Irish ready for first true road test at Louisville
Joe Everett | Friday, September 16, 2016
Resuming ACC play after its double-overtime victory Tuesday night against nonconference foe Connecticut, No. 1 Notre Dame hits the road for an ACC showdown with Louisville on Friday night at Lynn Stadium.
Looking to keep their undefeated season intact, the Irish (6-0-0, 1-0-0 ACC) will play in their first true road game of the year, as the two games they played at the IU Credit Union Classic were considered neutral-field contests. This will be the team’s first visit to Lynn Stadium, the relatively new state-of-the-art facility of the Cardinals (4-1-1, 1-0-0 ACC) that opened in 2014. According to Irish head coach Bobby Clark, it should provide a great atmosphere for the team’s first road test.
“I think [the team] will be excited, I think there’ll be a big crowd … [and] I think they’ll be really excited to play [at Lynn Stadium],” Clark said. “So it’ll be a good atmosphere. … We’ve struggled down there in recent years, so this’ll be a good test for us.”
Although Notre Dame has enjoyed the benefit of having four of its first six games of the year in the friendly confines of Alumni Stadium, the team will now face of plethora of major road tests, ACC and non-ACC alike, during what remains of its rigorous regular season schedule. However, Clark said the Irish carry with them the expectation to compete well and win no matter where they’re playing.
“We try to win every game, and I think our mentality is such that no matter where we go, we want to win,” Clark said. “We’ve got to play well — you don’t win if you don’t play well — so we’ve got to go into this fairly hostile environment and we’ve got to handle that, and then we’ve got to play our game. This’ll be a really good test for us because Louisville’s always a very good team.”
The Cardinals come into this matchup riding some momentum, as they opened the ACC portion of their schedule last Friday with a 2-0 win over Pittsburgh, followed by another 2-0 win over Xavier on Tuesday. Louisville returned eight players with 13 or more starts from last year’s squad and thus is yet another ACC team that the Irish cannot afford to overlook, Clark said.
“They’re a good team, they’ve got some very good players,” Clark said. “Their right fullback is a key — it’s not often you see a fullback as a key to a team, but [Tim Kubel] is a German kid who’s very talented — he takes a lot of their set pieces as well … but they’ve got a lot of good players. They’ll be well organized — [Cardinals head coach] Ken Lolla there does a really good job. … We’ve got a lot of respect for that program. They’ll play well, they’ll compete and, as I said, it’ll be an atmosphere, so it’s a good test for us.”
Friday will mark the 17th meeting all-time between the two teams, with Notre Dame holding the series edge, 11-4-1. The match is set to kick off Friday at 7 p.m. at Lynn Stadium.