Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2014

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

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ND SPORTS BY DAN MURPHY D espite losing two of its stars to graduation this year, the Notre Dame men's soccer team will pick up right where it left off last season — at the top. The defending national champions open the year at No. 1 in the preseason polls. The ranking didn't come as much of a shock to the Irish, who have a proven track record of quickly filling the gaps left by departed talent. The two mainstays gone from last year 's 17‑1‑6 championship team are All‑American center back Grant Van De Casteele and All‑American for‑ ward Harrison Shipp. Van De Casteele was the hub of a defense that held opponents to 0.75 goals per game in 2013. On the offensive end, Shipp led the team in goals (12) and assists (10). Head coach Bobby Clark referred to the small, quick playmaker as the team's "maestro." "My wee wizard, Harry," Clark said. "He was such a special player. When you take players like that out, you have to find new players who are go‑ ing to be special." Shipp and Van De Casteele were those new guys Clark was searching for at this point a year ago. At the time, the Irish were trying to figure out how they would replace Ryan Finley, the country's No. 2 scorer in 2012, and midfielder Dillon Powers, who went on to win the MLS Rookie of the Year award this past season. Clark, now in his 14th season with the Irish, has tapped into a steady stream of elite players and has found ways to consis‑ tently bring new talent to the forefront of the program. This year 's candidates include ju‑ No. 1 Men's Soccer Hopes To Replace Stars With A New Team Identity Junior Patrick Hodan ranked second on the team in both goals (11) and assists (five) last year, and figures to be one of the team's primary offensive weapons in 2014. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS

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