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ND WOMEN’S SOCCER: Fresh and kicking

Bobby Griffin | Thursday, September 1, 2005

In the first two games this season, Notre Dame dominated its opponents 11-1 and 6-0. Not surprising, considering the defending national champion Irish return 13 out of 15 starters.

What is surprising, however, is that much of that offense in the first two contests came from a player who was not a part of last year’s squad.

Freshman Kerri Hanks scored seven goals in the first two games, and because of that, she does not need to worry about being the new girl any longer.

Then again, to those who follow the Irish program, that’s the last thing Hanks has ever been.

The Notre Dame forward recently was named the Big East player of the week after her weekend series in Vermont. She was also named the Soccer America player of the week, as well as a member of the Soccer Buzz “elite team of the week.”

Against New Hampshire on Aug. 19, Hanks earned her first hat trick – scoring three goals in a 13-minute stretch.

Two days later on Aug. 21, she added four more goals – her second hat trick of the season putting her one shy of the Notre Dame record – in the team’s shutout of Vermont.

She also joined three other Irish players to have scored four goals in a game, including teammate Katie Thorlakson who did it in 2004 against St. John’s.

Scoring goals is no recent discovery for the Texas native.

In two seasons at Allen High School, Hanks scored 47 goals. And while with the Dallas Texans club team, the freshman earned two USYSA Golden Boot awards.

She was also the leading scorer on the Under-19 National team, scoring 22 goals in 30 games.

Hanks could not be happier about how this early part of the 2005 season has gone, both from an individual point of view and also how she has worked with her teammates.

“It’s just awesome to get what I’ve got so far and gotten done,” Hanks said. “But I couldn’t have done [so well] without my teammates. So I have to thank my teammates for everything they did for me too.”

Hanks is also excited to be part of such a strong team that has achieved so much already, but she realizes the added pressure that it puts on her to live up to expectations and perform well on the field.

“I’m really excited that I came here and got to join the national championship team,” Hanks said. “It also puts pressure on you to continue to do well, and hopefully repeat.

“Its awesome but its also nerve racking as well, I still have roles to step up to.”

Such roles include helping out Katie Thorlakson on offense.

“[I have to] kind of help Katie out,” Hanks said. “I mean everyone is going to mark her so as long as we can both work together and stuff, and with the other forwards then it will be better.”

Despite Hanks’ accomplishments early on this season, Hanks, who joined the team last spring after training with the U.S. Under-19 team last fall, feels that she has adjusted well to playing with the Irish. While she still has a lot to learn, she is comfortable with the progress she has already made in the young season.

“I think I’ve adjusted pretty well, I mean obviously I still have a lot to improve on and a lot to learn but I think from a transition point of view I’ve done pretty well,” she said.