Women’s soccer falls to No. 5 Notre Dame on Senior Night

The team looks ahead to Boston College on Thursday and a potential NCAA Tournament berth


Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics

Notre Dame, which held the Demon Deacons scoreless, defends Wake Forest.

Cooper Sullivan, Multimedia Managing Editor

Mark and Sandy Wood of Raleigh, NC have been in the stands for every Wake Forest women’s soccer match of the last four years. It did not matter who the Demon Deacons were facing, it did not matter when the match was, it did not matter whether it was raining or freezing, it did not matter if the match was televised. No matter what, Mark and Sandy Wood would be in the stands of Spry cheering on their daughter Lyndon.
On Sunday, Oct. 23, the Woods made their last four-hour round trip as midfielder Lyndon and three others — graduate Giovanna DeMarco and redshirt juniors Kaitlyn Parks and Madeline Allburn — would be playing in their final home match against Notre Dame (13-2-0).
“I wasn’t really thinking about it being her last [home] game, I was thinking about beating Notre Dame,” said Christine DeMarco, mother of the graduate captain. “And then when I realized we weren’t going to beat Notre Dame, I started thinking about her last [home] game. It was really emotional.”
The emotions were flowing well before that final whistle — and even well before the initial one — when the scoreboard showed a video to recognize the four players. Parks “was not looking forward to [today’s game]”, Allburn called the moment “bittersweet”, Lyndon said that “tears would be shed for sure”, and Giovanna said it was all “surreal”. But no matter how emotional the scene, Notre Dame did not care, and Wake Forest knew that they needed to win.
And for the first 25 minutes, it looked like the team might knock off the No. 5 ranked team in the nation.
The Demon Deacons were in total control of field positioning and possession, effectively playing keep-away. When Notre Dame did make a break towards the goal, defenders Zara Chavoshi and Sophie Faircloth were able to quickly catch up and clear the ball back out. Parks, the goalkeeper, already had two fantastic saves in her belt and was looking to nab her ninth clean sheet of the season.
But within the next four minutes, Wake Forest’s costly succession of two yellow cards and one handball within the penalty box, allowed for Notre Dame’s Korbin Albert to net a penalty kick past the outstretched arms of a diving Parks to take a 1-0 lead.
The Demon Deacons continued their control of the ball in the later part of the first half, but could not capitalize on any of the corner kick opportunities, either failing to get it past the keeper or being intercepted by an Irish defender.
“In the first half I thought we got a really good start,” said Wake Forest head coach Tony da Luz. “We played vertically, we played forward, we were positive with our passing, but we didn’t take advantage of our set pieces.”
Coming out of the break, Notre Dame was the team to play more aggressively and maintain possession. Albert would later score again in the 66th minute off a long free kick that squeaked in between the left post and Parks’ hands.
Head coach Tony da Luz mentioned his team’s slow start to the second half in addition to Notre Dame’s maturity as part of the reason for falling 2-0. But looking at DeMarco and Parks’ effort, there was no indication that the Demon Deacons were out of contention yet.
“That’s just the pride they have,” da Luz said. “That’s just how they’ve always played, with that type of commitment on and off the field.”
The match would end 3-0 after an 87th minute chip shot by Olivia Wingate, and while there was disappointment, attention was quickly turned toward Thursday’s game against Boston College.
“I’m just looking forward to the next one,” DeMarco said. “We have a really good shot even though we are on the road. We definitely need these points going into the NCAA tournament. Like I said we have played three top-10 teams these last three games, so this will be a good breather … hopefully we can get some goals and get some confidence in us.”