Dec. 4, 2010
NCAA Women's College Cup -- Final
#7/10 [#4 seed] Notre Dame Fighting Irish (20-2-2 / 9-0-2 BIG EAST) vs. #1/1 [#1 seed] Stanford Cardinal (23-0-2 / 9-0-0 Pac-10)
DATE: December 5, 2010
TIME: Noon ET
AT: Cary, N.C. - WakeMed Soccer Park (7,000)
SERIES: ND leads 6-5-1
1ST MTG: STAN 3-0 (10/4/92)
LAST MTG: STAN 2-0 (9/13/09)
TV: ESPN2/ESPN3.com (live) (Beth Mowins, p-b-p / Julie Foudy, color)
LIVE STATS: UND.com
LIVE BLOG: UND.com
TEXT ALERT: Sign up at UND.com
No. 7/10 Irish Face No. 1 Stanford Sunday In NCAA College Cup Final
For the fourth time in the past seven years, and the eighth time in school history, No. 7/10 Notre Dame will take the pitch with a national championship on the line, as the Fighting Irish square off with No. 1 Stanford at noon (ET) Sunday in the 2010 NCAA Women's College Cup final at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. -- the match will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPN2, with live internet coverage on ESPN3.com.
Notre Dame (20-2-2) secured its place in this year's title contest with a 1-0 win over No. 17/19 Ohio State in the first of Friday's two semifinal matches. For the second consecutive outing, the Fighting Irish turned to a freshman to lead the way, as midfielder Mandy Laddish potted the game-winning goal with 7:38 remaining, finally busting through a stubborn OSU defense that had turned aside an onslaught of Notre Dame offensive chances in the second half.
The Fighting Irish ended up with a 22-7 shot advantage (7-2 in shots on goal), while senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss made two saves to record her career-high ninth shutout of the year.
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Notre Dame is no stranger to the NCAA College Cup with its 12th appearance this weekend, but one would be hard-pressed to find a tougher road to the national championship match than the route the Fighting Irish took this year.
Seeded fourth in their portion of the bracket, Notre Dame successfully turned back challenges from New Mexico (3-0) and four successive ranked opponents -- No. 22 USC (4-0), No. 3/4 North Carolina (4-1), No. 6 Oklahoma State (2-0) and No. 17/19 Ohio State (1-0), the latter three victories coming away from home. In fact, the Fighting Irish became the first team since Florida State in 2003 (and third all-time) to advance to the College Cup with back-to-back road wins (UNC and Oklahoma State) in the preceding two rounds of the NCAA Championship.
Notre Dame has benefitted from a balanced offensive attack in the NCAA tournament, with five different players netting gamewinning goals in its five tournament victories. The fighting Irish are led by three goals and three assists each from junior forward Melissa Henderson (17G-10A for season) and senior forward/co-captain Lauren Fowlkes (4G-5A). Senior forward/midfielder Rose Augustin (11G-10A) has two goals in the Championship, while freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (9G-3A) potted both scores in the quarterfinal win at Oklahoma State.
Junior defender/co-captain Jessica Schuveiller (1G-3A) and senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (0.51 GAA, 9 ShO) anchor a Fighting Irish defense that has posted 14 shutouts and allowed just one goal in five NCAA Championship matches this season.
The consensus No. 1 team in the land during the 2010 season, Stanford (23-0-2) has advanced to its second consecutive NCAA title match following a 2-0 College Cup semifinal win over Boston College on Friday night. Junior forward Camille Levin broke the ice for the Cardinal in the 48th minute and classmate Lindsay Taylor added the backbreaker off a BC turnover less than four minutes to play.
Stanford is led by high-scoring senior forward Christen Press (26G-8A), while junior midfielder Teresa Noyola (10G-12A), Taylor (11G-6A) and Levin (2G-11A) also contribute to the Cardinal attack. Freshman Emily Oliver (0.27 GAA, 10 ShO) has emerged as a strong anchor in the Stanford goal, allowing only five goals in 20 matches this season.
