Crunch Time

Author: Elena Que

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Men’s Soccer

After opening the season with a draw at home against No. 2 Indiana, the men’s soccer team took off on a four-game win streak at Alumni Stadium. In game two, the Irish pulled off their first win of the season against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in a resounding 5-0 victory, featuring a hat trick from junior Matthew Roou and several impressive saves from senior goalie Bryan Dowd.

Following the imposing start, Notre Dame kept the momentum against Northern Illinois University, winning 1-0 thanks to another goal by Roou. The story was echoed a few days later when the Irish beat Detroit Mercy 1-0 as Roou once again buried the ball in the back of the net after just 20 minutes, and Dowd held down the fort for the third straight shutout.

In another thriller at Alumni Stadium, Notre Dame toppled Clemson during the ACC opener. The Irish started strong with a 2-0 lead, and while Clemson equalized before the half, senior Daniel Russo converted a free kick to take back the lead early in the second half. The game ended with the Irish’s fourth straight win as the defense kept the Tigers at bay.

After a tough loss against Michigan State the following week, the Irish kept up the fight on the road against UNC and drew the game when Russo knocked the ball in with just six minutes remaining. Coming off the tie, the Irish faced a tall order against No. 4 Akron, but stood their ground in a 0-0 draw thanks to a 12-save performance by Dowd.

The future of the Fighting Irish men’s soccer season is looking bright. With a winning record and a series of victories characterized by strong defense, persistent players, and dominant possessions, the team is ready to tackle the remainder of the year.

Women’s Soccer

The Fighting Irish women’s soccer team has kicked into high gear. The season started off optimistically against Milwaukee, as the Irish dominated possession, but a late goal from the Panthers resulted in a 2-2 draw. Bouncing back, the Irish claimed victory at home over Ball State with goals by senior captain Eva Gaetino, freshman Meg Mrowicki, and junior Sophia Fisher.

Soon after, Alumni Stadium was home to another victory as the Irish resurfaced from a one-goal deficit to trounce the Butler Bulldogs 4-1. Both Gaetino and Mrowicki once again contributed a goal apiece.

The next game was a back-and-forth battle against No. 10 Arkansas. Gaetino earned her third goal of the season early on, but the Razorbacks quickly tied it. The opposition pulled ahead in the second half, and the Irish spent the remainder of the game fighting to equalize. This opportunity came when senior Ellie Ospeck scored off a rebound and the Irish forced a nail-biting draw.

Ospeck was just getting started, and the following weekend, she led the Irish to a 2-1 victory with a goal and an assist against the 2022 Big Ten champion, Michigan State. Unfortunately for the Irish, a hard-fought matchup against the University of Michigan a few days later resulted in the first shutout against Notre Dame at home in three years.

In a steadfast show of grit, the team greeted the ACC opener against Wake Forest with renewed vigor. Thanks to goals by Ospeck, graduate Kristina Lynch, and graduate Maddie Mercado, the Irish pulled off a 3-1 victory.

There is little doubt that for the Notre Dame women’s soccer team, every second presents a new opportunity. With resilient play and consistent scorers, the Irish are in capable hands heading into the rest of the season.

Women’s Volleyball

After a rocky 2-2 start to the season, the Fighting Irish women’s volleyball team has surged and is now on a four-game win streak. The season opener began on a high note with a five-set victory over Wichita State. Key players included junior Sydney Palazzolo with 24 kills and freshman Ava Lange with five kills.

The game against Texas Tech the next day told a different story, as Notre Dame was defeated in four sets. In a redemption match, they swept the Villanova Wildcats the following week. Once again, dominant performances from Palazzolo and Lange, along with 30 assists from graduate Nicole Drewnick, were key to victory.

The next day presented a tough five set battle against Santa Clara, and while the Irish stayed strong throughout the match, they took the loss.

Yet the season was just beginning, and the Irish came back in style to beat both Illinois and Oklahoma in the Irish Invitational. In a recurring theme throughout the season, Palazzolo and Lange led the charge throughout the weekend.

The next week featured another home game against Toledo, and after pulling away for an early lead in set one, Notre Dame had a hard fought second set but conceded it. From here, the Irish fought to stop Toledo’s momentum and claimed the following two sets to win the match. Just two days later, they faced the same opponent, and the Irish were up to the challenge, improving upon the last match to sweep Toledo.

As the season progresses, the team’s hot streak is only getting hotter. With highly talented players to lead the offense and the willingness to fight tooth and nail until the end of every set, great success is bound to be in store for the Irish.