Nov. 17, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The NCAA tournament path has been laid out for the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team as it sets its sights on a second straight national title. The Fighting Irish earned the top overall seed and a first-round bye for this year’s NCAA Championship and they will play host to Akron or Ohio State at 7 p.m. (ET) Sunday in the second round.
Notre Dame (11-4-4) is making its 17th appearance in the NCAA Championship and this is the ninth time the Fighting Irish claimed one of the 16 national seeds. This is the second time the Irish have been the tournament’s No. 1 seed. They also garnered the top spot in 2012.
The Fighting Irish are 16-14-1 all-time in the NCAAs, including a 15-10-1 record under head coach Bobby Clark. Clark has led the Irish to the tournament in 13 of his 14 seasons at Notre Dame. The third-seeded Fighting Irish advanced to the College Cup for the first time ever last season before bringing home the program’s first national title with a 2-1 win over Maryland.
Notre Dame won this year’s Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division championship with a 6-1-1 league mark. The Irish played Clemson to a 1-1 draw on Friday in the semifinals of the ACC tournament. The Tigers advanced after winning the penalty kick shootout, 5-4, and they went on to capture the title.
Notre Dame faced 11 schools (Virginia twice) that qualified for this year’s 48-team NCAA field. The Irish posted a 6-2-4 record versus those squads. The Fighting Irish squared off against seven of the other seeded teams and they notched a 3-1-4 mark in those matchups.
The ACC produced the most teams (7) and most seeded teams (5) of any conference in the country.
“This is the third year in a row that we’ve been a top-three seed and that’s a nice feather in our cap,” Clark says. “It’s justification for how we’ve played this season, but beyond that it doesn’t mean too much. I just look at our bracket and the potential teams that we could play and it looks unbelievably difficult. There’s a long road still ahead, but that’s the fun of being in the NCAA tournament.”
Akron (13-6-1) and Ohio State (9-7-4) will meet Thursday in Columbus, Ohio. The Fighting Irish last faced Akron in 2012 (a 3-1 Irish win) and they have not encountered the Buckeyes since the second round of the 2004 NCAA tournament (a 2-1 Ohio State victory).
The NCAA Championship will get underway Thursday with first-round matchups, while second-round contests will take place Sunday. Third-round games are slated for Nov. 30 and the quarterfinals will take place Dec. 5-6. The 2014 NCAA College Cup will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The national semifinals are scheduled for Dec. 12 and the final will take place Dec. 14. The semifinals and final will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
For more information on the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship, including a full bracket, go to NCAA.com. For ticket information, call the Notre Dame ticket office at (574) 631-7356, visit UND.com/tickets or stop by the Notre Dame ticket office inside Purcell Pavilion.
Admission for Sunday’s game will be free for any Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s/Holy Cross student who presents a valid student ID at the Alumni Stadium gate.
If you can’t make it to Alumni Stadium, the match will be broadcast for free on WatchND.tv.
— Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director