Ian Etherington collected the assist on Luke Boughen's game-winning goal the last time Notre Dame and Rutgers met. The Irish captured a 1-0 victory over the Scarlet Knights during the 2004 season.

16th-Ranked Fighting Irish To Open BIG EAST Slate At No. 10 St. John's

Sept. 14, 2005

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Notre Dame will begin its defense of the 2004 BIG EAST regular-season title when the Irish take to the field versus St. John’s on Friday night in Jamaica, N.Y. at 6:30 p.m. (EST/South Bend Time). The match-up will pit two top-20 teams, as the Red Storm are ranked 10th and the Fighting Irish are 16th. College Sports Television (CSTV) will broadcast the game and it will air on Monday, Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m. (EST). The Irish will travel up the Empire State to Syracuse to battle the Orange on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 12:00 p.m. (EST).

IRISH IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 55-41-10 (.566) all time in BIG EAST regular-season play dating back to the 1995 campaign … the Irish have posted four straight winning seasons within the conference, including an 8-1-1 mark last season … that was Notre Dame’s first eight-win BIG EAST campaign and that record gave them the regular-season title for the first time in program history … the Fighting Irish have captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003.

IRISH IN BIG EAST OPENERS: Notre Dame is 7-2-1 all time in BIG EAST openers … the Fighting Irish opened conference play last season with a 4-1 win over Georgetown at Alumni Field … St. John’s defeated the Irish, 3-0, in the 2003 BIG EAST opener in Notre Dame, Ind. … that match marked the only other time, until this year, that the Irish have opened BIG EAST play versus the Red Storm.

ROAD OPENERS: The Fighting Irish are 2-1-1 in BIG EAST openers that have occurred away from Alumni Field … the last time Notre Dame began conference play away from home was in 2000, a 2-0 loss to Boston College … the Irish won at Providence (1-0) to open the 1996 conference slate and at Syracuse (3-1) to begin the 1998 BIG EAST ledger … the team also went to Pittsburgh and played a scoreless tie in 1997.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS ST. JOHN’S: St. John’s holds an 8-2-3 advantage in meetings with the Fighting Irish … the two teams tied, 1-1, last year at Notre Dame on October 16th … the Irish entered that contest ranked seventh, while the Red Storm were 10th … St. John’s has never been ranked lower than 21st entering a match versus the Fighting Irish … No. 5 Notre Dame knocked off No. 4 St. John’s, 1-0, in the championship game of the 2003 BIG EAST tournament … Notre Dame’s first win versus the Red Storm came in 2000 when the Irish upset No. 10 St. John’s, 1-0, at Alumni Field … the Irish have never won at St. John’s … Notre Dame has been outscored 26-9 throughout the series.

ABOUT THE RED STORM: St. John’s (2-1-1) is coming off a win 4-1 versus Duke, who was ranked sixth at the time … the Red Storm finished as the runner-up at the Duke Classic over the weekend … they opened the tournament with a 2-1 loss to North Carolina State … a pair of Red Storm players took home BIG EAST weekly honors on Sept. 12 … Sebastian Alvarado-Ralph (M/F) was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week as he had a part in every goal in the win versus the Blue Devils … he tallied one goal and assisted on the other three … all four goals were scored in a span of 25 minutes … midfielder Garry Lewis was tabbed as the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week … the freshman netted the game-winner versus Duke to ignite the four-goal explosion … St. John’s began the season by winning the Rutgers Tournament for the fourth straight year by defeating Holy Cross 3-0 on Sept. 2 and tying San Diego State 0-0 on Sept. 3 … the Red Storm won the title over the Aztecs on goal differential … Alvarado-Ralph leads the team in points with seven on two goals and three assists … Matt Groenwald, a unanimous preseason All-BIG EAST selection, is second on the squad with five points coming on two goals and one assist … Jason Landers has played all 380 minutes in goal, allowing just three goals and making 21 saves … he possesses a goals-against-average of 0.71 and has two shutouts on the season … St. John’s was selected to win the Red Division of the BIG EAST by the conference coaches … the Red Storm made it to the quarterfinals of last year’s NCAA tournament, before suffering a 1-0 loss to Maryland.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS SYRACUSE: Notre Dame is 7-2-1 all time versus Syracuse … the teams have met eight times since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995, with the Irish winning seven of those matches … Notre Dame won a 1-0 decision last year at Alumni Field on October 10th … the Fighting Irish and Orange first met in 1982 as Syracuse prevailed 3-1 in that contest, which was played in Rochester, N.Y. … the Irish own a 3-0-1 record at Syracuse and a 4-1 mark at home versus the Orange … Syracuse has not beaten the Fighting Irish since 1997, a 1-0 decision at Notre Dame … Notre Dame has outscored Syracuse 16-6 during the series.

