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ND Women’s Soccer

Irish knock off No. 8 Clemson on the road

| Monday, September 18, 2017

Opening their ACC campaign on the road this past Saturday, the Irish put together a complete team performance and defeated No. 11 Clemson 4-2 at Riggs Field.

Notre Dame (5-2-2, 1-0 ACC) outshot Clemson (6-2-0, 0-1 ACC) 18-4, with the Irish tallying 18 shots on goal to the Tigers’ four.

The Irish started brightly, scoring their fastest goal of the season when the sophomore duo of Natalie Jacobs and Jen Westendorf connected to give the Irish the lead in the eighth minute.

Irish graduate student midfielder Sandra Yu defends an opponent during Notre Dame's 1-0 double-overtime loss to South Carolina on Sept. 1 at Alumni Stadium.Peter St. John | The Observer

Irish graduate student midfielder Sandra Yu defends an opponent during Notre Dame’s 1-0 double-overtime loss to South Carolina on Sept. 1 at Alumni Stadium.

In the 26th minute, the Irish retained possession after a corner from freshman Sammi Fisher, and a cross from senior Monica Flores found the head of Fisher to give Notre Dame an early 2-0 lead.

Clemson senior Shannon Horgan responded immediately, however, as the forward ripped a 35 yard shot past Notre Dame’s sophomore goalie Brooke Littman to cut the deficit in half. The rest of the half was scoreless, however, as the Irish and their staunch defense held the Tigers without a shot for the remainder of the half.

In the second 45, Clemson came out and pressured the Irish, eventually finding an equalizer after freshman forward Mariana Speckmaier converted off of a cross. But Notre Dame responded, as Westendorf and Jacobs combined again to restore Notre Dame’s lead. 

Jacobs now has a team-high six goals on the season, while Westendorf leads the team with 17 points.

Senior midfielder Sandra Yu sealed the game for Notre Dame after taking a pass from Jacobs in the 68th minute and to make the score 4-2.

Notre Dame’s defense was once again dominant, holding the talented Tigers’ offense to only two shots the entire half

Reflecting on the victory, Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo was proud of the team’s chemistry and ability to create great opportunities and capitalize on them.

“I thought we played well overall,” she said. “We came out and played well on a big field. We did a great job connecting passes, creating great opportunities, and we ultimately scored some great goals.”

While the Irish played well across the board, Coach Romagnolo acknowledged the offense, sparked by the return of Jacobs this year after missing last season with the U.S. national team, has been playing tremendously.

“It’s really hard to identify one specific standout in particular, especially last game because the whole team played well,” she explained.

“The midfielders and centers opened things up so much for the forwards; it was really a team effort. If I had to specifically identify one player, Natalie Jacobs would be the standout in that game. She was involved in three goals with one goal and two assists. She had a huge impact on the game overall. Jacobs, Westendorf, Yu — the whole front group — has played very well together.”

The Irish take on No. 4 Duke at Alumni Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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