecutive College Cup.

    Clean Sheets
    In a unique twist, 19 of Notre Dame's 25 games this season have been decided by shutout (15 for the Fighting Irish, three for the opposition and one scoreless draw). During Notre Dame's current 19-game unbeaten streak (18-0-1), 12 of the 18 Irish wins were shutout victories, while the tie was also a 0-0 draw (at Pittsburgh on Oct. 4).

    Junior Nikki Weiss has posted seven solo shutouts in Notre Dame's last 12 games, while also sharing shutout wins over Georgetown and IUPUI with senior Kelsey Lysander and then shared the shutout over South Florida with Lysander and Maddie Fox. Lysander also has three solo shutouts on the year.

    The 2-0 Guarantee
    Notre Dame is 316-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and is unbeaten and untied in its past 293 contests when going ahead 2-0 (dating back to a 3-3 tie with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati).

    In fact, just two of the past 199 Irish opponents to face a 2-0 deficit have forced a tie, something achieved by four opponents in Notre Dame history: Duke on Oct. 17, 1993, in Houston (Irish won 3-2), Connecticut on Nov. 10, 1996, in the BIG EAST final at 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 Alumni Field (Irish won 3-2), and most recently, Villanova on Oct. 12, 2008 in Villanova, Pa. (Irish 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 286-3-1 (.988) record in those games, including a 188-1-0 (.995) mark since Oct. 6, 1995. The Irish also are 390-9-15 (.960) when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals.

    Our Fearless Leader
    Eleventh-year Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum reached another milestone with Notre Dame's 2-1 win over Cincinnati on Sept. 25, recording the 400th win of his NCAA Div. I coaching career (counting his stints with both men's and women's college teams during the past 28 seasons).

    Waldrum is also one of eight active women's Division I head coaches to record 300 career wins. He now has a record of 339-83-21 (.791) in 20 seasons (including six at Tulsa and three at Baylor). His winning percentage ranks fourth among active coaches, while his 339 wins are fifth on the NCAA Division I career list.

    BIG EAST Awards Recap
    Notre Dame earned two of the six major individual awards and placed five players on All-BIG EAST conference teams during the annual BIG EAST women's soccer banquet at the Hartford Hilton on Nov. 5. Junior forward Lauren Fowlkes earned BIG EAST Co-Offensive Player of the Year honors while sophomore Courtney Barg was named the conference's Midfielder of the Year.

    Fowlkes and Barg were also named to the All-BIG EAST First Team and were joined on that squad by sophomore defender Jessica Schuveiller. Junior midfielder Rose Augustin and sophomore forward Melissa Henderson were All-BIG EAST Second Team selections.

    Fowlkes follows in a long and distinguished tradition of Notre Dame players who have captured BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year laurels. Combined with Kerri Hanks (who earned the award in 2006 and 2008 en route to collecting the MAC Hermann Trophy both seasons), Brittany Bock (2007) and Katie Thorlakson (2004 and 2005), Fowlkes is the sixth consecutive Fighting Irish player to take home the hardware.

    Barg became Notre Dame's first recipient of the conference's midfielder of the year honor since Jen Buczkowski earned the award as a junior in 2005 and just the third all-time (also Anne Makinen in 2000). Furthermore, Barg is the first sophomore to earn the honor since 2001, when Boston College's Sarah Rahko won it.

    It's Academic For This Irish Duo
    Two Notre Dame players and Kansas City-area natives -- junior forward Lauren Fowlkes and sophomore defender Molly Campbell -- have been named ESPN The Magazine first-team Academic All-District V selections, it was announced Oct. 29 by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Both student-athletes are first-time academic all-district honorees.

    Fowlkes has blossomed as a primary offensive threat for Notre Dame, appearing in all 23 games and starting 21 times after moving back to the forward line three weeks into the season (a position she initially started at in her college career, before moving to holding midfielder and central defender last season and earlier this year).

    Fowlkes currently is enrolled in the College of Science, where she has compiled a 3.657 cumulative GPA as a science-business major and was named to the dean's list in the fall of 2007 (3.804 semester GPA).

    Campbell is one of the more improved players on the Notre Dame roster this season, having seen time primarily at left back, a position she had almost never played prior to the spring of 2009. Mixed with her stints as an attacking midfielder, she has started all 23 games for the Fighting Irish this year.

    Campbell is presently studying in the College of Arts and Letters, where she has recorded a 3.667 cumulative GPA as a double major in psychology and American studies.

