Oct. 14, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- A dominant second half and a strike off the deadly left foot of freshman forward Jennifer Westendorf were just what the No. 20 University of Notre Dame women's soccer team needed to walk away with a 1-0 victory over No. 11 North Carolina on Friday at Alumni Stadium.
The Irish pushed the pace while maintaining care of the ball in the final 45 minutes, creating chances while limiting the Tar Heels' opportunities. The hard work paid off in the 57th minute when Westendorf was pulled down just outside the box and awarded a free kick from the top of the 18-yard box. Her shot curled over and around the defensive wall and rocketed into the top right corner of the net for her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
The Irish and Tar Heels played nearly even through the first 45 minutes, with the Tar Heels taking a slight advantage in shots (8-6) and shots on goal (4-2). The second half was all Irish, however, as Notre Dame outshot North Carolina 12-6, including a 7-1 edge in shots on goal. The Irish also only gave the Tar Heels one corner kick opportunity in the final stanza after allowing eight in the first half.
Player of the Game
Westendorf led all players with six shots, including two on goal. The freshman tallied five of her shots after halftime, which included the game-winner at the 56:20 mark.
Senior Sandra Yu sent four shots forward on Friday, with all four on frame. Junior defender Ginny McGowan also had an impressive game, making two critical diving clears to erase Tar Heel threats.
The Irish came out of the locker room with renewed energy to start the second half, but the Tar Heels had still outshot the Irish 4-1 in the second before Westendorf's 57th-minute snipe. In possession of a lead, the Irish went on to own an 11-2 shot advantage over the final 33 minutes and did not allow a North Carolina shot on goal.
Coach Theresa.Romagnolo Says
On the team's demeanor...
"It was the same thing we've displayed all year. They fight; they scrap; they battle. They do everything they have to do and are very disciplined in their defending. They were composed when they won the ball, which we talked about all week. They created a lot of really great chances by keeping it and moving it and making great runs. We created a lot of really great chances for ourselves."
On the second-half play...
"I think we just got a little bit tougher. We were stepping out and pressing a little bit better. On our set pieces, we were marking tighter and we took care of the ball even a little bit better."
On the second-half play of Westendorf...
"She was just finding great holes in behind, nice little seams that she was running in. She scored a great goal and that free kick came out of her hard work to hold onto a ball and what a fantastic free kick. It was just world class."
Note of the Game
The Irish defeated North Carolina for the first time ever on their home turf. The Tar Heels had previously held a 4-0-1 advantage over the Irish at Notre Dame.
-- ND --
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication, and earned her master's degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.