Sophomore midfielder Blake Townes

Keys To The Game: Xavier

Sept. 15, 2015

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#2/3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0-1) vs. #RV Xavier Musketeers (3-2-0)

DATE: Sept. 15, 2015
TIME: 7 p.m. (ET)
LOCATION: Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium — cap. 3,500)
LAST MEETING: ND, 6-2 (11/3/94 at ND)
TICKETS:; (574) 631-7356

Mere hours before Tuesday’s nonconference meeting between the No. 2/3 University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team and No. RV Xavier, here are the important details leading into the 7 p.m. (ET) match at Alumni Stadium on ESPN3.

Scouting Xavier

Xavier enters Tuesday’s match against Notre Dame with a 3-2-0 record. The Musketeers halted a two-game losing streak by defeating Cincinnati 2-1 on the road last Friday.

Alex Ridsdale leads all Xavier players with four goals and nine total points, attempting a team-high nine shots (seven shots on goal). Ridsdale is a perfect 2-for-2 on penalty kick tries with one game-winning goal. Cory Brown paces all Musketeer attackers with two assists, and is one of nine different Xavier players to notch at least one assist thus far this season.

Head coach Andy Fleming is 64-30-17 (.653) in his sixth season at Xavier, and has led the Musketeers to four NCAA Championship appearances in the past five years.

Defensive Dominance Continues

Five matches, and specifically 488:32 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 five consecutive contests to open a season for the first time in program history with Saturday’s 1-0 triumph against Clemson in the ACC opener for both teams at Alumni Stadium.

Notre Dame has only yielded nine total shots on goal over the first five games of 2015, a .155 shots on goal percentage (9-of-58). On the flipside, 27 of the 68 total Irish shots in that span have found frame (.397 clip).

Notre Dame was one of just three teams in Division I soccer who had not conceded a goal as of Sept. 14, and 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 a spotless goals against average.

ND Racking Up The Ranked Results

Notre Dame has opened the 2015 regular season with one of the hardest out of conference slates in the country during its 4-0-1 start. The Irish own victories over No. 9 Clemson (1-0, Sept. 12), No. 14 Indiana (1-0 in 2OT, Aug. 30) and No. 24 South Florida (2-0, Sept. 4) during their current unbeaten streak, adding a 0-0 draw against No. 13 Maryland on Aug. 28 at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic.

Notre Dame has earned an impressive 31 results against NSCAA top 25 opponents since joining the ACC in 2013, logging an 18-3-10 (.742) record in ranked matches in three seasons as an ACC member.

The ACC Remains Among The Elite

Entering play on Tuesday against Xavier, Notre Dame is one of five remaining unbeaten ACC teams in 2015. ACC teams are a combined 40-9-9 (.767) to begin the season, boasting the best collective conference winning percentage in the NCAA.

Hello Again Old Friend

Formerly foes in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC), Notre Dame and Xavier are set to resume a series that has been dormant for over 20 years. The last official meeting between the Irish and Musketeers took place on Nov. 3, 1994, a 6-2 Notre Dame victory during the MCC tournament at old Alumni Field. The Irish hold an 11-2 (.846) edge in all-time meetings between the teams.

Notre Dame and Xavier first collided on Oct. 8, 1977 in Cincinnati, Ohio, a 2-0 Notre Dame shutout win. Both Xavier victories in its history against Notre Dame have been clean sheets, including a 2-0 Musketeer win on Sept. 16, 1979, and a 1-0 triumph on Oct. 2, 1992.

The teams have met in a pair of preseason exhibition matches over the last five years, a 1-1 draw on Aug. 16, 2011, and a 1-0 Notre Dame win on Aug. 20, 2012.


— Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant