The no. 3 men's soccer team (15-1-6) is College Cup-bound! Saturday night, they defeated no. 11 Michigan State, 2-1, in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals, punching their ticket to the semifinals this weekend just outside Philadelphia. The Irish goals came from Evan Panken and Patrick Hodan in a match that saw the Irish control the early part of the game. Panken's goal came in the 31st minute off a short pass from Vince Cicciarelli, who had fielded a rebound off a blocked corner kick. Hodan scored unassisted in the 48th minute. MSU scored on a header 11 minutes later, but the Irish held on and came out of the match outshooting their opponent, 16-9, and holding a 7-3 advantage in corners.
The Irish face no. 7 New Mexico in the NCAA tournament semifinals this Friday evening in Chester, PA (5:00 p.m. ET, Watch ESPN, ESPNU). This is the 1st College Cup appearance for the Irish in program history. IN PROGRAM HISTORY. If they win, they will play for the championship on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET (Watch ESPN, ESPNU). This is our chance. Will we hold a new national title at this time next week?
No. 13 Irish hockey (10-7-1, 3-4-1), returning from hobbling injuries, once again split their weekend matches, this time against Massachusetts. Friday night, Notre Dame claimed a 5-3 win off of 3 power-play goals and goaltender Steven Summerhays logged 36 saves (his season high). Irish goals came from Mario Lucia (2g, 1a), Sam Herr, Andy Ryan, and Jeff Costello (off a penalty shot). Back in the line-up were forwards Vinny Hinostroza, Mike Voran, and Thomas DiPauli. The 1st Massachusetts goal came on a 1st-period, 5-3 power play and the 2nd came on another power play late in the 2nd period. After that goal cut the Irish lead to 3-2 going into the 3rd period, Lucia netted his 2 goals. The Minutemen would score once more with less than a minute and a half to play, and although trailing in shots, 39-32, the Irish walked away with the 2-goal win.
Saturday night, the Irish fell in a 3-2 heartbreaker to Massachusetts. After carrying a 2-2 tie late into the 3rd period off of goals from Sam Herr and Mario Lucia, a Minutemen power play gave Massachusetts the lead with under 3 minutes remaining. The Irish out shot their opponent, 35-22. Two of the 3 Massachusetts goals came when Notre Dame was short-handed; ND went 0-for-5 on power plays.
The Irish take a break until January 4th, when they hit the ice against Boston College on the road.
The men's swimming and diving team claimed 1st place in Iowa City at the Hawkeye Invitational this past weekend. The Irish earned the top spot in 13 events, including the 200 and 400 IM, 1-M and 3-M dive, 200 and 400 medley relays, 100 and 200 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, and the 200, 400, and 800 freestyle relays.
The women's swimming and diving team also earned the win at the Hawkeye Invitational, claiming 1st place overall in a field of 8 schools. Swimming superstar Emma Reaney recorded the fastest 200 breaststroke in the country this season, breaking her own record, as well as meet and pool records and clocking in at 2:05.85. Crazier than that perhaps was the diving performance: the Irish claimed 3 of the top 8 spots for the platform dive, despite the fact that Notre Dame does not have a platform for them to practice from. The Irish earned top finishes in the 200 free relay, 1-M dive, the 200 and 400 IMs, 200 and 400 medleys, 200 breast, and 200 fly. They snagged the runner-up spot in 7 events.
The men's team will get back in the water on January 4th when they head to Puerto Rico for the Copa Coqui Meet. The women's team returns January 11th against Northwestern and Michigan in Evanston, where the men will join them.
Track & field started up this past weekend with the Blue & Gold Meet in South Bend. Notre Dame claimed the top spot in 25 of 33 events. A few Irish student athletes placed in their events at the Golden Gala Multis in Kent, including 1st place in the women's pentathlon (in a field of 7) and 2nd in women's pentathlon and men's heptathlon. For full results, go here.
The Irish return to competition on January 18th at the Michigan Invitational in Ann Arbor.
Men's basketball (7-2) went 2-1 over the past week, falling to Iowa, 98-93, but winning out over Delaware, 80-75, and Bryant, 70-59. Here's alstein's story on the Iowa loss. For analysis of the win over Delaware, 4pointshooter has you covered here.
The Irish face North Dakota State at home on Wednesday night (7:00 p.m. ET, Watch ESPN, ESPNU) as the Gotham Classic continues. Saturday, they face Indiana in Indianapolis as part of the Crossroads Classic (3:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).
No. 4/5 women's basketball (8-0) claimed 2 solid wins this past week, first over no. 10 Penn State, 77-67, then over UCLA, 90-48.
The Irish face Michigan on the road Saturday night (7:00 p.m. ET, WatchND) and then play Central Michigan at home on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET (WatchND).
We'll bring you updates again next week on the Notre Dame Olympic sports and help you to root for the Irish beyond those long-awaited and well-loved fall Saturdays. For now, go Irish. Beat everybody.