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ND Women’s Soccer

Irish conclude two-game trip with 1-1 draw in Pittsburgh

| Monday, September 25, 2023

Arisa Custodio | The Observer
The Notre Dame women’s soccer team celebrates a goal during a 3-1 win over Wake Forest at Alumni Stadium on Sep. 15, 2023.

In a rematch of last season’s epic ACC Tournament quarterfinal, Notre Dame women’s soccer played to a draw at Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon. The 1-1 result, which featured seven shots on goal by each team, moved the 10th-ranked Irish to 6-1-3 overall and 2-0-1 within conference action. Meanwhile, the Panthers, who sit just outside the national top 25, shifted to 8-2-1 (1-1-1 ACC). 

Still feeling the momentum from a dramatic victory at Duke, Notre Dame controlled the early portion of the first half. The Irish generated four of the game’s first five shots, including a long-distance blast from senior defender Eva Gaetino which Pitt keeper Ellie Breech knocked down in the third minute.

The next 40 minutes would pass quietly and with even play. Notre Dame sent three more low-risk shots on net, while Pitt totaled seven shots before the break. In the final three minutes of the half, the Irish forced Breech out of position on a corner kick. Her punch fell to graduate student midfielder Erin Hohnstein, whose volley hit the middle of the crossbar.

Eleven minutes into the second half, another Irish set piece nearly broke the scoreless deadlock. Graduate student defender Waniya Hudson’s long throw-in bounced to the penalty spot, where freshman midfielder Morgan Roy swung a shot right at the left spot. Reacting quickly, Breech dove to her right, making her toughest save yet.

But in the 60th minute, Kristina Lynch bested the Pitt keeper’s efforts. Passing up the middle from the center of the backline, Gaetino played Lynch onside toward goal. In a 40-yard footrace with Pitt’s center back, the graduate student midfielder pulled ahead and angled left to create separation. As Lynch entered the box and Breech closed in, the former uncorked a low shot just inside the right post. Lynch’s fourth goal of the season – her third in the last four games – has her tied with graduate student forward Maddie Mercado for the team lead.

Unsurprisingly, Pitt spent the final half-hour unloading prime opportunities at the Irish. Yet, the equalizer seemed uncertain for quite some time. With just over 20 minutes remaining, freshman goalkeeper Atlee Olofson made a leaping stop on a rising shot from Amanda West. Nine minutes later, the Panthers snuck one past Olofson from a corner. But senior forward Ellie Ospeck saved the day, kicking out Ashton Gordon’s header on the goal line. 

Pitt finally broke down the barrier in the 83rd minute. On another corner kick, Deborah Abiodun directed a forceful header outside the reach of Olofson. Ospeck stood in position to make another goal-line block, but Abiodun struck the ball so well that she had no time to react.

Even with the game level, the Panthers continued to attack. As the clock reached the 85th minute, Samiah Phiri broke into the box on a failed clearance. Using her footwork to generate a prime shooting lane, Phiri fired away at Olofson from 10 yards out, but the Irish keeper countered with a tremendous reaching save.

That save, Olofson’s career-high sixth, went down as her last. The battle reached full time with the score still even at one goal apiece. Notre Dame finished with a 17-15 edge in the shot department, while Pitt generated 12 corners to Notre Dame’s nine.

Up next, Chad Riley’s side returns to South Bend for a three-game homestand that features Louisville, Boston College and Miami (FL). The Irish will host the Cardinals at Alumni Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday in a game shown on ACC Network Extra.

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About Tyler Reidy

Tyler is a sophomore who serves as an Associate Sports Editor at The Observer. Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska, and Keough Hall, he enjoys road trips, all things collegiate athletics and Kansas City barbecue. Reach out here or @TylerJReidy on Twitter!

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