Oct. 27, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- On a night in which the University of Notre Dame women's soccer team honored its eight seniors, things couldn't turned out more picture perfect for the Irish.
Doing their part to collect a 2-0 win over Miami on a brisk night at Alumni Stadium, the Irish benefitted from losses by Duke and Florida State to clinch their first regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference title and the top seed into the ACC Championship, starting Sunday.
The Irish (12-2-4, 7-1-2 ACC) dominated the Hurricanes (10-8-0, 5-5-0 ACC) from start to finish, outshooting their opponent 13-6, including a 7-2 margin in shots on goal. Seniors Kaleigh Olmsted and Sandra Yu wrapped up their Senior Night on a high note, contributing the decisive goals for the Irish and pacing Notre Dame with three shots apiece.
The Irish closed the regular season having only conceded one goal on home turf. Their seven goals allowed this regular season are the least the Irish have surrendered since giving up just five in the 2006 regular season en route to an NCAA runner-up finish.
Play of the Game
With less than two minutes remaining before halftime, Olmsted corralled a loose ball 25 yards from the net, turned and fired, her shot arcing over Hurricane goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce to give the Irish the lead in the 44th minute. It was the third goal of the season for Olmsted, and her second game-winner of the season.
Player of the Game
Top honors go to Yu, who stretched the lead for the Irish with her goal in the 57th minute. With the Irish on the attack, Yu rushed into the box and finished on the cross from junior forward Meghan Doyle, good for her second goal of the year. Yu led all players with three shots on goal in 76 minutes.
Olmsted turned in her second straight game with an appearance on the scoreline, having assisted on the game-winner last Sunday at Wake Forest.
Coach Theresa Romagnolo Says
On the finish by Kaleigh Olmsted...
"Unbelievable. She just crushed it. She took it perfectly. On the play she dribbled up the gut to create it and the shot she took was just unbelievable. What can you say? That's a world-class finish."
On keeping up the attack in the second half...
"I thought we actually played much better in the second half. I thought our midfield, defensively, was sliding better, so we didn't give them as much time on the ball and we forced them to turn it over. We were picking off more passes, winning more tackles and we had more of the ball to create more attack."
On the team's regular-season performance to clinch the ACC title...
"I'm so proud of this group. You always look at where you came from, where we were in August to where we are today. This team has worked so hard; they've competed for everything; they've fought for everything. They're just fighters and they find a way out there. They're so fun to coach and I'm just so proud of what they've been able to accomplish."
On postseason preparations...
"We start ACC play on Sunday, and there's no easy game in the ACC. We turn around right away and we're in the ACC tournament. We've got to go out there and give it everything we've got. The focus for us is where we want to be in the next month. We've closed out the season as ACC champs and couldn't be happier, but now we're going to enjoy this for a couple days and then it's going to be refocusing on the postseason."
After starting the game playing fairly even and in the middle third, the Irish turned up the tempo, outshooting the Hurricanes 8-3 by the end of the first stanza. The attack would culminate in Olmsted's goal just before halftime.
Note of the Game
The Irish claimed their first regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference title and top seed in the conference tournament, with the Irish hosting NC State in the quarterfinal on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. It was the first conference championship for the Irish since clinching a share of the BIG EAST National Division title in 2012. The Irish won the BIG EAST Tournament title in 2009.
-- 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.