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Indiana Classic poses test

Molly Sammon | Friday, September 2, 2011

The Irish will have two opportunities to prove they deserve their No. 10 ranking this weekend at the Indiana University Credit Union Classic when they face Dayton and Saint Louis in Bloomington, Ind.

 

Senior midfielder Chris Sutton said the Indiana Classic has traditionally brought the Irish great games that prepared them for the season.

 

“Most importantly, it shows us how to play a Friday and Sunday game,” Sutton said. “When it gets into the playoffs, you have to be able to play a lot of games almost back-to-back.”

 

Notre Dame will play Dayton first on Friday, then Saint Louis on Sunday.

 

The Irish usually play a rigid schedule with many of the same teams from year to year. However, Notre Dame has not played Dayton since 1992 or Saint Louis since 2006.

 

“We’ve never played either of these two teams in my four years here,” Sutton said. “It’ll be fun seeing a new opponent. It’s fun to play teams that you don’t really know much about.”

 

Aside from the chance to see a pair of new teams, the timing of the tournament is crucial for the Irish.

“It’s very important for us to start off on a good foot, too,” Sutton said.

 

Because of the competitive nature of this tournament and the unfamiliarity the Irish have with both Dayton and Saint Louis, they have done their research to prepare for the Indiana Classic.

 

“We’ve done our scout against Dayton,” Sutton said. “They’re not a traditional powerhouse, but they’re supposed to be very talented this year, so it should be a good matchup.”

 

After the Flyers game, the Irish will watch Saint Louis play Indiana to prepare for their match Sunday. The Irish opened their regular season against the Hoosiers last week with a 0-0 tie and are accustomed to how Indiana plays.

 

“Especially since it’s at the beginning of the season, there isn’t much film or scouting material on the team, so scouting the team is the best way to get a feel for how they play,” Sutton said.

Saint Louis has won the Indiana Classic four times. Notre Dame has claimed the title once in its 10 appearances.

 

Indiana has won 11 times in the 27 years since the Tournament was founded. This year will be the first time the University of Dayton participates.

 

For the Irish, their goal for the weekend is simple: win their first game of the season and build familiarity and organization as a team.

 

“We always want to get a win,” Sutton said. “More importantly, we need to start figuring out goals and our team make-up. This is the second game of the season, so we’re still building. We’re not really at our full potential yet, so we’re working on our team chemistry and putting together all the pieces of our team.”

 

Kickoff against Dayton is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, followed by an 11:30 a.m. start against Saint Louis on Sunday.