ND Women’s Soccer: ACC season ends in quarterfinals
Brian Hartnett | Sunday, November 3, 2013
No. 19 Notre Dame continued its late-game struggles on the road, as the Irish lost a 2-1 double-overtime heartbreaker to No. 5 Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals of the ACC Championships on Sunday afternoon in Blacksburg, Va.
Virginia Tech (15-3-2, 9-3-1 ACC) won the game in the 109th minute when senior forward Jazmine Reeves headed a corner kick from junior midfielder Kelsey Loupee just inside the right frame.
For the Irish (11-7-1, 7-5-1), the feeling was all too familiar. The Irish are winless in five overtime matches this season and have lost their last four overtime games. Notre Dame is also 3-5 away from Alumni Stadium this season and has lost five of its last six on the road.
“It would be different if we just weren’t playing well and the same players were making the same mistakes over and over,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “It’s a different mistake every game, and it involves usually a different player who gives something up right at the end. Yet, when you look over 110 minutes, the kids were fantastic. It’s so hard to fault them when you have that kind of effort.”
The Irish had to compete with 10 players after senior midfielder Elizabeth Tucker drew disqualification following a red card in the 76th minute. Tucker received a yellow card in the 66th minute and picked up her second one just 10 minutes later when she tugged on Hokies freshman forward Murielle Tiernan’s jersey.
Notre Dame received five yellow cards in total for the game, all of them coming in the second half.
“We played a man short for 30 minutes,” Waldrum said. “I think that’s kind of why this one went the way it did. We had to drop a forward back in the midfield to give us a fourth midfielder and just play with one [forward] up front. Really, you’re just sitting there hoping you can kill off the clock and maybe get into penalty kicks.”
Virginia Tech dominated possession after Tucker’s red card. The Hokies put up 14 shots and received seven corner kicks after Tucker’s ejection, while the Irish did not record a shot or a corner kick after the 76th minute.
“The game was fairly even back-and-forth up until [the red card],” Waldrum said. “Then, they can throw everything at you, you just don’t have the numbers to cover everything.”
Prior to Tucker’s red card, the two teams traded goals. Notre Dame struck first in the 28th minute, when junior forward Lauren Bohaboy headed in a cross from freshman forward Kaleigh Olmstead.
Virginia Tech responded in the 57th minute after junior defender Jodie Zelenky sent a free kick into the penalty box, and Hokies freshman midfielder Candace Cephers knocked in a loose ball past Irish freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little.
Notre Dame sophomore defender Katie Naughton left the game at halftime after she re-aggravated a hip flexor injury, Waldrum said. Sophomore midfielder Cari Roccaro moved to Naughton’s spot at center back for the remainder of the game.
“Katie got hurt in the first half really early, and she was a warrior to even finish out the half,” Waldrum said. “She’s had a little bit of a problem with her hip flexor, and she just really cut it all through the first half to just stay up, and credit to her. So we had to make that change, which didn’t help because it took away so much of our team offensively.”
With its conference season concluded, Notre Dame will now wait to see if it will earn an at-large bid to the 64-team 2013 NCAA Championship. The pairings for the tournament will be announced at 4 p.m. on Nov. 11.
Contact Brian Hartnett at email@example.com.