Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2020

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

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Page 48 of 55 OCT. 17, 2020 49 ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE N otre Dame men's soccer coach Chad Riley saw enough in 2018 during the freshman season of his rising star Jack Lynn to realize that a breakout year was coming in 2019 when his talented forward returned as a sophomore. With three assists and three goals as a freshman — including a dra- matic header with one second left in overtime against No. 10 Virginia that sent Notre Dame to the Elite Eight — Lynn's production was solid for a first- year player. But as Riley expected, Lynn returned last season and reached all improvement expectations, leading the Irish with 10 goals — including four game-winners — and 21 points. "Some people just have a knack for scoring, and during his sophomore year last year, he showed that ability and added better consistency," Riley explained. "We expect him to keep doing that and showing even more improvement because he has that drive, he has that kind of confidence." Like his head coach, Lynn also ex- pected to show marked improvement from year one to year two, and this star player out of St. Louis made it happen by adding some individual workouts to his usual team practices. At least two mornings a week, Lynn would find his way to the Notre Dame Loftus Center and fire off 100 or more shots, all targeting the net's four corners. "Rep by rep, week by week, [my shot] was getting better and better," Lynn explained. "I think the extra work really paid off. You could see it with my goal numbers just kind of skyrocketing last season." Lynn, a top player out of Chami- nade Preparatory School, realized upon his first recruiting visit to Notre Dame that it was where he wanted to go. But former Irish head coach Bobby Clark abruptly retired before Lynn arrived on campus. "There was a period of a couple of months where we didn't know who the next coaching staff would be," Lynn recalled, "and through that, you're kind of nervous." Ironically, Dartmouth was Lynn's second college choice behind Notre Dame, in large part because of his appreciation for, and his relationship with, Big Green head coach Chad Riley. Riley recruited Lynn while at Dart- mouth, along with most of the seven other Irish players who comprised Notre Dame's 2018 recruiting class. "I was kind of waiting to see who the new coach at Notre Dame would be," explained Lynn, who admit- ted that any choice other than Riley might have steered him elsewhere. "Once I found out it was [Coach Ri- ley], I felt really comfortable. "I already had a relationship with him and I loved what Notre Dame had to offer, so it made my decision an obvious one." A disjointed offseason because of COVID-19 provided an abbreviated eight-game regular-season schedule for the Irish in 2020. The ACC Tourna- ment is slated for Nov. 10-15, and the NCAA Tournament tentatively was moved from this fall to next spring. With a disappointing preseason prediction of finishing sixth in the six-team North Division of the ACC, expectations aren't overblown for this young Irish team, outside of the Notre Dame locker room, anyway. "We have a lot of talent, and to be picked last in the ACC?" Lynn lamented. "I think that this whole year we are playing with kind of a chip on our shoulder, kind of out to prove something to the rest of the country." ✦ Improvement Paramount For Men's Soccer Star Jack Lynn In 2019, Lynn led Notre Dame in goals (10, including four game-winners) and points (21). PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS Irish Roundup MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY The Fighting Irish did not compete in the Live In Lou Classic Oct. 3 at Louisville, Ky., "out of an abun- dance of caution" per director of track & field and cross country Matt Sparks … The team did not have any active COVID-19 cases, but had several members placed in quarantine after they were deemed close contacts of individuals who tested positive … Next up for Notre Dame is the ACC Championships Oct. 30 in Cary, N.C. WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY Notre Dame claimed its second meet title in as many outings, capturing the Live In Lou Classic Oct. 3 at Louisville, Ky. … The Fighting Irish came out on top in a seven-team field by posting a score of 47 points to best a trio of SEC teams in Ole Miss (54), Kentucky (76) and Tennessee (93) … Notre Dame will next compete at the ACC Championships Oct. 30 in Cary, N.C. MEN'S SOCCER (1-2-0 OVERALL, 0-1-0 ACC) The Fighting Irish dropped their ACC opener, falling 2-1 at Louisville Oct. 3 … Notre Dame returned home to face Syracuse Oct. 11. WOMEN'S SOCCER (3-1-0 OVERALL, 3-1-0 ACC) Notre Dame extended its win streak to three with a pair of 2-0 home wins over Boston College Oct. 1 and Syracuse Oct. 4 … The Fighting Irish will look to keep it going with home matches against Wake Forest Oct. 15 and Clemson Oct. 18. VOLLEYBALL (3-0 OVERALL, 3-0 ACC) The No. 6-ranked Fighting Irish posted a pair of victories versus No. 5 Syracuse, winning 3-1 Oct. 2 and 3-0 Oct. 3 in South Bend … Notre Dame will host No. 10 Pitt Oct. 16 and Oct. 18. — Steve Downey

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