Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2014 Issue

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

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ND Sports Three of the four teams still standing are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Along with the Irish, Maryland and Virginia will play on the opposite side of the bracket for a trip to the title game. No. 3 Notre Dame drew New Mexico in the semifinal round. Clark's team won the ACC regularseason crown in their first season as a member, but that doesn't mean they have a leg up on a potential championship opponent. "In fairness we haven't beaten either [team]," he said. "I think we know we can certainly do this, but it won't be easy." Notre Dame tied Maryland 1-1 in their only meeting this year. The team lost 2-0 to Virginia — its only regularseason loss of the year — and again in penalty kicks in the ACC Tournament. Since then, the Irish offense has kicked into a higher gear to roll through their three NCAA Tournament opponents by a combined score of 10-3. Hodan scored in each of those three games. Clark praised the sophomore's "soccer brain" and compared his game to senior captain and Hermann Trophy semifinalist Harrison Shipp. Hodan ranked second on the team behind Shipp with nine goals and five assists heading into the College Cup. Forward momentum has been hard to sustain in the postseason for Notre Dame in recent years. Last season, the Irish were the tournament's top seed, but fell in the round of 16 to eventual champion Indiana. This year's group retooled the way they approached the regular season to try to peak at tournament time and talked about that loss throughout the fall as motivation. After the win Dec. 7, none of the players sounded content with just making it to the final weekend of the year and reaching a milestone that has been a longtime coming for Clark. "I don't know that they've reached their goal yet. Their goal is to win a national championship," Clark said. "I think we should've reached here a while ago. It's hard to get that final stage. It's hard to make that final jump." Hockey Doubles Its Incoming Freshman Class Three forwards and two defensemen signed letters of intent to play hockey at Notre Dame next season. That group will join five others who signed on with the Irish last season, but deferred enrollment for a season to help replace the massive 10-man senior class currently on the roster. Minnesota native Connor Hurley highlights this year's addition to the class. The 6-2, 176-pound scoring threat is expected to make a contribution as soon as he arrives on campus, especially if he can add some muscle to his tall frame. Hurley was the youngest player selected in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in the summer when Buffalo took him in the second round. He comes from the same high school as former Irish captain Anders Lee, and current players Steven Fogarty and Ben Ostlie. "We've had a number of high-quality players from Edina," head coach

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