Feb. 7, 2017
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Atlantic Coast Conference announced its Women’s Soccer All-Academic Team on Tuesday, with seven University of Notre Dame student-athletes represented among the team of 50.
Freshman Jennifer Westendorf; juniors Monica Flores, Taylor Klawunder and Ginny McGowan; and seniors Kaela Little, Kaleigh Olmsted and Sandra Yu were all named to the All-Academic Team for the first time. Notre Dame’s seven selections led the league along with Duke, which also had seven named to the squad.
It is the second academic honor of the season for Flores, Klawunder, McGowan, Olmsted and Yu, who were also named to NSCAA Scholar All-North/Central Region teams.
Westendorf made an immediate impact for the Irish as a freshman, leading the team in scoring with six goals and an assist for 13 points. She was an All-ACC Second Team pick, as well as an All-Freshman Team honoree, and earned ACC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors on October 18 after lifting the Irish to their first win over North Carolina on their home field. Westendorf is enrolled in the First Year of Studies program.
Flores earned All-Academic Team honors after a season in which she split time between outside back and the midfield, starting in 14 contests before departing to compete with Mexico at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Flores is a pre-professional studies major with a 3.75 GPA.
Klawunder made 20 starts in 21 games for the Irish, clocking 1,826 minutes and scoring two goals and one assist on the season. For her efforts, she was named to the All-ACC Third Team, as well as the NSCAA All-Southeast Region Third Team. Klawunder is a finance major in the Mendoza College of Business and boasts a 3.97 GPA.
McGowan helped anchor a stout Irish back line that played a big role in Notre Dame’s 0.43 team goals against average in 2016. In her first full season as a starter, McGowan played in 97 percent of the team’s total minutes (1,949 of 2,004) and started all 21 games. She owns a 3.49 GPA as a marketing major.
Little, who was an All-ACC Third Team selection, capped her career with her best season to date, earning career highs in goals against average (0.41), saves (91), save percentage (.910) and solo shutouts (13). She ranked first in the conference in save percentage and shutouts, second in goals against average and fourth in saves. She finished her career ranked first in program history in solo shutouts (38) and save percentage (.838), third in minutes (7,249:45) and goalkeeper starts (78) and fourth in goals against average (0.66). She will graduate with a degree in Information Technology Management in the Mendoza College of Business.
Olmsted capped her solid Notre Dame career with a four-goal, five-assist senior campaign and was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference First Team and the ACC All-Tournament Team. A native of The Woodlands, Texas, Olmsted will graduate with degrees in pre-medicine and art and boasts a 3.61 grade point average.
Yu was also an All-ACC pick, copping third team honors alongside Klawunder. A dynamic presence in the midfield, she has started in all 41 games of her career, including 21 games this season. In 2016, she scored a pair of goals and could be found sliding into the forward position to provide an offensive spark. Yu owns a 3.44 GPA as a science-business major.
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.