Nov. 4, 2016
By Joanne Norell
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The University of Notre Dame women's soccer team met a different North Carolina Tar Heels squad Friday in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship semifinal than the one it defeated at Alumni Stadium on October 14.
In that previous meeting, the Irish controlled the tempo of play, particularly in the second half, to come away with a convincing 1-0 victory. Friday night at MUSC Health Stadium, the Irish found themselves on the defense as the Tar Heels took an early lead and buried a late goal to defeat the top-seeded Irish 2-1.
North Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute, resulting from a rebound by Maya Worth off a direct free kick from Annie Kingman after a yellow card was issued to junior defender Ginny McGowan just outside the Irish penalty box. The ensuing free kick hit the post and skittered along the goal line before Worth charged in to record the goal.
The Irish evened things late in the second half, having come out of halftime with a burst of energy. It wasn't until the 72nd minute, however, that senior forward Kaleigh Olmsted got the Irish on the board, walking in on a breakaway to give the Irish new life.
Both teams saw excellent chances as time continued to to wind down, including a bullet of a shot by junior forward Karin Muya from eight yards that whizzed left of the post. It was the Tar Heels' who would capitalize, however, as Kingman gave the Tar Heels the lead at 85:13, slipping by the Irish defense to poke in the eventual game-winner.
North Carolina outshot the Irish 16-10, including 7-3 in shots on goal.
Play of the Game
The Irish came out with more firepower in the second half, and led the Tar Heels 5-3 in shots in the first 25 minutes. It was during this stretch that Olmsted took control of a North Carolina turnover and worked her way downfield for the equalizer. All alone entering the final third, Olmsted side-stepped Tar Heels goalkeeper Lindsay Harris, who had come out high to defend, and walked her way into the goal box for her fourth goal of the season.
Player of the Game
Olmsted led the Irish with three shots, tied for the game lead and her one shot of the game led to her career-tying fourth goal of the season.
Coach Theresa Romagnolo Says
On the difference between the first and second meetings between the teams...
"I thought we had a poor first half. I thought (North Carolina) came out with a lot of good pressure and energy and we did not control the ball at all. We defended most of the first half. In the second half I thought we came out with more energy and applied better pressure, were able to play out of some situations better and were just more dangerous."
-- 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.