Canes soccer falls to No. 12 Notre Dame 2-0, will enter the ACC Championship as No. 7 seed

Junior forward Ronnie Johnson (4) passes the ball during the Hurricanes’ 1-0 loss to FIU at Cobb Stadium Sunday afternoon. Josh White // Contributing Photographer

Miami battled hard against No. 12 Notre Dame in a midfield oriented game at Alumni Stadium, but the team fell 2-0 to the Fighting Irish in the final match of the regular season.

The Canes (10-8-0, 5-5-0 ACC), who came off a double overtime, playoff clinching victory against the Virginia Tech Hokies in their previous game, looked to carry the momentum into Thursday’s matchup. However, Miami struggled to find quality offensive chances against the Notre Dame (12-2-4, 7-1-2 ACC) defense that lived up to its reputation, allowing only seven goals this season and just one at home.

In the first half, the game was centralized in the midfield, where both teams possessed the ball well without utilizing the wide areas. The Fighting Irish had a couple shots from distance in the first 15 minutes that were denied comfortably by redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce. The Hurricanes fired back with a shot of their own in the 17th minute by junior forward Ronnie Johnson that went just wide of the post.

Miami’s best opportunity of the game came in the 18th minute when Johnson played a through ball to freshman forward Kristina Fisher, who then was one on one with Notre Dame goalkeeper Kaela Little. Little slipped, but Fisher was unable to get the right contact on the ball as it sailed wide.

There were not many more quality chances for the rest of the game for the Canes. The Fighting Irish defense was disciplined collectively and individually, anticipating passes and thwarting several Hurricane attacks before they could find a window to shoot.

Notre Dame found its first goal right before halftime in the 44th minute, when forward Kaleigh Olmsted collected the ball close to midfield and broke forward into space. Olmsted beat one defender and took a shot from outside the box that found the top left corner.

In the second half, Miami gained more possession, which led to two shot attempts from Johnson that went just above the crossbar. However, the hope of an equalizer diminished in the 57th minute after Notre Dame forward Meghan Doyle beat a defender on the wing and slotted a pass to an open Sandra Yu in the box, who calmly finished in the bottom left corner. The Fighting Irish seized control of the game after going up 2-0 and played tough defense for the remainder of the game to see out the victory.

The Canes will enter the ACC Championship as the No.7 seed and will look to make a run in the tournament, starting with the team’s first round matchup against No. 2 Clemson at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Historic Riggs Field.