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ND Men’s Soccer

Notre Dame men’s soccer travels to Louisville for first conference game

| Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Notre Dame (1-1, 0-0 ACC) will travel to Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday to take on the Louisville Cardinals (0-2, 0-0 ACC) for their first road game of the year. The Irish are coming off a 3-1 loss at home against Pittsburgh.

We were just a little bit off,” head coach Chad Riley said of the game. “There were a lot of little things we could just do a little bit better.”

Riley especially wants his team to continue communicating at a high level.

“Something that we’ve tried to work on a lot over the last year is our communication within the game, especially if you don’t have the ball,” Riley said. “I think those have been really strong. We need to continue to do that if we’re going to make the progress we want to make.”

It will be a unique experience playing on the road this year, with many restrictions in place. Many of the typical pregame activities, such as scouting sessions and pregame meals will be socially distanced. Riley said it will be an adjustment.

Junya Kanemitsu | The Observer

Sophomore defender Reese Mayer rises up for a header against Clemson on September 13, 2019

“Sometimes there’s one way it works on paper and then trying to figure out how it works in reality, once we’re down there,” he said. 

The Irish have already faced the Cardinals this year, in an exhibition game which ended in a 1-1 draw. This game will mean much more, because it is the first of only six conference games. Despite Pittsburgh being an ACC opponent, the game did not count towards conference standings.

“[It means] a lot. From here on out, every game is a way to get points towards the ACC tournament,” Riley said. “Every chance we get to compete now, it is the biggest game of the year.”

Louisville opened the season with back to back 3-1 defeats to Wake Forest and Kentucky. Despite their 0-2 record, Riley Notre Dame is not overlooking them.

“In a shortened schedule and with the teams competing, arguably, every team we’re going to play is a top-15 team in a normal year,” Riley said. 

“They’ll be at home, they’ll be hungry, so I think it’ll be a good intense contest.”

He also said he was wary of the Cardinals experience. 

“They’ve got some good older players,” he said. “They’ve got some special players individually, that can hurt you.”

He singled out forward Pedro Fonseco as a player Notre Dame would have to work hard to contain. 

In such a short season, depth will be especially important.

“We’ve been really tested properly in the last 10 days with our depth,” Riley said. “We’ve been down three or four guys in the last couple weeks.”

The Irish have had a number of different players contribute thus far, including multiple freshmen.

“The first-year guys have come in and are challenging for minutes,” Riley said.

Freshman forward Daniel Russo — who scored the only goal in the Irish’s season opening game against Kentucky — and freshman midfielder Matthew Radivojsa — who has managed four shots already — have been among the biggest contributors thus far. 

The game will kick off at 2:30 on Saturday at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn stadium and will be streamed on ACCNX.

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