ND Women’s Soccer
Notre Dame women’s soccer to kick off crowded weekend of Irish soccer action
J.J. Post | Friday, November 17, 2023
Both Notre Dame men’s and women’s soccer will have NCAA Tournament action this weekend, though the two teams will be in different situations and locations.
Women’s soccer will play the first match of what could become a loaded weekend slate for Irish soccer fans on Friday at 4 p.m., facing Memphis in the national round of 32 in Fayetteville, Ark. Notre Dame earned its second-round spot with a tense win over Valparaiso in South Bend last weekend. The Irish dominated possession, but it took a pair of late goals for the home side to separate and advance.
Memphis won their first-round game 2-1 over LSU, adding another victory to a streak that rivals some of the NCAA’s longest this season. The Tigers haven’t lost since August and have ripped off 16 consecutive wins since that loss, their only one of the season.
Graduate student Mya Jones has led the way for Memphis, putting together one of the best two-way seasons in the country. Jones has been equally strong as a scorer and creator, with her 11 goals and 11 assists leading the team in each category. She was recently named AAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Should Notre Dame emerge victorious, they’ll face the winner of Arkansas and Pitt in a Sunday round of 16 tie. Either matchup is guaranteed to have plenty of history at play. The Irish have familiarity with both of their potential opponents, even beyond having played each already this year (drawing both).
Notre Dame’s ties to Arkansas lie in their tournament history against the Razorbacks. In 2021, head coach Nate Norman and co. faced off against Arkansas in the same round and stadium as they could this year. That game ended with a 3-2 win by the Razorbacks in a testy affair. As for Pitt, the Panthers are led by former Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum. Waldrum led the Irish to a pair of national titles in his tenure before departing to coach the Houston Dash.
Men’s soccer will begin their NCAA Tournament journey on Sunday from the friendly confines of Alumni Stadium. Notre Dame drew the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament thanks in large part to an undefeated regular season in ACC play. That high seed earned them the bonus of a first-round bye.
Following Kentucky’s win over Xavier on Thursday night, Notre Dame will square off with the Wildcats for their opening tournament game.
The big storyline for the Irish will be the availability of junior forward Matthew Roou and sophomore defender Mitch Ferguson. Ferguson has missed a couple of weeks of action with a minor injury. Roou, tied for the team lead in goals, did not play in Notre Dame’s ACC Tournament game against Louisville with a similar knock.
Irish head coach Chad Riley confirmed during the week that both players are still working back to full fitness. Both figure to start for the Irish in their tournament run once completely healthy.
Notre Dame women’s soccer will start the weekend with their matchup against Memphis on Friday at 4 p.m. in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Should the Irish win, they’ll play again on Sunday, a 7 p.m. kickoff against the winner of Pitt and Arkansas. That potential matchup will be preceded by Notre Dame men’s soccer home game against Kentucky at 5 p.m. on Sunday. All of the matches will be available on ESPN+.