ND Women’s Soccer
Irish to host Boston College in home opener
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Notre Dame women’s soccer will host Boston College on Thursday, Oct. 1 in an early season ACC contest. The Irish are only two games into their 2020 season, with one win and one loss. The Irish visited Florida State to open the season, but the trip ended with a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Seminoles. They bounced back with a 6-0 win over the Miami (FL) Hurricanes to complete the road trip and even their record at 1-1.
The Irish now return home to a spectator-less Alumni Stadium for the 2020 home opener, seeking to bring some balance to their young season. The Eagles are looking to start their season off on the right foot as they will take the field for their first game of the season on Thursday.
In the loss to Florida State, Notre Dame failed to put pressure on the Seminoles for the entirety of the contest, only managing to get one of their two shots on target. The Irish also struggled on the defensive side of the ball, giving up five goals — three of which were unassisted.
The visit to Miami, however, showed a completely different Irish team. Notre Dame jumped out to a quick lead with senior midfielder Sammi Fisher’s penalty kick goal less than eight minutes into the match and controlled the action throughout. Fisher added a second goal in the second half, and sophomore forward Kiki Van Zanten led the way with a hat trick. Junior forward Olivia Wingate also scored for the Irish.
Notre Dame was also dominant defensively, allowing just one shot on target over the course of 90 minutes.
Fisher, who was an All-ACC Third Team selection a year ago, returns this season to anchor the Irish midfield. She led the team with six goals, five assists and 17 points last season. Van Zanten also returns for Notre Dame looking to build on her four goals from 2019, two of which were game winners. Overall, the Irish are bringing back 90.3% of their scoring, 92% of their assists and 93% of their total points from last season.
On the defensive side, Notre Dame returns senior Jenna Winebrenner and junior Jade Gosar, both of whom started 19 games a season ago. The Irish also brought in nine freshmen who will look to make an immediate impact in the pandemic-shortened season.
ACC All-Freshman honoree Sam Smith is the leading returning scorer for Boston College, and she will be joined by 10 new teammates — including eight freshmen — on the 2020 roster. The Eagles have not played a game this season, making them the only women’s soccer team in the ACC yet to take the field.
Notre Dame and Boston College did not meet at all during the 2019 season. The Irish finished tied for eighth in the ACC with a conference record of 4-4-2, while the Eagles finished dead last at 1-8-1. In a season with only eight conference games, it will be crucial for the Irish to defend their home turf, especially if they hope to catch conference leader North Carolina, who already sits at 3-0 in the ACC.