Head coach Paul Ratcliffe is winding down his eighth season on The Farm with a 133-34-18 (.768) record with the Cardinal. In 13 seasyears as a head coach (first five at Saint Mary's (Calif.)), Ratcliffe has a career record of 188-68-25 (.714), with a 2-2-1 record against Notre Dame (all since coming to Stanford in 2003).
The Notre Dame-Stanford Series
Notre Dame and Stanford will square off on the soccer pitch for the 13th time, with the Fighting Irish maintaining a 6-5-1 series lead over the Cardinal (2-2-1 at neutral sites).
Notre Dame also has won two of the previous three matches between the two programs in the NCAA Championship, including a 1-0 verdict in a 2008 NCAA College Cup semifinal at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. (thanks to Courtney Barg's 15th-minute goal off an assist from Melissa Henderson).
The Last Time Notre Dame And Stanford Met
Despite several good scoring opportunities in both halves, a pair of Stanford goals less than three minutes apart early in the second half proved to be enough, as No. 5/7 Notre Dame fell to the No. 3/2-ranked Cardinal, 2-0, on Sept. 13, 2009, in second-day action at the Santa Clara adidas Classic, contested at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
In a rematch of the 2008 NCAA national semifinal contest (won by the Fighting Irish, 1-0 in Cary, N.C.), Notre Dame battled emotionally-charged Stanford toe-to-toe during the first 45 minutes and even had the better end of play in the opening stages of the second half. However, the Cardinal's Mariah Nogueira nodded in a free kick (55:13), and Christen Press converted a deflected shot with a goal from close range at 57:58 to send the Fighting Irish to their second consecutive loss.
Stanford finished with a 16-7 edge in total shots, including a 6-2 margin in shots on goal. The teams also each earned three corner kicks in the match.
Kelsey Lysander went the distance between the pipes for Notre Dame, making four saves, all in the second half. Kira Maker recorded the shutout in goal for Stanford, turning aside two shots.
Notre Dame vs. the Pac-10
Notre Dame is 17-6-1 (.729) all-time against the current Pac-10 Conference alignment, including a 7-5-1 (.577) record when playing away from South Bend.
The Fighting Irish also are 6-1 (.857) all-time against Pac-10 teams in the NCAA Championship, most recently defeating 22nd-ranked USC, 4-0 in the second round of this year's tournament (Nov. 14 at Alumni Stadium).
Stanford is the third Pac-10 opponent of the season for Notre Dame, which also fell 2-1 in overtime at 13th-ranked UCLA on Sept. 10.
NCAA Championship Quick Kicks
Henderson Hermann Semifinalist
Junior forward Melissa Henderson has been selected as one of 15 semifinalists for this year's Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, it was announced Thursday by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Henderson (17G-career-high 10A), who is one of 10 players in the country with double-digit goals and assists this season, is a first-time semifinalist for the national player of the year award. The three finalists for this season's honor will be announced Dec. 10, with the award recipient unveiled Jan. 7 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
Henderson is aiming to follow a Notre Dame tradition of Hermann Trophy recipients -- Cindy Daws (1996), Anne Makinen (2000) and Kerri Hanks (2006 & 2008) all have earned the prestigious crystal ball trophy while wearing the Fighting Irish kit.
Henderson, Fowlkes All-Americans
Notre Dame was well-represented on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America Teams with two Fighting Irish players selected for top honors, it was announced late Friday at the NCAA Women's College Cup in Cary, N.C. Junior forward Melissa Henderson was named to the NSCAA All-America First Team, collecting her first certificate, while senior forward/co-captain Lauren Fowlkes was a second-team honoree this season after taking home third-team laurels a year ago -- she also repeats as a double winner of All-America and Academic All-America honors, becoming just the 13th student-athlete in Notre Dame athletics history (and the third Fighting Irish women's soccer player) to pull off the rare "double-double."
