ND Women’s Soccer
Naughton tallies score, Irish tie Boston College
Greg Hadley | Sunday, November 2, 2014
No. 9 Notre Dame wrapped up its regular season Saturday night with a hard-fought 1-1 tie against Boston College in Newton, Massachusetts.
With the draw, the Irish (12-4-2, 7-2-1 ACC) remain unbeaten on the road this season, with a mark of 6-0-2. The team has not lost a match since its Oct. 5 matchup against Virginia.
Before the opening whistle against the Eagles (10-8-1, 3-6-1), the Irish were already locked in fourth place in the ACC and had clinched a spot in the conference tournament, as well as an almost-guaranteed berth in the NCAA championship.
Despite the low stakes of the game, Irish coach Theresa Romagnolo said her team had no trouble getting motivated to end the regular season strong.
“We have a group that gets up for every game we play. It doesn’t take a lot on my behalf,” she said. “We have great leadership and great motivation for individuals to show up and perform every time they step on the field.”
Over the previous five games, the Irish had been on an offensive tear, outscoring their opponents, 11-0. However, conditions Saturday put a limit on both teams’ ability to generate many chances, as they faced rain and temperatures in the low 40s.
“Boston College has a nice, new turf field,” Romagnolo said. “So we were able to keep the ball on the floor and move the ball pretty well in the rain. Overall, I was pretty happy with how we were able to play in a downpour all game.”
Overall, the Irish outshot the Eagles, 18-9, and held the advantage in shots on goal as well, 8-3. Early on, however, Notre Dame managed just five shots and converted on none of them.
As the game wore on, the offense increased its pressure, recording seven shots in the second half and six total in the 20-minute overtime period. The Irish defense contributed as well, shutting down the Eagles in overtime, not allowing a single shot and pushing forward towards midfield.
“We kept the ball moving, created a lot of opportunities to score,” Romagnolo said. “We went out to try and win the game [in overtime], and I was really happy with the way we attacked.”
The lone goal for the Irish came in the 63rd minute on one of their 10 corner kicks on the night. Junior defender Brittany Von Rueden served the ball into the six-yard box, where it found the head of junior captain and defender Katie Naughton.
It was Naughton’s fourth goal on the season, all of which have come off corners. It also marked Von Rueden’s fourth assist on the year, good for second on the team.
The Eagles, who rank in the top five for scoring offense in the ACC and feature the conference’s top goal-scorer in sophomore forward Hayley Dowd, managed just three shots in the first half and none in the overtime period. Dowd had one shot, not on goal, in 105 minutes of play.
“Defensively, we were pretty solid,” Romagnolo said. “I thought we performed pretty well.”
In the 79th minute, Irish sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little surrendered her lone goal of the night, snapping her streak of 706 scoreless minutes in goal. After Little made two consecutive saves, a rebound off the crossbar found the foot of Eagles freshman defender Allyson Swaby, who scored her first collegiate goal from close range.
“It was definitely the sort of goal we can avoid,” Romagnolo said. “We lost our marks for a split second. … I think it was a good opportunity to remind ourselves of taking care of the little details and the things we need to do in order to get a shutout.”
Looking ahead, the Irish have the week off before they travel to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the ACC championship on Friday. There, they will face No. 2 Florida State, who claimed the regular-season conference title.
“At the end of the day, [we] want to be great, every opportunity that we can,” Romagnolo said. “Every game is an opportunity to make a statement about what we can achieve this year.”
The Irish and Seminoles square off at UNCG Soccer Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Friday.