Oct. 8, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the sixth time this season, the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team recorded a Sunday victory, this time coming in 2-0 shutout fashion against Syracuse at Alumni Stadium.
With the victory, the Irish (7-4-3, 3-2-1) improve to 13-0-1 all-time against the Orange (6-5-2, 1-3-1), including a 7-0 mark at home.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã…Â¡Â½️ HIGHLIGHTS ÃƒÂ¢Ã…Â¡Â½️
Check out the top moments of today’s 2-0 shutout win! pic.twitter.com/C0lCp9UTyu
– ND Women’s Soccer (@NDSoccer) October 8, 2017
How It Happened
Notre Dame opened the match with a methodical game of possession, utilizing starter and freshman Kate O’Connor as a connector in the midfield. The Irish strung together long sequences of short passes, working with juniors Rachel Heard, Natalie Ward and Shannon Hendricks to control possession and generate offense.
Midway through the first half, the Irish led the Orange 6-3 in shots. They had notable opportunities in the box but struggled to get off quality shots on goal in the first 25 minutes.
Graduate student Sandra Yu and sophomore Natalie Jacobs each had several chances offensively, but Notre Dame went into halftime in a scoreless tie for the seventh time in 14 matches this season. Yu’s hustle helped her to four first-half shots, which led the team in the period.
Jacobs and senior Meghan Doyle began the second half in the forward position for the Irish, leading an attack that dominated in the period’s opening minutes. O’Connor took arguably the strongest shot on goal of the match in the 49th minute, and Jacobs followed that with a shot on goal on a free kick outside of the box in the 55th minute.
Syracuse goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan collected three saves in the first 15 minutes of the half, limiting the Irish offensively.
Notre Dame’s offense executed a balanced attack and responded to Syracuse’s strong defense with even more aggressive play later in the half. Yu got things started in the 68th minute, when Jacobs sent a low cross through the box that hit the foot of senior Kaitlin Klawunder and was sent into the back right corner of the goal by sophomore Jennifer Westendorf. Westendorf’s goal gave the Irish a 1-0 lead and marked her sixth of the season, equaling a single-season career high.
Just 20 minutes later, Jacobs capitalized on a through ball from O’Connor, giving the Irish an insurance goal and a 2-0 lead. The goal gives Jacobs a team-high 21 points on nine goals and three assists. O’Connor’s assist served as the first point of her young career.
Brosnan remained active for the duration of the match as Notre Dame outshot Syracuse 28-5 in the game. Two goals would be enough as the Irish ultimately secured the 2-0 victory, improving to 7-1 in games decided by two-plus goals.
Note of the Match
Notre Dame owns a 6-0 record on Sunday in 2017. All six of Notre Dame’s Sunday victories have come in the afternoon, four of which were at home (Ball St., Santa Clara, NC State and Syracuse) and two of which were on the road (at Iowa and at Toledo).
Coach Romagnolo Said…
On what sparked the offense in the second half…
“We were making better decisions on where to play. They’re only playing three in the back, and they’re sending good numbers forward to press, so I thought in the first half we kept playing in the back and allowing them to step with their three. In the second half, we started being more direct and getting the ball to our forwards, and our forwards hold it for us and play off of it. Once we did that, we were able to get up the field as a group and we were able to play in their half.”
On Sandra Yu’s ability to create plays for her teammates…
“I thought everybody did well today. We played a lot of different people in different positions. Sandra Yu’s ability to open up defenses by just dribbling at them is incredible. We had her at the midfield, and just dribbling out of the midfield, it’s hard to pick her up.”
- Notre Dame recorded its sixth shutout of the season and is now 5-0-1 in games in which it limits the opponent to no goals.
- The Irish are 4-3-1 at home this season and 32-9-2 over the last three-plus seasons.
- Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 20-8 in the second half this season.
- The Irish are 7-1 in games decided by two-plus goals.
- Sophomore Jennifer Westendorf tied a single-season career high with her sixth goal of the season.
- Freshman Kate O’Connor’s assist in the 88th minute marked her first career point in an Irish uniform.
Coming Up Next
Notre Dame returns to action for Senior Night at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 14, when the Irish face Virginia Tech in their final regular-season home match. The game will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.