NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Following his first season as head coach of the Notre Dame women’s soccer team, Nate Norman has another challenging schedule ahead for the 2019 season.
“We are extremely excited about this year’s schedule, as in most years we have one of the most challenging and difficult schedules in the country,” said Norman. “Playing in the ACC gives us a chance to compete against some of the top teams in the country and our non-conference schedule will prepare us for those challenges.”
Of the 18 opponents on the 2019 schedule, 10 made the NCAA Tournament last season and five of those teams advanced to the third round. The Irish will face the national runner-up North Carolina Tar Heels on the road and five other teams that were ranked in the final United Soccer Coaches Poll of the season.
The Irish return 21 players from the 2018 squad and welcome 10 freshman along with one graduate transfer to round out the 2019 team.
Notre Dame will open with two exhibitions to kick off the season. First, they travel on the road to Ohio State, an NCAA Tournament participant in 2018, on Aug. 14 before playing regional foe Marquette at home on Aug. 18.
The Irish welcome Saint Louis to Alumni Stadium for the season opener on Aug. 22. The Billikens won the Atlantic-10 last season en route to a postseason berth and it will be the first meeting all-time between the two schools.
Notre Dame closes out the two-game homestand with a matchup against Northwestern on Sunday, Aug. 25. The Irish and Wildcats will meet during the regular season for the first time since 2013 and Notre Dame holds a 5-0 all-time record against Northwestern.
The first road contest will be a familiar place for Norman and assistant coach Lauren Sinacola as the Irish head to Kalamazoo to take on Western Michigan on Aug. 29. Norman and Sincola both were at Western Michigan prior to coming to Notre Dame and this is the first matchup between the Irish and Broncos since 2016.
Notre Dame returns to Alumni Stadium for a matchup against old BIG-EAST foe St. John’s on Sept. 1. It is the first time the two teams have faced each other since 2010 and the Irish hold a commanding 13-0 all-time record against the Red Storm.
The Irish head back up to Michigan for a weekend road trip against Michigan and Oakland. The Irish and Wolverines face off in Ann Arbor on Sept. 6 before taking on Oakland to finish the weekend on Sept. 8. Notre Dame is 14-4 all-time against the Wolverines and 5-0 against the Golden Grizzlies.
Notre Dame closes out the non-conference slate with a road and home weekend starting in Columbia, S.C. The Irish square off with South Carolina who advanced to the third round and was a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season on Sept. 12. The two teams faced each other for the first time in program history in 2017 at Alumni Stadium and the Gamecocks won 1-0 in double overtime.
The Irish return home to take on with Big Ten foe Iowa in the final non-conference matchup of the season. The Irish and Hawkeyes have met two times before, the first coming in the the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2013. The last time the two teams played was in 2017 and the Irish won 2-0 on the road.
Notre Dame heads south to kick off ACC play with a Friday night matchup against Clemson on Sept. 20. The Tigers are one of seven ACC opponents the Irish will face that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Notre Dame is 3-1 all-time against Clemson and won 4-2 in the last meeting between the two schools in 2017.
The Irish host Pitt at Alumni Stadium for the ACC home opener on Sept. 26. Notre Dame is 14-0-1 all-time against the Panthers and won last year’s meeting 2-0 in Pittsburgh. Sammi Fisher had the two goals for the Irish and Mattie Interian tallied her second shutout of the season.
The national runner-ups are next for the Irish on Sept. 29 when Notre Dame travels to Chapel Hill. Last season, the Irish and No. 3 Tar Heels played a tight affair at Alumni Stadium that was knotted at 1-1 until North Carolina scored the game-winning goal in the 86th minute.
Notre Dame comes home for a three-game homestand and a Friday matchup against Syracuse starts it off on Oct. 4. Last season, the Irish had their highest scoring output of the season in the 5-1 win at Syracuse.
Next up is Miami on Oct. 10 and the Hurricanes will make their first trip to Notre Dame since 2016. Notre Dame is 9-2 all-time against the Hurricanes and won the last meeting, 2-1, in Coral Gables during the 2017 season.
Louisville is the final opponent for the three-game homestand and the Cardinals will make their first trip to Alumni Stadium since 2014. Louisville was another NCAA Tournament team from 2018 and Notre Dame is 11-4 all-time against the Cardinals.
The Irish hit the road for their final road trip of the season with three games down in Virginia and North Carolina. All three opponents advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament last season and a matchup with the Cavaliers is up first on Oct. 20.
Notre Dame heads to the triangle to take on Duke on Oct 24 and NC State on Oct. 27 to close out the regular season road slate. The Irish knocked off No. 21 NC State last season, 2-1, on Sept. 30.
The final game of the regular season is set for Halloween at Alumni Stadium against Wake Forest. The Irish defeated the Demon Deacons in Winston Salem last season after Brooke VanDyck scored the only goal of the match in the 68th minute.
Following the regular season, the ACC tournament will take place from November 3-10.