Aug. 20, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- On a hot summer day at Alumni Stadium, the No. 18 University of Notre Dame women's soccer team won its first game of the 2017 campaign with a 4-0 victory over Ball State on Sunday.
The Irish offense exploded with its first four goals of the season, all coming in the second half. Four different Notre Dame players netted goals in the high-scoring affair.
With the win, Notre Dame opens a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series against Ball State in the first matchup between the two programs.
Sophomore Jennifer Westendorf took a corner kick just minutes into the match, picking up right where the Irish left off on Friday against Butler. Notre Dame controlled possession of the ball for long periods of time but struggled to find the goal in the first 45 minutes.
The Irish outshot the Cardinals 10-3 in the first half and totaled four first-half corner kicks, compared to Ball State's one.
The Turning Point
Notre Dame's offense erupted for four goals in the second half as the Irish attack -- led by Westendorf -- rattled off 13 shots.
Sophomore Natalie Jacobs connected on a through ball from Westendorf at the 57:20 mark, giving the Irish their first lead of the season. The goal from Jacobs loosened up the Irish offense, which continued attacking the net in the final 33 minutes of the game.
Nearly six minutes later, Westendorf scored her first goal of the season on a pass from graduate student Sandra Yu.
Yu wasted little time before continuing to attack Ball State's back line and eventually give Notre Dame a 3-0 lead. Westendorf and Eva Hurm each were credited with an assist on the play as the ball ricocheted from Westendorf to Hurm before Yu kicked it in the net.
That was not all for the Irish, which rallied until the final minute against the Cardinals. Freshman Sammi Fisher shot the ball and hit the crossbar, and senior Katie Uhler rebounded and scored over Ball State goalkeeper Tristin Stuteville, recording her first career goal.
Note of the Game
Notre Dame scored its most goals in a match since tallying four against Pittsburgh on Sept. 25, 2016 at Alumni Stadium. The Irish also won that contest, 4-0, and received goals from four different Notre Dame players.
The last time the Irish totaled five goals was in a 5-0 shutout over Oakland on November 13, 2015 at Alumni Stadium in the first round of the NCAA Championships.
Coach Romagnolo said...
On her team's offensive showing...
"We got the monkey off our back. When Natalie Jacobs found the back of the net, everyone could just relax and start having some fun out there. It's awesome to get the first victory. It's awesome to score four goals. People came off the bench and lifted the group as well, bringing some great quality. We saw some really great things."
On Westendorf's ability to make plays...
"She was active. She was laying great balls off to people. She scored a great goal. She was in good areas of the field to have an impact. I loved her mentality. Come second half, I thought her and Sandra on the front line were just determined to go after them."
On the performances of freshmen Sammi Fisher and Eva Hurm...
"Eva and Sammi are great at running at people. They can create off the dribble a lot and can create their own shots. They can set people up. It's going to be exciting to see what our younger players can do."
- Goalkeeper Brooke Littman has recorded two shutouts in just two career starts, both coming this season. The sophomore tallied five saves in the match.
- The Irish improve to 1-0-1 at home in 2017.
- Westendorf equaled her career high with four points in the match. She previously collected four points against Wright State on August 19, 2016.
- Due to Jacobs competing nationally in 2016, the forward's goal in the second half of Sunday's match marked her first goal since scoring against Michigan at Alumni Stadium on Sept. 13, 2015. That is a span of 707 days between goals.
- Notre Dame is 1-0 against Ball State in the all-time series.
Coming Up Next
Notre Dame returns to action when it travels to Iowa City to face two members of the Big Ten. The Irish will begin the weekend with a neutral-site matchup against Minnesota at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, and they will wrap up the weekend with a matinee versus Iowa at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday. All matches will take place at the Iowa Soccer Complex.
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.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary's College and former Irish women's basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.