ND Men’s Soccer
ND men’s soccer takes balanced attack to Clemson
Jamison Cook | Friday, October 8, 2021
The Notre Dame men’s soccer team has won three games in a row and five out of their last six. The Fighting Irish (5-4-1, 2-1-1 ACC) will travel down to South Carolina this weekend to take on the Clemson Tigers (9-2, 3-1 ACC) on Saturday, October 9. It is an important game for Notre Dame as they jockey for position in the tightly contested Coastal Division of the ACC.
Notre Dame is coming off a resounding 4-0 win over in-state opponent Purdue Fort Wayne. Senior forward Jack Lynn notched his team-leading sixth goal of the season just four minutes into the contest, and the Irish were off and running from there. Lynn may get a lot of defensive attention from opposing teams and the media for his prolific scoring pace, but head coach Chad Riley is very pleased with the offensive balance his team has shown through the first 10 games of the season.
“We’ve got multiple guys that can score, so I think it hopefully can create a little bit more space for Jack at times, but I think also the team has confidence knowing we’re going to score goals,” Riley said. “It’s been great to see so many different guys get on the score sheet.”
In recent games, many of these goals have come off set pieces, an area in which Coach Riley is very pleased to see his team excel.
“Over the last couple of games, we’ve also really liked scoring directly off of set pieces,” Riley elaborated. “We’ve scored a lot of set-pieces, kind of second-phase goals, but the last couple games I think we’ve really hit our stride scoring goals off of corners and set pieces.”
And while the Irish have been putting together quality performances across the board all year, Riley has seen a progression of his team over the course of the season and is hopeful their best performances are still to come.
“We want to just continue to grow. While we’ve had some good performances, I still think we’re pushing to have our best performance,” Riley said. “To have your best performance, you have to play against a good team. So, I think that’s the goal with Clemson, how do we go out there and have our best performance of the season and combine that with getting a result?”
The Irish will need to continue to be on top of their game to defeat Clemson, who has lost just once at home this season. The Tigers pose a number of challenges for the Irish, but none that Coach Riley believes his team can’t handle.
“I think every game in the ACC is going to be a good game, but I think [Clemson has] a very good attack as well,” Riley says of the Tigers. “I think they get goals from different people, so we know that. They’re also a high-pressing team, so we know we have to deal with their pressure and make sure we’re smart and deal with that effectively.”
Kickoff on Oct. 9 will be at 7 p.m. at Clemson’s Riggs Field. The game can be viewed on ACC Network Extra. Notre Dame will play next on Saturday, Oct. 16 on their home field at Alumni Stadium.