Notre Dame looks to extend streak against BC
Kit Loughran | Thursday, October 2, 2014
Two Catholic powerhouses go head-to-head in today’s matchup as No. 1 Notre Dame hosts fellow Catholic university and ACC-rival Boston College at Alumni Stadium.
The Irish (5-1-2, 2-0-1 ACC) head into this game recently ranked No. 1 after a 1-0 double overtime win over Virginia Commonwealth on Tuesday night. Last September, the Irish took over the top spot just a few days before their 1-1 double overtime draw against Boston College (3-4-1, 0-3-0) in Newton, Massachusetts.
In a similar sequence of events, the Irish welcome the Eagles to their home field for the first time since 2004 as they look to follow last year’s tie with a victory.“We are very aware that we tied this game [against Boston College] last year,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “Many of the same players are involved again [this year], so I think we are going to find it’s going to be a pretty tough game … and we will be ready.”
The Irish are currently in the midst of a four-game unbeaten streak, with two home victories during the past week. Notre Dame shut out No. 14 North Carolina last Friday in front of a sold-out Alumni Stadium and pulled out a double overtime 1-0 win over Virginia Commonwealth on Tuesday. On the road, the Irish beat No. 9 Syracuse, 1-0, on Sept. 13 and tied at one with No. 19 Virginia on Sept. 21.
The Irish don’t plan on stopping there, Clark said. Notre Dame shoots to push that unbeaten streak to five in its 12th all-time meeting with Boston College.
“It’s nice [heading into this game] to have a certain amount of confidence from not losing and being able to keep winning and tying,” Clark said.
Opposite of the Irish, the Eagles make their way to South Bend after losing their last four matches. Boston College fell at home, 2-0, to Clemson on Sept. 12 and 3-2 to No. 6 Louisville on Sept. 19. The Eagles did not fare any better on the road, losing 3-2 to Harvard on Sept. 16 and 1-0 to Duke last Friday.Despite the losses, Boston College is averaging 1.5 goals per game, and junior goalkeeper Alex Kapp boasts a .722 save percentage and three shutouts on the season.
The Eagles did have the opportunity to rest their legs this week, while Notre Dame played a midweek game through double overtime. Though the Irish had less recovery time than Boston College, Clark said his team benefited from its challenge against VCU.
“What pleased me most with our win against VCU is that it didn’t come easy,” Clark said. “That was a tough game. A lot of teams would have hung their heads and felt sorry for themselves, but we stayed positive with the game and with one another.
“And I think that’s why we ended up winning. We were very focused at the end.”
The Irish defense continues to emanate the focus on which Clark prides his team. Graduate students goalkeeper Patrick Wall and defender Andrew O’Malley, along with senior defender Luke Mishu, all contribute to that mentality on a lockdown defense. Wall has not surrendered a goal since Notre Dame’s draw with Virginia, and he ranks second in the ACC and 13th nationally with a .840 save percentage on the season.
“I think we are getting a little bit better every game, and that is one of our goals,” Clark said. “We take something out from the last game and get better.”
With that goal, the Irish host Boston College today at 7:30 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.