    Pick Three For The Hermann Watch
    Sophomore forward Melissa Henderson, junior defender/midfielder Lauren Fowlkes and senior midfielder Courtney Rosen have been named to the 45-player watch list for the 2009 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, it was announced by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

    The Hermann Trophy is presented annually to the nation's top Division I women's soccer player, with Notre Dame's Kerri Hanks earning the prestigious crystal ball trophy last year. In the process, Hanks became the fourth Fighting Irish player to collect the award, not to mention just the fourth two-time Hermann Trophy honoree since the award debuted in 1988, as well as the first two-time national player of the year (in any sport) in the 122-year history of Notre Dame athletics.

    Your 2009 Captains
    The 2009 Notre Dame squad features three first-time captains, with seniors Michele Weissenhofer and Courtney Rosen and sophomore Jessica Schuveiller all selected via a vote of their teammates.

    Schuveiller's selection is noteworthy, in that she is the first non-senior to serve as a team captain since Amy Warner was one of Notre Dame's three captains in 2002 (her junior season). This year's triumvirate also marks the first time since 2004 (Mary Boland, Gudrun Gunnarsdottir and Melissa Tancredi) that the Irish have named three captains.

    The M*A*S*H Unit
    Senior midfielder/tri-captain Courtney Rosen is out indefinitely after breaking her left foot during preseason training. Rosen underwent successful corrective surgery on Aug. 13 and is in the midst of rehabilitating her injury.

    Freshman forward Tereza Stastny and senior midfielder Micaela Alvarez are out for the season with torn ACLs. Stastny's injury (right knee) on Oct. 13, and Alvarez's (left knee) one week later were suffered during training.

    Taking It To The Next Level
    Notre Dame had 10 players appearing on opening-day rosters for the inaugural season of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) in 2009, ranking second among all colleges in that category. Four of those 10 (all members of the '08 Fighting Irish NCAA runner-up squad) were selected in the league's first-ever college draft back in January -- Brittany Bock (first round, fifth overall, Los Angeles Sol), Kerri Hanks (first round, sixth overall, Saint Louis Athletica), Carrie Dew (second round, 12th overall, FC Gold Pride) and Elise Weber (third round, 21st overall, Saint Louis Athletica).

    That quartet was joined by: Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol), Jen Buczkowski and Christie Shaner (Sky Blue FC), Candace Chapman (Boston Breakers), and Amanda Cinalli and Melissa Tancredi (Saint Louis Athletica).

    In addition, Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf was assigned to the Chicago Red Stars as part of the U.S. National Team draft, but sat out the '09 season while on maternity leave (she gave birth to twins in June). Kelly Lindsey began the season as an assistant coach at Sky Blue FC, then took over as interim head coach at midseason before resigning late in the year.

    Midseason trades saw Hanks sent to Sky Blue FC, while Shaner went out to Los Angeles. Shaner subsequently was sidelined for the season with a broken leg.

    Of the 10 active Notre Dame alums in WPS, eight saw their teams advance to the league playoffs (all but Chapman and Dew). Led by arguably the world's top defensive midfielder in Boxx and one of WPS' top rookies in Bock (who played center back after never playing that position at Notre Dame), Los Angeles won the regular season title and the right to host the first-ever WPS Championship Game.

    In the end, five Fighting Irish alums (tying North Carolina for the most representatives from one college) worked their way into the WPS final -- Bock, Boxx and Shaner for L.A., along with Hanks and Buczkowski for Sky Blue FC. The New Jersey-based club then capped an amazing string of three playoff road wins in eight days with a 1-0 upset of Los Angeles to win the inaugural WPS Championship.

    Boxx was subsequently named a starter for the first WPS All-Star Game, which took place at Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park in suburban St. Louis on Aug. 30.

    On Sept. 16, Buczkowski was chosen by the Philadelphia Independence with the third overall pick in the 2009 WPS Expansion Draft, with Cinalli going one selection later to the Atlanta Beat.

    Offseason personnel moves at the end of September have seen Chapman released by Boston (then signed by FC Gold Pride) and Shaner released by Los Angeles, while Tancredi was declared a free agent by Saint Louis.

    Bock Tapped For U.S. National Team
    Former Irish All-American Brittany Bock ('09) was named to the 18-player roster for the U.S. Women's National Team's Oct. 29 friendly against Germany at Impuls Arena in Augsburg, Germany. It was the second time this calendar year that Bock was chosen by U.S. coach Pia Sundhage to suit up for an international friendly. However, as was the case for a May exhibition vs. Canada in Toronto, a last-minute injury kept Bock from earning her first national team cap (international appearance), although she was on hand to help cheer her American teammates to a 1-0 win over the Germans.

     

     

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