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Irish and Huskies Prepare for Top Ten Matchup

Sep 27, 2012, 9:11 PM EST

Photo by Matt Cashore

A conference clash of two top ten teams awaits Notre Dame in Storrs, Conn. on Saturday. The No. 8 Irish will travel to New England to square off against BIG EAST foe Connecticut, the second-ranked team in the country.

The 8-0-1 Huskies have outscored their opponents by a whopping 19-2 margin thus far. They have not allowed a first half goal. Connecticut’s stingy defense is largely a product of the phenomenal play of sophomore goalkeeper Andre Blake. Blake, who boasts a 0.22 goals against average, was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year last year to become the first BIG EAST freshman to win a major conference award. He was the unanimous selection for BIG EAST preseason Goalkeeper of the Year.

Offensively, Connecticut is led by Dakar, Senegal product Mamadou Doudou Diouf. The junior forward was named the BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and was a unanimous choice to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. He paces the Husky attack with seven goals and an assist.

But behind the Huskies’ flashy statistics and undefeated record hides the fact that they have yet to play a team ranked in the top ten. Connecticut’s lone win against a ranked opponent came last Saturday at home against No. 15 St. John’s. Notre Dame, on the other hand, has beaten two teams ranked in the top ten: No. 7 Akron and No. 10 Indiana. The Irish topped the Hoosiers in Bloomington on Wednesday by a score of 1-0.

Notre Dame’s lone loss was at the hands of BIG EAST opponent Louisville, and Bobby Clark‘s squad would loath nothing more than to drop the first two games on their conference slate.

Senior attacker Ryan Finley continues to lead the team in goals with six. Senior captain Dillon Powers and junior forward Harry Shipp have both tallied two goals and three assists. Goalies Will Walsh and Patrick Wall have four wins apiece.

The Irish and Huskies will kick off this crucial league battle at 7:00 PM on Saturday.

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