ABOUT THE ORANGE: Syracuse (4-0-0) opened the season with three straight shutout victories at home … the Orange defeated Marist 1-0 in double-overtime on Sept. 2 and followed that up with another 1-0 win over Loyola on Sept. 4 … Syracuse took down Cornell, 2-0, on Sept. 7 and then notched its fourth straight win by beating Adelphi 2-1 … the Orange will open BIG EAST play when they host conference newcomer Marquette on Friday, Sept. 16 at the SU Soccer Stadium … redshirt freshman Pete Rowley and sophomore Isaac Collings lead the team in points with four apiece … Rowley has netted a team-high two goals, while Collings has netted one goal and assisted on two others … sophomore Brad Peetoom garnered BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 5 … freshman goalkeeper Robert Cavicchia has played 335:52 without allowing a goal and making 14 stops … senior Rich Scheer has given up one score in 37 minutes of action with no saves.

IRISH WIN MIKE BERTICELLI MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT: For the second time in the history of the four-year old Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament, the host Irish captured the title as they defeated Boston University 1-0 on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saint Louis 1-0 in double-overtime on Sunday, Sept. 11 … that marked the first time that Notre Dame won both games of the tournament … the Fighting Irish also won the event in 2003 … Indiana, the No. 1 team at the time, finished as runners-up of this year’s tournament after tying Saint Louis 1-1 on Friday and defeating Boston University 5-0 on Sunday.

RECAPPING BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Notre Dame claimed a 1-0 victory over Boston University in the Mike Berticelli Memorial on Friday, Sept. 9 at Alumni Field … Nate Norman tallied the game-winner in the 73rd minute on a feed from freshman forward Bright Dike … the first half was a struggle for both sides, as neither team could put together a sustained attack … the Irish came out strong in the second half and started to hammer the goal with shots that just could not find the back of the net … Notre Dame would finally breakthrough when Dike fed the ball to Norman, who dribbled around two defenders and sent the shot into the right side of the net past Comroe from 14-yards away … Boston University nearly capitalized on a corner kick with just under two minutes left to play, yet a Terrier foul in the goalkeeper box put a halt to the sequence … Notre Dame junior goalkeeper Chris Cahill survived the close call and would go on to collect his first collegiate shutout as he turned away two Terrier shots on the night.

RECAPPING SAINT LOUIS: Notre Dame used another dramatic effort to capture its third victory of the season and win the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament on its home turf at Alumni Field on Sunday, Sept. 11 … the Fighting Irish defeated Saint Louis 1-0 when sophomore Joe Lapira headed in the only goal of the match in the eighth minute of the second overtime period to give the Irish the title … juniors Ryan Miller and Nate Norman collected the assists on the goal … the Fighting Irish nearly got on the board within the first two minutes of the contest as Lapira worked his way near the goal twice, yet was denied both times by Billiken goalkeeper Jeff Sackman … Lapira nearly opened the scoring again in the sixth minute with a close shot from the left wing … Notre Dame would continue to attack throughout the contest as the Irish out-shot Saint Louis 23-10 on the afternoon … Saint Louis would threaten in the second half as the Billikens sent two shots off the post, yet Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill continued his solid play, including a diving save with 13:50 left to play in the second stanza … after 17 minutes of scoreless overtime action, the Irish and Billikens appeared destined for a tie before Miller sent a long ball to Norman, who fed the ball to Lapira for his game-winning header, which found the back of the net from six yards out … Cahill stopped four shots on the day and collected his second straight shutout.

CAHILL TABBED BIG EAST GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK: Chris Cahill was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week on Sept. 12 following a weekend in which he posted shutouts over Boston University and Saint Louis in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament … the junior did not have any margin for error, as both Notre Dame wins were 1-0 decisions … Cahill owns a 0.47 goals-against-average entering Friday’s game against St. John’s … prior to this season, Cahill had not seen any game action during his Fighting Irish career due to the presence of All-American Chris Sawyer … Sawyer garnered BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week honors twice during the 2004 season en route to winning the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year award for the second straight season.

