Glory Williams joins returning captains Katie Naughton and Cari Roccaro as Notre Dame tri-captains for the 2015 season

Top Contests Comprise 2015 Irish Women's Soccer Schedule

May 21, 2015

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Six teams that qualified for the 2014 NCAA Championship, and a number of established soccer powers, adorn the 2015 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer schedule. With four matchups against teams that reached the NCAA tournament’s final 16 last season, including both national finalists and the 2014 NCAA champion, the Fighting Irish are set to face a challenging slate during the 2015 season.

Notre Dame’s 2015 schedule, which was officially released on Thursday, includes 11 regular season matches at Alumni Stadium. Marquee home contests include a showdown with defending Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and NCAA champion Florida State, past NCAA champions Santa Clara and Portland, regional foe Michigan and fellow 2014 NCAA Championship qualifiers Virginia Tech and Valparaiso.

The Fighting Irish posted a 14-6-2 (.682) record in 2014, advancing to the third round of the NCAA Championship for the third straight season and 18th time in program history, under first-year head coach Theresa Romagnolo. Notre Dame was one of six ACC teams to qualify for the NCAA Championship field last season, and joined Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and North Carolina as conference members who reached the tournament’s final 16 teams.

“We have an exciting 2015 schedule starting with our nonconference schedule, which will challenge and prepare us for the ACC,” Romagnolo said. “It will be another year where we see some of the best competition in the country in our conference. We will play the 2014 national champion Florida State and national finalist Virginia, and will travel to play North Carolina and Duke over fall break. The regular season will give us the opportunity to play great teams and prepare us for the postseason.

“I’m excited about the returning team and the freshmen we will add, and know they will be excited for the 2015 season and what we can achieve.”

Notre Dame, who finished 2014 ranked 11th in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire and Soccer America Division I women’s soccer top 25 polls, returns 24 veterans and nine regular starters in 2015. NSCAA all-region second team selections Cari Roccaro and Katie Naughton return to the Notre Dame fold as team leaders, and will be joined by classmate Glory Williams as team tri-captains.

“Katie continues to bring consistency, she’s our rock,” Romagnolo said. “She has been a leader at the center back position for so long, and she can help people around her because of her experience at various national team levels. She brings such quality on the ball and the ability to play-make out of the back, and she’s someone you can count on to be a great role model on and off the field.

“Cari is someone who has been very versatile in the program, she’s someone who has moved around and played a ton of positions. She has such a passion for the game, and you can put her anywhere on the field and she’s going to be one of the best players on the field because of the impact she will have. She will give everything that she has, and that passion and quality she brings to the game are things that make people around her better. They elevate their level, because she is someone who will hold people accountable. She wants to win, and she’s going to demand the best from others.

“Glory is stepping into a leadership role for us for the first time. For me Glory is one of those people who is the glue, she’s somebody who brings a high quality. She plays in the center midfield and dictates play for us. She’s extremely competitive, she demands a lot of those around her, and she is able to relate to everyone on and off the field. She can be the glue of this team in terms of on and off field relationships, bringing that positive energy and helping us be successful in everything that we do.”

Notre Dame begins its 2015 schedule with a pair of exhibition games against Iowa State (Aug. 11, noon ET) and Illinois (Aug. 16, 1 p.m. ET) at Alumni Stadium. The Fighting Irish downed Illinois 3-1 in last year’s regular season opener in Champaign, Illinois.

The 2015 regular season slate at Alumni Stadium opens with Notre Dame’s final 2014 home opponent back on campus, as the Fighting Irish and Valparaiso square off on Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. Notre Dame defeated Valparaiso 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA Championship last November, and are 3-0 all-time against the Crusaders. The Fighting Irish finish the opening weekend against Oakland (Aug. 23, 3 p.m.), with Notre Dame owning a 4-0 edge in its all-time series with the Golden Grizzlies.

One of the nation’s preeminent regular season soccer events, the 23rd annual Notre Dame Invitational, will feature three of the most successful programs in NCAA history in August at Alumni Stadium. Joining the host Fighting Irish will be 2001 NCAA champion Santa Clara, 2002 and 2005 NCAA champion Portland and Northwestern in a four-team “classic” field.

Notre Dame, Santa Clara and Portland are three of only 10 different teams to ever claim an NCAA Championship, and have combined for six national titles and 13 total NCAA final appearances in their respective histories. Notre Dame and Santa Clara are scheduled to play on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m., with Santa Clara and Northwestern colliding on Aug. 30 at 11 a.m. Notre Dame and Portland will face one another in the final game of the showcase on Aug. 30 at 1:30 p.m.

