Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 19, 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 50 of 55 SEPT. 19, 2016 51 ND SPORTS BY DAVID MCKINNEY O n Sept. 3, the Notre Dame men's golf team opened the season with an impressive 27-stroke victory in the team's annual Kickoff Challenge at the Warren Golf Course in South Bend. The Irish finished 11 strokes under par, setting a new program record in 36-hole tournament play. The previous record was 6-under. Leading the way for the Irish was freshman John Felitto, who shot a first-round 70 and followed it up with a second-round 65 to finish with a 7-under 135 and earn medalist honors for the tournament. "It was really satisfying because I came into today knowing I needed to shoot some low numbers in order to qualify for our first full team event next weekend at the Olympic Club," Felitto said. "Everyone is playing really well. I'm just glad I was able to get the win." Notre Dame had four players fin- ish in the top five. Freshman Hunter Ostrom came in third with a 4-under 138. Junior Thomas Steve and senior Matt Rushton tied for fourth with a 3-under 139. Head coach Jim Kubinski said he wasn't surprised to see the two fresh- men perform so well. "We knew coming in, based on their play the last 12 months, they were go- ing to be tough to beat," Kubinski said. "John shooting 135 is really strong play on this golf course. We're proud of those guys in their first tournament." Next on the schedule for the Irish is the University of San Francis- co's Olympic Club Intercollegiate Sept. 12-13. ✦ Men's Golf Dominates Season-Opening Tournament CROSS COUNTRY Both the men and the women started the 2016 season with a dominant performance in the Crusader Open Sept. 2 in Valparaiso, Ind. For the No. 14-ranked Irish women, five runners took the top five spots in the 5,000-meter race. Sophomore Annie Heffernan (18:47.7) finished first, followed by junior Sydney Foreman (18:48.7), fifth-year senior Danielle Aragon (18:49.9), sophomore Rachel DaDamio (18:51.5) and junior Kaitlin Frei (18:51.9). The Notre Dame men took the first six spots in their race. Junior Billy Dolan (19:29.3) led the way, followed by sophomore Anthony Williams (19:31.6), senior Jacob Dumford (19:32.2), freshman Kevin Salvano (19:32.4), junior John Flannery (19:39.5), junior Kirk Hansen (20:15.7) and senior Grant Koch (20:55.4). MEN'S SOCCER (3-0-0) The No. 4 Irish picked up a pair of top-25 wins in Bloomington, Ind., during the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic Sept. 2-3 at Armstrong Stadium. The first victory came in dramatic fashion, with the Irish rallying from a 1-0 deficit to force overtime against defending national champion and No. 15 Stanford. At the 104-minute mark, senior defender Brandon Aubrey scored on a free kick to give Notre Dame the 2-1 double-overtime win. "Nothing much intimidates the big man, even right from the start of the game," head coach Bobby Clark said of Aubrey. "Stanford is a very direct team, they knock everything forward, play a territorial game and get every- thing into your half. Brandon was fantastic when they would knock the ball in, his heading was superb." The second win of the weekend was a less stressful one — the Irish coasted to a 5-0 victory over No. 22 Cal. WOMEN'S SOCCER (5-1-0) Notre Dame's defense has been lights out so far in 2016. On Sept. 4, the No. 23 Irish beat visiting Missouri 1-0 to record their third straight shutout victory. Two days earlier, Notre Dame recorded another 1-0 win, this time over Illinois State. In the Missouri game, the decisive goal came from talented freshman for- ward Jennifer Westendorf. Junior forward Kaitlin Klawunder was the hero of the Illinois State game, netting the winning goal in the 41st minute. So far in 2016, senior goalkeeper Kaela Little has allowed just three goals in six games. "We're a young team, so we're learning what we're going to do," head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. "I feel like now we have a standard to bring to each game, which is nice. Our defense has grown a lot." The coach added that she thinks better attention to detail has had a posi- tive impact on the season. "We have better decision-making," Romagnolo said. "We're taking care of the ball. I think early on we were starting the other team's attack a lot of times with some bad passes. … Now, we're doing a much better job of bypassing the pressure and finding our players." VOLLEYBALL (4-2) After getting off to their first 3-0 start in five years, the Irish cooled off a bit, dropping two of the three matches while hosting the Shamrock Invitational Sept. 2-3. On the first day, Notre Dame was swept 3-0 by Costal Carolina. The next day, the Irish beat Howard 3-2 but was swept 3-0 by eventual tournament champion Purdue in the second match of a doubleheader. "There's a lot of stuff we have to get better at," head coach Jim McLaughlin said. "The kids understand that. As we get better at those things, the process of improving continues. "Number one, we played hard. That's the most important thing we can do. Now we have to settle down and see the game better." The coach added that mentality will be key as the season continues. "Game day is different," McLaughlin said. "We have to learn how to think the right thoughts and clear our minds so we can play the next play. We got a little bit better at that, but we've got a ways to go." — David McKinney Irish Roundup The Notre Dame men's golf team opened the season with a 27-stroke victory in the Kickoff Challenge at the Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Sept. 3. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS

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