Team huddle

Irish Head Out on West Coast Road Trip

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s soccer team (4-2) heads off to the west coast this weekend to take on two of the top teams in the country. Notre Dame begins its west coast swing with top-ranked Stanford (5-0) Friday night at 9 p.m. ET. The Irish will finish the trip on Sunday against No. 12 Santa Clara (4-1) at 3 p.m ET.

WHAT: Notre Dame vs. No. 1 Stanford
WHEN: Sept. 7 at 9 p.m. (ET)
WHERE: Laird Q. Cagan Stadium (Stanford, Calif.)
BROADCAST: Pac-12 Network

WHAT: Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Santa Clara
WHEN: Sept. 9 at 3 p.m. (ET)
WHERE: Stevens Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)

Notre Dame and Stanford will meet for the 17th time in program history Friday night in Palo Alto. The Irish have a slim 7-6-3 lead in the all-time series history. The last time these two teams met was Sept. 11, 2016 at Stanford and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. The Irish scored both their goals in the second half to lead to the 2-2 draw. Meghan Doyle struck first for the Irish in the 52nd minute with assists from Olmsted and Muya. Moments after the Cardinal regained the lead, then freshman Jennifer Westendorf tied the game in the 59th minute on a free kick from just outside the box.

The two teams have met four times in the NCAA Tournament, including twice in the College Cup. The first College Cup matchup came in 2008 in Cary, N.C. when the Irish knocked off the Cardinal 1-0 in the semifinal. Freshman Courtney Barg scored the game’s lone goal in the 15th minute as the Irish recorded their fourth shutout of the tournament. The second meeting was in the final in 2010, which was also in Cary. Freshman Andriana Leon was the hero for the Irish, as she scored in the 63rd minute to clinch the program’s third national title.

The Irish and the Broncos will square off for the 21st time in school history Sunday at Stevens Stadium. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 13-6-2 but the Broncos hold a 5-2-2 advantage in games at Santa Clara. The two teams last met in 2016 and played to a scoreless draw in Santa Clara. The two teams have squared off three different times in the NCAA Tournament, including once in the College Cup semifinals back in 2004. Notre Dame defeated Santa Clara 1-0 in Cary, NC when Candace Chapman and Katie Thorlakson cashed in a give-and-go situation in the 73rd minute. The Notre Dame defense posted its nation-leading 16th shutout of the season, as the second-ranked Irish women’s soccer team moved on to the NCAA championship game en route to the program’s second national title.

Notre Dame enters Friday’s matchup with a 6-9-2 all-time record against teams ranked No. 1. The last time the Irish faced off with the top-ranked team was Sept. 24, 2015 in a road matchup against Virginia. Anna Maria Gilbertson began the scoring in the 12th minute with the assist coming from then freshman Sabrina Flores. The Cavaliers tied the match in the 85th minute to send it into extra time. In the 104th minute, it was Gilbertson who ended the game for the Irish. She fired a curving shot from just inside the box into the back left post off a cross from Natalie Jacobs.

Freshman Olivia Wingate netted her first career goal in the second half against Butler to become the third freshmen to score their first collegiate goal this season (VanDyck vs. CMU, Moss vs. stony Brook). The next game, Wingate got her first career start against Cincinnati and made the most of the opportunity. With the Irish trailing in the 65th minute, Wingate created some space from her defender in the box and ripped a shot towards the far post to beat the keeper and tie the game at 1. It was her second straight game with a goal and tied Eva Hurm for the team lead.

Karin Muya is one of the most experienced players on the 2018 Irish squad as she and Sabrina Flores are two graduate students on the team. Her experience proved vital late in the second half against Cincinnati. With the score knotted at 1, the Irish continued to put the pressure on the Bearcats looking for the go-ahead goal. Jenna Winebrenner came up the right side and sent a cross into the box. The ball bounced around in front of the goaline without anybody getting to until it reached Sammi Fisher on the far post. Fisher one-timed it on net but the Bearcats keeper deflected it off the post and back into the box. Muya came streaking in to the loose ball and slotted home the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal. It was Muya’s first goal of the season and seventh of her career.

Following the two-game west coast swing, the Irish will return to campus to kick off ACC play next weekend against No. 13 NC State. Sunday’s match with the Wolfpack will begin at 1 pm ET and be aired on the ACC Network Extra.

For behind-the-scenes coverage of the Irish women’s soccer program, follow @NDSoccer on Twitter and @NDWSoccer on Instagram. For tickets to a Notre Dame women’s soccer match, click here.

–ND–Matt Paras, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since January 2018. In his role, he coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame women’s soccer, baseball and assists in ice hockey. A native of Warwick, Rhode Island, Paras is a graduate of the University of Louisville where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sport Administration. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, he worked at Vanderbilt University as the sports information contact for the women’s soccer and lacrosse programs.