Oct. 25, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 24 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team travels to No. 4 North Carolina for its regular-season finale and a chance to host Sunday’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championship quarterfinal round.
The Irish (9-5-3, 5-3-1) have the enormous task of trying to knock off the Tar Heels (12-2-1, 8-0-1) at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, in order to finish in the top four of the ACC.
“This game will determine where we are seeded in the ACC Tournament,” Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “With a win we can control being at home on Sunday in the quarterfinals.”
Checking in at No. 15 in this week’s RPI and reappearing in the United Soccer Coaches Poll in the No. 24 spot, Notre Dame collected significant wins at No. 18 Florida State and Miami last week. The Irish won both contests by just one goal, picking up their first two wins of the season in such fashion.
With a win over North Carolina, Notre Dame will host the first round of the ACC Championship at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. Following a draw or a loss, the Irish would need assistance from a handful of ACC foes in order to host.
Notre Dame will rely on its offense to capitalize on its opportunities against a Tar Heel defense that has allowed just eight goals all year (tied with Duke for fewest in the ACC). The Irish, which have scored the third-most goals in the conference (35, trailing Duke and North Carolina) own a 9-0 record when scoring more than one goal in the game.
“We want to stay organized defensively and do a good job of transitioning with the ball in space,” Romagnolo said. “Our forwards need to hold the ball for us to come out together.”
The Irish have gone 7-17-2 against North Carolina all-time. Notre Dame owns a 5-3 record versus the Tar Heels on the road, including a 2-2 mark in its last four games on the road. Most recently, the teams met in the ACC Championship semifinal, where the Irish fell 1-2 to North Carolina.
Climbing the Standings
Notre Dame is riding back-to-back wins on the road at No. 18 Florida State and at Miami this past week. With the wins, the Irish move to 5-1-1 on the road this season and currently stand tied for fourth in the ACC.
Scoring In Bunches
Notre Dame has gone 7-1 in games decided by two-plus goals. The Irish offense has scored four goals on six occasions this season, turning in dominant performances in such matches. Notre Dame has surpassed its 2016 scoring total (26 goals) with a sum of 35 goals this season. As a team, the Irish have been most successful in regulation, with all nine of their wins coming in the first 90 minutes.
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.