SOUTH PLIAGE, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team (3-0) has had a strong start to the 2022 season, and they will look to continue that trend at home on Sunday, Aug. 28 against Illinois (3-0). The battle between two unbeaten starts at 4 p.m. ET inside the Alumni Stadium. Reminder to all fans, admission is free all season long. For those unable to attend in person, the game will be streamed live on ACCNX.
Also of note for fans on site on Sunday, don’t miss our post-game “Shoot-Out”, where fans in grades 8 and under can come onto the field and shoot on goal.
A START 3-0
It was a great start to the 2022 season for the Irish, going 3-0 with a 7-0 aggregate. The best part of the seven goals came from five different players: Wingate (2), Mercado (2), Klenke, Fisher and Albert.
Notre Dame is averaging an impressive 22.67 shots per game, which ranks it 10th nationally. Diving further, they average 11.33 shots on goal, which ranks them 8th nationally.
Moreover, the Irish take an average of 11.67 corners per game, which ranks them first in the country.
For the fifth time in program history and the first time since 2010, the Irish have started the season with three straight shutout wins. Other instances and sequences include 1994 (3), 1995 (8), 2008 (4), 2010 (4).
More impressive than that, the Irish defense allowed just one shot on goal in three games, with a 34-1 advantage there. Overall, the Irish have a massive 68-3 advantage.
MAC HERMANN WATCH LIST
Central back Eva Gaetino is one of the main reasons for the backline’s success. Now, her success has not gone unnoticed as she has been named to the Mac Hermann Trophy watch list. On August 18, United Soccer Coaches announced their 61 players for football’s most prestigious award. The roster is reduced to 15 players on November 30.
The Irish return to all but two starters from last year’s starting XI, losing only their two central midfielders in Camryn Dyke and Brook VanDyck. So, the entire backline defense of Wirtz, Gaetino and Hudson is back, plus the addition of rookie Leah Klenke.
Last year, all three starting defensemen helped post a .963 goals-against average. In total, the Irish defense allowed 22 goals with 97 shots on goal. The 22 goals were the fewest allowed in coach Norman’s tenure (not including the shortened 2020 season due to Covid-19), and the fewest since 2016.
WIN NO. 100
When Notre Dame knocked out No. 19 Saint Louis on August 25 to improve to 3-0, it not only marked the team’s first ranking win of the year, but also the No. 100 career win for Coach Norman. Norman is in his fifth year with the Irish as a head coach and his 10th year overall at a head coach.
ALBERT SHINES WITH A GOAL FROM A FREE KICK
In Albert’s first game as a starter, the sophomore midfielder made an instant impact, returning the winner in impressive fashion to St. Louis. Taking a free kick just yards from the top of the penalty arc, Albert bent the ball into the top left corner for the goal. The highlight can be viewed by clicking on the link below:
Olivia Wingate and Maddie Mercado recorded their second career double on opening weekend. Wingate scored twice against Marquette, while Mercado delivered both through the air and on the ground with two against Western Michigan.
Wingate ranked third on the team last year with seven goals, while Mercado ranked fourth with five. Both of those goal totals were respective career highs for Wingate and Mercado.
A talented freshman quartet join the Irish for the 2022 season: Leah Klenke, Berkley Mensik, Laney Matriano and Kiki Turner.
Klenke started all three games for the Irish and coach Norman was full of praise for his talent: one of the best freshmen I’ve had here in terms of preparing for the first game. She can play any position.
And that’s exactly what she’s done so far, starting at both center and left-back depending on the game. Klenke has recorded three points so far, scoring in the win over Marquette and then delivering a fine cross and assist to Mercado in the game-winner against Western Michigan.
Matriano has started in two games this season in midfield and has seen plenty of time already. Meanwhile, expect to see Mensik replaced late in the first half and show off his speed and prowess on the ball.
RED, WHITE AND ALBERT
Korbin Albert missed the season opener, but for good reason. She was in Costa Rica with the United States Women’s National Youth Team competing in the U20 World Cup. Albert played two games for Team USA before being knocked out after failing to make it out of the group stage.
Albert had an immediate impact on his first official start for the Irish against Saint Louis on August 25, scoring a winner from a free kick from range.
Albert was a game-changer for the Irish in his first 2021 season. In fact, Top Drawer Soccer ranked Albert as one of the top 10 freshmen in Division I football in 2021. Albert finished with the second most the team’s tally of goals with 12, which is tied for 13th all-time in program history for a freshman. . Albert has also played his best football down the stretch, scoring eight of his goals in the last 11 games.
Finally, Albert wasn’t the only Irishman to don the red, white and blue last summer, as Bri Martinez competed with the U23 side at the Three Nations Tournament in Sweden.
RETURN OF LOCAL PENN OUTSTANDERS
Two graduate students transferred into the program are returning home for their final season. Mackenzie Wood and Kristina Lynch, both of Granger, attended Penn High and won a state football title together.
Wood, a 5-9 Northwestern goaltender, will face Ashley Naylor for the starting spot. Expect to see the two starting games at the start of the season.
Lynch, a 5-7 forward for Florida State, won NCAA titles with the Seminoles in 2018 and 2021. She is currently recovering from an ankle injury and will miss the first few weeks.
VAN ZANTEN SENDS JAMAICA TO THE WORLD CUP
It was a moment we dreamed of when we were little, but on July 18, Kiki Van Zanten lived it. Competing with the Jamaican team in the Women’s Concacaf Qualifier, Van Zanten was substituted in extra time against Costa Rica and scored the winning goal. As a result, Jamaica won Concacaf bronze and a place in the 2023 Women’s World Cup. You can watch the goal by copying the link below:
The run, the touch, the game-winner, the party!
— ND Women’s Soccer (@NDSoccer) July 19, 2022
THE SOFTNESS OF HOME
The Irish have made the Alumni Stadium a difficult venue for opposing programs. Since its inception in 2009, Notre Dame has posted a 110-27-6 record, good for a .792 winning percentage. In fact, they’ve only conceded one loss or better in six separate seasons.
Looking at just the past four years (counting this season as one year), the Irish are 24-4-2 at home.
Notre Dame went 10-1-1 in the 2021 campaign — its only loss was a 3-2 decision to Clemson in the ACC Tournament.