Nov. 18, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The unveiling of the NCAA Championship bracket can cause different emotions depending on the team, but the only angst for the Notre Dame men's soccer squad on Monday was finding out where it would be seeded and who it would potentially host in the second round.
Having notched a 12-1-6 pre-NCAA tournament record, a share of the ACC regular-season title and a solid RPI, the Fighting Irish knew they were in great position for a high seed in the 48-team field. They were correct. Notre Dame earned the No. 3 seed for the 2013 NCAA Championship and following a first-round bye the Irish will play host to Wisconsin or Milwaukee at 7 p.m. (ET) Sunday at Alumni Stadium.
Wisconsin (13-4-2) and Milwaukee (15-2-2) will square off at 8 p.m. (ET) Thursday in Madison, Wis. Notre Dame has not faced Wisconsin since the 1996 season, while the Fighting Irish last met Milwaukee in the 2003 NCAA tournament.
"There are a lot of good teams in our bracket," Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. "It's going to be very challenging. If you look at all parts of the bracket, they are all very challenging and that's the way it should be in any tournament. We'll take one game at a time. We don't know who that is yet, but it's nice to get a bye and it's nice to have the luxury of having a home game. We hope we can make Alumni Stadium a fortress for us and hopefully we can get the fans out and it would be nice if the students could really get behind this team. We have a great group of guys and with some luck this could be a fun ride."
Notre Dame is making its 16th appearance in the NCAA Championship and this is the eighth time the Fighting Irish earned one of the 16 national seeds. The Irish are 11-14-1 all-time in the tournament, including a 10-10-1 record under Clark. Clark has led the Irish to the tournament in 12 of his 13 seasons at Notre Dame. He has guided the Irish to the Round of 16 on five occasions and the quarterfinals twice.
Last season, the Irish were the top seed in the tournament and after the bye they topped Michigan State, 3-0, in the second round. Notre Dame fell to eventual national champion Indiana, 2-1 in double-overtime, in the Round of 16.
Six ACC teams, including four seeded squads, qualified for this season's NCAA Championship field. Maryland (#5 seed), Virginia (#8), Wake Forest (#14), Clemson and North Carolina joined Notre Dame in tournament. The Fighting Irish faced nine schools (five seeded teams) that appear in the bracket and they posted a 4-1-5 mark against those opponents.
Notre Dame is coming off a 3-3 draw against Virginia on Friday in the semifinals of the ACC Championship. The Cavaliers advanced on penalty kicks, 4-3.
"Being the No. 3 seed is fantastic, but the only thing that annoys me is that my son is the No. 2 seed," Clark said with a laugh. "It's not good when your son starts to get one past you."
The NCAA Championship will get underway Thursday with first-round matchups, while second-round contests will take place Sunday. Third-round games are slated for Dec. 1 and the quarterfinals will take place Dec. 6-7. The 2013 NCAA College Cup will be held at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. The national semifinals are scheduled for Dec. 13 and the final will take place Dec. 15. The semifinals and final will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
For more information on the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship, including a full bracket, go to NCAA.com. For ticket information, call the Notre Dame ticket office at (574) 631-7356, visit UND.com/tickets or stop by the Notre Dame ticket office inside Purcell Pavilion.
Admission for Sunday's game will be free for any Notre Dame/Saint Mary's/Holy Cross student that presents a valid student ID at the Alumni Stadium gate and all Notre Dame faculty/staff will get in free with a valid Notre Dame ID. If you can't make it to Alumni Stadium, the match will be broadcast on WatchND.tv.
-- Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director