ND Women’s Soccer
Irish top Demon Deacons on Simonian’s early goal
Greg Hadley | Sunday, September 28, 2014
No. 20 Notre Dame finished off the weekend with a flourish Sunday, capturing a 1-0 victory over Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.With the win, the Irish (7-3-1) moved to 2-1-0 in the ACC and avoided a letdown after their 2-0 upset of No. 2 Virginia Tech on Thursday.
“Every team in the ACC is strong,” Irish coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “You’ve got to make sure you bring the intensity and come ready to compete against them. We prepare for everybody the same way.”
That intensity was on display against the Demon Deacons (3-6-1, 1-2-0) early, as Notre Dame recorded the game’s first shot three minutes in and then drew two quick fouls.
On the restart of the second foul, junior defender Brittany Von Rueden found senior forward Karin Simonian, who buried a shot in the lower right corner of the net for her first goal of the season. The goal came in the sixth minute and held up as final margin of victory.
“We started the game well,” Romagnolo said. “We had a lot of opportunities, [and] we were all over them. I think that goal was a reward for the energy level that we brought to the game.”
Simonian also recorded an assist during the win against Virginia Tech, her first point of the year. She started both games for the Irish, the first time she has done so this season after starting 12 matches last year.
“She’s a fantastic player,” Romagnolo said. “She can score goals, she can [make plays and] she can play different positions for us. She’s just a key to our offense anywhere we put her.”
After the goal, Notre Dame shot the ball 14 more times, including 11 chances in the second half, but Wake Forest freshman goalkeeper Lindsay Preston made six saves to keep her team in the game.
“Something we talked out about was bringing more energy in the second half, and that’s something we did … ” Romagnolo said. “We didn’t have a goal … but we had a lot of opportunities for ourselves, and I thought their goalkeeper made some huge plays. We could’ve scored a lot more goals in that second half.”
On defense, the Irish were led once more by sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little, who collected four saves while posting her sixth shutout of the year, tied for first in the ACC.
“One thing I’m proud of is that we kept it strong in the back,” Romagnolo said. “We preserved that shutout.”Sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews, the team’s leading scorer, went down hard in the sixth minute of the game on a Wake Forest foul and spent several minutes on the sideline recovering before coming back in. Still, Andrews only played 47 minutes in the game, below her season average of 78.7. She also failed to record a shot.
“She’s been recovering from a little bit of sickness this weekend,” Romagnolo said. “And then she got clobbered early on in the game, so I think she wasn’t her full self in terms of strength in the game, but luckily for us, we’re a very deep team, and we have a lot of different players that can step up on any given day.”
The Irish have a full week off before they host one-loss and third-ranked Virginia on Sunday. The six days’ rest is the longest gap in Notre Dame’s schedule this season.
“The biggest thing [we’ll focus on] is being rested for the weekend,” Romagnolo said. “It’s always going to be about what we can do to opponents. Our strengths are holding on to the ball and creating opportunities for our forwards one-v-one. And then defensively, [we need to] stay disciplined.”
Notre Dame welcomes Virginia to Alumni Stadium next Sunday.