Nov. 21, 2008

Courtesy of Notre Dame
(see Minnesota release below)

#1/1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23-0-0 / 11-0-0 BIG EAST) vs. #22/24 Minnesota Golden Gophers (22-3-0 / 8-2-0 Big Ten)

DATE: Nov. 21, 2008
TIME: 7:30 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. - Alumni Field (2,500)
SERIES: UM leads 1-0-0
1ST MTG: UM, 1-0 (9/13/89)
WEBCAST: (live) (Tom Staudt, p-b-p / Drew Spada, color)
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  • Notre Dame is making its 13th appearance in the NCAA round-of-16, going 11-1 in its previous 12 trips to the third round (only loss: 1-0 at No. 1 Stanford in 2002).
  • The Irish are 37-3-0 (.925) all-time at home in NCAA tournament games, with an active 16-game winning streak beginning in 2004 (and 53-8 scoring margin in those contests).
  • Top-Ranked Irish Set For NCAA Third-Round Game Against No. 22/24 Minnesota
    Simplicity continues to be the order of the day for the No. 1 Notre Dame women's soccer team, as the Irish keep their focus entirely on the next opponent, which will be Minnesota on Friday night (7:30 ET) in the third round of the NCAA Championship at Alumni Field.

    Notre Dame (23-0-0) will be making its fifth consecutive NCAA round-of-16 appearance, a place when the Irish have typically rounded into offensive form, posting a 4-0-0 record since 2004 and a 13-4 edge in scoring margin.

    The No. 1 overall seed in this year's NCAA Championship, Notre Dame earned its way into Friday's third-round contest on the strength of a 1-0 win over another Big Ten foe, Michigan State, last Sunday at Alumni Field. The Irish dominated the run of play, outshooting the Spartans, 29-3, but it took a goal from sophomore midfielder Rose Augustin -- her third of the weekend (and second gamewinner) -- off a Kerri Hanks feed at 72:03 to produce the win.


  • Notre Dame is ranked No. 1 in the latest NSCAA and Soccer America polls.
  • Minnesota is ranked 22nd in the NSCAA poll and 24th in the final Soccer America poll.
  • A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
    Notre Dame rolls out one of its deepest teams in years, with 19 monogram winners (including nine starters) back from last season's squad that went 19-5-2 (11-0-0 in the BIG EAST) and advanced to the NCAA College Cup semifinals for the ninth time in the past 14 years. The Irish also bring back a powerful offensive punch, with 83.3 percent of their goalscoring (55 of 66) returning.

    As if that weren't enough, Notre Dame welcomes a highly-regarded nine-player freshman class to campus, with three of those incoming players having earned multiple national All-America honors during their prep or club careers.

    Leading the way for Notre Dame this season are two of the country's premier front-line players (and '07 NSCAA first-team All-Americans) in senior forward Kerri Hanks and senior forward/midfielder Brittany Bock.

    A three-time All-American and the '06 Hermann Trophy recipient, Hanks (18G-13A) continues to blaze new trails through the NCAA and Irish record books, sitting just off the national lead in goals and points this year after setting the NCAA pace in assists the past two seasons. A two-time BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year (including 2008), Hanks became the third Division I player to log 70 goals and 70 assists in her career (82G-71A entering Friday's game). She has earned national honors from Soccer America (Team of the Week) and Top Drawer Soccer (Player/Team of the Week) a combined seven times, as well as garnering four BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week honors. She was the only unanimous selection on the 2008 All-BIG EAST First Team.

    Bock (6G-9A), one of the Irish co-captains in 2008, emerged as a genuine offensive threat last season, leading the team in goals and finishing second with 36 points (16G-4A). A two-time all-BIG EAST First Team selection (including 2008), Bock earned the league's Offensive Player of the Week honor on Sept. 8, as well as a spot on the Soccer America National Team of the Week after scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory at No. 3/2 North Carolina on Sept. 5. More recently, she was tapped for the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week on Oct. 21 after registering a goal and four assists in shutout wins at Providence and Connecticut.

    Another key player for the Irish this season is senior center back and co-captain Carrie Dew (1G-1A), the two-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player. She also is a two-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week and a three-time national team of the week honoree, including her Nov. 10 selection as the Top Drawer Soccer National Player of the Week. One of three defenders to start every game for the Irish this season, Dew and the Notre Dame defense have recorded 15 shutouts and a 0.43 GAA, including four consecutive clean sheets to open this season (the first time the Irish have done that since '95).

    A Quick Look At Minnesota
    Minnesota (22-3-0, 8-2-0 Big Ten) is playing in the NCAA Championship third round (final 16) for the first time in program history. They advanced out of the second round with a 2-0 win over South Dakota State last Sunday afternoon. 2008 marks Minnesota's sixth appearance in the NCAA tournament, and first since 1999, and is now 5-5-0 all-time in NCAA play.

