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Match 8 Preview: No. 1 North Carolina

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 13th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team hits the road for the final time for the fall season and are heading down south for a matchup with the No. 1 team in the country. Notre Dame is set to battle the top-ranked Tar Heels Sunday night with conference tournament aspirations at stake. Heading into the matchup, the Irish are currently tied for fifth in the conference with 12 points with the top-eight teams this season qualifying for the ACC Tournament. No ACC team has determined their seed as the regular season comes to a close this Sunday with 12 of 13 teams taking the field.

Know the Opponent: North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Two of the most storied programs in women’s soccer will meet for the 31st time in school history Sunday night at Dorrance Field.
  • The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 20-8-3 but the series is tied in games played in Chapel Hill (5-5-1).
  • The Tar Heels are Notre Dame’s second most common opponent behind UConn but these two teams have met 10 different times in the NCAA Tournament, with a number of those occasions being in the College Cup. 
  • The Irish and Tar Heels have met five times in the College Cup final and twice in the College Cup semifinal. The Irish knocked off North Carolina 4-1 in the 2010 College Cup semifinal en route to the program’s third national title. 
  • North Carolina enters Sunday’s matchup ranked No. 1 in the country and hold an 8-0 record and a 7-0 mark in the ACC.
  • The top-ranked Tar Heels are coming off a 3-1 win on the road over Louisville Thursday night.

Irish Knock Off No. 13 Louisville

  • Notre Dame earned a crucial three points with their first ranked win of the season last Sunday in the 1-0 win over No. 13 Louisville.
  • Camryn Dyke’s penalty kick in the 69th minute was the difference between the two squads as both teams had a strong defensive showing.
  • Notre Dame capitalized on the penalty kick after the Cardinals were called for a hand ball in the box. Dyke scored her first goal of the season to put the Irish in front.
  • Mattie Interian made some crucial saves down the stretch to secure the win and her fourth shutout of the season (3 solo, 1 combined).
  • During the week, Interian earned ACC Defensive Player of the Week after her performance against the Cardinals.
  • Camryn Dyke also earned national honors this week following her game-winning goal, as she was named to the TopDrawerSoccer Team of the Week.

Irish Rank Among ACC’s Best

  • Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Irish have a number of players towards the tops of the ACC rankings.
  • Kiki Van Zanten is currently tied for the league lead in goals in conference games with all six of her goals coming against ACC opponents.
  • Van Zanten ranks second tied for second in the ACC in overall goals and third in points (12).
  • Van Zanten is tied for third nationally in total goals this season.
  • She is the only ACC player this season to record a hat trick and leads the league in most points in a game with six when she scored three times in the 6-0 road win over Miami.
  • Senior captain Sammi Fisher ranks tied for seventh in the conference in goals with three.
  • Junior Goalkeeper Mattie Interian is tied for fifth in the conference in solo shutouts with three.
  • Interian also ranks seventh in goals against average with 1.16.