NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Notre Dame women’s soccer team (6-7, 2-3) went up against another top-ranked team Thursday night at Alumni Stadium when No. 3 North Carolina (10-2-1, 5-0) came to town. Both teams jumped on the score sheet early which led to a back-and-forth affair. In the waning minutes, the Tar Heels got the go-ahead goal off of a blocked shot and defeated the Irish 2-1.
Following the game, head coach Nate Norman was proud of his team’s fight after going up against one of the best teams in the country.
“I thought we battled the entire game,” said Norman. “Anytime you play North Carolina it is a battle for 50/50 balls, it is a battle for balls in the air and it is a battle to win tackles. We played with a high intensity level all night and I was proud of that.
How it Happened
On their first possession of the game, the Tar Heels quickly advanced the ball into the attacking third. Emily Fox moved it up the left side and played a ball into Alessia Russo, who got her head on the ball and placed it inside the right post for the opening goal.
Moments later, the Irish responded with a goal of their own. Alexis Martel-Lamothe headed a North Carolina clear attempt up to Sabrina Flores. The senior took one touch before flicking the ball up to Karin Muya who was streaking past the Tar Heel defense. Muya pulled the goalie off her line and sent a low shot to her left for the goal and the equalizer.
Both teams settled in after the two goals and the next great chance of the half came from Irish in the 31st minute.
On their first corner of the game, Flores sent a high cross into the box where Martel-Lamothe was waiting after breaking free from her defender. She didn’t get all of the ball on her shot but Jennifer Westendorf was on the doorstep and tried to flick it over the Tar Heels goalie but Dickey was able to corral it for the save.
In the second half, much of the battle was in the midfield until the Irish earned a corner in the 67th minute.
Flores went to take the corner once again and sent a cross towards the back end of the box. Martel-Lamothe beat her defender to ball and headed a chance on net that beat the keeper but Rachel Jones was on the endline and sent the chance out of the box, ending the threat for the Irish.
Heading into the final minutes, the match looked destined for extra time until the Tar Heels had a throw in from their attacking third. Russo settled the ball and fired a shot from outside the box and it was blocked by an Irish defender. The ball deflected forward into the box as Taylor Otto slipped behind the defense. Otto got to the ball first and beat Littman for the go-ahead goal.
The Irish pushed forward in the final minutes but were unable to capture another equalizer and fell to the Tar Heels 2-1.
Coming Up Next
The Irish will close out their four-game homestand Sunday afternoon when the No. 8 Virginia Cavaliers come to Alumni Stadium. The Irish and Cavaliers will square off at 12 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.