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ND Women’s Soccer: Notre Dame splits weekend

By Casey Karnes | Monday, September 2, 2013

No. 7 Notre Dame had a weekend of firsts at the Notre Dame adidas Invitational, as the Irish recorded their first shutout of the season with a 4-0 victory Friday against Oakland but also suffered their first defeat in a 1-0 loss to No. 4 UCLA on Sunday.

The tournament started off with a near-perfect game for the Irish (3-1), who scored four goals for the third consecutive game. 

Oakland (1-3) played very conservatively in an attempt to stem the Irish onslaught, even dropping back extra defenders. Their efforts proved fruitless, as four different players found the back of the net for the Irish.

Junior forward Lauren Bohaboy opened the scoring in the third minute with her fourth goal of the season. Sophomore Crystal Thomas assisted on Bohaboy’s goal and earned another assist after her pass led to a goal by junior forward Karin Simonian in the 48th minute. 

The next two goals were sandwiched around a 35-minute lightning delay. Freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews scored her first collegiate goal in the 54th minute, and after the rain delay sophomore forward Anna Maria Gilbertson scored her second goal of the season in the 69th minute.

Irish coach Randy Waldrum said he believes Andrews’ goal is just the first of many for the highly-acclaimed freshman.

“She’s getting better every game,” Waldrum said of Andrews. “You know, seeing her get her first goal Friday night, I think she’s going to be a handful for years to come.”

Andrews wasn’t the only freshman that stood out this weekend, as goalie Kaela Little continued to excel in her starting role. Little saved four shots against the Grizzlies and was strong against UCLA (4-0), as the Bruins only managed one goal in 20 shots. Her performance pleased Waldrum, but he said he still saw room for improvement.

“I think [Little’s] doing great,” Waldrum said. “I thought in the second half [against UCLA] she gave a couple balls away with her distribution, but that’s the kind of mistake young players are going to make. We’re going to have to coach that up a little bit, but overall, we’re really pleased with her.”Sunday’s highly-anticipated top-10 match up lived up to the hype, as the Bruins and Irish battled to a stalemate for most of the game. Neither team seemed able to create scoring opportunities in the first half, as the Bruins got off seven shots and the Irish took only one. 

UCLA junior midfielder Sam Mewis led the Bruins with three shots in the first half and was aggressive in pushing the ball throughout the game. Waldrum said he believes that UCLA’s midfielders, some of whom he’s coached on the United States Under-23 National Team, won the battle in the midfield.

“Mewis and [UCLA junior midfielder Sarah] Killion, they outplayed our midfield today,” Waldrum said. “I think that’s where the game is won and lost when you play against good teams, in the midfield. As a player, you always want to play against good players and good teams, so hopefully ours will take it and learn from it.”

Mewis, Killion and the rest of the Bruins challenged the Irish, rarely allowing them to maintain any prolonged possessions. Notre Dame’s best two scoring chances both ended in narrow misses. In the 75th minute, Bruins junior goalie Katelyn Rowland snagged sophomore defender Brittany Von Rueden’s cross just before Andrews could head it in for the Irish. 

In the 80th minute, Andrews knocked it away from Rowland to a wide-open Thomas, who knocked it in. Seconds later, however, the goal was negated by an offside call.

Five minutes later, the Bruins scored the only official goal of the game when freshman forward Darian Jenkins collected a rebound off the crossbar and sent it back from point-blank range past Little for her fourth goal of the season. The Irish were unable to mount any sort of response in the final five minutes, even after switching out a defender for some extra firepower. 

Despite the 1-0 loss, Waldrum believes the game showed the Irish what they have to work on to challenge top teams like UCLA.

“UCLA deserved it, they were the better team,” he said. “What we want to do is learn from that, that’s why we play good team. We needed to get exposed, we needed to have that kind of game today. We’ll be better for it.”

The Irish return to action at home against Detroit next Sunday at 7 p.m.

Contact Casey Karnes at wkarnes@nd.edu