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Men's soccer to take on No. 3 Notre Dame tonight, players look to step up to challenge

October 29, 2014

As the No. 15-ranked men’s soccer team (9-3-3 overall , 3-1-2 Big Ten ) prepare to take on the No. 3-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-4-2 overall , 5-1-1 ACC) the team will certainly want this matchup to result in a win a bit more than any other game on the schedule.

"(The game against Notre Dame is) one of those games that’s easy to get up for,” senior midfielder Fatai Alashe said. “They’ve beaten us five times since I’ve been here. Obviously your senior year you want to end on a positive note.”

The Fighting Irish have eliminated MSU from the NCAA tournament in the last two seasons: in the second round in 2012 and in the Elite Eight in 2013.

“It’s always tough going into those kinds of tournament games. ... First year (we lost to Notre Dame) in the second round, last year obviously in the Elite Eight” Alashe said. “This is obviously a huge game as far as placement in the NCAA tournament. If we win this game it could be big for us.”

MSU’s all-time record against Notre Dame is just 6-16-5, with the Fighting Irish scoring 50 goals compared to only 24 from MSU. MSU is winless against the Fighting Irish since 2011.

“(Notre Dame) is obviously a real tough opponent. That’s had our number the past few years,” junior goalkeeper Zach Bennett said. “Whether it be their place or our place, they just seem to get the job done against us.”

“So thats been a little frustrating, and (it’s been) a challenge over the past few seasons. Unfortunately Notre Dame is kind of in our region and we always end up matching up in the NCAA tournaments. ... (It’s) something that (provides) a little extra motivation going into this game on Wednesday.”

Redshirt senior forward and midfielder Tim Kreutz believes to beat Notre Dame this year, the team must focus on just this game.

“I think we just need to focus on this game — not think about the game before, not think about the game coming up this weekend,” Kreutz said. “We just need to get down to South Bend and look at what we did last year, see what Notre Dame has done (differently) this year and find some areas that we can try to exploit.

"(We need to) think about our team and try not think about the (guys) on the other side of the ball — just focus on the guys that we put on the field.”

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