Aug. 8, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- University of Notre Dame women's soccer head coach Theresa Romagnolo announced on Tuesday that senior defenders Monica Flores and Ginny McGowan, as well as graduate student Sandra Yu will serve as Irish captains in 2017.
Flores and McGowan received their first nod as captains, while Yu will fill the role for the second straight season.
"They each bring different qualities, but most importantly, they are unified in bringing great experience, communication, commitment to the team, and holding high standards," Romagnolo said.
A two-year starter, Flores owns seven points on seven assists over 36 career games played for Notre Dame. Flores tallied four assists and four points for the Irish during the 2016 season, despite missing the final month to compete with Mexico at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.
Flores was selected to join the Mexico Women's National Team in June for training camp. The Livingston, New Jersey, native previously competed with Mexico in February, participating in camp in Mexico City before the team flew to Vancouver to play Canada in its Olympic bronze medal celebration match. Flores played all 90 minutes in that contest, but Mexico fell to Canada 3-2.
"For me to be chosen for this role is an extremely humbling, yet incredible, honor. Captain or not, I hold my unique role in leading this team with great care while exuding confidence," Flores said. "In this role that I have found myself in, I take extra pride and responsibility to lead by the best example I can set forth, demand excellence and help pave the path to a champion DNA lifestyle, while bringing every single individual with me along for the ride.
"That said, going to sleep at night and waking up every day, I cannot help but feel humbled by having this opportunity. It's a blessing to be a part of leading part of the Notre Dame community: A program that holds much tradition, that demands excellence both on and off the field and that has won three national championships. Anything less this year will not be settled for. It's something that's much bigger than me."
McGowan, who hails from Lake Forest, Illinois, led an Irish backfield that allowed just nine goals and limited opponents to just 9.8 goals per game in 2016. McGowan's 3,338 career minutes in an Irish uniform are third-most on Notre Dame's roster, evidence of the impact the defender has on the field.
"Playing for this program has been one of my dreams since I was little, so it is such an honor for me to be one of the captains of this team," McGowan said. "A lot of it means bringing the right attitude, experience, and confidence every time I practice or play. The biggest thing is making sure the team practices and plays every day with a national championship in mind because that's where we're striving to be at the end of the season."
Yu, a midfielder out of Strongsville, Ohio, was one of two Irish student-athletes selected to the preseason All-ACC Team. After missing her first two seasons due to injury, Yu has started all 41 of Notre Dame's contests over the past two seasons.
In 2016, Yu totaled 45 shots, including 21 shots on goal (.467). Yu, who competed with the United States U-23 Women's National Team this past summer, owns 12 points on five goals and two assists in her career.
"With regard to the upcoming season, I am beyond excited for it to begin," Yu said. "Every year playing here, you have a legitimate shot at winning an NCAA Championship, and that's an exciting way to start off the season.
"You can receive an amazing education from Notre Dame, while competing for a national title, and that drives a lot of people to come and play here. The bar is set high at a place like Notre Dame, whether it be athletics or academics, and everyone on this team, along with the coaching staff and support staff, hold each other to a certain standard."
The trio of Irish captains will lead Notre Dame in its first preseason match against Purdue at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday 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.
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.