Irish look to regain momentum at home against Syracuse
Patrick Gallagher | Friday, October 4, 2019
The Irish will look to bounce back from a rough 3-0 loss in Chapel Hill as they prepare to face the Orange this Friday at home. Notre Dame (7-4, 1-2 ACC) has only lost once in South Bend while only surrendering two goals in these home matches. Syracuse (2-6-2, 0-2-1 ACC) has gone winless on the road and has currently suffered seven contests without a win. The Irish edge out the Orange in almost every statistical category. Notre Dame averages nearly two goals a game at 1.9 and allows less than one while the Orange average less than half a goal a game and let in around one per match. However, Syracuse has challenged many of the top schools in the nation this season and only lost to the defending champions, No. 6 Florida State, by one point. There is no doubt that the Orange have the potential to come to South Bend prepared and ready to give the Irish a fiercely competitive match. Irish head coach Nate Norman stated that his team must come out with a fast pace and look to attack from both the left and right wings in order to achieve victory.
“The goal is to win the game,” Norman said. “I think to do that we have to make sure that we play with a very high tempo and move the ball to the wide areas quickly when we get more numbers in the box. We used to be a very defensive minded team and clog up the middle, so we have to get switches…while continuing to cross it into the box. We also have to bring pressure on counter attacks. If we do all of these things, we will be in a good place.”
When reflecting upon the season, Norman has most admired his team’s ability to recover from hard losses and foresees that this skill will be on full display this week.
“I have been most proud of is the team’s ability to respond to adverse situations,” Norman said. “We had some games where we felt that we could have won and maybe that we should have won. It has been frustrating, but the way that they came out the next day at practice and into the next game giving a really good effort is very impressive. We had a tough game on Monday, and I am expecting to see the same response on Friday.”
Notre Dame’s loss to No. 3 UNC was uncharacteristic of the team as they had not been blown out all season with each of their previous losses only being decided by one goal. The Irish were also unaccustomed to holding opponents scoreless as they have had multiple four point matches. As Notre Dame looks to return to form, the team has several strong individual performances to build off of. Junior Eva Hurm leads the Irish with four goals while sophomore Luisa Delgado and freshman Kiki Van Zanten have had three goals respectively. Delgado also leads the team with four assists, and junior Sammi Fisher follows right behind with three assists on the season. The Irish have been successful in utilizing two goalies as Brooke Littman and Mattie Interian have made 26 total saves in eleven matches. Coach Norman highlighted the Michigan match as his best memory of the season so far.
“My favorite moment of the season has probably been our win against Michigan,” Norman said. “Kiki Van Zanten scored the game winning goal with about two or three minutes left, and it was in front of a big crowd in Ann Arbor. It was really just a great result for us.”
Friday’s contest could prove to be a great chance for the Irish to improve their record in conference play as they have gone 1-2 against ACC opponents. The affair also marks a three game home stand that will last until the middle of this month. The match will be played on Alumni Field at 7 p.m.