Irish Knock Off Panthers 2-0

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – In their final road game of the regular season, the Notre Dame women’s soccer team (8-9, 4-5) got two goals in each half from Sammi Fisher and notched its third shutout of the season en route to a 2-0 win over Pitt (4-11-1, 0-9).

How it Happened

After a quite first 10 minutes of the game, the Irish started to push the ball up into their attacking third. Notre Dame earned a free kick from just inside the midfield line in the 13th minute and took advantage.

Shannon Hendricks sent a high ball into the box and an scramble for possession ensued. Jennifer Westendorf tried to settle the ball but it got deflected away. Fisher stayed with the play and got to the loose ball and fired a strong shot towards the top left corner for the goal. It was Fisher’s third goal of the season and the sixth time Notre Dame has scored first this season.

In the second half, more of the same offensive pressure came from the Irish. In the 50th minute, the Irish had two opportunities to increase their lead. Karin Muya made a run past the Panther defense and fired a shot on goal. The Panthers keeper was up to the task and she deflected the ball away for a corner.

On the corner kick, the ball bounced around the goal line and a number of Irish players attempted to volley it into the net but could not finish it off.

On the counter-attack, Pitt had their best chance of the game as Aideen O’Donoghue got a pass and was wide open in the box. Her one-touch shot had a ton of pace on it but Mattie Interian had great positioning and corralled the shot for the save and kept the Irish on top.

Moments later, the Irish capitalized on their chance in the box. Westendorf had the first shot of the possession and it clanged off the bar and back into the box. Sabrina Flores was first to the rebound and flicked the ball up to Fisher who finished off her second goal of the game.

Over the final 30 minutes of the game, the Irish maintained possession and limited the chances for the Panthers.

In the 81st minute, Pitt looked to get on the scoreboard but Interian was there once again with two big saves. She stopped the initial free kick into the box and the follow up shot by O’Donoghue.

As the clock hit 00:00, the Irish picked up their third shutout of the season and the second of Interian’s career. She held the Demon Deacons scoreless last month in the 1-0 road win.

Coach Norman Says…

On the saves by Interian to keep Pitt scoreless in the second half…
“Her saves were huge, you need a goalkeeper that can come up with big saves. Her save in the 51st minute was an important one and that could have changed the game a lot. Then it lead to our second goal and shifted the momentum back.”

On the possession and opportunities from the offense…
“It was another game where we created a lot but we still have work to do. Whether it is making that final pass or staying calm in those situations, we have to keep growing in our confidence in the final third.”
 Stats of the Match

  • Notre Dame improves to 14-0-1 all-time against Pitt after the 2-0 win. The Panthers are the third opponent the Irish are undefeated against with a minimum of 10 games played. They also hold a 14-0-1 record against Syracuse after defeating them 5-1 last Saturday.
  • The Irish are now 6-0 this season when they scored first after Fisher put the Irish up in the 13th minute in the 2-0 win over Pitt.

Coming Up Next

Notre Dame will return to campus for the final home game of the regular season against No. 11 Duke on Thursday. It will be senior day for Rachel Heard, Shannon Hendricks, Ann Marie Niro, Natalie Ward and Jennifer Westendorf. The seniors will be honored prior to the start of Thursday’s game. Ceremonies will begin at approximately 6:40 p.m. with first touch schedule for 7:05 p.m.

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.