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ND Women’s Soccer

Irish face Hurricanes with ACC title on the line

| Thursday, October 27, 2016

With a chance to claim a share of the ACC regular season title in the final game before the conference tournament begins, No. 12 Notre Dame will host Miami on Thursday night.

The Irish (11-2-4, 6-1-2 ACC) do not control their own destiny going into the game, but a victory combined with either a draw between fellow ACC contenders Duke and Clemson or a win for the Tigers will see the Irish tied for points atop the conference standings with the Blue Devils (12-3-2, 7-1-1 ACC) or the Tigers (12-3-2, 6-1-2) respectively. Florida State could also claim a share of the title with a victory over North Carolina. A shared title with Clemson would also give the Irish the top seed for the ACC tournament, while a split with Duke or Florida State will depend on goal differences.

Senior midfielder Sandra Yu holds off a Virginia defender on Oct. 9. The Irish can share the ACC title with a win against Miami.Grace Tourville | The Observer
Senior midfielder Sandra Yu holds off a Virginia defender on Oct. 9. The Irish can share the ACC title with a win against Miami.

The regular season title and top seed isn’t all the Irish have to be concerned about however, as home field advantage for the Irish in the first round of the conference tournament is still not guaranteed. If the Irish lose to the Hurricanes and results elsewhere go against them, they could slip to the fifth seed and face a road trip to kick off the tournament. Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said a lot is on the line for the teams at the top of the ACC in this final week.

“We have the potential to win the ACC if Clemson beats Duke and other results go our way,” Romagnolo said. “So a lot’s coming down to this final game. Duke, Florida State, Clemson and us — everyone’s really in the running. And we’re all still trying to play for the top four to host in the first round of the ACCs.”

Romagnolo added that the ACC title is definitely something her players have been thinking of, but doesn’t think that there’s any danger of them losing focus on the individual game.

“It’s definitely on their minds, but they can’t win the ACC unless they focus on winning this game and they know that that should be the focus,” Romagnolo said.

Miami (10-7-0, 5-4-0 ACC) has less riding on the game, but still have something to play for. The Hurricanes are guaranteed a spot at the tournament and a home draw is out of reach, but could still be seeded anywhere between fifth and seventh for the tournament depending on whether they beat the Irish and results elsewhere.

The Hurricanes come into the game after two consecutive wins — over Louisville and Virginia Tech. Romagnolo highlighted senior forward Gracie Lachowecki, who had two assists against the Cardinals and two goals against the Hokies, as a key member of Miami’s team.

“They’re organized, they’ve got some good results this year,” Romagnolo said. “They just came off a win against Virginia Tech, so they’re a good team. They have a great goalscorer up front in Gracie Lachowecki, her brother actually played at Notre Dame, but she’s a fast striker and she can score goals. Other than that, they’re going to be an organized team who is fighting to make the ACC Tournament.”

The Irish and the Hurricanes will kick off at Alumni Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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About Daniel O'Boyle

Daniel O'Boyle is a senior sports writer living in Alumni Hall, majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the Notre Dame Women's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Women's Soccer beats. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Daniel spends most of his free time attempting to keep up with second-flight English soccer and his beloved Reading FC. He believes Lonzo Ball is the greatest basketball player of all time.

Contact Daniel