Oct. 29, 2017
By Megan Golden
RALEIGH, N.C. — In its fourth trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, the No. 24 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team fell 4-1 in a soggy affair against NC State on Sunday.
The Irish (9-6-4, 5-3-2) held an early advantage over the Wolfpack (14-4-1, 6-3-1) but could not defend its lead as NC State won its sixth straight to advance to the ACC semifinal.
Following a 4-0 shutout victory over the Wolfpack at Alumni Stadium earlier this season, the Wolfpack switched roles and ultimately forced the Irish defense to make rare mistakes. For the Irish, the loss snaps a streak of five straight victories over NC State, including a win in the ACC quarterfinal round in 2016.
How It Happened
Playing on a soaked pitch at Dail Soccer Field, the Irish offense got off to a quick start, attacking the Wolfpack defense and rattling off five shots in the first 15 minutes. Notre Dame’s Sandra Yu, Natalie Jacobs and Jennifer Westendorf each collected shots in the early minutes, and the Irish also added two corner kicks.
NC State responded with several shots of its own, but the quality of the Wolfpack shots was not great enough to break a scoreless tie in the first half. Similarly, following the first 15 minutes, the Irish struggled to get shots off against an NC State defense that had allowed just four goals at home prior to Sunday.
In the 42nd minute, senior Monica Flores sent the ball to Jacobs, who headed it toward the goal. But NC State goalkeeper Sydney Wootten was there to make the save on arguably the best shot of the day by the Irish.
The two teams entered halftime in a 0-0 tie — Notre Dame’s 11th tie at halftime this season.
Notre Dame’s defense, which has been strong all season long, limited the Wolfpack’s chances offensively in the opening minutes of the second half. NC State struggled to crack the Irish back line in the first 60 minutes.
It was the Irish which struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute of play. Notre Dame and NC State volleyed the ball back and forth inside the box, and junior Sabrina Flores used her left foot to ultimately volley the ball past the Wolfpack goalkeeper and into the left side of the net. For Sabrina, the goal was the first of the season and fourth of her career.
Just five minutes later, the Wolfpack took advantage of a rare defensive miscue by Notre Dame. NC State’s Tziarra King scored off a diving Lexi Nicholas (65:03), who got a hand on the ball but was unable to stop it from going into the net. King’s goal evened the score at 1-1 in the 66th minute.
The Wolfpack never backed down, scoring again on a bullet of a shot at the 71:39 mark. The goal from Rachel Cox gave NC State a 2-1 lead — its first lead against the Irish in 2017.
King finished the day with a hat trick, adding goals at the 76:16 mark and the 84:01 mark to secure a 4-1 victory for NC State.
Note of the Match
Notre Dame and NC State battled to 12 shots apiece in the game. The Irish finished with four shots on goal, while the Wolfpack totaled six.
- Notre Dame moves to 5-2 all-time against NC State and 2-2 in Raleigh.
- The Irish are 4-1-2 in their last seven road matches.
- Notre Dame owns a 7-2 record on Sunday in 2017.
- Natalie Jacobs led the Irish with three shots in the match. Four Irish players collected at least two shots.
Coming Up Next
Notre Dame awaits a potential bid in the NCAA Championship, which kicks off with the first round on Nov. 10-12. The Irish, which would compete in their 25th straight trip to the NCAA tournament, will discover their fate during the NCAA Selection Show at 4:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 6 on NCAA.com.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.