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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
The Observer

Mens Soccer: Irish make conference road trip

Earlier this week, Notre Dame succeeded in showing the Big East that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Now, they'll have to show it to their opponents in person.

The Irish begin a key three-game conference road trip as they face Connecticut on the road Saturday at 7 p.m.

Notre Dame (8-2-3, 3-2-1 in the Big East) is coming off its best offensive performance of the season, a 6-0 drubbing of Cleveland State on the road Tuesday. It was the first time under head coach Bobby Clark the Irish have scored six goals.

"I think there's been a few games over the years where we could have scored this many goals," Clark said. "We don't necessarily go into the game looking to score that many, but when the goals come, we're definitely going to take them."

The Irish were paced offensively by senior forward Devon Prescod, who scored the first hat trick for the Irish since Sept. 25, 1994.

"I think it was great that Devon scored those goals, but he would be the first to say that it was really a team performance," Clark said. "It's still a nice reward for Devon, though, because he's a very good player.

"Sometimes players don't get much recognition unless they get some statistics, so it's nice for him."

Notre Dame's last conference game was a 5-2 home loss to Rutgers, a game in which the Irish gave up four unanswered goals in less than 10 minutes to the Scarlet Knights. The Irish might have taken a bit of frustration out on Cleveland State, outshooting the Vikings 19-6 on the way to the shutout.

Notre Dame more than likely won't have it that easy against the Huskies (5-6-2, 3-3-2), though. Despite a losing record, Connecticut plays one of the most difficult schedules in the country and has historically been a thorn in Notre Dame's side.

The Irish have a 3-6-1 all-time record against the Huskies, and have only defeated Connecticut once since joining the Big East in 1995. That one victory was a 3-1 win against the Huskies at Alumni Field last season.

"UConn is a very talented team, a potential conference championship team," Clark said. "The Big East is one of the toughest conferences in the country, and this is going to be a difficult group of three games.

"We just have to take it one game at a time."

Connecticut comes into Saturday's game still stinging from a 1-0 double overtime loss to St. John's Wednesday. The Huskies also lost to No. 2 Maryland 4-0 earlier this week on Sunday.

The Huskies are led offensively by Andres Rota and Steve Sealy, who have scored three and two goals, respectively.

In goal, Connecticut features one of the best in the Big East in Adam Schuerman, who has a miniscule 1.13 goals-against average in 10 games this season.

After facing Connecticut, the Irish remain on the road to face Providence Wednesday.