Notre Dame bounces back from Duke loss with shutout of NC State
Brenna Moxley | Monday, September 25, 2017
The Irish split two conference games at Alumni Stadium this past weekend, falling to the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils on Thursday and shutting out No. 24 North Carolina State on Sunday.
Notre Dame (6-3-2, 2-1-0 ACC) lost their first conference game on Thursday after being shutout 3-0 by a Duke defense that has only given up six goals this season.
Although coming off a strong victory over Clemson in Notre Dame’s conference opener, the Irish offense, which leads the ACC in shots, struggled to create chances and were held scoreless for only the third time this season.
The two squads both entered halftime scoreless, but the Blue Devils (10-1-0, 2-0) pulled away in the second 45 minutes, scoring in the 60th, 74th and 76th minutes.
With the win, Duke pushed its win streak to nine, and pushed Notre Dame’s home record to 2-2-1 for the year. The Irish now have lost two home games this season, and only four in the past three seasons.
But the Irish bounced back on Sunday by besting North Carolina State (8-2-1, 1-1-1) 4-0 on Sunday, scoring four goals against a Wolfpack defense that has only allowed four goals prior to facing Notre Dame.
In a total team effort, Notre Dame’s offensive unit produced a total of nine shots on goal, while the defense allowed only two shots on goal.
Sophomore forward Natalie Jacobs scored the first goal of the day in the tenth minute, collecting a cross from graduate student midfielder Sandra Yu and putting a shot off of the crossbar and in.
Yu followed this up with a goal of her own at the 31st minute mark, off an assist from junior defender Sabrina Flores.
After the halftime break, Yu added to her daily tally with a goal in the 60th minute, with senior defender Monica Flores setting up the goal. Yu now has a career-high six goals for the season.
Notre Dame’s fourth and final goal came only a few minutes later, when Jacobs capitalized on a rebound in the 63rd minute off of a shot by senior Meghan Doyle to seal the deal for the Irish.
Senior goalkeeper Lexi Nicholas made her first career start for Notre Dame in goal, and also recorded her first shutout.
Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo noted the accomplishments of the team during their game against North Carolina State, especially being patient with the ball and waiting to make good opportunities to score.
“Some of the things we did well was keeping possession of the ball, being patient and then breaking down the [opposing] defense and creating some great opportunities,” she said. “Then we executed on these opportunities with high quality finishes”
Romagnolo was proud of how her team bounced back on Sunday, and described how it is difficult to compare games with different opponents.
“It’s really hard to compare between the Duke game and the N.C. State game, since they are just different teams,” she said. “We had good moments basically all game against Duke outside of a tough stretch, when there were three tough goals that were very preventable. It felt good coming back [Sunday] and having better defense and keeping possession of the ball more. We created nice pockets that we could play in and we were aggressive in the final third. We kept attention to detail, making sure we were focused defensively, not even giving the opposing team a chance to possess the ball or have a look at the goal.”
Romagnolo pointed out the keys of success for the Irish in Sunday’s contest.
“We generally just try to stick to our game,” Romagnolo said. “We were able to control the game by having the ball most of the time. We were able to get our feet on the ball in the midfield, so they didn’t have much of a look at the goal or that side of the field at all. I’m proud of our defensive mentality and our decision to keep the ball away from them.”
The Irish will next take the pitch against Wake Forest on Friday at Alumni Stadium with kick off at 5 p.m.