Aug. 18, 2014
#1 NOTRE DAME
Tuesday, August 19
5 p.m. CT (60-minute game)
7 p.m. CT (90-minute game)
Shea Stadium Peoria, Ill.
BradleyBraves.com (7 p.m. game only)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Getting the most out of preseason matches always is a top priority for University of Notre Dame men's soccer head coach Bobby Clark and that made Saturday's exhibition opener at Saint Louis, which was halted in the 61st minute due to lightning, quite frustrating.
As he sometimes does during the preseason, Clark played an entirely different group in each half against the Billikens in order to get game experience for his deep roster. Unfortunately the second-half squad had just over 15 minutes on the pitch when the weather intervened and ended the affair as a scoreless draw. The shortened match wasn't the only thing that left the Irish feeling unfulfilled on Saturday.
"The team knows when they play well and the bus ride after the game was quiet," Clark said following the Saint Louis match. "The ceiling for this team is higher than what we showed on Saturday."
The top-ranked Fighting Irish will have another chance to compete Tuesday when they face Bradley in two exhibition matches at Shea Stadium in Peoria, Ill. The first game, which will be 60 minutes, will begin at 5 p.m. (CT) and the second contest, a full 90-minute affair, is slated for 7 p.m. Notre Dame will send out a younger squad in the first match and will have mostly a veteran lineup take to the field in the nightcap.
"We've had good practices the last two days," Clark said after Monday's training session at Bradley. "I always say that things never go as good as you thought and they are never as bad as you thought. After watching the film, we had some positives to take away from Saturday's game, but there also were some negatives. I feel we need to move the ball a bit quicker and we needed to pressure a lot better. We also needed some more patience with the ball; we tried to hurry our passes. We talked about those adjustments with the guys and I think we'll do better on Tuesday.
"Bradley is a good team and they play direct, which will be good experience for us. Playing teams like Bradley and Saint Louis is good because these are the types of teams we might see in the (NCAA) playoffs. It should also be a great crowd because they are expecting a sellout."
Someone who will know a several of those faces in the crowd will be Notre Dame senior forward and Peoria native Vince Cicciarelli.
"It's going to be awesome," Cicciarelli said. "I know my family and everyone I grew up with is going to be there and I'm excited for that. I'm more excited to play on that field with my guys wearing Notre Dame (jerseys) at Bradley in front of their home crowd. It's going to be awesome. I know (Bradley) coach (Jim) DeRose really well because he's a good family friend. Bradley was definitely up there in my options coming out of high school."
THE BRADLEY SERIES
Notre Dame and Bradley have met five times during the regular season and the Fighting Irish lead the series 3-2. The last encounter was a 1-0 Irish win during the 2005 season at Notre Dame.
The two programs met four times from 2001 to 2005 and the first-ever meeting took place in 1997.
Notre Dame's last regular-season visit to Bradley occurred in 2002.
Fighting Irish head coach Bobby Clark is 4-1 against Bradley during his college coaching tenure.
ABOUT THE BRAVES
Bradley posted a 14-7-2 record last season (3-2-1 Missouri Valley Conference) and won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. The Braves defeated Northwestern, 3-2 in overtime, in the first round of the 2013 NCAA tournament before falling at California, 3-1, in the second round. Bradley graduated 11 seniors from last season's squad.
Head coach Jim DeRose is in his 19th season at Bradley.
Notre Dame is just the second No. 1 team that Bradley has played host to in its 28-year history. Top-ranked Creighton visited Bradley in 1993.
Tuesday's 7 p.m. match will be the annual Danny Dahlquist Memorial Game. Dahlquist was a sophomore on the Bradley soccer team when he passed away in 2007. Traditionally played as a spring exhibition game, proceeds from the contest have contributed to the funding of the Danny Dahlquist Memorial Scholarship at Bradley University. Notre Dame is participating in the memorial game for the second time after serving as Bradley's opponent in the inaugural exhibition on April 8, 2009.
BENNETTRANK HAS IRISH NO. 1
Notre Dame can add another No. 1 preseason ranking to its resume as BennettRank has the Irish in the top spot. The defending national champions also claimed the No. 1 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll.
Coming in at No. 2 according to BennettRank are the Washington Huskies, who are coached by Jamie Clark, the youngest son of Irish head coach Bobby Clark. Jamie was an assistant coach for the Irish in 2006 and 2007.
COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS ACCOLADES FOR THE IRISH
Nick Besler (Sr./M) and Patrick Hodan (Jr./M) have been named preseason All-Americans according to the staff at College Sports Madness. Both players appeared on the fourth team. Bobby Clark is the website's preseason national coach of the year.v
Besler and Hodan were selected to the College Sports Madness preseason all-ACC first team, while Vince Cicciarelli (Sr./F) and Patrick Wall (GS/GK) were second-team picks. Clark was tabbed as the ACC preseason coach of the year.
FIGHTING IRISH INFO
Notre Dame is coming off its first national title and the Fighting Irish are ranked No. 1 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll. The Irish posted a 17-1-6 record and defeated Maryland, 2-1, in the national title game at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Notre Dame and Maryland shared the ACC regular-season title with identical 7-1-3 league marks.
The Fighting Irish return 10 players who started over 50 percent of last season's matches. Notre Dame also welcomes back 75 percent of its goal production from one year ago.
The top returning scorer is junior midfielder Patrick Hodan, who ranked second among all Irish players in goals (11) and assists (5) last season.
Goalkeeper Patrick Wall, a fifth-year senior, played every minute last season and registered a 0.71 goals-against average and a .804 save percentage.
Head coach Bobby Clark is entering his 14th season at the helm of the Fighting Irish program. Clark is 170-69-41 (.680) at Notre Dame and 323-132-66 (.683) in his 27 seasons as a college head coach. Last season, he was named the NSCAA National Coach of the Year and the ACC Coach of the Year.
Notre Dame will conclude its exhibition slate next Monday with a home tilt against No. 21 Wisconsin. The match is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Stadium and it will serve as the program's annual contest to benefit Grassroot Soccer (GRS). Admission is free and donations for GRS will be accepted at the Alumni Stadium gate and throughout the match.
Grassroot Soccer 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 Irish head coach Bobby Clark, founded the organization. This will be the 11th season that Notre Dame has held a match to benefit GRS. The program had first-hand experience working with GRS earlier this summer during its three-week trip to Zimbabwe.
-- Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director