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ND Women’s Soccer

Kaleigh Olmsted scores deciding goal in Notre Dame’s win over Clemson

| Friday, October 7, 2016

No. 20 Notre Dame continued its strong play at home this season, as it shut out No. 12 Clemson at Alumni Stadium on Thursday, 1-0.

The game started slowly, as the Irish (9-1-3, 4-0-1 ACC) kept control of the ball but couldn’t convert their possession into serious chances, launching only five shots in the first half. Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said she was pleased with the way her team held onto the ball early on, although she hoped to see more aggression going forward.

“We were taking care of the ball really well, I thought we were defending really well,” Romagnolo said. “Something we talked about at halftime was just being more aggressive. I thought that our outside backs could take the space more and attack that wide area to create some numerical advantages. I thought that we were more aggressive after that, we were looking to go forward more in the second half and definitely looked a lot more dangerous. We created some chances and could have scored more than one goal.”

The Tigers (8-3-2, 2-1-2 ACC) came close to getting the game’s opening score in the 37th minute when senior midfielder Catrina Atanda got behind the Irish defense at the corner of the six-yard box, but Irish senior goalkeeper Kaela Little made the save to keep the game scoreless.

The game livened up in the second half, starting with Irish senior forward Kaleigh Olmsted finding junior forward Kaitlin Klawunder in space in the box, but Klawunder lost her footing and her shot went wide. At the other end, Tigers redshirt sophomore forward Miranda Weslake sent in a pacy cross from the right wing that almost went into the net, but Little tipped the ball over the crossbar.

Irish senior forward Kaleigh Olmsted dribbles the ball during Notre Dame’s 1-0 win over Missouri on Sept. 4 at Alumni Stadium.Emmet Farnan | The Observer

Irish senior forward Kaleigh Olmsted dribbles the ball during Notre Dame’s 1-0 win over Missouri on Sept. 4 at Alumni Stadium.

The Irish scored what would be the only goal of the game in the 70th minute, as junior defender Monica Flores’ corner found junior midfielder Taylor Klawunder, who sent her bouncing header across the face of the goal for Olmsted to head into the empty net. Romagnolo said her team provided the extra quality needed in front of goal when it mattered in the game.

“I think you’ve got to chalk it up to just finding a way to get it done,” Romagnolo said. “These games are chess matches when you play good opponents, and I felt that we weren’t going to break, we stayed disciplined in what we were doing and we added that little bit of quality to attack the goal. I think Kaleigh did a fantastic job to get on the end of that set piece, [Taylor Klawunder] had that great header and Kaleigh was just ready in the box. A lot of times set-pieces can be the difference-maker. But we were ready, we were waiting for our opportunity and we took it.”

And although the Irish couldn’t find another score, they held on to their lead to top the Tigers, 1-0. The victory moved Notre Dame to 7-0-0 at home this year, and the Irish still have yet to concede a goal at Alumni Stadium this season.

“Again, I just have to credit this to the team defense,” Romagnolo said of yet another shutout effort by her team at home. “They’re all playing well, starting from our front line getting good pressure. I think our midfield is so athletic, and they anticipate well. They make it really difficult for teams to play up the middle, and then our back four is reading the game really well. So they each bring something different, but they’re playing together really well as a group.”

Romagnolo added she was always confident in her team’s ability to prevent the Tigers from scoring, despite it playing a Clemson team who had scored 37 goals coming into the game, the most in the country.

“… They’re another good team we’ve played, and we have a lot of confidence in our ability to defend and to limit people’s chances,” Romagnolo said.

The Irish will next play No. 8 Virginia on Sunday, with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.

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About Daniel O'Boyle

Daniel O'Boyle is a sophomore sports writer living in Alumni Hall, majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the Notre Dame Women's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Women's Soccer beats. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Daniel spends most of his free time attempting to keep up with second-flight English soccer and his beloved Reading FC. He supports the Philadelphia Eagles because they were good in 2010 and has had to deal with disappointment every year since. He supports the Golden State Warriors because they are good now and will abandon them when they stop being good.

Contact Daniel