Sept. 12, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Momentum. It is often hard to measure, hard to change, hard to stop. For the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team, the momentum is continuing to build, with its trajectory aimed straight ahead.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley) logged her third consecutive shutout, and a timely goal from junior defender/tri-captain Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) with 1:36 remaining in the first half powered No. 19/13 Notre Dame to a 1-0 win over Baylor on Friday night in front of 1,138 fans at Alumni Stadium.
The Fighting Irish (4-2-1) earned their third straight result (2-0-1 in the past three games), extending the current team shutout string to 354:03 dating back to a 2-1 loss against USC on Aug. 31. Notre Dame held a 10-8 edge in total shots over Baylor, while shots on goal were even at 5-5. Notre Dame also enjoyed a 7-1 margin on corner kicks.
“The team carried the momentum they built last weekend into tonight, and defensively we were very solid,” Fighting Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “I thought we also created a lot of offensive opportunities for ourselves, which is something we are trying to improve on. We just need to continue to create chances, and eventually we will start scoring more goals.”
Despite the relatively even shot count at game’s end, Notre Dame held possession in the Baylor (5-2) third of the field for long stretches in the match. The Fighting Irish front line contributed a number of skillful dribbles to go along with crucial runs in space without the ball, helping to open avenues for scoring opportunities.
“We’ve definitely been talking about being a little more mobile up front, but also reading what’s on,” Romagnolo said. “Today you saw a lot of space in behind, and we were able to see it and actually play into it. Some players were able to get 1V1 and get crosses off. That was a big part of our attack tonight.”
Appearing in just her second game this season, junior forward Mary Schwappach (Denver, Colo./Mullen) helped create the Notre Dame goal on a hard run down the left side that was forced out over the end line, earning a corner. Freshman defender Sabrina Flores (Livingston, N.J./Livingston) picked up her second career assist on an arcing service that Naughton headed past Baylor goalkeeper Michelle Kloss at 43:24 for the match’s only goal.
The tally for Naughton tied her for the Notre Dame team lead in goals this season (3), with all three scores coming off set-piece headers. Naughton has registered the game-winning goal on two of her three converted headers in 2014, with the first sewing up a win on opening day at Illinois Aug. 22.
“Katie’s a giant,” Romagnolo said. “She does a tremendous job not just being big, but timing her run and being in the right place at the right time.”
Notre Dame had a chance to double the margin in the 69th minute, when freshman forward Katie Uhler (San Antonio, Texas/Saint Mary’s Hall) was taken down in the box moments after coming on as a substitute to earn a penalty kick. Schwappach’s try from the spot hit the underside of the crossbar and was ruled not to have crossed the goal line before the Baylor defense recovered and cleared the ball from the box.
Both Schwappach and Uhler, along with freshman defender Ginny McGowan (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest), logged key reserve minutes for the Fighting Irish throughout the night. The ability to rely on the bench paid off in keeping the Notre Dame lineup fresh, something Romagnolo attributed to the team’s numbers at every position across the field.
“We have a very deep roster, and I tell the team all the time that everyone has got to be ready if they are coming off the bench to make an impact,” Romagnolo said. “Ginny had a great game, Katie (Uhler) came in and had some big minutes for us. We have a lot of talent and on any given day, different people can step up.”
The Fighting Irish nearly struck on a set piece less than eight minutes into the first half, as junior defender Brittany Von Rueden (Mequon, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) gathered a loose ball off a corner and sent a chip ahead to sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H./Milford). Andrews’ volley from eight yards out carried just over the crossbar and out of play on the first Fighting Irish scoring chance of the match.
Andrews had another opportunity in the 17th minute, which began after Naughton sent a long pass up the right side to freshman forward Karin Muya (London, England/Burntwood School). Muya dropped the ball to midfielder Taylor Klawunder (Coto de Caza, Calif./Santa Margarita), whose cross found Andrews out to the left, but Kloss saved the curling shot headed toward the right post.
Baylor logged its first shot of the contest in the 18th minute when midfielder Justine Hovden secured possession just inside the midfield stripe and pushed into Notre Dame territory, but her attempt from 35 yards out rolled to Little for an easy save.
A cross from sophomore forward Kaleigh Olmsted (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) from the right wing found its way to Andrews at the top left of the six-yard box in the 30th minute, but Kloss was able to clear the shot out of play to force a Notre Dame corner. The Fighting Irish were unable to find a clean touch off the ensuing service, enabling the Bears to clear the zone.
Baylor had its best chance at the equalizer in the 52nd minute. Defender Katie Daigle fired a deep cross from the right end line to a wide-open Precious Akanyirige, who had slipped in unmarked behind the Notre Dame defense. Akanyirige managed to head the ball toward the net, but the attempt skimmed over the bar and out of play to stymie the Bear threat.
Little made five saves, including three in the second half when Notre Dame was protecting its lead, to claim her career-best third consecutive solo clean sheet. Little has not allowed a goal in 334:44 of game play, dating back to the second half against Texas Tech on Aug. 29. Kloss started in goal for the Bears and made three saves before giving way at halftime to Sara Martinson, who was credited with two stops in the second frame.
Notre Dame closes out the non-conference portion of its schedule at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, playing host to Toledo at Alumni Stadium. The match will be streamed live on WatchND.tv, and will also be available through the WatchND app.
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, UND.com/tickets 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 (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.
#19/13 Notre Dame 1, Baylor 0
Sept. 12, 2014
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
Notre Dame 1 0 – 1
Baylor 0 0 – 0
Total Shots: BU 8 (2-6), ND 10 (7-3)
Shots on Goal: BU 5 (3-2), ND 6 (3-3)
Saves: BU 5 (Michelle Kloss 3 in 45:00; Sara Martinson 2 in 45:00), ND 5 (Kaela Little 5 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: BU 1 (1-0), ND 7 (4-3)
Fouls: BU 13 (7-6), ND 7 (3-4)
Offsides: BU 0, ND 0
Records: BU 5-2-0, ND 4-2-1
Next for ND: Vs. Toledo, 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday at Alumni Stadium, WatchND.tv
— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant