ND Women’s Soccer: Von Rueden stars
Greg Hadley | Monday, September 23, 2013
Playing on the road in front of more than 3,500 fans against the No. 1 team in the country, No. 7 Notre Dame needed to score early and seize the momentum against North Carolina on Sept. 15.
Naturally, sophomore right back Brittany Von Rueden stepped up and delivered a spot-on cross that freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews headed past the Tar Heel defense for the game-winning goal in the 22nd minute.
Four days later, the Irish (7-1, 3-0-0 ACC) were again locked in a scoreless tie, this time at home against Syracuse. With less than 10 seconds left, Andrews sent a free kick into the box that Orange goalkeeper Brittany Anghel punched out. Von Rueden, once again in perfect position, headed the ball to junior center back Sammy Scofield, who scored and gave the Irish the win.
Assists from Von Rueden are a common occurrence. As a freshman, she led the squad with seven, and in just eight games this year Von Rueden has amassed four helpers, good for second on the team.
Ask her, though, and she gives all the credit to her teammates and coaches.
“[Against North Carolina], we had our game plan and we executed,” Von Rueden said. “It was just movement from our midfield back to me and Morgan getting in and doing her job. It wasn’t a personal achievement, it was about taking it to them as a team.”
In addition to her assists, Von Rueden is also a vital cog in an Irish defense that coach Randy Waldrum has called one of his best ever. Through eight games, Notre Dame has allowed only four goals and posted four shutouts.
“We play as a team,” Von Rueden said. “We’re not a backline of individuals. If anyone messes up, there’s always someone there to cover for her. Everyone is very supportive and we just focus on the game plan our coaches give us. Really, we move together as a line, and that’s what helps us defend well.”
As good as Von Rueden and her teammates are on the field, they are just as close off it. One need not look further than the team Twitter and Facebook pages, which are full of their antics, for confirmation.
“Everyone gets along great, on and off the field,” Von Rueden said. “On the field, we hold each other accountable, but off it, back in the locker room, everyone gets along and it’s really fun to hang out. I think that strong team chemistry is definitely something you need to compete on a high level.”
Individually, the Mequon, Wisc., native has been a regular on U.S. youth national squads since she was 14. In the future, Von Rueden’s ultimate goal for her soccer career is to make the women’s senior national team. For the present, she spends her summer playing in the Elite Clubs National League, one of the top youth club soccer leagues in the country.
“It’s high competition against other clubs around the nation that have extremely good players,” Von Rueden said. “It fuels me to get better and helps me to improve on things I need to work on. It’s very important so I can keep the right mindset over the summer and come into the season ready to win right away.”
As for the season ahead, Von Rueden doesn’t care about personal accolades as long as the team is playing for another title.
“I’d like to lead the team in assists again,” Von Rueden said. “But really what we all want is to win the national championship obviously.”
Von Rueden and the Irish next play Thursday at Alumni Stadium at 7 p.m. against Maryland.
Contact Greg Hadley at [email protected]