    Senior Lindsey Schwartz led the Gophers in their win over South Dakota State with three points, including an assist on sophomore Molly Rouse's game-winning goal, scored just 1:11 into the contest. Rouse added a goal at 13:27.

    On the season, Schwartz leads the Minnesota offense with 23 points on a team-high eight goals and seven assists. Rouse is tied with Schwartz for the team lead in assists with seven, while senior Kaitlin Wagner is second on the Gophers in points (6G-5A). The high-scoring trio has started all of Minnesota's 25 games.

    Senior goalkeeper Lindsey Dare has played every minute of the season in net for the Gophers. She has made 64 saves while recording a 0.43 goals-against-average and an .853 save percentage as well as 17 shutouts. Her 17 shutouts are a school and Big Ten Conference record.

    Head coach Mikki Denney Wright is in her 5th season as a head coach, all at Minnesota, and carries a 54-38-6 (.582) record with the Gophers. The 2008 Big Ten Coach of the Year has not faced Notre Dame and is in the midst of her first NCAA tournament appearance.

    The Notre Dame-Minnesota Series
    Sunday's game will be the second all-time meeting between the two teams, as Minnesota earned a 1-0 win at Alumni Field on September 13, 1989. The win is noted in the Irish record books since Notre Dame was a varsity program at the time, but it is not a win in the Minnesota record book, as it did not start recording results until the 1993 season.

    Common Opponents
    The Irish have defeated three teams that also played Minnesota throughout the 2008 season. Notre Dame earned a 3-1 win at Penn State on September 21, while the Gophers dropped two games to the Nittany Lions by scores of 2-0 (@ PSU-10/17) and 2-1 (@ Iowa City-11/8). Minnesota also fell by a score of 2-0 at Michigan State (9/26), while Notre Dame defeated Michigan State last Sunday at Alumni Field, 1-0.

    Lastly, Minnesota advanced out of the NCAA first round with a 2-1 win over Marquette at home. On October 5, Notre Dame defetated Marquette at home, 3-1 and followed up with a BIG EAST semifinal triumph over Marquette, 2-0.

    Common Attributes
    Notre Dame and Minnesota share several common attributes. In Randy Waldrum and Mikki Denney Wright, both squads are led by their conference's 2008 Coach of the Year.

    Both the Irish and the Golden Gophers are particularly stingy on the back line, as each team ranks in the national top-ten in goals-against-average. The Irish enter Friday's contest with a 0.432 mark (5th), while Minnesota has a 0.434 mark (6th).

    Each back line is bolstered by the presence of senior stalwart defenders. The Irish can rely on 2008 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year Carrie Dew to lead the defensive, while Minnesota does the same with 2008 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Kelsey Hood. Strangely enough, both defenders notched their first goals of the 2008 season in NCAA first round wins.

    Additionally, both Minnesota and Notre Dame have a player missing out on NCAA play due to U.S. U-20 National Team duty. Irish sophomore defender/midfielder Lauren Fowlkes is joined on the U-20 team by Minnesota's freshman goalkeeper Cat Parkhill (see Fowlkes note on pg. 10 for more U-20 information).

    Irish In The NCAA Championship

  • Notre Dame is competing in the NCAA Championship for the 16th time, dating back to the 1993 season. The Irish are one of three schools to win multiple national titles (1995, 2004), joining North Carolina and Portland.
  • Notre Dame now holds the second-longest active streak of consecutive NCAA Championship berths with 16, trailing only North Carolina (27) in that category.
  • The Irish and Tar Heels also remain the only teams to have reached the final-32 or further in every NCAA Championship since 1993.
  • The Irish are 37-3-0 (.925) all-time at home in NCAA tournament games, with a 132-22 scoring margin in those contests.
  • Notre Dame holds an all-time record of 46-13-1 (.775) in NCAA postseason play.
  • The Irish senior class is 18-0 all-time in postseason games (BIG EAST/NCAA) at Alumni Field, shutting out 14 of those 18 opponents.
  • The Irish senior class is 14-3 all-time in NCAA postseason games.
  • The Irish return nine players who were in the starting lineup for last season's NCAA College Cup semifinal against Florida State (3-2 loss on goal in 72nd minute).
  • The Irish enter the NCAAs with their first-ever unbeaten and untied record, but their fifth unbeaten record in the past 15 seasons (also 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2006).
  • The BIG EAST Hardware Haul
    In addition to claiming its 11th BIG EAST regular-season title in 14 seasons, the Irish earned four of the six major individual awards and placed six players on the all-BIG EAST Conference Team during the BIG EAST Women's Soccer Awards Banquet on Nov. 6 at the South Bend Marriott. The four individual award recipients matches the 2005 Irish club for the most major award honorees since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995, while the six all-conference selections are just two away from the school's high-water mark set back in 2006.

