With the breakup of the Great Lakes Women’s Conference this past summer, many teams were left scrambling to find conferences and matches to compete for a National title. Notre Dame College’s women’s team was one of them.
In their first full year of competition, NDC chose to take the route of playing as an independent DII team in the hopes of getting an at-large bid. With a schedule heavily loaded with DI teams from the newly formed MAC conference, Notre Dame College started the season off with a successful road trip to Miami (OH), defeating the Red hawks 75-7.
The match started with strong play by the forwards Rebecca Swainsen, Keke O’neal and Stephanie Kroneberger, but eventually progressed to the skillful hands play form the back line lead by Freshmen Fly-half Leah Walsh. Miami never stopped and was able to produce a try in the last seconds of play.
The NDC women continued with excellent play on the road to pitch shutouts against Findlay and Kent State. In these games the women were still working out their style of play and synergy, as most of the team is made up of freshmen and sophomores.
At their first home game against Central Michigan, NDC was able to showcase their outside speed on the newly installed pitch at Notre Dame College. There the center play of Mariah Eckrich and Hannah Gauthreaux helped in producing the 115-0 shutout.
Saturday, on the road again at Marshall, NDC came home with an 84-7 win. The game started out in the trenches with relentless hard rucking and tackling from forwards Hannah Long, Maddie Goodwin, and Lucinda Darvell against a big and strong Marshall tight five. The Thundering Herd eventually started to show some breaks that NDC was able to capitalize on. Marshall never gave up and produced a try in the 64th minute.
With a week off, the NDC women will gear up for a last-minute friendly booking against Penn State’s B side. “Although we will be without a few players not back from break, our women are really amped up for this match-up. Penn State has a great program one that we aspire to emulate,” NDC coach Mark Andrade said.
NDC will be at Ball State Oct. 26 and closing out the season with Ashland Nov. 2.