Junior defender Brittany Von Rueden

#20/16 Irish Face Tough Test At #2/3 Virginia Tech Thursday

Sept. 24, 2014

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#20/16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-3-1, 0-1-0 ACC) vs. #2/3 Virginia Tech Hokies (10-0-0, 1-0-0 ACC)
DATE: Sept. 25, 2014
TIME: 7 p.m. ET
LOCATION: Blacksburg, Va. (Thompson Field – cap. 3,528)
LAST MEETING: VT 2-1 (2OT) (11/3/13 at VT)
BROADCAST: Hokiesports.com
LIVE STATS: Hokiesports.com
TWITTER: @NDsoccernews
TEXT ALERTS: Sign up at UND.com
– The Fighting Irish are 1-2 (.333) all-time against Virginia Tech.
– Notre Dame is in search of its first-ever victory in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech defeated the Fighting Irish twice in 2013 at Thompson Field.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A two-game Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) road trip for the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team gets under way on Thursday at No. 2/3 Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. (ET) at Thompson Field. The match will be streamed live on Hokiesports.com.
The No. 20/16 Fighting Irish (5-3-1, 0-1 ACC) and Hokies (10-0, 1-0 ACC) will meet for just the fourth time in series history, but the third time in Blacksburg the last two seasons. Virginia Tech earned a pair of one-goal wins, 1-0 on Oct. 13 and 2-1 in double overtime on Nov. 3 in the ACC quarterfinals, in 2013.
Notre Dame raced out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first half, but No. 9/8 North Carolina answered with three goals in the final 40 minutes to claim a 3-2 comeback victory in double overtime last Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
Sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, New Hampshire/Milford) converted her second straight penalty kick for her team leading fourth goal of the season during the 30th minute, while freshman Taylor Klawunder (Coto de Caza, California/Santa Margarita) added her second career goal in the 40th minute against the Tar Heels. Both Andrews and senior forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, California/Santa Margarita) added assists on the Klawunder tally.
Notre Dame looks to quickly put the North Carolina result out of mind with a two-game ACC road swing, opening the trip with one of the top teams in the country on Thursday night. The Fighting Irish are no strangers to success in road matches during the young season, posting a 2-0-1 mark in games held away from Alumni Stadium.
“We have played well on the road,” Notre Dame head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “We went to California and put in two great performances. We did some great things this past weekend as well against Carolina, and we want to continue to build on them and improve on what is leading us to allow certain goals.”
The quick turnaround from a Saturday night match, with only two true practice days at Notre Dame’s disposal, heightens the challenges that await the Fighting Irish in Blacksburg. Romagnolo was cognizant of making the most of available training time at the start of the week without physically overloading the team prior to the lengthy road trip.
“It’s a short week so we do want to get after it, while also making sure we have a lot of energy heading into the weekend because we are on the road for two games,” Romagnolo said.
One point of emphasis for the Notre Dame offense as the season has progressed has been increasing the number of scoring chances for the team from within the 18-yard box with hard-nosed play. Andrews herself has drawn two penalty kicks in the past two matches alone, converting both, while other Fighting Irish teammates have also turned up the intensity inside.
“Our ability to get in the box has been much better,” Romagnolo said. “I think we have more numbers, and the willingness to get on the end of plays inside has been better as well.”
Virginia Tech has won 17 of its last 20 regular season matches, dating back to a 1-0 decision at Boston College on Sept. 22, 2013. With a pair of losses at Thompson Field still fresh on the mind of Notre Dame’s returners, the Fighting Irish have added motivation for the pivotal contest.
“For the players that were part of those two games last year, there is extra incentive and motivation heading back to Virginia Tech for this game,” Romagnolo said. “Going to Virginia Tech, a very good team, and getting a result there would be huge for us. In terms of gaining momentum for us moving toward the ACC tournament, but also showing what we are capable of doing the rest of this 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.
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Virginia Tech enters Thursday’s match a perfect 10-0 this season, and are ranked second in the NSCAA/Continental Tire and third in the Soccer America top 25 polls. The Hokies own an impressive 38-3 aggregate goal advantage over opponents through 10 matches, and have outshot their counterparts by a cumulative total of 202-48 (91-17 on goal).
Sophomore forward Murielle Tiernan is off to a hot start for Virginia Tech, scoring seven goals (three game-winners) and adding three assists during her first 10 starts. Redshirt senior forward Shannon Mayrose has added five goals and three assists, with her five goals coming on only seven total shots on goal.
Junior goalkeeper Caroline Kelly has been a standout in the Hokies net, posting an 8-0 record and a 0.24 goals-against average. In fact, Kelly has faced only 13 shots on goal in 757 minutes of game play. Freshman Kaylyn Smith won her first career start on Sept. 9 at Longwood (4-1 VT victory).
