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Undefeated Irish earn No. 1 ranking

Matt Mooney | Tuesday, September 14, 2004

When the smoke cleared from a competitive weekend in women’s soccer, Monday’s Soccer America magazine poll showed Notre Dame standing atop all the rest with the No. 1 national ranking. The Irish (6-0-0) defeated No. 11 Arizona State 2-1 and jumped to the top spot after previous No. 1 North Carolina (5-0-1) blemished its perfect record with a scoreless tie against now No. 13 Tennessee.Notre Dame last held the No. 1 ranking in 2000 when it breezed through the regular season before bowing out in the NCAA semifinals to eventual national champion North Carolina.The Irish have already proven their mettle early in the season, defeating three teams who, at the time, were ranked in the top 15, including then No. 4 Santa Clara. Utilizing a creative offense and stingy defense, the Irish have established themselves as one of the nation’s most complete teams, outscoring opponents by a 21-5 margin.Junior forward Katie Thorlakson has led the way on offense with a team high 17 points. Last week, she became the first women’s soccer player in school history to be named Big East Player of the Week in two consecutive weeks. Senior Candace Chapman and sophomore Jen Buczkowski have provided ample support on the offensive end while fifth-year defender Melissa Tancredi has anchored a formidable defense.Other national polls will be released later today to determine if Notre Dame is the consensus No. 1 team.