Notre Dame to host Mike Berticelli Tournament
Zach Klonsinski | Thursday, September 4, 2014
Campus will see the first home regular-season matches of the fall for No. 2 Notre Dame this weekend as it seeks to defend its national championship title this season. The Irish (1-0-1) will host Dartmouth on Friday night and Kentucky on Sunday afternoon for the 12th edition of the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.
After finishing tied for the adidas/IU Classic title last weekend, Notre Dame looks to continue its strong start to the season. The Irish rallied to beat then-No. 12 Marquette, 2-1, in their first game last weekend before battling No. 9 Georgetown to a scoreless draw, although they outshot the Hoyas (0-0-2) by a 23-9 margin, including an 8-3 shot-on-goal advantage.“It was a good start for the official year,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “We made some silly mistakes at times … but there were certainly more positives than negatives. That Sunday game could have easily been 3-3 too, but I thought it was a great college soccer game.”
When asked if he was worried about the lack of finishing against Georgetown, Clark said he was not very concerned.
“We generated a ton of shots in that game,” Clark said. “We did a lot of things well. Their goalkeeper [senior Tomas Gomez] is a very good goalkeeper. If we play as well in as we did in the Georgetown game [this weekend], I think we’ll be in good shape.
“Some days they go in, some days they don’t go in. It was against a very good goalkeeper.”
Although this weekend’s matchup pits the Irish against two unranked teams, Clark said he thinks both matchups are much more dangerous than they appear.
“It will be a different type of game,” Clark said. “[Dartmouth’s coach Chad Riley] was a former coach of mine here, and he actually stayed in Africa with us this summer and saw us play, so he possibly knows us better than anyone else. So that’s a very, very dangerous game, a hard game.
“It’s going to be a different weekend, [playing against teams] not as highly ranked in the preseason standings, but I think both teams could actually do very well this season.”
The Irish conceded a goal in the ninth minute against Marquette last weekend and were outplayed to begin the second half as well, Clark said. Again, however, he was not overly concerned this early in the season.
“[Marquette’s goal] was definitely a wake-up call,” Clark said. “And to be fair we actually started pretty well against Georgetown, it’s just we played against a quality team.”
While this is only the second tournament of the regular season for Notre Dame, the Irish jump straight into ACC play next weekend when they travel to Syracuse and then to No. 4 Virginia the weekend after. Asked about what he wants to gain from the two matches this weekend going into conference play, Clark kept it simple.
“I think we just need to get another two 90 minutes under our belt just to get game ready,” Clark said. “I don’t think we need to over-worry. I think the ACC will certainly be a battle, but we just consider ourselves one game at a time.”
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m not looking past trying to beat Dartmouth on Friday. Not even to Kentucky. [It’s] ‘Can we beat Dartmouth,’ and then regardless we then move on, and we move on again. You take one game at a time. The only thing we’ll be talking about with the guys between now and Friday is Dartmouth, then we’ll take a quick crash course on Kentucky on Saturday and play Sunday.”The tournament this weekend is a memorial to former Notre Dame coach Mike Berticelli, who guided the program to three NCAA tournament appearances as well as the program’s first Big East title, back in 1996. The Irish have held the tournament annually since 2002, but skipped over 2013 due to scheduling conflicts.
It will be the first time the program Berticelli helped build will be playing in the tournament in his honor as reigning national champions. The Irish will take on Dartmouth on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and then Kentucky on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.