Sept. 20, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Coming off its biggest win of the season, the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team returns home to host No. 4 Duke at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday at Alumni Stadium. The Irish (5-2-2) and the Blue Devils (8-1) will meet for the first time since 2015 as Notre Dame looks to carry its momentum into its first Atlantic Coast Conference home game.
Notre Dame has tallied four goals in three of its past four matches and is now just six goals away from equaling its 2016 scoring total. The Irish have been able to capitalize on early leads, going unbeaten in games in which they score first (4-0-1).
In their last game, the Irish offense tallied four goals against a Clemson defense, which, prior to Notre Dame’s 4-2 victory, had allowed just two goals. But the Irish await yet another tough ACC defense in the Blue Devils, which have allowed just five goals this season.
“We feel good about the habits we are creating, and we’ll continue to work on improving certain pieces of our game,” Irish head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. “Duke is a quality opponent who will look to play and get numbers forward in the attack.”
Sophomore Natalie Jacobs, who was named ACC Offensive Player of the Week following a career-high four points against then-No. 11 Clemson, will lead the Irish attack on Thursday. After spending the 2016 season competing with the United States U-20 Women’s National Team, Jacobs has brought a spark to the Irish offense, recording a career-high 15 points nine games into the season.
Notre Dame, which will play its first match in 18 days at Alumni Stadium, also is looking forward to playing in front of its home crowd. The team is encouraging the Irish faithful to “wear white” to Thursday’s match in an effort to white-out the crowd. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free “White-Out Duke” t-shirt.
WHAT: No. 4 Duke vs. Notre Dame
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. ET
WHERE: Alumni Stadium
LIVE STREAM: Click here.
Notre Dame and Duke will meet for the first time since 2015, when the Irish handed the Blue Devils a 1-0 loss in Durham, N.C. The two programs are scheduled to meet for just the third time since Notre Dame joined the ACC and for the fourth time since 2011.
The Irish and the Blue Devils have met 15 times in the all-time series, and Notre Dame owns a 9-5-1 record. The Irish have gone 3-2 against the Blue Devils at Alumni Stadium.
Scoring in Bunches
Notre Dame has gone 5-0 in games decided by two-plus goals. The Irish offense has rallied to score four goals on four occasions this season, turning in dominant performances in such matches.
As a team, the Irish have been most successful in regulation, with all five of their wins coming in the first 90 minutes. Notre Dame has gone 0-2-2 in extra time this season.
- The Irish are 2-1-1 at Alumni Stadium this season and 30-7-2 since 2014. In 2016, Notre Dame concluded the season with a 10-1-1 record at home.
- Sophomore Jennifer Westendorf is one goal away from equaling her single-season career high (six), set in 2016.
- Graduate student Sandra Yu’s 11 points are a career high.
- Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 15-3 in the second half this season. The Irish have entered halftime in a scoreless tie five times and in a 1-1 tie twice in 2017. Notre Dame has scored four goals in the second half three times this season.
- The Irish are unbeaten (4-0-1) when scoring first in the match.
The Irish are scheduled to host No. X NC State on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Alumni Stadium. The match will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.
Fans who show their ticket from Thursday’s match versus Duke will receive one dollar off admission to Sunday’s match against NC State.
For behind-the-scenes coverage of the Irish women’s soccer program, follow @NDSoccer on Twitter and @NDWSoccer on Instagram. For tickets to a Notre Dame women’s soccer match, click here.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary's College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.