ND Women’s Soccer
ND heads to Texas for NCAAs
Renee Griffin | Thursday, November 20, 2014
No. 12 Notre Dame plays Texas on Friday in the second round of the NCAA championship tournament at Texas A&M’s Ellis Field in College Station, Texas.
A last-minute goal gave the fourth-seeded Irish (13-5-2, 7-2-1 ACC) a 1-0 win over Valparaiso at home last weekend in the tournament’s first round. Notre Dame coach Theresa Romagnolo said despite the dramatic ending, a repeat of the team’s performance in that game would bode well for the Irish.“Any time you can score early and often, you’re always going to feel better, but at the end of the day if we play as well as we did against Valparaiso, I’d feel good about it,” Romagnolo said. “We really did a good job of keeping them out of the box. Hopefully when we stay focused on our game the goals will follow.”
Romagnolo said Texas (11-7-4, 4-4-0 Big XII), which defeated Rice 3-0 in its first-round matchup, poses as much of a challenge as any other team they could face in the postseason.
“They’re a good team and they’ve got a lot of quality players,” Romagnolo said. “They’ve had a lot of success over the course of season. Like every team we’re going to play from here on out, they’re going to be very competitive because each team knows any game could be its last.”
Texas boasts a 32-19 goal margin total over its opponents over 22 matches this season, and the Irish defense is coming off a shutout of Valparaiso in which they allowed only one shot. To combat the Longhorns’ strengths, the Irish will need to stay on the attack for much of the game, Romagnolo said.
“Texas has found a way to get results, but if we get a hold of the ball and move the ball, we’ll have the opportunity to do well,” Romagnolo said. “They have a couple players with some good height, so we need to limit their opportunities and watch those long throw-ins and overall just keep possession of the ball.”
Notre Dame took 25 shots against Valparaiso but was only able to put one in the back of the net when sophomore forward Kaleigh Olmsted found herself open at the top of the box at the 89:10 mark for a perfect cross from junior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson for the latest goal in Notre Dame postseason history. Romagnolo said the ability to finish will be a major factor in beating Texas.
“The number one thing to focus on is competing and making sure we get chances in the box and take advantage of all the good scoring opportunities we can get,” Romagnolo said.
The winner of the match will face either No. 1 seed Texas A&M or Arizona. Romagnolo said the team’s mentality stays the same regardless of which round it is or what opponent it is facing.
“We’re taking this one game at a time, and we approach every game like it’s a championship,” Romagnolo said. “We’ve just got to keep that cutthroat mentality.”
The Irish take on the Longhorns in College Station, Texas, on Friday at 3 p.m. If they advance, they will play in the round of 16 on Sunday, also in College Station.