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ND Women’s Soccer

Gilbertson leads ND to pair of ACC wins over break

| Tuesday, October 27, 2015

No. 15 Notre Dame went 2-1 over its fall break action, bookending a loss to No. 9 North Carolina with wins over Wake Forest and No. 22 Duke.

The Irish (12-4-1, 5-4-0 ACC) began their action over the break with a 1-0 win over the Demon Deacons (4-12-2, 1-8-0 ACC) last Friday at Alumni Stadium. Notre Dame dominated the first half of action, outshooting Wake Forest 11-0 in the half. However, it was not until the 36th minute that the advantage manifested in a lead on the scoreboard, when sophomore midfielder Sabrina Flores sent a cross up the field to senior forward Anna Maria Gilbertson, who buried a shot into the right corner of the goal to give her team a 1-0 lead. That lead held for the remainder of the game, as the second half was a tighter contest with no goals scored and only eight shots between both teams.

Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said she thought the defensive performance was what led the team to victory.

“We defended really well,” Romagnolo said. “We didn’t allow many opportunities. We also created a fair amount of good opportunities for ourselves. We competed very well and brought a strong mentality to the field.”

Following the win at home, the Irish had a short break before traveling to North Carolina for a two-game road stretch. First, the Irish traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to battle with the Tar Heels (13-3-1, 6-3-0 ACC).

After a scoreless first half, the Irish started the game’s scoring off with a goal less than two minutes into the second half. Junior forward Sandra Yu found Flores, who scored her second goal of the season to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. However, the Tar Heels responded with two goals of their own following two of Notre Dame’s 19 total fouls in the game. In the 71st minute, redshirt senior forward Alexa Newfield scored a penalty kick to tie the game up. Then, just three minutes later, Newfield sent a free kick into the box for junior midfielder Joanna Boyles to head in and give the Tar Heels a 2-1 win.

Although it played with the competitive aggression she asks of them, the Irish ultimately committed too many bad fouls that led to the defeat, Romagnolo said.

“A couple of the fouls were silly, and a couple I thought weren’t actually fouls,” Romagnolo said. “We were overzealous in the box on the penalty kick, and that one hurt us. On the free kick, we typically defend set pieces very well, but that one just got away from us. I liked that we were competitive, but mistakes cost us big in that game, and you can’t make some of the mistakes we made.”

To end their road trip, the Irish traveled to Durham, North Carolina, to take on the Blue Devils (9-5-4, 3-3-3 ACC) at Koskinen Stadium. An early miscue by the Blue Devils provided the Irish with their best scoring opportunity of the game. In the third minute, Duke was called for a hand ball in the box, which gave Notre Dame a penalty kick. Gilbertson the converted the opportunity for the Irish, giving them a 1-0 lead. The remainder of the game was a scoreless affair, as Irish junior goalkeeper Kaela Little saved all three of the Blue Devils’ shots on goal to preserve her team’s lead.

Gilbertson’s three shots in the game led the team, and the goal was her team-leading ninth on the year. She currently leads the conference in shots and is fifth in goals. Having scored both of the deciding goals in her team’s last two wins, Gilbertson has been crucial to the team’s success in both of those games and this season as a whole, Romagnolo said.

“Anna Maria is an incredible attacking player,” Romagnolo said. “It’s exciting to see her gain confidence and put the team on her back at times to help us win some games during her senior season.”

Notre Dame will next take the pitch on Senior Day, when it hosts No. 7 Virginia Tech in the final game of the regular season Friday at Alumni Stadium.

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About Benjamin Padanilam

As The Observer's Editor-in-Chief, Ben is a senior in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) who is pursuing minors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and Business Economics as well. He hails from Toledo, Ohio, and has enjoyed the few highs and many lows of being a Cleveland sports fan.

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