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Monday, May 20, 2024
The Observer

ND Women's Soccer: On Their Way

Notre Dame opened the NCAA Tournament with a statement — two, actually — by winning its first two games by a combined score of 11-1 at Alumni Stadium this weekend.

The No. 2-seeded Irish (19-3-1) hosted IUPUI (17-5) in the first round of the tournament Friday, and shut the Jaguars out 5-0 behind a combined effort in goal from junior goaltender Nikki Weiss and senior goaltender Kelsey Lysander. Sophomore forward

Melissa Henderson led the offensive support by netting two goals and senior defender Haley Ford scored a goal and also had an assist.

"We're still playing, so that means it was a good weekend," Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. "When you can shut the opponent out, it gives you that added confidence to bring into the next round's game."

In the next round, Henderson gave Notre Dame a lead over Central Michigan after only two and a half minutes of play when junior forward Taylor Knaack's shot bounced off the crossbar perfectly into place for Henderson to head it past Chippewa junior goalie Shay Mannino. Henderson finished the day with four goals, including a hat trick in the first half, as the Irish won 6-1.

"She had an amazing weekend," Waldrum said. "There was nobody on either of the teams we played this weekend that could deal with her and her speed, her strength and her finishing moves."

Senior forward Rachel VanderGenugten scored the first two goals of her career over the weekend, one in each game, and sophomore midfielder Ellen Jantsch added one against IUPUI, as did junior forward Rose Augustin against Central Michigan. Augustin scored on a free kick, in which instead of lofting the ball over the defending wall and hopefully past the goalie, she fired a shot beneath the jumping defending wall, and Mannino barely made a play on it, as she never expected the low shot.

Notre Dame dominated both contests, outshooting the Jaguars by a margin of 26-11, and also holding a shots on goal advantage of 14-5. Against the Chippewas the Irish held a shots on goal advantage of 13-4 while outshooting them 26-5.

"We came out real well," Waldrum said. "Friday night at halftime we were able to rest most of our starters, and the same thing at the end of [Sunday]. We were really pleased we were able to do that and stay healthy."

Central Michigan was making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament in program history, and defeated No. 24 Purdue 2-0 to advance to face the Irish.

Notre Dame will next face Oregon State Friday at Alumni Stadium. The Beavers upset No.3-seed Florida Sunday, and, also in the Irish regional, Texas A&M beat No.4-seed LSU in a shootout. The Irish tried not to focus on seeds or upset possibilities, Waldrum said.

"The game itself is going to be a pressure game because it is playoffs," he said. "We really try not to talk about the seeding part of it because that'll put on stress. We just try to come in prepared to play the game itself."