Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame athletics winter break preview

1701724147-53a2d39fdb794db-700x467
Junior midfielder Bryce Boneau plays a pass during the game between Notre Dame and Indiana at Alumni Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 2.


Winter break is near. Classes end Thursday and finals wrap up just eight days later. However, Irish athletics won’t be dormant for the entire month that students are off. Here’s what’s on the horizon for the Irish.

Men’s Soccer

A thrilling shootout win over Indiana on Saturday sent No. 2 Notre Dame men’s soccer to the College Cup for the second time in three years. After losing in the 2021 semifinal, the Irish will look for a second shot at winning a national championship Friday. The Irish take on Oregon State in Louisville, Kentucky (the site of the rest of the men’s soccer postseason) at 8:30 p.m. The game is available to watch on ESPNU.

If the Irish advance, they will face the winner of No. 9 Clemson and No. 5 West Virginia. The Irish beat Clemson 3-2 at Alumni Stadium back on Sept. 9. However, Clemson eliminated the Irish from the College Cup two years ago, beating the Irish 5-3 in PKs after the game was tied 1-1 at the end of overtime. The finals are Monday at 6 p.m.

Women’s Basketball

The No. 14 Irish will look to build on their thrilling comeback win over Tennessee last week with three non-conference tilts before Christmas. The Irish will host Lafayette on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., Purdue on Dec. 17 at 12:00 p.m. and Western Michigan on Dec. 21 at 6:00 p.m. None of those teams made the NCAA Tournament last year, and although the injury-depleted Irish can’t take anything for granted. They should be favored in all 3 games.

Notre Dame kicks off conference play with a New Year’s Eve matinee at 2:00 p.m. at Syracuse. The Orange are a strong 7-1 to start this year after a middle-of-the-road 2022-23 season. After that, the Irish head to Pittsburgh for another road clash on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. Pitt was dead last in the conference a year ago and is off to an unimpressive 4-5 start this year.

The Irish then kick off a three-game homestand to wrap up their slate over break. Notre Dame welcomes in No. 24 North Carolina on Jan. 7 at 5 p.m., Boston College on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m., and Miami on Jan. 14 at 12:00 p.m.

Men’s Basketball

Following Tuesday night’s matchup with Western Michigan, the Irish men’s basketball team still has four more games to go before the holidays. The first is a nationally televised road clash with No. 8 Marquette. The Golden Eagles will be the second ranked team the Irish face this year after falling to No. 15 Miami with a score of 62-49 on Saturday.

Things get a bit easier from there as the Irish then start a season-long five-game homestand. The Irish will face Georgetown at 2:15 p.m. on Dec. 16, Citadel at 6 p.m. on Dec. 19 and then Marist Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. Following an eight-day break, Notre Dame resumes conference play with contests against North Carolina State (9 p.m. on Jan. 3) and No. 22 Duke (6 p.m. on Jan. 6).

After that, the Irish will visit Georgia Tech at 9 p.m. on Jan. 9 followed by a return home on Jan. 13 against Florida State. That contest tips off at 2:15 p.m. Of those four teams, Duke and NC State both reached the NCAA Tournament last year, although neither survived the first weekend.

Hockey

The Irish have one more series before their on-ice break as they travel to Michigan State this weekend. The series is a rematch of the first round of last year’s Big 10 tournament. Notre Dame won the first game of the series before the last two went to the Spartans at Compton Family Ice Arena.

This season, Michigan State has surged to the top of the Big Ten standings. The Spartans are currently the lone team in the Big Ten without a regulation loss in conference play. The Irish sit in a strong position themselves, sitting third with a 4-2-1-1 record in Big Ten play.

Notre Dame returns to the ice on Dec. 30 and 31 with its final non-conference series of the season as they host Augustana. Following that are a pair of Big Ten series the next two weekends — one at home against Wisconsin and one on the road against Ohio State. The Badgers are the only other team in the conference currently ahead of the Irish, leading the Big Ten with six conference regulation wins. The Buckeyes are an ugly 0-7-1-0 in conference competition, the lone Big Ten team still looking for a regulation conference win.

Swim and Dive

The Irish swim and dive team will return to action just before break ends as well. The Irish host their first of two events this year as they welcome in Princeton and Navy for a three-team meet on Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. and Jan. 13 at 11 a.m.

Sign up for our Observer Sports newsletter!Have an Irish sports question? Ask it for our Observer Sports mailbag!