Aug. 25, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team goes on the road for the first time this season when they head to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a primetime match-up this evening with Michigan, which will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
WHAT: Match 3
WHO: No. 12 Notre Dame (2-0-0) vs. Michigan (1-0-1)
WHERE: U-M Soccer Stadium – Ann Arbor, Mich.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. (ET) – August 25, 2016
TV: Big Ten Network | BTN2Go
Michigan is 1-0-1 entering Thursday’s contest, drawing Pittsburgh 2-2 in the season opener and defeating Marshall 4-1 on Sunday.
So far this season, the Wolverines have been led in scoring by Ani Sarkisian and Nicky Waldeck with five points each. The pair, who along with Reilly Martin were named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors list, have tallied two goals and an assist through two games this season. Martin has tallied one goal and one assist through two games. Goalkeepers Megan Hinz and Sarah Jackson have split time, with Hinz tallying 110 minutes in Michigan’s two-overtime affair with Pitt, registering a 1.64 goals against average and three saves. Jackson played all 90 minutes against Marshall with two saves and a 1.00 goals against average.
The Last Time They Met
The Irish will look to win their second in a row against the Wolverines, against whom they own a 14-3-1 all-time series edge. Notre Dame defeated Michigan 2-0 last season on goals by then-freshman Natalie Jacobs and senior Anna Maria Gilbertson. Both goals came in the first half, with Jacobs scoring on a rebound off the Michigan keeper and Gilbertson threading a left-footed shot between a pair of defenders into the near post.
Notre Dame holds a 5-1 edge over Michigan in games played in Ann Arbor. The Irish won the first five road meetings with the Wolverines until November 24, 2013, when they fell 1-0 in the third round of the NCAA Championship. The Irish also own a 13-2 scoring edge over the Wolverines in games played at Michigan.
Last Time Out
The Irish got off to a stellar start defeating Wright State 3-0 in a cohesive season opener and upending Wisconsin 1-0 in a defensive battle.
Freshman forward Jennifer Westendorf was excellent in her collegiate debut, scoring two of Notre Dame’s three goals in Friday’s season opener. Her first goal came off a beautiful give-and-go with senior forward Kaleigh Olmsted, while the second split the defense from three yards on a volley from Olmsted. Junior midfielder Taylor Klawunder shut the door with Notre Dame’s third goal off a rebound as the Irish attacked the net with 30 shots on the night.
The Irish struggled to find an offensive rhythm against Wisconsin, but broke through in the first half as junior forward Karin Muya got behind the Badgers’ defense and saw her cross attempt to Westendorf deflected off a sliding Wisconsin defender and into the net for an own goal. The Badgers came out in the second half and attacked the Irish goal with five SOG, but senior goalkeeper Kaela Little was equal to the task, tallying seven total saves on the afternoon. Additionally, the Irish defense was active in disrupting shots and clearing out dangerous balls.
At No. 12, the Irish are one of seven Atlantic Coast Conference teams to appear in the final regular season NSCAA Division I Women’s Soccer poll, along with No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 Duke, No. 4 Virginia, No. 8 Clemson, No. 9 North Carolina, and No. 18 Virginia Tech. All of those teams earned seeds in the 2015 NCAA Championship, while Boston College (receiving votes) also earned a bid to round out ACC representation.
— 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.