Nov. 16, 2015
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – On the heels of advancing to the first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship game in program history last weekend, the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team was rewarded with its fourth straight top 10 national seed in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship on Monday.
The Irish drew the No. 7 seed into the 2015 NCAA tournament, and will host Tulsa on Sunday at 2 p.m. (ET) inside Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame (11-4-5) is set to make its 18th all-time appearance in the NCAA Championship during the 2015 edition of the national tournament, and its 10th as one of the event’s 16 national seeds. The Irish were the top overall seed in both 2012 and 2014, and won the 2013 NCAA Championship as the third seed, in its last three tournament berths.
The Irish are 17-15-1 (.530) all-time in NCAA Championship play, which includes a 16-11-1 record under 15th-year head coach Bobby Clark. Notre Dame has appeared in 14 of 15 possible national tournaments during Clark’s tenure, advancing to the NCAA Round of 16 on seven occasions, the national quarterfinals three times (2006-07, 2013), and the program’s inaugural NCAA College Cup in 2013.
Notre Dame reached its first ACC Men’s Soccer Final on Sunday, downing Virginia (1-0 on Nov. 8) in the quarterfinal and No. 1 Wake Forest (1-0 on Nov. 11) in the semifinal rounds to punch its championship game ticket. The victory at Wake Forest in front of over 5,000 fans was the sixth Irish win of 2015 against top 25 opponents, with Notre Dame entering the NCAA Championship sporting a 6-3-1 (.650) mark against ranked foes this season.
All told, Notre Dame has faced eight fellow NCAA Championship qualifiers during regular season and ACC tournament matches in 2015. The Irish have compiled a 6-3-1 (.650) record against fellow NCAA tournament participants this season, including wins over No. 1 seed Wake Forest (1-0 on Nov. 11), No. 2 seed Clemson (1-0 on Sept. 12), No. 14 seed South Florida (2-0 on Sept. 4), No. 16 seed Indiana (1-0 in double overtime on Aug. 30), and unseeded Virginia (3-1 on Sept. 25 and 1-0 on Nov. 8), battling No. 10 seed Maryland to a 0-0 draw in the regular season opener on Aug. 28 in Bloomington.
For the second straight season, the ACC led all conferences with seven member teams earning a bid into the NCAA Championship. The five national top 16 seeds from the ACC also set the pace in the Division I tournament, followed by three seeded teams from the Big Ten.
In first round action in the Notre Dame tournament pod, Tulsa (8-6-6) downed Florida International 3-2 in overtime in a Thursday preliminary round contest in Tulsa, Oklahoma. FIU claimed the Conference USA tournament title with a 1-0 victory over Marshall on Sunday, while Tulsa outpointed Connecticut 4-3 in penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw to earn the American Athletic Conference (AAC) title.
The last 18 winners of the NCAA College Cup, dating back to the 1997 season, are included in the field of 48 vying for the 2015 NCAA Championship. Notre Dame (2013), Indiana (1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2012), North Carolina (2001, 2011), Akron (2010), Maryland (2005, 2008), Wake Forest (2007), and UC Santa Barbara (2006) are all seeded in this year’s tournament, with recent champions Virginia (2009, 2014), UCLA (1997, 2002), and Connecticut (2000) also in the 2015 field.
After Thursday’s first round and Sunday’s second round games, the NCAA Championship continues with third round matchups on Nov. 28 or 29 at campus sites. The national quarterfinals will follow on Dec. 4-5 at campus venues. The 2015 NCAA College Cup will be contested on Dec. 11 (national semifinals) and Dec. 13 (national final) at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Admission for Sunday’s second round game will be free for any Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s/Holy Cross student who presents a valid student ID at the Alumni Stadium gate. For ticket information, call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit UND.com/buytickets, or stop by the Notre Dame ticket office inside Purcell Pavilion.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant 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 at Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.