Sept. 1, 2017
By Jack Grassey
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — In its first match against a ranked opponent in 2017, the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team fell to No. 11 South Carolina (4-1) at Alumni Stadium on Friday.
The Irish (2-1-2) played a phenomenal game on both sides of the ball for over 100 minutes, but a chip shot by South Carolina freshman Ryan Gareis tipped off the glove of sophomore goalkeeper Brooke Littman to end the defensive stalemate in the second minute of the second overtime period.
Notre Dame’s loss was its first match in the Notre Dame Invitational, which was preceded by a 1-1 draw between No. 23 Michigan and Santa Clara.
How It Happened
Sophomore Jennifer Westendorf was on the attack early and often for the Irish in the first half, managing three shots on goal, including a laser off the crossbar in the 14th minute. Freshman defender Rachel Heard was equally impressive on defense, tracking 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year Savannah McCaskill and limiting her scoring chances.
South Carolina had a few key opportunities to score in both the first and second halves, but the Notre Dame defense was able to fend off the attack each time, forcing the Gamecocks into difficult shots. While Notre Dame had fewer opportunities to score in the second half, their defense never relented in spite of a more aggressive Gamecock attack.
Notre Dame totaled 12 shots in regulation to South Carolina’s 11, but the nine shots on goal by the Irish provided them with much better scoring opportunities than the four taken by South Carolina. Sophomore Brooke Littman was steady in goal for the Irish, as was sophomore Mikayla Krzeczowski for the Gamecocks.
Notre Dame began the first overtime period with an aggressive attack by graduate student Sandra Yu, but failed to capitalize after a solid defensive effort by the Gamecocks. The rest of the period mirrored the back-and-forth pace of regulation, with both teams chipping away at one another, yet failing to put the ball in the net.
South Carolina immediately flipped the script in the second overtime, as an early drive by freshman forward Ryan Gareis put an end to the scoring drought.
Note of the Match
Notre Dame has gone 3-3-2 in its last 8 matchups against ranked opponents (dating back to the 2016 season).
- Notre Dame opened the all-time series against South Carolina with a 1-0 loss in double overtime.
- The Irish allowed just their second goal of the season and first in the overtime period.
- The Irish are 1-1-7 in their last nine overtime contests.
- Littman finished the match with five saves, and now has 19 saves on the season.
- Westendorf led the Irish attack with five shots, including four shots on goal.
- Notre Dame won the corner kick battle 3-2.
Coming Up Next
The Irish return to action in their second match of the Notre Dame Invitational against Santa Clara at noon ET on Sunday. Notre Dame’s match will be streamed live by the ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.
The Irish and the Broncos will compete for the 22nd time in school history. Notre Dame will look to add a win to its 13-6-2 record in the all-time series. Historically, the home team has had a slight advantage in each outcome as Notre Dame owns a 9-1 record at Alumni Stadium, while going just 2-5-2 on the road against the Broncos.
Most recently, the Irish and the Broncos went to double-overtime and finished in a 0-0 draw in Santa Clara on Sept. 9, 2016.
Jack Grassey, Fighting Irish Media student employee, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2013. A native of Winchester, Massachusetts, Jack is a 2017 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Science in Accountability Class of 2018. Jack also plays on the Women’s Basketball All-Male Practice Team at Notre Dame.