Nov. 19, 2015
By Joanne Norell
PISCATAWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team will meet former BIG EAST foe Connecticut in the second round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship when the Irish and Huskies face off at Rutgers on Friday.
WHAT: NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship Second Round
WHO: No. 10/7 Notre Dame (14-4-1, 6-4-0 ACC) vs. No. 18 Connecticut (18-3-0, 8-1-0 American)
WHERE: Yurcak Field – Piscataway Township, N.J.
WHEN: 4:00 p.m. (ET) – November 20, 2015
Get all the need-to-know info below ahead of the meeting between old rivals renews Friday:
- The Huskies have ridden a stellar season en route to an 18-3 record which included the regular season American Athletic Conference title.
- They defeated Siena 5-0 in the first round of the NCAA Championship last Sunday.
- The Huskies average 2.05 goals per game while allowing just 0.81. They also outshoot opponents by an average of 18.2- 10.3.
- UConn is led by a pair of 20+ point scorers in junior forward Rachel Hill (32P, 14G, 4A) and redshirt junior forward Stephanie Ribiero (22P, 7G, 8A), while senior forward Samantha McGuire has added 17 points (7G, 3A) for the Huskies. Ribiero tallied two goals in Sunday’s win over Siena, while Hill, freshman forward Kim Urbanek and senior defender Annie Wickett also found the back of the net.
- Emily Armstrong has played the majority of minutes in the net for UConn, with a 17-3 record, a 0.83 goals against average and an .812 saves percentage.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET
The Irish and Huskies last met in 2012, when both were still members of the BIG EAST Conference. Notre Dame defeated UConn 4-0 on September 30, 2012 in Storrs, Connecticut.
Current Irish seniors Cari Roccaro and Anna Maria Gilbertson both scored goals against the Huskies in the last meeting. Roccaro, then a forward for the Irish, poked in the second goal of the day for the Irish a little more than 10 minutes into the second half when the Huskies failed to clear a free kick out of the box, while Gilbertson scored on a redirect in the 83rd minute to cap the Irish surge. It was the largest margin of victory for the Irish over the Huskies in Storrs in series history.
IRISH IN THE SERIES
Notre Dame is 22-5-4 all-time against UConn, including 10-3 in postseason play. The Irish assembled an 8-2 record against the Huskies in BIG EAST Championship games, while they are 2-1 against UConn in NCAA postseason contests. The teams’ most recent NCAA Championship meeting came in 2004, when Notre Dame defeated UConn 2-0 in a third round match-up at Notre Dame, and the Irish went on to win the national championship. In 1997, the Huskies defeated the Irish 2-1 in the NCAA College Cup semifinal.
- The Irish head into second round action on a bit of a hot streak, having scored eight goals over their last two games, including a 5-0 win to open NCAA Championship play against Oakland on November 13.
- Senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson has led the charge on offense, scoring four goals over Notre Dame’s previous two games, and tallied a career-high five points against Oakland last Friday.
- Notre Dame has recorded three straight shutouts and has not allowed a goal in six of its last seven games.
- Junior goalkeeper Kaela Little has posted tallied seven solo shutouts and combined for three more in 15 games, and posted a career-best 0.44 goals against average.
LAST TIME OUT: OAKLAND
Notre Dame put together its second-highest scoring game of the year last Friday to bounce the Golden Grizzlies in a 5-0 decision at Alumni Stadium.
The Irish dominated from the outset, getting on the board in the seventh minute when Anna Maria Gilbertson fired a left-footed shot into the left post for her 12th goal of the season. She would add her 13th a little more than 30 minutes later on another unassisted opportunity from 24 yards at the top of the box.
Also adding goals for the Irish were Kaleigh Olmsted, who netted her fourth goal of the season, and Katie Naughton, who tallied her first goal since scoring the season’s first against Valparaiso on August 21. Sabrina Flores rounded out the scoring when she took a through ball from Gilbertson and poked it in from 12 yards out.
IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Notre Dame is making its 23rd consecutive appearance in the in the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, the second-longest active streak to North Carolina, which has never missed a tournament since its genesis in 1982. In that span that the Irish have hosted a preliminary round game 22 times.
The Irish own a 65-22 record in the NCAA Championship, including a staggering 45-3 mark while playing in tournament games at home. The Irish have claimed three national championships, second only to North Carolina’s 21 titles.
TIDS AND BITS
- Sophomore twins Sabrina Flores and Monica Flores will return to their home state of New Jersey for the first time as members of the Fighting Irish. From Livingston, New Jersey, Sabrina and Monica are the eighth and ninth players in program history to hail from the Garden State.
- This season marks the first time since 2010 that the Irish have tallied at least two victories over NSCAA-ranked top 5 teams (2-1, 2OT at No. 1 Virginia on Sept. 24 & 3-0 vs. No. 5 Virginia Tech on Oct. 30). The Irish also did so in 2004 and 2008. The Irish won national titles in 2004 and 2010, while they claimed national runner-up status in 2008.
- The Irish went 11-1-0 in home matches this year, marking the first time since 2010 they had won at least 11 games on their home turf.
- The Irish have allowed just nine goals through 19 games this season, while scoring 37 for a +28 goal differential. The last time the Irish gave up 10 or less goals in a season was 2000.
- On the other side of the bracket is No. 2-seeded and ninth-ranked Rutgers (17-3-2) and Hofstra (13-5-2), who play at 7 p.m. ET Friday. The winners of Friday’s second-round match-ups will play in the third round at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant 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 and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.