Notre Dame now has fielded 49 All-America selections since 1992, while its total of 46 NSCAA All-Americans during the past 17 seasons (1994-2010) trails only North Carolina's 52 among Division I teams, with Portland (35) a distant third on that list. All told, the Fighting Irish have had at least one NSCAA All-America selection every season since 1992, including 15 seasons with multiple NSCAA All-Americans (two-plus every year since 2003 with a total of 20 from 2003-10), and eight seasons with at least three NSCAA All-Americans. In addition, Notre Dame has produced at least six different NSCAA All-Americans each at the positions of forward, midfielder and defender during the program's storied history.
Gimme Five (College Cups)
The 2010 season marks a milestone for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish make their fifth consecutive NCAA College Cup appearance. That stands as not only the longest active streak in the country (after UCLA's seven-year run from 2003-09 ended earlier in this year's tournament), but the longest in school history, topping the four-year Fighting Irish run from 1994-97.
What's more, Notre Dame's current five-year College Cup streak is tied for the third-longest in NCAA Championship history, trailing only North Carolina's 21-year run (1982-2003), UCLA's seven-year stretch and a five-season streak by Massachusetts (1983-87).
Going Back To Cary
For the fifth time, WakeMed Soccer Park is serving as the host site for the NCAA Women's College Cup, and for the fourth consecutive time, Notre Dame has qualified to participate in college soccer's final weekend on the Cary, N.C., pitch.
Each time the Fighting Irish previously played in the College Cup at WakeMed Soccer Park, they advanced to the national championship match -- in 2004 (won title, 4-3 on penalties vs. UCLA after 1-1 draw), 2006 (lost in final, 2-1 to North Carolina), 2008 (lost in final, 2-1 to North Carolina) and 2010 (TBD).
Doing It The Hard Way
Notre Dame is just the third team in the 29-year history of the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship to advance to the national semifinals following consecutive road wins in the tournament. In 2000, Portland made the final four with 1-0 wins at No. 2 national seed Washington and No. 7 seed Penn State (the latter in overtime). Most recently in 2003, Florida State won its round-of-16 match at No. 6 seed West Virginia (3-2, 2ot) and its quarterfinal at No. 3 seed Florida (2-1) to book a spot in the College Cup.
Special thanks to CollegeSoccer360.com for providing the research on this note.
Match #24 Recap: Ohio State (NCAA College Cup Semifinal)
Freshman midfielder Mandy Laddish broke away from the pack at midfield and streaked through the Ohio State defense in the 83rd minute to net Notre Dame's only goal at WakeMed Stadium in the NCAA College Cup semifinal Friday night.
Laddish scored her second goal of the season for the Fighting Irish (20-2-2), who advanced to the championship game for the fourth time in the last seven years.
Katie Baumgardner made a career-high 10 saves, many of them acrobatic, for the Buckeyes (17-5-2).
The Fighting Irish dominated possession throughout, particularly in the second half. They outshot the Buckeyes 15-3 in the half, getting turned away time after time by Baumgardner.
No signs of Billy, Jane, Michael or Sydney, but this season, Notre Dame has taken on the look of Mel-Rose Place. Specifically, the offensive duo of junior forward Melissa Henderson and senior forward Rose Augustin have combined for more than half (28) of the 54 Fighting Irish goals and 76 of 151 points through 24 matches.
Henderson and Augustin also are the lone tandem in the nation this season to post double-digit goals and assists. Henderson (17G-10A) joined the club with her career-high 10th assist of the season in Notre Dame's NCAA quarterfinal at Oklahoma State, while Augustin (11G-10A) already has posted career highs in goals, assists and points this year.
Henderson A Trend Setter
If you're looking to spot a trend in Notre Dame's success during the past three seasons, look no further than junior forward Melissa Henderson. Since the Garland, Texas, native arrived in South Bend, she has scored 52 goals (third-most among active Division I players, and 11th in school history) and added 17 assists, good for 121 career points (tied-15th in school history).
This season, Henderson is once again among the national offensive leaders, ranking fourth nationally in points (44), sixth in goals (17) and points per match (1.83), and eighth in goals per match (0.708) coming into this weekend's action. She also has distributed a career-high 10 assists in 2010, topping her combined total of seven helpers during her first two seasons at Notre Dame.
