Aug. 11, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Four different goal scorers and a clean effort in net powered the University of Notre Dame women's soccer team to a 4-0 exhibition shutout win over Illinois State on Monday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. The No. 16 ranked Fighting Irish improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven exhibition games (5-0-1 at home), and a combined 14-3-3 against college opponents during the preseason since 1999.
Notre Dame held a 26-6 shot advantage over Illinois State for the contest, including a 15-2 edge in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also managed six corner kicks to the two of the visiting Redbirds.
"It was exciting, the fall is upon us," Notre Dame head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. "Just from being here in the spring I knew we have a great returning core, and for me it was getting to know (some of) our 11 freshmen today that I had never really seen play and how they're fitting into our system. For me, it was enlightening to see some different pieces, and put them out here together."
The Notre Dame offense got off to a fast start early in the contest, as sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H./Milford) ripped the first Fighting Irish shot of the preseason on net on a free kick just 52 seconds into the game. Illinois State goalkeeper Aryn Newsom snagged the chance to thwart any damage. Sophomore forward Kaleigh Olmsted (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) then took a great feed from Andrews during the second minute, striking a low shot from the right of the box that was also snared by Newsom.
Senior forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) threatened with a chance of her own in the 12th minute, striking a left-footed attempt that the Illinois State keeper Newsom knocked out of play. The Irish attacker followed with a shot that went high off a feed from junior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson (Davis, Calif./Davis) later in the possession sequence to halt the Notre Dame offensive.
After five unanswered shot attempts by Notre Dame to begin the match, Illinois State broke through with its first shot attempt in the 23rd minute, but forward Rachel Tejada's shot toward the Fighting Irish goal sailed high to stall the Redbird counter.
Gilbertson worked her way into the box on a run and was pulled down just outside of the six-yard box at 29:02 of the opening frame to give Notre Dame its first penalty kick opportunity of the 2014 preseason. The Fighting Irish attacker drove home the attempt past Newsom from the penalty spot to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. Gilbertson's tally would be the only goal of the opening 45 minutes.
"I thought the energy was great, especially since we haven't had a day off in the preseason yet," Romagnolo said of her team's play from the outset. "We put a lot of different lineups out there but the defensive energy was fantastic and the attacking mentality was fantastic. I was really happy with a lot of the things I saw, although there are a few things we want to tighten up a bit defensively. There are always things you want to improve on, but it was definitely a really good start."
The Fighting Irish poured the pressure on early to open the second half as a pair early shots, including a direct attempt from Gilbertson, set up the second Notre Dame goal. Newsom saved an initial Gilbertson try off an Andrews cross before Bohaboy buried the rebound from six yards out inside the right post at 48:19 to extend the Notre Dame lead to 2-0.
Olmsted followed suit just moments later, regaining her feet after being knocked down trying to receive a lead pass up the left flank to challenge a Newsom clearance attempt. Olmsted made a clean steal from the Redbird goalkeeper just inside the 18-yard box, hitting the open net from just inside 15 to push the Fighting Irish advantage to 3-0 at 53:11.
Illinois State made its best offensive surge of the match as the second half progressed, as Tejada registered the first Redbird attempt on net with a crisp header past the Fighting Irish back line off a 40-yard free kick attempt in the 62nd minute. Notre Dame freshman goalkeeper Lexi Nicholas (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) made a great recovery in the left side of the box to gather the ball off the line, turning aside the best Illinois State chance of the match.
Nicholas logged two saves in net to earn the exhibition shutout.
Another member of the Notre Dame freshman class nearly got into the scoring act in the 84th minute, as forward Kaitlin Klawunder (Coto de Caza, Calif./Santa Margarita) rocked a header off the crossbar following a cross into the box from the right side. Classmate Sabrina Flores (Livingston, N.J./Livingston) saw her follow up attempt sail wide to the left at 84:05.
Junior forward Mary Schwappach (Denver, Colo./Mullen) capped the day's scoring on a goal that was set up following an aggressive play on net by freshman forward Meghan Doyle (Niskayuna, N.Y./Niskayuna) in the 89th minute. A Doyle blast from the right wing eluded the grasp of Newsom inside the six-yard box, allowing Schwappach to finish the rebound for the fourth and final Notre Dame goal.
"We will talk with the team about what we saw on the field, maybe show them some video, and start to work on playing between the lines a little bit," Romagnolo said. "Possessing from the back to the midfield and the midfield to the front line. Today, I think we saw a lot of get the ball to the forwards and let them go. I would like to talk with them about going with a different look at times for when we play other teams, or for when it's not on to go straight to the forwards. We want to get the midfield more involved from the backs."
Notre Dame travels to Northwestern on Saturday at 5 p.m. (CT) for its second and final exhibition match of the 2014 preseason at Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDsoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
Notre Dame 4, Illinois State 0 (exhibition)
Illinois State 0 0 -- 0
Total Shots: ISU 6 (1-5), ND 26 (10-16)