Sept. 12, 2014
#4 NOTRE DAME
(2-1-1, 0-0-0 ACC)
(4-0-0, 0-0-0 ACC)
Saturday, Sept. 13 – 7 p.m. (ET)
SU Soccer Stadium – Syracuse, N.Y.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team experienced something on Monday it had not dealt with in 317 days: a loss.
Kentucky’s 90th-minute goal gave the Wildcats a 1-0 victory and left the Fighting Irish with a feeling they had not experienced since a 2-0 setback to Virginia on Oct. 26 of last year.
The fourth-ranked Fighting Irish (2-1-1) will look to rebound Saturday in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener at No. 20 Syracuse (4-0-0). Notre Dame currently owns an 11-game unbeaten streak versus the Orange, including wins in each of the last two seasons at Syracuse. Another victory in upstate New York will get Notre Dame’s ACC regular-season title defense off on the right track.
“This is a huge game in our season,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark says. “You talk about key games in the season and this certainly is one of them. Syracuse is flying right now. I think this is their best start to a season in many years. They’re a good team and we’ve obviously watched film on them and they have a lot of players who can handle the ball. They have some strong defenders and a very good goalkeeper. We’ll have to play as well as we can play to take a good result away from the game.”
Syracuse has not surrendered a goal this season, but Notre Dame has combined for seven tallies against the Orange in the last two meetings. Three of those goals have come off the foot of junior midfielder Patrick Hodan, who is in search of his first goal of the 2014 campaign.
“In both of those games we started a little bit slow,” Hodan says. “As we grew into the game we started to move the ball a little bit better and found the pockets and created some chances. Syracuse is a very good team. The last two times that we’ve played there they’ve had a really good atmosphere. We’re going to have to move the ball well and be patient. We’re going to have to wait for our chances and when we get them we’re going to have to put them away.”
While it had been nearly a calendar year since the Fighting Irish lost a match, it has been almost four years since they lost consecutive contests. The last time Notre Dame dropped back-to-back games was at the end of the 2010 season. In fact, the Fighting Irish have lost two straight games within the same season just six times since Clark arrived in 2001.
“Everyone was definitely disappointed about the (Kentucky) loss,” Hodan states. “We just have to move on and take the lessons from the game and learn from those. It’s never a good feeling to lose so hopefully that will stick with us and help us not want to lose again.”
A LOOK AT LAST WEEK
– Notre Dame went 1-1 at last weekend’s Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.
– The Irish topped Dartmouth, 4-1, in their tournament opener. Notre Dame received goals from Leon Brown (15′), Evan Panken (42′) and Vince Cicciarelli (59′) along with an own goal (69′) to topple the Big Green. Notre Dame goalkeeper Patrick Wall made two saves.
– Kentucky used a 90th-minute goal to clip the Irish, 1-0, in Monday’s tournament finale. The game winner was Kentucky’s only shot of the second half.
– Indiana won the event, while Kentucky finished second. Notre Dame and Dartmouth finished third and fourth, respectively.
– Brown and Connor Klekota were Notre Dame’s representatives on the all-tournament team.
THE SYRACUSE SERIES
– Notre Dame is 11-2-2 all-time against Syracuse. The Fighting Irish currently have an 11-game unbeaten streak against the Orange.
– The Irish topped the Orange, 3-0, last season at Syracuse.
– Notre Dame is 6-0-1 all-time at Syracuse. This is the third straight season the Irish have played at Syracuse.
– Head coach Bobby Clark is 6-0-2 versus the Orange during his Notre Dame tenure.
THE LAST TIME
– Notre Dame won at Syracuse, 3-0, last season. It was the first-ever ACC road match for the Fighting Irish.
– Evan Panken put Notre Dame on the board in the 17th minute and Andrew O’Malley followed with a goal in the 23rd minute. Patrick Hodan scored in the 51st minute.
– Patrick Wall made one save to pick up the clean sheet.
OVERVIEW OF THE ORANGE
– Syracuse is off to a 4-0 start and the Orange have not allowed a goal this season.
– The Orange opened with back-to-back 3-0 wins over Niagara and Saint Mary’s before posting consecutive 1-0 victories against Rutgers and St. John’s.
– Sophomore forwards Emil Ekblom and Chris Nanco both have a team-best two goals. Junior Alex Bono has played every minute in goal and has four clean sheets.
– Head coach Ian McIntyre is in his fifth season at Syracuse.
– The Orange went 10-7-1 (3-7-1 ACC) last season.
Bobby Clark on Monday’s 1-0 loss to Kentucky…
“Monday’s match was a difficult one. We did a lot of things well but things just didn’t quite fall for us. You have to get a goal in a game like that. I thought we were very patient, which was good. I thought we stuck to the script and we didn’t panic. They (Kentucky) really just had that one sniff at goal in the second half and they took it. Soccer can be a cruel game sometimes, but at the end of the day you now have to realize how important it is to make chances and also take them.”
“If I had a criticism of the game, it was that we had a lot of the ball, but we didn’t make enough really good opportunities. I thought we maybe had three really good opportunities in the second half that we might have taken. But with the amount of ball that we had, we really should have created more opportunities. We’ve talked about that and how our forwards run into the box and if we can improve on that. Just because you have a lot of possession and a lot of territorial advantage, it doesn’t mean you’re creating chances. That is something that we’ve certainly looked at.”
— Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director