PHILADELPHIA -- The odds were in its favor for an all-ACC final with three of the four teams in the 2013 Men’s College Cup being a part of the well-known east coast powerhouse league.
Maryland, making its first appearance in the title matchup since 2008, will face Notre Dame, a team that is making history with its first chance at a national crown. The game is set for 3 p.m. ET at PPL Park on Sunday.A blessing and a curse depending on how you look at it, but these two teams are very familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses and have a good idea of what to expect on Sunday -- a good game.
“We’ll see what Sunday presents,” Maryland head coach Sasho Civrovski said. “I think it’s the two best teams in the country. I really believe that, sincerely. We’ve played a lot of great teams, and I think the two best teams are playing on Sunday.”
Oddly enough, neither team goes into the championship decision with the confidence of having the edge per say despite having played each other earlier in the season. That is because the outing on Oct. 8 ended in a 1-1 double-overtime tie, with senior forward Patrick Mullins knotting the lone goal for the Terps and junior forward Vince Cicciarelli landing one for the Fighting Irish.
However, Maryland does have the edge in title game experience. The Terps have three titles to the program’s name, the most recent coming in 2008 under the leadership of Civrovski.
In contrast, Notre Dame has been making history all along the road to Philadelphia. It was the Fighting Irish’s first appearance in the semifinals, and now it’s their first opportunity for a championship. Head coach Bobby Clark has been in this spot before though, with his most recent time during his tenure at Stanford.
“It’s my second one,” Clark said. “I was here with Stanford, and I hope this team can do a better job because we lost the final. I think it’ll be very nice to take the title home, but it’s not going to be easy. … Whichever team wins out in this game, we know it’s going to be a very hard game.”
For both teams, the grand finale and the fulfillment of each team’s ultimate goal for the season lies just hours ahead. Rest assured though that both teams are preparing to give it all they’ve got and leave everything out on the grass on Sunday.
“So I think coming into this year we had one ultimate goal which was to bring the program to the [semifinals] and to get to a national championship and I think we’ve assembled the right group of guys,” Notre Dame senior forward Harrison Shipp said. “I don’t think we have any weakness on the field, and I have complete trust in these guys that they are going to make the plays that need to be made.”
“It’ll be hopefully a great game on Sunday,” Mullins said. “I know we’re going to do our part and get our bodies rested and ready to give our best foot forward and I’m sure they will do the same so I expect it to be a really good game on Sunday.”