Men’s soccer faces tough tests in South Bend and Providence
Coming off a 3-1 loss at rain-drenched Owen T. Carroll Field on Wednesday night at the hands of No. 20 Georgetown, the Pirates will now hit the road for two games, traveling to Providence on Saturday and Notre Dame next Wednesday.
The loss to Georgetown drops the Hall to 0-4-0 in the Big East this season.
The Providence Friars made the Big East Championship game last season but lost to Louisville in the final.
This season, they are 6-5-1 following a 2-1 loss to No. 1 Connecticut, including a 1-2-1 mark in Big East play.
The Friars have also lost three straight matches by a combined score of 6-2 after winning six of their first eight matches.
They have a record of 4-2-0 at home, including a 1-1-0 record in conference play.
Providence is led by a balanced offense, with five players taking double-digit shots this season, including redshirt sophomore midfielder/forward Wilder Arboleda who is at the top of the list with 17 shots taken.
However, it has not overpowered their opponents, as Providence has allowed as many goals as they have scored so far this season, 13, and are last in the Big East in shots attempted.
The Friars also have a steady senior goalkeeper in Jhojan Obando.
Obando has a 1.06 goals-against average and a save percentage of .745 with five shutouts this year.
After Providence, the Pirates will then head to South Bend to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish are ranked No. 12 in the nation but are coming off a loss to Marquette on Wednesday.
They are 5-3-4 on the year, including a 3-0-4 mark at home while going 1-0-1 in conference play.
They are 1-2-1 in Big East play overall.
Notre Dame is second in the conference in shots behind only defending champion Louisville.
They are led by four players, including junior forward Ryan Finley, who have each attempted over 20 shots this season.
However, their shot-taking has not translated to the scoreboard, as the Irish are just 10th in the conference in goals scored.
Nevertheless, the Irish fall back on their senior goalkeeper Will Walsh.
Walsh has also started every game this season and has posted strong numbers with a 0.82 goals-against average and a .818 save percentage with four shutouts.
Despite the tough opposition they will face, coach Manfred Schellscheidt said his team needs to be up for the challenge.
“We need to still accept the challenge of playing established teams, and learn from it game after game,” coach Schellscheidt said following the match on Wednesday.
“It’s not going to be easy, and maybe this year it’s not going to end up being the outcome we would like, but I think we’re making an investment in a young team that will be good in the future.”
Jason Guerette can be reached at Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org