Oct. 12, 2013
DATE: Oct. 13, 2013
Facing nearly the same circumstances it saw one week ago, Notre Dame will look to end a rare three-match winless streak at noon (ET) Sunday when it closes out its first extended Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) road trip against No. 10/12 Virginia Tech at Thompson Field in Blacksburg, Va. The match will be televised live on the ACC-Regional Sports Networks (including Fox Sports Indiana; check local listings for additional outlets), as well as on ESPN3.
The Fighting Irish (9-3-1, 5-2-1 ACC) are seeking to put an end to what has been a rough seven-day stretch, starting with a 2-0 upset loss at Miami on Oct. 6 in Coral Gables, Fla., and continuing with a 3-2 double-overtime loss at No. 1 Virginia on Thursday night.
Notre Dame headed into that Miami contest on the heels of a double-overtime match against a top-15 opponent (a 1-1 draw with No. 13/11 Wake Forest at home on Oct. 3), much like it will do Sunday when it arrives in Blacksburg after going two extra periods at Virginia. What's more, the Fighting Irish will be taking on a Virginia Tech side that is well-rested, having not played in 10 days, just as Miami did before toppling Notre Dame.
"We have a great opportunity in front of us," Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. "When we were faced with this kind of challenge a week ago, we didn't raise our level of play and compete, and Miami made us pay. Now we have another big challenge ahead with a very sound Virginia Tech team and we can learn from our mistakes and move forward. Sunday's game is about us taking advantage of this second chance and rediscovering what helped us find so much success in the first month of the season."
Notre Dame showed a great deal of fight and intensity in Thursday's double-overtime loss at Virginia, twice battling back from a one-goal deficit thanks to a pair of scores from senior midfielder/tri-captain Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny), the latter with 17:11 left in regulation to force the Cavaliers into extra time for the first time all season. The Fighting Irish also performed well in very wet conditions against a high-octane, possession-based offense, creating its share of scoring chances in return, and becoming only the second team to score twice against Virginia, and the first visiting squad to score a goal of any kind at Klöckner Stadium since Aug. 30 (No. 7 Penn State in a 5-1 UVa win).
Virginia Tech (10-1-2, 5-1-1) has steadily climbed up the national rankings through a blend of efficient offense and reliable defense. The Hokies come into Sunday's match with Notre Dame on a six-match unbeaten streak (5-0-1), logging four shutouts in that span (two on the road, including a 2-0 victory at No. 21 Maryland on Sept. 19). Their only setbacks this season were a 2-1 home loss to then-No. 1 North Carolina on Sept. 12 (three days before Notre Dame knocked off the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill), as well as 1-1 draws with Louisville (Aug. 30) and at Duke (Sept. 29).
The last time Virginia Tech took the pitch, the Hokies edged visiting Clemson, 1-0 in overtime on junior midfielder Katie Yensen's goal 44 seconds into added time. After an evenly-played first half, Virginia Tech turned on the offensive fires the rest of the way, outshooting Clemson, 10-1 in the final 45-plus minutes (3-0 in shots on goal). Senior goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts did exactly what was necessary to post her sixth shutout of the season, recording two saves in the Hokies' net.
Virginia Tech is led by senior forward Jazmine Reeves (7G-4A) and sophomore midfielder Ashley Meier (7G-2A), although 10 different players have scored at least one goal and 13 have registered at least one point this season. Colpitts anchors the Hokies' defense with an 0.61 goals-against average (GAA) and .805 save percentage, in addition to her six shutouts.
"Virginia Tech has really been all business this season," Waldrum said. "They just go in, do exactly what needs to be done against a given opponent, and get out with the win. Reeves and Meier are very dynamic offensive players, and they have a new complement to their attack this year with (freshman forward Murielle) Tiernan (5G-4A). Overall, they're a veteran team that's been through the ACC fires before and understands the level of intensity and physicality that goes into being successful in this conference. It will be yet another challenge for us, but one we've come to expect playing in the ACC and it's one I believe our players are excited to take on Sunday."
THE NOTRE DAME-VIRGINIA TECH SERIES
The Hokies are one of five teams in the current ACC membership that Notre Dame has posted an undefeated record against. A sixth team, Clemson, will meet the Fighting Irish for the first time on Oct. 27.
THE LAST TIME NOTRE DAME AND VIRGINIA TECH MET
Notre Dame exploded for four second-half goals against the Hokies, outshooting the guests, 15-4 during the second 45 minutes.
OTHER NOTRE DAME-VIRGINIA TECH SERIES TIDBITS
LAST TIME OUT: VIRGINIA
Brian's goal, which came off a header from a Danielle Colaprico corner kick, was not without controversy, as it appeared the ball deflected off Tucker near the right post, spun towards the goal line and then was swept off the line by freshman forward Kaleigh Olmsted. Virginia players began to celebrate as the ball was cleared and the assistant referee, positioned about six yards off the end line on the far side of the pitch paused slightly before raising his flag to indicate a goal. Television replays, both on the stadium video board and on the ACC Digital Network (which broadcast the match), didn't provide a clear verdict either way.
Freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews and junior midfielder Taylor Schneider registered assists on Tucker's two goals Thursday night. Gloria Douglas scored Virginia's first goal, also off a Colaprico assist, and the Cavaliers benefitted from a Fighting Irish own goal early in the second half.
Freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little was outstanding in the wet conditions, making a career-high nine saves, including several diving and reflex stops. Virginia netminder Morgan Stearns collected six saves for the hosts.
The Cavaliers ended up with a 21-13 edge in total shots, including a 12-8 margin in shots on goal. UVa also had an 8-3 advantage on corner kicks, while fouls were nearly even (14-12 against Virginia).
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: VIRGINIA
UP NEXT: DUKE
Sunday's match also will serve as the Fighting Irish Senior Day, with the four departing Notre Dame senior players (Mandy Laddish, Nicole Rodriguez, Elizabeth Tucker, Rebecca Twining) and senior manager Tom Feifar honored before the match.
Tickets for the 2013 Notre Dame women's soccer campaign may be purchased through the University's Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office by calling (574) 631-7356 or visiting the ticket windows at Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET). Tickets also can be ordered on-line 24 hours a day with a major credit card through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets. Groups wishing to attend Fighting Irish soccer matches also can receive a discounted ticket rate -- contact Rita Baxter in the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office to learn more.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDsoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director