June 10, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Home dates with defending national champion Indiana and national semifinalist Maryland highlight the Notre Dame men's soccer team's 2013 regular-season schedule. The Fighting Irish, who are entering their first season of Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play, will face 12 teams that made last season's NCAA Championship field.
The 17-game regular-season slate features eight contests at Alumni Stadium, seven true road matches and two neutral-site showdowns. Notre Dame has an 11-game ACC schedule with five of those matches occurring at home.
"The ACC is arguably the toughest conference in the country," Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. "The BIG EAST also was a very difficult conference and hopefully that prepared us for the ACC. I know the coaching staff is very excited and I know the players are tremendously excited about playing in the ACC."
Prior to the regular season, the Irish will take to the pitch for three challenging exhibition matches. Preseason contests at Creighton (Aug. 18) and Drake (Aug. 21) will be followed by a home game against Ohio State on Aug. 26.
The showdown with the Buckeyes will be Notre Dame's annual preseason game that benefits Grassroot Soccer (GRS), which is an international non-governmental organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize communities against the spread of HIV. GRS has a special connection to Notre Dame soccer as Dr. Tommy Clark, the eldest son of the Irish head coach, founded the organization. This will be the 10th season that Notre Dame has held a match to benefit GRS.
The Fighting Irish will hope to replicate their hot start to the 2012 season, which saw them win their first seven matches, when the season commences Aug. 30 at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington, Ind. Notre Dame will open against UCLA and then face SMU Sept. 1 during day two of the event. This will be Notre Dame's 14th appearance in the tournament, which is hosted by Indiana University.
"We start with a bang," Clark said. "It doesn't get any bigger than playing UCLA and SMU. IU's tournament always hits you because there are always good teams there so we better be ready."
The home opener for the Irish will also be the program's inaugural ACC match when North Carolina visits Alumni Stadium Sept. 8. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Fighting Irish and Tar Heels.
"After the IU tournament, we pretty well play a conference game every weekend and we start with UNC in South Bend," Clark said. "Our schedule is great for soccer fans in the South Bend area because of the teams that will come to Alumni Stadium."
Notre Dame will not hold the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament due to scheduling conflicts, but the program plans to have the event back for the 2014 season.
The team's first ACC road trip will be to Syracuse for a showdown with the Orange, who also are entering their first season of ACC play. Notre Dame captured a 4-2 win at Syracuse during the quarterfinals of the 2012 BIG EAST Championship.
The Fighting Irish will play host to Michigan Sept. 17 before returning to league play Sept. 21 at Boston College. Notre Dame will welcome Duke to Alumni Stadium for the second straight season when the Irish and Blue Devils meet Sept. 27.
Notre Dame will renew its annual in-state rivalry with Indiana Oct. 2 at Alumni Stadium. The Fighting Irish won at Indiana, 1-0, during the '12 regular season, but the Hoosiers clipped the Irish, 2-1 in double-overtime, during the third round of the NCAA Championship.
"Our out-of-conference midweek games are our usual games with the Big Ten foes," Clark said. "It doesn't get better than playing Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Indiana. Those are fantastic games."
The Irish will begin a stretch of three straight ACC games Oct. 5 at Clemson. The team returns to South Bend to face Maryland Oct. 8 and Notre Dame will play at Virginia Tech Oct. 11.
Following a non-conference clash with Northwestern Oct. 15 at Alumni Stadium, the Irish will have another three-game ACC stretch. A road match at North Carolina State (Oct. 19) and a home tilt versus Virginia (Oct. 26) will conclude Notre Dame's schedule for the month of October.
The Fighting Irish will travel to Wake Forest Nov. 2 and will then play their final non-conference game at Michigan State Nov. 5. Notre Dame will wrap up the regular season Nov. 8 against Pittsburgh at Alumni Stadium. The Panthers join the Irish and Orange as ACC newcomers in 2013.
"Last year the RPI had us with the second-hardest schedule in the country. I would be really surprised if there's a harder schedule in 2013 than the one that we have," Clark said.
The eight-team ACC Championship will get underway Nov. 12 with the quarterfinal round on campus sites. The semifinals (Nov. 15) and final (Nov. 17) will take place at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown, Md.
Following the conference tournament, the Fighting Irish will hope to see their name among the 48-team NCAA Championship field. Tournament play begins Nov. 21 and College Cup Weekend is scheduled for Dec. 13 and 15 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
The Fighting Irish are coming off a very successful 2012 campaign. Notre Dame won the BIG EAST Championship and garnered the No. 1 seed for the NCAA Championship. The Irish finished with a 17-4-1 record and that signified the most wins for the program since 1988.
Tickets for the 2013 Notre Dame men's soccer season go on sale July 1 at Notre Dame's Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office, which can be reached by phone (574-631-7356), in person through the ticket windows in the Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion (located inside Gate 9) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays, or by going on-line to the tickets page of the official Notre Dame athletics web site (UND.com/tickets).