The Notre Dame College women’s soccer team won its home opening game against Wheeling Jesuit University by a score of 3-1 with aggressive play on both ends of the field.
Solid defensive play and disruptive ball hawking by a defense led by senior Riley Doyle helped freshman goalkeeper Kyra McDowell earn her second win of the season. Head coach Mike Shiels said that the organized manic play of his team is nothing new.
“I think it’s kind of the expectation for our players,” Shiels said. “It looks like that in training and it carries over into games. Against good teams you have to play at a high level the whole time on both ends.”
Both ends did have things rolling as the offense attempted 24 shots with 15 on goal. WJU goalkeeper Hannah Thompson did her best to stop the Falcons, making several key saves, but it ended up being too much.
“[Twenty-four is] a lot,” Shiels said. “We played alright in our first game, there was a bit of a stop and start, but I thought we played better today. There was more flow to what we were doing and that resulted in more shots.”
Senior Jackie Corrigan was able to get off five shots on goal, but was unable to covert with Thompson making impressive plays in the goal.
The first score of the game came off of another strong play from Thompson, stopping a shot taken by Katarina Doncevic, but Alyssa Soltis rebounded the save and scored on an empty net. Doncevic was credited with her first assist of the season.
After taking a 1-0 lead into the break, Jenny Soegaard, of the Cardinals, attempted a rainbow shot from 30 yards out that just passed over McDowell’s hands to tie the game 1-1 just 30 seconds into the second half.
The Falcons kept the pressure going against WJU and earned two unassisted goals to result in the final 3-1 score.
Senior Alexis Manoa was the first NDC player to find the net in the second half. With some smooth footwork, Manoa deked her defender for a clean shot in the 60th minute.
Freshman Janelle Bernal scored her second goal of the season with less than eight minutes to go by driving past an opponent to shoot with just the goalkeeper in her way. The ball rolled past the outstretched hands of Thompson to put the Falcons on the board again.
“I originally planned on kicking the ball by her and using my speed to get by, but I realized since she was so close to me it wouldn’t work,” Bernal said. “I stopped the ball, like a fake to take it by her and get a goal in.”
Bernal, who calls her speed a ‘super strength’ is making a name for herself early on with two goals in two games.
“She can move,” Shiels said. “She just puts herself in good places. Being fast on top of that creates a lot of opportunities.”
Notre Dame will travel to Charleston this Sunday, September 10, for their third game of the year. The start of that game is set for 1 p.m.