Aug. 8, 2018
By Matt Paras
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The No. 14 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team kicked off the preseason Wednesday afternoon when they squared off with rival Michigan in their first exhibition. After a fast paced first half, the Irish and Wolverines ended in a draw at 2-2 as neither team could put together the go ahead goal in the second half.
How it Happened
In the opening 15 minutes of play, Michigan held a majority of the possession but it was the Irish that had the best opportunity out of the two teams. Following a Michigan foul, Shannon Hendricks sent a free kick high into the box where Sabrina Flores was jostling for position. She got her head on the ball but her attempt at goal sailed just high and over the crossbar.
Shortly after, it was Michigan that opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Sarah Stratigakis played a through ball up to Nikki Hernandez who settled the ball and sent it to the back of the net for the game’s first goal.
Less than two minutes later, the Irish had an answer for the Wolverines’ goal. Sabrina Flores went to take Notre Dame’s first corner of the game and her ball sailed towards the back post. Brianna Martinez created space from her defender and headed the ball past the keeper for the equalizer.
— ND Women's Soccer (@NDSoccer) August 8, 2018
The game did not stay level for long as Michigan took advantage of a wild sequence of plays to get its second goal of the game. The Wolverines first and second shots of the possession were blocked by Irish defenders but they were not able to clear the ball. Reilly Martin settled the second rebound and scored after getting through a few defenders to regain the lead for the Wolverines.
The Irish had an answer once again and it was a freshman-to-freshman connection that did the damage. Kelly Moss sent a through ball into the box where Nikki Colantuono beat her defender. Colantuono sent her shot towards the far post and past the keeper to tie the game at 2-2 right before the half.
In the second half, both teams had a few quality chances but nothing materialized and the game ended in a 2-2 draw as no extra time was played.
Stat of the Match
- The Irish had 20 different players see the field in the opening exhibition, including seven freshmen who saw their first collegiate action. The newcomers accounted for both goals, an assist and four saves against the Wolverines.
Coach Norman Said…
Overall thoughts on the first competition of the 2018 season
“I thought we had some good moments, some good periods of the game and so did the Wolverines. It was a great first game and a great first opponent in Michigan. We are going to look at it and see we played great in some parts of the game and not so great in other parts but that is what preseason is all about. We got everybody in and they played good minutes. We saw different combinations and I think we will have a lot of great pictures to show and grow from this game.”
On the production from the freshmen
“Brianna Martinez had a great goal off of a set piece and we have talked a lot about set pieces so far in preseason and we got a great goal off of it. Fantastic finish by Nikki (Colantuono) at the end of the half. It was a front-footed toe poke and it was a great goal. Really happy to see those players do well and we had a lot of freshmen play great games today.”
Coming Up Next
The Irish will travel to Purdue for their final preseason match of the season at 7 p.m. ET Saturday.
Notre Dame opens its regular season against Central Michigan at 7 p.m. ET Thursday, August 16 at Alumni Stadium.
For behind-the-scenes coverage of the Irish women’s soccer program, follow @NDSoccer on Twitter and @NDWSoccer on Instagram. For tickets to a Notre Dame women’s soccer match, click here.
Matt Paras, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since January 2018. In his role, he coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame women's soccer, baseball and assists in ice hockey. A native of Warwick, Rhode Island, Paras is a graduate of the University of Louisville where he completed his bachelor's and master's degrees in Sport Administration. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, he worked at Vanderbilt University as the sports information contact for the women's soccer and lacrosse programs.