Sept. 11, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team will face its toughest test of the season Sunday when it concludes its trip to the West Coast against No. 2 Stanford at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
WHAT: Match 8
WHO: No. 20 Notre Dame (5-1-1) vs. No. 2 Stanford (6-0-0)
WHERE: Laird Q. Cagan Stadium | Stanford, Calif.
WHEN: 2:00 p.m. (ET) – Sept. 11, 2016
TELEVISION: Pac-12 Network
STATS: Live Stats
Second-ranked Stanford is 6-0-0, coming off a 4-1 victory over No. 10 Minnesota on Friday evening. The Cardinal have also beaten then-No. 6 (current No. 5) Florida on August 26.
The Cardinal boast five players with at least two goals, led by Jordan DiBiasi (four goals, six points). Andi Sullivan scored two goals against Minnesota on Friday to run her season goal total to three to go along with three assists for nine points. Megan Turner, Michelle Xiao and Kyra Carusa each have two goals on the season,
Jane Campbell has started all six games in goal for the Cardinal, boasting a 0.53 goals against average with 10 saves and an .769 save percentage. In addition to being ranked No. 2 by the NSCAA, Stanford is ranked No. 1 by both TopDrawerSoccer and Soccer America.
Last Time Out
The Irish opened the weekend at Santa Clara, locking the Broncos in a defensive battle that ended in a 0-0 draw in double overtime. The Irish outshot the Broncos 12-8 and owned a 9-3 edge in corner kicks. Senior goalkeeper Kaela Little tallied six saves in her sixth combined shutout (fifth solo shutout) of the season.
The Last Time They Met
The Irish last met Stanford in 2014 when the No. 25 Irish battled the No. 4 Cardinal to a scoreless draw. It was Notre Dame’s first decision ever at Stanford in its fourth all-time trip to Cagan Stadium. The Cardinal outshot the Irish 14-8 and had a 6-4 edge in shots on goal, but Kaela Little, then a sophomore, tallied six saves. The Irish lead the Cardinal 7-6- 1 in the all-time series.
Against The Best
Stanford comes in at No. 1 in two national polls this week, giving the Irish their second matchup against a top-ranked opponent in as many seasons. The Irish last faced No. 1 last season when they went into Charlottesville, Virginia and knocked off the top-ranked Cavaliers 2-1 in double overtime.
The Irish are 35-32-5 in all-time matches against top-5 opponents. In two seasons under head coach Theresa Romagnolo, Notre Dame is 3-3-1, including a 2-1-0 record in 2015.
At No. 20, 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. 3 Virginia, No. 6 Duke, No. 8 North Carolina, No. 13 Clemson 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.
Individually, freshman forward Jennifer Westendorf ranks among the top five in the ACC in shots (3rd, 32 shots) and shots per game (3rd, 4.57/gm). Westendorf is also tied for second in the conference in game-winning goals with two, and 10th in total goals with 3. Senior goalkeeper Kaela Little comes in at second in the conference in saves (29), saves per game (4.14) and save percentage (0.935), and third in goals against average (0.28). Little also comes in tied for first in the conference in shutouts (five) and shutouts per game (0.71).
— 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.