ND Women’s Soccer
ND wraps up West Coast swing
Greg Hadley | Sunday, September 7, 2014
A week after losing two close matches and plummeting in the national rankings, No. 25 Notre Dame flew across the country and restored part of its lost confidence, thanks to a 2-0 victory over No. 16 Santa Clara and a 0-0 draw to fourth-ranked Stanford.With the unbeaten trip in California under their belts, the Irish (3-2-1) expect to see their ranking bounce back, sophomore midfielder/forward Emily Geyer said.
“I would be surprised if our ranking didn’t go up,” Geyer said. “I think we deserve better than 25[th].”
The win and tie came after the Irish lost both matches, 2-1, in the Notre Dame Invitational on Aug. 29 and 31 to No. 10 Texas Tech and USC. The losses early in the season under new coach Theresa Romagnolo could have set the team’s confidence back, but Geyer said the Irish never wavered.
“Refocusing on what our goals were for this season [is what helped us bounce back], and I guess just moving on and letting go of what happened last weekend and showing that we’re better than that,” she said. “I think we had a rough patch but we showed this weekend that we can bounce back and get over that and continue our upward trend.”
Against Santa Clara (3-2-0), the Irish came out shooting, recording seven shots in the first half. Freshman forward Karin Muya, in her first appearance for the Irish, set up the first goal of the game with a cross to sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews, who buried the ball in the back of the net from 15 yards out.
After allowing Texas Tech and USC back into games with four second-half goals combined, Notre Dame came out aggressive in the second period, picking up three yellow cards and forcing Broncos goalkeeper Andi Tostanoski to make four saves.
Muya gave the Irish some breathing room in the 82nd minute with an unassisted goal, the first of her collegiate career. Muya, the only international player on the Notre Dame roster, was making her first start with the squad since coming over from England.
“Her first game was Friday because she wasn’t cleared by the NCAA yet,” Geyer said. “She had a goal and an assist, so it was really promising to see that, her clicking and doing all those things right away. Our other freshmen that play also have been making an impact, which is great.”
The Irish repeated their gutsy performance two days later in Palo Alto, Calif., against the Cardinal (4-0-1). Sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little recorded a season-high six saves and the defense weathered a four-shot barrage in the overtime period.
“We did a good job playing the whole game and not giving up easy goals,” Geyer said. “We went the full 90 minutes on Friday and 120 minutes today, which is something we weren’t able to do last weekend.”
With the team back on track, Geyer said she thinks the Irish have the ability to play with any team in the country.
“[I’m] not really surprised [that] we played well, because I think we’re good and we’re going to have a good year,” Geyer said. “We just got unraveled last weekend and now we’ve kind of put everything back together.”
Notre Dame returns home this weekend for matchups with Baylor and Toledo on Friday and Sunday, respectively. After that, the squad enters conference play, which will provide the biggest challenge of the season, Geyer said. The ACC currently has four teams ranked in the top 15.
“[It was] definitely two good results on the road, especially coming off two losses last weekend,” Geyer said. “It gives us a little bit more confidence going into the start of the ACC season when we start playing a lot of tough opponents.”
The Irish take the pitch at Alumni Stadium this Friday to take on Baylor at 7 p.m.