Oct. 30, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The newly minted Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season champion Notre Dame women’s soccer team host eighth-seeded North Carolina State in the ACC Championship quarterfinal as the postseason gets underway Sunday at Alumni Stadium.
WHAT: ACC Women’s Soccer Championship Quarterfinal
WHO: No. 12 Notre Dame (12-2-4, 7-1-2 ACC) vs. NC State (10-7-1, 4-5-1 ACC)
WHERE: Alumni Stadium | Notre Dame, Ind.
WHEN: 1 p.m. (ET) - Oct. 30, 2016
TELEVISION: ACC Network Extra
ACC Championship Low-Down
The Irish earned the top seed of eight into the newly expanded ACC Championship, followed by Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida State, Miami and NC State.
The quarterfinal rounds will be played a campus sites, hosted by the league’s top four seeds on October 30. The semifinal and final matches are slated for November 4 and 6 at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina. The semifinal match-ups will be streamed on ACC Network Extra and the Championship match will air on ESPNU.
Scouting NC State
The Wolfpack finished the regular season with a 10-7-1 record and a 4-5-1 mark in the conference. After opening the ACC season 3-1-1 (with the only loss in that span to Notre Dame), NC State lost in four of its final five matches, winning only its season finale in a 2-1 decision over Pittsburgh.
Tziarra King leads the Wolfpack with 15 points (7 goals, 1 assist), while Jackie Stengel (5 goals, 1 assist), Kia Rankin (4 goals, 3 assists) and Ricarda Walkling (3 goals, 5 assists) have 11 points apiece. Goalkeeper Sydney Wootten boasts a 1.11 goals against average (10th in ACC) with 68 saves (fifth in ACC) and a .773 save percentage (ninth in ACC).
NC State ties for fifth in the conference in goals (32) and goals per game (1.78). The Wolpack ranks sixth in points (92). Defensively, they trend toward the lower half of the league, ranking 10th in goals allowed (1.17), 11th in goals against average (1.14) and T-13th in shutouts (5).
Last Time Out
The Irish closed out the regular season in fine fashion Thursday with a 2-0 win over Miami. With the win, and losses by Duke and Florida State, the Irish earned the top seed in the ACC Championship and captured a share of the regular-season ACC title.
Senior Kaleigh Olmsted fired the eventual game-winning goal, netting an arching shot over the head of Hurricane goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce just before halftime. The Irish got insurance with a goal by senior Sandra Yu in the 57th minute, punched in off the cross from Meghan Doyle.
The Irish outshot the ‘Canes 13-6, including 7-2 in shots on goal.
The Last Time They Met
The Irish met the Wolfpack earlier this season, collecting a 1-0 win on September 22 at Dail Stadium in Raleigh. Freshman midfielder Alexis MartelLamothe punched in her first goal of the season, streaking toward goal and flushing the cross from sophomore Shannon Hendricks. The Irish led 12-9 in shots and 5-4 in shots on goal.
For the first time, the Irish are the regular season ACC Champions, sharing the title with Clemson (23 points). Because the Irish defeated Clemson earlier this season, they won the top seed into this year’s ACC Championship.
At No. 12, the Irish are one of six Atlantic Coast Conference teams to appear in this week’s NSCAA Division I Women’s Soccer poll, along with No. 6 Duke, No. 7 Virginia, No. 8 Florida State, No. 14 Clemson and No. 16 North Carolina. All of those teams earned seeds in the 2015 NCAA Championship, while Virginia Tech and Boston College also earned bids to round out ACC representation. Virginia Tech, Miami and NC State are also receiving votes.
Nationally, the Irish rank in the top 5 in four defensive categories: shutouts (T-second, 13), shutout percentage (second, 0.722), save percentage (third, 0.919), and goals against average (fourth, 0.367).
Individually, freshman forward Jennifer Westendorf ranks among the top three in the ACC in shots (third, 70 shots) and shots per game (third, 3.89/gm). Senior goalkeeper Kaela Little tops the league in save percentage (0.918) and ranks third nationally in that category. Little is also first in the conference in shutouts (11) and ranks second in goals against average (0.38) and third in saves (78) and saves per game (4.33).
-- 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.