HONORS FOR MILLER: Junior defender Ryan Miller was selected to the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week following his play in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournamet … he was also named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll for his efforts, which included anchoring a defense that did not allow a goal over the weekend … he also collected an assist on Joe Lapira’s game-winning goal versus Saint Louis.

NOTRE DAME LANDS FOUR ON ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Goalkeeper Chris Cahill, midfielder Nate Norman, forward Joe Lapira and defender Ryan Miller were all named to the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament All-Tournament Team for the Fighting Irish.

NEXT UP: Two BIG EAST newcomers will invade South Bend during the second weekend of conference play … the Irish will take on Louisville at Alumni Field on Friday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. … a match-up with Cincinnati awaits the Irish on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 2:00.

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark looks ahead to this weekend’s games …

“We are opening the BIG EAST with two strong teams. Both of these games will be very hard road games for us. We have to take one at a time because they will both be very different games. One of the games will be on turf (St. John’s) and the other will be on grass (Syracuse) so you have to think differently.”

“We tied St. John’s last year but we’ve never won out there. This will be the third time we’ve played out there since I came here and we hope the third time will be lucky for us. They had an impressive win against Duke on Sunday.”

“Syracuse is off to a great start. All I see with them so far is wins and they will be tough to play there. Both of these games will be hard for us and that is why we scheduled tough games before we started conference play. Hopefully those games prepared us.”

TAKING DOWN A TOP-10: Notre Dame’s 4-1 win over No. 7 SMU was the first time the Fighting Irish defeated a top-10 opponent since they took down No. 9 Boston College last October … the Irish have now claimed a victory against a top-10 team in six straight seasons … a 4-0 win over No. 6 Seton Hall in 2002 was the last four-goal output for the Irish versus a top-10 team prior to the win over the Mustangs.

IRISH IMPROVE MARK IN SEASON-OPENERS: After taking down No. 7 SMU, 4-1, in the first match of the 2005 campaign, Notre Dame is now 19-7-3 all time in season-openers, including 4-0-1 in the Bobby Clark era … the Irish have not lost a season-opener since the 1994 campaign, a 1-0 loss at No. 15 Penn State … prior to the SMU match, the last time Notre Dame defeated a nationally-ranked team in a season-opener was in 1993 when the Irish knocked off No. 20 Rutgers 4-1 … the four-goal performance against SMU in the season-opener was the most goals scored in a lid-lifter since 2001, a 5-0 win versus Villanova.

CAHILL AND DALBY NAMED TO ADIDAS/IU CREDIT UNION CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Goalkeeper Chris Cahill and midfielder Greg Dalby were named to the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic All-Tournament Team for their efforts last weekend … in his first collegiate game action, Chris Cahill got the start in goal and allowed only one goal, while stopping one shot in Notre Dame’s 4-1 victory over SMU … the junior held No. 10 Wake Forest scoreless throughout regulation and his only blemish came nearly seven minutes into the first overtime period as the Demon Deacons topped the Irish 1-0 … he made six saves on the weekend … Dalby scored his first collegiate goal just 1:26 into Notre Dame’s victory over SMU … he would go on to collect an assist on a John Stephens goal, which put the Fighting Irish up 3-1 … Cahill and Dalby were also named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll.

CHALLENGING SLATE: Once again, the Fighting Irish have scheduled a very tough ledger for the 2005 season … six of the teams on Notre Dame’s slate were ranked in the NSCAA preseason poll (#1 Indiana, #5 St. John’s, #7 SMU, #10 Wake Forest, #19 Connecticut, #25 Saint Louis) … five Irish opponents are currently ranked in the top-25 of the NSCAA rankings (#1 Indiana, #5 Connecticut, #10 St. John’s, #14 Wake Forest, #18 Seton Hall) … the Irish opened up the season by facing SMU and Wake Forest, who were ranked seventh and 10th, respectively, at the time and were coming off Sweet 16 appearances in the 2004 NCAA tournament … in all, the Irish will face eight teams that made the College Cup last season.

NOTRE DAME PICKED SECOND IN BLUE DIVISION: Notre Dame was selected to finish second in the BIG EAST’s Blue Division behind Connecticut, while St. John’s was tabbed to be the league’s Red Division champion … the Irish collected seven first-place votes compared to the Huskies’ nine … Notre Dame was tabbed to finish third in the conference last year, yet went on to win the regular-season league title.

