Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
The Observer

Griffin: Irish primed for sharp regular season

No. 11 Notre Dame (2-0-0) seems poised to continue its pattern of success this season, despite 11 freshmen and a new head coach. The team already had two strong wins against Illinois and Oakland over its opening weekend.

The team should get strong leadership from its more experienced players, especially its three captains: junior midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro, junior defender Katie Naughton and senior defender Sammy Scofield.

Senior forward Lauren Bohaboy also brings quite a bit of experience to the Notre Dame offense as the active career leader in goals at 20. She has two goals already in the regular season, as well as one goal in each of the two preseason games. Bohaboy has a history of starting seasons fast. Last year, she finished second on the team with seven goals, four of which came in August. The Irish still have two more games in August this year.

Sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews likely will get her share of goals as well after being named the ACC Freshman of the Year last year. She already has made a difference on the field this season with three assists in the first two games.

These crucial players will make the transition easier for coach Theresa Romagnolo, who arrives in South Bend after a three-year stint as the head coach for Dartmouth College in which she nearly led the Big Green to their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2005.

Between a legion of talented veterans, a group of freshmen ranked as the third-best recruiting class in the country and an eager new coach with a history of success, Notre Dame seems almost guaranteed to maintain a high rank and qualify for the NCAA championship for the 22nd consecutive time.

The biggest potential obstacle this year could be a challenging schedule. The Irish compete in a stacked ACC in which they were predicted to finish 6th in the coaches' preseason poll. The top eight teams in the ACC are all ranked in the top 25: Florida State, Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Duke, the Irish, Wake Forest and Boston College.

Still, a surplus of talent and depth leaves the Irish well-equipped to take on whatever the rest of the season holds in store for them. This year’s squad is fully capable of continuing the standard of excellence the Notre Dame program has established over the years.