Aug. 15, 2018
By Matt Paras
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Thursday evening at Alumni Stadium the 14th-ranked Notre Dame women’s soccer team will kick off their 2018 campaign against Central Michigan. The Irish will begin their 31st season under the tutelage of their fifth head coach in school history as Nate Norman will begin his Irish head coaching career against the Chippewas.
SERIES HISTORY: CHIPPEWAS
Notre Dame and Central Michigan have met once all-time in the two school’s history. Back in 2009, they squared off at Alumni Stadium in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Irish won 6-1 and Melissa Henderson set a school record in the process. She scored four goals against the Chippewas, which was the most in an NCAA Tournament game in school history. The six goals were the fifth most scored by the Irish in an NCAA Tournament game in school history.
OUT OF THE GATES
The Irish own a 25-3-2 (.833) record in season openers in the program’s 30-year history. The Irish have gone 15-1-1 (.882) on the road in season openers and 10-2-1 (.769) at home in season openers. The Irish possess a 15-2-2 (.789) record in season openers since 1999, outscoring the opposition by an 81-11 margin in those 19 matches. The Irish have not conceded a goal in their previous four season openers and are 3-0-1 in that span.
The United Soccer Coaches, previously known as the NSCAA, projected the Irish to finish at No. 14 in the country in its preseason rankings. Notre Dame is one of six ACC schools to be ranked in the preseason poll, coming in behind Duke (No. 3), North Carolina (No. 6), Virginia (No. 8), and Florida State (No. 10). The Irish are ahead of North Carolina State, who was ranked 20th. Notre Dame is scheduled to face eight teams ranked in the preseason Top-25, including reigning NCAA champion and No. 1 Stanford on Sept. 7 in Palo Alto.
Notre Dame will close out the weekend with a Sunday matinee at Alumni Stadium. The Irish will face Loyola Chicago at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.
Matt Paras, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since January 2018. In his role, he coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame women’s soccer, baseball and assists in ice hockey. A native of Warwick, Rhode Island, Paras is a graduate of the University of Louisville where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sport Administration. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, he worked at Vanderbilt University as the sports information contact for the women’s soccer and lacrosse programs.