COLUMBIA, South Carolina — The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team season came to an end Friday night after a 1-0 defeat to the fifth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
“Extremely proud of my team for everything they accomplished this season,” said head coach Nate Norman. “We have been through a lot this year with injuries, sicknesses and playing through all that but the team was resilient the whole way through.”
The Gamecocks scored a late goal in the final five minutes of the first half and rode that to a second round victory. The Irish had a couple opportunities to level the score in the second half but were unable to grab the equalizer.
Following the game, Norman recognized the senior class for the impact they have made on the program during his time here.
“This group helped us take multiple steps forward in our progression as a program. They were incredible on the field and off the field in their leadership and selflessness. We are excited for the next chapter in their lives and to see them grow in their careers after Notre Dame.”
How it Happened
The Irish had the first quality chance of the game and it was within the first five minutes. They earned a corner kick and Sammi Fisher delivered it to the top of the box where Maddie Mercado was waiting unmarked. She volleyed the corner with her right foot and the attempt sailed just high of the bar.
South Carolina attempted to the play their wingers behind the Irish defense and they broke free a few times in the first half. Mattie Interian was up to the test in the 23rd minute when Elexa Bahr got behind the Irish defenders and tried to loft a ball over Interian. She was on it and grabbed the shot to make the save.
As the first half was winding down, the score looked to stay level through the first 45 minutes of play until the Gamecocks turned over an attempted clear from the Irish. The ball was played up to Riley Tanner who had a give-and-go with Bahr and Tanner was all alone to slot the shot inside the near post for the goal.
In the second half, the Gamecocks pushed forward looking for their second goal of the night in the 52nd minute. South Carolina had a free kick from 25 yards away and put the attempt straight on net. Interian reacted swiftly and deflected the ball away for the save.
In the 70th minute, Olivia Wingate had a chance for the Irish as she got around the far Gamecock defender. Wingate tried to tuck the shot underneath the bar but it drifted just high.
The final chance of the night for the Irish came from Mercado on a scrum after a corner kick. Fisher’s delivery was towards the far post and Mercado got her head on it and sent it towards net. Krzeczowski saved the initial attempt but the ball came back out. Alexis Martel-Lamothe attempted to get a foot on the loose ball but a Gamecock defender cleared the ball out of the box.
Notre Dame could not mount a comeback and the season ended as the clock run out. The Irish finished the year with a 11-8-2 record and their 26th NCAA Championship in the last 27 years. They advanced past the first round for the 23rd time in program history and currently hold the second most wins (69) in NCAA Championship history.