SOUTH BEND, Ind.. – Notre Dame’s 18th-ranked women’s soccer team (7-1-0, 0-1-0) can avenge their first loss of the season in major fashion on Thursday when the nation’s No. old. The Fighting Irish host the Virginia Cavaliers on Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. ET, with the game streaming live on ACCNX. If the Irish can claim victory, it will be their first top-2 win since 2015 and their first on home soil since 2013.
LAST TIME STATS:
- Last time tied in top 5: At No. 4 North Carolina (2ot), T 1-1, Oct 26, 2017
- Last time tied in top 2: at No. 2 Stanford (2ot), T 2-2, Sep 11, 2016
- Last top 5 win: 5 Virginia Tech, W 3-0, October 30, 2015
- Last top-2 win: at No. 1 Virginia (2ot), W 2-1, Sept. 24, 2015
- Last top 2 win at home: No. 1 North Carolina, W 1-0, 15 September 2013
ND VS UVA – 2021
It was a back and forth at Klockner Stadium last fall, but ND fell to Virginia, 2-1. It was a scoreless battle for 82 minutes, as the Irish gathered momentum in the second half with several close chances. Still, Virginia found the back of the net twice in 37 seconds shortly after. Despite this, the Irish fought on and received a goal from Korbin Albert in the 85th minute.
THE SOFTNESS OF HOME
The Irish have made the Alumni Stadium a difficult venue for opposing programs. Since its inception in 2009, Notre Dame has posted a 113-27-6 record, good for a .795 winning percentage. In fact, they’ve only conceded one loss or better in six separate seasons.
Looking at just the past four years (counting this season as one year), the Irish are 27-4-2 at home.
Notre Dame went 10-1-1 in the 2021 campaign — its only loss a 3-2 decision to Clemson in the ACC Tournament.
Notre Dame averages 11.0 shots on goal, which ranks 4th nationally. Overall, the Irish average 23.62 shots per game, ranking them 4th nationally.
Those shots led to a scoring offense that ranks 32nd (2.62) with a total goal rating of 33rd (21) and total points of 38th (59).
Also how about the tops in the country – 1st nationally in corner kicks per game – 9.0. Notre Dame finally scored its first goal from a corner kick on September 11 against Ohio when Albert delivered a perfect ball to a flying Gaetino whose header found the back of the net.
Olivia Wingate — 37th in game-winning goals (2) // 23rd in goals per game (0.75) // 40th in points per game (1.62) // 12th in shot accuracy (0.697) // 22nd in shots per game (4 ,12) // 3rd in shots on goal per game (2.88) // 25th in total goals (6).
Maddie Mercado — 37th in winning goals (2) // 6th in shots per game (4.5) // 6th in shots on goal per game (2.62).
A 7-0 START
The Irish posted a perfect non-conference roster for the first time since 2008, going 7-0-0 -> the same year the Irish went 26-1 and won the NCAA title game.
The Irish picked up two ranked wins on the unblock, knocking out No. 19 Saint Louis 2-0 on the road and then No. 22 Wisconsin 4-1 at home.
The Irish suffered their first loss of the season in a 2-0 loss to No.24 Clemson on September 15. It was the first time ND were behind in a game this season. The Tigers took advantage of his few chances, scoring two goals on four shots on net.
Notre Dame has scored 21-5 so far. The 21 goals in eight games are the best in Coach Norman’s tenure and the most in eight games since the 2015 season.
Additionally, Notre Dame has scored multiple goals in its seven wins this season. Of the 21 goals, it comes from 9 different players: Wingate (6), Mercado (5), Klenke (2), Albert (2), Van Zanten (2), Fisher, Ospeck, Coyle and Gaetino.
Notre Dame’s four shutout wins to start the year tied its second-best shutout winning streak to start a season. Other cases and sequences included: 1995 (8), 2008 (4), 2010 (4).
The Irish defense surrendered their first goal of the season after 439 minutes in Game 5 against Wisconsin.
In total, they allowed five goals in eight games, which equates to an average of .625 (40th in the country).
The five goals are an interesting number for the back line ND only allowed 17 total shots on net, which equates to just over two per game. On the season, ND has an 88-17 SOG advantage.
Overall, they have a 189-45 (23.6 to 5.6) lead over the opposition.
IRISH IN CHARTERS
It looks like the United Soccer Coaches poll doesn’t know where to place the Irish as this has been the weekly progression despite the 7-1-0 record:
N°16 – Unclassified – N°16 – N°12 – N°6 – N°18.
The last time ND was as high as No. 6 (and the last time they climbed as high as a single-digit ranking) was the 2016 season.
The first RPI rankings were released on September 19 and the Irish ranked No. 4 in the country. They were the second-best team in the ACC behind No. 2 UNC. Virginia was right behind at No. 5. The Irish are 2-1 against the RPI Top-25.
Notre Dame’s schedule strength ranks 10th in the nation.
THREE ACC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
In the first four weeks for the ACC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week announcements, Notre Dame picked up three winners.
In her second week in college football, Leah Klenke was named ACC Defensive Player of the Week on August 30 in her efforts in wins over No. 19 Saint Louis and Illinois. Klenke started at left back in both shutout wins. She also led on Sophia Fisher’s second-half goal against Saint Louis, then recorded a fine goal against Illinois in which she floated a ball from outside the box down the left side, above- above the goalkeeper and in the post furthest from the net.
A week later, on Sept. 6, Olivia Wingate earned the offensive honor after recording her first career hat trick in a dominating 4-1 victory over a ranked Wisconsin team.
A week later, on September 13, it was Kiki Van Zanten who earned the offensive nod from the ACC. The elder scored in back-to-back games in wins over Purdue and Ohio, including a three-point performance against the latter.
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