Oct. 18, 2014
No. 13/11 Notre Dame (10-4-1, 5-2 ACC) improved to 11-0 all-time against Syracuse (5-8-3, 2-5 ACC), picking up the fifth win in program history at the SU Soccer Stadium. The Fighting Irish are now 6-0-1 in true road matches this season, and have not allowed a goal on the road in the past 630 minutes of game action dating back to the 23rd minute at Illinois on Aug. 22.
Notre Dame closed the match with a sizeable 30-2 advantage in the shot column, including a dominant 19-1 margin in the second half alone. Over the past three matches, the Fighting Irish have outshot opponents a combined 93-13, holding a 9-0 goals edge during the three-game winning streak.
“It’s exciting how many chances that we’re creating for ourselves,” Notre Dame head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “A lot of different players are involved in the attack. At the end of the day, I’m very happy with the movement we are getting up front.”
After pressing for the entire contest, the Fighting Irish found their way onto the scoreboard in the 69th minute. Olmsted worked the ball into the left corner of the Syracuse end before serving a solid cross out toward the front of the net. Syracuse goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan punched the ball out of the box right onto the foot of Roccaro, who tucked a shot underneath the crossbar and a leaping Brosnan. Roccaro’s second goal of the season at 68:27 gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
“It was only a matter of time (before) we were going to score, I was just in the right place at the right time,” Roccaro said. “Just getting in the box like I always try to do, and I think once that happened we kept playing our game and kept getting more shots. It was a good time to get a goal.”
“Cari is someone we want to have in the box because she’s somebody who can score,” Romagnolo said. “Something we talked about at halftime was getting our forwards taking on around the outside and looking to slot the ball back across. I felt we did that a lot in the second half.”
Notre Dame put the match away in the 79th minute after a great turn by senior forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, California/Santa Margarita) walled off a Syracuse defender in close pursuit. A nice drop pass to a running Olmsted set the Fighting Irish attacker up in the left of the box, and Olmsted buried the 17-yard attempt past Brosnan for the second Notre Dame goal (78:32).
“That goal was a result of hard work,” Romagnolo said. “Lo battled and found a way to get possession for us, and then a fantastic finish by Kaleigh.”
Roccaro felt that the momentum that built up following her goal 10 minutes prior was the breakthrough that Notre Dame needed, and helped the Fighting Irish find the next offensive gear throughout the remainder of the contest.
“I think the first thing we said was, let’s just go get the next one, and we did,” Roccaro said. “We got the second one and defended really well for the rest of the game. It was really a good performance.”
Notre Dame broke through with the first shot of the contest in the ninth minute, as junior midfielder Glory Williams (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands) snuck into the Syracuse zone and uncorked a shot from the left side of the 18-yard box. Orange goalkeeper Brosnan dove on the attempt for the contest’s first save.
Junior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson (Davis, California/Davis) added a great Fighting Irish chance in the 26th minute, after great passing from sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, New Hampshire/Milford) and Roccaro found the Notre Dame attacker in stride. Brosnan made a nice stop on Gilbertson’s right-footed try to kick save the ball away.
Syracuse nearly took the lead following a turnover in the Notre Dame zone in the 41st minute. Jessica Vigna sent a well-timed strike from the top of the box, but Fighting Irish sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little (Tulsa, Oklahoma/Bishop Kelley) sprawled to her right to make a diving stop.
Bohaboy narrowly missed a great opportunity for a goal in the 44th minute. Junior defender Brittany Von Rueden (Mequon, Wisconsin/Divine Savior Holy Angels) served a perfect free kick toward the box that Bohaboy headed toward frame, but Notre Dame was called for being offside after just slipping behind the Syracuse back line.
A halftime 11-1 shot advantage held by Notre Dame was all the more impressive when considering the weather conditions impacting the offensive attack during the first half. The Fighting Irish played into a direct and sometimes forceful wind and a steady stream of rain throughout the period, opening the proverbial floodgates with the wind at their backs in the second frame.
“It’s just something we weren’t used to, we haven’t really played in those conditions a lot this year,” Roccaro said. “I think it’s good to get a game like that under your belt just in case you see those conditions down the road. It was good, and we were able to outshoot them and play really well, it was a very good game for us.”
Notre Dame’s third straight conference win firmly entrenched the Fighting Irish into the fourth position in the race toward the ACC Championship. Any and all wins at this point in the league schedule will prove to be crucial with only four teams earning the opportunity to compete for a conference title.
“It’s huge, and tonight was not an easy game,” Romagnolo said. “I think Syracuse is a very good team, and with the weather conditions and it raining the whole game, it was difficult. What impressed me was it didn’t faze us, and I actually felt we got better in the second half and continued to raise our level to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Little made two saves during the full 90 minutes in net to post her ninth shutout of the season, and fifth during ACC play. Syracuse counterpart Brosnan added seven stops in defeat.
Notre Dame returns to Alumni Stadium on Oct. 23 to host Clemson at 7 p.m. (ET) in a home ACC contest. The match will be streamed live on WatchND (WatchND.tv).
For more information on the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDSoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
Notre Dame 0 2 – 2
Total Shots: ND 30 (11-19), SU 2 (1-1)
— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant