Tri-captain Connor Klekota played the full 90 minutes during Notre Dame's 2-1 win over Maryland in the 2013 College Cup final at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania

Keys To The Game: NCAA Championship Round of 16

Nov. 28, 2015

by Tony Jones
NCAA Championship Round of 16
#7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-4-6) vs. #10 Maryland Terrapins (11-5-5)

DATE: Nov. 29, 2015
TIME: 2 p.m. (ET)
LOCATION: Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium — cap. 2,500)
LAST MEETING: T, 0-0 (8/28/15 at IU)
TICKETS:; (574) 631-7356

For the second time this season the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team and Maryland will collide on the pitch. An August encounter began the 2015 campaign for both teams, and only one team will emerge Sunday from an NCAA Championship Round of 16 match at Alumni Stadium. The 2 p.m. (ET) contest will be available live on ESPN3.

No. 7 Notre Dame (11-4-6) and No. 10 Maryland (11-5-5) battled to a 0-0 draw on Aug. 28 during the opening match of the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington. The Irish and Terrapins have tied in each of their last two meetings during the regular season, including a 1-1 decision on Oct. 8, 2013 at Alumni Stadium.

Dating back to the 2005 season, Maryland’s first NCAA College Cup triumph, the teams have combined for 21 NCAA tournament appearances, six NCAA Quarterfinal berths, five trips to the national championship match, and three NCAA titles (Maryland 2005 and 2008, Notre Dame 2013).

Sunday’s meeting will be the fourth between the teams in the NCAA Championship in a seven-game series that dates back to 2001. Notre Dame has been the victor in the two most recent postseason matches against Maryland, a 1-0 win in the NCAA Round of 16 on Nov. 18, 2006, and a 2-1 triumph in the College Cup final on Dec. 15, 2013.

Scouting Maryland

Maryland returned to the NCAA Championship Round of 16 for the 12th time in the past 13 seasons with a 1-0 shutout of former conference foe Virginia last Sunday. The Terrapins claimed their first Big Ten Conference Championship title with a 2-0 win over Ohio State on Nov. 15.

Head coach Sasho Cirovski is in his 24th season at Maryland with a 355-131-42 (.712) record. Cirovski has led the Terrapins to NCAA Championship victories in 2005 and 2008, as well as additional College Cup appearances in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2012, and 2013. Cirovski is a one-time NSCAA National Coach of the Year honoree, receiving the award in 2005.

ND-Terps Ready For Another Clash

Sunday’s showdown between Notre Dame and Maryland will be the second meeting between the teams in 2015, and the fourth game between the Irish and Terrapins since the 2013 campaign. Notre Dame is 1-0-2 against Maryland over the past three contests, including a 2-1 victory in the final match of the 2013 College Cup to secure the first national championship in program history.

Notre Dame and Maryland previously battled to a 0-0 draw in the opening game of the 2015 season (Aug. 28) at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington. The Terrapins outshot the Irish by a cumulative shot count of 22-10 during the season opening match, despite both teams each attempting four shots on goal.

Maryland is in search of its first victory over Notre Dame since blanking the Irish 3-0 on Sept. 2, 2007, during that season’s adidas/IU Credit Union Classic.

Free-Wheeling Farina Finds Mark

Jeffrey Farina played one of his most impactful offensive games of 2015 last Sunday versus Tulsa, scoring the lone Notre Dame goal and nearly connecting on three additional scoring chances.

Farina has now notched five points (2G, 1A) in his last six overall starts to spark the Irish offense.

Home NCAA Tourney Success

Since hosting its first NCAA Championship game at old Alumni Field in 2002, Notre Dame has compiled an 11-5-2 (.667) NCAA tournament record in home contests. The Irish have served as a round host in the NCAA Championship in each of their last 13 tournament appearances, dating back to the first match against Akron (3-0 win on Nov. 22, 2002).

Notre Dame hosted a total of three matches at Alumni Stadium during the 2013 NCAA Championship, defeating Wisconsin (3-0), No. 14 Wake Forest (4-2), and No. 11 Michigan State (2-1) to reach that season’s College Cup in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Racking Up NCAA Wins In 2000s

Notre Dame had claimed one win in its history during NCAA Championship play over its first four trips to the national tournament, punctuated by a 1-0 shutout of No. 2 UNC Greensboro on Nov. 24, 1996.

Since entering the new millennium the Irish have cemented themselves as mainstays in the NCAA Championship. Dating back to 2001, Notre Dame has won 16 games in 14 trips to the national tournament, notching two wins in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and a program record five wins during its national championship season in 2013.

Notre Dame was among the final eight teams remaining in the field in both 2006 and 2007 before reaching the NCAA College Cup for the first time during its stellar 2013 championship run.

Another National Seed For The Irish

Notre Dame is making 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.

All 10 national seeds in the NCAA Championship for Notre Dame have been achieved under head coach Bobby Clark. The Irish have been seeded (with a first round bye) in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.


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.