Women’s soccer looks ahead to match against in-state rival Purdue
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, September 2, 2021
This Thursday Notre Dame women’s soccer will face a tough in-state test when the Purdue Boilermakers come to South Bend for an out-of-conference match.
The Fighting Irish, who will enter the match 3-0-1 on the season, will be looking to continue the two-game win streak they started on the road last week in Wisconsin, as they took down both the University of Wisconsin in Madison and Marquette in Milwaukee.
Leading the Boilermakers (2-0-2) will be forward Sarah Griffith, who’s scored four goals in four games and is entering her third season as the focal point of the Purdue attack. Partnering with Griffith will be sophomore Nicole Kevdzija, a breakout rookie from last spring who has already added a goal and an assist to her account this season.
Thankfully for the Irish and head coach Nate Norman, Notre Dame has a stout backline that’s more than equipped to shut down top teams. Eva Wirtz has been a revelation in defense this fall- though the sophomore only started two games her freshman season, she’s been absolutely vital so far in 2021. According to inStat data posted by Chris Henderson (@chris_awk), Wirtz was the only Irish player to rank in the top five players in each of the team’s first three matches.
“She’s definitely, I think, grown in her confidence this year. She was always a really good player for us last year. And she definitely has had a belief in herself. She’s a great one-on-one defender, she does a great job closing down attackers, and she’s good in the air. She’s a very solid, steady player at the back and we’re very proud of her that she’s having such a great year so far,” Norman said on Wirtz’s growth this season.
On the attacking front, a balanced Irish front line should offer Norman plenty of options to come after the Boilermakers. Seven different players have registered a goal or assist for Notre Dame so far this fall, with Sammi Fisher being the only Irish player to have found the back of the net more than once.
Catch Notre Dame attempting to extend their unbeaten start on Thursday when Purdue comes to Alumni Stadium. The game will kick off at 7 pm ET.