Oct. 5, 2013
#4/3 NOTRE DAME "Fighting Irish" (9-1-1/5-0-1 ACC) vs. MIAMI "Hurricanes" (6-4-0/1-4-0 ACC)
DATE: Oct. 6, 2013
Notre Dame and Miami may not be firing up the backyard barbecue on Sunday, but the No. 4/3 Fighting Irish and Hurricanes will have their own kind of reunion on the soccer pitch, as the two former BIG EAST Conference rivals meet for the first time in nearly a decade under their newly-joined banner in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for a noon (ET) kickoff at Cobb Stadium in Coral Gables, Fla.
"It's good to be playing not only Miami again, but also Virginia Tech and Boston College, those schools that we used to have good rivalries with before the conference realignment started," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "Miami has a first-year coach (Mary-Frances Monroe) who brought success and a solid system with her from Albany. They also got off to a really strong start in the non-conference season, and even though they've had some struggles in the ACC, they've been really competitive. Of course, any time you're on the road in conference play, especially in the ACC, it's going to be a test, and that's what we're preparing for on Sunday."
The Fighting Irish (9-1-1, 5-0-1 ACC) come into the weekend with a seven-match unbeaten streak following Thursday's 1-1 draw with No. 13/11 Wake Forest at Alumni Stadium. Notre Dame took the lead with 14:28 to go in regulation on a goal by junior forward Karin Simonian (Westbury, N.Y./W.T. Clarke) off an assist from freshman forward Kaleigh Olmsted (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands), but the Demon Deacons responded 56 seconds later with the tying score and extra time wouldn't settled matters.
The result was a bit frustrating for the Fighting Irish, who had the statistical upper hand in all major categories against Wake Forest, including a 23-12 shot advantage, a 6-4 margin in shots on goal and an 8-2 edge on corner kicks. It also was the first time Notre Dame had allowed a goal in more than 521 minutes, and the first time it gave up a lead in the final 15 minutes of regulation since Sept. 22, 2011, when South Florida scored with three minutes left to forge a 1-1 draw in Tampa.
"In looking at the film, the attention would naturally go to the goal we gave up, but in general, I thought our defense was solid, especially up the middle with Katie (Naughton) and Sammy (Scofield)," Waldrum said. "We had some chances at the offensive end to not put ourselves in that position late in the game, and we weren't able to capitalize, so that's something we'll need to work on cleaning up as we go forward."
Miami (6-4, 1-4 ACC) won all five of its non-conference matches, but has dropped four of five contests since entering ACC play, although all four losses came against ranked opponents. The Hurricanes also should be well-rested for Sunday's match, having last played on Sept. 26, when they dropped a 4-0 decision at in-state rival (and top-five foe) Florida State.
Notre Dame's quick turnaround and long flight to south Florida, as well as Miami's 10-day hiatus, will be another aspect of Sunday's match that Waldrum is sure to be aware of.
"We had a long game on Thursday and several players saw a lot of minutes, so we may juggle our lineup depending on how things set up," the Fighting Irish manager said. "There are also some other factors at play like the heat and humidity for an afternoon game down there, and we won't have quite the depth we do at home because you can only travel so many players on these road trips. However, good teams are able to handle all the challenges and adversities that are thrown at them and rise above it all, and right now, all were focused on is putting together a full 90-minute effort against Miami."
THE NOTRE DAME-MIAMI SERIES
The teams last met on Nov. 2, 2003, at old Alumni Field, with the Fighting Irish pulling out a 2-1 overtime win in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinal on a goal by Amanda Guertin 2:54 into extra time.
THE LAST TIME NOTRE DAME AND MIAMI MET
Guertin netted her fourth career match-winning goal, while Carpenter had assists on both Notre Dame goals, also setting up Katie Thorlakson's opening score in the 16th minute. Miami tied things up 1:39 later when Jackie Garcia curled in a direct free kick, setting the stage for Guertin's overtime heroics.
OTHER NOTRE DAME-MIAMI SERIES TIDBITS
LAST TIME OUT: WAKE FOREST
With the tie, Notre Dame (9-1-1, 5-0-1 ACC) extends its unbeaten streak to seven matches, although the Fighting Irish did allow their first goal in more than 521 minutes of action. Notre Dame also moves to 3-1-1 against ranked opponents this season, with Wake Forest being the third Top 25 foe for the Fighting Irish in their last five matches.
Junior forward Karin Simonian gave Notre Dame the lead with 14:28 left in regulation, hammering home a cross from freshman forward Kaleigh Olmsted. However, Wake Forest equalized less than a minute later when Kendall Fischlein found herself unmarked at the back right post and drove a cross from Katie Stengel high into the net from 10 yards out.
Freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little had another solid night in goal, ending up with three saves despite seeing her personal shutout streak stopped at 487:29. Her opposite number, Aubrey Bledsoe, had five saves in the Demon Deacons' goal.
Notre Dame finished with a 23-12 edge in total shots, as well as a 6-4 margin in shots on goal and a sizeable 8-2 spread on corner kicks. The Fighting Irish also were called for 11 of the 19 fouls in the match, while Wake Forest collected both yellow cards.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: WAKE FOREST
UP NEXT: VIRGINIA
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-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director