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What To Watch For: Syracuse

Sept. 17, 2016

By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team opens up the Atlantic Coast Conference slate on the road after a full week’s rest Sunday when the No. 20 Irish take on Syracuse.

WHAT: Match 9
WHO: No. 20 Notre Dame (5-1-2) vs. Syracuse (7-1-1)
WHERE: SU Soccer Stadium | Syracuse, N.Y.
WHEN: 12:00 p.m. (ET) – Sept. 18, 2016
STATS: Live Stats

Scouting Syracuse

The Orange enter Sunday’s game with a 7-1-1 record, having won in each of their last four matches. Syracuse recorded a 2-0 win over Buffalo on Thursday to wrap up the non-conference season. The lone loss for the Orange came against Bucknell, 2-1 on September 1, while they tied Colgate 1-1 to open the season on August 19. The Orange are off to their best start since 1996.

The Orange are outscoring their opponents 15-4 this season and are allowing just 7.2 shots per game as a team. They are at 4-1-0 at SU Soccer Stadium.

Syracuse has five players with at least five points, led by Stephanie Skilton with six points (three goals). Sheridan Street (two goals, one assist), Sydney Brackett (one goal, three assists), Eva Gordon (two goals, one assist) and Taylor Bennett (one goal, three assists) have five points each.

Courtney Brosnan has started all nine games in goal for Syracuse, having allowed just four goals for a 0.44 goals against average with a 0.857 save percentage and five shutouts.

Last Time Out

The Irish ran their current unbeaten streak to five matches when they brought home a pair of ties after visiting Santa Clara and Stanford last weekend. The Santa Clara match marked Notre Dame’s first overtime game of the season, while the Irish gave Stanford its first decision other than a win, as well as the second consecutive double-overtime draw in the series.

The Irish played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer against the Broncos on Friday. They outshot Santa Clara 12-8, while turning away six shots on goal. It marked the sixth shutout of the season for the Irish, and fifth solo shutout for senior goalkeeper Kaela Little.

On Sunday, the Irish played an even first half against the Cardinal but went into the half facing a 1-0 deficit. After adjusting to a different system at the break, the Irish looked more poised on the attack and tied the game in the 52nd minute as Meghan Doyle ran in on the back post and buried the feed from Karin Muya and Kaleigh Olmsted. Stanford answered in within five minutes to regain the lead, but Notre Dame was again equal to the task as Jen Westendorf converted on her free kick try from 19 yards after drawing a foul just outside the penalty area. Little matched her season high with seven saves as the Cardinal put nine shots on frame.

The Last Time They Met

Notre Dame leads the all-time series against Syracuse 12-0-0, including a 1-0 win last season at Alumni Stadium on October 8, 2015.

The Irish snared the early lead in the 16th minute when then-junior midfielder Sandra Yu headed a goal into the far post from about six yards out on a cross from then-sophomore defender Monica Flores.

Despite the low-scoring affair, the Irish owned an 18-1 edge in shots, including a 6-0 margin in shots on goal.

Stacking Up

At No. 20, 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. 3 Florida State, No. 5 Virginia, No. 7 North Carolina, No. 9 Duke, No. 13 Clemson and No. 17 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 (third, 36 shots) and shots per game (third, 4.50/gm). Westendorf is also tied for fifth in the conference in game-winning goals with two, and 10th in total goals with four. Senior goalkeeper Kaela Little comes in at second in the conference in saves (36), saves per game (4.50), save percentage (0.900), and seventh in goals against average (0.48). She is tied for first in shutouts (5) and shutouts per game (0.62).

— 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.