Oct. 26, 2013
#20/12 NOTRE DAME "Fighting Irish" (10-5-1/6-4-1 ACC) vs. CLEMSON "Tigers" (7-6-4/4-5-2 ACC)
DATE: Oct. 27, 2013
TIME: 1 p.m. ET
LOCATION: Clemson, S.C. (Riggs Field - cap. 6,500)
SERIES: First meeting
BROADCAST: ESPN3 (live)
LIVE STATS: clemsontigers.com
TEXT ALERTS: Sign up at UND.com
TICKETS: Admission is free
In a season of new adventures and unexpected twists and turns, No. 20/12 Notre Dame embarks on its next undiscovered locale at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, when it kicks off its final Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular-season road trip with a visit to Clemson, S.C., to take on the homestanding Tigers at Riggs Field. The match will air live on ESPN3.
It will be the first-ever meeting between Notre Dame and Clemson on the soccer pitch, but it's a match chock full of intrigue and possibility. For the Fighting Irish (10-5-1, 6-4-1 ACC), they're looking to build on Thursday's 3-1 win over Boston College, which ended a four-match losing streak and kept them in contention for a top-four spot in the ACC standings (and with it, the right to host a quarterfinal match in the upcoming ACC Championship).
Across the way, Clemson (7-6-4, 4-5-2) has been one of the feel-good stories of the conference season, with the Tigers already exceeding their overall and ACC win totals from last year. However, Clemson comes into Sunday's contest (which also will serve as its Senior Day) on a three-match winless streak, most recently falling 2-0 at No. 5/4 North Carolina on Thursday night. That loss dropped the Tigers into ninth place in the ACC standings, one point back of Duke and Maryland for the final spot in the conference tournament with two matches remaining in the regular season.
Clemson offers a dynamic offensive attack, led by senior midfielder Vanessa Laxgang, who has team highs in most major statistical categories including goals (5), points (12), shots (48) and shots on goal (26). Freshman midfielder/forward Catrina Atanda has chipped in four goals to aid the Tiger cause.
Like Notre Dame, Clemson starts a freshman in goal, with Kailen Sheridan having earned every decision in the Tigers' net this season. She owns a 0.81 goals-against average and .813 save percentage while registering seven shutouts in her rookie campaign.
Head coach Eddie Radwanski is in his third year at Clemson with a 19-28-6 record. He also has a 13-year career coaching mark of 158-93-19, with his first 10 seasons spent at UNC Greensboro. Like his team, Sunday will be Radwanski's first-ever match against Notre Dame.
"Clemson is much improved from last year," Fighting Irish head coach Randy Waldrum said. "They have been able to compete with anyone in the conference, and going to their place won't be an easy task. Eddie (Radwanski) does a great job with his teams and this one is no exception. They are athletic, fast and remind me in some ways of the Virginia Tech side we faced a few weeks ago. We will certainly have to be at our best to win."
THE NOTRE DAME-CLEMSON SERIES
Notre Dame and Clemson will officially meet for the first time on Sunday. The Tigers were the only of the 13 other ACC soccer members that the Fighting Irish had not played at least once entering the team's inaugural league campaign.
Clemson is the 118th different team to face Notre Dame in its 26-year history, with the Fighting Irish holding an 89-26-2 (.769) all-time record in first meetings.
OTHER NOTRE DAME-CLEMSON SERIES TIDBITS
Along with its first-ever meeting with Clemson, Sunday's match marks the first time Notre Dame has ever competed in the state of South Carolina ... the Fighting Irish are quite familiar with the Carolinas themselves, as Notre Dame has played a total of 25 times in North Carolina, including neutral site and tournament contests (most notably all three of the program's national championships were won in the state). The Fighting Irish are 17-8 (.680) all-time in North Carolina, including wins this year at UNC (1-0) and N.C. State (3-1).
LAST TIME OUT: BOSTON COLLEGE
Freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews collected a goal and two assists, while senior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish added a goal and an assist to help No.20/12 Notre Dame put an emphatic end to their rare four-match losing streak with a 3-1 win over former BIG EAST and now ACC rival Boston College on Thursday evening at Alumni Stadium.
Junior forward Karin Simonian got Notre Dame on the board just before halftime, while sophomore defender Brittany Von Rueden rekindled her playmaking abilities with a second-half assist in the final regular-season home match for the Fighting Irish.
BC spoiled the shutout with less than four minutes remaining when Kate McCarthy pulled back a consolation score, but it wasn't enough as a determined Notre Dame side looked sharp from the opening whistle and eager to get back in the win column for the first time in more than three weeks.
Freshman goalkeeper Kaela Little made two saves in the Fighting Irish nets, while BC's Jessica Mickelson turned aside five shots while getting the start for the Eagles in place of their normal starting goalkeeper, Alex Johnson, who was sidelined after receiving a red card at Miami four days earlier.
Notre Dame finished with a 16-10 edge in total shots, as well as an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal. Boston College shaded the Fighting Irish on corner kicks, 3-2, as well as fouls, 6-5.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: BOSTON COLLEGE
Thursday's match was the first in the 12-game series history between Notre Dame and Boston College held at Alumni Stadium ... the Fighting Irish improved to 11-1 all-time against the Eagles, including a perfect 6-0 mark in games played on the Notre Dame campus. The two former BIG EAST Conference rivals had not met since Nov. 5, 2004, a 2-0 Notre Dame win during the BIG EAST Championship semifinals in Storrs, Conn. ... junior forward Karin Simonian deposited her fourth goal of the season into the left corner of the net at the 44-minute mark of Thursday's contest to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. Simonian had one goal in her first two seasons (36 matches) entering 2013 ... Brittany Von Rueden made a triumphant return to the Notre Dame scoresheet after playing sparingly during the previous two matches. The sophomore defender's second-half assist on a goal by freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews was Von Rueden's fifth of the season, and the 12th helper of her 39-match Fighting Irish career.
UP NEXT: FLORIDA STATE
Notre Dame closes its regular season schedule at 8 p.m. (ET) Thursday with a visit to No. 3 Florida State. The match, which will be the first regular-season meeting in six series matches between the schools, will be televised live on the ACC/Regional Sports Networks and online at ESPN3.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDsoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging service.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director