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Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Notre Dame

We’re breaking down each and every NCAA D1 team one by one to get prepped for the rapidly approaching season. Welcome back to the Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Previews! We move another spot down the list and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, located in South Bend, IN, are up for Preview!

Notre Dame went 13-3 in 2012, losing to eventual champion, Loyola, 7-5, in the NCAAs. Notre Dame’s other two losses came in low-scoring fashion to St. John’s (8-7) in the Big East playoffs, and Penn State (4-3) early on. The Irish bested Duke, Drexel, Denver, Ohio State, Georgetown, Syracuse, Yale, and Virginia before falling to the Greyhounds, for an impressive run.

In 2013, the Irish start things off with a bang, and play huge games against Duke, Penn State, UNC, Hofstra, Ohio State, and Denver before kicking off their Big East schedule. They play independent Marquette in the midst of the BE slate. The beginning is incredibly tough, with no easy games, but Notre Dame can find form in the Big East if they drop a couple early.

Notre Dame starts with defense, and works from there. John Kemp returns in goal for his Senior season, and he should once again backstop an impressive team defense, led by guys like Matt Miller, Stephen O’Hara, and Tyler Anderson. To be honest, I’m not sure who will emerge as the starting group for the Irish, but if their past defenses are any indication, it will be filled with system guys who play together. It’s a staple of the Irish defensive mindset. With Kemp leading the way, expect this group to shine immediately.

If the defense takes a while to adjust, they could still be saved by the offense, and I feel like this is a relatively new thing for Notre Dame. With Sean Rogers, Connor Doyle, and Westy Hopkins returning on attack, one has to wonder where Matt Kavanaugh will figure in. Has to be somewhere. Combine that with another strong group in the midfield, led by Quinn Cully, Ryan Foley, and Jim Marlatt, and the Irish could put up more goals in 2013 than we’re used to seeing.

Before looking into Notre Dame a little more closely, I was worried that this team might not be suited well to the new rules, but the more I look at them, the more I think I’m wrong. They have good size and speed, and when they pushed the ball last year, they scored goals. The Irish also have discipline, and lots of it. I’m almost tempted to make them my pick to win it all right now. I just convinced myself, but mark my words, the Irish will be excellent. Shocking, I know.

Click HERE to see Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview posts for Air Force, Albany, Army, Bellarmine, Binghamton, Brown, Bryant, Bucknell, Canisius, Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Denver, Detroit, Drexel, Duke, Fairfield, Hartford, Harvard, High Point, Hobart, Hofstra, Holy Cross, Jacksonville, Johns Hopkins, Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola, Manhattan, Marist, Marquette, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mercer, Michigan, Mount St. Mary’s, Navy, and UNC!