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ND Women’s Soccer

Notre Dame travels to Miami

| Friday, October 2, 2015

After an emotionally charged weekend, the No. 14 Irish continue ACC play with a trip to Coral Gables, Florida to face off with Miami.

Last week featured a thrilling double overtime win at No. 1 Virginia for the Irish (8-2-1, 1-2-0 ACC), followed by a crushing 1-0 home overtime loss to defending national champs Florida State. Second-year coach Theresa Romagnolo saw both positives and negatives in her team’s last performances.

“You know it was an interesting weekend. We came off that great high on Thursday and we wanted a similar performance Sunday,” Romagnolo said. “We didn’t, but I think we learned from that. We’re going to see those kinds of weekends again.”

As far as improvements Romagnolo wants to see her club make against the Hurricanes (0-3-0, 7-7-0), she pointed to shoring up the passing game.

“I would like to see more composure out there,” Romagnolo said. “We have to connect more on our passes to set up opportunities in front of the goal.”

Notre Dame jumped up one spot to No. 5 in the RPI poll and two spots to No. 14 in the Coaches Poll. However, rankings mean little to a team squarely focused on winning a national championship: Romagnolo chuckled when asked about her team’s RPI.

“I don’t even think they know what RPI is,” Romagnolo said. “We don’t talk about rankings. Our goal is to continue to improve so by the NCAA tournament we’re peaking.”

Senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson looks to continue to torment opposing goalkeepers. The California product has seven goals on the year, including the game winner against Virginia. She has been the beneficiary of a strong freshman campaign from forward Natalie Jacobs. Jacobs leads the team in assists with five, many of them to Gilbertson.

Freshman forward Natalie Jacobs dribbles the ball past the defender during Notre Dame’s 1-0 overtime loss to Florida State at Alumni Stadium on Sunday.Emmet Farnan | The Observer

Freshman forward Natalie Jacobs dribbles the ball past the defender during Notre Dame’s 1-0 overtime loss to Florida State at Alumni Stadium on Sunday.

However, Romagnolo said the box score does not tell the whole story. She had high praise for the midfielders, who contribute in a number of ways that do not show up in the stat sheet.

“I think as a group, our midfielders do so much work for us in terms of defending well in the back and preventing problems from even happening,” Romagnolo said. “They’re also good creators on the ball.”

Unlike Notre Dame’s last two opponents, Miami does not carry a winning record or a top-5 ranking. The Hurricanes have been outscored 19-15 and remain winless in ACC play. They are led by senior forward Amy Schmidt, who is tied for the team lead in goals (four) and is also the club’s top facilitator with four assists on the year.

Despite Miami’s record, Romagnolo said she is not letting her team look past Friday’s foe, pointing to the overall strength of the ACC.

“I don’t think there is a bottom team in the ACC. Miami took Clemson to overtime in their last game and were even up a goal at one point,” Romagnolo said. “They’re a good team and soccer is a funny sport where you can dominate, but at the end of the day you need to put the ball in the back of the goal.”

Putting the ball in the goal was something the Irish failed to do in two of their first three conference games, including Sunday’s 1-0 defeat. However, Notre Dame still holds a 204-50 shot advantage over their opponents, led by Gilbertson (56) and Jacobs (39).

With the regular season more than halfway done, Romagnolo gave her team’s play a ‘B-plus’ so far.

“At times we’ve been an ‘A’ and other times we’ve been a ‘C,’” Romagnolo said. “We’ve done good things but our goal is to be an ‘A’ and play consistently.”

Friday’s game will be played at Miami’s Cobb Stadium and is slated to kickoff at 8 p.m.

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