Nov. 11, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The University of Notre Dame women's soccer team used a hot offensive performance to battle a tough Jaguars defense and defeat IUPUI, 5-0, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Championship.
Two of Notre Dame's All-Atlantic Coast Conference selections, graduate student Sandra Yu and sophomore Natalie Jacobs, contributed in a big way to the Irish victory over IUPUI (14-6-3). The duo's first-half goals gave the Irish (10-6-4) an early lead, and as they have all season, they relied on their defense to limit IUPUI's opportunities late in the game.
How It Happened
Notre Dame dominated possession early, moving the ball all over the field and taking four corner kicks in the first 15 minutes. Yu fired off two shots, but IUPUI made incredible saves to keep the game scoreless.
In the 18th minute, Jacobs tallied Notre Dame's fifth shot of the game, scoring her team-high 11th goal (17:29) of the season and giving Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. Jacobs' goal came on the rebound of freshman Kate O'Connor's initial shot off the crossbar.
On her third shot of the game, Yu capitalized, scoring her eighth goal of the season in the back left of the goal at the 36:00 mark and giving Notre Dame a 2-0 lead over IUPUI. Junior Sabrina Flores tallied the assist on the play.
The Irish continued attacking the Jaguars' goal, accumulating 15 shots in the first half and taking a 2-0 advantage into halftime.
Notre Dame came out in the second half with just as much intensity, wasting little time before adding to its lead. This time, junior Shannon Hendricks fired a free kick from the left sideline, about 40 yards out, and Westendorf headed the ball off of senior Ginny McGowan's foot and into the goal (46:56). Notre Dame took control of a 3-0 lead on the scoring play.
Notre Dame's defense was stellar throughout the entire match, as the Irish offense appeared to begin with the back line and move up the field, primarily through Hendricks and senior co-captain Monica Flores.
At the 78:40 mark, junior Natalie Ward threw in the ball to freshman Erin Ospeck, who powered the ball over the head of IUPUI's goalkeeper and into the back of the net (78:40). The goal was the first of Ospeck's career and put the Irish up 5-0.
Minutes later, senior Katie Uhler capped her final game at Alumni Stadium with her second goal of the season on a penalty kick at the 85:11 mark.
Led by senior goalkeeper Lexi Nicholas, the Irish defense recorded their seventh shutout of the season, securing the 5-0 victory over the Jaguars.
Note of the Game
The Irish outshot the Jaguars, 30-4. Westendorf led Notre Dame with six shots in the match.
Head Coach Theresa Romagnolo Said...
On the team's overall performance...
"I thought we played really well. Defensively, we attacked the game. We did really well not giving them any opportunities, and we played some great soccer."
On many new faces contributing...
"I thought our whole team played well. We had many players contribute and bring great energy and quality to the field. We had great preparation, and I think you saw that on the field."
- Notre Dame moves to 2-0 all-time against IUPUI, with both victories coming in the NCAA first round at Alumni Stadium (other in 2009).
- The Irish are 5-4-1 at home this season.
- Notre Dame's five goals were its most in a postseason game since 2015, when it scored five against Oakland. The Irish have only scored five goals in the postseason twice since the NCAA second round match versus Central Michigan on Nov. 15, 2009.
- Notre Dame outshot IUPUI 30-4 and totaled eight corner kicks to the Jaguars' zero.
- Notre Dame remains undefeated on Saturday, improving to 2-0 in 2017.
Freshman Eva Hurm entered the game in the first half, seeing the field for the first time since she suffered an injury at Ohio State on Sept. 8.
The Irish advance to the second round of the NCAA Championships and will face No. 2-seeded Texas A&M (18-2-1) in College Station, Texas, at a time TBD on Friday, Nov. 17.
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.