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Men’s Soccer: Breezing on ‘bye’

Observer Staff Report | Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Notre Dame earned a No. 3 overall seed and a bye to the second round when the NCAA Championship bracket was announced Monday. The Irish (12-1-6, 7-1-3 ACC) will play their first game of the tournament at home Sunday, facing either Wisconsin (13-4-2) or Milwaukee (15-2-2), who will play their first-round match on Thursday.

Notre Dame is the lone non-Pac-12 team among the top four seeds. UCLA claimed the No. 1 overall seed in the 48-team draw. The Bruins (11-3-4) and Irish tied, 0-0, in Notre Dame’s first official game of the season on Aug. 30.

Washington (14-1-4) took the second seed after winning their first Pac-12 championship since 2000. The Huskies’ only loss came at the hands of conference opponent UCLA on Oct. 27. Washington is coached by Jamie Clark, the son of Irish coach Bobby Clark. Should both father and son win their first three games in the tournament, their teams will meet in the semifinals.

No. 4 California (12-4-2) rounds out the top four seeds. The seeded teams in Notre Dame’s branch of the bracket are No. 6 Georgetown, No. 11 Michigan St. and No. 14 Wake Forest. The Irish beat Wake Forest (9-5-5) 3-1 in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Nov. 2 and beat Michigan State (12-5-3) 2-0 in East Lansing, Mich., on Nov. 5.

This will be Notre Dame’s 16th appearance in the NCAA Championship bracket and its eighth time as one of the ranked-16 teams. During Clark’s 13-year tenure, the Irish have made 12 appearances with a 10-10-1 overall record,

The Irish have outscored their opponents 33-14 this season. Senior forward Harrison Shipp leads the team with nine goals and eight assists on the season, while sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan chipped in six goals and five assists.

The Irish begin NCAA tournament play Sunday at 7 p.m. at Alumni Stadium. They will host the winner of Thursday’s Wisconsin-Milwaukee first-round matchup.