SOUTH BIGHT, Ind. – The road to the College Cup does indeed run through South Bend, as two legendary programs meet at Alumni Stadium on Saturday, November 26 at 5 p.m. ET. It will be No. 1 Notre Dame (17-2-3) receiving No. 2 North Carolina (18-4-1) in an ACC showdown. It is the first time this season that the two league foes will face each other.
The Fighting Irish are looking to secure their ticket to the College Cup for the 13th time and first since 2010 (when they last won the national championship).
Notre Dame is 7-22-3 all-time against North Carolina and 3-7 against them in the NCAA Tournament. However, this is the first NCAA Tournament game to take place in South Bend. Important to note is that the Irish have a 50-3-1 record in the NCAA Tournament at home.
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Notre Dame’s overall postseason record stands at 73-23-4, which ranks third behind UNC (142-17-4) and Florida State (75-18-4). UCLA is close behind at 71-21-6.
The Irish have tied for three NCAA Championships – 1995, 2004, 2010 – and five runners-up (1994, 1996, 1999, 2006, 2008).
They make their 16th appearance in the quarter-finals and the first since 2012. They are an impressive 12-3 in that round.
UNSEXTED STREAK ROLLS THROUGH…
Notre Dame is now undefeated in the last 12 games, outscoring their opponents 33-6 over that stretch. Their last loss was a 3-1 decision to Pitt on September 25.
ALBERT SETS HELLO TO HERMANN TROPHY COMMITTEE
Korbin Albert was an absolute highlight during the latter part of the season and we’ll let the following stats speak for themselves.
Albert scores impressively 14 goals about the last 11 spell.
4 multi-goal appearances in the last seven games – 5 total on the season
16 goals in total – 8th in the country – top for a midfielder
0.8 goals per game – 10th in the country
37 points in total – 9th in the country
1.8 points per game – 11th in the country
6 winning goals – 4th in the country
She has 3 PK goals, so if we look at her 13 non-PK goals, 10 are coming from outside the box. In addition, three came via direct free kicks.
One of the best individual performances she has this season came against Florida State on November 3, when she recorded her first career hat-trick. Like she did, you just have to see it to believe it.
9 of her 16 goals came against top-25 teams.
And by the way, she is your 2022 ACC midfielder of the year in the country’s top conference
KEEP THE LINE
Notre Dame’s defensive/goalkeeper squad is bragging right now 14 shutouts on the year – their most since 2016 (15). Their shutout percentage of 0.636 ranks 6th in the nation.
The Irish are the only Elite Eight team not to have given up a goal in this year’s NCAA tournament, with a goal difference of 11-0.
The Irish backline of Hudson, Klenke and ACC Defender of the Year Eva Gaetino has allowed just 65 shots on target in 22 games – representing a solid 2.95 SOG per game.
7 games this season, the Irish backline has allowed only 1 SOG or less: TCU (Nov 20), NC State (Oct 6), Boston College (9/30), Virginia (9/22), Saint Louis (8/ 25), West Michigan (21/8) and Marquette (18/8).
Mackenzie Wood won the starting roll and was amazing – her 0.522 GAA ranks 8th in the nation, 1st in the ACC. In addition, she has a career-high 10 shutouts and would have had two more, both in NCAA Tournament, had it not been for late-game substitutions. Her 10 shutouts rank 13th in the nation.
TAKE THEIR PLACE
The Irish have made big statements all season. Take this stat — 6-1-3 against the top-25.
Notre Dame then defeated No. 2 Virginia 1–0 and No. 3 Florida State 4–0, marking the first time in program history they defeated two top-three teams during the regular season. This weekend they were able to add No. 2 North Carolina to the list.
The win over FSU was the biggest win against a top-3 program since September 8, 2000 (6-1 win over #2 Santa Clara). In addition, the last time Florida State lost by 4 goals in an ACC game was on October 15, 2002 against #2 UNC by a score of 5-1.
ND’s RPI was rated No. 4 when entering the tournament. They went 3-2-3 against the current RPI Top-25 and 7-2-3 against the Top-50.
The importance of scoring first? Well, the Irish are 17-0-1 and undefeated. In addition, the Irish lead 11-0-1 at the half.
Notre Dame averages 9.6 shots on target per game, which ranks 2nd nationally. Overall, the Irish average 20.9 shots per game, which ranks third nationally.
By comparison, shots on goal difference are 211-65.
All those shots led to 56 goals in the year and a scoring offense (2.6) that ranks 9th in the nation.
2ND HALF STRONG
If we look at Notre Dame’s 56 goals, that’s 37 in the 2nd half. The goal difference in the 2nd half is 37-8.
EAST WEST HOME IS BEST
The Irish have made Alumni Stadium a difficult venue for opposing programs to succeed. Since its inception in 2009, Notre Dame has gone 119-28-8.
This year the Irish went 11-1-2 in Alumni. Last season, Notre Dame went 10-1-1. Therefore, Notre Dame has been 21-2-3 at home for the past two seasons. Since the start of the 2019 season, the Irish are 33-5-4 at home.
Irish improved to 50-3-1 at home in the NCAA Tournament.
ATTACKING SPARK PLUGS
Notre Dame has scored a total of 56–14 goals in the 2022 season. Out of 56 goals – it comes from 10 different players: Albert (16), Wingate (14), Mercado (10), Van Zanten (7), Klenke (2), Ospeck (2), Coyle, Fisher, Matriano and Gaetino.
The trio of Albert, Mercado and Wingate all have high careers years at the top in goals scored.
Wingate – 3rd in SOG per game (2.4), 10th in total goals and 13th in total points.
Now add Van Zanten to complete the four-headed monster that is the Irish attack. As a foursome, they contributed 74.7 percent of the team’s points.
— ND —