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Saturday, June 15, 2024
The Observer

Road trip ends in mixed results

A two-game road trip to Michigan this weekend ended with mixed results for the No. 6 Irish, as they tied Western Michigan 2-2 in double overtime and defeated Michigan State 2-0.

Play began Friday afternoon as the Broncos (3-1-1), representing the MAC, hosted the Irish (5-0-1).

Notre Dame dominated the shot total, besting Western Michigan 21-3, and also held the advantage in shots on goal 6-2.

Irish senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson scored her team-leading third goal of the season and sophomore forward Meghan Doyle notched her first career goal.

But it was not enough to come away victorious, as Broncos sophomore forward Emma Kahn made the most of her scoring opportunities, converting on both of her shots on goal to keep the game a draw.

Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said her team did not perform at its best.

“We lacked urgency in the back," Romagnolo said of the Irish defense. "We were lulled into a false sense of security and we allowed them to get back in the game.”

The Irish shooting barrage began in the 15th minute with a near miss off the crossbar from the foot of Gilbertson. However, in the 41st minute, the California native made good on her second shot.

Kahn answered with an unassisted goal of her own in the 63rd minute.

Three minutes later, Doyle maneuvered around a defender and beat the goalie. The goal appeared to be the game-winner due to the stifling Irish defense, but with 10 minutes left in regulation, Kahn tapped in a pass from junior forward Olivia Vollmers.

As they did in the first 90 minutes, the Irish controlled position in extra time and fired off five shots compared to none by the Broncos, but still could not break the stalemate.

The Irish rebounded Sunday afternoon in East Lansing. Gilbertson continued her hot start tallying her 4th goal of the season, while freshman forward Natalie Jacobs created some breathing room with her second goal of the season.

Romagnolo’s team was once again productive on offense, totaling 23 shots with eight on goal, and held Michigan State (3-1-1) to a single shot.

Gilbertson found the back of the goal in the 32nd minute with a strategically placed shot to the left of the keeper. The goal was another example of Gilbertson’s exceptional play, said Romagnolo.

“She is taking on players at the right time and this leads to higher percentage shots, but she still has the ability to hit the wonder shot," Romagnolo said. "She can score in so many different ways.”

The insurance came in the 54th minute on a cross from junior midfielder Sandra Yu to Jacobs. From 8 yards out, the freshman buried the ball in the bottom left corner.

The second-year coach said she determined to keep her team focused despite the early success.

“We don’t look at anyone as a lesser opponent," Romagnolo said. "We’re still developing, and the goal is to continue to improve regardless of who we play.”

The Irish look to continue their strong start as they host in-state foe Indiana (3-1-1) on Friday. The game will be held at Alumni Stadium and is slated to begin at 7 p.m.