Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

#23 Men's Soccer Opens 2002 Campaign At Diadora Challenge in Omaha, Neb.

Aug. 28, 2002

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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THE DIADORA CHALLENGE – Notre Dame opens up the 2002 campaign at the Diadora Challenge in Omaha, Neb. The Irish (12-7 in 2001) will face Southwest Missouri State (10-9-1 last season) in opening round action at Tranquility Field on Sat., Aug. 31 at 4:30 p.m. (CDT). The Irish will face host Creighton (11-9-1 a year ago) in its second game on Sun., Sept. 1 at 7:00 p.m.

SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame returns nine starters under second-year head coach Bobby Clark from last year’s squad which finished with a 12-7 record and 7-3 mark in BIG EAST play. The Irish received an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament after finishing tied for second in the final conference regular-season standings and advancing to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship. It was the fifth NCAA tournament appearance in the 25-year history of the program and the first since 1996. The top six scorers from the 2001 squad return, including two first-team all-league selections forward Erich Braun (Frankfurt, Germany) and junior midfielder Justin Detter (White Lake, Mich.). Braun led the Irish in scoring for the second time in three seasons as he scored a personal-best 12 goals and dished off three assists for a single-season career-high 27 points. Detter tied for third in scoring as he tallied four goals and dished off five assists (13 points). Junior forward Devon Prescod (Marietta, Ga.) also returns after a sensational sophomore season in which he was the team’ s second-leading scorer with six goals and six assists (18 points). As a freshman in 2000, he scored just one goal. Midfielder Chad Riley (Houston, Tex.) is one of three returning starters in the midfield. The leading scorer for the Irish as a freshman, he tallied a goal and dished off a team-leading six assists last season and was a third-team all-BIG EAST honoree. Senior Justin Ratcliffe (Miami, Fla.) also returns in the midfield after being one of three players who started all 19 games last season. Defender Kevin Goldthwaite (Sacramento, Calif.) had a tremendous sophomore season as he proved to be a scoring threat for the Irish, netting four goals and dishing off five assists (13 points). Second-year player Jack Stewart (Torrance, Calif.) and junior Greg Martin (Plano, Tex.) give the Irish tremendous depth and experience in the backfield. Stewart started 12 games and played in all 19 contests a year ago, while Martin started nine of the 13 contests he played in during the ’01 campaign. Sophomore goalkeeper Chris Sawyer (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) had a tremendous rookie season which was capped off by him being named to the Soccer America All-Freshman Team and earning second-team all-BIG EAST accolades. He started 14 of the 15 games he played and allowed just eight goals in those contests. Sawyer registered a 0.56 goals against with 48 saves and a .857 goals against average.

HEAD COACH BOBBY CLARK – Bobby Clark is in his second season at Notre Dame after being named the fifth head coach in the program’s history on Jan., 19, 2001. In his 16th season as a collegiate coach, Clark has an overall record of 165-70-25 for an overall winning percentage of .683, which ranks him 16th all-time among active Division I coaches entering the 2002 season. Last season, he guided the Irish to a 12-7 mark and its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1996. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he spent five seasons guiding the Stanford Cardinal to a 71-21-12 mark and .740 winning percentage from 1996-2000. Clark also was head coach at Dartmouth from 1985-93 where he led the Big Green to an 82-242-13 record (.646). Seven of Clark’s teams have advanced to NCAA tournament play with his ’98 Stanford squad finishing as the NCAA runnerup that season. In between his coaching stints at Dartmouth and Stanford, he was head coach of the New Zealand National Team (1994-95).

CLARK LEADS THREE DIFFERENT TEAMS INTO NCAAs – As a head coach, Bobby Clark is certainly NCAA tournament tested. With Notre Dame’s appearance in the 2001 championship, he has now guided three different schools to the NCAA postseason. At Dartmouth, he led the Big Green to two appearances in nine years, while his Cardinal teams at Stanford earned four berths in the five seasons he spent on Palo Alto, Calif., campus. Clark is the first Notre Dame to coach to lead the Irish to the NCAAs in his first season.

SERIES RECORD VS. SOUTHWEST MISSOURI STATE – This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

SERIES RECORD VS. CREIGHTON – There has been just one previous meeting between the two schools – in 1990, the two squads battled to a 0-0 tie at Notre Dame on Oct. 7, 1990.

THE CAPTAINS – Seniors Erich Braun and Justin Ratcliffe and junior Greg Martin will serve as captains for the 2002 men’s soccer team. Braun and Ratcliffe will be serving as captains for the first time in their career, while Martin has been selected as one of the Irish leaders for the second consecutive year. In 2001, Martin as the first sophomore in the 25-year history of the program to serve as a captain and becomes just the 10th player ever to serve as a two-time captain.

EXHIBITION RECAP – Notre Dame was 2-0 in its two exhibition contests, outscoring its opponents 9-2 in wins over Bethel (5-1) and Michigan (4-1). Bethel College: Senior forward Erich Braun scored all five Notre Dame goals in leading the Irish to a 5-1 victory over the Pilots. Braun scored two goals in the first half and then added three more in the final 45-minute stanza. Junior midfielder Chad Riley assisted on two of Braun’s goals, while Greg Martin, Jack Stewart, Devon Prescod and Alan Lyskawa (Novi, Mich.) also added assists. Goalkeepers Chris Sawyer and Greg Tait (Fayetteville, N.Y.) split time in goal. Sawyer started the game and registered three saves in the first half, while Tait made two saves in the second half. Michigan: The Irish displayed a balanced scoring attack with Notre Dame receiving goals from four different players in defeating the Wolverines 4-1. Devon Prescod led the Irish with a goal and an assist as Notre Dame scored three second-half goals to break open the contest. In addition to Prescod, the Irish also received goals from Rafael Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.), Greg Martin and Justin Detter.

