Notre Dame sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan has been on a certified late-season roll that extended during his and the Fighting Irish's first-ever College Cup appearance.
Hodan scored two goals as third-seeded Notre Dame beat No. 7 New Mexico, 2-0, in an NCAA semifinal soccer win at PPL Park in Chester on Friday.
Notre Dame (16-1-6) will face Maryland, 2-1 winners over Virginia in Friday's second semifinal, in the College Cup championship game at 3 p.m. Sunday, in what will be an all-Atlantic Coast Conference final. Hodan has now scored at least one goal in six consecutive games, which includes all four of Notre Dame's tournament matches.
"We have started to move the ball well," Hodan said in explaining his recent offensive surge. "Everybody is finding the open guys, whoever scores."
Notre Dame has scored 12 goals in its four playoff games and Hodan has five of them.
"He is a natural goal-scorer," Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark said.
Hodan opened the scoring in the seventh minute, taking a feed from Harrison Shipp, Notre Dame's all-American forward.
Shipp, the Hermann Trophy semifinalist and ACC offensive player of the year, broke down a few defenders and found an open Hodan inside the box. Hodan made one move and connected from about 15 yards out.
It was the first goal that New Mexico had allowed in four tournament games. The Lobos (14-6-2) were the last of the four semifinalists to be scored on in the tournament.
Despite Hodan's two goals, it was Shipp who was the best player on the field, which comes as no surprise. Shipp had two assists, increasing his team-leading total to 10. He also has a team-high 12 goals.
"He is very crafty player, very knowledgeable and caused a lot of problems," New Mexico all-American defender Kyle Venter said of Shipp.
Hodan scored his second goal in the 55th minute. Notre Dame's Vince Cicciarelli, who was set up by Shipp, hit the crossbar, and Hodan, following the play, headed in the rebound for his 11th goal.
"He does this every day in practice," Shipp said of Hodan.
And, recently, he has been doing it every game.