Oct. 23, 2016
By Joanne Norell
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A late goal by junior Megan McCashland made the difference for the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team Sunday as the No. 14 Irish defeated Wake Forest 1-0 to close out their regular-season road slate at Spry Stadium.
The Irish broke through in the 88th minute to avoid a sixth overtime game of the season and what would have been their second straight. Instead, McCashland buried a cross from senior forward Kaleigh Olmsted into the back post for her second game-winner of the season.
The Irish outshot the Demon Deacons 8-7, while the teams were even with four shots on goal each. McCashland led the Irish with three shots and two shots on goal in 29 minutes. Senior goalkeeper Kaela Little tallied four saves for her third straight shutout and 10th of the year.
Player(s) of the Game
McCashland has come up big for the Irish this season, netting two goals that turned into game-winners. The first was a golden goal in double overtime against Louisville.
Olmsted registered her fifth assist of the year and did her part to create opportunities for the Irish in the final 15 minutes. The senior made runs several impressive runs late in the half to keep the Irish threatening on the offensive end.
Play of the Game
McCashland’s goal helped the Irish take another step closer to home field advantage in the ACC Championship quarterfinal. The Irish entered Sunday’s contest in a three-way tie for second place in the conference, with the top four teams hosting the opening round of the conference championship.
Wake Forest took a 5-2 advantage in shots into halftime, prompting the Irish to adjust their system in the second half. After switching into a 4-4-2 at the half, the Irish snared the advantage, outshooting the Deacs 6-2 in the final 45 minutes.
Coach Theresa Romagnolo Says
On the difference in the game…
“In the second half, we played a little different system, so we were able to get a little bit more pressure on the ball and limited their ability to serve balls. In the first half, they had so much time to serve balls into spaces where we weren’t able to cover that ground, so they had a lot of time on the ball to be able to go at us one-v-one and get crosses off. We didn’t give them anything out of that, but we don’t like to give up too much time on the ball. Switching systems allowed us to get higher pressure on the ball, force them to turn it over. We were picking off passes, getting runners into good lanes, so it took them out of their possession game and allowed us to show off our great defending and have more of the ball.”
On McCashland’s goal…
“It’s big time. She’s come off the bench twice and had a huge role. She played critical minutes for us. She played (29 minutes) and she was giving us good quality on the ball; she was defending really well; and to make that run at the back post was just great instincts to get into the right area of the field.”
On the play of Olmsted…
“We put Kaleigh up front because we were looking for that final quality and she’s such a great one-v-one player. She broke through a couple times and that last play that led to the goal, she took on a couple players and served in an incredible ball to the back post. Her ability in one-v-one situations is just fantastic.”
On getting the win with ACC implications on the line…
“It’s fantastic. I’m proud of the group. It’s been a long week. We got a quality tie at Virginia Tech. We thought we could have played better, but I thought we came out and we fought and battled today, adjusted to a different system in the second half and, again, we found a way. This group finds a way.”
Note of the Game
The 88th minute goal was the latest the Irish have scored in regulation this season.
— ND —
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, and earned her master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.