Oct. 5, 2017
By Megan Golden
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team battled No. 13 Virginia to a 1-1 draw in a tightly-contested double-overtime matchup on Thursday. The Irish (6-4-3, 2-2-1) utilized an experienced back line to remain unbeaten on the road in Atlantic Coast Conference play, limiting the Cavaliers (7-3-3, 2-1-2) offensively in front of a rather rowdy crowd at Klockner Stadium.
Notre Dame followed a script it has written all season, taking an early lead and relying on its defense throughout the remainder of the match. The Irish move to 5-0-2 when scoring first this season and are now 2-3-1 against top-25 opponents.
Over its last six games, Notre Dame has gone 3-2-2 and outscored its opponents 14-8.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã…”Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Still unbeaten in @theACC play
– The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) October 6, 2017
How It Happened
The Cavaliers opened the match with a corner kick and back-to-back shots, both of which were blocked by Irish defenders. Coming into play, Virginia led the ACC in shots, evident in the team’s early attack on goal.
Senior Ginny McGowan cleared the ball out of the defensive third in the 11th minute, and the Irish moved the ball down the field for their first opportunity on goal. Graduate student Sandra Yu had her shot saved out of bounds, and sophomore Jennifer Westendorf’s ensuing corner kick was cleared by Virginia.
Notre Dame continued to battle the Cavaliers, working meticulously on connecting passes from the defense all the way through the midfield and the attack. Virginia’s defense, which had allowed nine goals prior to Thursday, was difficult for the Irish to crack in the first half.
In the 39th minute, Rachel Heard began a string of beautiful passes that touched the feet of junior Sabrina Flores, sophomore Natalie Jacobs and senior Meghan Doyle. The Irish controlled the ball midway up the field, eventually getting the ball to Yu, who broke away from the defender and scored in the upper right corner of the net. The goal marked Yu’s seventh of the season and gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute.
Just like they have all season, the Irish used their defense to remain unbeaten when leading at halftime (3-0-1).
The Irish and the Cavaliers continued to exchange possessions throughout the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Virginia eventually evened the score 1-1 with a goal in the 60th minute.
Junior Shannon Hendricks saw a lot of action down the left sideline in the second half. The defender pushed the ball up the field, connecting on passes to Westendorf, Jacobs and senior Taylor Klawunder.
Senior goalkeeper Lexi Nicholas also was extremely active throughout the match, tallying just one save but making impressive diving stops for Notre Dame.
Jacobs drew a foul about 40 yards from the goal in the 89th minute, setting up Notre Dame with one final opportunity. Hendricks’ free kick landed at Yu’s feet, but the Irish were called offside, and they ended regulation with a 1-1 score.
The Cavaliers outshot the Irish 4-1 in the first overtime, but Notre Dame escaped the 10-minute period unharmed.
In the second overtime, the Irish continued fighting on defense, running away with a few isolated opportunities offensively but struggling to find the goal late.
Note of the Match
Thursday’s goal from Sandra Yu helped Notre Dame equal its 2016 season scoring total (26 goals). Yu also increased her season total to seven goals and owns a career-high 18 points.
Coach Romagnolo Said…
On Notre Dame’s defensive performance…
“As the game went on, they got used to what Virginia was doing and did a better job of reading when to step and getting pressure on the ball. They dealth with crosses really well in the box.”
On Virginia’s strengths tonight…
“They kept the ball really well. They do a great job of making the field really big and hard to defend, and they have a big field there.”
On Sandra Yu’s career season…
“She’s just done better every year I’ve coached her. This year, we can put her anywhere on the field. We always look where we can put her to be most effective. I felt, she helped us defensively in the center mid. She was able to break up plays. She’s composed on the ball. She’s able to dribble out of pressure and connect passes. Her goal came from an amazing defensive effort.”
- Notre Dame has gone 2-3-1 against ranked opponents this season, including going 2-2-1 against ranked teams in the ACC.
- Notre Dame is 0-3-3 in games decided by one goal or fewer.
- The Irish are 3-0-1 in games following a loss in 2017.
Coming Up Next
Notre Dame kicks off its pink zone game for breast cancer awareness at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, when it hosts Syracuse. The matchup between the Irish and the Orange will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.
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.