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Irish Fall to #4 Duke

Sept. 21, 2017

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By Megan Golden

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team suffered its first Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season, falling 3-0 to No. 4 Duke on Thursday at Alumni Stadium.

Coming off a big win against Clemson, the Irish (5-3-2, 1-1) ran into a Blue Devils team (9-1, 2-0) that used Thursday’s victory to extend their winning streak to nine matches.

Notre Dame battled a very tough Duke team for 90 minutes, dropping just its fourth game in three years on its home field. With the loss, the Irish fall to 2-2-1 at Alumni Stadium this season.

How It Happened

In just their fourth game against the Blue Devils since 2011, the Irish spent much of the first half looking to find its rhythm offensively against a Duke defense that had allowed just five goals all season.

Notre Dame, which entered the day with a conference-high 159 shots, led Duke in the shots battle 5-2 midway through the first half. The Irish created several opportunities but struggled to string together consecutive passes and maintain possession.

The Blue Devils had their chances in Notre Dame’s defensive third, however, as their offense sent multiple crosses through the box. Irish defenders Ginny McGowan and Rachel Heard led a very active line of defense in the first half as they headed several balls out of the box and directed others into the arms of sophomore goalkeeper Brooke Littman.

Despite a slight 6-5 advantage in shots in the first half, Notre Dame entered halftime in a scoreless tie for the sixth time this season.

Duke came out of the gates firing in the second half, but the Irish escaped four crosses through their defensive third.

Notre Dame quickly responded with back-to-back shots of its own in the 56th minute, when sophomore Natalie Jacobs’ shot hit the crossbar, and junior Sabrina Flores’ follow-up shot was blocked by a Duke defender.

Jacobs, graduate student Sandra Yu, and freshman Kate O’Connor each were active in the midfield as Notre Dame battled to control possession.

In the 60th minute, Duke sent an errant pass into the box, ultimately scoring off a deflection from an Irish defender. The goal was credited to Duke’s Imani Dorsey.

Hendricks and Jacobs led Notre Dame’s offense up the left sideline in an effort to even the score, but Jacobs’ header was sent just wide right of the goal.

Duke never backed down, adding two additional goals in the 74th and 76th minutes, respectively. The Blue Devils added to their lead with a rocket of a shot from the left corner, again coming from the foot of Dorsey. Duke’s Malinda Allen somersaulted toward the goal, netting the ball to give the Blue Devils a 3-0 lead.

For the Irish, the 3-0 loss was the team’s first regulation loss, and thus, first loss decided by more than one goal.

Match Notes

  • The Irish are 2-2-1 at Alumni Stadium this season and 23-4-2 since 2015.
  • Notre Dame owns a 9-6-1 record all-time against Duke. The Irish have gone 3-3 against the Blue Devils at Alumni Stadium.
  • The Irish are 2-2-1 in their last five matches versus top-five opponents.
  • The Irish have entered halftime in a scoreless tie six times and in a 1-1 tie twice in 2017.

Coming Up Next

The Irish are scheduled to host No. 24 NC State on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Alumni Stadium. The match will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

Fans who show their ticket from Thursday’s match versus Duke will receive one dollar off admission to Sunday’s match against NC State.

For behind-the-scenes coverage of the Irish women’s soccer program, follow @NDSoccer on Twitter and @NDWSoccer on Instagram. For tickets to a Notre Dame women’s soccer match, click here.


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.