Senior midfielder Patrick Connolly

#12 Irish Celebrate Senior Night Against #3 North Carolina

Oct. 27, 2016

by Tony Jones

2016 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER – Match 17#12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-5-1, 3-3-1 ACC) vs. #3 North Carolina Tar Heels (11-2-2, 5-1-1 ACC)
DATE: Oct. 28, 2016
TIME: 7 p.m. (ET)
LOCATION: Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium — cap. 3,500)
BROADCAST: ACC Network Extra

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior Night has arrived for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer class of 2017. The No. 12 Irish are set to host No. 3 North Carolina on Friday at 7 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Stadium, with live coverage available on ACC Network Extra.

Notre Dame (10-5-1, 3-3-1 ACC) closes out its 2016 regular season schedule by recognizing 10 players and one manager from its senior class in a pre-match ceremony. Brandon Aubrey, Patrick Connolly, Andrew Cupero, Mark Gormley, Matt Habrowski, Oliver Harris, Chris Hubbard and Mark Mishu will be joined by fifth-year seniors Evan Panken and Michael Shipp and senior manager Brendan Fraleigh.

North Carolina (11-2-2, 5-1-1 ACC) has clinched the top slot in the ACC Coastal Division after earning 16 points thus far during the conference slate. Notre Dame and North Carolina have split the first three matchups in series history, with the Irish owning a 1-0-1 home edge following a 1-1 draw in 2013 and a 2-0 victory in 2014 at Alumni Stadium.

Irish Stung By Late MSU Goal

In its first true offensive surge of the match, Michigan State made the most of the trip into the Notre Dame defensive third. A converted header by Michael Beckett in the 74th minute sent the visiting Spartans to a 1-0 nonconference soccer win over the Irish on Oct. 25 at Alumni Stadium.

Despite controlling the run of play for the majority of its fourth consecutive match, No. 12 Notre Dame was held without a result. The Irish outshot No. 13 Michigan State by a final 8-5 margin, including 5-3 in the second half, and fell for the first time this season at Alumni Stadium (6-1-1).

Notre Dame outshot its fourth straight opponent by finishing with an 8-5 edge in the shots column against Michigan State. During the four-match shot advantage stretch (52-32), the Irish also hold a 21-13 margin in shots on goal.

Regular Season Finale At Alumni For The Class Of ’17

Friday night’s matchup with North Carolina will be the final regular season home match for the Notre Dame soccer class of 2017: Brandon Aubrey, Patrick Connolly, Andrew Cupero, Mark Gormley, Matt Habrowski, Oliver Harris, Chris Hubbard and Mark Mishu, who are joined by fifth-year seniors Evan Panken and Michael Shipp.

The current senior class has helped lead the Irish to a 50-16-17 (.705) overall record, while also capturing the 2013 NCAA Championship, a share of the 2013 ACC regular-season title and the 2014 ACC Coastal Division championship during their careers.

Youth Movement At ND

A total of seven Notre Dame players have made their collegiate debuts in 2016 after the season’s first 16 matches.

Irish newcomers Ian Aschieris (forward), Jack Casey (midfielder), Sean Dedrick (defender), Felicien Dumas (defender), Ryan Krutz (goalkeeper), Sean MacLeod (midfielder) and Tommy McCabe (midfielder) have combined to make 60 match appearances (32 starts) thus far this season.

Aubrey Atop TDS Midseason Top 100

Notre Dame center back Brandon Aubrey was recognized by TopDrawerSoccer as its the top rated player nationally in its annual midseason top 100 list that was released on Oct. 18. Aubrey, who ranks second on the Irish roster in both goals (8) and points (17), remains one of the leading scorers in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) from his central defense post, and has helped guide Notre Dame to seven team shutouts this season.

Striker Jon Gallagher, among the ACC and NCAA Division I leaders in scoring, checked in as the 17th ranked player in the top 100 midway through his junior campaign. Gallagher’s 11 goals and 28 points remain near the top of the ACC statistics standings, along with the top 10 of all Division I players in 2016.

Goalkeeper Chris Hubbard rounded out the Notre Dame players included in the TDS Top 100 at the midway point, placing 31st in the rankings. Hubbard’s 0.67 goals against average, .820 save percentage and seven solo shutouts all rank among the upper echelon of ACC keepers this season.

Earlier in the month, midfielder Tommy McCabe was tabbed the number two freshman in the midseason TopDrawerSoccer Top 100 Freshmen list. McCabe has started all 14 Notre Dame matches during his rookie campaign, playing a key role in the seven Irish clean sheets thus far in 2016.

Irish In The ACC

In its fourth full season as an ACC member, Notre Dame has recorded a 20-7-7 (.691) conference mark in the regular season since 2013. The Irish shared the ACC regular season championship (7-1-3) in 2013 before claiming the top position in the ACC Coastal Division (6-1-1) in 2014.

Notre Dame has logged an 11-2-3 (.781) record in home matches during the ACC regular season over the past four years, and has not lost a conference home match since Oct. 3, 2014 (1-0 to Boston College).

Scouting North Carolina

No. 3 North Carolina enters Friday’s match a combined 11-2-2 (5-1-1 ACC) this season after defeating No. 23 Virginia Tech 2-0 on Oct. 22. The Tar Heels are currently riding a four-match unbeaten streak dating back to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of No. 16 Virginia on Oct. 7.

Zach Wright is the North Carolina points leader with 16 (five goals, six assists) over his first 15 matches, while Nils Bruening has chipped in a team-high seven goals along with one assist for 15 points. Cam Lindley is tied with Wright for the top assists total with six after his first 15 collegiate matches played.

Head coach Carlos Somoano is 87-21-18 (.762) in his sixth season at North Carolina. Somoano has led the Tar Heels to five NCAA tournament berths, including the 2011 national championship, since taking the helm at North Carolina in 2011.


Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.