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Men’s Soccer: Undefeated Irish face NC State

Samantha Zuba | Wednesday, October 16, 2013

 

The No. 2 Irish will look to keep their undefeated streak rolling when they face North Carolina State on Saturday in an ACC contest.

Irish coach Bobby Clark said he expects Notre Dame (7-0-5, 4-0-3 ACC) to attack on both sides of the ball as it looks to defend its 12-game unbeaten streak.

“I don’t split the team into defense and offense,” Clark said. “When we don’t have the ball, we’re all on defense. When we’re attacking, the whole team is attacking. It’s very much a team with a capital ‘T.’ We start attacking with [senior goalkeeper] Patrick Wall, with his throw outs and kicks, and the pressure is on everyone to attack.”

The Irish will enter the game fresh off a 1-1 double-overtime tie against No. 13 Northwestern on Tuesday. 

The Irish controlled time of possession against the Wildcats (8-3-2, 1-1-0 Big 10) but couldn’t score to break the tie. Clark said he studied film of the Northwestern game Wednesday morning to figure out the areas where Notre Dame needs to improve its own play.

“There’s a lot of things we did well in [Tuesday's] game,” Clark said. “Obviously, we controlled a large portion of the game statistically. But the only statistic that really matters is goals. That would be the disappointment – that we didn’t turn our possession of the ball into goals.”

The Irish also tied Maryland, 1-1, in two overtimes earlier this month. Clark said the draws were disappointing, but Notre Dame has to move past them before it plays North Carolina State (4-3-4, 1-3-3).

“If we had won [the Maryland and Northwestern] games, I’d be a lot happier,” Clark said. “That’s behind us now, and we need to move on. It’s important that we’re ready for NC State.”
Redshirt junior forward Nick Surkamp leads the Wolfpack with four goals, while Junior defender Clement Simonin has scored three goals on just seven shots this season.

Despite the talent on the Wolfpact, Clark said he is more concerned that the Irish play their own game. 

“Every team in the ACC will have good players, but we’re always more concerned with where we are,” Clark said.

Junior midfielder Robby Gallegos and freshman midfielder Brandon Aubrey have filled in for Notre Dame during its recena difficult stretch of gamee, and both players have excelled with increased playing time, Clark said. 

“[Junior midfielder] Nick Besler and [sophomore midfielder] Patrick Hodan have been out, and we’ve still managed to dominate games without two of our key players,” Clark said. “That’s a big plus. We’re hopeful we’ll get them back soon … The young freshman, Brandon Aubrey, has stepped up and done a good job. He and Robby Gallegos have had to play fulltime now, not part-time, and both have done very well. We came out of possibly one of the most difficult spells [of gamee]. We’ve had to deal with travel, and we’ve also had to deal with midterms. I’m reasonably pleased.”

The Irish are undefeated, but their tie total is nearly equal tn their number of wins. Clark said everyone on the team has the potential to be contributors for Notre Dame.

“You’re looking for them all to break out,” Clark said. “I think we’ve got a pretty good squad.”

Notre Dame will look to keep its undefeated streak alive when it faces North Carolina State on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Dail Soccer Complex in Raleigh, N.C.

Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu