Notre Dame looks to ride momentum following top-10 victory while hosting No. 8 Duke in ACC rivalry
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, April 5, 2019
Following its 13-10 home victory over then-No. 8 Syracuse, Notre Dame will head to Durham, North Carolina, to face No. 8 Duke at noon Saturday, the team’s third conference matchup of the season. The No. 7 Irish have already won three games against top-10 teams this season — including Maryland, Denver and Syracuse — and will face the Blue Devils with the hope of attaining a fourth big victory.
The Blue Devils (8-3, 0-2 ACC) are coming off a hard-fought rivalry loss at UNC, falling 10-8 to the Tar Heels in their second conference game. With home-field advantage, Duke will look to preserve its near-perfect record at Koskinen Stadium and secure its first ACC win this season.
Notre Dame’s (5-3, 1-1 ACC) recent victory against Syracuse advanced the Irish five spots in the rankings. The team’s 13 goals were on par with its effective offensive performance this season, scoring 12.12 goals per game and holding its opponents to 9.75 points per game, on average. Duke’s offensive performance has been equally effective, scoring an average of 12.36 goals per game and allowing its opponents 9.09 scores. Both teams have won a comparable percentage of their faceoffs, with .528 and .558% for the Irish and the Blue Devils, respectively. Notre Dame has the slight edge over Duke in shot percentage — with .337% compared to .311 — and a substantially larger advantage in man-up opportunities, converting on .410% as opposed to Duke’s .250 conversion percentage.
The Blue Devils may have a slight edge over the Irish on the defensive end of the field, posting a slightly higher goalie save percentage than Notre Dame. Matt Schmidt, Notre Dame’s sophomore starting goalie is a pretty even match for Duke’s senior Turner Uppgren, who stops .500% of opponent’s shots compared with Schmidt’s .472%.
Notre Dame’s experienced midfielders junior Bryan Costabile and senior Brendan Gleason led the team to victory against the Orange. The duo provided positive momentum early in the game, giving the Irish a 2-0 lead about three minutes in and combined for eight goals throughout the game. The Irish will look to both for the largely successful performances they brought to Notre Dame’s three previous top-10 victories.
No. 7 Notre Dame will face off against No. 8 Duke at noon Saturday at Koskinen Stadium.