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ND Women’s Soccer: Late goal dooms ND on the road

Mary Green | Sunday, October 13, 2013

A late-game goal sealed the 1-0 win for No. 10 Virginia Tech as the home team handed No. 9 Notre Dame its third-straight loss Sunday in Blacksburg, Va.
Hokies junior midfielder Ellie Zoepfl slipped the ball between the legs of Irish freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little in the 87th minute for the match’s only score. Little was off balance after making a save off a shot from Hokies redshirt junior forward Shannon Mayrose, who passed the ball across the net to Zoepfl for the assist.
The Hokies (11-2-1, 6-1-1 ACC) pestered Little and the Irish (9-4-1, 5-3-1) throughout the first half, controlling most of the possession and keeping the ball in their offensive zone. To fend off the constant pressure, Little made three saves on the day, including one off a first-half Mayrose shot in which she blocked the ball and caught it before Mayrose had a chance to make a second attempt.
“Kaela was solid for us,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “She coped with a lot of crosses and picked up some loose balls from over the top when she had to come out of the goal and beat the attacker to the ball to get it cleared. I thought once the game got going and once she got her mind into the speed of the game, she was pretty good.”
The Irish also needed some time to get going, looking slow in the first half next to the speedy Hokies offense, which won most of the battles for loose balls. Coming out of halftime, Notre Dame picked up its pace and its shot count, putting up 10 shots in the second half compared to four in the first.
“We had to make a couple of changes to adjust to the speed [Virginia Tech] had up front,” Waldrum said. “I ended up pushing [sophomore midfielder] Cari Roccaro back to the right-back spot and bringing [freshman] Rilka Noel in as the attacking midfield player, and I thought that really calmed us down, and we were able to get a handle on more of our possessions.”
With their energy level and focus picked up in the second half, the Irish put up more shots but could not respond to Virginia Tech’s goal in the final minutes.
Notre Dame’s best scoring opportunity came with two minutes remaining off a free kick from freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews. Andrews’s kick lasered to the front of the goal, where junior forward Lauren Bohaboy shot it into the outstretched arms of Hokies senior keeper Dayle Colpitts.
“[Colpitts] had to make a little bit of a diving save, but I think Lauren didn’t get ahold of it well,” Waldrum said. “So even after they scored, we had an opportunity to tie the game up, but that’s the difference. They converted [their chances], and we didn’t convert ours.”
The Irish will look to bring an end to their four-game winless streak when they meet Duke on Sunday at Alumni Stadium.
Contact Mary Green at mgreen8@nd.edu