Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

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

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90 PRESEASON 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED ND SPORTS BY DAVID MCKINNEY T he No. 9 Notre Dame men's soccer team is coming off an 11‑5‑6 cam‑ paign in 2015. The Irish finished as the ACC runner‑up and entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 7 seed, but were knocked out in the round of 16 with a 2‑1 loss to 10th‑seeded Maryland. Leading Notre Dame into the 2016 campaign are the three team captains: senior Matt Habrowski, and fifth‑ year seniors Michael Shipp and Evan Panken. "We have three really good cap‑ tains with two returning seniors, lads that have already graduated and are two pre‑med guys, Michael Shipp and Evan Panken," Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. "Both are back for their fifth year. Then there is also rising senior Matt Habrowski. It's an exciting time; they are guys who have been stal‑ warts for a few years and all bring something different. "The way we do captains is that we [coaches] don't choose them, I prefer to let the players choose, and they always get it right. If you had said to me who would be the three guys for this year, I think we have some great younger guys coming through, but for this year I would have picked these three guys because you have different types." In 2015, Habrowski appeared in 17 matches, starting as a central de‑ fender in all 17. He was an integral part of Notre Dame's eight shutouts and was named to the Soccer News National Team of the Week Sept. 14. In addition to his defensive work, Habrowski also netted the game‑win‑ ning goal in Notre Dame's 1‑0 win over No. 9 Clemson. Shipp, the 2015 recipient of Notre Dame's Rockne Student‑Athlete award, started all 22 of the Irish's matches last season and scored two goals with one assist. Shipp also tal‑ lied the most minutes by any Irish player in 2015 with a total of 2,119 minutes played. Panken, a midfielder, also started all 22 games for the Irish and was named to the ACC All‑Academic team and the ACC Academic Honor Roll. On the field, Panken scored two goals in 2015 and had a career high in assists with 13. Notre Dame — which was picked to finish second in the ACC's Coastal Division and also received the third‑ most votes for the league's overall champion — posted a 0‑1‑2 record in three preseason scrimmages, tying SIU Edwardsville Aug. 14, losing 1‑0 at Bradley Aug. 17 and playing to a 1‑1 draw versus Valparaiso Aug. 22. Notre Dame was slated to open the regular season by hosting the Mike Berticelli Tournament at Alumni Sta‑ dium the final weekend in August. The Irish were set to face UC Irvine Aug. 26 and New Mexico Aug. 27. They will then travel to Bloomington, Ind., to participate in the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic, and will take on Stanford Sept. 2 and California Sept. 4. WOMEN'S SOCCER OFF TO STRONG START The Notre Dame women's soccer team is already off to a strong start this fall. Two games into the season, the Irish stood at 2‑0‑0 with shutout home victories over Wright State (3‑0) Aug. 19 and Wisconsin (1‑0) Aug. 21. Leading the way for the Irish are eight seniors — including midfielder Sandra Yu, who played on the United States Under‑20 Women's National Team in 2013 and the Under‑23 squad in 2015. Another one of those eight seniors that will play a big role is return‑ ing starting goalie Kaela Little from Oklahoma City. Last season, Little returned from injury in the seventh game of the year to claim the starting spot, finishing the year with 16 ap‑ pearances and 14 starts for a grand total of 1,319 minutes between the pipes. The Irish allowed opponents to score just 11 total goals during the season. The Irish are also injecting some new talent into the roster. In particu‑ lar, rookie forward Jennifer Westen‑ dorf was one of four ACC players to be named to's Preseason Best XI Freshman Team. Westendorf led Notre Dame in goals during the spring season with four. The 2016 recruiting class also in‑ cluded goalie Brooke Littman of Ran‑ cho Palos Verdes, Calif.; defender Alexis Martel‑Lamothe of Ottawa, Ontario; and defender Samantha Zepponi of Sebastopol, Calif. Irish head coach Theresa Romag‑ nolo said she's looking forward to getting her new players on the pitch. "We are very excited about what our 2016 class will bring to this pro‑ gram," Romagnolo said. "They are an exceptional group of soccer players, as well as people, and we look for‑ ward to them excelling in all facets of their life here at Notre Dame." The Irish notched a 14‑5‑1 overall record in 2015, and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tourna‑ ment before being knocked out with Senior Matt Habrowski, who has made 26 career starts, was named a team captain for the 2016 men's soccer squad. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS Veteran Captains Lead Men's Soccer Into 2016

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