Oct. 2, 2017
by Tony Jones
2017 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER – Match 10
#7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-2-1) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (2-8-0)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – One more home game stands between the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team and returning to the road for conference play. The No. 7 Irish first welcome Northwestern to Alumni Stadium for a nonconference matchup on Tuesday at 7 p.m. (ET) on ACC Network Extra.
Notre Dame (6-2-1) remained an unbeaten 4-0-1 at Alumni Stadium this season with a 1-1 draw against No. 10 Virginia last Friday in an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) collision. The Irish closed the game with a 13-9 edge in shots and 9-2 advantage in corner kicks despite the tie in the score line.
Northwestern (2-8-0) is in search of its first road victory of the season after losing its last two starts at Michigan on Sept. 24 (3-1) and Maryland on Sept. 29 (3-0). The Wildcats are also after their first win at Alumni Stadium, compiling an 0-1-2 combined record in three previous trips to Notre Dame’s current soccer home.
Irish Draw With #10 UVA
It was a tale of shifting momentum in each half for both Notre Dame and Virginia. After 110 minutes of action, and after the No. 7 Irish controlled the majority of the final hour of play, Notre Dame and the No. 10 Cavaliers finished in a 1-1 stalemate in front of an energized Alumni Stadium crowd.
Notre Dame was the most dangerous team to score throughout the second half and overtime, as evidenced by its 13-9 edge in shots and 9-2 margin in corner kicks for the game. The Irish held a 10-4 advantage in shots over the game’s final 60 minutes.
Rivalry With UVA Continues
In the sixth meeting between the teams ever at Alumni Stadium, last Friday was the first time Notre Dame and Virginia have tied at the home ground of the Irish. Notre Dame improved to 3-2-1 in home matches all-time against the Cavaliers.
In the last nine games pitting Notre Dame against Virginia, dating back to the 2013 season, the sides have battled to an even split of 3-3-3 in those contests. The aggregate goal count in that span has favored the Irish by a slim 12-10 margin. Notre Dame has knocked the Cavaliers out of both the 2014 and 2015 ACC Championship, while Virginia eliminated the Irish from the 2013 ACC tournament and the 2015 NCAA Round of 16.
Irish Against The Top 25 Since 2013
Dating back to the beginning of the 2013 season, the year Notre Dame won its first national championship in men’s soccer, the Irish have played a total of 52 games against foes in the national top 25. During that span, Notre Dame has compiled a 27-12-13 (.644) mark against the top 25 after facing No. 10 Virginia last Friday at Alumni Stadium.
The Irish have averaged more than five ranked wins per season in the current string of success against the national top 25, and have earned a total of three results in four meetings with the top-ranked team in the country. Notre Dame has not fallen out of the national top 20 itself since the conclusion of the 2011 campaign.
On the way to claiming the 2013 NCAA title, Notre Dame earned 14 of its 23 total results that season against foes ranked in the top 25. Just last season, the Irish collided with 11 ranked foes in 21 total games played in reaching the NCAA Round of 16. Notre Dame is expected to face its third ranked foe in four games on Oct. 6 at Clemson, who was slotted sixth in the most recent United Soccer Coaches poll.
Ueland Again In Crunch Time
For the second time in five games, junior midfielder Thomas Ueland found a key second half goal for Notre Dame in a crucial home contest. Ueland intercepted an attempted Virginia clearance and finished a brilliant left-footed strike in the 52nd minute to square last Friday’s match with the Cavaliers at 1-1.
Of Ueland’s eight career goals in a Notre Dame uniform since he made his debut for the Irish in 2015, five have either been game-tying or game-winning goals. Ueland notched the game-winning tally earlier this season against Bowling Green (2-1 on Sept. 19), as well as the winning goals against No. 14 Indiana (1-0 in double overtime on Aug. 30, 2015) and No. 1 Wake Forest (1-0 in an ACC Championship quarterfinal on Nov. 11, 2015) earlier in his career. The Lexington, Kentucky, native added an equalizer in the 43rd minute of a 1-1 draw with Michigan on Oct. 7, 2015.
Irish In The RPI
In the first release of the ratings percentage index (RPI) by the NCAA for the 2017 Division I men’s soccer season, Notre Dame was slotted seventh in the initial rankings. The Irish have faced the fourth-hardest schedule in the entire NCAA as of Oct. 2, including the hardest nonconference slate in the country entering Tuesday’s game against Northwestern.
Future Notre Dame opponents and their initial RPI include No. 10 Clemson (Oct. 6), No. 23 Michigan (Oct. 10), No. 39 Pittsburgh (Oct. 13), No. 24 Akron (Oct. 17), No. 12 Duke (Oct. 20), No. 1 Michigan State (Oct. 24) and No. 2 North Carolina (Oct. 27).
Northwestern With ND’s Number
Notre Dame and Northwestern will meet for the 10th time since the 2008 season on Tuesday, with the Wildcats owning the best of the recent run against the Irish. Despite Notre Dame leading the all-time series 13-5-5, Northwestern is 4-1-4 against the Irish since 2008.
Northwestern enters Tuesday’s game with a 2-8-0 record this season, in the midst of a two-game losing streak after dropping a 3-1 decision at Michigan on Sept. 24 and a 3-0 verdict at Maryland on Sept. 29. The Wildcats have been outscored by an aggregate 20-6 goal margin thus far in 2017.
Head coach Tim Lenahan is 158-127-46 (.547) in his 17th season at Northwestern, and has led the Wildcats to eight NCAA Championship berths. Lenahan was also the 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
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.