Head coach Charles Adair is in his fourth season at the helm of Virginia Tech, and enters Thursday’s match with a 66-19-5 (.650) career mark with the Hokies. Virginia Tech won a program record 19 games last season under Adair, reaching the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup in the process. Adair is the first Virginia Tech coach to lead the Hokies to 12 or more wins in three consecutive seasons in program history, dating back to when the Virginia Tech women’s soccer team was granted varsity status in 1993.
Virginia Tech has also reached the NCAA Championship in a program-best six straight seasons.
Thursday’s match will be the fourth time the Fighting Irish and Hokies have met on the pitch, with Virginia Tech holding a 2-1 series lead all-time in prior meetings with Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish blitzed Virginia Tech in a 5-0 win on Sept. 1, 2002 in the inaugural meeting between the clubs at old Alumni Field. The Hokies have surrendered only one goal overall to Notre Dame in the past two matches, both of which also happened to be held at Thompson Field.
In a season that had seen Notre Dame face so many trials it would make the biblical Job sit up and take notice, the Fighting Irish took another gut punch on Nov. 3, 2013, falling 2-1 in double-overtime at Virginia Tech on Jazmine Reeves’ golden goal with 1:13 remaining in the second extra period of an ACC Championship quarterfinal contest at Thompson Field.
Notre Dame played the final 33-plus minutes one player down after defender/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker received her second yellow card of the match at 75:24, with both cards coming less than 10 minutes apart. They were the first two yellow cards of Tucker’s career, though the first would later be rescinded and Tucker was declared eligible for Notre Dame’s first NCAA Championship match.
Virginia Tech finished with a 31-14 edge in total shots (including all 14 after Tucker was sent off), while the shots-on-goal count was much tighter at 10-7 to the hosts. The Hokies also earned all 12 corner kicks in the match, while the Fighting Irish received all four official yellow cards that were handed out during the afternoon.
Goalkeeper Kaela Little was superb in the Notre Dame goal, making eight saves to keep the Fighting Irish firmly in contention. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech’s Dayle Colpitts recorded six saves for the hosts.
No. 18/12 Notre Dame stormed out to a two-goal halftime lead against No. 9/8 North Carolina, but the visiting Tar Heels rallied with two goals of their own, then slipped out of South Bend with a 3-2 double-overtime victory on Kat Nigro’s goal in the 101st minute last Saturday night before a raucous crowd of 2,024 fans in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opener for both teams at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little turned in a stellar night between the pipes, making five saves, including a pair of point-blank stops to keep her team in front for the balance of the evening. UNC netminder Bryane Heaberlin turned aside two shots for the visitors, who rallied from a two-goal first-half deficit to win for just the fourth time since 1999.
-Saturday’s defeat marked the first time in 27 seasons of Notre Dame women’s soccer that the Fighting Irish lost after taking a 2-0 lead. That astonishing statistic included 326 consecutive wins when leading by two goals and a 351-0-1 all-time record with that 2-0 advantage.
-Sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews helped stake the Fighting Irish to their early lead, scoring on a penalty kick in the 30th minute, and then assisting on a goal by freshman midfielder Taylor Klawunder in the 40th minute. It was the first time since a 2006 match against Connecticut that UNC found itself trailing by two goals in the first half.
-Notre Dame remains winless against North Carolina all-time in matches played in South Bend. The Tar Heels now hold a 4-0-1 record against the Fighting Irish as the true road team.
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 99 losses and 29 draws (.818) 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.
With two more fouls drawn inside the 18-yard box in its past two matches, Notre Dame has now attempted a total of four penalty kicks through the first nine matches this season. The Fighting Irish earned only three combined penalty opportunities from 2011-13, a span of 67 matches.
The Fighting Irish are a combined 174-16-12 (.891) all-time in road matches entering Thursday’s contest at Virginia Tech.
Notre Dame entered last Saturday’s match with North Carolina a combined 351-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead, and had won its last 326 contests when going ahead 2-0 (since a 3-3 draw with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991, in Cincinnati).
In fact, just two of the past 240 Fighting Irish opponents before last Saturday to face a 2-0 deficit even forced a draw, something achieved by four opponents in Notre Dame history: Duke on Oct. 17, 1993, in Houston (ND won 3-2), Connecticut on Nov. 10, 1996, in the BIG EAST final at old Alumni Field (ND led 2-0, later tied 2-2 and 3-3, ND won 4-3), Duke on Nov. 30, 2007, in the NCAA quarterfinals at old Alumni Field (ND won 3-2), and most recently, Villanova on Oct. 12, 2008 in Villanova, Pa. (ND won 3-2 in OT).
Notre Dame concludes its brief conference road swing on Sunday at Wake Forest at 1 p.m. (ET).