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ND Women’s Soccer: ND finishes season against No. 3 FSU

Casey Karnes | Thursday, October 31, 2013


No. 10 Notre Dame looks to increase its winning streak to three and end the regular season on a high note tonight when they visit the Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, Fla., to face down No. 3 Florida State.

The Irish (11-5-1, 7-4-1 ACC) have bounced back from a four-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over Clemson and Boston College. Irish Coach Randy Waldrum said he believes Notre Damh is close to being back on track after itr brief rough stretch.

“I think we’ve played really well these last few games,” Waldrum said. “We’re back to more of the way we are used to playing, and setting the tone… I do feel really good about where we are right now.” 

Florida State (14-1-3, 9-1-2), meanwhile, is coming off its first loss of the season against No. 1 Virginia in overtime this past weekend. The Seminoles’ success this season relies on their ability to defend and win close games, as nine of their victories have come by one goal.

While they average less than2two goals a game, redshirt senior goaltender Kelsey Wys has allowed only 0.53 goals per game to their opponents. Facing a defense like the Seminoles, Waldrum said he knows the Irish will have to come out firing.

“Their goaltender … is very, very solid, very experienced,” Waldrum said. “It’s going to be one of the better back fours that we’ve played against.”

On offense, the Seminoles rely on a versatile duo of midfielders from Iceland. Junior Dagny Brynjarsdottir and redshirt freshman Berglind Thorvaldsdottir pace the team in goals, with nine and seven respectively. Junior forward Jamia Fields has also contributed three goals in addition to five assists, while junior defender Megan Campbell leads Florida State with six assists, but has yet to find the back of the net herself. While the Irish defense has been stingy all season  0.82 goals per game), Waldrum said they haven’t faced a duo like Brynjarsdottir and Thorvaldsdottir.

“They’re big, they’re strong, they’ve got experience,” Waldrum said. “[They’re] physical and skillful, and usually you don’t run into that tandem. You usually run into either a big, physical kid who’s not all that skillful, or a skillful kid who’s not all that big. They’ve both got the whole package in that, and a wealth of international experience. I think that’s why they’ve been so successful working together.”

By facing Florida State, the Irish complete a regular season schedule that saw them face all five teams currently ranked in the top five by the Soccer America Women’s Top 25 poll. Thus far the Irish have gone 1-3 in those games, with the lone victory against No. 4 North Carolina, and the chance for another against the Seminoles. After running through the gauntlet that is the ACC, Waldrum said that the Irish have essentially been playing with postseason intensity all season.

“It’s the conference, we’re just used to [tough opponents],” Waldrum said. “I think we’re going to be so much better prepared. I told the team yesterday that we’ll be more prepared for the NCAAs than even the years we’ve won it in the past.”

The Irish have struggled on offense against top opponents this season, scoring only four goals in four games against top-five opponents, while being shut out twice. Leading scorers junior forward Lauren Bohaboy and freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews lead the well-rounded Irish attack, which has scored five goals in its current two-game win streak. Sophomore forward Crystal Thomas has seven assists on the season to top the Irish, while junior Cari Roccoro provides essential versatility with her ability to switch between forward and midfield. The Irish defense will again be lead by freshman goalie Kaela Little, who has saved 57 shots this season and allowed only 14 goals. Against a top defense like the Seminoles’, Waldrum said the Irish offense woull need to take control of every opportunity.

“I think we’ve got to take advantage of the [chancess we create up front,” Waldrum said. “Many teams aren’t creating a lot [chancess against them, so we have to be efficient that. The real key for us is our midfield three [Andrews, Roccoro and senior Mandy Laddish]. Those guys have to get back on track and be really good for us.”

The Irish will finish up the regular season tonight at 8 p.m. at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, Fla., against Florida State.

Contact Casey Karnes at wkarnes@nd.edu