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Notre Dame Athletics | February 26, 2017

No. 9 Notre Dame strikes late to beat No. 8 Duke

  A goal with 89 seconds left gave Notre Dame an ACC-opening win over Duke.

DURHAM, N.C. — With just 1:29 remaining on the clock, senior Grace Muller scored to give No. 9 Notre Dame its first lead and lift the Irish over No. 8 Duke 12-11 at Koskinen Stadium on Sunday.

Nearly one year after the Irish (6-1) defeated the Blue Devils (4-1) by one goal in overtime, Notre Dame rallied its troops and battled until the final seconds in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener. 

With the win, Notre Dame has won six straight games and three consecutive road contests. The Irish are now 3-2 against the Blue Devils over their past five matchups.

How It happened

The Blue Devils got off to an early 3-0 lead, scoring three goals in just over seven minutes of play. The deficit marked just the second time this season Notre Dame has failed to score first.

The Irish responded with a quick 3-0 run of their own as sophomore Samantha Lynch, freshman Savannah Buchanan and junior Molly Cobb combined to even the game 3-3.

Duke continued to add to its lead and simultaneously limit Notre Dame’s offense, which did not score for the remainder of the half. The Blue Devils took a 6-3 lead into halftime.

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Notre Dame continued to write this season’s second-half success story against Duke as it opened the second half with back-to-back goals from sophomore Nikki Ortega and Cobb to cut Duke’s lead to 6-5. 

The schools exchanged goals for the next 14:46 of the half, and the Irish trailed 11-10 at the 5:28 mark.

With just over two minutes to go, Lynch netted her fourth goal of the game to even the score at 11 apiece. And just 33 seconds later, with 1:29 remaining on the clock, senior Grace Muller scored her first goal to make the score 12-11 in favor of the Irish and give Notre Dame its first lead of the day at 12-11. 

The goal came on Muller’s only shot of the day and capped a 5-2 Irish run.

Player of the game

Cobb recorded a career-high four points on a career-high four goals against the Blue Devils. She tallied three second-half goals, including back-to-back goals at the 12:55 and 11:16 marks to tie the game, 9-9.

Cobb also collected one ground ball and one caused turnover.

“We knew that this game was going to be a battle until the end, so we had to bring everything we had into the second half,” Cobb said. “We stuck to our game plan but just had to work that much harder than Duke, which inevitably put us on top at the right moment.

“We collectively stayed focused in the moment, and no one was phased by the score. That is what separated us from Duke.”

Stat of the game

The Irish outscored Duke 9-5 in the second half of the game, writing yet another page of the 2017 second-half success chapter. Notre Dame has scored first in five of seven games this season, but the Irish also have trailed at halftime twice — including against Duke — and ultimately have proven they are capable of coming back late in a game.

Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 60-22 in its first seven games of the season. In the past five games, the Irish have won 36 draw controls in the final half, compared to 27 in the first half. 

On Sunday, Notre Dame turned the ball over 14 times in the first half and bounced back in the second half with just five turnovers. The Irish were 0-1 in free position attempts in the first half, and they finished the game going 4-9 in FPA.


  • The Irish are now 1-1 against top-10 opponents after losing to Northwestern by one goal to open the season.
  • Notre Dame improves to 1-1 after trailing at halftime and is 1-1 in one-goal games this season.
  • Cobb scored a career-high four goals and collected a career-high four points.
  • Notre Dame rattled off 32 shots compared to Duke’s 22, and the Irish won the turnover battle 20-19. The Irish and the Blue Devils each won 12 draw controls.

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