Sep 3, 2012, 12:34 AM EDT
It was a matchup of the titans as far as the women’s college soccer landscape is concerned: Notre Dame vs. North Carolina, a meeting of two of the most storied programs in the sport. The two squads entered Sunday’s matinee having claimed six of the past nine NCAA championships, the Tar Heels with four and the Irish two. While Notre Dame has only recently cemented its status as a premier program, North Carolina has been part of the upper echelon for quite some time, as its whopping twenty national titles suggests. This is far and away the most College Cups won by a single school in women’s collegiate soccer history. In second place? The Irish, with three total championships. So, for good reason, there was a considerable buzz present among the nearly 2,000 fans at Alumni Stadium as the game began.
For 84 minutes, both teams scrapped and battled in a very physical contest, yet neither was able to put a goal on the board. Notre Dame’s back line, which consisted of three freshmen in addition to first year goalie Elyse Hight, held up brilliantly against the Tar Heels’ vaunted attack. Hight saved shot after shot, keeping the Irish in the contest despite the team’s struggle to mount an offensive attack. With a little less than six minutes remaining, though, the Tar Heels drew blood. Freshman phenom Summer Green sent a quick pass through the box to her teammate Maria Lubrano, who tapped it in for the winning goal.
Despite the loss to North Carolina, the Irish can take solace in their competitive match with one of college soccer’s elite. Also, let’s not forget Notre Dame’s 2-1 win on Friday over Santa Clara, another national power. While the Irish did not achieve their goal of winning the tournament, they went toe to toe with two top teams, proving that once again they are a force to be reckoned with.
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