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Irish top Eagles 2-0 in home opener

| Friday, October 2, 2020

Two first-half goals propelled Notre Dame (2-1) to a 2-0 win over a youthful Boston College (0-1) squad on a rainy Thursday night at Alumni Stadium. 

Victory in the Irish’s 2020 home opener meant Notre Dame improved to 13-1-1 all-time vs. Boston College and 8-0 at home against the Eagles. 

In this year’s condensed schedule of just eight conference games, every result could be vital in the race for a spot in the ACC Tournament. Notre Dame head coach Nate Norman was very happy with the result and pleased with his team’s performance on the whole. 

“I thought we were very sharp in the first half,” he said. “We got a couple of goals and created a lot of chances in the opening 45 minutes. In the second half, we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be in the crucial moments but still created several chances. Overall, very happy with the performance. Boston College is a very good team and I was happy we were able to come away with a win.”

The Irish were able to apply pressure early as BC tried to sit deep and soak up pressure. Junior forward Luisa Delgado was especially active in the opening minutes. The Manhattan Beach, California native recorded the first of eight first-half shots on target for the Irish in the fourth minute. Eagles goalkeeper Allie Augur was up to the task at her near post, however, and also made a vital save two minutes later off a cross from senior forward Eva Hurm. Senior midfielder Sammi Fisher found Hurm unmarked on the right-wing, but the forward’s cutback was too close to the sophomore keeper. 

The breakthrough came with just under fifteen minutes played after a brilliant solo goal from Fisher. Eva Hurm had her shot blocked, but Fisher picked up the scraps and then did the rest. After some nifty footwork to evade two Eagles defenders, Fisher delicately stroked her shot into Augur’s upper-right-hand corner while falling away from goal. 

Though BC failed to record a shot on target until the waning minutes of the half, the Eagles produced their best chance before halftime in the 23rd minute. A cross from freshman midfielder Laura Govin (one of 15 underclassmen on the Eagles roster), was mere inches away from the lunging right foot of Michela Agresti, who found herself unmarked in the penalty area after coming all the way up from her center-back position.

Augur, who finished with a career-high eight saves, made several key stops to keep BC in the contest despite the slick conditions. Just over the half-hour mark, one of Notre Dame’s nine corners in the match was flicked dangerously on net by sophomore defender Jade Gosar, but the Eagles keeper made an alert save with Irish sophomore forward Kiki Van Zanten lurking. 

Van Zanten, who was coming off a hat-trick in Notre Dame’s 6-0 drubbing of Miami last Sunday, finally made it two for the Irish less than three minutes later. After some sustained possession in the final third, Hurm served a tantalizing cross that left Augur rooted to her line. Van Zanten slid between BC’s Samantha Agresti and Mia Karris and dispatched Hurm’s cross into the roof of the net from six yards out. It was Van Zanten’s team-high fourth goal of the season, all of which have come off the bench. 

BC finally recorded their first shot on target just over three minutes before the break. Eagles midfielder Sam Smith produced a good touch in traffic to set up Alison Heckman, whose low drive from just outside the area forced Notre Dame junior goalkeeper Mattie Interian into a diving save at her near post.  

After being out-shot 14-1 in the first 45 minutes, BC was much improved after halftime. Less than five minutes into the second half, Eagles grad student forward Jenna Bike had a golden opportunity off a cross from fellow senior Jillian Jennings, but her left-footed effort from close-range was straight at Interian. 

Just over five minutes later, Irish junior forward Olivia Wingate forced Augur into a sprawling save with a low drive that the BC keeper did well to parry away from danger, but it was the Eagles who came closest to scoring in the second half. 

With almost an hour played, Bike, who missed the entire 2020 season due to injury, came inches away from halving the deficit. After receiving the ball just inside the Irish half, freshman midfielder and Icelandic youth international Linda Boama found Bike all alone on the right-wing. Bike’s low strike looked destined to squeeze inside the far post, but the Trumbull, Connecticut native saw her effort denied by the woodwork. 

The Irish almost grabbed a third goal just over two minutes later. Junior left-back Brianna Martinez slipped in Hurm after duping multiple Eagles defenders near midfield, but Augur got off her line quickly to deny the forward from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Hurm’s one-on-one opportunity proved to be the final shot on target of the contest. The match petered out as both teams tired, and the Irish managed the final half-an-hour en route to a second successive clean sheet. 

Notre Dame returns to action at Alumni Stadium on Sunday with a noon kickoff vs. Syracuse. Though spectators will not be permitted, the match will be available to stream on ACC Network Extra. 

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