Aug. 19, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team went off and running Friday in its season opener at Alumni Stadium, defeating Wright State 3-0 in an energetic and cohesive win.
Freshman forward Jennifer Westendorf tallied the first two official goals of her Irish career, lifting her team to a 2-0 lead by early in the second half. She buried a give-and-go into the right post from senior forward Kaleigh Olmsted in the 14th minute, then later sunk a volley off another Olmsted feed into the box less than two minutes into the second half.
Junior midfielder Taylor Klawunder closed the door with a rebound goal in the 69th minute to give the Irish insurance.
Player of the Game
Freshman Jennifer Westendorf brought the offensive firepower she was advertised to possess, scoring her first and second career goals to lead the Irish offense. In addition to finding the back of the net, Westendorf led the Irish with seven shots, including three on frame, in 63 minutes.
Said Westendorf: “It’s really exciting. I’ve been waiting these three weeks (while at training camp with the Brazil U-20 Women’s National Team) to get back with my team, so being here and being able to (score two goals) made me really happy.
Honorable mention: Senior Kaleigh Olmsted provided a fantastic foil for Westendorf, assisting on both of the freshman’s goals and finding connections with her offensive counterpart all night. Olmsted was also Notre Dame’s second-leading shooter, tallying five shots and three on goal.
Play of the Game
In terms of pure beauty, this honor goes to Westendorf’s second goal of the night. Olmsted carried the ball down the left sideline to get by the Raider defender dishing a sharp cross in front of the net for Westendorf, who slipped between three defenders for position. The Irish rookie buried the score off the volley to evade Raider goalkeeper Katie Ruff.
The Irish controlled play from the outset, but the game’s opening goal ignited the Irish, who from there found a rhythm on both sides of the ball. The Irish took advantage of a Wright State miscue that resulted in a throw-in for the home team. Westendorf took the inbound pass from sophomore defender Natalie Ward and dropped it off to Olmsted, who headed it forward for a streaking Westendorf on the give-and-go. After a few dribbles, the freshman launched her shot from just outside the penalty area, slipping it by Ruff on the right post.
Coach Theresa Romagnolo Says
On the team’s mentality…
“I thought we found a rhythm tonight. We started moving the ball well together; I thought we moved well off the ball; I thought we made good decisions on the ball, nice runs. We brought a great attacking mentality to the game and we were organized defensively. Overall I just loved the competitive mentality we brought to the game.”
On Westendorf’s play…
“It was awesome in her first game to come out like that and score such quality goals. She had such quality finishes and made them look easy. She’s such a dangerous player in front of the goal and creating her shot. I was really excited to see her come out in her first game and really make a statement.”
Note of the Game
Notre Dame holds a 25-3-1 (.875) record in season openers, including a 15-1-1 (.912) record on the road. In addition, the Fighting Irish have carried a 15-2-1 (.853) mark in season openers since 1999, outscoring the opposition by a 81-11 margin in those 18 matches (31-4 in the past 11 matches).
#13 Notre Dame 3, Wright State 0
August 19, 2016
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
Wright State 0 0 — 0
Notre Dame 0 3 — 3
Total Shots: ND 30 (17-13), WSU 5 (1-4)
Shots on Goal: ND 11, WSU 3
Saves: ND 3 (Kaela Little 3 in 90:00), WSU 8 (Katie Ruff 8 in 90:00)
Corner Kicks: ND 6 (4-2), WSU 1 (1-0)
Offsides: ND 0, WSU 0
Records: ND 1-0-0; WSU 0-1-0
Next for ND: vs. Wisconsin, 3 p.m. ET Sunday at Alumni Stadium
— ND —
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director 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, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, and earned her master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.