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Men’s Soccer: ND faces Virginia in rematch

Vicky Jacobsen | Friday, November 15, 2013

 

The Irish are set to face Virginia, the only team that has beaten them all season, in the ACC Conference Tournament semifinals tonight in Germantown, Md.

The Cavaliers (10-4-4, 4-3-4 ACC) got the best of the Irish (12-1-5) at Alumni Stadium on Oct. 26, winning 2-0, but don’t expect to hear Irish coach Bobby Clark talking about payback or extra motivation before tonight’s game.

“”I don’t think they need a lot of motivation in this game,” Clark said of his players.  “They’re playing in the semifinal of the ACC. You don’t need a lot of motivation. The guys are going to be very excited and very focused, and I think very determined.”

Although actual game experience against the Cavs may prove beneficial, Clark cautioned that familiarity cuts both ways.

“I think we have a very good idea of how they’ll play,” Clark said. “We’ll have a better idea this time because we just had video [before the last meeting], we didn’t experience it. But at the same time they have that same advantage against us. They know what we do. So the advantage will be the same for both teams.”

But Clark does have a good idea of what needs to be done differently if Notre Dame is to reverse the outcome of the teams’ last meeting.

“We’ve obviously got to handle Darius Madison,” Clark said, referring to Virginia’s sophomore forward. “He was the lad that scored both goals last time and did a really good job handling the ball, and we maybe didn’t handle him as well as we’d have liked. “

But Madison is not the Cavs’s only scoring threat. Junior midfielder Eric Bird leads the team with six goals, while Madison has scored five so far this season, as has freshman forward Riggs Lennon.

“They have a number of good players,” Clark said. “Their No. 7, Todd Wharton, who plays midfield there, does a good job. But they’ve got a whole pile of players. Watch the ball, we’ll pay close attention to every one of them.”

Notre Dame and Virginia open the semifinal round of the ACC tournament at 5:30 p.m. tonight. The game will be followed by Clemson vs. Maryland at 8 p.m. The winners of each game will play for the ACC Championship at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu