Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2024

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

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50 JANUARY 2024 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE A terrific season for No. 2-seeded Notre Dame ended Dec. 11, after a 2-1 loss to No. 9 Clemson in the Col- lege Cup national championship game in Louisville, Ky. The Irish fell behind 2-0 but pulled to within 2-1 with 1:01 remaining in the match when Notre Dame senior de- fender Paddy Burns scored on a pen- alty kick to make things interesting. The Irish weren't able to generate a legiti- mate scoring threat from there and lost in what was a highly entertaining game. Clemson scored first on an acro- batic right-footed straight-on blast from about 40 feet by senior midfielder Brandon Parrish in the 27th minute. The deficit seemed to awaken an Irish team that was outplayed through the early going. But despite a more aggres- sive approach to its offensive attack the rest of the match, Notre Dame was un- able to find the back of the net until it was too late. Clemson extended its lead to 2-0 in the 70th minute, and Notre Dame had no legitimate answers, despite winning the shots battle 15-9 and the shots on goal battle 5-3 in the game. "I can't say enough good things about the team that I've had the pleasure to work with," Irish head coach Chad Riley said immediately after the loss. "And tonight, with the exception of maybe hitting the back of the net, this is our best performance of the tournament. I couldn't be more proud to be associated with these guys and the greatest univer- sity in the world." A GREAT SEASON Even in defeat, this season was a mag- ical one for Notre Dame (13-3-6). The Irish won the ACC regular-season title with a 6-0-2 record for their first league crown since 2014 and made their second College Cup appearance in the last three seasons — and third all time, including their 2013 national championship run. Much of the credit for Notre Dame's terrific run needs to go to senior goal- keeper Bryan Dowd, who ranked sec- ond in the country this season with 11 shutouts. Dowd was one of seven Fighting Irish players who were selected to All-ACC postseason teams. Dowd and junior forward Matthew Roou both received first-team accolades, while fellow ju- nior forward Eno Nto earned second- team status after leading the Irish with 11 goals. Three other Irish — junior midfielder Bryce Boneau, junior defender Kyle Genenbacher and senior forward/mid- fielder Daniel Russo — all took third- team honors. Notre Dame head coach Chad Riley also garnered ACC Coach of the Year accolades. The terrific 2023 season capped a turnaround from 2022 when the Irish finished a disappointing 8-7-2 overall, lost in the first round of the ACC Tour- nament, and failed to make the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in 11 seasons. ✦ Senior goalkeeper Bryan Dowd, who ranked second in the country with 11 shutouts this season, helped Notre Dame make its second appearance in the College Cup in the last three years. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH MEDIA Men's Soccer Falls 2-1 In National Championship Match Irish Roundup HOCKEY (8-8-2 OVERALL, 4-4-2 BIG TEN) Suffered a 6-1 loss to Boston College Nov. 24 … Split a pair of contests with Michigan Dec. 1-2 in Ann Arbor, winning 6-1 in the opener before falling 2-1 … Were swept, 5-2 and 2-1, at Michigan State on Dec. 8-9. MEN'S SOCCER (13-3-6 OVERALL, 6-0-2 ACC) Played Western Michigan to a 0-0 tie in double overtime in NCAA Tournament's round of 16 in South Bend Nov. 26, and advanced after winning 4-2 on penalty kicks … Advanced to the College Cup after defeating Indiana 5-4 in penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 draw through two overtimes in the quar- terfinals Dec. 2 in South Bend … Edged Oregon State 1-0 in the national semifinals Dec. 8 in Louisville, Ky. … Fell 2-1 to Clemson in the national championship game Dec. 11 in Louisville. Ky. VOLLEYBALL (11-15 OVERALL, 5-13 ACC) Finished the season with a 3-0 setback at Florida State Nov. 25.

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