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ND Women’s Soccer: First-half goals power Irish in final exhibition

Brian Hartnett | Monday, April 29, 2013

For the second time this spring season, Notre Dame earned a win against international competition, defeating the Haiti national team 2-1 on Friday at Alumni Stadium.

But Irish coach Randy Waldrum said the victory revealed more flaws than positives for his team.

“To be honest, I was really pretty disappointed in the overall performance,” he said. “I didn’t think we were nearly dangerous enough, even though we had the ball a lot, and it looked like we were in control of things. I felt like we didn’t handle [opportunities] very well, and I didn’t think we were very good in midfield or up front today.”

Notre Dame scored both of its goals in the first half. After junior forward Lauren Bohaboy’s shot hit the crossbar, sophomore forward Crystal Thomas gathered the rebound and knocked it past Haiti goalkeeper Geralda Saintilus in the 19th minute to put the Irish on the board.

Sophomore midfielder Cari Roccaro added to Notre Dame’s lead in the 44th minute when she recovered a loose ball and drove it into the empty net from eight yards out. 

Roccaro, who attended the United States under-20 women’s national team camp earlier this month, has continued to benefit from exposure to top competition, Waldrum said.

“I just think every time she gets called into camp, it’s one more international week and one more experience playing with top-level players, so it only makes her better when she comes back,” Waldrum said.

Haiti scored the only goal of the second half in the 69th minute, as midfielder Samantha Brand redirected a shot from midfielder Dina Jean-Pierre past Irish sophomore goalkeeper Naomi Willett

“[It was] disappointing to give up the late goal and make a game close when it shouldn’t have been close,” Waldrum said.

Notre Dame dominated the offensive statistics, finishing with a 22-6 edge in shots and a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks. 

The Irish, however, missed key opportunities in both halves. Thomas had a point-blank shot in the 34th minute, but she directed it right to Saintilus. Similarly, Bohaboy had a one-on-one opportunity in the 90th minute, but she couldn’t get it past Saintilus and knocked the rebound wide of the net.

Saintilus finished with eight saves, while Willett did not record a save in 90 minutes of action.

With the victory, the Irish finish the spring season with a 3-1-2 mark that included a 4-3 victory over the Mexico under-20 national team. Notre Dame’s lone loss of the spring season came to the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League on April 3.

Looking forward, Waldrum said the Irish need to find new ways to generate offense in their first season of ACC competition.

“We’ve got to get better offensively,” he said. “It was an area this year where we struggled to score goals regularly enough, and it’s the same thing in the spring. I’m anxious to see if we have some new kids that will add challenges to the returning players and if not, I’ve got to do a better job of coaching them up front.”

Contact Brian Hartnett at [email protected]