Club Sports Update
Special to The Observer | Monday, September 22, 2014
Notre Dame picked up its first win this season against Purdue with a final score of 22-14. The game started slowly for the Irish, with Purdue scoring first. However, the team picked up the pace after the first 10 minutes of the game, with senior Rachel Ruddick scoring and senior captain Claire Kozlowski kicking two conversions. The game hit a turning point when sophomore Isabella Bianco stole the ball and scored just before halftime. In the second half, junior Nina Jones scored with Kozlowski making the kick, finishing the scoring for the game. The Irish were also able to get 21 new players game time in their first game together. Overall, Notre Dame started off the season with a sizable freshman class and a win against Purdue.
The Irish traveled to Illinois this Saturday for a pair of games. Their first game was against the Fighting Illini, who came out strong and found a goal early in the first half against a strong defensive line and sophomore goalkeeper Kiley Adams. The Irish continued to fight back, but Illinois added a second goal before the half ended. The Irish came back and maintained possession for most of the second half, but were unable to find the back of the net, ending the game with a 2-0 loss.
Notre Dame’s second game was against Illinois State. The two teams went back and forth in the first half and the Irish had several offensive opportunities, particularly from sophomore forward Destiny Anamege. It was the Redbirds, however, that scored off of a corner towards the end of the first half to take the 1-0. The Irish came back in the second half on the offensive attack. Within five minutes, sophomore midfielder Maddie McCormick earned a free kick just outside of the box for the Irish. Senior forward Mary Wickert took the kick, which was deflected off an Illinois State defender and resulted in an Irish corner kick. Wickert again took the kick and senior defender Erin Doone got her head on the ball to tie up the game. Shortly after the goal, a thunderstorm developed, causing the game to be cancelled and giving the Irish a 1-1 tie.
On Sunday, two of the top club teams in the area went head to head. Notre Dame took on a strong and technical Michigan State team two years removed from a national championship. The match took place on a soggy day, with a slick pitch that forced an uptempo style of play. Out of the gate, the Spartans brought intensity and physicality that was not met early on by the Irish. As the Irish settled into the game, however, they were able to keep up and even threaten the Spartans for a majority of the first half. Multiple quick passes at the top of the Spartans’ penalty box culminated in a hard strike from sophomore Peter McGrane that bounced off the post. Just before halftime, Irish junior co-captain, Ryan Bonner, ripped through Michigan State’s defense on a 40-yard run, only to have the ball stolen from his feet six yards from the net. Out of the gates in the second half, the Irish attacked with technical precision, led by a strong performance in the central midfield from sophomore Joseph Grady. He and freshman Kurt Roemer kept the ball moving around Michigan State’s defenders, creating space for others to operate. The Irish fell behind 1-0 after a Spartan free kick from just outside of the box found the side netting. The Irish kept fighting and eventually committed more men to the attack, before they were caught on a fast break from Michigan State, resulting in the Spartans’ second goal of the game. Despite a spirited performance, the Irish fell, 2-0.