Dec. 14, 2013
#5 MARYLAND (17-3-5)
#3 NOTRE DAME (16-1-6)
NCAA Championship Final
Sunday, Dec. 15 3 p.m. (ET)
PPL Park Chester, Pa.
FIGHTING IRISH TO FACE TERPS FOR NCAA TITLE
No. 3 Notre Dame (16-1-6) will meet No. 5 Maryland (17-3-5) Sunday in the title game of the NCAA Championship. The match is scheduled for 3 p.m. (ET) at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
Notre Dame topped New Mexico 2-0 in Friday's first semifinal, while Maryland bested Virginia 2-1 in the second match.
The Fighting Irish are making their first appearance in the national title game. This is Notre Dame's first-ever trip to the College Cup.
The match will be aired live on ESPNU/WatchESPN with Glenn Davis (play-by-play) and Taylor Twellman (analyst) calling the action. Live stats will be available via Gametracker on UND.com.
The Fighting Irish and Terrapins played to a 1-1 draw on Oct. 8 at Notre Dame. The two teams shared this season's ACC regular-season title with identical 7-1-3 league marks.
FIGHTING IRISH ON FIRE
Since suffering its lone loss of the season to Virginia, 2-0, on Oct. 26, Notre Dame has produced an nine-game unbeaten streak. The Irish are 8-0-1 during that stretch and have outscored opponents 23-7.
In the last nine matches, the Irish have trailed for just 1:52. That occurred against Wake Forest in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Notre Dame has outscored its competition 12-3 in the NCAA tournament.
Sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan has five goals in the tournament, while senior forward Harrison Shipp has three goals and an assist. Hodan (New Mexico) and Shipp (Wisconsin) both have two-goal performances in the tournament.
With a 4-0 win over Wisconsin in the second round and a 4-2 triumph over Wake Forest in the round of 16, Notre Dame became the first team to score at least four goals in consecutive NCAA tournament games since Wake Forest in 2008.
The four goals scored against both Wisconsin and Wake Forest matched the most ever for the Fighting Irish in an NCAA tournament game. The Irish also netted four in a 4-1 triumph of Milwaukee in the second round of the 2003 tournament.
Vince Cicciarelli's goal just 6:31 into the Wisconsin match was the quickest goal for the Irish in an NCAA contest.
HODAN STAYING HOT
Sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan has scored a goal in each of the last six games. That is the longest streak for a Notre Dame player since Bright Dike scored in six straight matches in 2008. The last Irish player to net a goal in seven consecutive games was Joseph Lapira in 2006.
Hodan tallied both goals in Friday's win over New Mexico. That was the second two-goal game of his career and the first of this season.
Despite missing two games (Virginia Tech & Northwestern) with an injury, Hodan ranks second among all Irish players in goals (11) and assists (5) this season.
BOBBY BACK IN THE FINAL
While Sunday will be Notre Dame's first trip to the final of the College Cup, Fighting Irish head coach Bobby Clark has been there once before. Clark took his Stanford squad to the title game of the 1998 tournament before falling to Indiana, 3-1.
IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Notre Dame is in the NCAA Championship for the 16th time in program history. The Irish are 15-14-1 all-time in the tournament, including a 14-10-1 mark under head coach Bobby Clark.
Clark has led the Fighting Irish to the NCAA Championship in 12 of his 13 seasons at Notre Dame. He has guided the Irish to the Round of 16 on six occasions and the quarterfinals three times and this is their first College Cup.
This season signified the eighth time in which the Fighting Irish earned one of the 16 national seeds and a first-round bye in the 48-team field.
Last season, the Irish were the tournament's top seed 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.
TAKING ON THE TERPS
Sunday will be the fifth meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Maryland. The Terrapins hold a 2-1-1 edge in the series.
This will be the third time the two programs have met in the NCAA Championship. Notre Dame took down the Terrapins, who were the defending national champions, 1-0 in double-overtime during the 2006 NCAA Championship Round of 16 in College Park, Md.
The first meeting was a 1-0 home win for the Terrapins during the first round of the 2001 NCAA tournament. That was Bobby Clark's first season at Notre Dame. Clark is 2-2-1 all-time against Maryland.
THE LAST TIME
Notre Dame and Maryland played to a 1-1 draw on Oct. 8 at Notre Dame's Alumni Stadium. The Irish grabbed the lead in the 59th minute on a Vince Cicciarelli goal, which was assisted by Grant Van De Casteele. The Terrapins tied it up in the 72nd minute on a goal from Patrick Mullins.
The Irish held a 6-3 edge in shots on goal and both squads had three corner kicks. Patrick Wall made two saves for Notre Dame and Zack Steffen had five stops for Maryland.
