Sept. 15, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team travels to No. 11 Clemson (6-1) to open Atlantic Coast Conference play at 6 p.m. ET. The reigning ACC regular-season champions, Notre Dame (4-2-2) will look to defend its title as it faces the first of six ranked conference foes on Saturday at Riggs Field.
Notre Dame is coming off a dominant 4-0 victory on the road against Toledo. The Irish, which lead the conference with 141 shots this season, will look to continue controlling possession in the midfield against a feisty Tigers’ defense. In addition to getting its shots off, Notre Dame will try to improve the quality of its shots and gain an early lead against the Tigers.
“We’ve spent a lot of time working on final third scenarios, and we are happy with the amount of shots we are creating,” Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “We want to create quality opportunities and execute.”
Notre Dame will look to graduate student Sandra Yu to spark the offense. Yu, who scored twice in Notre Dame’s 4-0 victory over Toledo on Sunday, reached a career-high nine points on three goals and three assists this season. The midfielder’s previous career high came in 2015, when she totaled eight points.
The Irish also will rely heavily on their defense, which has produced four shutouts this season. For Notre Dame, possession begins in the defensive third with outside backs Monica Flores and Shannon Hendricks. The duo has pushed the game up the field along the sidelines, ultimately creating opportunities for the Irish on offense.
“We are excited to open ACC play,” Romagnolo said. “We have had some wonderful preparation in our non-conference play and are looking forward to our continued growth as a team.”
The Irish will face Clemson for the first time since defeating the Tigers 1-0 on Oct. 6, 2016. Notre Dame is 3-1 all-time against Clemson, including a 1-1 record on the road.
Eight matches into the season, the Irish rank among the leaders in several offensive statistical categories. Notre Dame leads the ACC with 141 shots, while Boston College (128) and Duke (123) rank second and third, respectively. Notre Dame is tied for second in the ACC with 16 assists, third in points (48) and tied for third with 16 goals.
- The Irish have totaled 13 second-half goals and have limited their opponents to just two goals in the period. Notre Dame has outshot its opponents 69-30 in the first half and 62-50 in the second half.
- The Irish have entered halftime in a scoreless tie five times and in a 1-1 tie twice in 2017.
- Notre Dame has scored four goals in the second half to win on three occasions this season, against Ball St., Santa Clara and Toledo.
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.