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ND Women’s Soccer

Irish fall to Ohio State before rebounding against Toledo

| Monday, September 11, 2017

The Irish closed out their non-conference schedule over the weekend with two games, the first of which was a 2-1 double-overtime defeat against the Buckeyes of Ohio State on the road Friday. But on Sunday, Notre Dame (4-2-2) rebounded with a 4-0 win over Toledo.

While the Irish started brightly against the Buckeyes (5-1-1), it was Ohio State who took the lead early off of a goal from senior defender Morgan Wolcott, but Notre Dame closed out the half on a high note with a goal from sophomore Natalie Jacobs in the 40th minute. In the second half, the Irish defense dug in and sophomore goalkeeper Brooke Littman only had to make two saves to push the match to overtime.

Irish sophomore forward Jennifer Westendorf outpaces a defender during Notre Dame’s 1-0 loss to South Carolina on Sept. 1.Peter St. John | The Observer

Irish sophomore forward Jennifer Westendorf outpaces a defender during Notre Dame’s 1-0 loss to South Carolina on Sept. 1.

The Irish battled hard in both overtimes, but an own goal by the Irish ended the match in the 105th minute. The loss was the second of the season for the Irish, allowing the Buckeyes to join South Carolina as the only teams to take down the Irish this season.

After that loss the Irish bounced back Sunday with a 4-0 road win over Toledo (2-4-1). The Irish went into the halftime scoreless, but exploded in the second half offensively to put away the Rockets.

The Irish relied on a two goal performance from senior Sandra Yu in the second half to gain the edge. Sophomore Jennifer Westendorf scored a free kick from outside the box, and sophomore Natalie Jacobs extended her goal scoring streak to three games.

This balanced approach to offense served the Irish well throughout the contest, as the Irish generated chances for the full 90 minutes. They outshot the Rockets 13-3 and directed six of those shots on target. The Irish generated five corner kicks, compared to zero for Toledo.

Littman only had to make one save to pick up the clean sheet. She directed traffic well all day, and the experienced Irish backline was strong. This defense is nothing new for the Irish, as they have conceded just five goals in eight games this season.

The four goals matched a season high for the Irish set earlier in the season against Ball State. Jacobs and Westendorf each scored in that affair as well, and the pair have proven to be the key to the Irish offensive attack.

The Irish have now have their sights set squarely ACC play, starting with fourth-ranked Clemson. The Tigers (6-1-0) has been climbing in the rankings, but suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of No. 7 South Carolina this past Friday.

The Irish will face a staunch defense in Clemson during their next match. The Tigers have conceded only two goals this season, and Westendorf, Jacobs, Yu and the rest of the Irish offense will need to work hard to find space on the pitch to score past Clemson’s defense and sophomore goaltender Sandy MacIver.

The Irish will hit the road to take on Clemson at 7 p.m. this Saturday at Riggs Field.

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