Notre Dame looks to continue road success
Renee Griffin | Wednesday, October 8, 2014
No. 14 Notre Dame will get a chance to bounce back from Sunday’s last-minute loss to No. 4 Virginia when it travels to Pittsburgh to face the Panthers on Thursday.
Pittsburgh (6-6-0, 2-2-0 ACC) is unranked, unlike other teams the Irish (7-4-1, 2-2-0) have recently faced, including Virginia, No. 9 Virginia Tech and No. 7 North Carolina.
However, the Panthers enter the matchup after consecutive conference wins against Syracuse and North Carolina State. Pittsburgh faces a swing of games against three top-15 teams in coming weeks, as it will play the Tar Heels and No. 2 Florida State after facing the Irish.
Irish coach Theresa Romagnolo said the team can never overlook an ACC opponent, and Pittsburgh has many qualities that make it a formidable road foe.
“Every opponent in the ACC is a good opponent,” Romagnolo said. “Pitt is a strong, physical team. They do a good job defending, and they’re a difficult team to score on. They have a couple players who can score a lot of goals, so we’ll need to watch that and stay strong on defense.”
The quick turnaround between games should not affect the team’s performance too much, Romagnolo said. Notre Dame boasts a 4-0-1 road record so far this season.
“With our ACC schedule, we get used to having to travel on Wednesday to play on Thursday after a Sunday game weekend,” Romagnolo said. “At this point, we’re not working on too much in training during the week, just trying to stay fresh. We’ve been getting creative in utilizing our time.”
The Irish stayed close with the powerhouse Cavaliers on Sunday right up to the final 21 seconds, when Virginia scored the deciding goal that gave it the 2-1 lead. Romagnolo said the game against Pittsburgh provides an opportunity for the Irish to get back on track.
“We need to get back to playing our possession style and bringing that tenacity back on defense,” Romagnolo said.
In order to avoid dramatic losses like those the team has suffered recently against Virginia and North Carolina, the team will emphasize several aspects of its attack in upcoming games, Romagnolo said.
“We’re focusing on being a good possession team, going up the field and taking chances in the last third of the field,” Romagnolo said.
The Irish have a host of players who are consistent threats to score. Sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews has four goals, while senior forward Lauren Bohaboy and junior defender Katie Naughton each have three. After them, two players have two goals and four different players have one goal apiece.
Notre Dame and Pittsburgh square off Thursday at 7 p.m. at Ambrose Urbanic Field in Pittsburgh.