ND Women's Soccer: Irish to face No. 1-seed Seminoles
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 00:11
Notre Dame will look to advance to the College Cup for the 13th time in program history when the Irish battle No. 1-seed Florida State in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA championships on Friday night at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, Fla.
Notre Dame (16-5-2, 8-1-1 Big East) advanced to the quarterfinals after beating No. 2-seed Florida 2-0 at Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., in third-round action Sunday. The victory over Florida came two days after the Irish came from behind to dispatch No. 3-seed Wake Forest 2-1 in a second-round battle.
Irish coach Randy Waldrum said he was pleased with the efforts of his defense, which allowed one goal against two top-10 opponents.
“We’ve been really good defensively for a while now, and we just continue to get better and believe in ourselves,” Waldrum said. “Outside of the one goal we gave up to Wake Forest, we pretty much handled [junior] Katie Stengel, one of the best forwards in the country, and we handled [junior forward] Adriana Leon and Florida.”
On the other end of the field, Notre Dame seems to have found its stride offensively, as the Irish have accounted for seven goals in three NCAA tournament games.
“Going into the tail end of the season, the last two or three games, we struggled to score goals,” Waldrum said. “It was good to get two goals in each of the games over the weekend, and hopefully we’re finding our way offensively at the right time of the year.”
Despite Notre Dame’s recent success on the pitch, Waldrum stressed the need for his team to remain focused as it heads into its matchup with the Seminoles (19-3, 8-2 ACC).
“I’m trying to get this young team to understand that there’s not another day to win if they don’t take care of it now,” he said. “We can’t get caught up in looking at it like it’s one game away from the College Cup. I think it’s a matter of just continuing to focus on the next game that’s in front of us. We’re doing our part to make sure they’re focused on the game.”
Notre Dame will face a familiar playoff foe when it plays Florida State, as the Irish and Seminoles met in four consecutive NCAA tournaments from 2006 to 2009. The Irish beat the Seminoles in the semifinal round in 2006 and in the quarterfinal round in 2008 and 2009, while the Seminoles won the 2007 semifinal matchup.
“[Florida State] is steady and a real solid team,” Waldrum said. “You don’t get a No. 1[regional] seed for being average. They have enough experience with these guys, and we’ll have our hands full.”
Florida State is paced by senior forward Tiffany McCarty, who leads the team with 15 goals, and sophomore midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir, who is second on the team with nine goals. Junior goalie Kelsey Wys, who holds a 0.67 goals-against average, has been a standout in goal for the Seminoles this season.
Waldrum said the keys for Notre Dame to pull off the upset are strong defense and opportune plays on offense.
“We just have to be good on the day like we have been,” Waldrum said. “We have to be good defensively like we have been and take advantage of the opportunities we create. If we continue to do that, we’ll have a good chance to get past them.”
Notre Dame will meet Florida State in quarterfinal action Friday at 7 p.m. at the Seminoles Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, Fla.
Contact Brian Hartnett at firstname.lastname@example.org