Nov. 1, 2016
by Tony Jones
2016 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER – Match 18ACC Championship – First Round
#16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-5-2) vs. Duke Blue Devils (7-7-2)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The first round of the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Men’s Soccer Championship is set to make a midweek stop at the University of Notre Dame. The seventh-seeded Irish welcome No. 10 seed Duke to Alumni Stadium for a 7 p.m. (ET) opening round match on Wednesday, with live coverage available on ACC Network Extra.
“The ACC tournament is possibly harder to win than the NCAA tournament,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “To win both takes an awful lot of effort, and I think that’s one of the hardest things because at the end of the day to win both we’d have to win four games in this one and then another five games. You’d have to win nine games against good teams and that’s not easy. It’s possible for sure, but I think it’s very hard for the team that wins the ACC to go on and win a national championship. There’s so many good games, and you have to be lucky and steer clear from injuries in that time.”
No. 16 Notre Dame (10-5-2) looks to avenge a regular season defeat at the hands of Duke (7-7-2), as the Blue Devils emerged from double overtime with a 2-1 win against the Irish on Oct. 21 in Durham, North Carolina. Wednesday’s match marks the second time the teams have ever met in ACC Championship play, with Notre Dame the victor in a 1-0 tournament quarterfinal clash on Nov. 12, 2013.
“The ACC tournament is a great tournament,” Clark said. “You have 12 great teams. The eighth seed (Virginia) in 2014 won the national championship, and the seventh seed last year Syracuse went out of the College Cup in penalty kicks. Syracuse had won the ACC tournament as the seven seed last season, so the depth and strength of the league are tremendous.”
Tickets for Wednesday’s match are on sale at $5 for adults and $3 for youth and seniors. Visit und.com/BuyTickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356 for more information or to purchase tickets.
Irish And UNC Draw On Senior Night
After 90 minutes of play, Notre Dame and North Carolina needed extra time to settle their final Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season match of the year on Oct. 28. In the end, the No. 12 Irish and No. 3 Tar Heels finished locked in a 0-0 draw on Senior Night at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame recognized its 10-member senior class and senior manager Brendan Fraleigh prior to the start of the match, and played inspired throughout the contest. The Irish outshot North Carolina 18-14 on the night, including a 14-8 margin in the second half and both overtime periods.
Irish Hosting ACC First Round
Notre Dame will host an early round ACC Championship match for the fourth straight season when it welcomes Duke to Alumni Stadium on Wednesday. The Irish are 3-1 in ACC tournament home matchups since joining the conference in 2013, outscoring opponents by an aggregate 5-1 goal count.
In fact, Notre Dame has hosted at least one home conference tournament match in 15 of the past 16 seasons. The Irish have notched a 9-3-3 (.700) in prior home conference tournament matches, outscoring opponents a combined 17-7 in those contests.
Prior ND ACC Tourney Runs
Notre Dame is attempting to reach the semifinal round or beyond in the ACC Championship for the fourth time in as many seasons as a conference member in 2016. The Irish made a pair of ACC tournament semifinal appearances in both 2013 and 2014 before hosting the championship final in 2015 at Alumni Stadium.
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 ACC from his central defense post, and has helped guide Notre Dame to eight 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 0.62 goals against average, .823 save percentage and eight 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 17 Notre Dame matches during his rookie campaign, playing a key role in the eight 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 20-7-8 (.686) 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 11-2-4 (.765) 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).
Duke enters Wednesday’s ACC opening round match with a 7-7-2 record in 2016, finishing with the conference tournament’s 10th seed following a 1-0 defeat at the hands of No. 17 Virginia on Oct. 28. The Blue Devils previously defeated then No. 4 Notre Dame by a 2-1 final score during the second overtime period in Durham, North Carolina on Oct. 21, thanks to a pair of goals from freshman Brandon Williamson. It was Duke’s first victory in its series with the Irish since the 1992 season, a 2-1 Blue Devil win during tournament play in Bloomington in September of that year.
Brian White leads all Duke players with 14 points (five goals and four assists), along with 18 shots on goal and three game-winning goals over 16 starts. Suniel Veerakone has chipped in three goals and five assists for his 11 points, while Cameron Moseley has added five goals to pace all Blue Devil scorers.
Robert Moewes has started all 16 Duke matches in goal, logging a 1.27 goals against average and a .750 save percentage. Moewes claimed solo shutouts earlier in the season against No. 9 UCLA and Elon.
Head coach John Kerr has logged an 87-71-24 (.544) record in his nine seasons at Duke, guiding the Blue Devils to four NCAA tournament berths (2008-11) and 26 all-ACC selections during his tenure.
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.