Freshman goalkeeper Lexi Nicholas earned the shutout in Notre Dame's 4-0 win over Illinois State last Monday

#16 Irish Travel To Northwestern Saturday For Exhibition Finale

Aug. 15, 2014

2014 ND Women’s Soccer — Exhibition 2
#16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-8-1 in 2013 / 7-5-1 ACC) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (3-14-2 in 2013 / 1-10-0 Big 10)

DATE: August 16, 2014
TIME: 5 p.m. CT
Evanston, Ill. (Lakeside Field – cap. 2,000)
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TICKETS: Free for exhibitions


  • Notre Dame is 14-3-3 in exhibitions vs. college teams since the start of the 1999 season, including a 5-3-1 record away from home.
  • Notre Dame is unbeaten in its last seven exhibition matches (6-0-1; 1-0-0 on the road) dating back to 2011.
  • Notre Dame is 5-0 all-time against Northwestern during in-season matches, holding a 22-3 aggregate goal advantage.

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A characteristic that emerged almost instantly from the early sessions of fall training for the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team was the collective intensity exhibited by Fighting Irish players on the practice field. Now two weeks into fall camp in preparation for the 2014 season, No. 16 Notre Dame will compete in its second and final exhibition match of the preseason on Saturday at 5 p.m. (CT) against Northwestern at Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill.

“Throughout the course of a preseason people start dealing with injuries, so you might see a bit of a different lineup out there (on Saturday),” Notre Dame head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “That’s the point of a scrimmage, we are trying to give people a bunch of different looks. We also want to make sure we are healthy going into Illinois (Aug. 22) and the rest of our season. The energy has been great, and they have been working really hard, I’ve been very proud of the effort. We just want to keep that going.”

Traveling away from the Notre Dame campus during the exhibition slate, especially for true road contests, has been a rarity for the Fighting Irish in recent seasons. In fact, Saturday’s match at Northwestern will be the first preseason meeting at an opponent’s home stadium since Notre Dame claimed an 8-1 victory at Butler on Aug. 14, 2005.

“It’s really important, because we are going to be playing on the road over the course of the season,” Romagnolo said. “We want to make sure we play just as well away from home as we do at home. It’s all about becoming comfortable in a different environment, especially with Northwestern being the first time we will be on turf this season. Being in a totally different environment with unique field conditions are things we are going to face all season.”

Unlike its first-time opponent in last Monday’s exhibition opener Illinois State, Notre Dame and Northwestern have a relative level of familiarity with one another. The Fighting Irish are 5-0 all-time against the Wildcats during in-season competition, including a 4-1 win last season at Alumni Stadium that was sparked by two goals from now senior forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita).

For Notre Dame, previous knowledge of an opponent’s playing style is one of many factors that go into game preparation.

“For the most part, we usually are more concerned about our plan against an opponent,” Romagnolo said. “We might talk about certain things an opponent does but at the end of the day, if we do what we need to do we are going put ourselves in a good position against anybody. For me, it’s about what we are going to do.”

Among the highlights of the 4-0 exhibition win over Illinois State was the offensive pressure put forth by the Notre Dame attack, as evidenced by its 26-6 shot advantage over the Redbirds. While proud of the team’s ability to stretch the field during the contest, Romagnolo has tried to impart different scenarios for possessions based on what the game situation might dictate.

“I am trying to get them to recognize what’s on, so there’s times we want to go to goal in transition and other times we want to possess a little bit and build up the field,” Romagnolo said. “Over the course of any game you will have to do both, so I am trying to get them to recognize and play what’s on.”

Saturday’s game at Northwestern might be the final real time opportunity for Notre Dame players to cement positions in the team’s lineup, but that evaluation process will continue for the duration of fall camp. Still, practical on-field experience and execution, Romagnolo said, will be beneficial to all in uniform at Lakeside Field.

“We are constantly re-evaluating lineups and players, so I look at Northwestern as another opportunity for those who step on the field to make a case for themselves,” she said. “That also happens every day in training, too. The great thing about a game is you get to see who is going to show up in that competitive environment.”


