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ND Women’s Soccer

California goal rush

| Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It was a weekend of firsts for the No. 11 Irish.

There were the standard beginnings, like the start of a new season, new head coach, first home game and first shutout. But there was also more unusual firsts, courtesy of the freshman twin combination of forward Kaitlin Klawunder and midfielder Taylor Klawunder.

Before 2014, Notre Dame (2-0-0) had never featured a set of twins on its roster. Now the team has two, both freshman pairs – the Klawunders along with defender Monica Flores and defender/midfielder Sabrina Flores.

Irish senior forward Lauren Bohaboy looks to pass while dribbling downfield during Notre Dame's 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Sept. 29. Bohaboy has scored twice in the 2014 season.Emmet Farnan

Irish senior forward Lauren Bohaboy looks to pass while dribbling downfield during Notre Dame’s 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Sept. 29. Bohaboy has scored twice in the 2014 season.

The Klawunders made program history simply by both playing in the team’s opening match against Illinois on Friday. When Taylor scored Notre Dame’s first goal of the match to tie the Irish up, she made even more by becoming just the fifth freshman in Notre Dame history to score the opening goal of the season.

“Obviously, our first goal was to work hard in practice and to get more minutes in the games and then make an impact on the team,” Taylor said. “It really is a team effort. We were just in the right place at the right time and were able to capitalize on our opportunities.”

Klawunder is the first freshman to accomplish this feat since 2004. She did so as an early substitute, playing more minutes than any other replacement. Against Oakland on Sunday, she was promoted to the starting lineup, where she recorded one shot on goal.

It was Kaitlin, however, who starred in the matchup with the Golden Grizzlies. Coming in as a substitute, she raced into position to collect the ricochet off sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews’s shot off the crossbar and scored in the 27th minute. Klawunder would add another shot in 37 minutes of play.

With Kaitlin’s goal, the Coto de Caza, Calif., natives became the first sister combination to both record at least one career goal for Notre Dame.

“We just had to get in there and work hard and bring energy to the game,” Kaitlin said. “It’s paid off so far so we’re looking to keep on doing it.”

Playing off each other is nothing new for the freshmen, who competed together for Saint Margarita Catholic High School and the So Cal Blues club team. And when it came to selecting where they would play college soccer, there was no doubt in either’s mind that they would continue to take the field with each other.

“We were always set on going to the same school,” Taylor said. “This was actually the only school we visited out-of-state, but once we came here, we fell in love with it.”

Taylor and Kaitlin were part of the nation’s third-rated recruiting class and individually were both placed among the top 75 players in the country coming out of high school. Their decision to attend Notre Dame reunited them with senior forward Lauren Bohaboy, who played for the same high school and club teams. Their connection to Bohaboy, as well as four other Californians on the squad, has made their transition to college soccer much smoother,they said.

“Everyone’s been so welcoming,” Taylor said. “All the seniors and upperclassmen have all been so kind, and they’re very funny.”

“It’s really easy to get along with them,” Kaitlin added. “They’re not intimidating at all, and they all want us to come together to work hard as a team so we can play better.”

And while the sisters may be happy with the way the season has started, they are not losing sight of the team’s overall goal, they said.

“We just have to continue to work hard so we can help these girls win that national championship,” Taylor said.

The Klawunders and Notre Dame next take the field Friday for the Notre Dame Invitational at Alumni Stadium to play No. 16 Texas Tech. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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About Greg Hadley

Greg Hadley is a senior from Rockville, Maryland, majoring in political science with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. He served as The Observer's Editor-in-Chief for the 2015-2016 term and currently covers Notre Dame baseball and women's basketball.

Contact Greg