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ND Women’s Soccer

Irish split two games in season-opening trip to Florida

| Monday, September 21, 2020

This past weekend, the women’s soccer team competed against two southern rivals, Florida State on Thursday, and University of Miami on Sunday. The big road trip to Florida marked the first two games of the season for the Irish. Coming home with a win and a loss, the team has a lot to reflect on looking forward.

There is a lot of pressure when asked to start the season with a double header on the road. This is magnified not only by the fact that Florida State, the closer of the two destinations, is more than 900 miles from South Bend, but that every game holds extra weight. This season, due to COVID-19, only the top four ACC teams in each division of the conference will make the conference tournament.

Before the game, women’s soccer head coach, Nate Norman, shared his thoughts on the year and the coming season.

“Like any year, leadership is unbelievably important, and this year only magnifies that,” Norman said. “… I think whenever you play games in the fall, there’s always that sense of great value in each game. I still think [the players] look at every game like it’s crucial to the season… I hope they look at it as it’s such a privilege to be able to play. I hope they’re able to go out there and enjoy it.”

Even after taking their coach’s words into account, the Irish suffered a loss on Thursday against the Seminoles. The final score of the game was 5-0 in favor of the home team. They dominated play throughout the game, scoring their first goal in the 19th minute and their last in the 78th.

Erin Fennessy | The Observer

Irish graduate student defender Shannon Hendricks passes the ball during Notre Dame’s 3-0 win over Syracuse on Oct. 4, 2019 at Alumni Stadium.

Only two players stayed on the field for the duration of the game for the Irish: junior defender Jade Gosar and junior goalkeeper Mattie Interian. Gosar and Interian are expected to lead the Irish this year as they did in this game. The Irish struggled to find their rhythm through the entire game; they only managed to get two shots off.

Of particular note was junior midfielder Luisa Delgado, who came off of the bench and played a total of 55 minutes. Delgado was the substitute who played the most for the Irish. 

The Seminoles’ five goals were scored by four different players. Most notable was the performance of junior midfielder Yujie Zhao, who came off of the bench and managed to score two goals for Florida State.

After their game against Florida State, the Irish had a short layover before traveling to play the University of Miami on Sunday. The game ended much differently than their previous encounter with a Florida-based team. The Irish women came away from their second game with a 6-0 victory over the Hurricanes.

The Irish really hit their stride against Miami. The goals were evenly distributed to three per half. Senior midfielder Sammi Fisher opened up the scoring in the seventh minute with a penalty kick. Fisher would go on to compliment this goal with another early in the second half.

The biggest standout for the Irish on Sunday was sophomore forward Kiki Van Zanten. The young forward netted three goals in the Notre Dame victory. Applying pressure from the beginning, Van Zanten was a menace to the Hurricane defense. She scored once in the 42nd minute and twice more within the last ten minutes of the game. 

Junior forward Olivia Wingate was the third scorer for the Irish. Wingate scored the second goal for the Irish in the 11th minute, solidifying her team’s lead early on in the game.

Delgado, similar to when playing against the Seminoles, proved to be an integral piece of Notre Dame’s strategy. The junior assisted two goals and played a total of 49 minutes.

The Irish have a bye week before returning to action Oct. 1 in their home opener against Boston College.

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