Oct. 24, 2016
by Tony Jones
2016 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” Match 16#4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-4-1) vs. #20 Michigan State Spartans (11-3-1)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” The stretch run of the 2016 regular season officially begins for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team on Tuesday. The Irish welcome nationally ranked Michigan State to Alumni Stadium for a 7 p.m. (ET) nonconference showdown on ACC Network Extra.
Notre Dame (10-4-1) returns to the friendly confines of its home stadium after completing a four-match road trip at Duke on Oct. 21. The Irish have compiled a 6-0-1 mark thus far at Alumni Stadium, outscoring opponents by a combined 18-4 aggregate goal margin in those contests. Notre Dame is also 2-1 against Big Ten Conference members in 2016, blanking No. 6 Indiana (4-0) and Michigan (2-0).
Michigan State (11-3-1) is in search of its first win at Alumni Stadium since 2010, a 2-0 Spartans triumph on Sept. 19 of that year. Notre Dame is 3-0-1 at home against Michigan State in the four most recent matchups in series history, outscoring the Spartans 8-2 in those showdowns.
Irish Drop 2OT Match At Duke
An early goal by Notre Dame was negated by direct play from host Duke in a Friday Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) struggle. Blue Devil freshman Brandon Williamson found his first two career goals as Duke outlasted the No. 4 Irish 2-1 in the second overtime period on Oct. 21 at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.
Duke earned just its third win in nine meetings all-time against Notre Dame, and its first since a 2-1 decision on Sept. 6, 1992 at the adidas/MetLife Classic in Bloomington, Indiana. The Irish defeat marked the first time the team had dropped back-to-back ACC matches since joining the conference in 2013.
Gormley Making Most Of Starting Opportunity
Forward Mark Gormley has become the hottest offensive player in the Notre Dame lineup over his five starts on the Irish front line. With goals in four of those five matches, Gormley has established a career-high with five goals over 15 appearances thus far in 2016.
Gormley, who notched either a game-tying or go-ahead goal in four of the past five Notre Dame starts, is the third leading Irish scorer this season, trailing only All-America candidates Jon Gallagher (11) and Brandon Aubrey (8).
Gallagher Still The ACC Scoring Leader
As of the most recent ACC statistics update on Oct. 23, Notre Dame’s Jon Gallagher continues to hold a piece of the conference lead in both goals and points after the first 15 Irish matches of 2016.
Gallagher cemented his place in the top slot in goals among all ACC players with his second straight multi-goal game, scoring in the 23rd and 24th minutes in a win over No. 6 Indiana on Oct 4. Following his team-high sixth assist of the season at Duke on Oct. 21, Gallagher leads the ACC with 28 total points, and is tied with Louisville’s Mohamed Thiaw for the top league goals mark with 11.
Teammate Brandon Aubrey is fifth overall in points with 17 (eight goals, one assist) to lead all ACC defenders.
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 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 at 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 0.70 goals against average, .817 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 15 Notre Dame matches during his rookie campaign, playing a key role in the seven Irish clean sheets thus far in 2016.
Irish Against The Top 25
Notre Dame enters Tuesday’s game against Michigan State with a 5-1-1 (.786) record against fellow National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) top 25 foes in 2016, including a spotless 3-0-1 mark in matches played at Alumni Stadium. The Irish hold a 19-6 edge in goals scored against ranked opponents this season, and have outshot foes 108-82 (50-36 in shots on goal) in those matches.
Scouting Michigan State
Michigan State enters Tuesday’s match with an 11-3-1 record, fresh off a 2-1 win against Northwestern on Oct. 22. The Spartans are 6-1-1 in their last eight matches overall dating back to a 1-0 win over Bowling Green on Sept. 28.
Ryan Sierakowski leads all Michigan State players with eight goals and 18 points, connecting on an impressive six game-winning goals for the Spartans. Giuseppe Barone and Andrew Herr are each tied for the team assists lead with four helpers apiece.
Head coach Damon Rensing is 88-56-30 (.592) in his eighth season at Michigan State and has led the Spartans to five NCAA tournament appearances, including NCAA Quarterfinal berths in both 2013 and 2014.
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.