Sept. 24, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team dominated No. 24-ranked NC State 4-0 in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown on Sunday at Alumni Stadium. The Irish (6-3-2, 2-1) remain undefeated on Sunday, going 5-0 so far this season.
Notre Dame handed NC State (8-2-1, 1-1-1) its first conference loss, erupting for a season-high-tying four goals for the fifth time this season.
Senior Lexi Nicholas got the nod to start in goal for Notre Dame, picking up her first start and shutout of the season. Nicholas and the Irish tallied the team’s fifth shutout of the season.
The Irish offense, meanwhile, scored four goals against a Wolfpack defense that had previously allowed just two goals all season.
How It Happened
Notre Dame began play with an aggressive attack that outshot NC State 6-0 in the first 10 minutes. Sophomore Natalie Jacobs connected on a beautiful cross from graduate student Sandra Yu, scoring in the 10th minute (9:13) and putting the Irish up 1-0 early in the first half.
The Irish attack began with junior Shannon Hendricks and senior Ginny McGowan, who brought the ball up from the back line. Hendricks and Yu both got several touches on the ball early, creating several opportunities along the left side of the field.
In her eighth career start and first start in goal for Notre Dame this season, senior Lexi Nicholas was given a 1-0 cusion to work with defensively. The Irish defense, which had just one save in the first half, continued its dominance when it has an early lead (5-0-1 when scoring first).
Yu responded rather quickly, scoring on a through ball from junior Sabrina Flores in the 31st minute (30:09). The goal marked Yu’s career-high fifth of the season.
The Irish entered halftime with a 2-0 lead, the team’s third halftime lead of the season.
NC State opened the second half with a sense of urgency, recording the first shot of the period and controlling the ball in Notre Dame’s defensive third for nearly 15 minutes.
Once the Irish regained possession, the Irish attack went right back to work with back-to-back goals to give Notre Dame a 4-0 lead. In the 60th minute, Yu scored her second goal (59:17) of the day off a direct kick from senior Monica Flores. Just three minutes later, Jacobs responded with her second goal of the match (62:21), coming off the foot of senior Meghan Doyle.
Notre Dame’s 4-0 lead was too much for the Wolfpack to overcome, as the Irish secured their third straight win against NC State in shutout fashion.
Note of the Match
Notre Dame owns a 5-0 record on Sunday in 2017. All five of Notre Dame’s Sunday victories have come in the afternoon, three of which were at home (Ball St., Santa Clara and NC State) and two of which were on the road (at Iowa & at Toledo).
The Irish offense has outscored their opposition 18-1 on Sunday this season.
The Irish have played on Thursday once (0-1), Friday four times (0-2-2), Saturday once (1-0) and Sunday four times (4-0).
Coach Romagnolo Said…
On the team’s offensive performance…
“I thought we were patient and were taking care of the ball. We were either moving it on the dribble or connecting passes. I felt like we did a great job of making them chase and we opened up the field for our attack. We had really quality finishes today; we saw some really nice assists, some really nice goals. All around, we brought a lot of quality to take care of the ball and to finish.”
On the team being undefeated when scoring first…
“Whenever you get a lead, you get confidence. We’re doing a lot of really good things, so we’re controlling the game. When you control the game, you can play well in the second half, too.”
On Kate O’Connor’s play on Sunday…
“Kate is a good connector. She does a great job of finding really good pockets to play in and being able to go in one area and out of another. She’s got good vision, good technical ability and a toughness to her defensively. She’s got all of those really important attributes you look for in a connecting midfield type player.”
- Notre Dame is a perfect 5-0-0 in afternoon matches this season.
- The Irish are 3-2-1 at Alumni Stadium this season and 31-8-2 since 2014.
- Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 17-6 in the second half this season. The Irish have entered halftime in a scoreless tie six times and in a 1-1 tie twice in 2017.
- The Irish are unbeaten (5-0-1) when scoring first in the match and when leading at halftime (3-0).
- The Irish own a 5-1 record all-time against the Wolfpack.
- Senior Lexi Nicholas made her first start of the season and eighth of her career and totaled two saves.
- Sophomore Natalie Jacobs’ two goals bring her to a total of eight goals (team high) and 19 points in 2017.
- Graduate student Sandra Yu owns six goals, four assists and 16 points this season.
Coming Up Next
Notre Dame returns to action against No. 18 Wake Forest at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 29 at Alumni Stadium. The match will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams will partake in a doubleheader on Sept. 29, with the men’s team competing against Virginia at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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.