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What To Watch For: Wake Forest

Oct. 23, 2016

By Joanne Norell

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – With two games remaining in the regular season, the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team will look to shore up home field advantage in the quarterfinal of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship with two wins, starting Sunday against Wake Forest at Spry Stadium.

The Irish are in a three-way tie with Florida State and Clemson for second place in the ACC entering Sunday’s game against the Demon Deacons. The top four teams in the league will own home field advantage for the opening round of the conference tournament.

WHAT: Match 17
WHO: No. 14 Notre Dame (10-2-4, 5-1-2 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (10-6-0, 2-6-0 ACC)
WHERE: Spry Stadium | Winston-Salem, N.C.
WHEN: 12 p.m. (ET) – Oct. 23, 2016
TELEVISION: RSN Affiliates | ACC Network Extra

Scouting Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons bring a 10-6-0 record into the match, but are 2-6-0 in ACC play. Wake Forest has won its last two matches heading into Sunday, with a 2-0 victory over Boston College last weekend and a 3-2 victory over Syracuse on Thursday.

Wake Forest boasts three double-digit point-scorers, led by Maddie Huster with 14 points on five goals and four assists. Peyton Perea (six goals) and Bayley Feist (five goals, two assists) have 12 points apiece. Goalkeeper Lindsay Preston has played the majority of minutes in goal for the Deacs. She owns a 1.07 goals against average and a .762 saves percentage. The team has seven shutouts on the season, but just one in conference play.

Last Time Out

The Irish picked up their fourth draw of the season Thursday in a 0-0 double-overtime decision at Virginia Tech. It marked the first time since 2007 the Irish had played in five overtime games in a season, and the first time in program history that the team had four ties in a year. The Irish outshot the Hokies 13-12. Senior goalkeeper Kaela Little had six saves for the Irish.

The Last Time They Met

The Irish and Demon Deacons last met on September 27, 2015, with Notre Dame overpowering Wake Forest en route to a 1-0 victory at Alumni Stadium. Senior Anna Maria Gilbertson delivered the winning goal in the 36th minute, charging into the box with the pass from sophomore Sabrina Flores and slotting it into the right of the net. The Irish outshot the Demon Deacons 16-3, including 8-2 in shots on goal.

Stacking Up

At No. 14, 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. 4 Duke, No. 8 Virginia, No. 9 Florida State, No. 17 Clemson, No. 18 North Carolina and No. 25 Virginia Tech. All of those teams earned seeds in the 2015 NCAA Championship, while Boston College also earned a bid to round out ACC representation. NC State is also receiving votes.

Nationally, the Irish rank in the top 10 in four defensive categories: shutouts (T-third, 11), save percentage (third, 0.913), goals against average (fifth, 0.411) and shutout percentage (sixth, 0.688). Individually, freshman forward Jennifer Westendorf ranks among the top three in the ACC in shots (third, 65 shots) and shots per game (third, 4.06/gm). Senior goalkeeper Kaela Little tops the league in save percentage (0.911) and ranks third nationally in that category. Little is tied for first in the conference in shutouts (9), ranks second in goals against average (0.42) and is third in saves (72) and saves per game (4.50).

— 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.