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Sports

Veteran squad ties in exhibition, eyes regular season start

| Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A 1-1 tie against Valparaiso at Alumni Stadium on Monday night wrapped up the preseason for No. 9 Notre Dame, who will open the regular season Friday night against UC Irvine at 7:30 p.m.

The match against the Anteaters will kicking off the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament at Alumni Stadium.

Junior defender Blake Townes plays the ball during Notre Dame’s 1-1 tie versus Valparaiso at Alumni Stadium on Monday. The Irish closed out their preseason schedule with the stalemate.Michael Yu | The Observer

Junior defender Blake Townes plays the ball during Notre Dame’s 1-1 tie versus Valparaiso at Alumni Stadium on Monday. The Irish closed out their preseason schedule with the stalemate.

The stalemate with Valparaiso came after a scoreless tie against SIU Edwardsville on Aug. 14 and a 1-0 loss to Bradley on Aug. 17 in the first two exhibitions of the year. 

Despite underwhelming showings in the preseason, the Irish are coming off a successful 2015 in which they finished with an overall record of 11-5-6 and advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.

Last year’s squad also reached the ACC championship game in the conference playoffs, with a final record of 4-2-2 in ACC play. The 2016 edition returns eight of 11 starters from that team, including the trio of team captains: defenders Matt Habrowski and Michael Shipp, and midfielder Evan Panken. Shipp and Panken are both graduate students returning for a fifth year at Notre Dame, while Habrowski is a senior. 

With eight starters returning and just seven freshman newcomers to Irish head coach Bobby Clark’s 29-man roster, expectations are high, leading to the No. 9 ranking in the preseason coaches poll. Highlights of Notre Dame’s schedule include a matchup with preseason No. 1 and defending champion Stanford on Sept. 2, No. 5 Wake Forest on Oct. 8, No. 6 Syracuse on Sept. 23, No. 8 North Carolina on Oct. 28, No. 15 Indiana on Oct. 4 and No. 17 Virginia on Oct. 14.

The Irish will look to start their season off on the right foot this weekend at the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament on their home turf. The Irish will take on UC Irvine on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Alumni Stadium, followed by a Sunday afternoon match against New Mexico at 2 p.m.

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