These markers have been particularly valuable to Fighting Irish fortunes. In fact, during Henderson's career, Notre Dame is 35-0-2 when she scores a goal, something she's done in 14 matches this year, including 10 of the past 15 outings. The Fighting Irish also are 43-0-2 all-time when Henderson tallies a point, which she has done in 18 matches this year and 25 of the past 34 contests, dating back to last season.
A Rose By Any Other Name
In her final season at Notre Dame, senior forward/midfielder Rose Augustin has been intent on going out with a bang, rolling up career highs in virtually every offensive category, including goals (11), assists (tied-10), points (32) and game-winning goals (tied-3). The Silver Lake, Ohio, resident also is one of just 10 players in the country to notch double-digit goals and assists this season, along with junior teammate Melissa Henderson (17G-10A).
In the past two years, Augustin has dished out 20 assists, many coming in her role as one of Notre Dame's set-piece specialists. That was never more apparent than in Notre Dame's 4-1 NCAA third-round win at North Carolina, when Augustin followed up her opening strike (13th minute) with assists on the next two Fighting Irish goals, one from the corner flag and the other off a free kick.
That four-point night led to Augustin's multiple selections as the CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performer of the Week, as a member of the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week and as an ESPNU/Capital One Impact Performer of the Week.
Throughout her career, junior co-captain/defender Jessica Schuveiller has been known more for her defense than her offense, but she's developed a habit of making her goals count.
The Plano, Texas, native has scored four times in her three seasons at Notre Dame, with all four goals proving to be game-winning strikes. In addition, three of her game-winners have come in postseason play (two in the NCAA Championship), including the decisive strike in the 33rd minute of Notre Dame's 4-1 third-round win at North Carolina on Nov. 20.
Schuveiller, who has started all 77 matches of her Fighting Irish career, netted her first collegiate goal as a freshman in 2008, igniting Notre Dame's 2-0 NCAA quarterfinal win over Florida State at old Alumni Field. Then, last season, she scored a late game winner (8:08 remaining) in the regular season at Cincinnati (2-1 win on Sept. 25), before sending Notre Dame to the BIG EAST Championship title match with an overtime goal (98:42) in the conference semifinals against St. John's (2-1).
Nip And Tuck(er)
One of the "feel good" stories of the 2010 Notre Dame women's soccer season has been the emergence of freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker, who helped send the Fighting Irish to this weekend's College Cup with her two-goal outburst in a Nov. 26 NCAA quarterfinal win at sixth-ranked Oklahoma State.
The Jacksonville, Fla., native earned third-team all-BIG EAST Conference and BIG EAST All-Rookie Team honors and currently ranks third on the team with nine goals (including five game-winners) and 21 points, while starting 21 of 24 contests this season.
Not bad for a player who didn't even play soccer at Jacksonville's Bishop Kenny High School (she did play club soccer with the Jacksonville Fury) and wasn't ranked in the top 100 of any major recruiting service evaluations, let alone earn any sort of national prep All-America honor.
She was, in fact, an all-state selection in high school, but as a cross country runner in 2009 (which helps explain why she led all Fighting Irish players in preseason fitness testing), in addition to earning all-city honors as a basketball point guard. An exceptional student, Tucker also ranked first in her high school class and was president of Bishop Kenny's chapter of the National Honor Society.
That scholastic aptitude carried over to her college career during a challenging week in mid-September, when she showed up for a calculus exam, only to learn she was in the wrong classroom. She quickly raced over to the right exam room, just in time to post a 98 on the calculus test, and then catch the team bus for a weekend trip to Chicago for matches at DePaul and Northwestern.
Not satisfied with her academic success, Tucker then scored three of Notre Dame's four goals in two wins that weekend (including both scores at DePaul), being named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week and Chicagoland Soccer News Player of the Week, as well as earning a spot on the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week.
