Men's Soccer: Notre Dame prepares for in-state matchup
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 00:11
After rolling past Michigan State with a 3-0 win Sunday, the Irish will continue their NCAA tournament run against another familiar Big Ten foe. No. 1 Notre Dame will host No. 16 Indiana in Alumni Stadium on Sunday in the third round of the national tournament.
The Irish (17-3-1, 5-2-1 Big East) opened championship play in the second round against the Spartans.
After a slow start Notre Dame notched two first-half goals before adding a third in the 80th minute to secure the victory. Playing at the same time, the Hoosiers (12-5-3, 3-2-1 Big Ten) defeated Xavier 4-1 to advance to the third round. The matchup with the in-state opponent represents a difficult task for the nation’s top seed, Irish coach Bobby Clark said.
“Indiana is a team that could win the national championship,” he said. “This is a very hard game. We’ve got a very hard bracket. I think if we can get past this one we are in really good shape. I think this will be the hardest game of our way in. So we’ll see.”
The two teams faced off once in the regular season, with Notre Dame taking the 1-0 victory in Bloomington, Ind. In the September contest Irish senior defender Grant Van De Casteele scored the game-winner in the 71st minute.
In the upcoming outing, Notre Dame will have to handle the Hoosiers with some new faces on the Notre Dame back line. Irish junior defender Andrew O’Malley missed Sunday’s game against Michigan State due to injury and his status for the third-round game is uncertain. Junior defender Luke Mishu will miss the matchup with Indiana after receiving a red card in the 73rd minute against the Spartans. Following a collision in the Notre Dame penalty box, Mishu and Spartans junior midfielder Wesley Curtis became entangled in a shoving match. Both players were ejected.
“Obviously it’s a big disappointment,” Clark said. “Luke’s a great kid, but it just shows you, discipline is so important in winning games. It was only going to help them and not help us, that was the disappointment. But we’ll see. We’ll have a look. We’ve got players. [Senior defender] Eric Tilley came in and did fine [against Michigan State]. We’ll see how Andrew O’Malley is, he should be getting closer next week.”
Irish junior defender Connor Miller made the start Sunday for O’Malley.
Notre Dame is 7-24-1 all-time against Indiana but the Irish have fared better under Clark, whose teams hold a 6-6-1 record against the Hoosiers. In the last three years Notre Dame has two wins — both in Bloomington — and one scoreless tie.
“This is a big game,” Clark said. “Anytime we play Indiana, if anything is in play it’s big. We’ve been down there a couple of times, we’ve actually done well. But to be honest we’ve actually had a poorer record here against Indiana than we’ve had in Bloomington, so I’m hoping we can rectify that a little bit this coming week. But that will be a great game. Just a fantastic game for the town of South Bend. … It’s exciting.”
Top-seeded Notre Dame will take on No. 16 Indiana in Alumni Stadium on Sunday.
Contact Joseph Monardo at firstname.lastname@example.org