Aug. 23, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team looks to ride the momentum from its season opening win over Valparaiso on Friday as the No. 9/8 Fighting Irish welcome Toledo (1-0-0) to Alumni Stadium to close out the opening weekend on Sunday.
Here are the five things you need to know for when the Irish take on the Rockets:
SCOUTING TOLEDO: Toledo will come into Sunday’s matinee after opening its own season on Friday with a 3-2 win over Detroit in double overtime. The Rockets found themselves down 2-0 to the Titans in Friday’s contest, but roared back to force the extra session and captured the game after sophomore midfielder Isa Echeverri notched the match winner in the 102nd minute.
The Rockets entered the season having posted a 7-11-2 record in 2014, including a 4-6-1 mark in the Mid-American Conference. They welcomed first-year coach TJ Buchholz in the offseason, who spent four years at Southwest Minnesota State before landing with the Rockets. Buchholz posted a 38-32-5 record during his tenure with the NCAA Division II school, including 29-24-5 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Buchholz has 12 years of head coaching experience. He spent one year as an assistant at California-Riverside, but helmed programs at Wartburg College (2009-09) and Northwestern College (2001-08), both Division III schools.
Toledo returns its two top scorers from last season in senior midfielder Geri Siudzinski and Echeverri. The pair scored four goals apiece last season on a squad that managed just 17 goals and 46 points during the year.
LAST TIME OUT: Notre Dame got off to a fast start on Friday, using six different scorers to send Valparaiso home with a 6-0 loss. The Irish outshot the Crusaders 29-0, including a 17-0 edge in shots on goal, and saw goals form defender Katie Naughton, midfielder Glory Williams, midfielder Sandra Yu, forward Natalie Jacobs, midfielder Taylor Klawunder and forward Anna Maria Gilbertson.
The Irish improved to 24-3-1 (.875) in season openers, including a 14-2-1 (.853) mark since 1999. Notre Dame’s six goals were the most in a season opener since August 27, 2000, when the Irish defeated Detroit 6-0. In three games, including the two exhibition contests during the preseason, Notre Dame has outscored its competition 16-0.
SERIALLY SPEAKING: Notre Dame and Toledo have met just twice in their history, with the Fighting Irish holding a 2-0 series advantage heading into Sunday’s match. The teams met for the first time in the first round of the NCAA Championship in 2008, where the Irish claimed a 5-2 decision at Alumni field, while their most recent meeting came just last season.
The Irish and Rockets met in nonconference action in early September. The Irish needed a goal on a penalty kick with less than three minutes remaining to put away the Rockets 2-1, but the win gave them their fourth straight after a slow start to the season. The Irish outshot the Rockets 24-4, including a 12-4 edge in shots on goal, and carried an 8-1 advantage on corner kicks.
QUICK START: Freshman forward Natalie Jacobs flashed the potential against Valparaiso that made her the nation’s No. 2 prospect at forward according to the Top Drawer Soccer Girls IMG Academy 150 player rankings. She accounted for seven of Notre Dame’s 29 shots against the Crusaders and finally connected on her third shot on goal to add more cushion to the Irish lead. She finished the night with three points, including her assist on a goal by senior Glory Williams.
THE GOLDEN (DOME) STANDARD: Notre Dame enters its 28th season of varsity competition in 2015. The Fighting Irish have a 507-102-30 (.817) all-time record with 22 NCAA Championship appearances, including 12 trips to the Women’s College Cup, eight berths in the NCAA title match and three national championships (second-most in NCAA Division I history).
In their history, the Fighting Irish have developed four Hermann Trophy winners and 51 All-Americans, including 19 first-team selections. Senior midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro has been named to the preseason Hermann Trophy watch list for the third straight season.
Season and single game tickets for Notre Dame women’s soccer are on sale now. Visit und.com/tickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356.
Joanne Norell, Athletics Communications Assistant