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What To Watch For: Louisville

Oct. 1, 2016

By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team hits the pitch for its lone match of the weekend Saturday when they visit Atlantic Coast Conference foe Louisville for its final road match before a three-game home stand.

WHAT: Match 12
WHO: No. 22 Notre Dame (7-1-3) vs. Louisville (7-2-2)
WHERE: Lynn Stadium | Louisville, Ky.
WHEN: 7 p.m. (ET) – Oct. 1, 2016
STATS: GameTracker

Scouting Louisville

The Cardinals are 7-2-2 on the season, including 3-0-1 in their most recent matches. They tied No. 10 Duke 0-0 last Thursday before defeating Boston College 3-2 to move to 2-0-1 in ACC play. Louisville’s two losses came against Kentucky (Sept. 2) and Ball State (Sept. 9). The Cardinals entered the Soccer America Top 25 rankings this week, while they are receiving votes in both the NSCAA Coaches’ Poll and the TopDrawerSoccer Top 25.

The Cardinals have outscored their opponents 23-9 so far this season and outshooting them by an average of 19-10. They are led in scoring by Brooklynn Rivers, who boasts 10 points on four goals and two assists, while Gabrielle Vincent owns eight points on three goals and two assists and Jill Vetere and Allison Whitfield each have seven points with two goals and three assists. Goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin has started all 11 games for Louisville, boasting a 0.79 goals against average with 29 saves and a 0.763 save percentage.

Last Time Out

The Irish are unbeaten in their last eight matches, the longest active streak in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They picked up a pair of wins last weekend to move to 2-0-1 in ACC play.

Notre Dame defeated NC State on Thursday in a tight 1-0 battle at Dail Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Irish withstood a five-minute surge from the Wolfpack in which NC State fired three shots and took four corner kicks. Almost immediately, the Irish responded as they flipped the field and freshman Alexis Martel-Lamothe finished on a cross from sophomore Shannon Hendricks for her first career goal.

The Irish turned in a complete performance Sunday in a 4-0 win over Pittsburgh at home. They scored all four of their goals before halftime and saw seven different players pick up points on the day. Kaitlin Klawunder notched the game-winner in the fifth minute, heading in a corner kick from Monica Flores. Jennifer Westendorf followed with her fifth goal of the season in the 14th minute, volleying in a cross from Kaleigh Olmsted. Olmsted then tallied her first goal of the season on a cross from sophomore defender Natalie Ward in the 18th minute. Karin Muya capped the day with a goal on a cross from Meghan Doyle in the 39th minute, her second of the year. The Irish outshot the Panthers 23-5, including 10-2 in shots on goal, and attempted 11 corner kicks to Pitt’s two.

The Last Time They Met

Notre Dame and Louisville last met in 2014, as the Irish picked up a 1-0 win on Senior Day to clinch a spot in the ACC Championship.

The win was the fifth in a row for the ninth-ranked Irish. Lauren Bohaboy scored the game-winner for the Irish, assisted by then-sophomore Kaleigh Olmsted, who sent a looping cross into Bohaboy for the header. The Irish owned a 22-5 shot advantage, including an 8-3 margin in shots on goal and a 4-0 edge in corner kicks.

Stacking Up

At No. 22, the Irish are one of six Atlantic Coast Conference teams to appear in this week’s NSCAA Division I Women’s Soccer poll, along with No. 2 Florida State, No. 7 Virginia, No. 10 Duke, No. 13 Clemson and No. 16 North Carolina. All of those teams earned seeds in the 2015 NCAA Championship, while Boston College also earned a bid to round out ACC representation. Virginia Tech, NC State, Boston College and Louisville are all receiving votes.

Nationally, the Irish rank in the top 10 in four defensive categories: shutouts (T-first, 8), shutout percentage (sixth, 0.727), save percentage (seventh, 0.906) and goals against average (ninth, 0.429). Individually, freshman forward Jennifer Westendorf ranks among the top four in the ACC in shots (third, 47 shots) and shots per game (third, 4.27/gm). She is tied for seventh in the league with five goals and 10th in goals per game (0.45). Senior goalkeeper Kaela Little tops the conference in shutouts (6) and comes in at second in saves (47), save percentage (.904), goals against average (0.44) and shutouts per game (0.55). She is third in saves per game with 4.27.

— 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.