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
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
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
LAST TIME OUT: BOSTON COLLEGE
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
UP NEXT: FLORIDA STATE
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