Notre Dame embarks on its only nonconference road trip of the season with a pair of games in the state of Michigan. The Fighting Irish travel to Kalamazoo for the first time in program history for a Friday encounter with Western Michigan (Sept. 4, 4 p.m.), closing the weekend in East Lansing against Michigan State (Sept. 6, noon). Notre Dame is a combined 14-2 (.875) against both foes all-time (3-0 Western Michigan, 11-2 Michigan State), and will play in East Lansing for the first time since shutting out Michigan State 4-0 on Sept. 1, 1998.

A two-game homestand follows the next weekend, as Indiana returns to Alumni Stadium for the first time since 2011 on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. Notre Dame is 12-1 (.923) against the Hoosiers all-time, including a perfect 7-0 in home matches. The Fighting Irish and Michigan then square off on Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. in the inaugural appearance for the Wolverines at Alumni Stadium. Notre Dame holds a 13-3-1 (.794) series lead over Michigan, and has earned a decision in five of the last six matches between the teams dating back to a 4-0 Fighting Irish shutout win on Oct. 28, 2004 in Ann Arbor.

The ACC schedule begins for Notre Dame in Clemson, South Carolina, as the Fighting Irish and Tigers meet on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at historic Riggs Field. Notre Dame was victorious in its only prior start at Clemson, claiming a 2-0 decision on Oct. 27, 2013 at Riggs Field.

The Fighting Irish return to Virginia for the third time in program history on Sept. 24, when Notre Dame and the 2015 NCAA runner-up Cavaliers square off inside Klöckner Stadium at 7 p.m. Virginia won a thrilling 2-1 decision thanks to a goal in the final seconds to stop a charging Notre Dame squad last October at Alumni Stadium.

Notre Dame returns home for its featured regular season home matchup with defending ACC and NCAA champion Florida State on Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. The Fighting Irish and Seminoles have only met during the regular season one other time in the seven-game series history between the teams, when Notre Dame traveled to Tallahassee on Oct. 31, 2013.

The only single-game road trip of the season awaits the Fighting Irish the following Friday, as Notre Dame ventures to Coral Gables, Florida to take on Miami Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. Notre Dame is 7-1 (.875) all-time against the Hurricanes, with the teams splitting two prior meetings in Coral Gables.

A season-long, three-match homestand returns Notre Dame to Alumni Stadium on Oct. 8, when the Fighting Irish welcome Syracuse for a 7 p.m. ACC kickoff. Notre Dame is a perfect 11-0 against the Orange all-time, winning two straight matches since both programs joined the ACC from the BIG EAST Conference in 2013. Two off days carry the Fighting Irish into a Sunday matinee with Boston College on Oct. 11 at 1 p.m. Notre Dame is 11-1-1 (.885) against the Eagles all-time, and is 6-0 in home matches versus Boston College.

The homestand closes the following weekend when Wake Forest makes just its second appearance at Alumni Stadium on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. Notre Dame is unbeaten in five prior matches with the Demon Deacons, with the only non-win being a 1-1 draw between the teams on Oct. 3, 2013.

Notre Dame’s final regular season road swing will take the Fighting Irish right into the heart of the ACC, beginning with a return to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. Notre Dame is 5-2 all-time against North Carolina at Fetzer Field, a facility where the Tar Heels have lost only 25 total times since 1979. The Fighting Irish cap the North Carolina excursion by returning to Durham for the first time since 1996 with a 1 p.m. kickoff at Duke on Oct. 25.

Notre Dame and Virginia Tech match up as the 2015 regular season finale at Alumni Stadium, when the Fighting Irish and Hokies collide for just the second time on the Notre Dame campus Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. Notre Dame avenged consecutive losses in Blacksburg by shutting out No. 2 Virginia Tech 2-0 on Sept. 25, 2014, and ultimately won six of its final eight regular season matches last year.

The 2015 ACC Championship, featuring the top four finishers in the regular season ACC standings, will be held Nov. 6 and 8 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. It will be the second straight year that only four teams will take part in the ACC’s postseason tournament.

NCAA Championship first round matches are scheduled to begin Nov. 13 and run through Nov. 15 at campus sites. Second round contests will take place on Nov. 20, with third round matchups to follow at round two campus sites on Nov. 22. The NCAA quarterfinal round features the final matches played at campus sites in 2015, taking place Nov. 27-29.

The 2015 NCAA Women’s College Cup returns to Cary for the seventh time in its history on Dec. 4 and 6 at WakeMed Soccer Park. Notre Dame won two of its three NCAA Championships, 2004 and 2010, during previous College Cups held at the site.

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