Men's Soccer 2013 NCAA Tournament #3 Notre Dame / #14 Wake Forest Regional Breakdown

#3 Notre Dame / #14 Wake Forest Regional Breakdown

Notre Dame and Wake Forest head up a region that includes six teams, spread out equally among the different conferences. Only Notre Dame and Wake Forest come from the same league (Atlantic Coast Conference). The winner of this regional will face the Michigan State/Georgetown regional winner in the third round on Dec. 1. All action gets underway on Thursday with first-round action, and second-round games take place on Sunday.

Notre Dame just lost in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, which likely cost the program a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but the Fighting Irish should have a good shot at going through this regional. If Notre Dame faces Michigan State in the third round, it will face a Spartans team that lost to Notre Dame, 2-0, earlier this month at home. Harrison Shipp and Vince Cicciarelli were the goal scorers for the Irish in this contest.


#3 Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin/Milwaukee

Wisconsin (13-4-2 overall) faced Milwaukee earlier this season and battled to a 1-1 double-overtime tie, so this suggests a strong contest between two in-state powerhouses. The game is at Madison, where Wisconsin was a perfect 9-0 this year. The Badgers were 6-8-5 a year ago and staged a dramatic improvement behind Nick Janus (nine goals, two assists), Jacob Brindle (eight goals) and Tomislav Zadro (four goals, eight assists). Milwaukee,15-2-2, won the Horizon League tournament and has a 7-1 road record behind the scoring of Lonnie Bell’s 13 goals and four assists.

Whichever team wins this match will play a Notre Dame squad keyed by Harrison Shipp’s nine goals and eight assists and Patrick Hodan’s six goals and five assists. The Irish are 5-1-3 at home this season and have not faced either Wisconsin or Milwaukee. However, Notre Dame is 3-0-1 against Big Ten Conference programs.


#14 Wake Forest vs. VCU/Navy

Virginia Commonwealth has not played a home game since Nov. 3, when it shut out Fordham 3-0. It fell 3-2 to George Mason in overtime in the Atlantic 10 Conference semifinals. VCU carries an 11-7-2 record into this game, which includes a 6-2-1 home record. Virginia Commonwealth has not seen Navy this season. Junior forward Kharlton Belmar has eight goals and two assists for 18 total points. Dennis Castillo (six goals and one assist) is the only other double-figure point scorer. Navy (15-3-2) won the Patriot League tournament and has a 6-2-2 road record. Jamie Dubyoski and Joseph Greenspan combined for 16 of the team’s 33 goals this year.

The winner of this match faces a Wake Forest men’s team that lost to Virginia on penalty kicks in the ACC tournament. The Demon Deacons have not faced Navy but did see VCU in September in a non-conference matchup. Wake Forest won that game 2-1, although it had to come from behind and win on goals by Tolani Ibikunle and Sam Fink. Luca Gimenez and Sean Okoli each have eight goals on the season, and the team’s total of 35 goals suggests that those two have done a little less than half the scoring.


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