Notre Dame advances to first College Cup, joins two other ACC teams

College Cup

 
9527087As successful as coach Bobby Clark has been in his 13 seasons at the helm in South Bend, a College Cup has eluded the Notre Dame coach and his program until now.

The Irish punched the program’s first College Cup ticket on Saturday night with a 2-1 win over Michigan State, their second over the Spartans this season to book a place in college soccer’s Big Dance being held Friday and Sunday in Chester, Pa. You can see highlights of the match HERE.

Two other ACC teams – both more seasoned in their conference and in late season runs – advanced to the College Cup over the weekend, making New Mexico the only non-ACC team with an invite to PPL Park in what will closely resemble the ACC Championship held last month in Germantown, minus Clemson.

Virginia booked the first spot with a 2-1 win over UConn at home on Friday night courtesy of Jordan Allen’s bicycle kick that buried the last unseeded team left in the tournament. You can see highlights of the match HERE.

Virginia will make their 11th trip to the College Cup as they seek their 7th national title and first since 2009 while their opponent, Maryland, will make their 13th trip after beating Cal 2-1 on Saturday.

Freshman Michael Sauers scored from 25 yards out in the 86th minute to avenge the Terps’ opening weekend loss in Berkeley and give them back-to-back College Cup appearances. Maryland is seeking their program’s 4th national title and first since 2008. You can see highlights of the match HERE.

New Mexico took care of the last Pac-12 team left in the tournament, holding off Washington in frigid Seattle Saturday night to book their second trip to the College Cup. The Lobos lost to Maryland in the 2005 final. Ben McKendry’s 37th minute goal, his fifth of the season, was the difference. You can see highlights of the match HERE.

All season long it looked like the Pac-12 might be the better conference as UCLA, Cal and Washington had a stronghold near the top of the rankings but in the end the mighty ACC won out again with an impressive College Cup haul that’s a feat even for a conference with as deep and with as much history as the ACC. The ACC had three teams in the College Cup in 2008 and 2009 and two teams each year from 2004-2007 and in 1987, 1992 and 1995. The 2008 final Maryland won was an all-ACC final against North Carolina.

Game times for Friday are still TBA, but Maryland and Virginia will play in one game and New Mexico and Notre Dame will play in the other. Click here for tickets and information.

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