Sunday will mark the eighth time that the Irish will face an opponent in the NCAA Championship that they met earlier in the season. The Irish are 5-2 in the rematch (5-1 under Bobby Clark). Two of those rematches have occurred in this postseason (Wake Forest and Michigan State).
IRISH HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF PPL PARK
Friday's win over New Mexico improved Notre Dame to 3-0 all-time at PPL Park. The Fighting Irish captured the 2012 BIG EAST Championship at the stadium with wins over Connecticut (1-0) in the semifinals and Georgetown (3-2 in 2ot) in the final.
GETTING OUT IN FRONT
Notre Dame has outscored its competition 22-6 in the first half of play this season. The Fighting Irish have scored first in 17 of their 23 matches.
SHIPP HELPS STEER IRISH SUCCESS
Senior forward Harrison Shipp, the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, leads the Irish in points (33), goals (12) and assists (9) this season.
Shipp has notched two career-best seven-game point streaks this season. He has tallied at least one point in eight of the last nine matches. Shipp assisted on the first goal in Friday's win over New Mexico.
Nationally, Shipp is seventh in points and is tied for 13th in goals.
Five of his goals have been game winners, including the golden goal in a 2-1 victory at Clemson. He also tallied Notre Dame's first goal in the win over the Tigers.
Shipp netted the game winner in the 90th minute in the 1-0 win at Virginia Tech on Oct. 11.
HARRISON UP FOR THE HERMANN
Senior forward Harrison Shipp recently was named a finalist for the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy. Shipp is one of three student-athletes up for the player-of-the-year award, which is presented annually during a January banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
Shipp is the fourth MAC Hermann Trophy finalist in Notre Dame history. Ryan Finley was among the final three in contention for last season's award and Joseph Lapira, the 2006 MAC Hermann Trophy winner, also was a finalist in 2007.
The National Soccer Coaches Association of American (NSCAA) on Friday released its All-America teams and two Notre Dame student-athletes were among those honored. Senior forward Harrison Shipp was named to the first team, while fifth-year senior Grant Van De Casteele, a central defender, appeared on the third team. It was the first All-America citation for both Shipp and Van De Casteele.
Senior forward Harrison Shipp has not missed a match during his Notre Dame career. He has played in all 83 contests and has compiled 69 points on 23 goals and 23 assists.
Fifth-year senior Grant Van De Casteele, a central defender, has started all 83 games over the last four seasons. He has helped the Irish post 30 shutouts during that span along with scoring four goals.
A WALL IN GOAL
Senior Patrick Wall has played every minute in goal and he ranks 21st nationally in goals-against average (0.70). Wall and the Irish have notched 10 shutouts this season.
Wall boasts a career record of 25-2-6 with 13 clean sheets.
Bobby Clark BOASTS NCAA SUCCESS
This year marks the 18th time that Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark has led a team to the NCAA tournament. Clark boasts a 23-15-3 (.598) career record in the NCAA Championship.
Clark went 3-2-1 in two NCAA tournament appearances during his tenure at Dartmouth College (1985-93). He led the Big Green to the quarterfinals in 1990 and 1992.
He posted a 6-3-1 mark over the course of four NCAA tournament trips during his time at Stanford (1996-2000). The Cardinal advanced to the NCAA final in 1998 under Clark's direction before falling to Indiana, 3-1.
Clark's Notre Dame teams have been to the NCAAs 12 times in his 13 seasons in South Bend. The Irish are 14-10-1 in the tournament under Clark with three quarterfinal trips (2006, 2007, 2013).
FIGHTING IRISH AGAINST THE FIELD
Notre Dame faced nine schools (five seeded teams) that qualified for this season's NCAA Championship and it posted a 4-1-5 mark against those opponents in the regular season.
BACKLINE IS BACK
The Fighting Irish returned their entire defense from last season. Fifth-year senior Grant Van De Casteele is paired with senior Andrew O'Malley in the central defense, while junior Max Lachowecki returned to left back and senior Luke Mishu is at right back.
Notre Dame is 28-2-6 (.861) over the last two seasons when that backline starts.
A SWEET 16
Notre Dame has reached the 16-win plateau for the third time in 13 seasons under head coach Bobby Clark. The most wins for the Irish under Clark are 17, which occurred last season (17-4-1). Notre Dame also won 16 matches in 2003 (16-3-4).
ACC HONORS ALL AROUND FOR THE IRISH
When the Atlantic Coast Conference announced its men's soccer awards and all-conference teams and it was a major haul for league-newcomer Notre Dame. Senior forward Harrison Shipp was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year, Bobby Clark was selected as ACC Coach of the Year and six Fighting Irish players garnered all-conference accolades.
Joining Shipp on the All-ACC First Team was his Fighting Irish teammate Nick Besler, a junior midfielder. Sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan copped second-team honors, while Grant Van De Casteele (Sr./D), Luke Mishu (Sr./D) and Vince Cicciarelli (Jr./F) all were named to the third team.
