Sept. 19, 2014
DATE: Sept. 20, 2014
TIME: 7 p.m. ET
LOCATION: Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium – cap. 3,007)
LAST MEETING: ND 1-0 (9/15/13 at UNC)
BROADCAST: ESPN3 (WatchESPN)
TEXT ALERTS: Sign up at UND.com
– The Fighting Irish are 6-14-2 (.318) all-time against North Carolina.
– North Carolina has lost a total of 56 games in 36 seasons. Notre Dame and Florida State are the only Division I teams to beat the Tar Heels at least six times.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team caps a three-game homestand when it hosts longtime rival North Carolina on Saturday at Alumni Stadium to open Atlantic Coast Conference play. The 7 p.m. (ET) match will be streamed live on ESPN3 (WatchESPN).
The Fighting Irish and Tar Heels are the two most decorated women’s soccer programs in the history of the Division I game, combining to win 24 of the 32 NCAA Championship tournaments contested since 1982. Notre Dame and North Carolina have appeared in a total of 32 NCAA Women’s College Cup finals matches, the most combined finals appearances between two teams in Division I, facing off with one another an unprecedented five times with the national championship on the line.
“These are two of the traditional national powerhouses, and any time we play it’s exciting and people are going to pay attention to the result,” Notre Dame head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “It’s still very early in the season, so it’s really going to be about us continuing to get better while starting ACC play strong.”
Sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H./Milford) earned TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week recognition after scoring two goals, including the game-winner in the 88th minute from the penalty spot, in a 2-1 win over Toledo last Sunday. Andrews has scored all three of her goals in 2014 during Notre Dame’s current four-match unbeaten streak dating back to a 2-0 win at Santa Clara on Sept. 5.
“Morgan wants to be the best, and she has high expectations for herself and this team,” Romagnolo said. “She’s a leader out there, and she’s somebody who is always going to bring everything she has to a game. Last weekend you saw some of those results on the stat sheet, but she is starting to get her legs underneath her and looks very fit right now. She’s buzzing around to make things happen, she’s able to get into the attacking box on the end of crosses, and she’s also been very strong for us defensively. Morgan is bringing an offensive and defensive presence.”
While Andrews has made the most visible impact on the box score with her prowess in the past four matches, others Fighting Irish players including junior Glory Williams (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands) and freshmen Ginny McGowan (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) and Taylor Klawunder (Coto de Caza, Calif./Santa Margarita) have turned in equally crucial performances in the Notre Dame midfield.
“I’ve been very proud of the midfield,” Romagnolo said. “Ginny has stepped up and played huge minutes there, Taylor has done well, Glory has done a fantastic job setting possession for us, along with Morgan as an attacking player who has really run the show. Last weekend Morgan created a lot of offensive opportunities and also finished a few of those herself, and on Sunday against Toledo she really put the team on her back and made it happen.”
No. 18/12 Notre Dame (5-2-1) will look for its first home win in series history against No. 9/8 North Carolina (3-2-1) on Saturday, as the Tar Heels enter the contest with a 3-0-1 all-time mark in South Bend. Each club possesses a strong talent roster in the defensive third of its respective lineup, as evidenced by the nine combined goals allowed (six for Notre Dame, three for North Carolina) this season. A solid effort from the back line and in goal, Romagnolo said, could make for a strategic chess match on the pitch.
“(Sophomore) Kaela Little (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley) is an exceptional goalkeeper, and you saw her make big saves even last weekend,” Romagnolo said. “It’s also a testament to our back line, and not just the back line but the defensive mentality of our entire team. We’ve talked a lot about limiting opponents’ shots, or at least making them predictable for Kaela in goal, limiting the amount of crosses that are attempted and making sure we are marking very tight in the box.”
Junior tri-captain Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove), tied with Andrews and senior forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) for the Notre Dame team lead with three goals, notched the game-winner last Friday in the 44th minute of a 1-0 win over Baylor. All three of Naughton’s goals in 2014 have been header finishes off corner kicks, strengthening the set piece repertoire in the Fighting Irish game plan.
“I think Katie is obviously a very formidable force in the air, as well as a lot of other players on our team,” Romagnolo said. “Katie does a great job of finding the ball but a handful of other players are also capable of finishing on set pieces, which is exciting for us. What is most exciting is that we can score in a number of different ways. We can score off crosses, by getting in behind players, from distance, and from set pieces. On any given day we can score goals in different ways.”
Romagnolo’s official coaching debut in ACC competition comes against the most decorated team in the conference’s history. Along with its haul of 22 national championships (21 NCAA), North Carolina boasts 20 ACC Championship titles during its illustrious all-time run.
“It’s an exciting way to start off the league season,” Romagnolo said. “By no means is one game going to dictate the rest of the season, but I think it’s a way to kick off conference and make sure we are ready to go. We are going to need to bring a tough and focused mentality against not just Carolina, but the rest of the season as well.
“For me, what sets the ACC apart from other conferences is that there are so many different teams that could win it,” Romagnolo added. “Looking at a conference like the Pac-12, there are two, maybe three teams who are fighting for the title. It’s the same in a lot of other conferences. But in the ACC there are probably five, six, even seven teams that have a chance to win the league in a given year.”
To purchase a season pass or single-match tickets for the 2014 Notre Dame women’s soccer season, call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets or stop by the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office windows during normal business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday). Tickets also can be purchased at Alumni Stadium on match days.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDSoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina returns to the pitch for its first match in nearly two full weeks sporting a 3-2-1 non-conference record, picking up a 2-1 victory over No. 18 Arkansas on Sept. 7 in its most recent appearance. The Tar Heels have scored a total of four goals during their first six matches, but have limited opponents to only three scores on 22 total shots on goal during that span.
