ND Men’s Soccer
Notre Dame men’s soccer prepares to welcome Virginia to South Bend
J.J. Post | Friday, October 1, 2021
This Friday Notre Dame men’s soccer will welcome another ACC foe to the confines of Alumni Stadium when the Virginia Cavaliers come to town for a conference showdown.
The Cavaliers (3-5-1) will enter the match looking to get an uncharacteristically poor season back on track following a rough start to the schedule. Traditionally a staple contender for the College Cup, and one of the nation’s most storied programs, Virginia have struggled to find their normally stellar form in 2021. After a 2-0 start to the season against Western Michigan and High Point, the Cavaliers were taken down 2-1 by Maryland in their yearly rivalry match. Since that game, the Cavaliers have gone 1-1-4, with losses to a trio of ACC squads in Virginia Tech, Syracuse and North Carolina, as well as a loss to James Madison. Virginia will come to South Bend with a little bit of momentum, however, as the 2019 national runner-ups did manage to pick up a 3-1 win against VCU earlier in the week.
The Irish, of course, will enter with plenty of momentum as well. Notre Dame will face the Cavaliers on the back of the biggest win in program history, after a 13-0 dismantling of Trine University on Wednesday. The resounding win, in which nine different Irish players found the back of the net, should serve as a nice warm-up for the Virginia match. Key players still got some minutes of in-game soccer to keep their legs fresh, avoiding the possibility of a slump following a week of training, and plenty of rotational squad members got to get their feet wet in competitive play while the conventional starting squad rested for most of the second half.
Senior forward Jack Lynn will lead the Irish attack heading into their clash with the Cavaliers, as Notre Dame’s current season leader in points. Lynn can both finish (four goals) and create (three assists) attacks for the Irish, and he’ll be a surefire starter on Friday night. Two more players to look out for alongside Lynn up front will be freshmen Eno Nto and Matthew Rouu. The rookie duo has combined for 20 points this season already, and have served as key pieces in the Irish rotation by coming in as substitutes in games like Virginia Tech and making inroads against tired legs. And while he doesn’t play a traditionally defined central forward role, graduate forward/midfielder Dawson McCartney should play as big of a role in the Notre Dame attack as any, with three goals and an assist to his name this season.
Starting goalkeeper, Bryan Dowd, got some well-earned rest against Trine, with senior Thomas Deslong getting the nod against the Thunder, but will resume duties between the pipes on Friday. The Irish are undefeated in regulation matches (1-1-1 overall) so far this season in conference play, and Dowd and his defenses’ stability (with only one goal conceded against Boston College and a clean sheet against North Carolina State) have been a major factor in that record.
Notre Dame men’s soccer will take on Virginia this Friday at 6pm at Alumni Stadium in South Bend. The game will also be broadcasted on the ACC Network.