Sophomore Sabrina Flores scored the only goal of the night for the Irish.

#15/8 Irish Fall To #9/9 Tar Heels In 2-1 Heartbreaker

Oct. 22, 2015

Box Score

By Joanne Norell

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The No. 15/8 Notre Dame women’s soccer team staked itself to a one-goal lead just a few minutes into the second half Thursday while visiting No. 9/9 North Carolina at Fetzer Field, but the Tar Heels stormed back with a pair of goals in quick succession with under 20 minutes remaining, avoiding its first-ever four-game losing streak.

Sophomore midfielder Sabrina Flores opened the scoring just 97 seconds into the second half, darting behind the Tar Heel defense to poke in a cross from junior forward Sandra Yu at the six yard mark, beating redshirt junior goalkeeper Lindsey Harris. It was the second goal of the season for Flores, who led all players with six shots, a new career high.

But North Carolina (12-3-1, 5-3-0 ACC) picked up the pace late in the game to lead an onslaught on the Irish goal.

In what proved to be a physical contest in which the Irish defense was active in clearing out balls all evening, North Carolina got on the board in the 71st minute on a successful penalty kick attempt by redshirt senior forward Alexa Newfield. Less than four minutes later, junior midfielder Joanna Boyles headed in the winning goal off Newfield’s free kick, awarded after an Irish foul was called just outside the penalty box.

The teams played an even game to start the match, though the Tar Heels took a 9-4 advantage in shots into the locker room at the half. They finished having outshot the Irish 17-10, though Notre Dame had a 6-5 advantage in shots on goal.

Nineteen total fouls were called on the Irish, including two yellow cards, one each for senior defenders Brittany Von Rueden and Cari Roccaro.

The Tar Heels had their best scoring chances of the first half about 30 minutes into the game, with a flurry of activity in front of the Irish net on a counter attack. UNC sophomore forward Jessica Scarpa drove the ball down the left flank, but was met by Irish senior defender Katie Naughton at the 18, allowing center-back battery-mate Roccaro to clear the ball at the boundary of the goal box.

On the ensuing corner kick, the Tar Heels appeared to fool Irish goalkeeper Kaela Little, but the shot from Sarah Ashley Firstenberg was cleared out at the line by Flores, tamping the threat in the 32nd minute.

The Irish responded on the counter attack, as Flores sent in a long shot from the left flank that rolled just to the right of the net. The Irish got the ball back on a turnover, then saw a couple of chances cleared out in front of the net before Yu fired a rocket of a shot from the top of the 18, but a diving Bryane Haeberlin, who played the first half in goal for the Tar Heels, turned the shot away.

Flores led the Irish with six shots, including three shots on goal. Senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson had two shots, with one on-frame.

The Irish return to action at 1 p.m. ET Sunday against No. 22 Duke (9-4-4, 3-2-3 ACC) at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.

#9/9 North Carolina 2, #15/8 Notre Dame 1
Oct. 22, 2015
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Fetzer Field)

Notre Dame 0 1 — 1
North Carolina 0 2 — 2

ND1. Sabrina Flores 2 (Sandra Yu) 46:37. UNC1. Alexa Newfield (PK) 70:20. UNC2. Joanna Boyles (Newfield) 73:53.

Total Shots: ND 10 (4-6), UNC 17 (9-8)
Shots on Goal: ND 6, UNC 5
Saves: ND 2 (Kaela Little
2 in 90:00; Team 1 in 90:00), UNC 7 (Bryane Heaberlin 2 in 45:00; Lindsey Harris 3 in 45:00)
Corner Kicks: ND 4 (3-1), UNC 8 (3-5)
Fouls: ND 19, UNC 8
Offsides: ND 1, UNC 1
Attendance: 1,510
Yellow Cards: ND1 (Brittany Von Rueden) 40:24; ND2 (Cari Roccaro) 57.26.
Records: ND 11-4-1, 4-4-0 ACC; UNC 12-3-1, 5-3-0 ACC
Next for ND: vs. Duke, October 25 at 1 p.m. ET at Koskinen Stadium (Durham, N.C.)

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Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.