Sept. 4, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team will hit the road for the first time this season when the No. 6/4 Irish head north to take on Western Michigan for a 4 p.m. ET tilt on Friday in Kalamazoo, Michigan, before continuing on to face Michigan State at noon ET Sunday in East Lansing.
First up, Friday’s match with the Broncos:
WHAT: Match 5
WHO: No. 6/4 Notre Dame (4-0-0) vs. Western Michigan (2-1-0)
WHERE: WMU Soccer Complex – Kalamazoo, Michigan
WHEN: 4:00 p.m. (ET) – September 4, 2015
Here are the five things you should know as the Irish and Broncos face off for the first time since the Irish captured a 1-0 win in the second round of the NCAA Championship in 2013.
Scouting Western Michigan: The Broncos enter Friday’s contest with a 2-1-0 record, having recorded two straight road wins over IPFW and Illinois-Chicago after falling to then-No. 14 Wisconsin in double overtime in their season opener.
It will be the first home action of the season for Western Michigan, which opened the season on the road. The Broncos and Irish will face off Friday before Western heads south again to take on Western Illinois in Macomb, Illinois, on Sunday.
The Broncos have over matched their previous two opponents, having outscored them by a combined 6-0 and outshot them 44-9. Six different Western Michigan players have scored this season, with sophomore forward Emma Kahn leading the way with two goals, both scored against IPFW.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Stephanie Heber has logged all but 12:13 of the Broncos’ 285:42, recording a solo shutout against IPFW and combining for the donut with Emily O’Grady against UIC. Also defensively, the Broncos boast a back line that recorded 12 shutouts last season, led by two-time All-MAC defender Lindsey Lee.
The Last Time They Met: The NCAA Championship was the meeting place the last time Notre Dame and Western Michigan teed off, in a second-round contest in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Notre Dame prevailed 1-0. Two current Irish players made the biggest impacts for the Irish, as current senior Cari Roccaro scored the lone Irish goal in the 69th minute in a competitive match. Current junior goalkeeper Kaela Little notched her first NCAA Championship shutout in the contests, notching two saves to keep the ball out of the net.
Playing Possession: The Irish have controlled the game in nearly every respect through their first four matches, outshooting opponents 100-5 and outscoring them 13-1. Senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson and freshman attacker Natalie Jacobs are the team and ACC co-leaders in shots with 22 apiece, while eight different players have scored for the Irish.
Stacking Up In The ACC (So Far): The Irish sit near the top of nearly every statistical category in the Atlantic Coast Conference after a fast start to the season. Notre Dame is one of four unbeaten and untied ACC squads, along with North Carolina, Virginia, and Clemson.
Notre Dame ranks second in the conference in corner kicks (33) and third in shots (100), goals (13), assists (12), points (38), goals per game (3.25), assists per game (3.00) and goals against average (0.25).
Individually, Anna Maria Gilbertson and Natalie Jacobs lead the ACC in shots (22) and shots per game (5.5). Jacobs is also a co-league leader in assists (4) and ranks second in assists per game (1.00).
All CLASS: Senior tri-captain Cari Roccaro was named one of 30 initial candidates for the Senior CLASS Award on Thursday. Awarded to an NCAA Division I senior about to exhaust his or her eligibility, the Senior CLASS Award is given to a student-athlete with notable achievements in community, classroom, character and competition.
A proven All-American and U.S. National Team program staple, Roccaro has also excelled off the field, sporting a 3.565 GPA, serving two stints in Notre Dame’s Rosenthal Leadership Academy and participating in various service efforts.
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.
For the latest Fighting Irish women’s soccer coverage, be sure log on to UND.com, follow @NDSoccer on Twitter and like Notre Dame Women’s Soccer on Facebook.
– Joanne Norell, Athletics Communications Assistant