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ND Women’s Soccer

No. 20 Irish set to visit No. 2 Virginia Tech

| Wednesday, September 24, 2014

On the heels of a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to No. 1 North Carolina, No. 20 Notre Dame travels to Blacksburg, Virginia to take on No. 2 Virginia Tech on Thursday.

The game against Virginia Tech (10-0-0, 1-0-0 ACC) marks the second of 10 ACC matchups for the Irish this season, and beating the undefeated Hokies would be a major victory for the Irish (5-3-1, 0-1-0), Irish coach Theresa Romagnolo said.

“I think a win would be huge, especially coming off this last weekend,” Romagnolo said. “We’re a little disappointed about losing that 2-0 lead against a team like North Carolina. It would mean a lot to be able to go to Virginia and take on that No. 2 team and come out with a win.”

Virginia Tech’s high-powered offense has sparked a 10-game winning streak, the best in program history. Its 3.80 goal-per-game average is top five in the NCAA. But Romagnolo said the Irish are not intimidated.

“Against every opponent, a shutout is the goal for us, so that’s no different against Virginia Tech,” Romagnolo said. “They’ve got same great players on attack like a lot of other ACC teams, so we’ll just have to be strong on defense.”

Irish junior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson contests a header during a 2-0 win against the Mexico U-20 National Team on Apr. 25 at Alumni Stadium.Emmet Farnan| The Observer

Irish junior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson contests a header during a 2-0 win against the Mexico U-20 National Team on Apr. 25 at Alumni Stadium.

Romagnolo also said she doesn’t foresee the travel and limited practice time hurting Notre Dame’s performance.

“It’s a short week, so we haven’t had that much time to practice, but when we have, the intensity level has been good,” Romagnolo said. “Sometimes when you train less, your team is actually more rested, and at the end of the day, you can prepare in other ways than being on the field.”

Although a win over the Hokies would give the Irish a lift heading into the remainder of their ACC schedule, Romagnolo said the team’s expectations are the same as always.

“I expect a great performance every game that we play,” Romagnolo said. “I expect us to come out and bring a lot of energy and aggression when defending, and get those little details down like tracking our players defensively, standing out on one-v-ones, and staying in control of the ball.”

Romagnolo said her confidence stems from individual players’ recent successes as well as Notre Dame’s overall depth.

“[Sophomore midfielder] Morgan Andrews has been playing exceptionally well for us; [sophomore goalkeeper] Kaela Little has been playing well in the goal, and [freshman midfielder] TK [Taylor Klawunder] got a big goal for us last game,” Romagnolo said. “Other than that, it’s just every player making a contribution. Anyone can step up.”

The Irish will aim to stain the Hokies’ spotless record Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at Thompson Field in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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About Renee Griffin

Notre Dame senior, formerly of Farley Hall. Originally from Lake Zurich, IL, majoring in American Studies with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. Enjoys talkin' about practice.

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