    Senior All-America forward/Hermann Trophy candidate Kerri Hanks was a unanimous selection as the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference choice by the BIG EAST coaches. Also the 2006 recipient of the award, Hanks joins former teammate Katie Thorlakson (2004, 2005) as the only Irish players to earn the trophy more than once. What's more, she set conference records with four BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week selections this season and eight for her career, blowing past the old marks of three in one season and six in a career (both shared by Thorlakson and Seton Hall's Kelly Smith).

    For the second time in three years, senior defender/co-captain Carrie Dew was lauded as the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year. Dew is the fourth Irish player to be a two-time recipient of the honor, along with Jen Grubb (1998, 1999), Candace Chapman (2002, 2005) and Melissa Tancredi (2003, 2004), with Notre Dame now having a player garner that trophy for the sixth time in seven seasons.

    Freshman forward Melissa Henderson was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, becoming the fourth Irish player in the past six seasons to collect the league's top award for first-year players. She's also the third current Irish player to earn the honor, following in the footsteps of Hanks (2005) and junior forward Michele Weissenhofer, who was the 2006 recipient.

    Head coach Randy Waldrum was honored by his peers by being voted the BIG EAST Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his 10 seasons at Notre Dame. Waldrum also took home the honor in 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2004, and now has earned eight conference coach of the year awards in his illustrious career, adding previous citations in the Big 12 Conference (at Baylor in 1998) and Missouri Valley Conference (with Tulsa's men's program in 1991 and 1993).

    The Irish also fielded four first-team all-conference selections -- Hanks, Brittany Bock, Dew and Henderson -- for the fourth time in the past five seasons. Bock also becomes the 15th Notre Dame player to be a two-time first-team all-BIG EAST honoree.

    Junior midfielder Courtney Rosen was voted a second-team all-BIG EAST selection, her first career all-conference certificate. Senior defender Elise Weber was an honorable mention all-conference pick this season, earning her second consecutive all-BIG EAST citation, following a third-team honor a year ago.


    Courtesy of Minnesota

    The champions from the Big Ten and Big East conferences collide in a third-round NCAA tournament match as 22nd-ranked Minnesota visits top-ranked Notre Dame in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Minnesota is making its first trip to the “Sweet 16” while the Fighting Irish advanced to the round for the fifth straight year and have played in the past two Women’s College Cups. The winner of this weekend’s match advances to the national quarterfinals to face either Boston College or Florida State the following weekend.

    Scouting the Gophers
    Minnesota advanced to the third round with a 2-1 victory over Marquette and a 2-0 win over South Dakota State last weekend. The Gophers used early goals to set the tone in each contest, scoring twice in the first 15 minutes of each match.

    Senior Kelsey Hood, who was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year, delivered her first goal of the season less than eight minutes into Friday’s win over Marquette. Sophomore Julie Rezac added another goal less than seven minutes later as Minnesota scored on its only two shots on goal in the match.

    Sophomore Molly Rouse tallied her fourth goal of the year just 1:11 into Sunday’s win over South Dakota State. Lindsey Schwartz assisted the first goal and gave the Gophers a 2-0 lead with her team-leading eighth goal at the 13:27 mark.

    Senior goalkeeper Lindsey Dare extended her Big Ten single-season record with her 17th shutout of the season on Sunday. The shutout also tied the Big Ten record for most shutouts by a team, matching the 2000 Penn State squad. Dare has played every minute in goal this season for Minnesota, setting a single-season school record with 2,281 minutes played. Her 0.43 goals against average ranks sixth in the country.

    Scouting the Fighting Irish
    The nation’s top-ranked team moved into the third round by beating Toledo 5-2 and Michigan State 1-0 last weekend. The two goals allowed in the opening match marked only the second time this season Notre Dame has allowed two goals in a match. Rose Augustin scored the game-winner against Michigan State in the 73rd minute. She also had two goals in the win over Toledo.

    Kerri Hanks leads Notre Dame and ranks seventh in the nation in scoring with 18 goals and 13 assists for 49 points. Hanks was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and is joined up front by freshman Melissa Henderson, who had 17 goals and one assist for 35 points to earn Big East Rookie of the Year honors. The Irish lead the nation in scoring offense and have outscored their opponents 78-10 for the season. Carrie Dew was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year.

    Notre Dame is making its 16th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament and won national titles in 1995 and 2004.