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ND Women’s Soccer

Notre Dame follows Virginia draw with win over Syracuse

| Monday, October 9, 2017

Coming off nearly a full week of rest, Notre Dame performed well in two conference games over the weekend, tying No. 13 Virginia 1-1 on the road Thursday, before coming back home and defeating Syracuse 2-0 on Sunday.

It became clear early on Thursday that the Irish (7-4-3, 3-2-1 ACC) were in for a tough challenge as they faced an aggressive Virginia (8-3-3, 3-1-2) attack that led the ACC in shots coming into the contest.

Although the half started quietly, just before the halftime break the Irish put on a solid display of passing before graduate student midfielder Sandra Yu was able to pull away from a defender and strike the ball home, giving her team the 1-0 lead. The goal for Yu marked her seventh of the season and helped Notre Dame equal their goal total from the 2016 season at 26.

Irish graduate student midfielder Sandra Yu dribbles up the field during Notre Dame’s 1-0 overtime loss to South Carolina on Sept. 1 at Alumni Stadium.Peter St. John | The Observer

Irish graduate student midfielder Sandra Yu dribbles up the field during Notre Dame’s 1-0 overtime loss to South Carolina on Sept. 1 at Alumni Stadium.

Virginia was able to notch things up at one in the 60th minute, and despite efforts on both sides, the score would remain that way through all of regulation and both overtimes. The Irish did have a bit of a scare as they were outshot 4-1 in the first overtime, but they were able to escape unscathed and walk away with the tie in front of a boisterous crowd at Klockner Stadium.

On Sunday, Notre Dame was able to pick up the win on home turf, but it did not come easy. Despite generating a number of offensive chances, the Irish still found themselves tied at zero after 45 minutes. The team came out in an even more aggressive fashion in the second half, and the effort finally paid off in the 68th minute when sophomore striker Jennifer Westendorf was able to bury a cross from sophomore forward Natalie Jacobs to open up the scoring. Jacobs would eventually net one herself 20 minutes later to add an insurance goal, although the Irish would not need it as they held on to the shutout.

Irish sophomore forward Natalie Jacobs surveys the field looking to pass during Notre Dame’s 1-0 loss to South Carolina on Sept. 1 at Alumni Stadium.Peter St. John | The Observer

Irish sophomore forward Natalie Jacobs surveys the field looking to pass during Notre Dame’s 1-0 loss to South Carolina on Sept. 1 at Alumni Stadium.

The win continued a solid string of good fortune for Notre Dame on Sundays, improving their record to 6-0 when wrapping up a weekend on Sunday.

After a weekend of ACC play, Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo saw a number of positives from her team, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

“Our forwards did a really good job holding onto the ball,” Romangolo said. “I thought we did a good job of keeping the ball in the opponent’s end and producing some opportunities for ourselves.”

With only four games remaining in the regular season, Notre Dame finds itself in a three-way tie for fourth place currently in ACC standings. The team will certainly have an uphill battle if it hopes to repeat the same success it had last year, finishing with a regular-season conference championship. For Romagnolo, the key for her team is take things one game at a time.

“We just have to look at it one game at a time and continue to grow as a team. Our next game isn’t until Saturday, and it’s our last home game,” Romagnolo said. “We will look to send our seniors out on a good note at home and then beyond that we will still have three more games on the road from there.”

Notre Dame will next play on Saturday when the Irish host Virginia Tech on Senior Night. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. as the Irish will look to pick up a win in their last home game of the regular season.

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