#1 Notre Dame Men's Soccer 2014 Preview

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Overall Rank: #1
#1 ACC
#1 Notre Dame Men's Soccer 2014 Preview
Notre Dame Team Page


Notre Dame finally went from a team that could beat anybody on any given day to a team that dominated the competition. The Fighting Irish lost just one game on their way to winning the national championship. Early in the year Notre Dame tied great teams like UCLA and North Carolina and beat squads like Syracuse, Duke and Indiana. And the best was yet to come. The Irish outscored Wisconsin, Wake Forest and Michigan State 10-3 in their three tournament games that led to the college Cup. In the College Cup, they beat New Mexico and Maryland.

2013 Record: 17-1-6, 7-1-3
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bobby Clark

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Patrick Hodan, Junior, M, 11
Assists: Patrick Hodan, Junior, M, 5
Shots: Patrick Hodan, Junior, M, 27
Saves: Patrick Wall, Senior, GK, 74

Other Key Returnees: F Vince Cicciarelli, F Leon Brown, M Evan Panken, M Connor Klekota, M Nick Besler, M Robby Gallegos, D Max Lachowecki, D Andrew O’Malley, D Luke Mishu

Key Losses: F Harrison Shipp, D Grant Van De Casteele

Eight starters return to Coach Bobby Clark’s team and this is a very experienced group. The team works through midfielders Patrick Hodan and Nick Besler. Hodan is a big time scorer and tallied 11 goals and added five assists. Vince Cicciarelli scored six goals up top and Leon Brown added five more off of the bench. Evan Panken, Connor Klekota and Robby Gallegos are all experienced upperclassmen. Besler is not a goal scorer, but he is the player who connects the defense with the offense. The defense was superb in 2013 and should be able to keep that up with Andrew O’Malley leading the way. Max Lachowecki and Luke Mishu are returning starters at outside back. Patrick Wall paid his dues in goal. Back in 2010 and 2011, Wall only played in one game. In 2012, he showed promise as a part-time starter, but he really stepped up as a full-time starter last season. He played every minute in goal and allowed just 18 goals in 24 contests. Two of his ten shutouts came during the tournament and if Wall’s career continues on this trend, he will have his best season yet.

Despite returning eight starters, losing Harrison Shipp and Grant Van De Casteele is huge. Shipp was a big difference maker for the Irish and his numbers certainly back that up. He scored a dozen goals and also led the team with ten assists. Shipp turned into a clutch finisher and made big play after big play during his team’s amazing season. Experience and talent is one thing, but somebody must step up and make those clutch plays on offense. The story could be the same on defense without Van De Casteele. He was a great leader in the back and will not be easily replaced.

Final Projection:
Notre Dame will start off their season with a couple very tough games against Marquette and Georgetown. Those two contests could set the tone for the early part of the season and there really is not much a break in the tough ACC to get things back on track if this team gets off to a slow start. The hope is the experience on this team will be enough while Coach Clark fills the holes left by the departure of Shipp and Van De Casteele.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.96 (11th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.71 (19, 2)
Shutout Percentage: 0.42 (39, 4)
Save Percentage: 0.811 (32, 2)

Madness 2015 MLS Draft Rankings:
#4 Nick Besler

Madness 2014 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#50 Blake Townes
#68 Jeffery Farina


See All College Sports Madness Top 44 Men's Soccer Previews