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ND Women’s Soccer

Postseason play to begin for ND

| Thursday, November 6, 2014

After a top-four finish in the ACC regular season, Notre Dame begins its second season Friday night when it travels to Greensboro, North Carolina, to face Florida State in the semifinals of the ACC championships.

The Irish (12-4-2, 7-2-1 ACC), seeded fourth, will face top-seeded Florida State (16-1-1, 9-0-1) in a game Irish coach Theresa Romagnolo characterized as both a prize for a strong season and a potential resume-booster for the upcoming NCAA tournament.

“I think the ACC tournament is kind of a nice reward for playing well over the course of the regular season,” Romagnolo said. “We’re going to go out there and try to get some results because we know all we can do is put us into an even better position heading into the NCAA tournament.”

The Irish will enter the tournament coming off a strong end to the regular season. Notre Dame has won five of its last six games and hasn’t lost since Oct. 5, when the Irish fell to Virginia.

Notre Dame also received good news Thursday, when it was announced that six players have received all-ACC accolades.

Junior midfielder Cari Roccaro earned first-team all-ACC honors for the third consecutive season, while junior defender Katie Naughton and sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews earned second-team all-conference honors. Senior forward Lauren Bohaboy and sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little made the all-ACC third team, and freshman defender Sabrina Flores rounded out the selections on the ACC’s all-freshman squad.

The team’s recent successes are a testament to its improvement over the course of the season, Romagnolo said.

“I think we’ve improved a lot over the course of the season,” she said. “… I think we’ve just continued to evolve and get better, which is something I’m really proud of, and we want to continue to keep improving over the course of this final season we’re entering.”

Florida State was also well recognized when ACC accolades were announced, as the Seminoles captured many of the conference’s major awards. Florida State coach Mark Krikorian was named ACC Coach of the Year, while senior midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir was selected the ACC Offensive Player of the Year.

The Iceland native is tied for second in the ACC with 13 goals, scoring an average of 0.87 goals per game.

“She’s definitely a good player,” Romagnolo said of Brynjarsdottir. “She gets forward a lot, so we just need to be aware of where she is at all times and make sure somebody’s picking her up when she comes into the zone.”

Florida State senior defender Kristin Grubka was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Grubka serves as the centerpiece of a Seminoles defense that allowed only eight goals in 18 regular-season games. The Seminoles allowed more than one goal in a game this season only twice — one of those occurrences was their 2-1 loss on Sept. 5 to in-state rival Florida, the nation’s No. 8 team.

Romagnolo said the Irish will plan to attack Florida State’s defense with the same strategy they’ve used all season.

“We can do the things we do well. … Try to get it outside and serve it into the box,” she said. “Really, we need our attacking players to step up and look to get shots off and crash the box.”

There are three areas the Irish need to key in on if they want to defeat Florida State and move onto Sunday’s championship game, Romagnolo said.

“Defensively, we need to makes sure we’re very organized, and we’re committed to keeping them in front of us,” she said. “I think, number two, we need to make sure we’re winning the 50-50 [balls], so we can establish possession, and I think the third thing from me would just be bringing a quality finish to the attack.”

Notre Dame and Florida State will play Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the UNCG Soccer Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina. The winner of the match will advance to play the winner of North Carolina and Virginia on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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About Brian Hartnett

Brian Hartnett is a senior marketing major and journalism, ethics and democracy minor. The Carroll Hall resident hails from Clark, New Jersey and covers Notre Dame football, as well as other University topics.

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