ND Women’s Soccer
Irish bounce back with first ACC, road win
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, September 24, 2018
Notre Dame (5-5-0, 1-1-0 ACC) snapped its four-game losing streak Sunday against Wake Forest behind a second-half goal from freshman midfielder Brooke VanDyck. With the 1-0 win, the Irish earn both their first conference and road victories of the season.
The Irish struggled to find a rhythm early in the game, looking flat as play began. The No. 15 Demon Deacons (5-3-1, 1-1-0 ACC) controlled possession, drilling the first two shots of the game on goal and weaving through the Notre Dame defense with strong, sharp passes.
The first look for the Irish came in the 13th minute when junior forward Jennifer Westendorf gave Notre Dame a much-needed spark, bringing the offense alive with their first shot on goal. With the help of another shot on goal five minutes later by freshman forward Olivia Wingate, the momentum shifted in Notre Dame’s favor as the team began to settle in.
Although the offense had plenty of looks, they were largely unable to convert with several solid crosses rolling through the Wake Forest box untouched.
The Demon Deacons didn’t give the Irish much leeway, though, and continued to present a threat to the Irish defense. In the 36th minute, a Wake Forest ball glided over the hands of Notre Dame’s freshman goal keeper, Mattie Interian, but flew left of the goal, keeping the match at 0-0.
Just before the end of the half, the Irish answered with a look of their own, but sophomore midfielder Sammi Fisher couldn’t capitalize on the header, and both teams headed to the locker room scoreless.
The Irish returned to the second half looking strong, but neither team was able to gain a dominant hand at possession of the ball in an increasingly physical match. With neither team able to find their groove, play was evenly spread across each team’s attacking unit.
Wake Forest looked to be gaining momentum with clean passing and a corner when an offsides call on the Demon Deacons sent possession back to the Irish, and this time Notre Dame capitalized.
Dribbling the ball down the right sideline, Westendorf crossed the ball in to VanDyck, who was streaking down the middle of the box. The freshman was able to get a leg on it, and sent the ball flying past Wake Forest senior goal keeper Nonie Frishette and into the back of the net.
With the score, the Irish ended the Demon Deacons’ three-game streak of shutting out opponents at home.
Notre Dame followed the goal with a barrage of offensive attacks before facing an offensive slump of their own as their opponents hammered them with several well-placed shots, all stopped by Interian.
The teams continued to exchange the momentum for the remainder of the game, with Notre Dame knocking on Wake Forest’s door, and the Demon Deacons searching for the equalizer. With seven minutes remaining in the game, Wake Forest began to press hard, with a firm response from the Irish defense, particularly senior defender Rachel Heard and freshman midfielder Brianna Martinez.
The Demon Deacons managed to get two quality opportunities as clock winded down. Redshirt sophomore forward Estelle Laurier slotted a ball through to classmate Ryanne Brown, who hit it in, but once again Interian was in the right place at the right time and made the save. Additionally, Wake Forest lofted a high ball in with 15 seconds to play, but the Irish goal keeper stepped up and made the catch.
With the win, the Irish look to get their season back on track. Notre Dame will now face a four-game home stand against four top-25 opponents, beginning with another ACC matchup against No. 7 Florida State on Thursday. The Irish now head into the back half of their season, looking to stay above .500 and bag an ACC title.