Senior defender Katie Naughton has helped anchor and Irish backline that gives up just 4.3 shots per game.

What To Watch For: North Carolina

Oct. 22, 2015

By Joanne Norell

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The No. 15/8 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team faces its final two road tests this weekend, first against No. 9/9 North Carolina this evening.

WHAT: Match 16
WHO: No. 15/8 Notre Dame (11-3-1, 4-3-0 ACC) vs. No. 9/9 North Carolina (11-3-1, 4-3-0 ACC)
WHERE: Fetzer Field – Chapel Hill, N.C.
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. (ET) – October 22, 2015
STATS: Live Stats

Below are the five things you should know as the Irish get set to tangle with the Tar Heels:

Scouting North Carolina
The Tar Heels have spent a considerable portion of the season at the top of the NSCAA poll this season, but dropped to No. 9 this week after three straight losses to Louisville, Florida State and Duke. North Carolina is led by a trio of 15+ point-scorers with Jessica Scarpa (6 goals, 6 assists, 18 points), Alexa Newfield (7G, 1A, 15 pts) and Summer Green (6G, 3A, 15 pts) pacing the offense. The Tar Heels average 2.33 goals/game and 21 shots/game while outgaining opponents in corner kicks nearly 10:3.

Defensively, Bryane Haeberlin and Lindsey Harris have split time in goal for the Tar Heels, with both sporting sub- 1.00 GAAs. Haeberlin has played in all 15 games and has allowed four goals, made 15 saves, and has a 0.50 GAA. Harris has played 14 games, with five goals allowed, 10 saves and a 0.70 GAA. As a team, UNC allows just 0.60 goals/game and 6.4 shots/game.

A Storied History
North Carolina, home to the NCAA’s most prolific women’s soccer program, leads the all-time series with Notre Dame 15-6-2 with the series dating back to 1993. Ten times have the programs met in the NCAA Championship, including five times in the College Cup final. The Tar Heels have won 22 national championships and have twice been a national runner-up, while Notre Dame’s three national championships mark the second-most in NCAA history.

The Last Time They Met
The Irish will look to erase the memory of last season’s heartbreaking loss to North Carolina, a double-overtime affair in which the Tar Heels scored three unanswered goals. After the Irish took a 2-0 lead in the first half on goals from Morgan Andrews and current sophomore Taylor Klawunder, the Tar Heels stormed back with goals in the 60th and 75th minute to force overtime. Just 27 seconds into the second overtime, Kat Nigro scored the winning goal for UNC to mark the first time in 326 games the Irish had lost when taking a 2-0 lead.

Last Time Out: Wake Forest
Notre Dame controlled the run of play in last weekend’s only match with a 1-0 win over Wake Forest on Friday at Alumni Stadium. The Irish outshot the Demon Deacons 16-3 on the night, including an 8-2 advantage in shots on goal, but only one goal was needed to send the visitors away with a loss.

Irish senior Anna Maria Gilbertson tallied her team-leading eighth goal of the season in the 36th minute off the feed from sophomore Sabrina Flores to put the Irish up, and it would prove to be the only offense they would need. Gilbertson has tallied four game-winning goals this season, which matches her total goal output from each of the past two seasons.

Stacking Up
At No. 15, the Irish are one of seven Atlantic Coast Conference teams to appear in the NSCAA Division I Women’s Soccer poll, along with No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 Virginia, No. 6 Clemson, No. 7 Virginia Tech, No. 9 North Carolina and No. 22 Duke. They rank near the top of the ACC in most defensive categories, including a first place in goals against average (0.45), a first-place tie in goals allowed (7) and third in shutouts (9). They Irish also rate third in the league in shots (275; 18.33/ gm) and fifth in points (78), goals (27) and goals per game (1.80).

Individually, Anna Maria Gilbertson leads the league in shots (82) and shots per game (5.47), while coming in a thirdplace tie in goals (8). Kaela Little leads the ACC in goals against average (0.41), and is tied for third in shutouts (5) and sits in second in shutouts per game (0.45). (All stats as of 10/16/15).

Season and single game tickets for Notre Dame women’s soccer are on sale now. Visit or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356.

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Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant 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 and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.