Notre Dame men’s soccer seeks first conference victory
Liam Coolican | Friday, October 11, 2019
Notre Dame men’s soccer will face No. 21 Duke on Friday night at 6 p.m. at Alumni Stadium. The Irish (6-4-1, 0-4 ACC), who are coming off a dominant 8-0 win against Purdue Fort Wayne, will face a much more challenging opponent this weekend.
Irish head coach Chad Riley said he is wary of the Duke (6-3-1, 2-2 ACC) attack.
“It’ll take a good performance [to win],” Riley said. “They’re a good team, they’ve got some good attacking players, that we’ll have to limit, and we just have to be good in our own game and what we do well.”
Duke has scored three or more goals in all but two of its wins this season, including a recent 4-0 victory versus Syracuse. The Irish have to focus on Duke senior midfielder Daniele Proch, who is the team’s main offensive threat with eight goals in 10 matches. Duke’s next highest goal-scorer has just two goals on the season, so if the Irish can take Proch out of the game, they have a chance at a good result.
Notre Dame has been paced recently by sophomore forward Jack Lynn and graduate student defender Felicien Dumas. Lynn has six goals on the year, and Dumas has three to go along with three assists. It will be important for them to have good performances Friday night. However, Notre Dame has 10 different goal-scorers on the year, so anyone can step up in a given game.
Notre Dame has looked good against non-conference opponents, but it has struggled against ACC foes, particularly on the road. The Irish are still searching for an elusive first conference win, despite multiple strong performances lately. They are halfway through their conference slate with two home and two away conference games left to play before the ACC tournament. At this point, the Irish just need offense in conference games. Since their first conference game against Clemson on Sept. 13, they have not scored a goal in an ACC matchup, with shutout losses to North Carolina, Virginia and North Carolina State.
Notre Dame has played well at home so far this year, with a record of 4-2. Duke has played just two games on the road so far, with a record of 1-1. This will be the 13th matchup between these two sides. The Irish lead the series with a record of 7-4-1, including 5-0-1 at home. The last matchup was last season when Duke triumphed 3-2 in Durham, North Carolina.
While it is still possible Notre Dame will make it back to the College Cup after reaching the quarterfinals last year, it will require positive results in the last five regular season games. This game will serve as a a significant opportunity to make that statement.
Riley said his team has to have good practices before the game, and he wants his players to be well-rested.
“It’s recovering, having good focused training sessions and having a good approach to the night itself,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s about what you do on that night.”