Sept. 4, 2009

By Amy Farnum

ALL EYES ON SOUTH BEND:  When Notre Dame unveils its newly-constructed women’s soccer venue this weekend, the Irish’s home field advantage will immediately be tested as they host top-ranked North Carolina for a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown on Sept. 4.

UND will showcase the brand-new $5.7 million Alumni Stadium for the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic over the weekend.  The game between the Tar Heels and Irish on Friday at 7:30 p.m., will be a rematch of last season’s NCAA title contest.

The Irish enter the contest with a 30-game winning streak against regular season foes, which dates back to September 2007.  UND will also put its 54-match scoring streak on the line against the Tar Heels.  UNC allowed two goals in a 7-2 defeat of then-No. 3 UCLA to open the season, but posted a pair of shutouts last weekend.  Notre Dame has yet to allow an opponent goal this season.

BOILING POINT:  On the merits of a 3-0-0 start and upset of then-No. 6 Texas A&M, Purdue University vaulted into the NSCAA Division I Top 25 at No. 14 this week.  

The flawless start for the Boilermakers also gave the team three Big Ten weekly awards, most notably senior Sylvia Forbes, who was named the Co-Offensive Player of the Week after tying the NCAA record for fastest goal scored to begin a game.  It took the defender from Whitby, Ontario, just four seconds to net a score in Purdue’s 3-2 upset of the Aggies.

Senior goalkeeper Jenny Bradfisch tallied eight saves against the Aggies, holding them scoreless for the final 80:38 of the contest and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, while Vanessa Ibewuike’s game-winning goal against Texas A&M garnered her Freshman of the Week honors.

Purdue looks to continue its winning ways when it hosts the Boilermaker Challenge Cup on Sept. 5-7.  The Boilermakers will face Valparaiso and Ball State in the tournament.

  Oklahoma (4-0-0) is off to its best start since 2002, already surpassing its 2008 win total of three, after getting some impressive performances from junior forward Whitney Palmer.

Palmer’s play was highlighted by a hat trick in the Sooners’ 3-1 win over Tulsa on Aug. 30 – only the second hat trick in Oklahoma program history.  The native of Plano, Texas, was selected Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week for her efforts.  She leads league with 10 points, and moved up the OU all-time goals list to fourth with 18 career scores.

OU ventures away from home for the first time this season as the Sooners travel to Tennessee to tangle with Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt over the Labor Day week.

QUICK KICKS:  University of Portland sophomore forward Danielle Foxhoven picked up West Coast Conference Player of the Week honors after recording four of the Pilots’ six goals in wins over No. 16 Cal and No. 24 Washington last weekend.  She netted the four goals on just five shots in the two contests.  Foxhoven also led the No. 3 Pilots in scoring last year … After starting the season 4-0, the No. 21 Utah Utes slipped against Weber State, 1-0, during a mid-week contest on Sept. 2.  Head coach Rich Manning will have to wait for the Utes’ game against William & Mary on Sept. 6 as he looks to collect his 100th career victory … No. 5 Florida State has outscored its first three opponents 18-0, but now the competition will get a little stiffer for the Seminoles.  No. 13 Penn State visits FSU on Sept. 4, while Washington States (No. 5 in the America Pacific Region rankings) stops by Tallahassee on Sunday.