ND Women’s Soccer
Irish winning streak ends against Demon Deacons
Observer Staff Report | Friday, October 16, 2020
Notre Dame’s three-game winning streak came to an end Thursday at Alumni Stadium, as the 14th-ranked Irish lost 1-0 to Wake Forest following a late goal from junior forward Shayla Smart in the 87th minute.
After a long break since their last game against Syracuse on Oct. 4, Notre Dame (3-2-0, 3-2-0 ACC) was looking to come out strong and build off of three-straight shutout performances, yet the Demon Deacons (2-4-1, 2-3-1 ACC) had other ideas.
Notre Dame started fast by forcing Wake Forest redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kaitlyn Parks to make a stop in the fourth minute, but the Demon Deacons quickly settled in and began creating numerous chances on goal for themselves.
Notre Dame junior goalkeeper Mattie Interian was first thrust into action in the 21st minute when she had to dive to stop a shot from Demon Deacon junior midfielder Giovanna DeMarco that deflected off of an Irish defender. DeMarco threatened the Irish again in the 26th minute when she got behind the Notre Dame defense and found herself in a one-on-one opportunity against Interian, but Interian kept the game level with a kick save that pushed the ball out of the penalty area.
The Irish nearly fell behind soon afterward, as Wake Forest was awarded a penalty kick in the 30th minute following a challenge from a Notre Dame defender in the box. Demon Deacon freshman midfielder Faith Adams stepped up to take the shot, but her attempt bounced off of the left post to keep the match scoreless going into halftime.
Notre Dame immediately took control of the game coming out of the locker room, and it looked as though they would take the lead early in the second half as junior forward Olivia Wingate fired a shot on goal from inside the box in the 48th minute. The ball clanged off the crossbar, however, and Wake Forest quickly cleared the ball out of the penalty area to eliminate the threat.
Notre Dame continued to pressure Wake Forest for the remainder of the second half with its attack, and senior forward Ellie Ospeck nearly broke the deadlock in the 71st minute with a great opportunity. Dribbling up the field towards the penalty area, Ospeck deftly cut past a Demon Deacon defender at the top of the box and unleashed a powerful shot on goal. Unfortunately for the Irish, Wake Forest goalkeeper Kaitlyn Parks was ready for the attempt, as she got a hand on the ball and deflected the shot over the goal for an Irish corner kick.
The Irish had two more shots on goal in the 75th minute from senior forward Eva Hurms, but Parks was again able to keep Notre Dame off of the scoreboard. The game remained scoreless going into the final five minutes, and it seemed more and more likely the match was going to end in a tie. However, Wake Forest junior forward Shayla Smart capitalized on one final opportunity in the 87th minute that Notre Dame would not be able to overcome.
Looking to find a teammate in the penalty area, Demon Deacon freshman midfielder Reese Kim sent a cross in that bounced off of an Irish defender and fell right at the 6-yard box. Interian quickly jumped off of her line to collect the loose ball, but Smart arrived there first and smashed the ball into the top of the net to give Wake Forest the 1-0 lead and the win.
Notre Dame might be disappointed with the result, especially considering that the Irish outshot the Demon Deacons 18-11 and forced Parks to make nine saves on the night. However, Notre Dame will not have much time to rest, as they will welcome fourth-ranked Clemson on Sunday for another home game at Alumni Stadium.
The Tigers (4-2-0, 3-2-0 ACC) are coming off of a 2-0 victory against Wake Forest on Oct. 11, and they will bring a potent offense with them to South Bend. Clemson comes into Sunday’s match with the ninth-best scoring offense in the country at two goals per game, and they will look to get sophomore midfielder Caroline Conti and freshman midfielder Megan Bornkamp heavily involved since they are the team’s leading scorers.
Clemson’s defense has also been stout to start the season, as the team has only allowed three goals so far through six games. Notre Dame sophomore forward Kiki Van Zanten will look to change that total Sunday, however, and she has a great chance to do so considering that she is second in the nation with six goals on the season.
Prior to their loss to the Demon Deacons on Thursday, the Irish had an eight-game home unbeaten streak, and they will hope to get a new one started Sunday when they take on Clemson at 1 p.m. at Alumni Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.