SOUTH BEND, Indiana – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team (3-0) is off to a strong start to the 2022 season and they will look to continue that trend at home on Sunday, August 28 against Illinois (3-0). The battle between two unbeatens begins at 4 pm ET inside Alumni Stadium. Reminder to all fans, admission is free throughout the season. For those unable to attend in person, the game will be broadcast live on ACCNX.
Also to note for fans at the venue on Sunday, don’t miss our post-game “Shoots on Goal,” where fans 8th grade and under can walk onto the field and take a shot on goal.
A 3-0 START
It’s been a great start to the 2022 season for the Irish, going 3-0 with a 7-0 goal total. The best part of the seven goals: It comes 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. Delving deeper, they average 11.33 shots on goal, which ranks them eighth nationally.
In addition, the Irish average 11.67 corner kicks per game, which places them first in the country.
For the fifth time in the show’s history and the first time since 2010, the Irishman has started the season with three consecutive shutout wins. The other cases and streaks include 1994 (3), 1995 (8), 2008 (4), 2010 (4).
More impressive than that, the Irish defense has only allowed a single shot into the net in three games, holding a 34-1 lead there. In terms of total shots, the Irish have a huge 68-3 advantage.
MAC HERMANN WATCH LIST
One of the main reasons for the success of the baseline is the central defender Eva Gaetino. Now, her success hasn’t gone unnoticed, as she was named to the Mac Hermann Trophy watch list. On August 18, United Soccer Coaches announced its 61 player nominees for soccer’s most prestigious award. The roster is reduced to 15 players on November 30.
The Irish return all but two starters from last year’s starting eleven, 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 freshman Leah Klenke.
The three starting defenders last year helped record an average of 0.963 goals. In total, the Irish defense allowed 22 goals from 97 shots into the net. The 22 goals were the fewest allowed in manager Norman’s tenure (not counting the shortened 2020 season due to Covid-19), and the fewest since 2016.
WIN NO. 100
When Notre Dame eliminated No. 19 Saint Louis on August 25 to improve to 3-0, it not only marked the team’s first ranked win of the year, but also the 100th career victory for coach Norman. Norman is in his fifth year with the Irish as head coach and in his 10th year overall having a head coach.
ALBERT SHINES WITH A FREE KICK GOAL
In Albert’s first game as a starter, the second-year midfielder made an instant impact, firing the game-winner in impressive fashion at St. Louis. Taking a free kick a few meters back from the top of the penalty arc, Albert bent the ball into the top left corner for the goal. The highlight can be seen by clicking on the following link:
Both Olivia Wingate and Maddie Mercado recorded their second career supports in the opening weekend. Wingate scored two goals 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 in goals with seven, while Mercado ranked fourth with five. Both goal totals were respective career bests for Wingate and Mercado.
A talented quartet of freshmen joins the Irish for the 2022 season: Leah Klenke, Berkley Mensik, Laney Matriano and Kiki Turner.
Klenke has started all three games for the Irish and Coach Norman has high praise for his talented newcomer: one of the best freshmen I’ve ever had here in terms of being ready for Game 1. She can play in any position.
And that’s exactly what he’s done so far, starting at both central midfield and left back, depending on the game. Klenke has recorded three points so far, scoring in the win over Marquette, then delivering a beautiful cross and setting up Mercado on the game-winner over Western Michigan.
Matriano has started two games this season in midfield and has already seen significant time. In the meantime, expect to see Mensik substituted late in the first half and show off his speed and skill on the ball.
RED, WHITE AND ALBERTO
Korbin Albert missed the first game of the season, but for good reason. She was in Costa Rica with the United States women’s junior team competing in the U-20 World Cup. Albert played in two games for Team USA before they were eliminated after failing to make it out of the group stage.
Albert made an immediate impact in his first official start for the Irish against Saint Louis on August 25, scoring the winner from a long-range free kick.
Albert was a game changer for the Irish in his debut 2021 season. In fact, Top Drawer Soccer listed Albert as one of the top 10 freshmen in Division I soccer in 2021. Albert finished with the second-highest number of team goals with 12, which tied for 13th all-time in program history for a freshman. . Albert also played his best football down the stretch, scoring eight of his goals in the last 11 games.
Lastly, Albert wasn’t the only Irishman to wear red, white and blue last summer, as Bri Martinez competed with the Under-23 team at the Tri Nations Championship in Sweden.
LOCAL PENN HIGHLIGHTS ARE BACK
Two graduate student transfers to the show return to their roots for their final season. Mackenzie Wood and Kristina Lynch, both from Granger, attended Penn High and won a state football title together.
Wood, a 5-9 goalie from Northwestern, will battle Ashley Naylor for the starting job. Expect to see both starting games early in the season.
Lynch, a 5-7 forward from Florida State, won NCAA titles with the Seminoles in both 2018 and 2021. She is currently recovering from an ankle injury and will miss the first few weeks.
VAN ZANTEN SEND JAMAICA TO THE WORLD CUP
It was a moment you dream of as a child, but on July 18 Kiki Van Zanten lived it. Competing with Team Jamaica during Concacaf Women’s Qualifying, Van Zanten was substituted in overtime against Costa Rica and scored the game-winning goal. As a result, Jamaica earned Concacaf bronze and a place in the 2023 Women’s World Cup. You can view the goal by copying the link below:
The run, the touch, the winning goal, the celebration!
Congratulations @kikivanzantenn! #GoIrish ☘️
— ND Women’s Soccer (@NDSoccer) July 19, 2022
HOME SWEET HOME
The Irish have made Alumni Stadium a difficult place for opposing programs to succeed. Since its inception in 2009, Notre Dame has gone 110-27-6, good for a .792 winning percentage. In fact, they have only given up one loss or more in six separate seasons.
Looking at just the last four years (counting this season as one year), the Irish are 24-4-2 at home.
Notre Dame went 10-1-1 during the 2021 campaign — its only loss was a 3-2 decision to Clemson in the ACC Tournament.