Oct. 14, 2013
#13 NORTHWESTERN (8-3-1)
#2 NOTRE DAME (7-0-4)
Tuesday, Oct. 15 7 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Stadium Notre Dame, Ind.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - There are 198 schools in NCAA Division I men's soccer and head coach Bobby Clark's Notre Dame squad is one of four that still are undefeated this season. However, Clark isn't even the only unbeaten member of his family.
Clark and the Fighting Irish have compiled a 7-0-4 record this season and his youngest son, Jamie, has guided the University of Washington to an 8-0-3 mark. Notre Dame is ranked second in the latest Soccer America poll and Washington is right behind in third.
Jamie was an assistant on his father's staff at Notre Dame in 2006 and 2007 before moving on to successful stints as head coach at Harvard and Creighton and he currently is in his third season at Washington. The elder Clark not only enjoys seeing his son succeed as the leader of a program, he takes pride in the accomplishments of all of his former assistants who are now head coaches.
"I'm obviously very happy for Jamie. I hope that they (Washington) can keep doing well but as long as they stay below us," says Bobby with a laugh. "It's fun seeing them do well and it's fun seeing all of my former assistant coaches doing well. It always gives you pride and I always take a little bit of reflected glory. Those are always the first results I look for to see how all of them are doing."
While Jamie and the Huskies look to remain undefeated tonight versus Oregon State, Bobby and the Fighting Irish have a tall task in front of them Tuesday when they play host to No. 13 Northwestern (8-3-1). The Wildcats have been a nemesis for the Irish over the past few seasons. Since the rivalry started up again in 2008 Northwestern is 3-0-2 against Notre Dame.
"Northwestern always is a very well-coached and well-organized team," says Clark. "They've had our number recently. This is a huge regional game when it comes to NCAA seeding. Our schedule just goes from one huge game to another. The nice thing about Tuesday's game is that we don't have to get our guys excited about it because they know it'll be a tough match."
Notre Dame boasts the nation's third-best goals-against average (0.50) and that will be put to the test against a Northwestern squad that is averaging 1.83 goals per game and features sophomore forward Joey Calistri, who has 10 goals this season. Calistri had a goal and an assist in last season's 2-1 Northwestern victory over the Irish in Evanston, Ill.
The Wildcats are coming off a scoreless draw with SIU Edwardsville on Saturday. That was the first time Northwestern has been blanked this season, while it was the eighth time the Wildcats kept their opponent off the score sheet.
The Fighting Irish have not been held without a goal since the season opener versus UCLA and they are averaging 1.73 goals per match. Notre Dame was unable to find the back of the net for the first 89:16 of Friday's match at Virginia Tech, but that is when senior forward Harrison Shipp continued his brilliant season with the lone goal in the 1-0 triumph that put the Irish in a three-way tie (along with Maryland and Wake Forest) atop the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. Shipp has six goals, including three game winners, and five assists this season.
"We've already shown that we can play with any team in the country," says Clark. "But you have to come out to play and if we do that I think the game will take care of itself. We have to be ready because it certainly will be a tough one on Tuesday."
Note - Fan 4 Packs are available for Tuesday night's game. The packs are just $20 and include four tickets, four hot dogs and four drinks. Fan 4 Packs can be purchased over the phone at 574-631-7356 or in person at the Murnane Family Ticket Office during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday).
-- Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director