Megan Buckingham, Summer Green, Annie Kingman and Amber Munerlyn have each scored one goal to tie for the North Carolina season lead while six players, including Kingman, have added one assist.
Goalkeepers Bryane Heaberlin and Lindsey Harris have nearly logged an even split of minutes in net, with Heaberlin sporting a 2-1 record and Harris a 1-1-1 mark. The keeper tandem has combined to post three clean sheets.
Legendary North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance is in his 36th season in charge of the Tar Heel program, entering Saturday’s match with a career record of 766-56-30 (.917). Dorrance has won 20 ACC regular-season and tournament championships and 22 national championships (21 NCAA titles) during his time in Chapel Hill, and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2008.
THE NOTRE DAME-NORTH CAROLINA SERIES
Saturday’s match will be the 23rd time the Fighting Irish and Tar Heels have met on the pitch, tying North Carolina for the second-most common opponent Notre Dame has faced in program history (Connecticut-31 matches, Rutgers-23 matches). The Tar Heels hold a 14-6-2 edge in the all-time series, including a 3-0-1 mark in matches played in South Bend.
Both teams have split the last four meetings in series history dating back to the 2010 season, with the Fighting Irish earning a 1-0 win at No. 1 North Carolina last season (9/15/13).
The clubs have also met an unprecedented five times during the NCAA Women’s College Cup Final, combining for an astounding 24 NCAA titles and 32 championship match berths in their mutual histories.
THE LAST TIME NOTRE DAME AND NORTH CAROLINA MET
Midfielder Morgan Andrews headed in a cross from defender Brittany Von Rueden midway through the first half to provide the only scoring as No. 8 Notre Dame toppled No. 1 North Carolina, 1-0, on Sept. 15, 2013 before a crowd of 3,742 fans at Fetzer Field.
Playing UNC for the first time as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Fighting Irish earned their sixth all-time win over the Tar Heels, tied for the most for any team against North Carolina in its history. Notre Dame also improved to 5-2 all-time against UNC in Chapel Hill, winning for the fourth time in its last five matches against the Tar Heels at Fetzer Field (dating back to 2007).
In addition, the Fighting Irish registered the fifth win in program history against a top-ranked opponent, and their first since Dec. 5, 2010, when they ousted Stanford, 1-0, in Cary, N.C., to win their third national championship. What’s more, Notre Dame picked up its first regular-season win over a No. 1-ranked team since Oct. 4, 1996, when they collected a 2-1 overtime victory over North Carolina in Durham, N.C.
Goalkeeper Kaela Little anchored a rock-solid Fighting Irish defense, making five saves to record her third career shutout. Defender/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker also was credited with a defensive save late in the first half to preserve Notre Dame’s clean sheet.
North Carolina finished with an 18-5 edge in total shots, including a 6-2 margin in shots on goal and a 4-1 advantage on corner kicks.
OTHER NOTRE DAME-NORTH CAROLINA TIDBITS
-Notre Dame and North Carolina have won 24 of the 32 contested women’s NCAA Division I Championship tournaments since 1982.
-There has never been a stretch greater than two seasons in NCAA Championship history where one of the two schools did not win a national championship.
-Notre Dame and Florida State are the only two programs in NCAA history to defeat North Carolina five or more times, with each team posting six wins each over the Tar Heels (North Carolina has lost a total of 56 games in 36 seasons).
-In Notre Dame’s 27-year history, no player from the state of North Carolina has ever suited up for the Fighting Irish.
LAST TIME OUT: TOLEDO
Sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews scored twice, including the game-winning penalty kick with 2:23 remaining to lift the No. 19/13 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Toledo in the non-conference finale for both teams last Sunday at Alumni Stadium.
Andrews’ twin tallies helped the Fighting Irish stay unbeaten in their last four matches, while also propelling the hosts past a gritty, defensive-minded Toledo squad that previously had upset Ohio State and was playing on eight days’ rest.
The Fighting Irish outshot Toledo 24-4, with an equally wide 12-4 edge in shots on goal. Notre Dame added an 8-1 advantage on corner kicks, with UT’s only try from the flag coming in the final five minutes.
Andrews tied a career-high with eight shots (six on goal) to lead all players on the offensive end, while freshman Ginny McGowan added three shots in a career-high 71 minutes of playing time for Notre Dame. Sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little made three saves in the Fighting Irish goal, while Toledo netminder Sam Tiongson had nine stops.
APPROACHING WIN #500
The Notre Dame women’s soccer program is three victories away from reaching 500 all-time wins, entering play on Sunday with 497 victories against only 98 losses and 29 draws (.820) in 27 seasons of varsity competition.
The Fighting Irish have averaged 18.4 wins per season since the women’s soccer program was elevated to varsity status in 1988, reaching the NCAA Championship in 21 consecutive seasons. Notre Dame has also appeared in the NCAA Women’s College Cup 12 times, including eight berths in the NCAA Championship match, and has won three national championships (1995, 2004, 2010) to tie for the second-most NCAA titles in Division I history.
The women’s soccer and softball programs at Notre Dame, both in their 27th official seasons of varsity status, are the only two Fighting Irish athletics teams never to log a losing season in their respective histories.
NEXT UP FOR THE IRISH: VIRGINIA TECH
Notre Dame opens its first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) road trip of the 2014 season on Sept. 25 at Virginia Tech. The league match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. (ET) start at Thompson Field in Blacksburg, Va.