Notre Dame Battles Virginia to Draw


Megan Golden | October 7, 2017

The University of Notre Dame women's soccer team battled No. 13 Virginia to a 1-1 draw in a tightly-contested double-overtime matchup on Thursday. The Irish (6-4-3, 2-2-1) utilized an experienced back line to remain unbeaten on the road in Atlantic Coast Conference play, limiting the Cavaliers (7-3-3, 2-1-2) offensively in front of a rather rowdy crowd at Klockner Stadium.

Notre Dame followed a script it has written all season, taking an early lead and relying on its defense throughout the remainder of the match. The Irish move to 5-0-2 when scoring first this season and are now 2-3-1 against top-25 opponents. 

Over its last six games, Notre Dame has gone 3-2-2 and outscored its opponents 14-8.

How It Happened

The Cavaliers opened the match with a corner kick and back-to-back shots, both of which were blocked by Irish defenders. Coming into play, Virginia led the ACC in shots, evident in the team's early attack on goal.

Senior Ginny McGowan cleared the ball out of the defensive third in the 11th minute, and the Irish moved the ball down the field for their first opportunity on goal. Graduate student Sandra Yu had her shot saved out of bounds, and sophomore Jennifer Westendorf's ensuing corner kick was cleared by Virginia.

Notre Dame continued to battle the Cavaliers, working meticulously on connecting passes from the defense all the way through the midfield and the attack. Virginia's defense, which had allowed nine goals prior to Thursday, was difficult for the Irish to crack in the first half.

In the 39th minute, Rachel Heard began a string of beautiful passes that touched the feet of junior Sabrina Flores, sophomore Natalie Jacobs and senior Meghan Doyle. The Irish controlled the ball midway up the field, eventually getting the ball to Yu, who broke away from the defender and scored in the upper right corner of the net. The goal marked Yu's seventh of the season and gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute.

Just like they have all season, the Irish used their defense to remain unbeaten when leading at halftime (3-0-1).

The Irish and the Cavaliers continued to exchange possessions throughout the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Virginia eventually evened the score 1-1 with a goal in the 60th minute. 

Junior Shannon Hendricks saw a lot of action down the left sideline in the second half. The defender pushed the ball up the field, connecting on passes to Westendorf, Jacobs and senior Taylor Klawunder.

Senior goalkeeper Lexi Nicholas also was extremely active throughout the match, tallying just one save but making impressive diving stops for Notre Dame.

Read more here.

 by Grace Prosniewski

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