ND Women’s Soccer
Irish fall to Louisville, look ahead to Wake Forest on Sunday
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, September 21, 2018
On Thursday, Notre Dame looked to end its three-game losing streak against Louisville on the road. Though the Irish (4-5-0, 0-1-0 ACC) created a number of opportunities throughout the course of the game, they were unable to put any into the back of the net, falling to the Cardinals (8-1-0, 2-0-0 ACC) by a score of 2-0.
Playing their first game in 11 days, the Irish struggled to possess the ball early, as the Cardinals pushed forward into Notre Dame’s half of the field for much of the first half. The Cardinals nearly opened up the scoring in the 10th minute when Allison Whitfield’s shot from just inside the box sailed wide right.
Notre Dame nearly got on the board minutes later when the ball slid between a few Louisville defenders and ended up at the feet of Irish sophomore forward Eva Hurm, who was unable to beat Gabrielle Kouzelos as the Cardinals goalkeeper made one of her six saves on the day.
While Louisville controlled possession for much of the first half, the Notre Dame defense along with freshman goalkeeper Mattie Interian held the Cardinals scoreless in the first half.
Coming out of the break with an increased sense of urgency, Notre Dame dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half, creating a number of scoring opportunities and controlling the flow of the game. In the 48th minute, Hurm was again denied by Kouzelos after receiving the ball off of a bending cross from the left wing.
A few minutes later, Notre Dame junior forward Jen Westendorf came slashing down the left side of the box but was unable to get her shot by Kouzelos on a tough angle. In the first 11 minutes of the second half Notre Dame had four of their six shots on goal, but came away with nothing to show for it.
Louisville scored their first of two goals just before the hour mark, as Whitfield sent a cross from the right wing that forward Brooklynn Rivers was able to head back towards the right corner and into the goal in the 60th minute. Rivers was a difference maker throughout the game, using her height and speed to create opportunities for the Cardinals.
A costly turnover by the Notre Dame defense led to a two-on-one for Cardinals in the 77th minute as Cardinals freshman Maisie Whitsett scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season off the fingertips of a diving Interian.
The Irish had moments where they looked to be in control of the game, as Westendorf along with midfielders Alexis Martel-Lamothe, Brooke VanDyck and Sabrina Flores all put pressure on Louisville and created opportunities for the Irish.
Ultimately, Notre Dame was unable to turn opportunities into goals on Thursday, leading to the disappointing 2-0 loss.
After dropping their fourth consecutive game, Notre Dame will look to pick up its first ACC win of the year Sunday in Winston-Salem as the Irish take on Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons (5-2-1, 1-0-0 ACC) will hope to carry momentum from their 2-0 win Thursday against No. 16 North Carolina State into their clash with the Irish.
With five players having scored multiple goals on the season and nine total players with a goal to their name, Wake Forest has many different options and will put pressure on Notre Dame to control possession and keep the ball away from their many playmakers.
Notre Dame appeared to be dominant at times against Louisville on Thursday, but was not able to play at that high level for the whole ninety minutes. The Irish will look to turn in a complete match as the squad looks to pick up its first conference win of the season on Sunday.