Sept. 24, 2015
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — “We are not a `bounce back team.’ We are an attacking team.”
It was the message the No. 16/6 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team received prior to its clash Thursday with top-ranked Virginia at KlÃƒÆ’Â¶ckner Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a message the Irish took to heart as they knocked off the Cavaliers 2-1 in double-overtime.
Senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson provided all the offense the Irish needed, tallying goals in the 13th and 104th minutes to lift Notre Dame over Virginia. Sophomore midfielder Sabrina Flores and freshman forward Natalie Jacobs tallied assists on both of Gilbertson’s goals, respectively.
Notre Dame and Virginia tied in shots at 11-all, including 4-4 in shots on goal, while the Cavaliers held an edge in corner kicks, 7-4. The Irish not only ended the Cavaliers’ 38-match home winning streak, but got their first overtime win since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference (1-6-2) and gave them the program’s sixth win over the nation’s No. 1 team and first win over No. 1 since a 1-0 victory over North Carolina on September 15, 2013.
“There’s so many things we did with this win,” Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “I think the point of it is to remind this team how great they are. I think that’s what we take from this game, is we’re right there with everybody and it’s exciting to see we can step up in big moments and get things done.”
Sitting on the floor of a conference room in the team hotel early Thursday afternoon, Notre Dame heard the first of its pregame pep talks. On a Skype call with Sam Cila and Glen Cederholm — their instructors from the preseason military-style training session they went through called The Program –the Irish were reminded to put the past behind them and take charge in the present.
There would be no need to “bounce back” from last Saturday’s loss at Clemson, with the implication that the Irish had taken a step backward. “Shake it off” might have been more apt, but whatever the semantics, Cila and Cederholm’s message was all about continuing to move forward — attack.
The Irish came out with an attacking mentality, putting a crooked number on the scoreboard in the game’s 13th minute when Flores sent a rightward cross to a charging Gilbertson, who snuck her ball between Virginia goalkeeper Morgan Stearns and a defender to put the Irish ahead.
“I think from the get-go we came out and attacked them,” Romagnolo said. “We talked about grinding it out and finding a way and being ready for anything. Whether we had a rhythm or not, it was knowing we would defend well as a team and be opportunistic and find moments where we could attack within the game.”
“I think we all really believed in each other and came out with the confidence that we were going to do it today,” Gilbertson added. “[We thought that] whatever they brought at us, we would bring it back at them that much harder. I think we went out there and definitely did that.”
The Irish managed to keep the Cavaliers off the board until five minutes remained in regulation, when Morgan Reuther snuck into the goal box and scored off a double assist from Hana Kerner and Brittany Ratliffe.
But the Irish responded with nothing but pressure as the game went into overtime. They fired three shots in the first 10-minute session and kept the action in their attacking third throughout.
Gilbertson made the difference, though, on the first shot of the second extra stanza, firing a curving shot from just inside the box into the back left post off a cross from Natalie Jacobs.
“I had been seeing the space at the top of the box for a while in the overtime and I kept trying to step off the center backs and get to the top of the box because I knew there was space there,” Gilbertson said. “I’ve done it a couple of times before and I was just looking for that one pass to my feet so I could take a shot. Finally, [Jacobs] got me the ball and I knew I could take the shot from there.”
Indeed, the evening had all the trappings of a classic Notre Dame upset. The Irish came out in green jerseys, primed to become just the latest Irish program to end an opponents’ record-breaking win streak.
The Irish will look to ride the momentum into their next top five clash against No. 3/3 Florida State (8-1-1, 1-0-1 ACC) on Sunday at Alumni Stadium. The Seminoles defeated No. 7 Clemson on Thursday, 3-1.
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No. 16/6 Notre Dame 2, No. 1/1 Virginia 1 (2OT)
Sept. 24, 2015
Charlottesville, Va. (KlÃƒÆ’Â¶cknerStadium)
Notre Dame 1 0 0 1 — 2
Virginia 0 1 0 0 — 1
Total Shots: ND 11 (3-4-3-1), UVA 11 (3-8-0-0)
Shots on Goal: ND 4, UVA 4
Saves: ND 3 (Kaela Little 3 in 103:43), UVA 2 (Morgan Stearns 2 in 103:43)
Corner Kicks: ND 4, UVA 7
Fouls: ND 13, UVA 8
Offsides: ND 3, UVA 3
Yellow Cards: ND (Anna Maria Gilbertson) 58:54; ND (Emily Geyer), 60:35
Records: ND 8-1-1, 1-1-0 ACC; UVA 7-1-1, 1-1-0 ACC
Next for ND: vs. Florida State (8-1-1, 1-0-1 ACC) at 1 p.m. ET Sunday at Alumni Stadium.
— Joanne Norell, Athletics Communications Assistant