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Saturday, May 25, 2024
The Observer

Late goals result in thrilling Irish win at Duke

The 10th-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team entered Thursday night’s game at 5-1-2, looking to continue its hot start to the season against the No. 16 Duke Blue Devils. With Pitt looming on the road Sunday, the Irish needed a strong result in Durham. They found it in a stunning, 2-1 victory.

The game did not begin well for the Irish, who trailed 1-0 all the way into the 85th minute. The first 10 minutes saw the Irish threaten in the Blue Devils’ half, but the 14th minute brought a counterattack and opening goal from Duke. Despite a critical substitute of senior midfielder Ellie Ospeck, the first half finished with the Irish down 1-0.

The Irish put the pressure on early in the second half, consistently playing the ball around the Duke defensive half. Duke managed one total shot while graduate forward Maddie Mercado and freshman midfielder Morgan Roy ripped shots on the Blue Devil net. 

Finally, in the 85th minute, graduate student midfielder Kiki Van Zanten netted a scrappy goal off a calamitous Blue Devils defensive failure. One minute later, Roy received the ball off of a throw-in and crossed it into Duke’s box. There, sophomore midfielder Leah Klenke potted the go-ahead goal. 

The Irish won the game 2-1 in a thriller, marking a potential defining moment for the season. On Sunday, the Irish will look to continue their momentum against Pittsburgh. The Panthers have opened the season at a blazing 8-2. While Pitt has lost to its only ranked opponent, No. 21 Xavier, and feasted on a non-conference schedule, the Irish cannot take this game lightly as they look to build on the momentum Thursday night provided. 

Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff will air on ACC Network Extra. The Irish, eyeing a jump in the rankings next week, will seek a crucial ACC win on the road.