Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2021

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

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50 APRIL 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE L ast March, the world of college sports came to a screeching halt thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seasons were cut short or can- celed altogether as the entire sports world was shut down for four months. The world is hardly back to normal, but those teams that had their seasons altered by the pandemic a year ago are fi- nally back in action. Here's an overview of several of those squads, with a projection on where each is expected to finish in the ACC and nationally. BASEBALL Record Through March 8: 4-2 overall, 4-2 ACC ACC Predicted Finish: Seventh in the seven- team Atlantic Division NCAA Best-Case Scenario: Qualify for the 64-team NCAA Tournament Season Format: ACC teams will play 12 three- game series against league foes and then the top 12 squads will participate in the ACC Cham- pionship May 25-30. Top Player: Senior first baseman Niko Ka- vadas was named a preseason All-American after his seven home runs during the shortened 2020 campaign (11-2 record) tied for the ACC lead and ranked eighth nationally. Athlete To Watch: Senior infielder Jared Miller was batting .417 (10 for 24) with nine runs scored and five RBI through six games. Don't Miss: A three-game series against Louis- ville — the ACC preseason favorite and a top-five national program — March 26-28 in South Bend. FENCING Record Through March 8: Men 5-0, Women 6-0 NCAA Best-Case Scenario: A two-time national championship winner since 2017, another title is the only goal. Season Format: Working through an abbreviated schedule, Notre Dame has only four matches out- side of the NCAA Championships and the season- ending USA Fencing North America Cup April 16-19 in Denver. Top Player: Senior sabre specialist Colin Campbell returns after building a 41-4 career record for the No. 3-ranked Irish. Athlete To Watch: Sophomore foilist Jane Caulfield recorded an 11-1 mark at the North- western Duals Feb. 21 to earn ACC Fencer of the Week honors. Don't Miss: Notre Dame was forced to with- draw from the ACC Championships because of COVID concerns, leaving the Irish men and women looking forward to the NCAA Cham- pionships March 25-28 at University Park, Pa. MEN'S GOLF Tournament Results Through March 8: Sixth out of 10 teams at the Camp Creek Semi- nole Invitational and eighth out of 11 at the Timuquana Collegiate ACC Predicted Finish: Third out of 12 teams NCAA Best-Case Scenario: Qualify for the regional round of the NCAA Championships Season Format: The Irish are scheduled to play in six weekend tournaments before vying for the ACC title. Top Player: Sophomore Palmer Jackson, a preseason All-ACC selection, was a 2020 nomi- nee for the Phil Mickelson Award, which goes to the best college freshman. Athlete To Watch: Senior Davis Chatfield was on pace to post the second-lowest stroke aver- age (70.75) in program history before the 2020 season was cut short. Don't Miss: The ACC Championships April 23-26 in Atlanta. WOMEN'S GOLF Tournament Results Through March 8: Twelfth out of 15 teams at the Purdue Heroes Ladies Inter- collegiate and 13th out of 14 squads at the Florida State Matchup ACC Predicted Finish: 11th out of 12 teams Spring Squads Get Back In The Swing Of Things Senior first baseman Niko Kavadas was tabbed as a preseason All-American after finishing the abbreviated 2020 campaign eighth in the nation with seven home runs. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS Some of Notre Dame's fall teams will also be competing this spring after playing reduced schedules during their normal competition window. Here's a look at what's in store for them: Cross Country The men's and women's teams each competed in one event in early Febru- ary in preparation for the NCAA Championships March 15 in Stillwater, Okla. … The men placed fourth in the UNLV invite Feb. 1 in Las Vegas, while the women came in eighth at the FSU Winter Classic Feb. 5 in Tallahassee, Fla. Men's Soccer (6-5 Overall, 3-3 ACC) Notre Dame went 5-4 overall and 3-2 in the ACC during the fall, which ended with a 3-1 loss to Pitt in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament Nov. 18 … The Irish are scheduled to play eight contests during the spring between Feb. 27 and April 9, six against ACC foes and two versus non-conference competition, with the hope of earning an NCAA bid … The Irish topped Butler 1-0 Feb. 27 and then fell 1-0 in overtime to Virginia March 7 … This year's tournament field will be reduced from 48 to 36 teams, is scheduled to begin April 30 and will culminate with the College Cup in May 13-17 in Cary, N.C. Women's Soccer (4-5 Overall, 4-4 ACC) The Fighting Irish fall season was capped by a 2-0 loss to No. 1 Florida State in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament Nov. 10 … Notre Dame will play six non-conference matches between March 11 and April 17 with the goal of earning an NCAA bid … Like the men, the tournament field will be comprised of 36 teams, is scheduled to begin April 30 and will culminate with the Col- lege Cup in May 13-17 in Cary, N.C. Volleyball (9-1 Overall, 8-1 ACC) Notre Dame went 6-1 with all its matches versus ACC competition during the fall … The Irish opened the spring with wins over Valparaiso (3-2 Feb. 18), NC State (3-0 March 5) and Miami (3-0 March 7), and were ranked No. 14 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association coaches poll as of March 8 … A Feb. 27 match at Louisville was postponed, but the Irish were slated to play 10 ACC opponents between March 5 and April 2 … The NCAA Tournament will consist of 48 teams and all the matches from the first round to the na- tional championship will be played April 13-24 at Omaha, Neb. — Steve Downey FALL TEAMS SPRING INTO ACTION

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