ND Women’s Soccer
Irish sweep West Coast foes at Notre Dame Invitational
Marek Mazurek | Monday, August 31, 2015
Over the weekend, the Irish erased bad memories from last year’s Notre Dame Invitational as they beat Santa Clara and Portland 2-1 and 2-0, respectively.
On Friday against Santa Clara, the name of the game was patience as the Irish had to come back from an early 1-0 deficit. Junior forward Kaleigh Olmsted scored in the 36th minute off of an assist from freshman forward Natalie Jacobs and then, after an extended period of pressure, senior forward Glory Williams drove home a goal with less than 10 minutes to play.
Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said the team stuck to the game plan despite conceding the early goal in order to pull out the victory.
“We responded great,” Romagnolo said. “We responded the same way we had been playing from the start of the game. We were attacking, things just hadn’t fallen for us yet. We had a lot of opportunities, the halftime stats were 15 shots to 1. We did make a mistake in the back (defensively), but we didn’t let it change what we were doing.”
Even though the Irish only allowed one shot on goal against the Broncos, that shot ended up being a goal. Romagnolo said the goal against was a teachable moment.
“We never want to allow goals,” Romagnolo said. “But I do think it was a good teaching moment for us. Our goal is to continue to learn and get better over the course of the season so that we’re peaking towards the end.
“The fact that it gave us a teaching moment, we were able to come from behind and get the result, they’re all good things. And then we had to win a tight game, which we haven’t had to do yet. I think they were all positives and all good experiences for us.”
On Sunday, the Irish controlled the game from the outset against the Pilots. In the first half, Notre Dame dominated time of possession, but failed to find the back of the net. Romagnolo said the adjustments her team made at halftime helped the Irish break through in the second half.
“We talked a little bit about [Portland’s] system,” Romagnolo said. “I think we were having a little bit of trouble finding the ball in their system. We haven’t really seen that system that much. We talked about the shape and how to find the ball. I thought in the first half we were being too direct. I wanted to see us break them down more, and I felt that we did that come the second half.”
It was only four minutes into the second half before the Irish broke down the Pilots’ defense when senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson broke away from a Portland defender off a feed from Jacobs and blasted a shot past the goalkeeper to put the Irish up 1-0.
The Irish comfortably controlled possession for the rest of the second half and following a chaotic sequence in front of the Pilots’ net, sophomore midfielder Sabrina Flores scored on a shot to lower left corner of the goal in the 85th minute to seal the victory.
Romagnolo said both goals came because of good movement by her team.
“Moving the ball, moving for each other,” Romagnolo said. “It was a hot first half, and I think we got caught standing and doing the first thing that we saw. We tried to keep the ball more and started moving more.”
Romagnolo also said with the Notre Dame Invitational behind it, the team’s focus is on getting better before its game against Western Michigan, whom the Irish play Friday in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“I think we need to improve on breaking a team down,” Romagnolo said. “In that final third [of the field], we can get a little more polished. I like that we’re getting to the final third, but it’s just the decision-making in that final pass that I think we can get a little sharper on.”