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ND Women’s Soccer

Notre Dame women’s soccer falls to top-ranked North Carolina

| Monday, November 2, 2020

The Notre Dame women’s soccer team fell to top-ranked North Carolina (9-0, 8-0 ACC) by a score of 2-0 on Sunday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels found the back of the net once in each half to remain undefeated. North Carolina has been ranked number one in the country in every poll so far this season.

Notre Dame (4-4, 4-4 ACC) did have chances throughout the contest but failed to convert. Irish goalkeeper Mattie Interian made two first half saves but conceded the first goal of the match in the 35th minute to North Carolina sophomore defender Hallie Klanke. Fellow sophomore midfielder Libby Moore was credited with the assist.

The score remained 1-0 until halftime, but the Tar Heels really began to pressure the Irish in the second half. Interian made two saves early in the second half to keep Notre Dame within one goal, but in the 50th minute North Carolina struck again. Junior midfielder Brianna Pinto slotted home her fourth goal of the season off of a headed assist from sophomore forward Isabel Cox to double the Tar Heels’ lead.

Erin Fennessy | The Observer
Irish sophomore forward Kiki Van Zanten tries to evade a defender during Notre Dame’s 3-0 win over Syracuse on Oct. 4, 2019, at Alumni Stadium.

Interian kept the Irish in the contest by making seven saves, a career high, but Notre Dame could not find the back of the net on the offensive end. They only managed five shots in the game, two of them — by junior forward Olivia Wingate and freshman forward Ellie Ospeck — on goal. The Irish also saw their fair share of discipline, receiving three yellow cards in the second half.

Despite the loss, Notre Dame, who is ranked 13th in the nation, earned a spot in the ACC Tournament. The Irish will be the eighth seed in the tournament and will play the first seed Florida State in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Florida State, who is also undefeated and ranked second in the country, earned the top seed in the ACC based on more goals scored and a greater goal differential than North Carolina. Notre Dame fell to the Seminoles by a score of 5-0 in the first game of the season.

Notre Dame had hoped to build on the momentum they had established in a 1-0 win over Louisville, who had been ranked 13th at the time, on Oct. 25. The Irish had not been ranked before the win. Notre Dame finished tied for sixth place in the ACC with Louisville and Virginia Tech, but due to tiebreakers the Irish fell to the eighth spot.

The win propels North Carolina to a final record of 9-0, but they will be seeded behind Florida State in the upcoming ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels will play Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals, a team they beat 1-0 back on Sept. 20.

Only eight teams remain in the quest for the 2020 ACC Championship. Six of these teams, including Notre Dame, are ranked in the top 15. It’s win-or-go-home time for every team, and Notre Dame has the chance to avenge an early season loss to Florida State. The Irish have come a long way since that defeat to the Seminoles, and anything can happen in the postseason.

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