DALBY AND ETHERINGTON NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST TEAM: Junior midfielder Greg Dalby was one of three unanimous selections to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Team as voted on by the league’s 16 head coaches … Dalby’s classmate and fellow midfielder Ian Etherington joined him on the 13-man squad … Dalby was a second-team all-BIG EAST selection last season … the other unanimous choices for the preseason squad were St. John’s midfielder Matt Groenwald and Seton Hall forward Sacha Kljestan … Etherington garnered third-team all-BIG EAST honors in 2004.

DALBY NAMED TO M.A.C. HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST: Greg Dalby was named to the 2005 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List … the trophy is presented annually to the top male and female Division I soccer player in the United States … the 25-man watch list was compiled by a panel of coaches from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) … Notre Dame and UCLA were the only schools to have at least one member of the men’s and women’s soccer team named to the 2005 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List … Jen Buczkowski, Candace Chapman and Katie Thorlakson were all named to the list for the Irish women.

COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LIST: Greg Dalby was also selected to the College Soccer News Pre-Season All-America second team … the junior tri-captain was not the only Irish student-athlete honored by the publication, as four incoming freshmen were named to the `100 Freshmen to Watch’ list for the 2005 season … (M/D) Matt Besler, (F) Bright Dike, (GK) Luke Seibolt and (D) Jack Traynor were selected to the list and are all part of a very talented seven-man freshman class for the Irish.

FRESHMAN CLASS NATIONALLY RANKED: Notre Dame’s seven-man freshman class was ranked 18th nationally by College Soccer News … (M/D) Matt Besler, (D) Kyle Dagan, (F) Bright Dike, (GK) Andrew Quinn, (M//D) Cory Rellas, (GK) Luke Seibolt and (D) Jack Traynor make up the talented crop of Fighting Irish rookies.

DALBY CAPTAINS U.S. UNDER-20s AT FIFA WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP: Junior midfielder Greg Dalby captained the U.S. Under-20 team during a solid showing at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship this past summer … the U.S. won Group D, which was referred to as the `Group of Death’ entering play, with an undefeated 2-0-1 record … the highlight of the tournament occurred in the first match as the U.S. defeated eventual champion Argentina 1-0 … that would be Argentina’s only loss during its seven-game stretch … a disappointing 3-1 loss to Italy in the Round of 16 brought an end to the event for the U.S. … despite the loss, the U.S. still had a historic run at the tournament … back-to-back-to-back shutouts versus Argentina (1-0), Germany (0-0) and Egypt (1-0) in the tournament’s toughest group marks one of the greatest national team accomplishments in U.S. soccer history … the U.S. became just the 12th team in the tournament’s 28-year history to manage that feat … Dalby was one of 10 college players on the Under-20 team, which also featured a formidable mix of professional and high school standouts … one name easily recognizable to all soccer fans was DC United’s Freddy Adu, but the Under-20 team also featured Eddie Gaven (N.J. Metrostars), Jonathan Spector (Manchester United) and attacking players Jacob Peterson (Indiana) and Lee Nguyen (the lone high school player out of Texas).

WINNING WAYS: The Fighting Irish have put together four straight winning seasons all under the watch of head coach Bobby Clark … Clark has guided Notre Dame to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including the program’s first trip to the Sweet 16 in 2003.

McGEENEY WINS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Justin McGeeney, a junior forward, was part of the Des Moines (Iowa) Menace team that lifted the PDL national championship in El Paso, Texas on Saturday, Aug. 13 … the Menace and the El Paso Patriots fought out a 0-0 tie in front of 7,000 spectators and the Menace took the title in a penalty kick tie-breaker.

METHEMBE NDLOVU NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR: Indiana Invaders head coach Methembe Ndlovu, a volunteer assistant coach for the Irish, was named the Premier Development League Coach of the Year on Aug. 11 … the award was voted on by the United Soccer League’s coaches and general managers … the second-year Invaders head coach led the team to its third straight 11-win season at 11-5-0, missing the postseason by one point for the second consecutive season … he was 11-5-0 in his debut last season.

STAY UP-TO-DATE ON NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS: To stay updated on all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame you can log on to the official Notre Dame athletics web site at und.com or you can call the official Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000 … to access men’s soccer information on the hotline all you need to do is dial 4 from the main menu and then dial 1.