Irish prepare for Tigers as ACC tournament begins
Meagan Bens | Wednesday, October 31, 2018
No. 23 Notre Dame will host Clemson in the first round of the ACC tournament Wednesday at Alumni Stadium.
The Irish are 9-5-2 (4-3-1 ACC) and recently won 1-0 against Pittsburgh on the road thanks to senior forward Thomas Ueland’s goal in the 85th minute, locking up the No. 5 seed for the ACC tournament.
“I think it was probably a game of two tired teams,” Irish head coach Chad Riley said. “We traveled during mid week, we [flew] to Charlottesville for a make up game against Virginia. There were less than ideal conditions, rainy on a bad turf field. But we took care of the big moments of game well. We could have had more quality chances offensively.”
After barely passing by the Panthers, the team shifted towards recovery mode leading up the Clemson (7-8-1, 2-6 ACC) match.
“We are really focused on the big themes of the game and recovering,” Riley said. “In knockout soccer, you focus on big moments because at this stage we know who we are. We’ll watch video and see what we are good at and maximize it, while minimizing what the other team is good at. The day of the game we will have more extensive scouting, but it’s all about being fresh and confident to perform.”
The Irish are seeded at No. 5 for the tournament and the Tigers are the No. 12 seed. The last time Notre Dame matched up against Clemson was last October, pulling away with a 2-1 victory in the 89th minute.
“They’ve had a lot of close one-goal games,” Riley said. “At this time of the year, they have been coached well and they are not a team that makes a lot of mistakes. It will be a well-balanced and solid game.”
As the team shifts into tournament mode, Riley said he is pleased with his team’s position moving forward.
“It’s one of our higher finishes in the past few years, I’m proud of the regular season,” Riley said. “But now we switch to the tournament mind set where you lose and it is over. It’s all about maximizing who you are. It’s not about perfection but it is about performing on that night. We are around six in the country with the committee, so we have a little wiggle room in the conference tournament.”
The Irish will take on the Tigers in the first round of the ACC tournament Wednesday, with kickoff at 7 p.m.