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ND Women’s Soccer

Notre Dame loses both games against top-15 opponents

| Monday, September 10, 2018

Notre Dame dropped a pair of matches against highly ranked teams on a road trip in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend.

On Friday, the Irish fell to No. 1 Stanford (6-0-0) 3-1, and were beaten by No. 12 Santa Clara (6-1-0) 3-2 on Sunday. Though Notre Dame (4-4-0) was bested in both games, the Irish put on impressive defensive displays in each game.

Facing Stanford, the Irish were able to hold the defending national champions scoreless for a significant portion of the first half. The Cardinal earned the match’s first goal in the 32nd minute when senior midfielder Jordan DiBiasi’s shot past Irish junior goalkeeper Brooke Littman into the bottom right corner. The score would remain 1-0 in Stanford’s favor until the half.

The Irish offense had been quiet in the first half, with Notre Dame’s only shot coming from senior midfielder Sabrina Flores.

Connery McFadden | The Observer

Irish senior midfielder Sabrina Flores sprints behind Irish sophomore Sammi Fisher during Notre Dame’s 2-1 win over Cincinnati on Aug. 30 at Alumni Stadium.

Barely a minute into the second half, the Cardinal took a 2-0 lead on a goal from freshman forward Abby Greubel. Notre Dame responded about 13 minutes later with a goal of its own. Assisted by junior forward Jennifer Westendorf, fifth-year forward Karin Muya curved the ball past Stanford’s keeper to make the score 2-1.

Stanford responded quickly, securing the win with one more goal with 25:16 to play. Cardinal freshman forward Sophia Smith found the back of the net to make it 3-1, a score that would hold until the final whistle.

Notre Dame had managed six shots in the second half, three of which ended up on goal. In comparison, the Cardinal dominated the same 45-minute period, taking 13 shots. While Stanford fired 20 shots throughout the match, the Irish defense allowed only six of those shots to end up on goal.

Sunday’s match against Santa Clara would prove closer.

The Broncos struck first when senior forward Maria Sanchez recovered a rebounded shot to earn the unassisted goal in the 30th minute. The 1-0 score would remain unchanged until the half’s end.

Despite failing to score, the Irish found numerous offensive opportunities in the first half. Notre Dame earned a corner kick and took four shots over the game’s first 45 minutes, including three from Flores. Santa Clara managed six shots and a corner before halftime.

Westendorf came out after halftime focused, as she tied the game in the 49th minute with an unassisted goal, firing a successful shot from the top of the box. The forward finished the match with three shots.

Santa Clara regained the lead in the 57th minute with another unassisted rebound goal, this time from freshman midfielder Skylar Smith. The Broncos continued their offensive strike, extending the score to 3-1 two minutes later when sophomore forward Kelsey Turnbow connected on a shot.

The Irish tried battling out of the two-goal deficit, bringing the lead back within one by the 73rd minute. Sophomore midfielder Sammi Fisher hit the back of the net on a long shot from several yards beyond the box, making the score 3-2. Fisher took three total shots in the match, two of which were on goal. This goal — her third of the season — made Fisher the leading goal scorer on the season for the Irish.

Despite a concerted effort to score again, the Irish were unable to close the gap, and the score remained unaltered as time expired.

Notre Dame outshot Santa Clara 9-8 in the second half. The Irish tallied 13 shots (six on goal) overall, just one short of Santa Clara’s 14 (five on goal).

The Irish will face another challenge in its first ACC matchup of the year this Sunday against No. 13 North Carolina State (6-1-1). Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at Notre Dame’s Alumni Stadium.

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