ND Women’s Soccer
Notre Dame upset by rival Michigan, 2-0
Alex Bender | Friday, August 26, 2016
No. 12 Notre Dame suffered its first loss of the season Thursday, conceding a pair of second-half goals to Michigan as the Irish fell on the road, 2-0.
The Irish (2-1-0) came into Thursday’s game against the Wolverines (2-0-1) following back-to-back wins at home to start the season against Wright State and Wisconsin, pitching shutouts in both performances.
The game got off to a quick start, as both teams alternated possessions in the opposing half of the field, yet neither side was able to generate many scoring chances within the first 15 minutes. The next 15 minutes featured the first real scoring opportunities for both sides. Irish freshman forward Jennifer Westendorf launched her first of a team-high four shots in the 21st minute but missed wide. In the 22nd minute, Michigan had a tremendous chance on a shot by sophomore forward Reilly Martin, but Irish senior goaltender Kaela Little came up with the save.
The latter end of the first half was largely controlled by Notre Dame, as the ball remained almost entirely on Michigan’s side of the field. With only 10 seconds left in the half, the Irish earned their first corner kick of the night, but they were unable to turn it into a shot. The first half came to an end with the score tied, 0-0, and both teams having put two shots on goal in the period.
The second half started with the Wolverines putting a shot on goal and taking two corners in the first five minutes, but Little made a save to keep the scoresheet clean. The pace of play slowed over the next ten minutes with six fouls being called on the two teams.
With 28 minutes left in the game, Michigan finally broke the tie with a header goal by sophomore midfielder Abby Kastroll. Notre Dame responded by attempting to push play up the field, but Michigan took advantage and used the open space to counter. Redshirt freshman midfielder Katie Foug found herself in the right place at the right time to put in a rebound opportunity just two minutes after the first goal, extending the Wolverines’ lead.
After the game, Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said she was not pleased with the goals.
“We talked at halftime about not giving up silly fouls, and that caused some of our problems in the second half and allowed for those two goals,” Romagnolo said. “We were disappointed to give up two goals like those.”
Scoring opportunities slowed throughout the rest of the half, as the next shot on goal did not come until a header by Westendorf was saved by Wolverine redshirt sophomore goalie Sarah Jackson in the 85th minute to preserve the clean sheet.
Romagnolo said she thought her team battled well with Michigan but failed to execute after the half. Now, the team must focus on moving on and sharpening its play going into the weekend, she added.
“I thought at halftime we had figured out the game and we were getting momentum,” Romagnolo said. “We were playing well at the half, but unfortunately we didn’t execute in the second half — couple of sloppy, soft goals — and it was a good battle, but we were hoping to be more dynamic on the attack, and it didn’t work out for us.
“ … We worked hard and battled, but I thought technically we were sloppy and didn’t have a good performance on the ball. However, as a young team, we need to learn to move on and fix our problems. We need to get past this one quickly and get ready for next week. As a team, we hope to learn our lessons and move on from this game.”
Notre Dame will look to rebound when it welcomes Western Michigan to Alumni Stadium on Sunday. Kickoff for the match is set for 5 p.m.