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Men’s Soccer

Notre Dame readies for first conference matchup at home in NC State

| Friday, September 15, 2017

Notre Dame is set to kick off against conference foe North Carolina State in its first home ACC matchup Friday night.

The Irish (4-0-0, 1-0-0 ACC) are coming off the 3-1 victory they claimed in their ACC opener against Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, last Friday. Senior forward Jon Gallagher scored all three goals for the Irish to record his first career hat trick.

Irish senior forward Jeff Farina battles for the ball during Notre Dame’s 2-0 win over San Diego on Aug. 25 at Alumni Stadium.Rosie LoVoi | The Observer

Irish senior forward Jeff Farina battles for the ball during Notre Dame’s 2-0 win over San Diego on Aug. 25 at Alumni Stadium.

Irish head coach Bobby Clark attributed his team’s early success to its overall fitness and strong defensive play.

“They’ve done a few things quite well,” Clark said. “I think our fitness has been very good. I give a lot of credit to our fitness coach, Jordan Webb. I think his summer program has served us well up to this point. I’ve trusted him with the program and I think that has been a positive.

“The team defense has been very good also. I think that is not only the defenders but it starts with, it’s funny saying this, but its [senior forward] Jeff Farina and Jon Gallagher. That’s where it starts. You start with defending right with your forwards, and I think we have done a terrific job in setting the correct tone for the team with just how keep the lanes between forwards, midfielders and defense, keeping them tight. They set the tempo for that and both Jon and Jeff have done a really good job. And of course also it is important to get goals and I think we are looking dangerous to score goals. I think goals can come from a lot of different places. I know a lot of them have come from our forwards, but I think we have a few people that can score which hopefully continues.”

Clark said the match against North Carolina State (3-1-0, 1-0-0) will be another tough conference test for his team.

“It won’t be easy,” Clark said. “I think every game on our schedule is very challenging, none more so than the next one, which is North Carolina State. We have watched some video on them, they are a good team that is very well-organized, well-coached, they will be difficult to break down and they transition well. They’re a good team. They beat UConn in a preseason game 4-2 in Connecticut, and they had another good result last week against Clemson. They have a good all-around team and they are well put together.”

Clark said his team is going to have to defend well and be patient and wait for scoring opportunities to beat a well-organized North Carolina State team.

“They are very organized,” Clark said. “They will be very difficult to break down. They also have quite a few players who are very dangerous. There are no apparent holes in their game that I can see by looking at their videos, so I think it is going to be a very close game. We have got to defend well, we have got to be patient and our passing has got to be really slick if we’re going to break them down.”

The game will Notre Dame’s first at home since Aug. 27, which was a 2-1 win in double overtime against Cal Poly in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.

Clark said he hopes to see a good amount of Irish faithful in the stands on Friday night.

“Hopefully we get a good crowd,” Clark said. “It would be terrific if we could get a good crowd for this game. I watched their game against Clemson that was at North Carolina State and there was a huge crowd out there actually. We have a team here that I think we would respond well to a good crowd. So hopefully we get a good crowd on Friday night. Our field will be in good shape. I know our grounds man has done a phenomenal job getting the field in good shape. It’ll be good weather on Friday, so we’ll be ready.”

The Irish and the Wolfpack will kick off Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.

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