Quickstrike Offense, Part I
Junior forward Melissa Henderson and senior forward Rose Augustin scored 47 seconds apart (at 23:51 and 24:38) midway through the first half of the Sept. 5 win over Texas Tech at Alumni Stadium. It was the fastest two-goal flurry for Notre Dame since Sept. 28, 2008, at Cincinnati, when Henderson scored 33 seconds after Courtney Rosen found the back of the net.
Quickstrike Offense, Part II
Junior forward Melissa Henderson's goal just 1:11 in Notre Dame's win at Loyola Marymount on Sept. 12 was the fastest opening tally by the Fighting Irish since Dec. 7, 2008, when Kerri Hanks scored only 16 seconds into the NCAA national championship match against North Carolina in Cary, N.C. (setting an NCAA College Cup record in the process).
Henderson's goal against LMU also was the sixth-fastest opening score in the 12-year Randy Waldrum era (1999-present).
Getting The Jump On The Opposition
In 11 matches this season, Notre Dame has scored the opening goal inside the first 15 minutes of play.
In addition, the Fighting Irish have scored within the opening 30 minutes in 16 of their last 22 matches, after waiting until the second half to find the back of the net in their first two contests of the year.
Lead, Follow Or Get Out Of The Way
With the potency of the Notre Dame offensive attack, most opponents have chosen the third option. In fact, the Fighting Irish have led or been tied for 2,166:59 of 2,204:02 minutes this season (98.3% of the elapsed game time). The only times Notre Dame has trailed this season were for 25:06 (19:09-44:15) at No. 13 UCLA on Sept. 10, and for 31:56 (58:04-90:00) against Connecticut on Oct. 31.
Department of Defense
Notre Dame opened this season with four consecutive shutouts, marking the second time in three years (just the third time in school history) that the Fighting Irish have started with four clean sheets. The other instances occurred in 1995 (eight in a row) and 2008 (four in a row).
This season, Notre Dame has allowed just 13 goals (two of which were own-goals), entering the weekend, ranking 10th in the nation in goals-against average (0.53) and 11th in shutout percentage (0.583/match).
Looking at the larger picture, Notre Dame has allowed 0-1 goals in 36 of its last 39 matches, dating back to Oct. 4, 2009, at Pittsburgh. Prior to a 2-1 overtime loss at 13th-ranked UCLA on Sept. 10, the Fighting Irish had a 19-match streak of allowing one goal or fewer, the fifth-longest streak in school history and their longest since Oct. 25, 2002-Oct. 26, 2003, when the Fighting Irish yielded a goal or fewer in 24 consecutive matches.
During this current 39-match defensive run (which coincided with the installation of senior Nikki Weiss as Notre Dame's full-time starting goalkeeper), the Fighting Irish are 33-3-3 with 24 shutouts (16 solo and eight shared by Weiss), a 92-20 scoring margin and a 0.50 goals-against average (GAA).
In the program's 23-year history, Notre Dame is 409-10-17 (.958) when holding the opposition to 0-1 goals.
ND Seniors Among Nation's Best
The 2010 Notre Dame senior class currently is tied with its North Carolina counterpart as the most successful group in the country on the basis of total victories, with a four-year record to date of 86-12-5 (.859) that includes four consecutive trips to the NCAA College Cup and appearances in the 2008 and 2010 national title matches.
The .859 winning percentage compiled by the Fighting Irish seniors is fourth-best on the national scene.
And Juniors Aren't Half Bad Either
Like their senior teammates, the Fighting Irish juniors are among the national leaders in total wins by the Class of 2011, trailing only Stanford (and tying North Carolina) with a three-year record to date of 67-7-3 (.890), including three trips to the NCAA College Cup and berths in the 2008 and 2010 title matches. The Notre Dame junior class also currently ranks third in the nation with an .890 winning percentage.
That record could be even more impressive when one considers that three of those seven losses occurred in a nine-day span (Sept. 4-13) last season. The only other losses were late-game one-goal setbacks to North Carolina in the past two College Cups (2-1 in the '08 final, 1-0 in the '09 semifinals) and earlier this season at 13th-ranked UCLA (2-1 in OT on Sept. 10) and against Connecticut (2-0 on Oct. 31 in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals), along with a 0-0 draw at Pittsburgh last year (a match in which Notre Dame outshot the Panthers, 25-7) and 1-1 draws this season at Connecticut and Georgetown.
