Feb. 1, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team celebrated its 2015 season Saturday, gathering at the Warren Golf Course to honor its team and individual accomplishments.
The Fighting Irish commemorated a 23rd straight NCAA Championship appearance, a third-team All-American, three all-region selections, a pair of Academic All-Americans and four all-conference honorees, while three student-athletes took home team honors at the annual banquet ceremony.
Forward Natalie Jacobs earned Notre Dame’s Freshman of the Year award, senior tri-captain Glory Williams received the Elizabeth Tucker (’14) Award and senior Anna Maria Gilbertson was selected as the team’s most valuable player.
Jacobs, named to the All-ACC Freshman Team following a productive rookie campaign, started 15 of 20 games for the Irish this season and registering four goals, five assists and 52 shots. Following the Irish season, Jacobs helped lead the U-20 U.S. Women’s National Team to the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship and a bid to the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Her performance led to her inclusion on the CONCACAF Best XI team and an invitation to the U-20 training camp ahead of the World Cup.
Williams enjoyed her first season as a captain in 2016 and exemplified leadership for the Irish. Though limited to just 12 games after suffering a pair of concussions, Williams provided a steady and active presence in the Irish midfield and scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner against Santa Clara on August 28. The Elizabeth Tucker Award commemorates Notre Dame’s first NCAA Woman of the Year and is a reflection of the five pillars upon which the University of Notre Dame athletics department is built: excellence, education, faith, community and tradition. The award is given to the student-athlete whom the coaching staff believes best demonstrates those qualities across the board.
Gilbertson turned in a breakout year for the Irish, becoming an offensive force and recording career highs in shots (110), goals (13), assists (3) and points (29). Her 110 shots led the ACC, and her 13 goals bested her previous career high by eight. Her six game-winning goals were also a career best. For her efforts, Gilbertson was named to the All-ACC Second Team, as well as the NSCAA All-Southeast Region Second Team.
The team also honored its six seniors, Gilbertson, Katie Naughton, Cari Roccaro, Mary Schwappach, Brittany Von Rueden and Williams. The group put together a 57-25-6 record during their time at Notre Dame, and Naughton and Roccaro will continue their careers at the professional level after being selected in last month’s National Women’s Soccer League College Draft. Roccaro went fifth overall to the Houston Dash, while Naughton was the 19th overall selection by the Chicago Red Stars.
“This was a special group,” Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “What set this 2015 team apart was our talent, cohesion, defensive mentality and the senior group. Through our body of work we showed that we could beat anyone. We played with a tremendous passion to defend and displayed a selfless attack on the offensive end. The seniors each brought different qualities that were equally valuable in creating the strong chemistry we had. They wanted to be successful and their passion for the team always came first.”
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.