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Men’s Soccer: Men to take on No. 3 Wake, No. 1 St. John’s

Michael Blasco | Friday, September 4, 2009

The Irish are riding high after Tuesday’s 5-0 drubbing of No. 21 Michigan that inaugurated the new Alumni Stadium. But Notre Dame may get ripped back to earth with two matches against top-five teams this weekend.

The No. 10 Irish travel to Bloomington, Ind., today to take on No. 3 Wake Forest at the Adidas/IU Credit Union Classic. On Sunday, Notre Dame will clash with No. 1 St. John’s in an unofficial Big East showdown.

Ninth-year Irish coach Bobby Clark said he realizes that this could be a make-or-break weekend for his team.

“This is a huge weekend,” Clark said. “This is arguably one of our biggest weekends of the year. Having to play top-five teams back-to-back is a challenge. We got off to a good start on Tuesday [against Michigan], and now we’ll have to see if we can follow that up with a couple good results.”

This match will represent the fifth meeting between Notre Dame and the Demon Deacons, with Wake Forest having won all of the previous matches. The two last met in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, where the Demon Deacons won the overtime match 1-0.

“[Against Wake Forest], we’ll find out exactly where we are, and where we measure out, and what we have to work on,” Clark said. “In my time here we’ve played Wake Forest two previous occasions, and lost, so I feel maybe we’ll be third-time lucky.”

The Irish last sparred with the Red Storm in 2008 in a hard-fought, scoreless tie between then-No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 5 St. John’s at the old Alumni Field. The Red Storm lead the all-time series at 10-3-4. Clark is looking for a little payback against St. John’s after last season’s tough draw.

“We should have done something with St. John’s last year, when we heavily outshot them,” Clark said. “We’ll find out a lot about ourselves against them.”

The Irish take on the Demon Deacons at 5 p.m. today before Sunday’s 11:30 a.m. match against the Red Storm.

In spite of the challenge facing his team, Clark said he expects to enjoy himself in Bloomington.

“It’s always a great tournament and a fun atmosphere,” Clark said. “I think the team is really looking forward to it.”