Sophomore defender/tri-captain (and Chicagoland native) Katie Naughton collected a goal and an assist as Notre Dame toppled its Windy City neighbors, Northwestern, 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- On a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon in South Bend, it was only fitting that a player from the Golden State would lead Notre Dame to victory.
Junior forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) scored two goals in the opening 6:17 and the No. 10/5 Fighting Irish never looked back, racing to a 4-1 win over Northwestern at Alumni Stadium. Notre Dame thus completed its first opening weekend sweep since 2010, while piling up its largest goal output through two matches (8) since 2008.
Sophomore defender/tri-captain Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) added a goal and an assist (her first career multi-point match) against one of her hometown schools, while two other sophomores -- Chicagoland forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy) and defender Brittany Von Rueden (Mequon, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) -- both dished out a career-high two assists. Another Windy City product, freshman midfielder Cindy Pineda (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield East) also got into the act, opening her account with her first career goal midway through the first half.
Julie Sierks provided the lone bright spot for the Wildcats (0-2-0), scoring her second career goal (and both have come against the Fighting Irish).
Notre Dame (2-0-0) dominated Northwestern in every statistical category, holding a 36-5 edge in total shots, including a 14-2 spread in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also had a 9-4 margin on corner kicks and an 11-6 difference on fouls.
Freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley) wasn't tremendously busy on Sunday, but did make one save in a bit more than 81 minutes before junior Sarah Voigt (Middleburg, Fla./St. John's Country Day School) came on to complete the victory.
Meanwhile, Northwestern goalkeeper Rachel Bergman faced a near-constant barrage of shots throughout almost 70 minutes of action, turning aside eight shots in that time. Jenna Hascher made her college debut in a relief role in the Wildcats' net, recording two saves.
"We continue to create quality scoring opportunities and that pleases me more than anything," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "Our attacking players are all giving us really solid minutes, no matter who's in there, and there's a level of depth on this team that maybe we haven't had in the past couple of years. Lauren got us going early, but the balance and variety of our production is what is good to see right now.
"That being said, it's only the second game of the year, and we have some areas that need a little work," he added. "I think all of the players, especially the backs and goalkeepers, will tell you they want to start stringing some shutouts together, and that will come as we start to fine tune things a bit and work to clean up the parts of our game that aren't quite as sharp yet."
The Fighting Irish faithful had barely settled into their seats after the National Anthem when the home side was on the scoreboard. At 1:12, Thomas delivered a cross from just outside the top left corner of the box, finding freshman forward Kaleigh Olmsted (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) just beyond the penalty spot. Olmsted flicked a through-pass to Bohaboy coming in from the right side and the veteran striker drove her shot across the grain inside the left post.
Bohaboy's goal was the seventh-fastest to start a match in the Waldrum era (1999-present), as well as the quickest opening score since Sept. 12, 2010, when Melissa Henderson struck 1:11 into a win at Loyola Marymount.
Bohaboy wasn't finished, quickly netting a brace in the seventh minute. Senior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) started the sequence by picking out Von Rueden on an overlapping run down the right flank. The second-year back then whipped a cross into the penalty area where Bohaboy was coming on a run and met the ball perfectly for her second career two-goal match (first since Sept. 30, 2011, vs. Connecticut).
Bohaboy came dangerously close to a natural hat trick in the 19th minute, when senior defender/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) saw her initial shot knocked down by Bergman. Bohaboy was on the doorstep and tried to chip the now-prone Northwestern goalkeeper, but couldn't quite lift the ball over her adversary before the Wildcats' defense arrived and Bergman was able to smother the loose ball.
"It was good for us to get those two goals early and really be able to settle in," Bohaboy said. "Whether it's me or anybody else, the important thing is we're getting really solid chances right now, and we're able to finish them. That's helping to give our team a lot of confidence early on in the season."
Von Rueden led Notre Dame in assists last year and that talent was on display again in the 25th minute on Sunday. This time, after the Fighting Irish initially couldn't capitalize on a corner kick, Naughton knocked down a Northwestern clearing attempt and shoveled it out to Von Rueden in the right channel. The Wisconsin native one-timed her service back towards the penalty spot, and Pineda beat her defender to the mark, flicking a header inside the left post for her first career score (24:38).
After taking a comfortable three-goal lead to the locker room for the second time in as many matches this season, Notre Dame gave one back in the early stages of the second half. The Fighting Irish were unable to fully clear the Wildcats' first corner kick of the day, with Sierks latching on to the loose ball in the right channel and driving a left-footed shot high into the upper left corner (46:32).
However, that was just a small ripple in the pond, as the second half proved to largely be one-way traffic for Notre Dame towards the Northwestern goal, with the home side outshooting NU, 23-3 in the period.
Once again, as they did against Illinois on Friday, the Fighting Irish also found a timely response to an opponent's goal, this time needing a bit less than seven minutes to rebuild its margin. Thomas stepped to the corner flag and delivered a well-weighted service into the heart of the box, and Naughton rose high to head in her first goal of the year (53:28).
Notre Dame would have a number of prime chances to add to its lead into the second half, even ringing the crossbar twice, but nothing further developed for the hosts. At the same time, Northwestern had just one other solid opportunity on the day, that coming in the 67th minute, when Katie Landgrebe drove a low shot from distance that Little tracked well and parried wide of the left post.
"It's hard to complain about getting two wins to open the season, and two pretty convincing ones like these," Waldrum said. "I think it gives our team some confidence and a little added bounce in their step going into training next week."
The Fighting Irish will be back on the pitch at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Friday when they play host to Oakland on the first night of the 22nd annual Notre Dame adidas Invitational at Alumni Stadium. No. 5/3 UCLA and No. 14/13 Marquette will square off in the tournament opener at 5 p.m. (ET) Friday, also at Alumni Stadium.
Season ticket packages for the 2013 Notre Dame women's soccer season may be purchased through the University's Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office by calling (574) 631-7356 or visiting the ticket windows at Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET). Tickets also can be ordered on-line 24 hours a day with a major credit card through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets. Groups wishing to attend Fighting Irish soccer matches also can receive a discounted ticket rate -- contact Rita Baxter in the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office to learn more.
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.
Total Shots: NU 5 (2-3), ND 36 (13-23) Shots on Goal: NU 2 (0-2), ND 14 (7-7) Saves: NU 10 (Rachel Bergman 8 in 69:43, Jenna Hascher 2 in 20:17), ND 1 (Kaela Little 1 in 81:45, Sarah Voigt 0 in 8:15) Corner Kicks: NU 4 (0-4), ND 9 (2-7) Fouls: NU 6 (3-3), ND 11 (9-2) Offsides: NU 1, ND 1 Attendance: 830 Records: NU 0-2-0, ND 2-0-0 Next for ND: 22nd annual Notre Dame adidas Invitational vs. Oakland, 7:30 p.m. (ET) Friday at Alumni Stadium (No. 5/3 UCLA vs. No. 14/13 Marquette in tournament opener at 5 p.m. ET Friday at Alumni Stadium).
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director