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Monday, May 20, 2024
The Observer

Men's Soccer: ND will host Green Bay to open NCAAs

Notre Dame will host Green Bay Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The teams and bracket were announced Monday, and the Irish received one of 27 at-large bids to the tournament.

"We're also very excited to be there," Irish coach Bobby Clark said. "If you'd ask me two or three weeks ago we weren't sure we'd make it. We put a very good run together. I think the team is hungry to do well."

If the Irish (10-7-4) defeat Green Bay (14-2-3), they will move on to face No. 9-seed Northwestern in Evanston on Nov. 22. The Wildcats knocked Notre Dame out of the NCAA tournament in a first-round game in 2008 and defeated the Irish 1-0 in a preseason scrimmage on Aug. 24.

The Irish have been hot in the past two weeks, defeating then-No. 5 Connecticut and tying No. 8 South Florida, No. 9 Louisville and No. 24 St. John's in each round of the Big East tournament.  Clark said a shootout loss to St. John's in the conference championship game should not temper the team's momentum going into the tournament.

"I think with three ties in a row we're looking forward to getting a straight win," he said. "As they say, shootout wins or losses get pretty old pretty quickly."

Notre Dame is one of five Big East teams to make the field of 48, with Connecticut, Louisville, South Florida and No. 13-seed St. John's all making the cut.

The University of Akron scored the top seed in the tournament after a perfect 20-0-0 season. The Irish may face the Zips in the quarterfinals if both teams make it through the first three rounds.

However, Clark said the team does not want to look past Green Bay.

"I've heard reports on Green Bay and they're a very, very good team," he said. "This will be a challenge. The first round is always very difficult."