NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Freshman attacker Natalie Jacobs buried the game-winner in the first half and junior forward Kaleigh Olmsted added an insurance goal in the 64th minute as the No. 13/4 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team defeated Indiana 2-0 Friday at Alumni Stadium.
Despite a slow first half for the Irish (6-0-1) in which they managed just seven shots and allowed the Hoosiers (3-3-1) to poke away possessions with off-target passes, Notre Dame was able to control the tempo of the contest and keep Indiana from threatening. The Irish saw better ball movement in the second half and dominated to put the match out of reach.
As has been the case all season, Notre Dame outshot Indiana 18-3, including 9-2 in shots on goal, and owned a 5-1 advantage on corner kicks. Two of the Hoosiers’ shots came in the last 90 seconds of regulation.
“We started moving the ball [in the second half],” Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “We just started creating opportunities for ourselves and people are open when you actually connect some passes. … The first half was just one taking on the whole team, but it was a team effort in the second half.”
As the ball ping-ponged between fields in the first half Friday, the Irish seized an opportunity in the 22nd minute when senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson sent a cross from the right side to a centering Jacobs at the top of the box. The freshman successfully evaded her defender and buried her shot into the top left corner from near the 18-yard mark for her third goal of the season.
“It was a great goal,” Romagnolo said. “She took it really well, great volley. It was a fantastic finish.”
The Hoosiers were able to disrupt the Irish offense at times during the first half, but found their own offensive efforts thwarted by the Irish defense. Indiana only truly threatened once in the period, when Kayleigh Steigerwalt took possession at the top of the goalie area in the 31st minute, but the scoring chance was squelched by Cari Roccaro, who cleared it away to send the Hoosiers back on defense.
As the second 45 minutes began, the Irish emerged from the locker room crisper and were able to keep Indiana out of its offensive zone for nearly the entirety of the half. Notre Dame took six shots on goal in the half, including a three-shot sequence which ended in Olmsted’s tally.
After Gilbertson put a shot on goal in the 61st minute that was saved by Indiana keeper Sarah Stone, Olmsted took a cross from her senior teammate but was unable to unload before it was cleared in front of the net in the 62nd minute. The Irish managed to hang around the zone after a corner kick opportunity, and sophomore midfielder Sabrina Flores corralled a loose ball and sent it in for Olmsted to finally bury from the right side in the 64th minute.
“Sabrina did really well to create that, and the quality of the pass to keep it on the floor [was great],” Romagnolo said. “Kaleigh was a great finish. She stayed on top of it and kept it low.”
Making her first start of the season, junior goalkeeper Kaela Little played all 90 minutes for the Irish, but wasn’t tested until the final minutes when Steigerwalt fired a pair of shots that sent Little for diving stops. They were the only two saves of the night for the Irish, and were a season high.
The Irish return to action at 5 p.m. ET Sunday when they host Michigan (5-2-0) at Alumni Stadium to close out the nonconference schedule, and the match will be streamed live on ESPN3. The Wolverines defeated Central Michigan 3-1 on Thursday.
“Michigan’s a great team,” Romagnolo said. “They’re physical; they’re tough; they’re organized defensively. Again, we’re going to have to play our game to move them around to create openings. We have to do that against everybody. We have to read the game, find spaces that open up and be aggressive when we have the space to attack, but aggressive as a team, not as an individual.”
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#13/4 Notre Dame 2, Indiana 0
Sept. 11, 2015
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
Indiana 0 0 — 0
Notre Dame 1 1 — 2
Total Shots: ND 18 (7-11), IU 3 (1-2)
Shots on Goal: ND 9 (3-6), IU 2 (0-2)
Saves: ND 2 (Kaela Little 2 in 90:00), IU 7 (Sarah Stone 7 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: ND 5 (3-2), IU 1 (1-0)
Fouls: ND 5, IU 9
Offsides: ND 1, IU 0
Yellow Cards: ND 1 (Ginny McGowan, 33:07), IU 1 (Annelie Leitner, 28:29)
Records: ND 6-0-1, IU 3-3-1
Next for ND: vs. Michigan at 5 p.m. ET Sunday at Alumni Stadium
— Joanne Norell, Athletics Communications Assistant