Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 4, 2023

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

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50 NOV. 4, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE G iven his surroundings and the in- tense soccer appreciation that the English hold so dearly, Notre Dame ju- nior Eno Nto had a tough decision to make on which direction he wanted life's journey to take him. Nto could stay home and continue his work as an up-and-coming professional player with the Derby County Football Club in Derby, England. Or, he could come to the United States to further his education and play college soccer at the same time. In England, the gifted Irish forward explained, you either play professional soccer if you're good enough or you go to school. You don't do both. And that de- cision needed to be made at the age of 16. "For my whole life to that point I had always pursued the pathway to pro- fessional soccer to try and get there as quickly as possible," explained Nto, who had never been to the United States. "But I was somewhat familiar with the Notre Dame program, and I wanted to learn more about it." Nto decided that academics would serve him better in the long run, so he returned to high school at the age of 17 and put his soccer pursuits on hold to complete the coursework necessary to get into Notre Dame. "I was familiar with the culture of the university," Nto added. "So, when Notre Dame reached out my senior year of high school, it was something I couldn't turn down." Nto arrived at Notre Dame in the summer of 2021. After a brief bout with some homesickness, his relocation be- came a smooth one. "There was culture shock for sure," Nto recalled. "I'm a big mommy's food kind of guy. Getting adjusted to Ameri- can food was definitely a culture shock." Nto's first soccer stop when he ar- rived in the United States was play- ing with the South Bend Lions, a local and high-level pre-professional soc- cer league that plays its games in the summer and features top college players from around the country. "It helped me just to get a feel for the American style of play before I started my freshman season with Notre Dame," said Nto, an industrial design major who's interested in eventually pursuing a career in fashion or interior design. "It helped me imagine myself in that college style of play, which is a lot different than the style of play I grew up with in the U.K." A quick study, Nto made an immedi- ate impact as a freshman in 2021, tal- lying 5 goals in 19 appearances with 12 starts. In 17 appearances as a sophomore in 2022, Nto posted 2 goals and 3 assists. And through 15 games as a junior this season, Nto ranked second on the Irish with 6 goals and 13 points, and with a growing appreciation for his relocation decision. "My time at Notre Dame has been an amazing experience," he said. "I can't be- lieve the resources that I have access to, the kind of people that I've met and the memories I have made here. It is definitely something I can't take for granted at all." ✦ Through 15 games as a junior this season, Nto ranked second on the Irish in both goals (6) and points (13). PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS Soccer Standout Eno Nto Feeling Right At Home Irish Roundup CROSS COUNTRY The women placed sixth out of 33 teams and then men finished 11th out of 36 schools at the Wis- consin Nuttycombe Invitational Oct. 13 in Madison, Wis. … The women notched a second-place finish and the men came in fourth at the ACC Championships Oct. 27 in Tallahassee, Fla. MEN'S GOLF Closed its fall slate by finishing third out of four teams in the St. Andrew's Collegiate Invitational Oct. 23-25 in Scotland with a 9-under-par team score of 691 … In the consolation medal match on Day 3, the Irish topped Georgetown 4-2 in match play. WOMEN'S GOLF Wrapped up its fall schedule by placing tying for third with a 35-over 755 in the St. Andrew's Col- legiate Invitational Oct. 23-25 in Scotland with a plus 35 finish … In the consolation medal match on Day 3, Notre Dame defeated Georgetown 3-2-1 in match play. HOCKEY (3-3-0 OVERALL, 0-0-0 BIG TEN) Lost 3-0 at RIT Oct. 14 and then split two games with Boston University Oct. 20-21, notching a 4-1 victory before falling 8-2 … Defeated Mercyhurst 4-3 Oct. 26 … Hosted Mercyhurst for another contest Oct. 27, before opening Big Ten play at Penn State Nov. 4-5. MEN'S SOCCER (10-1-4 OVERALL, 5-0-2 ACC) The nation's No. 6-ranked squad went 2-0-1 on its three-game road swing, winning 1-0 at Virginia Tech Oct. 13 and a 3-0 at Michigan Oct. 17, before playing No. 3 Wake Forest to a 1-1 draw to clinch the ACC Coastal title Oct. 20 … Closed the regular season at home versus Pitt Oct. 27. WOMEN'S SOCCER (11-2-4 OVERALL, 7-1-2 ACC) The country's No. 9-ranked team earned a 1-1 draw at No. 3 North Carolina Oct. 19 and picked up a 1-0 victory at North Carolina State Oct. 22 … Closed the regular season with a 2-0 win at home versus Clemson Oct. 26 … Will face the winner of Wake Forest/Clemson in the ACC semifinals Nov. 2 in Cary, N.C. VOLLEYBALL (10-8 OVERALL, 4-6 ACC) Suffered a 3-0 home loss to No. 8 Pitt Oct. 15, were edged 3-2 at Virginia Tech Oct. 20 and fell 3-0 at Wake Forest Oct. 22 … Hosted Miami Oct. 27 and Florida State Oct. 29.

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