NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The Notre Dame women’s soccer team opens the 2019 season with a two-game homestand at Alumni Stadium against Saint Louis and Northwestern. Head coach Nate Norman enters his second season with the Irish and brings back 21 players from last year’s team to go along with nine freshmen and a graduate transfer to complete his 2019 team.
Dawn of a New Network
- The 2019 Notre Dame women’s soccer season begins with the launch of the new ACC Network on Thursday, August 22.
- The Irish will be one of seven ACC teams to play Thursday night and the network will have wrap around coverage, tuning in to a little bit of each game as part of the network launch night.
- With the new network comes changes to how you have watched Irish soccer in previous seasons.
- For the 2019 season and beyond, you will need to have your cable or streaming provider carry the ACC Network to watch all ACCN games along with ACC Network Extra games.
- For instance, Thursday night’s season opener against Saint Louis is on the ACC Network Extra which is available through WatchESPN.
- To access the game, you will need to enter your cable or streaming login information and if your provider has the network, you will be able to watch the game.
- If your provider does not carry the ACC Network, you will not have access to any ACCN or ACCNX broadcasts.
- For more information, click here or visit getaccn.com for more info.
Experienced Back Line
- The Notre Dame defense will be one of its strengths due to the amount of experience that returns for the 2019 season.
- The Irish will have two graduate students (Shannon Hendricks and Autumn Smithers) on the back line along with junior Jenna Winebrenner and sophomore Brianna Martinez.
- Out of a possible 76 games last season, the four defenders started 72 games during the 2018 season.
- Hendricks started every game for the Irish for the second straight season and was second among defenders with 1,368 minutes.
- Smithers comes to the Irish from San Francisco where she started all 20 games for the Dons last season.
- Smithers earned All-WCC second team honors along with All-West Region accolades from the United Soccer Coaches.
- Smithers logged a team-high 1,793 minutes and had a career best four goals, two of which were game winners.
- Martinez dazzled in her freshman season with the Irish with 16 starts in 17 games and the only game missed was due to illness.
- Martinez was one of two freshmen to start 10+ games last season and she played all 90 minutes seven times.
- After the season, Martinez played with the U-20 Women’s National Team at the Nike International Friendlies and the La Manga Tournament in Spain.
- Winebrenner had a breakout campaign in her sophomore season, playing in all 18 games and started the last 16 games of the season.
- She was third among defenders with 1,357 minutes and played all 90 minutes nine times.
Fisher and Hurm to Lead Offensive Attack
- Following strong sophomore campaigns in 2018, juniors Sammi Fisher and Eva Hurm return as the team’s top attack options.
- Fisher started 16 games for the Irish last season and set career highs in goals (4), assists (2), points (10) and minutes played (1,145).
- Fisher is the leading goal scorer returning for the Irish and had her second career multi-goal game when she tallied both scores in the 2-0 win on the road last season against Pitt.
- Fisher was instrumental in the comeback win over Cincinnati and she tallied the assist on Karin Muya’s game-winning goal in the 72nd minute.
- Hurm also started 16 games last season and set career highs in goals (3), points (8) and minutes (1,187).
- Hurm got off to a fast start in the 2018 season, scoring the first goal for the Irish in the home opener and finished with her first career brace in the 3-1 win over Central Michigan.
- Hurm tallied the assist on Jen Westendorf’s game-winning goal in the 2-1 home win over No. 21 NC State.
- Both Hurm and Fisher scored in the 5-1 road win over Syracuse. It was the highest scoring output of the season for the Irish and the most goals they have scored in an ACC road game in school history.
Duo of Littman and Interian Return in Net
- In 2018, the Irish saw sound production from both Brooke Littman and Mattie Interian in goal.
- Littman played in 11 games and led the keepers in minutes played with 926:05.
- She played all 91 minutes in the 1-0 overtime shutout win over Stony Brook and made a season-high five saves in the opening win against Central Michigan.
- Littman allowed one goal or less in five of her 10 starts and the Irish were a perfect 5–0 in those games.
- Interian had eight starts for the Irish in her first collegiate season and led the team in saves with 35 and a 1.68 goals against average.
- She started for two of the three shutouts the Irish recorded in 2018 and both were on the road in ACC play. The first came in a 1-0 win at Wake Forest and the second was a 2-0 win at Pitt.
Youth Infusion for 2019
- In Nate Norman’s second season at the helm of the Fighting Irish, another strong class of freshmen will be joining the ranks in 2019.
- The Irish welcome nine freshmen to the team that has routinely had strong production from their incoming class in their first year on campus.
- The 2019 freshman class is highly touted with a number of players earning top marks during their high school careers.
- Kiki Van Zanten competed on the U17 Women’s National team, was a United Coaches Association All-American and United Soccer Coaches High School Scholar All-America.
- Maddie Mercado was a two-time United Soccer Coaches All-American and was a member of the U14-U17 US Youth National Team.
- Elizabeth Franklin was a two-time All-State selection, won the Washington State Championship at 2015 and participated in the 2018 High School All-American Game in Orlando, Fla.
- Erin Hohnstein participated in the US National team pool and camps for U14, U16, U17 and U19, played in the ECNL National Finals twice and ECNL National Championship once.
- Kati Druzina played in the WPSL for the Cleveland Ambassadors, guided her high school to their first state finals in school history and was named the News Herald Player of the Year in 2017.
- Waniya Hudson was named to the All-American player to watch team, two-time All-State selection and participated with fellow freshman Elizabeth Franklin in the 2018 High School All-American Game.