Women’s Soccer: Andrews thrives at ND
Conor Kelly | Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The Detroit defender maintained a three-yard cushion, wary of what Irish freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews can do with the ball at her feet.
Hoping to avoid being beaten off the dribble, the defender backed off, thinking that Andrews posed little threat to score 30 yards from the goal. Instead, Andrews took one dribble, teed up a shot and blasted a swerving strike into the top right corner of the Detroit net, an absolute laser from distance that left Alumni Stadium momentarily silent Sunday night.
It was no ordinary goal, but Andrews is no ordinary player, regardless of the fact that she has only played in five collegiate games. The goal was the second of the day for Andrews and her third of the young season as the Irish dispatched the Titans 4-0.
Despite her relative inexperience, Andrews has already become a fixture in the Irish starting lineup and a key cog for a No. 8 Notre Dame team about to enter its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
Starting alongside senior Mandy Laddish and sophomore Cari Roccaro in the midfield, Andrews has quickly made her mark for the Irish.
“She’s such a calming effect in there. She reads the game so well. She’s so skillful and composed on the ball,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said.
“She’s not a freshman except by her grade here at Notre Dame,” Waldrum continued. “By her ability, she’s definitely a veteran player.”
Such could be expected from one of the top prep prospects in recent memory in any sport. Widely regarded as the top recruit in the country for the 2013 class, Andrews is a two-time Gatorade National Player of the Year and was named the 2013 Gatorade National Athlete of the Year for 2013. The last Irish athlete to take home the latter award? Skylar Diggins in 2009. Such are the expectations for Andrews in her first year.
As evidenced by those awards, her numerous international appearances playing for United States national squads and her high school and conference-record 114 goals at Milford (NH) High School, Andrews is already prepared to become one of the more talented players on any field the Irish play on this year.
For now, however, she is focused on finding her role on the team and adjusting to play at the collegiate level. Whether that means scoring goals, distributing the ball or controlling possession in the midfield, Andrews said her goal is to help the Irish score in whatever way possible.
“It’s all about the team and what we can do to help score goals,” Andrews said. “It all depends on what’s on in the moment. During the Detroit game, it was the far shots. I did what had to be done. I’m definitely going to keep shooting.”
Waldrum said he agreed that after just a handful of games, Andrews is settling into her role well.
“I think she needed a few games to kind of find her way, fitting into a new team, but I think these last few weeks she’s really started to find her stride,” Waldrum said. “These are the things we expected her to do for us. She’s key.”
With the addition of Andrews, Notre Dame has a midfield filled with exciting players, from 2012 freshman All-American Roccaro to Laddish, who was a Big East second-team selection last season. Through their first five games, the Irish midfielders have dominated possession and controlled the tempo of games expertly in addition to filling the net liberally.
“When we have them firing on all cylinders together – Laddish and Cari and Morgan – we have one of the best midfields in the country,” Waldrum said. “It could be very exciting by the end of the year.”
With Notre Dame about to enter ACC play against North Carolina State on Thursday, Andrews said she is going forward with the knowledge that her best days are ahead of her and her teammates are behind her.
“With the girls here, it’s not hard to adjust because everyone’s so welcoming. It just comes down to knowing what your role is. My role is to get in, play with the girls and play as hard as I possibly can.” Andrews said. “Now I think I’m feeling more comfortable in the game and taking advantage of my opportunities.
“It’s just the community feeling. Everyone supports you.”
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