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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

Albert scores three, but Irish drop ACC semis to Florida State

Thursday night Notre Dame fell to Florida State in the ACC tournament semifinals, losing 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 3-3 draw.

The game got off to an action-packed start, with two goals coming in the first fifteen minutes. It was the Seminoles who opened the scoring, with Clara Robbins powering a header past graduate student keeper Mackenzie Wood in the 13th minute.

But just moments later the Irish would find an equalizer. Sophomore midfielder Korbin Albert picked up the ball and raced into space before unleashing an ambitious effort from nearly thirty yards out from goal. But the distance proved to be well within the ACC Midfielder of the Year’s range. Albert found the side of the net to tie the game back up at one. 

The tie score wouldn’t last until the end of the half though. Onyi Echegini controlled a high ball played into the box, but was tripped by junior defender Eva Gaetino when she turned to face goal. Florida State received a penalty kick, which Heather Payne dispatched cleanly to give the Seminoles a 2-1 lead heading into the break.

Albert stuns Seminoles with two quick goals

Albert would quickly erase that deficit in the second half. Flicking the ball around a defender, the sophomore unleashed an excellent looping strike in the 57th minute to tie the game up once again.

And it would be less than a minute after her equalizer that the sophomore would strike again. Once again taking aim from long shot range, Albert once again found the top corner. Florida State goalkeeper Cristina Roque didn’t even move for this third strike.

But the Albert-inspired lead wouldn’t hold. Florida State would find an equalizer of their own in the 73rd minute, thanks to Emma Bissell. Mackenzie Wood was able to get a punch to a dangerous Seminole cross, but her effort fell to Bissell, who easily tapped a finish into a now-empty net. 

But after Bissell’s equalizer, the goals would dry up for both sides. Plenty of chances came both Florida State and Notre Dame’s way over the final fifteen minutes and ensuing 20 minutes of overtime. However, neither side could find the finishing touch. And for the second time in as many games for the Irish, their ACC tournament fate would be decided by penalty kicks.

Naylor’s save not enough as Irish lose shootout

This time, Notre Dame found themselves on the losing end. Ashley Naylor, who subbed in for Mackenzie Wood like she did against Pittsburgh, got the Irish off to a strong start as she saved Florida State’s opening attempt. But Roque immediately saved Maddie Mercado’s effort.

Tied at zero through one round, the teams then traded a pair of makes. The Irish goals came off the boots of Albert and senior forward Kiki Van Zanten. But in the fourth round, after a make from Florida State’s Ran Iwai, senior defender Waniya Hudson misfired for the Irish. With the advantage now firmly sitting with the Seminoles, midfielder Jenna Nighswonger fired home to clinch victory.

Notre Dame will now wait until Sunday to discover their seeding for the upcoming NCAA tournament. Current bracket calculus would make it seem the Irish are destined for a national two seed, with their path to the College Cup likely going through any of Tallahassee (Florida State), Chapel Hill (North Carolina), Los Angeles (UCLA) or Tuscaloosa (Alabama).