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Sports

Notre Dame women’s soccer adds Ashley Zugay as graduate transfer for 2022

| Thursday, February 24, 2022

On Tuesday Notre Dame women’s soccer announced the addition of Ashley Zugay as a graduate transfer for the 2022 season. 

Zugay joins the Irish on the back of a four year, 65 game career at Nebraska, where she featured as an outside back for the Huskers. Though it will remain unclear until summer where precisely she will play in Nate Norman’s 3-5-2 formation, it seems likely that Zugay will play as part of the five midfielders, specifically as one of the system’s wide wingbacks.

Zugay’s record certainly appears to be one that will make her well-suited for such a role. With the Huskers, the Ann Arbor, MI native was entrusted with a great deal of ground to cover on the pitch- a role she filled with aplomb. Capable of getting forward and putting in crosses as well as dropping deeper to defend, Zugay compliments a diverse skill set with strong stamina. A strong, willing tackler, her four years of playing in the hard-nosed Big Ten could be an asset on an Irish team that often lacked physicality in late game battles.

Even though her precise role in the Notre Dame lineup has yet to be announced, Zugay will face competition in the form of senior defender Brianna Martinez and junior forward Kati Druzina on either side of the field. Both Martinez and Druzina played key roles in an Irish defense that found strong form towards the end of the season. Notre Dame’s defense only conceded 22 goals in 2021, a program low in head coach Nate Norman’s tenure. No matter the division of minutes between the above three options (as well as freshman defender Katie Coyle, who showed promise as a rookie before injury), the Irish now hold a great deal of talent and depth at both wingback spots heading into 2022.

Looking ahead, the only spots in the Notre Dame lineup where Norman might explore the transfer portal further for additions remain striker and defensive midfield. With no clear incumbent second striker next to senior forward Olivia Wingate and no incumbent replacement for graduate student midfielder Camryn Dike, the portal could prove an interesting way for the Irish to bolster the squad for the 2022 campaign.

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