  • Notre Dame is ranked No. 16 in the preseason NSCAA poll.
  • Northwestern is not ranked in the preseason NSCAA poll.

News And Notes

  • Notre Dame enters its 27th season of varsity competition in 2014. The Fighting Irish have a 492-96-28 (.821) all-time record with 21 NCAA Championship appearances, including 12 trips to the Women’s College Cup, eight berths in the NCAA title match and three national championships (second-most in NCAA Division I history).

  • Notre Dame returns 18 monogram winners, including seven-of-11 starters, from last year’s team that posted a 13-8-1 record and advanced to the NCAA Championship for the 21st consecutive season, the second-longest active streak (and third-longest overall run) in tournament history. The Fighting Irish also logged a 7-5-1 league clip during the program’s first season of competition as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in 2013.

  • Notre Dame welcomes 11 freshmen to its 33-member roster for the 2014 season, and the Fighting Irish incoming class was ranked No. 3 in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer in Feb. The Notre Dame Class of 2018 includes defender Paige Crowley (Los Gatos, Calif./Saint Francis), forward Meghan Doyle (Niskayuna, N.Y./Niskayuna), defender Monica Flores (Livingston, N.J./Livingston), defender/midfielder Sabrina Flores (Livingston, N.J./Livingston), forward Kaitlin Klawunder (Coto de Caza, Calif./Santa Margarita), midfielder Taylor Klawunder (Coto de Caza, Calif./Santa Margarita), midfielder Megan McCashland (Lincoln, Neb./Lincoln Southwest), defender Ginny McGowan (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest), forward Karin Muya (London, England/Burntwood School), goalkeeper Lexi Nicholas (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) and midfielder/defender Katie Uhler (San Antonio, Texas/Saint Mary’s Hall).

  • Notre Dame junior tri-captain Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) and Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) are currently competing for the United States Under-20 Women’s National Team at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada, which began on Aug. 5 and runs through Aug. 24 in Canada. The U.S. U-20 WNT posted a 2-1 record to advance out of Group B and into the tournament quarterfinals. Roccaro (team captain for all three matches) and Naughton have played the full 270 minutes on defense thus far, and the U.S. U-20 WNT will face Korea at 5 p.m. (ET) on Saturday in the knockout stage of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Toronto, Canada.

  • Along with Roccaro and Naughton, senior defender Sammy Scofield (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) will serve as the third Notre Dame captain this season.

Scouting Northwestern
Northwestern returns 24 letterwinners, including seven starters, from its 2013 team that posted a 3-14-2 record (1-10-0 in the Big Ten). Senior forward Katie Landgrebe is the leading returning scorer for the Wildcats after tallying three goals last season.

Last Time Out: Illinois State
Four different goal scorers and a clean effort in net powered Notre Dame to a 4-0 exhibition shutout win over Illinois State on Monday at Alumni Stadium. The No. 16 ranked Fighting Irish improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven exhibition games (5-0-1 at home), and a combined 14-3-3 against college opponents during the preseason since 1999.

Notre Dame held a 26-6 shot advantage over Illinois State for the contest, including a 15-2 edge in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also managed six corner kicks to the two of the visiting Redbirds. Junior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson (Davis, Calif./Davis), senior forward Lauren Bohaboy, sophomore forward Kaleigh Olmsted (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) and junior forward Mary Schwappach (Denver, Colo./Mullen) all tallied goals in the Notre Dame victory.

Freshman goalkeeper Lexi Nicholas made two saves in net to earn the shutout for the Fighting Irish.

Next Up: At Illinois (Aug. 22)
Notre Dame will open the 2014 regular season at Illinois on Aug. 22 at 1 p.m. (ET) at the Illinois Soccer Stadium in Champaign, Ill.

To purchase a season pass or single-match tickets for the 2014 Notre Dame women’s soccer season, call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, or stop by the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office windows during normal business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday). Tickets also can be purchased at Alumni Stadium on match days.

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 ( or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the main page at


— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant