Oct. 20, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Strong play in matches away from Alumni Stadium this season has become a signature of sorts for the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team. After all the Fighting Irish are an unbeaten 6-0-1 in road contests thus far in 2014 following a 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference win at Syracuse on Saturday night, and remain one of just two teams in the ACC who have yet to lose on an opponent’s home field (No. 2 Florida State is 6-0).
The fashion in which No. 13/11 Notre Dame (10-4-1, 5-2 ACC) has strung together its traveling unbeaten streak has been all the more impressive. The Fighting Irish are outscoring opponents 12-1 in road matches, including a perfect 7-0 in the second half, and have not conceded a goal to a host team in more than 628 minutes of play dating back to the regular season opener at Illinois on Aug. 22.
Success in the win column away from home throughout the year, according to Notre Dame head coach Theresa Romagnolo, has begun with solid play in the defensive end.
“The back four and Kaela Little have all done a tremendous job,” Romagnolo said. “Katie Naughton and Scof (Sammy Scofield) have really set the tone, and they are doing a great job right now of starting the attack for us. I think that’s a big part of the success that we’re having in our attack.”
That attack Romagnolo referred to has been the Notre Dame dominance on offense during the team’s current three-game winning streak. Notre Dame has cleared the 30-shot plateau in each of the last three games, outshooting opponents by a combined 93-13 count. A pair of 2-0 wins at Syracuse and Pittsburgh (Oct. 9), as well as a 5-0 rout of Miami at Alumni Stadium (Oct. 12), has the Fighting Irish in a great position in the upper half of the ACC standings entering the final two weeks of the 2014 regular season.
“I think we’re showing a very strong mentality right now, stepping on the field and getting the job done,” Romagnolo said. “That’s something we’ve talked about, and we’ve seen it after consecutive games. There is a lot of belief to be taken away from that.”
One of the catalysts in the past four games, kick started during a heartbreaking 2-1 loss at the hands of No. 4/5 Virginia on Oct. 5, has been the play of junior midfielder/tri-captain Cari Roccaro. Roccaro has scored her first two goals of the season over her past 340 minutes of play, tallying the tying strike in the 84th minute against Virginia before notching the game-winner in the 69th minute on Saturday at Syracuse.
Looking to play a more aggressive role from her midfield position, the East Islip, New York native has attempted 10 of her 14 total shots this season over her last four starts.
“After the Virginia game I decided I was going to attack more and look to turn, instead of playing the ball back and being conservative,” Roccaro said. “I’ve really been focusing on that, and I watched film with Theresa to try to make that part of my game.
“I think the whole team has been improving because we’ve been going at players, and I’ve been able to slip players in and go forward more to get two goals,” Roccaro added. “That’s something I’ve been working on, and it shows that it’s been paying off.”
Notre Dame returns to Alumni Stadium on Oct. 23 to host Clemson at 7 p.m. (ET) in a home ACC contest. The match will be streamed live on WatchND (WatchND.tv). Notre Dame shut out Clemson 2-0 in the only prior meeting between the teams on Oct. 27, 2013.
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.
— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant