ND Women’s Soccer
Irish shut out Wolfpack for first conference victory
Tobias Hoonhout | Friday, September 23, 2016
No. 24 Notre Dame won a tight 1-0 contest with conference foe North Carolina State on Thursday, securing its first win since Sept. 4 while extending its unbeaten streak to seven games.
The hero of the night was freshman midfielder Alexis-Martel Lamothe, who scored her first career goal in the 38th minute soon after entering the game as a substitute.
“I think it was great, and I’m really proud of the team,” Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said after the game. “NC State is a quality opponent, and to go down to their place [and win] after we’ve been on the road a lot shows just how tough this team is.”
The first half was a dominant display from the Irish (6-1-3, 1-0-1 ACC), as Notre Dame controlled a majority of the possession and had eight shots to NC State’s four. The best scoring chances for the Wolfpack (7-3-0, 1-1-0 ACC) came around the 30th minute, but the Irish defense stood firm and weathered the storm of shots and corners. Notre Dame were then able to strike on the counter-attack, as sophomore midfielder Shannon Hendricks and senior forward Kaleigh Olmsted pushed the ball upfield to set the team on the break. Hendricks then passed to Lamothe, who scored to give Notre Dame the lead.
“It was a great goal,” Romagnolo said. “Kaleigh and Shannon had a little combination on the side, and Shannon swung in a dangerous ball and Lexi Martel came in for actually her first touch of the game and ran into a dangerous area and got herself on the end of it.”
The Wolfpack came out in the second half looking for the equalizer, but the Irish were ready. Although the Wolfpack outshot the Irish 5-4, senior goalie Kaela Little made two saves while the back line stood firm, and Notre Dame’s defense preserved the clean sheet.
The win marked Notre Dame’s first after three straight double-overtime draws and also snapped the Wolfpack’s six-game winning streak, highlighted by a win at then-No.7 North Carolina last Friday.
“Overall, I thought our possession today was very good,” Romganolo said. “I think we kept the ball in longer stints than we have been, so I thought we showed some good composure. We moved the ball, we moved off the ball well [and] I think it created some good opportunities for ourselves. I think they really got behind the ball well, so we had to try to break them down and play through them, and they had some good athleticism when they countered, so I thought we did a good job in terms of dealing with their attack when they sent a lot of numbers forwards, especially when they were chasing the game and taking some chances. I thought we did well denying crosses, blocking shots and marking up in the box.”
The Irish are set to continue conference play Sunday when they host Pittsburgh at Alumni Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. The Panthers (1-8-1, 0-2-0 ACC) suffered a 3-0 defeat to Boston College on Thursday night, but Romagnolo said she is focusing on the positives from this game first.
“We’re feeling good,” she said. “Now we just have to turn our attention to them and find out what they are doing well and how we can exploit them, but for now we are going to enjoy this nice game tonight and continue to grow as a team. … We did some really nice things tonight, in terms of our composure and patience on the ball, and we want to continue to just grow in the things that we are doing well and keep improving on them.”