Notre Dame led all teams with six All-ACC selections. Duke, Maryland, North Carolina and Wake Forest all had four players recognized.
ACC TITLE FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH
Notre Dame claimed a share of the ACC regular-season title in just its first season in the league. The Irish finished tied with Maryland atop the ACC standings. Both teams posted a 7-1-3 mark in conference play.
It was the sixth regular-season conference title in program history. Notre Dame claimed two Midwestern Collegiate Conference titles (1989, 1993) and three regular-season BIG EAST crowns (2004, 2007, 2008).
Notre Dame is the 18th NCAA Division I school to have both its men's and women's soccer teams ever reach the NCAA semifinals (Virginia Tech became the 17th earlier this season).
North Carolina, Santa Clara and UCLA are the only Division I schools ever to win NCAA titles in men's and women's soccer. The Notre Dame women's squad has won three championships (1995, 2004, 2010).
GOOD DAY TO BE A BESLER
Last Saturday was a successful day for the Besler family. Fighting Irish junior midfielder Nick Besler played all 90 minutes in the 2-1 win over Michigan State to place the Fighting Irish in the College Cup for the first time in program history and his brother Matt, a 2009 Notre Dame graduate, helped Sporting KC win the MLS Cup. Sporting topped Real Salt Lake in penalties, 7-6, following a 1-1 draw.
ALUMNI STADIUM ADVANTAGE
Notre Dame is 17-2-3 (.841) at home over the past two seasons. The Fighting Irish are 35-10-9 (.731) at Alumni Stadium since it opened in 2009.
The capacity crowd of 3,007 at Alumni Stadium that witnessed the Irish defeat Duke, 3-1, on Sept. 27 was the sixth largest crowd in program history and the largest ever in the five-year-old venue. The previous high at Alumni Stadium was 3,002 for the 2011 tilt versus Indiana.
Notre Dame is 33-5-7 (.811) over the past two seasons.
The Irish went 17-4-1 last season. The 17 wins were the most for the program since 1988. Notre Dame won the 2012 BIG EAST Championship and earned the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Championship.
FIT TO BE TIED
Notre Dame's six draws this season are the most in program history.
SHIPP AND HODAN NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS
Not only are Harrison Shipp (Sr./F) and Patrick Hodan (So./M) the top two point scorers this season for Notre Dame, they also are very successful in the classroom and the two student-athletes have been named Capital One Academic All-Americans as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
In addition to being selected to the Academic All-America First Team, Shipp was tapped as the Capital One Academic All-America of the Year for Division I men's soccer. He is the first Notre Dame men's soccer player to earn that accolade and just the seventh in University history. The last Fighting Irish student-athlete to receive that honor was women's soccer player Vanessa Pruzinsky in 2003. Shipp also is the first two-time Academic All-American in program history. He earned second-team honors last season.
Hodan was named to the Academic All-America Third Team. He became the ninth Academic All-American in the history of the program. This marked the first time that two Irish men's soccer players copped Academic All-America accolades in the same season.
Notre Dame is the only men's soccer program to have multiple players among the 33 Academic All-Americans for the 2013 campaign. Of the final 16 squads remaining in the NCAA Championship, only Notre Dame, Marquette and UCLA have an Academic All-American on its roster.
PIPELINE TO THE PROS
Notre Dame has produced 14 MLS SuperDraft picks since 2008. That is the most from any school during that time span. Maryland and Wake Forest are second with 13 selections each. The Fighting Irish have had 21 MLS SuperDraft picks since Bobby Clark became head coach in 2001.
Forward Ryan Finley and midfielder Dillon Powers were selected in the first round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. Finley went to the Columbus Crew with the ninth overall selection, while the Colorado Rapids took Powers two picks later. It was the first time Notre Dame had two first-round picks in the same SuperDraft.
Powers was named the 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year.
Matt Besler (Sporting KC) was a first-round pick in 2009 and he was named an MLS All-Star in 2011 and 2013 and was the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year. Justin Morrow (San Jose) was an MLS All-Star in 2012.
Besler, who is the older brother of Irish junior midfielder Nick Besler, was a key figure for the United States Senior National Team during its qualification run for the 2014 World Cup.
Six Notre Dame alums were part of MLS teams that made the playoffs this season: Matt Besler - Sporting KC (East #2 seed), Jeb Brovsky - Montreal Impact (East #5 seed), Bilal Duckett - New England Revolution (East #3 seed), Aaron Maund - Real Salt Lake (West #2 seed), Ryan Miller - Portland Timbers (West #1 seed), Dillon Powers - Colorado Rapids (West #5 seed).
Besler's Sporting KC squad topped Real Salt Lake on Saturday for the MLS Cup.
Besler was named to the 2013 MLS Best XI squad.