ND Women’s Soccer
Notre Dame falls to UConn in NCAA tourney
Marek Mazurek | Monday, November 23, 2015
Notre Dame’s season came to an end Friday as the Irish fell 2-0 to Connecticut in the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament in Piscataway, New Jersey.
The No. 10 Irish (14-5-1, 6-4 ACC) had more shots on goal than the No. 18 Huskies (19-3, 8-1 AAC) by a 6-4 margin and earned nine corner kicks to UConn’s one. However, Husky junior forward Rachel Hill knocked two shots past Irish junior goalkeeper Kaela Little in the second half to lead the Huskies to victory.
“Overall we’re disappointed,” Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “We had much bigger aspirations than this. It was a very disappointing game. … It was a bit of a shock that it ended that way. We felt we were the better team, but at the end of the day, they were very opportunistic.”
Notre Dame dominated the first half, pounding UConn with five shots on goal, but junior UConn goalkeeper Emily Armstrong stopped them all to hold the Irish scoreless. Romagnolo said she was happy with her team’s performance in the first half.
“We played the game we’ve been playing,” Romagnolo said. “We were moving the ball well, we were getting people involved in the attack. Our forwards were going 1-vs.-1, we were switching the field well. And I think we were just playing well, something we’ve done all year.”
Hill broke the scoreless tie off a rebound in the 59th minute when Husky senior forward Linda Hines drilled a shot at Little. Little made the save, but Hill was in the right place to drive home the rebound.
The Irish created their best scoring opportunity of the night in the 80th minute when a shot from junior midfielder Sandra Yu deflected off a UConn player and almost trickled into the net, but Armstrong made a diving save to preserve her team’s lead.
Hill then capitalized on a fast break in the 82nd minute to seal the victory for the Huskies.
“To be honest, all she did on the first goal was run into the ball and get a deflection,” Romagnolo said. “She happened to be in the right spot at the right time. On the second goal she had a small window to get a shot off and she hit a great shot. I don’t think our keeper saw it in time to react.”
Six seniors played their last games for the Irish on Friday, including forwards Anna Maria Gilbertson and Mary Schwappach, midfielder Glory Williams and defenders Katie Naughton, Cari Roccaro and Brittany Von Rueden. Romagnolo said though the season is over, she is proud of her team.
“It’s a talented, awesome group to work with,” Romagnolo said. “I think this year we had great team culture. We played some of the best soccer that I’ve seen. Anna Maria [Gilbertson] had a great season, scoring 13 goals. Her senior leadership was phenomenal. Having [six] seniors on the field doing such a great job on the field but also being such great people that you want to lead your team. There were so many great positives and it was such a great team to work with.”