Megan Golden | September 7, 2017
The University of Notre Dame women's soccer team used a second-half surge to top Santa Clara (2-3-1) 4-1 in a bounce-back victory on Sunday at Alumni Stadium.
The Irish (3-1-2) closed play in the Notre Dame Invitational with their third win of the season and second victory at home.
Irish defender and co-captain Monica Flores made her first start of the season, giving the Irish an extra body in the back line just two days after Notre Dame's lineup saw Sabrina Flores in the midfield. Monica Flores provided a spark for the Irish, bringing up the ball on the right side and pushing the attack up the field throughout the match.
"Overall, this was a huge step for the team moving forward," Monica Flores said. "This weekend brought some true tests; we played top-25 opponents.
"Friday, we were knocking on the door and had a pretty okay performance and definitely improved and grew, but we still had some good learning points, and we didn't finish.
"Today, we faced another great opponent and to get the result we did was incredible. That's the way it should be, and we shouldn't settle for less."
Notre Dame's offense had nine shots to Santa Clara's zero within the first 20 minutes of the match. The Irish, particularly sophomore Jennifer Westendorf, graduate student Sandra Yu, and freshmen Eva Hurm and Sammi Fisher, were making cuts in and out of the box, overwhelming the Broncos defense early.
The Irish were called offsides twice in the first half, evidence of their strong attack on Santa Clara in the first 45 minutes.
Santa Clara had back-to-back corner kicks at roughly the 26-minute mark, but junior Rachel Heard and the Irish defense limited the Broncos opportunities in the first period. Santa Clara concluded the second half with four shots.