Nov. 20, 2015
By Joanne Norell
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The No. 10/7 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team played a strong first half, but a pair of second-half goals by Connecticut’s Rachel Hill ended the season for the Irish as the No. 18/14 Huskies won 2-0 in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship on Friday at Yurcak Field.
The Irish outshot the Huskies 15-7, including a 6-4 advantage in shots on goal. The Irish also held a 9-1 edge in corner kicks.
Hill, who leads the Huskies in goals on the season with 16, fired just two shots on the night, but it was all UConn needed to advance to Sunday’s third round. Her first goal came in the 59th minute, when she got a foot on a rebound of a shot by Liana Hinds, whose shot squirted loose from the hands of Irish goalkeeper Kaela Little.
UConn added to its lead in the 82nd minute as the Huskies found numbers on the attack and Andrea Plucenik laid off a pass for Hill to the left of the 18, and Hill finished near post.
Irish senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson led all players with eight shots, including three on goal, while junior forward Kaleigh Olmsted tallied two shots for Notre Dame. Five other Irish players notched single shots.
Notre Dame’s best chance of the day came in the 80th minute — still down by only a goal — when junior midfielder Sandra Yu fired a shot from the right flank that deflected off a Husky midfielder and nearly snuck into the near post, but UConn goalkeeper Emily Armstrong got an arm on it and bounced it out of play.
The Irish looked dominant in a first half that saw their defense stymy any hopeful Husky runs, fueling an offensive push that helped the Irish take a 9-2 lead in shots at the break. Five of Notre Dame’s first six shots were on goal, while UConn failed to put a shot on frame in the first 45 minutes.
Notre Dame sought to capitalize early and had chances to score often. One such opportunity presented itself just two minutes into the game, when freshman forward Natalie Jacobs slipped behind the UConn defense and nearly got a shot in off an over-the-top pass from sophomore defender Monica Flores. Jacobs’ shot lacked pop, though, and Armstrong scooped it easily.
The Irish then got a pair of shots on goal within minutes by Gilbertson and Olmsted near the 25-minute mark, but both were struck right into the arms of Armstrong again.
It was a half reminiscent of the first stanza of Notre Dame’s win over Virginia Tech on October 30. The Irish also outshot the Hokies 9-2 in the first half of that game without a goal, but went on to win 3-0.
The Irish wrap the season with a 14-5-1 record. Friday marked the final game for six Irish seniors: Gilbertson, Katie Naughton, Cari Roccaro, Mary Schwappach, Brittany Von Rueden and Cari Roccaro. The class compiled a 57-25-6 record during their time at Notre Dame, reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship as freshmen in 2012.
#18/14 Connecticut 2, #10/7 Notre Dame 0
November 22, 2015
Piscataway, N.J. (Yurcak Field)
Connecticut 0 2 — 2
Notre Dame 0 0 — 0
UCONN1. Rachel Hill (Liana Hinds) 58:26. UCONN2. Hill (Andrea Plucenik) 81:30.
Total Shots: ND 15 (9-6), UConn 7 (2-5)
Shots on Goal: ND 6, UConn 4
Saves: ND 2 (Kaela Little 2 in 90:00), UConn 6 (Emily Armstrong 5 in 90:00; Team 1 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: ND 9 (4-5), UConn 1 (1-0)
Fouls: ND 10, UConn 9
Offsides: ND 1, UConn 0
Records: ND 14-5-1, 6-4-0 ACC; UConn 19-3-0, 8-1-0 AAC)
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.