ND Women’s Soccer
Irish advance record to 4-0 with dominant win over St. John’s
Liam Coolican | Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Notre Dame continued its positive momentum Sunday night, defeating St. John’s 4-0 at Alumni Stadium, their 4th consecutive win to begin the season. The Irish (4-0) stayed undefeated against their former Big East rivals, moving to 14-0 all-time against the Red Storm (1-3). Notre Dame controlled the game from start to finish, keeping possession of the ball for long stretches with clean, crisp passing.
St. John’s is a young team, starting five freshmen, and they did not attack very often in the first half. They packed the box with defenders, often having 10 players behind the ball, making it difficult for the Irish to get anything going offensively. At first, they seemed stymied. They fired cross after cross into the box, but all were defended well by the Red Storm.
St. John’s had a good chance early when a ball was passed through to freshman forward Isabelle Aviza in the eighth minute, who then only had the goalie to beat, but Irish sophomore goalkeeper Mattie Interian came up with a tackle to deny her. That was Interian’s only challenge of the game, as she did not have to make a single save. The Irish outshot the Red Storm 25-3, including 14 shots on target, while St. John’s had none. Notre Dame also possessed the ball for a solid 63% of the game, most of it in its own attacking half.
Head coach Nate Norman said he was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We found our rhythm early in the game. We really grew into the game; we were on the front foot and it gave us confidence to keep the ball,” he said. “Our spacing was very good, and we made sure we had good movement off the ball.”
Notre Dame finally broke through in the 35th minute when junior midfielder Camryn Dyke curled a shot in from 18 yards out, the first goal of her career. It was Notre Dame’s first goal in the first half this season, which Norman said was important.
“We haven’t had great first halves. We’ve shown a lot more in the second half, so I challenged them, ‘Let’s try to find our rhythm early in the game,’ and I felt like we did that,” he said. “That first goal was really important to go into the second half.”
Throughout the season, Notre Dame has been dominant in the first 15 minutes after the break, and that didn’t change Sunday. In the 50th minute, junior defender Jenna Winebrenner tapped in a volley off of a cross from sophomore midfielder Luisa Delgado. Then, eight minutes later, sophomore midfielder Brooke VanDyk scored from close range after the ball bounced around the box. She was assisted by junior midfielder Sammi Fisher and Delgado.
Norman credits his team’s depth as to why they are so dominant in the second half.
“As the game wears on, we settle into games,” he said. “I think our depth helps us out a lot; we’re able to play a lot of players, so we stay fresh when other teams start to wear down.”
Finally in the 77th minute, to conclude the scoring, sophomore forward Olivia Wingate headed the ball in off a corner kick by freshman midfielder Maddie Mercado, assisted by junior midfielder Kate O’Connor.
The Irish have a three-game road trip coming up, starting with the University of Michigan on Friday, Oakland University on Sunday and the University of South Carolina on Sept. 12 to play the No. 8 Gamecocks.