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ND Women’s Soccer

Notre Dame experiences rebuilding year after senior losses

| Friday, May 17, 2019

With the loss of Natalie Jacobs and Sandra Yu, Notre Dame had a rebuilding season under new head coach Nate Norman. The Irish (8-10, 4-6 ACC) consistently hovered around .500 and struggled to find their momentum throughout the season.

Beginning the season with three wins, two of which happened at Alumni Stadium, the team started hot, but eventually leveled out farther along in the season.

Individually, the scoring load was shouldered by fifth-year senior forward Karin Muya. Despite starting only six games, Muya played in all 18 games, scoring seven goals and assisting on one more. Equally impressive was Muya’s efficiency. Of her 21 shots during the season, 11 were on target.

Also of note were junior forward Jennifer Westendorf and graduate student defender Sabrina Flores, who led the team with five assists each. Westendorf also started 15 of the 17 games she played and scored four goals of her own throughout her junior campaign. Flores scored only once this season, but was a key contributor to the offense thanks to her distributing ability.

Annie Smierciak | The Observer
Irish graduate student forward Karin Muya dribbles past a defender during Notre Dame’s 4-0 loss to Florida State at home on Sept. 27.

On the defensive side, freshman goalkeeper Mattie Interian and junior goalkeeper Brooke Littman shared time throughout the season, starting eight and 10 games, respectively. The two combined for 62 saves on the season, stopping two-thirds of the shots on target they faced. In particular, Interian saved 35, while Littman saved 27. With both returning next season, and Interian a freshman, the team will rely on stability in the net for the foreseeable future.

Other performers stood out as well. Sophomore midfielder Sammi Fischer netted four goals and assisted on two more in 17 games. Her fellow sophomore, forward Eva Hurm, also assisted on two goals, scoring just one less. Hurm, like Fischer, played in 17 games, starting 16 of them. Freshman midfielder Brooke VanDyck also scored twice and assisted once throughout the season.

After struggling throughout the regular season against non-conference matchups and failing to mount a solid comeback against ACC competition, the Irish didn‘t qualify for postseason play. Their season ultimately ended on Senior Night, losing 2-0 to Duke.

While this season fell short of historical expectations for the program, the youthful core of Notre Dame gives Norman plenty of tools to work with going forward.

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