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What To Watch For: Pittsburgh

Sept. 24, 2016

By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 24 University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team returns home for the first time in three weeks Sunday when the Irish open the home portion of their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule against Pittsburgh at 1 p.m. ET.

WHAT: Match 11
WHO: No. 24 Notre Dame (6-1-3) vs. Pittsburgh (1-8-1)
WHERE: Alumni Stadium | Notre Dame, Ind.
WHEN: 1 p.m. (ET) – Sept. 25, 2016

Scouting Pittsburgh

The Panthers enter Sunday’s contest with a 1-8-1 record, having lost to Boston College to open the weekend Thursday. Pitt’s lone win came against Xavier on August 28, while the Panthers tied mutual opponent Michigan on August 19.

Alex Wright is Pitt’s leading scorer with six points on three goals. Five other Panthers have two points. Goalkeeper Taylor Francis has allowed 21 goals with a 2.01 goals against average and a .720 save percentage. She has made 54 saves on the year. The Panthers are being outshot by an average of 15-9 in each game and have been outscored 21-6.

The Last Time They Met

The Irish and Panthers last met in Pittsburgh during the 2014 season, with the Irish collecting a 2-0 victory. Lauren Bohaboy and Morgan Andrews scored for the Irish in the victory and the Irish outshot the Panthers 32-7 and attempted seven corner kicks to Pitt’s zero. The Irish are 12-0-1 all-time against the Panthers.

Last Time Out

The Irish ran their unbeaten streak to seven Thursday after collecting their first ACC victory over North Carolina State with a 1-0 decision in Raleigh. Their youth lifted the Irish as freshman midfielder Alexis Martel-Lamothe netted her first collegiate goal, assisted by sophomore Shannon Hendricks. The Irish outshot the Wolfpack 12-9, with a 5-4 edge in shots on goal. It was Notre Dame’s seventh shutout of the season.

Stacking Up

At No. 24, the Irish are one of seven Atlantic Coast Conference teams to appear in this week’s NSCAA Division I Women’s Soccer poll, along with No. 2 Virginia, No. 2 Florida State, No. 7 Duke, No. 13 Clemson, No. 18 North Carolina and No. 19 Virginia Tech. All of those teams earned seeds in the 2015 NCAA Championship, while Boston College (receiving votes) also earned a bid to round out ACC representation.

Individually, freshman forward Jennifer Westendorf ranks among the top four in the ACC in shots (fourth, 43 shots) and shots per game (third, 4.3/gm). Senior goalkeeper Kaela Little comes in at second in the conference in saves (45), saves per game (4.5), save percentage (0.900), and third in goals against average (0.48). Little is tied for first in shutouts with six and ranks second in shutouts per game (0.60).

— 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.