ND to wrap up season against Pitt
Kit Loughran | Friday, October 30, 2015
The Irish close their 2015 regular season against Pitt on Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
No. 14 Notre Dame (8-3-5, 3-2-2 ACC) will host ACC rival Pitt (5-8-3, 0-6-1) to wrap up both teams’ regular season play. Last year, the Irish finished their regular season with a 4-1 victory over the Panthers that clinched their second straight ACC regular season title.
“Pitt is always a difficult team to play against,” senior tri-captain and midfielder Patrick Hodan said. “They play similar to some of the other ACC teams we’ve played this year so we should be prepared for their style of play.”
The Irish face the Panthers after a series of road contests that left Notre Dame with two draws and one loss to snap its eight-game unbeaten streak. Notre Dame drew, 0-0, against Virginia Tech on Oct. 16 and four days later tied, 1-1, with Northwestern. The Irish then fell, 2-1, to No. 2 Wake Forest on Oct. 23.
“After a few unlucky results, it’s important that we get back to the basics of outworking the opponent, moving the ball quickly, limiting mistakes and finishing our chances,” Hodan said.
Finishing chances speaks to Notre Dame’s continuous overtime results, as the contest against Northwestern marked the eighth overtime result and fifth-consecutive overtime match for the Irish this season. Despite drawing in double overtime, the Irish outshot the Wildcats, 39-7 — the program’s most shots since posting 36 in a 7-1 win over Pittsburgh on Oct. 3, 2012.
“There is a lot we can take away from last week on both sides of the ball,” Hodan said. “We have to learn from the mistakes we made and clean up all the little things.
“We will definitely be ready for Saturday [against Pitt].”
Pitt fell, 1-0, to ACC contender Duke last Friday, only managing two shots in 90 minutes of play. The Irish, however, took down Duke in overtime, 3-2, on Oct. 10. Sophomore forward Jeffrey Farina scored in the 97th minute off a corner kick from Hodan to put the Irish past the Blue Devils. Before notching the game-winning assist against Duke, Hodan added the first two goals for a team-high five points on the game.
Though he had a slow start to the season, Hodan has led the Irish in conference play and currently ranks second on the roster at 10 points, with three goals and four assists. The senior midfielder and tri-captain said he’s excited to see the Irish play to their full potential, as he heads into his last regular season match of his Notre Dame career.
“The season has gone pretty well up to this point,” Hodan said. “It’s exciting that we have done well, but it’s even more exciting because I don’t think we have truly played up to our full potential yet.”
“We are very close to doing so and hopefully we can put everything together at the right time to make a big run in the postseason.”
Before the beginning of postseason play, the Irish host Pitt on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Alumni Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3, and the senior class will be recognized before the start of the game.