ND Women’s Soccer
Two victories highlight Romagnolo’s first weekend
Greg Hadley | Tuesday, August 26, 2014
After 15 years under the command of coach Randy Waldrum, No. 16 Notre Dame entered 2014 with a new coach, a sizable freshman class and plenty of question marks. Two games into the season, however, the Irish are unbeaten after a 3-1 road win against Illinois on Friday and a 3-0 home shutout Sunday against Oakland.
“Overall, I was very pleased with the effort we put on the field,” new Irish coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “We had a good crowd [against Oakland], and the girls were excited.”
In the two wins, the Irish (2-0-0) have allowed just two shots on goal and four corner kicks. Sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little was forced to make only one save in both games combined, despite several lineup changes in her defensive front.
“In every game we’ve played this year, it’s been a different back four,” Romagnolo said. “We’re still trying to figure out who’s going to play on a game-by-game basis, but I was really happy with the back four that played [against Oakland].”
Notre Dame’s opening match against Illinois started off poorly, as the Irish conceded a goal to the Illini (1-1-0) in the 23rd minute. Playing in the rain, the Irish responded in the 40th minute when sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews connected with freshman midfielder Taylor Klawunder for the squad’s first goal of the year.
Just two minutes later, the Irish completed their comeback when a corner from junior defender Brittany Von Rueden found the head of junior defender Katie Naughton. The team’s final goal of the game came from junior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson late in the second half.
Andrews, Notre Dame’s leading point scorer last season, added two more assists two days later against Oakland (0-2-0). Both times, the ball ricocheted off the goal frame, only for freshman forward Kaitlin Klawunder and senior forward Lauren Bohaboy to score on the rebound.
Despite the shutout, Romagnolo said the Irish still have work to do.
“It was definitely a hot day, and coming off the Illinois game, I think we showed that we are a little bit tired and are still getting our fitness for the season,” Romagnolo said.
The Klawunders, one of two sets of twins in Notre Dame’s freshman class, became the first pair of sisters in program history to each record at least one career goal. The Irish played six freshman over the weekend, part of the No. 3-ranked class in the country.
“I think from the very beginning, [the freshman] have been involved [in our game plan],” Romagnolo said. “Even in some of our first scrimmages, we had some key freshman step up, and [against Oakland] Kaitlin Klawunder came up big for us off the bench. There’s a lot of talent within that class.”
Against Oakland, however, the leading scorer was the veteran Bohaboy, who added a second goal in the 75th minute against the Golden Grizzlies. The pair of scores made her Notre Dame’s points leader early in the season and added to her success in the month of August. Last season, Bohaboy scored four of her seven goals on the year in August.
“It feels good to get the win,” Bohaboy said. “To start with goals, it’s always a good way to build confidence.”
Against Oakland, the Irish were whistled for seven offside calls, just less than triple their average last season (2.45). They also committed 14 fouls and drew two yellow cards.
“I think we need to be a little more patient [on the offside call],” Romagnolo said. “I don’t know if they were all necessarily offsides, but I like offsides [calls] because it shows that we’re being aggressive and we want to score goals.”
The Irish take the field next for the Notre Dame Invitational against No. 17 Texas Tech on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.