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Irish face off against Wolfpack, look to stay in playoff contention

Notre Dame women’s soccer hosts NC State this Thursday in their fifth conference game of the season. The sixteenth-ranked Irish take on the Wolfpack one week after a win against Boston College. Notre Dame dominated Boston College last week, winning three to nothing and leading the Eagles sixteen to seven in shots and six to two in corner kicks. Junior midfielder Eva Gaetino returned to play against BC after exiting early with a head injury in the game against Pitt.

Now 2-2 in the ACC, the Irish are looking to dominate in their next six games leading up to the ACC tournament at the end of the month. 

The game against NC State will test Notre Dame’s ability to perform consistently against ACC competition. The Irish have had trouble performing consistently in ACC play so far, alternating wins and loses across their four conference games. The team hopes that last week’s strong performance against Boston College will set the tone for the rest of conference play. NC State is currently ranked 9th in the ACC, three spots behind the 6th-ranked Irish.

Notre Dame averages 2.36 goals per game compared to NC State’s 1.38. Notre Dame also only gives up an average of .73 goals per game, while NC State gives up an average of 1.23. 

Also 2-2 in the ACC, the Wolfpack has had similar struggles with consistency as the Irish have. NC State recently suffered a crushing 6-0 loss against Duke, but rebounded last Thursday to beat Clemson, who beat Notre Dame 2-1 earlier in the season. Their performance against Clemson proves that the Wolfpack can’t be overlooked. That being said, NC State has yet to beat a nationally ranked team, going 0-1-2 against ranked opponents. It seems NC State has been unable to deliver in tough games so far. This bodes well for the sixteenth-ranked Irish, especially on their home pitch. 

At this point in the season, both teams are competing to earn a spot in the ACC tournament.. The top six teams in the ACC qualify for conference playoffs. Currently Notre Dame is sixth in the ACC, so from here on out every game is important for keeping the Irish in playoff contention. The Irish face two more nationally ranked opponents in their final six games of the regular season. Given this challenging schedule, the Irish will look to earn a win while they can.

NC State is currently ranked ninth, but the sixth through ninth-ranked teams all have the same ACC record. A few wins could easily put NC State in the running for the playoffs as well. 

This match up kicks off on Thursday at 8 p.m. in Alumni Stadium. It will also be streamed on the ACC Network.

Contact Sammie McCarthy at smccart9@nd.edu

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