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Holy Cross soccer program gears up for men’s, women’s weekend games

| Friday, August 26, 2022

The Holy Cross soccer season will enter full swing Saturday when both the men’s and women’s squads take the field at home for the Saints. 

It will be women’s soccer to start off the doubleheader, taking on Indiana University East in a 2 p.m. tilt. The Saints have played a pair of games already this year, both of which ended in draws. A 3-3 tie with Bethel and a 2-2 affair with Indiana University Kokomo represent the first two games of a four-game homestand for Holy Cross.

The one thread that has tied those two games together has been goals from senior midfielder Nicole Cook. The former Florida Gulf Coast transfer tallied twice against Bethel and again found the back of the net to equalize early on against IU-Kokomo. 

Another constant on the scoresheet for the Saints has been Cook’s fellow senior midfielder, Lauren Cernak. The South Bend native has notched assists in each of Holy Cross’ first two games this year and also found the back of the net herself against Bethel. Her goal and assist against Bethel helped lead a three-goal second half by the Saints as the squad pushed their way back from a 3-0 halftime deficit.

Taylor Primack should also be another constant at the goalkeeper for Holy Cross, with the sophomore netminder looking to improve off an impressive freshman season. As a rookie, she made 110 saves and set a program record with eight shutouts on the year. 

On the men’s side of things Juan Perez seems primed to lead the Saint line after a productive freshman season as well as an opening day tally against Bethel. Though the Saints fell to the Pilots 6-1, Perez did score a goal off a feed from senior midfielder Elmin Ejup to level the scoring in the 24th minute. 

One thing to keep an eye out for on Saturday will be who gets the nod in goal for the Saints. Sophomore Claudio Fuentealba got the start against Bethel last week but was pulled late in the game in favor of freshman Isaias Rubio. Rubio let in a goal on the only shot on target he faced, but his insertion into the game late on could be indicative of a willingness from head coach Omar Gallo to swap out his starter from last season.

The scoreline against a ranked Bethel opponent is unlikely to be indicative of Holy Cross’ performance the rest of the way this season. The Saints lost their opener to the Pilots in 2021 before rebounding to end the season 11-6-3. 

Saturday offers the Saints a prime chance to start the season on a hot streak, with them continuing a three-game homestand that comes in the midst of four of their first five games being played in South Bend. Expect Holy Cross to look for a statement victory against an Indiana University East team that they defeated 6-1 last season.

Holy Cross women’s and men’s soccer will play back to back on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. Both games will be played at Saints Field in South Bend and live streams for both games will be available on the Holy Cross website.

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About J.J. Post

J.J. Post is a junior in Fisher Hall. Hailing from Mountainside, New Jersey, he's currently working his way towards being the nation's foremost expert on college soccer. Whether via the button below or his overly active Twitter (@JayJayPost), feel free to reach out and talk about Notre Dame soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, baseball or softball. Or any other Notre Dame sport you can think of. Odds are he watches it as well.

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