Men’s Soccer: Terrapin test
Isaac Lorton | Tuesday, October 8, 2013
In a battle of powerhouses, the No. 2 Irish host No. 8 Maryland at Alumni Stadium today.
Notre Dame (6-0-3, 3-0-2 ACC) is coming off a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 13 Clemson on Saturday, while the Terrapins (5-2-3, 4-0-1) took down ACC opponent Boston College 2-1 on Friday for their third straight win.
Like the Irish, Maryland is unbeaten in ACC play. The Terrapins were picked to win the ACC in the coaches’ preseason poll.
“This will be a big game for us,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “We went from one big game to another. And for soccer fans, it will be a great game to watch.”
After traveling home Sunday, Notre Dame had one day to both practice and rest. Clark said the travel and quick turnaround should not affect the Irish.
“There’s not much you can do in situations like this,” he said. “We just have to get our legs back, and we had one short practice before the match. We have so many games in such a short time. I think our guys are ready and prepared.”
It will be a tough task, Clark said, as the Terrapins have an aggressive offense that’s accounted for 172 shots and 77 shots on goal, which have resulted in 22 goals on the season. The Irish, meanwhile, have notched 153 shots – 54 were on target and 17 tallied a goal.
“They have so many weapons,” Clark said. “We just have to concentrate on what we do well. We are prepared for it, and we will see what happens.”
Maryland’s offense is led by senior forward Patrick Mullins. As a junior, Mullins was named an NSCAA First Team All-American and was the ACC Offensive Player of the Year. This season, Mullins leads the Terrapins in points with five goals and three assists. He is followed closely by sophomore midfielder Schillo Tshuma and senior forward Jake Pace, who both have five goals and one assist.
“It’s going to be tough facing Mullins; he’s an excellent player,” Clark said. “It will come down to how we handle the front six players, and if we do, it will go a long way.”
The Irish have the upper hand when it comes to defense. Notre Dame has allowed 0.56 goals per game, while the Terrapins have a goals against average of 1.6.
“We will stick to how we play,” Clark said. “I think it is very important to play our game. We have to focus on what we do because we don’t have time to put anything in our game plan.”
The Irish are one of five undefeated teams left in Division I and look to remain unbeaten against Maryland at Alumni Stadium tonight at 7 p.m.
Contact Isaac Lorton at [email protected]