Aug. 28, 2014
2014 adidas/IU Credit Union Classic
Bill Armstrong Stadium – Bloomington, Ind.
#1 NOTRE DAME
Friday, Aug. 29 – 5 p.m. (ET)
#1 NOTRE DAME
Sunday, Aug. 31 – 11:30 a.m. (ET)
Notre Dame vs. Marquette
Notre Dame vs. Georgetown
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – If the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team is going to win its third straight adidas/IU Credit Union Classic it will have to prevail against a field fit for College Cup Weekend.
Of the last four programs to compete for the NCAA title in men’s soccer, three will be on display at this weekend’s tournament in Bloomington, Ind. The four-team field features the last two NCAA champions (Indiana 2012, Notre Dame 2013) and the 2012 national runner-up (Georgetown). The fourth squad, Marquette, won last season’s BIG EAST tournament before advancing to the NCAA Championship Round of 16.
In fact, all four teams are its conference’s reigning regular-season or tournament champion. Notre Dame captured a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title last season, while Georgetown and Marquette tied for the BIG EAST crown. The Hoosiers won the 2013 Big Ten tournament.
The top-ranked Fighting Irish open their 2014 season against No. 12 Marquette at 5 p.m. (ET) on Friday at Bill Armstrong Stadium and then they will face No. 9 Georgetown at 11:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunday. Indiana will square off against the Hoyas on Friday and Marquette on Sunday.
The Irish are making their 12th consecutive appearance – and 15th overall – at the event, which is played annually over Labor Day Weekend. Notre Dame has a 12-11-5 record in the tournament, including an 11-6-5 mark in the 11 trips under head coach Bobby Clark.
The Fighting Irish have parlayed the last two IU Classic titles into tremendous seasons. Notre Dame went 2-0 at the 2012 event and the Irish eventually saw their season-opening win streak reach seven games. The team went on to win the BIG EAST tournament that year and earn the top overall seed for the NCAA Championship. Last season, the Irish won the Classic with a 1-0-1 mark and that was part of a 13-game unbeaten streak to open the campaign. Notre Dame’s momentum never seemed to stop as it won the national title and finished the year with a remarkable 17-1-6 record.
“I think we know what we have with our team this season, but this weekend will be a good test for us,” Clark says. “They say everything happens in threes so it would be nice to win the IU Classic three times in a row. It’s a great tournament. Every time we play in an event we want to win it and this is the first opportunity to win a tournament this year. It’s also important that we play well and synchronize as a team.”
Clearly the Irish are familiar with the IU Classic and they also are very knowledgeable about this year’s competition. Notre Dame spent several seasons battling Georgetown and Marquette in the old BIG EAST Conference. The Fighting Irish also know the Hoosiers quite well, but the renewal of their in-state rivalry won’t take place until Oct. 22 in Bloomington.
“I don’t think we could get a much harder opening to the season than facing Marquette and Georgetown,” Clark says. “We know both of them very well and there’s definitely a familiarity. A lot of players that we played against from two years ago are still there. The systems will be very similar to how they played then and both teams are well coached.”
Clark’s familiarity with the Hoyas goes beyond being former conference counterparts. Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese spent five seasons (2001-05) at Notre Dame as an assistant coach for Clark before moving on to his successful run with the Hoya program. Wiese also spent five years as an assistant under Clark at Stanford prior to the stint at Notre Dame. The connection stems back to the early `90s when Wiese played three seasons (1991-93) for Clark at Dartmouth.
Clark and Wiese last matched wits on the sidelines during the thrilling 2012 BIG EAST Championship title match. The Hoyas held a 2-1 lead when Notre Dame’s Nick Besler headed home the equalizer with 32 seconds left in regulation and then Ryan Finley deposited the game winner with just over a minute remaining in the second overtime period to give Notre Dame the 3-2 victory at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
“The last time we (Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette) were all together was in the final four of the (2012) BIG EAST tournament,” Clark states. “Georgetown squeaked past Marquette and then we squeaked past Georgetown in the final. We were all in the (BIG EAST) Blue Division that year and going into the final game of the regular season we all could have won the league depending on how the last game fell. We know these teams very well and we have great respect for them.”
The Fighting Irish hope familiarity won’t breed contempt as they look to hoist some more hardware and begin this season just how the last one ended … on top.
— Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director