Aug. 12, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Entering its first season in the nation’s premier women’s soccer conference, Notre Dame was selected fifth in the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) preseason poll, according to a vote of the league’s 14 head coaches released Monday afternoon. The Fighting Irish, who officially joined the ACC on July 1 following 18 seasons in the BIG EAST Conference, earned 143 points in the balloting (coaches may not vote for their own teams), part of a logjam of teams in the upper half of the poll, highlighted by places 3-6 that were separated by just 21 points.
The Fighting Irish return 10 starters and 20 veterans from last season’s team that posted a 16-6-2 record and advanced to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals for the 15th time in program history. Notre Dame also went 8-1-1 in its final BIG EAST campaign, earning a share of the National Division title and reaching the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship.
During its tenure in the BIG EAST from 1995-2012, Notre Dame won 15 regular-season conference crowns, with 11 being divisional championships (1999-2001, 2003, 2005-10, 2012), while the other four were overall regular-season titles (1995-97, 2004).
“From top to bottom, the ACC is without a doubt the strongest conference in women’s soccer,” 15th-year Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “There were eight conference teams that went to the NCAA tournament last year, including the eventual national champion (North Carolina) and another that reached the College Cup (Florida State). This year, there’s so much talent in the ACC that just about any one of eight or nine teams has the potential to get to the Cup and win it. We’re going to be tested every single night, which should keep us sharp as get into the postseason, and I believe our team is ready to accept and embrace the challenges that comes with moving to the ACC.”
North Carolina earned top honors in the 2013 ACC preseason poll with 194 points (including 13 first-place votes), easing past defending ACC regular-season champion Florida State (171 points, one first-place vote). The reigning ACC tournament champion Virginia earned the No. 3 spot (161 points), followed closely by Duke (153), Notre Dame (143) and Wake Forest (140), with Maryland (110) rounding out the upper tier of the poll.
Boston College (102) was chosen eighth, followed by Virginia Tech (85), with Clemson and Miami tying for 10th place at 56 points. ACC newcomer Syracuse (45) holds down the No. 12 position, just ahead of North Carolina State (36), while the other ACC rookie, Pittsburgh (18) completes the balloting.
Notre Dame opens the 2013 season at 1 p.m. (ET) Wednesday with an exhibition match against Xavier, followed by a second preseason match at 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday against Baylor — both contests to be played at the team’s practice field, located behind the outfield wall of Frank Eck Baseball Stadium. Admission is free, with fans asked to park in the Gold Lot adjacent to Eck Stadium and follow the access road behind the outfield wall to the practice field.
The Fighting Irish kick off the regular season at 5:30 p.m. (ET) Aug. 23 against Illinois at Alumni Stadium. That contest will be the first in a five-match homestand to open the season, with Northwestern visiting two days later (3:30 p.m. ET). Notre Dame then plays host to the 22nd annual adidas Invitational at Alumni Stadium, beginning Aug. 30 with Marquette facing UCLA (5 p.m. ET) and the Fighting Irish battling Oakland (7:30 p.m. ET) before the pairings switch for the tournament’s second day on Sept. 1 — Marquette meets Oakland (11 a.m. ET) followed by Notre Dame taking on UCLA (1:30 p.m. ET).
The Fighting Irish wrap their opening homestand and non-conference schedule at 7 p.m. (ET) Sept. 8 against Detroit before playing their first-ever ACC match at 7 p.m. (ET) Sept. 12 against North Carolina State at the Dail Soccer Complex in Raleigh, N.C., with the contest streamed live on ESPN3. That same outlet also will stream Notre Dame’s match at North Carolina three days later (1 p.m. ET, Sept. 15), part of a historic broadcast package that will see 17 of the 18 Fighting Irish regular-season matches televised or streamed live on the Internet through either the ACC-Regional Sports Networks TV package, ESPN3, the ACC Digital Network or WatchND.tv (all but the Oct. 6 contest at Miami).
To purchase a season pass or single-match tickets for the 2013 Notre Dame women’s soccer season, call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site (UND.com/tickets) or stop by the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office windows during normal business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday). Tickets also can be purchased at Alumni Stadium on match days.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s soccer Twitter pages (@ndsoccernews or @ndsoccer), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
— ND —