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ND Women’s Soccer

Notre Dame bests Miami in blowout

| Sunday, October 12, 2014

In the midst of one of the most daunting schedules in the country, No. 14 Notre Dame cruised to its easiest victory of the season Sunday, blowing out Miami, 5-0, at Alumni Stadium.

After games against No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Virginia, No. 7 North Carolina, No. 9 Virginia Tech and No. 15 Texas Tech, Notre Dame (9-4-1, 4-2-0 ACC) had little trouble handling the Hurricanes (2-11-1, 0-5-1), who have not won since Sept. 5.

Five different Irish players accounted for the five goals, the team’s most on the season. The Irish also set a season high in shots on goal, with 18, off of 31 shots total. That was the second-highest mark of the year, behind only the 32 shots Notre Dame attempted Thursday in a 2-0 win over Pittsburgh.

“We built confidence from play well and from putting the ball in the back of the net,” Irish coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “We had two good performances this week. … Just to be able to put some goals in the back of the net is great for everyone’s confidence and our belief that we’re doing the right thing.”

Irish freshman forward Karin Muya looks for a pass in a 1-0 win against Baylor on Sept. 12 at Alumni Stadium.Rosie Biehl

Irish freshman forward Karin Muya looks for a pass in a 1-0 win against Baylor on Sept. 12 at Alumni Stadium.

Freshman forward Karin Muya started things off just 45 seconds into the match, intercepting a soft pass back to Miami senior goalkeeper Emily Lillard and trickling it by her to give Notre Dame its third-fastest lead since 1999.

Muya added an assist in the second half, passing a through ball to senior forward Karin Simonian from eight yards out in the 62nd minute. The goal and assist doubled Muya’s point total on the year and put the Irish ahead, 3-0.

Muya missed the first four games on the Irish schedule due to a combination of eligibility issues and injuries.

“[Muya] brings a great spark [to our offense],” Romagnolo said. “She’s a great one-v-one player. She sees the field. She can play other people into goal. So it’s nice to be getting her healthy and fit again. … The hardest thing was getting her on the field, so I think we’re just starting to get her going. We’re still learning what Karin Muya can bring to the field.”

Sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews once again spearheaded the Irish attack, attempting eight shots compared to four for the entire Miami team. She also collected her team-leading sixth goal of the season after senior forward Lauren Bohaboy tried to split two defenders in the penalty area and drew a foul in the 60th minute. Andrews beat Lillard on the penalty kick and gave the Irish a 2-0 lead.

Miami struggled all day with penalties, committing 17 fouls and collecting two yellow cards in the space of three minutes. As the game wore on and the Hurricane offense failed to generate opportunities, play became more physical on both sides as the aggressiveness of Miami increased and the Notre Dame back-line dug in.

As the game wound down, the Irish stayed on the offensive as Romagnolo deployed her bench. Freshman defender Monica Flores, junior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson and senior midfielder Taylor Schneider, all substitutes, accounted for two assists and one goal in the final nine minutes of play.

“Every week, we reevaluate and see who’s sharp coming into the weekend and who can come off the bench and contribute,” Romagnolo said. “When we did make the change, we don’t let down. We have more energy coming off the bench. We have so much talent you almost don’t see a drop off. We’re a talented team.”

Flores combined with senior forward Lauren Bohaboy for her first career point in the 82nd minute. In her first collegiate game, Flores sent a cross from the left side of the field into the box, and Bohaboy connected on a bicycle kick for her second goal in as many games.

Schneider and Gilbertson put the final touches on the win in the 89th minute, with Schneider finding Gilbertson with a through pass. Gilbertson then split two defenders and beat Lillard to the lower right corner of the net.

“It’s kind of scoring by committee this year,” Romagnolo said. “We have a lot of people who can put the ball in the back of the net, which is exciting.”

Over the past two games, the Irish have outscored their opponents 7-0 and outshot them 63-11. They also hold a 28-6 advantage in shots on goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little now has eight shutouts on the season, good for second in the ACC.

With the win, the Irish improve to 4-4 at home. It was their first victory at Alumni Stadium in almost a month, when they defeated Toledo on Sept. 14, 2-1.

Notre Dame also moves to 4-2 in ACC play, good for fourth place in the conference with four regular season matches left to play.

“I love the ACC because you get tested almost every game,” Romagnolo said. “It gives you an opportunity to learn about yourself early on and prepare for games that you’re going to see later on in the season. The ACC is fantastic preparation.”

The first of those remaining matches comes Saturday, when the Irish travel to Syracuse, New York, to take on the Orange. Syracuse (5-7-3, 2-4-0) currently sits in 11th place in the conference and has not scored in two matches, both losses. Notre Dame, on the other hand, is undefeated on the road this season at 5-0-1.

The Orange and the Irish square off Saturday at SU Soccer Stadium in Syracuse, New York. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 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