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ND Women’s Soccer

Irish drop matches against NC State, Virginia, squad ties Duke over break

| Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Over fall break, Notre Dame women’s soccer embarked upon a three-match stand away from home against ACC opponents. After beginning the campaign with a 3-0 loss to No. 1 Virginia, the Irish (9-6-2, 3-4-2) looked to improve against No. 9 Duke, who had not been defeated since August.

The Blue Devils (8-1-7, 3-0-6 ACC) were coming off a grueling 1-1 double overtime draw against No. 14 Louisville. The Irish would have had to elevate their level of play to earn a favorable result against such a complete squad. Duke is regarded as having one of the best defenses in the nation and has only allowed 0.69 goals per game. The Blue Devils are headlined by their strength in goal, ranking fifth in the ACC with 64 total saves. Duke’s offense would also prove to be a challenge due to its 33 assists — the third-best mark in the ACC — and Notre Dame would have to neutralize the scoring abilities of sophomore forward Marykate McGuire and senior midfielder Ella Stevens, who had scored eight and seven goals coming into the game, respectively.

Allison Thornton | The Observer

Irish graduate student defender Autumn Smithers looks to pass the ball upfield during Notre Dame’s 3-2 loss to Iowa on Sept. 15.

After a back-and-forth affair, Duke recorded the first goal as Stevens converted on a cross from sophomore defender Delany Graham in the 39th minute. The Irish responded in the second half as they increased their intensity. In the 86th minute, sophomore forward Oliva Wingate rewarded Notre Dame’s aggressiveness with an equalizing goal off of an assist by freshman midfielder Erin Hohnstein.

Both teams had many opportunities to convert off of free kicks in two overtime periods, but the match ended in a 1-1 draw. The Irish held a 5-3 advantage in shots on target. The match marked Duke’s eighth overtime contest of the season and seventh draw, tying their school record.

Notre Dame then traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, to challenge NC State and looked to sustain its high level of play. The Wolfpack (8-5-4, 3-2-4 ACC) were coming off of a 3-2 overtime victory over Syracuse and would try to collect a third conference win. The greatest impediment to an Irish victory would be Wolfpack senior midfielder Tziarra King, who leads all ACC players with 14 goals and 36 shots on target. NC State senior midfielder Ricci Walkling would also prove to be a challenge as she had recorded eight assists prior to the contest.

In the early minutes of the match, NC State took the advantage as King controlled the ball after it bounced off of the top of the goal and found Walkling who recorded the first point of the game. About a minute later, redshirt sophomore defender Lulu Guttenberger sent a long ball to freshman forward Jameese Joseph who extended the Wolfpack lead to 2-0. Notre Dame spent the remainder of the match trying to lessen the deficit, but NC State junior goalkeeper Jessica Berlin played a strong game, recording a career best with seven saves. The Irish held an 8-7 advantage in shots on goal; however, they just could not find the back of the net. King finished off Notre Dame in the seventh minute with a goal of her own and sent the Irish back to South Bend on a four-match winless streak.

The Irish will face Wake Forrest in a Senior Day matchup Thursday at 7 p.m.

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