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ND Women’s Soccer

Irish fall in OT at OSU

| Wednesday, April 14, 2021

After over three weeks of inaction due to COVID-19, the Irish suffered their first loss of the spring season Sunday. Notre Dame fell in a 2-1 overtime loss at No. 18 Oklahoma State. 

After starting 2021 with back-to-back 2-0 wins away at Cincinnati and at home to Missouri, respectively, the Irish (6-6-0, 4-4-0 ACC) had matches at Missouri and Kansas cancelled due to COVID-19 positive tests, subsequent quarantining and contract tracing within the Irish program. 

Notre Dame almost got off to a dream start in the 11th minute through sophomore forward Kiki Van Zanten. Van Zanten, who leads the Irish with six goals in the 2020-21 season, hit a beautiful strike from about 25 yards out but the crossbar denied her a score. 

Oklahoma State (12-3-1, 6-2-1 Big 12) took the lead eight minutes later. Irish senior goalkeeper Jaina Eckert could not corral a dangerous low cross from OSU senior forward Gabriella Coleman, and sophomore midfielder Olyvia Dowell thumped the rebound home from close range. 

The Irish would not have to wait long for an equalizer, however. In the 27th minute, Maddie Mercado’s free kick from just outside the penalty area cleared the wall and wrong-footed the OSU keeper to give the sophomore midfielder her second goal of the season. 

Both teams had chances to win in regulation but failed to make it happen. OSU eventually prevailed thanks to a golden goal in the first period of overtime from Coleman. 

This time, Dowell turned provider after a marauding run down the left-hand side. She slipped a ball through to Coleman, who fired the 98th minute winner home from a tight angle. 

Notre Dame will now travel to No. 4 TCU for its regular season finale Saturday. The Irish will need to earn a win in Fort Worth if they hope to have a chance of making their second straight NCAA tournament. 

This year’s tournament, originally slated for the fall, will consist of only 48 teams instead of the typical 64. The tournament was postponed from the fall by the NCAA due to COVID-19 complications, and will now take place in May. With the ACC’s automatic bid already taken by No. 1 Florida State, Notre Dame needs to earn one of the 17 at-large bids available to qualify. 

However, the Irish are currently ranked 63rd in the country in RPI, the most important metric used in the selection process.  

Kickoff Saturday is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. 

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