No. 7 Notre Dame makes trip to Hall
Coming off a shut-out loss to nonconference opponent NJIT on Tuesday, the men’s soccer team will look to extend its two-game conference winning streak against No. 7 Notre Dame this Saturday at Owen T. Carroll Field.
The two-game conference winning streak has given the team “huge” momentum, according to first year head coach Gerson Echeverry.
“It has been a while since this team has won back-to-back in conference,” Echeverry said. “The kids are optimistic with the wins at home. They are improving and training and implementing it into games.”
The Pirates’ most notable wins this season have been at home, on Sept. 14 as they upset No. 19 Monmouth and earned their first two Big East wins over Providence on Oct. 3 and Pittsburgh on Oct. 6.
The Pirates are 5-2 at Owen T. Carroll Field.
“We like playing at home,” junior forward George Velasquez said. “We know the atmosphere here, but Notre Dame is going to be another tough one, it is going to be a battle.”
Notre Dame comes into the match with an overall record of 10-2. Their two losses were on the road and against Big East opponents Connecticut and Louisville.
The Fighting Irish come into the match after losing to Northwestern, 2-1, on the road on Tuesday.
Echeverry said that the Pirates will take notes from Notre Dame’s decisive win over Pittsburgh, 7-1, as well as their victory over Georgetown, 3-0, last week.
“Now we have to do homework on how they win,” Echeverry said. “We know their ability to put in a lot of goals and how athletic they are, we will have to plug in holes. We can’t let them play their game, that way we impose our will.”
Last season, the Pirates were shut out by the Irish in South Bend, Ind., by a score of 4-0.
“As a team, we are a lot more organized this year,” Velasquez said. “We have more confidence and we are believing in ourselves.”
The all-time series record heavily favors Notre Dame who are 13-5-3 against the Pirates; the Fighting Irish have won or tied in all 10 of the matches between these two squads since 2001.
Notre Dame’s two primary goalies, junior Patrick Wall and senior Will Walsh, have shared the starts in Notre Dame’s thirteen games, average under one goal allowed per contest. The team has also shut out six opponents this year.
“When you are on the attack, it is all about movement and creativity.” Echeverry said. “We have to take advantage of situations they give, like we have been doing the last few games, take chances and put the ball where the keeper is not. It’s not like they can’t be scored on. Any team is beatable.”
The Irish have struggled away from home, posting a 2-3 record.
Notre Dame senior forward Ryan Finley is in the top of the Big East in goals, netting 10 so far. He has had back-to-back two goal games against Pittsburgh and Georgetown.
“We just can’t give up any soft goals, because they will make you pay,” Echeverry said.
The Pirates look for the continued effort and success from Velasquez, who scored his first three goals on the season, including two game winners in the team’s two Big East victories last week. He also tallied two assists in the games. Because of his breakout week, Velasquez earned a spot on the Big East honor roll for the week of Oct. 8.
The Pirates will go for their third straight conference win at 7 p.m. on Saturday against Notre Dame.
Stephanie Vedral can be reached at Stephanie.Vedral@ student.shu.edu