Nov. 3, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Five University of Notre Dame women's soccer student-athletes were named All-Atlantic Coast Conference selections as voted on by the conference's 14 head coaches, the conference announced Thursday.
Senior forward Kaleigh Olmsted headed the Irish selections, as she was named to the First Team for her first career all-conference honor. Freshman forward Jennifer Westendorf was named to the Second Team, while senior goalkeeper Kaela Little, senior midfielder Sandra Yu and junior midfielder Taylor Klawunder were Third Team honorees.
"I'm thrilled for those players that were recognized on the All-ACC teams," head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. "When I look at this team, I think almost any of our starting 11 should be represented on one of those three teams and are equally as valuable as those who were nominated. Individual awards are a reflection of team success."
The five all-conference picks were tied for second-most in the conference after Notre Dame clinched a share of the regular-season ACC title. The five honorees are the most for the Irish since six were named All-BIG EAST selections in 2006.
Olmsted is Notre Dame's second-leading scorer with 11 points (three goals, five assists). She leads the team in assists and is the team's active career leader in assists (16). A first-year captain, she has two game-winning goals on the year and assisted on another, helping the Irish to a 1-0 win over Wake Forest on October 23.
Westendorf, who was also named to the All-Freshman Team, leads the Irish with 13 points (six goals, one assist) and has started every game of the season. Three of her goals have been game winners, while another helped the Irish earn a 2-2 (2OT) decision against No. 2 Stanford on September 11. Westendorf was named the ACC Co-Offensive Player of the Week on October 18 after bending in the game-winning free kick against No. 11 North Carolina on October 14.
Little earned her second career All-ACC Third Team honor, having also earned the honor in 2014. The Irish tri-captain tops the league in save percentage (0.923), goals against average (0.356), shutouts (0.63) and shutouts per game (0.63). She also ranks third in the conference in saves (84) and saves per game (4.42). Nationally, Little ranks second in save percentage, third in shutouts (12) and sixth in goals against average. Her 12 shutouts this season match a career high (also 2014).
Yu has provided a steady presence in the midfield for the Irish, helping on both sides of the ball. She has started in all 39 career games she has played in. Though a mainstay in the midfield as part of Notre Dame's possession game, she has been known to slide onto the front line for an offensive spark, with two goals to show for it this season. It's the first All-ACC accolade for Yu.
Klawunder was also named to the All-ACC team for the first time, earning recognition for her midfield play. A tall and physical player who can turn the point of attack for the Irish, Klawunder is also a key cog in the Irish strategy on set pieces and can score off the corner kick. Klawunder has two goals for the Irish this season, one of which tied the game for the Irish in a 1-1 draw with Syracuse on September 18.
The Irish, who came in at No. 6 in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, will be back in action at 5:30 p.m. ET Friday against No. 10 North Carolina in the ACC Championship semifinal at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina.
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication, and earned her master's degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.