Sophomore forward Jeffrey Farina

Keys To The Game: Clemson

Sept. 11, 2015

ND Notes Get Acrobat Reader

2015 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER ââ’¬” Match 5
#2/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-0-1) vs. #9/5 Clemson Tigers (3-0-1)

DATE: Sept. 12, 2015
TIME: 7 p.m. (ET)
LOCATION: Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium — cap. 3,500)
LAST MEETING: T, 1-1 (2OT), CU advanced on PK 5-4 (11/14/14 at ACC)
TICKETS:; (574) 631-7356

The regular season Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) schedule for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team and Clemson will commence on Saturday at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Alumni Stadium, with live coverage available on ESPN3. Here are the important facts leading into the top 10 showdown between the No. 2 Irish and the No. 9 Tigers.

Scouting Clemson

Clemson enters Saturday’s match against Notre Dame ranked ninth in the most recent National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) top 25 poll with a 3-0-1 record. The Tigers battled No. 11 Coastal Carolina to a 1-1 draw last Monday at Riggs Field.

Oliver Shannon has scored a team-high three goals on nine shots (four shots on goal) over his first four games, including one game-winning tally. Austen Burnikel has chipped in two goals and two assists to tie Shannon with six points. Iman Mafi leads all Clemson players with three assists.

Goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell earned the start in each of the first four matches, logging a total of 10 saves and a 0.72 goals against average. Brady Allardice has added six minutes during one relief appearance in goal.

Head coach Mike Noonan is 45-40-18 (.524) in his sixth season at Clemson, and led the Tigers to victory at the 2014 ACC tournament.

Notre Dame and Clemson will meet for the sixth time in series history during Saturday’s ACC opener, but for the first time on the Notre Dame campus. The series is tied at 2-2-1, with three of the first five contests between the teams taking place on a neutral field.

“I thought Clemson was the best team we played in the ACC last year,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “Although we tied with them in the semifinal of the ACC tournament after losing a last-minute goal, on the day I thought they deserved it. That was the one game where I felt we never really found our rhythm. I was impressed with them as a team, they pressed us very hard and when they had the ball they moved it very quickly.

“They might have had an outside chance at NCAAs looking at them, and it’s funny because we had played Virginia the round before that (at ACCs),” Clark added. “If you would have said which team was going to win a national championship at that moment it would have been Clemson, but two games are never the same. Any of the top seven or eight teams in the ACC could win a national championship. There is such a small margin between winning a losing, it’s always going to come down to the little things.”

500th ND Win Caps Bert Weekend

Last Sunday’s 4-0 clean sheet win against UAB not only clinched the top spot for Notre Dame at the 13th annual Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament, but also was a milestone triumph for the Irish soccer program. The victory was the 500th in Notre Dame history since the team began its varsity tenure in 1977.

In the 39-year history of the Notre Dame men’s soccer program, the Irish have averaged nearly 13 wins per season. Since the arrival of head coach Bobby Clark in 2001, Notre Dame has won at least 12 contests in 11 of the past 14 campaigns.

Opponents Still Looking For First Goal

Four matches, and specifically 398:32 worth of match time, into the 2015 regular season Notre Dame opponents are still in search of their first goal. The Irish shut out the opposition in four consecutive contests to open a season for the first time in program history with last Sunday’s 4-0 triumph against UAB in the final matchup of the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.

Notre Dame has only yielded nine total shots on goal over the first four games of 2015, a .170 shots on goal percentage (9-of-53). On the flipside, 22 of the 59 total Irish shots in that span have found frame (.373 clip).

Notre Dame was one of 12 teams in Division I soccer who had not conceded a goal as of Sept. 9, but was positioned at the top of the NCAA rankings due to total minutes played. Junior goalkeeper Chris Hubbard is first in the NCAA with a perfect 1.000 save percentage and spotless goals against average.

Irish Offense Finds Groove

After grinding out a scoreless draw and a 1-0 win against top 15 foes Maryland and Indiana in the opening weekend of the regular season, Notre Dame looked to enter its offensive comfort zone upon its debut at Alumni Stadium during the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.

The Irish attempted 16 shots during the two games at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic, finishing the tournament with seven shots on target and one goal. In two games last weekend during the Berticelli Tournament Notre Dame logged 43 total shots, including 15 tries that were on frame and six goals.

In fact, Notre Dame’s 28 shots last Sunday against UAB were tied for the fifth-most in a game for the Irish since the 1995 season.

Irish Against The ACC

Notre Dame officially opens its third league season as a member of the ACC Saturday against Clemson. The Irish are a combined 60-27-12 (.667) all-time against the current conference membership. Boston College, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia Tech previously belonged to the BIG EAST Conference alongside Notre Dame.


— Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant