BR-1 NOTRE DAME (4-1-1) AT BR-3 UNC (4-0-1), FETZER FIELD
WHEN: Friday, 5 p.m. EST (ESPN-U)
THE COACHES: NOTRE DAME– Bobby Clark (16th year); UNC– Carlos Somoano (5th year)
THE TOP 4 PLAYERS: NOTRE DAME– Jon Gallagher (3 goals); Michael Shipp (one of the top defenders in the nation); UNC– Omar Holness (5 starts, team-leading 17 shots); Raby George (3 goals, 2 game-winners).
THE SERIES: Notre Dame leads 1-0-1. Last year Notre Dame knocked off the Tar Heels 2-0 in South Bend, Ind., and the year before was a 1-1 tie in regular season play.
THE NOTES: It’s easy to see the ACC Championship being affected by this match, no question. Both programs play outstanding defense–they’ve combined to give up only 3 goals in 11 combined matches. And it is well known these two sides don’t play a lot of slack competition. Notre Dame has beaten very strong Indiana and Clemson sides, as well as a tough upstart South Florida team. UNC’s schedule has been only slightly less challenging. This game will have extra attention as it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN-U instead of just regionally or not at all. That should add some fun to it.
THE BREAKDOWN: Notre Dame has to be ticked off after its upset loss to Xavier on Tuesday, and it will be looking to avenge that loss–and the Tar Heels are standing in the way. North Carolina is looking to prove it can knock off a Top 10 power, so that’ll be the incentive here. There should be a nice crowd on hand, which will help hype it up.
THE HERO SPORTS PREDICTION: UNC earns its first-ever win over the Fighting Irish, and Omar Holness shakes off his challenging start to the season and scores the game winner.