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WOMEN’S SOCCER:Critically acclaimed

Ken Fowler | Thursday, January 19, 2006

Christine Sinclair topped Katie Thorlakson yet again, but Notre Dame’s most prolific postseason scorer won’t hold a grudge.

Sinclair, the Portland senior who set the NCAA record for goals in a season while leading her team to the national championship in December, took home the nation’s most prestigious player-of-the-year award for the second consecutive season – a month and a half after the Pilots topped the Irish 3-1 in the NCAA quarterfinals.

Thorlakson congratulated Sinclair on capturing another Hermann Trophy and said she was eager to play alongside her fellow native of British Columbia in international competition.

“She’s the type of player that will make anyone around her better,” Thorlakson said. “She’s a world-class type of player. She can create something out of nothing every time.”

Sinclair finished the season with 39 goals, two more than SMU’s Lisa Cole in 1987. She added 10 assists to lead the nation with 88 points.

Both Thorlakson and Sinclair are already members of the Canadian national team and have indicated their intention to play on a more regular basis with the team after their college careers. Sinclair has already amassed 53 goals for Canada’s World Cup team, the second highest total in the country’s history.

“It’s exciting playing against her too because I got to play with my ND team, but playing with her for Canada is really fun,” Thorlakson said.

Notre Dame’s senior forward was one of three finalists, joining Sinclair and Penn State’s Tiffany Weimer for a press conference and banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis.

Last season, Thorlakson won player-of-the-year awards from several national publications but was not among the Club’s three finalists.

This year, Irish coach Randy Waldrum accompanied the senior to St. Louis and spoke about her career to the crowd.

Thorlakson said the most poignant part of Waldrum’s speech was when he mentioned her ankle sprain at the beginning of a national soccer camp her senior year in high school. Waldrum had only seen her play for a few minutes but nonetheless offered Thorlakson a spot on the Irish roster.

Four years later, both were happy with the decision. Thorlakson said her invitation to the awards ceremony is a testament to Notre Dame’s success given the quality of other finalists.

“It’s just a really great honor for me,” Thorlakson said, “especially to be [a finalist] with a Canadian teammate.”

Thorlakson said there would be no hard feelings between herself and Sinclair.

“At the end of the day, Christine’s a great player, and everyone looks up to her,” she said.