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Irish look to extend hot start against Stony Brook

| Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The No. 17 Notre Dame women’s soccer will look to improve upon their strong start to the season when they host Stony Brook on Thursday in the final contest of a three-game home stand. To this point, the Irish have fared well in their first pair of matchups, coming away with wins against Central Michigan and Loyola Chicago. In their game against Central Michigan on Aug. 16, it was sophomore forward Eva Hurm who led the way offensively with two goals on the night. Freshman midfielder Brooke Van Dyck added another on the way to Notre Dame’s 26th season opening victory in the program’s 31 year history. The game additionally marked the first win at Notre Dame for first-year head coach Nate Norman.

Observer File Photo
Irish junior forward Jennifer Westendorf steps in front of her opponent during a Sept. 1 matchup against South Carolina.

The Irish returned to action against Loyola Chicago on Sunday and struggled at first to capitalize on their chances. Once Loyola opened the scoring in the second half, however, Notre Dame responded well to the pressure. Coming up with a pair of goals in the final twenty minutes were senior defender Sabrina Flores and junior forward Jennifer Westendorf, each assisting on the other’s goal to secure the 2-1 win for the Irish.

While they may only be two games into the season, Notre Dame has shown some encouraging signs that should give fans cause for excitement. Not only has the team scored five goals over its first two contests, they have totaled a 48-14 shot advantage over their opponents in the process.

Up next, the Irish will face a Stony Brook team coming off a west coast trip to start the season in which they split a pair of games against Oregon and Oregon State.

Stony Brook came away with an overtime win over the Beavers of Oregon State when sophomore Alyssa Francese scored on a penalty kick in the 94th minute. The Irish will have to continue to get shots on net and execute their opportunities if they hope to remain undefeated as Stony Brook’s sophomore goalkeeper Sofia Manner put in a stellar performance against Oregon State, making nine saves in the first half alone to give the Sea Wolves a chance. Additionally, Alyssa Francese should prove to be a challenge for the Notre Dame defense — she has now scored a goal in each of Stony Brook’s first two games this season.

With ACC play still a few weeks away for the Irish, their schedule is set for them to be tested in the coming days. The team still has matchups against three top 25 teams over the course of their next five games in No. 1 Stanford, No. 19 Santa Clara and No. 23 Ohio State. With a new freshmen class, players returning from injury and a new head coach, there will be a lot to figure out for the Irish early on in the season.

Kickoff against Stony Brook is set for 7:00 pm at Alumni Stadium.

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