It was an exceptional crop of freshmen in women's college soccer, featuring four players -- North Carolina's Tobin Heath
and Casey Nogueira
, UCLA's Lauren Cheney
and Stanford's Kelley O'Hara
-- who missed the first two weeks of
the 2006 season to represent the USA at the U-20 Women's World Championship and returned to earn All-Freshman honors.
But the 2006 Freshman of the Year was Notre Dame's Michele Weissenhofer
, who got a quick start on the competition, scoring twice in her collegiate debut in late August. She came to South Bend with the reputation
for having a deadly flip throw-in, but she was equally talented as a scorer and setup player.
"We've seen Michele enough times in her club and her high school seasons that we knew she
could score goals," said Randy Waldrum
after Weissenhofer's debut.
The former Eclipse Select star scored in three of the Irish's first four NCAA
Tournament games -- including three goals in 12 minutes against Penn State in the quarterfinals -- and finished with 18 goals and 17 assists for 53 points, second in the nation only to teammate
Weissenhofer's quick adjustment to college was in part due to her decision to enroll for the summer semester at Notre Dame. Her great
understanding with Brittany Bock
, the third member of the Irish attack, stemmed from their long association as teammates dating back to the third grade in