Part of Notre Dame's success this season can be traced to the poised and rapidly maturing play of its freshmen, four of whom have been among the starting XI for the Fighting Irish.
Midfielders Mandy Laddish and Elizabeth Tucker both collected BIG EAST Conference All-Rookie Team honors this season, having earned starting nods in virtually every match this season (Laddish all 24, Tucker 21).
Laddish (who also earned NSCAA third-team all-region honors) ranks fourth on the team in total minutes (2,068) by a field player, and is poised to become the third Notre Dame rookie in four years to start every match in her freshman season, a feat also pulled off by her current teammates Lauren Fowlkes (2007) and Jessica Schuveiller (2008). Laddish also has proven to be a clutch goalscorer when the situation calls for it, netting the winner in the 83rd minute of Friday's 1-0 College Cup semifinal win over No. 17/19 Ohio State.
Meanwhile, Tucker (who also was a third-team all-conference pick and a two-time BIG EAST Rookie of the Week selection) is third on the team -- and tops among all conference freshmen -- with nine goals, three assists and 21 points, while standing second on the team with five game-winning goals (all of those marks are among the top 10 in the BIG EAST) after scoring both markers in the Nov. 26 NCAA quarterfinal win at sixth-ranked Oklahoma State.
On Sept. 12 at Loyola Marymount, defender Kecia Morway became the third rookie in the starting lineup (she has gotten the call 18 times this season), while forward Adriana Leon got her first starting nod on Oct. 1 vs. Syracuse. Leon, who has started seven times to date, has three goals this season, most recently capping Notre Dame's 4-0 NCAA second-round win over 22nd-ranked USC on Nov. 14 with a score in the 71st minute.
Morway and Laddish played a significant role in Notre Dame's NCAA Championship first-round win over New Mexico, each earning an assist on one of Fowlkes' second-half goals. For Morway, it was her first career point.
One other Notre Dame freshman note: during the final 10 minutes of the first half at Northwestern on Sept. 19, the Fighting Irish had five freshmen on the pitch at the same time, as starters Laddish, Tucker and Morway were joined by Leon and midfielder Rebecca Twining, the latter of whom was making her college debut.
Notre Dame is unbeaten in 18 of its last 19 matches on Sunday (16-1-2), having its 17-match unbeaten streak snapped with the Oct. 31 loss to Connecticut in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals. Still, the Fighting Irish own a 35-3-3 (.890) record in the past 41 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).
We Love The New Digs
Alumni Stadium is quickly earning a reputation as not only one of the nation's finest college facilities, but also a truly intimidating place for visiting teams. In fact, following Notre Dame's loss to top-ranked North Carolina in its first match at the new stadium (Sept. 4, 2009), the Fighting Irish have won 25 of their last 26 at home, outscoring their opponents, 69-8 in that span while recording 20 shutouts. Notre Dame also had a 23-match home winning streak before it was snapped on Oct. 31 with a 2-0 loss to Connecticut in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals.
Notre Dame's 4-1 win at North Carolina in the third round of the NCAA Championship on Nov. 20 was noteworthy for two reasons.
First, it marked the first time in nearly 25 years (and 607 matches) that a team defeated the Tar Heels by more than one goal. The last time that happened was Nov. 24, 1985, when UNC dropped a 2-0 decision at George Mason in the NCAA national championship match.
The 4-1 result also represented the most goals allowed by North Carolina in a single match during the NCAA era (1982-present), with Harvard the only college program to score more goals against the Tar Heels, posting a 5-3 win over UNC on Nov. 16, 1980, at the AIAW Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo.
...And Streaks Busted
All good things must come to an end, and with a 2-0 loss to Connecticut on Oct. 31 in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals at Alumni Stadium, Notre Dame saw its NCAA Division I-record 77-match unbeaten streak (72-0-5) against BIG EAST opposition stopped.
