Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 24, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 48 of 55 SEPT. 24, 2018 49 ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE F ifth-year senior Patrick Berneski got pulled aside immediately after his Irish soccer team dropped its first match of the season in a 2-1 overtime heartbreaker to in-state rival and pe- rennial NCAA power Indiana Sept. 11. The Notre Dame center back and voice of the Irish stayed behind for some media responsibilities, while his teammates disappointedly shuf- fled into the locker room. Berneski knew what was coming when his postgame Q&A session wrapped up. "Just going back into the locker room, everybody will be looking at me now and watching how I re- spond; I have to be that role model," said Berneski, team captain and gray- beard of this group. "It's definitely a different position for me. Before I was in the trunk, fol- lowing the older guys. "Now it's time for me to be that older guy and lead everybody else." Forced to wait his turn behind veteran players throughout most of his career, Berneski has transitioned from follower to leader as gradually as his playing time has increased. He didn't step on the pitch as a freshman in 2014, played in nine games as a sophomore — mainly due to injuries to players in front of him — then saw his playing time dip to only four games as a junior. Berneski's patience was finally re- warded last season when he started 19 of the 21 games and became a prominent defensive contributor in five Irish shutouts. "Patrick has good experience, but he's had a long path to this," said first-year Notre Dame head coach Chad Riley, who took over this sea- son for legendary Irish skipper Bobby Clark. "One of the reasons the whole team really looks up to him and re- spects him is because it wasn't easy for him to break in and get his role." Berneski agrees, saying his journey, persistence and patience touches ev- ery player on the team in some way. "And I feel like that's really helped me connect with the guys," he ex- plained, "because I can understand what everyone is going through." Leadership is only one area where Berneski has evolved as a person and a player. Center backs are typically not known for their goal scoring, but through the first five games this sea- son Berneski has bucked that notion with four goals to lead the team, scor- ing one in each of the first four games. Those four tallies in four games were already twice as many as the two goals Berneski had scored in his previous three seasons over 32 games. He is leaving nothing to chance during his fifth season and final go around at Notre Dame. "I feel like I have some unfinished business here," said Berneski, a Phil- adelphia native. "I still want to win a national championship." When asked where he sees himself in five years, Berneski said he hopes to still be playing soccer. "I don't want to get into the real world just yet," he said with a chuckle. When the real world eventually ar- rives, Berneski will be well equipped. He's studying science management this semester to complement his en- vironmental engineering undergrad- uate degree. "I don't want to leave this place," said Berneski, a three-time ACC Aca- demic Honor Roll honoree. "The cul- ture on the team and the camaraderie with all the guys are things that I am going to miss for sure. "The school in general, everything about this place is tough to walk away from." ✦ Patrick Berneski's Patience Is Paying Off Irish Roundup MEN'S GOLF Notre Dame finished eighth out of 12 teams at the Badger Invitational Sept. 9-11 in Madison, Wis. Junior Davis Lamb was the top finisher for the Irish, carding a 2-over-par 218 to place 16th. The Fighting Irish returned to action at the Northern Intercollegiate Sept. 15-16 in Sugar Grove, Ill. WOMEN'S GOLF The Irish placed seventh out of 15 teams at the Minnesota Invitational Sept. 10-11 at Woodbury, Minn. Freshman Claire Albrecht lead the way for Notre Dame in her first career tournament appearance, shooting a 3-over- par 219 to tie for 14th. The Irish will return to action at the Schoo- ner Fall Classic Sept. 28-30 in Norman, Okla. MEN'S SOCCER (3-1-1, 1-0-0 ACC) No. 8 Notre Dame dropped its first contest of the season Sept.11, falling 2-1 at home in overtime against No. 2 Indiana. The Irish took the lead in the 70th minute, but the Hoosiers tied it up in eight minutes and tallied the win- ning goal two minutes into overtime. Notre Dame was scheduled to travel to Vir- ginia Sept. 14, but that game was postponed due to Hurricane Florence. No. 4 Michigan State will come to South Bend Sept. 17. WOMEN'S SOCCER (4-4-0, 0-0-0 ACC) The Fighting Irish are in the midst of a three- game losing streak after falling 3-1 at No. 1 Stan- ford Sept. 7 and 3-2 at No. 7 Santa Clara Sept. 9. Notre Dame will look to get back on track in ACC play, beginning Sept. 20 against Louisville. VOLLEYBALL (6-2, 0-0 ACC) After getting edged 3-2 by tournament host Western Kentucky Sept. 7, Notre Dame bounced back with a pair of 3-0 victories over Miami (Ohio) and Tennessee Chattanooga Sept. 8 in Bowling Green, Ky. Next up for the Irish was a home-and-home series with No. 19 Michigan. The two teams were set to play in Ann Arbor Sept. 14 and in South Bend Sept. 16. — David McKinney Berneski tallied a team-high four goals in Notre Dame's first five matches this season, doubling the two goals he had scored in his previous three seasons over 32 contests. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH DIGITAL MEDIA

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Sept. 24, 2018