This incredible run dated back to a 4-1 loss at No. 15 Marquette on Sept. 30, 2005. In that time, the ties were scoreless draws at Connecticut (Oct. 13, 2006) and Pittsburgh (Oct. 4, 2009), and 1-1 deadlocks at No. 12 West Virginia in the 2007 BIG EAST final (won by the Mountaineers on penalties, 5-3, but the result is recorded as a tie), as well as this season at Connecticut (Oct. 15) and Georgetown (Oct. 24).
Not only was Notre Dame's conference unbeaten streak an NCAA Division I record, but it was the fourth-longest in NCAA history across all divisions.
Division III Hardin-Simmons University (Texas), is the current all-division record holder with a 114-match unbeaten streak against conference opponents, dating back to 2003 (the Cowgirls also have an active 131-match unbeaten run in regular season league play).
Since joining the BIG EAST 15 years ago, the Fighting Irish are 143-8-7 (.927) all-time in regular-season conference matches, 35-3-1 (.910) in the BIG EAST Championship, and hold a 742-94 scoring edge dating back to that first league season in 1995.
The loss to Connecticut on Oct. 31 also ended another mammoth streak for Notre Dame, as its 15-year, 99-match home unbeaten run (98-0-1) against BIG EAST teams was stopped. UConn is still the lone conference team ever to defeat the Fighting Irish at home, having also earned a 5-4 overtime win on Oct. 6, 1995, at old Alumni Field.
During this BIG EAST home unbeaten streak (which stretched through three American presidencies and four Summer Olympics), the only result separating Notre Dame from a 99-match conference home winning streak was a 0-0 draw with Rutgers on Oct. 22, 2004, also at old Alumni Field.
Our Fearless Leader
Now in his 12th season at Notre Dame, head coach Randy Waldrum ranks fourth on the NCAA Division I all-time winning percentage list with a .792 (359-86-23) mark in his 21 years in the women's game. He also is third among active coaches for career winning percentage, while his 359 career wins rank fifth on the all-time NCAA Division I charts -- Waldrum earned his 350th career victory on Oct. 3 vs. St. John's at Alumni Stadium, and he will coach his 300th match at Notre Dame on Sunday in the NCAA College Cup final against Stanford (Waldrum has a 252-36-11 (.861) record in 12 seasons under the Golden Dome.
A two-time National Coach of the Year (2008 by the NSCAA, 2009 by Soccer America), Waldrum has led Notre Dame to eight NCAA College Cups, five NCAA finals and the 2004 national championship. He is second in NCAA Division I history with eight College Cup appearances and five title-match berths in his storied career.
The 2-0 Guarantee
Notre Dame is 327-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead and is unbeaten in its past 304 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 216 Fighting 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 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 (Irish 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 296-3-1 (.988) record in those games, including a 198-1-0 (.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 20-4-11 (.729) all-time in the Randy Waldrum era (since 1999) when going to an extra period or two, with the Sept. 10 loss at 13th-ranked UCLA snapping a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) in added time, dating back to the 2007 season.
Since the UCLA loss, Notre Dame has drawn twice in overtime (at Connecticut on Oct. 15 and at Georgetown on Oct. 24, both 1-1 finals), making the Fighting Irish unbeaten in nine of their last 10 extra-time contests.
Three current Notre Dame players have scored "golden goals" in their college careers -- senior forward/midfielder Rose Augustin (Oct. 12, 2008 at Villanova), junior forward Melissa Henderson (Nov. 9, 2008 vs. Connecticut in BIG EAST final) and junior defender Jessica Schuveiller (Nov. 6, 2009 vs. St. John's in BIG EAST semifinal).
Senior defender/midfielder Lauren Fowlkes and junior defender Jessica Schuveiller have been selected to serve as Notre Dame's captains this year, according to a preseason vote of their teammates. Fowlkes is in her first season as a team captain, while Schuveiller is a second-year captain after becoming the first non-senior to wear the armband for the Fighting Irish since Amy Warner in 2002.