PLAYING THE BEST – The ’02 men’s soccer schedule features nine teams that advanced to NCAA tournament play a year ago. Those teams featured on the 18-game slate include: Akron, Boston College, Connecticut, Creighton, Furman, Michigan State, Rutgers, St. John’s and Seton Hall.

IRISH TABBED THIRD IN BIG EAST PRESEASON POLL – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team has been chosen to finish third in the Preseason BIG EAST Coaches Poll. Connecticut, the 2001 regular-season champion, has been chosen first by a vote of the league’s head coaches, while St. John’s, last year’s tournament champion, has been chosen second. Chris Sawyer has been selected as the Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year, while he, Erich Braun and Justin Detter were named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST squad.

IRISH IN SEASON OPENERS – Notre Dame has a glossy 16-7-2 record in 25 season-opening contests for a .680 winning percentage. The Irish are 6-0-1 in their last seven season openers with the last loss occurring in 1994 – a 1-0 setback at Penn State. Since 1995, Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 23-1 in the first game of the season. Season Openers since 1995…. 9/3/95 DePaul (H) 5-0 8/31/96 Providence (A) 1-0 8/29/97 Pittsburgh (A) – OT 0-0 9/1/98 Valparaiso (H) 6-1 9/1/99 Northwestern (A) 1-0 9/1/00 New Mexico (N) 2-0 9/1/01 Villanova (H) 5-0

25 AND COUNTING – The 2001 campaign marked the 25th season of varsity competition for the Notre Dame men’s soccer program. Since its inaugural season in 1977, Irish teams have compiled a 327-165-43 record for a .651 winning percentage. Notre Dame has won 20-plus games on three occasions and 15 or more contests 11 times. In the program’s history, only five teams have had a losing season.

ALL IN THE FAMILY – Freshman defender John Stephens (Woodbridge, Ill.) is no stranger to athletics at Notre Dame. His grandfather, Colonel John Stephens, served as Notre Dame’s longtime associate athletics director until the mid-80’s. His father, John, is a graduate of Notre Dame and received a law degree from the University.

HOME SWEET HOME – Notre Dame will play nine of its 18 regular season contests at the friendly confines of Alumni Field during the 2002 season. The Irish finished 7-1 last year at home (its only loss was to Rutgers). The Irish own a 76-28-7 mark all-time for a .716 winning percentage. The ’02 campaign will mark the 12th for Notre Dame at Alumni Field.

LEADER OF THE PACK – For the first time in the history of the BIG EAST Conference, six teams represented the league in the 2001 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship. The BIG EAST led all conferences with six selections. In addition to Notre Dame, Boston College, Connecticut, Rutgers, St. John’s and Seton Hall earned spots in the 48-team field.

MIKE BERTICELLI TOURNAMENT – The Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament will be held Sept. 13 and 15 at Notre Dame’s Alumni Field. The first annual event was orginally scheduled for last season, but was cancelled due to the tragic events of Sept. 11. The tournament is being held in honor of former Irish head coach Mike Berticelli, who coached from 1990-2000, before his sudden death in January of 2000. The participating teams in this year’s field include: Bradley, Cornell and Furman. A monument (rock) honoring Berticelli’s legacy at the University has been placed at the entrance to Alumni Field.

BIG EAST FORMAT – With the addition of Virginia Tech at the start of the 2001 campaign, the BIG EAST created a change in its regular-season format with a 10-game conference format instituted. Notre Dame will not play West Virginia and Syracuse this season.

FIRST-TIME OPPONENTS – Notre Dame will be playing Southwest Missouri State and Cornell for the first time in the 25-year history of the program. The Irish will face both teams in the opening round of tournaments. Notre Dame meets the Bears in the first game of the Diadora Challenge in Omaha, Neb., on Aug. 31 and then faces the Big Red in its first contest of the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament on Sept. 13.

SCOTTISH CORNER KICKS – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team reported back to campus on July 21 to begin an intense 10 days of workouts in preparation for their 14-day trip to Scotland. The squad left for the native homeland of head coach Bobby Clark on Aug. 2 and returned back to Indiana on Aug. 16. The Irish made their headquarters on the University of Aberdeen and Edinburgh University campuses. Junior midfielder Greg Martin recorded the events of the trip in a diary which appeared on Notre Dame’s website ( during the trip. Former Notre Dame men’s soccer player Thomas Crotty (1977-79) who contributed $50,000 – the entire amount needed for the cost of the trip. The Irish finished 4-0-1 while playing five games in 11 days. Game #1 (August 4) – Notre Dame 6, Formatine United 1 Notre Dame opened its Scotland Tour with a 6-1 victory over Formatine United. Erich Braun scored two first-half goals and Paul Rodriguez added another as the Irish built a 3-1 halftime advantage. Devon Prescod gave the Irish a 4-1 lead early into the second, while Rafael Garcia and Justin Ratcliffe also added scores. Chris Sawyer started and played the entire first half, while Greg Tait played the entire second half. Game #2 (August 6) – Notre Dame 8, Banks of Dee 1 Notre Dame was impressive in its second game as the Irish registered an 8-1 win victory over the Banks of Dee. The Irish claimed a 3-0 halftime advantage on goals by Kevin Goldthwaite, Rafael Garcia and Erich Braun. Second-half scores from Chad Riley, Justin Ratcliffe and Devon Prescod pushed the Irish lead to 6-0. After the Banks of Dee scored its lone goal of the contest, Justin Detter and Prescod added the contest’s final two scores. Game #3 (August 8) – Notre Dame 1, Ross County 0 Notre Dame improved to 3-0 with a 1-0 win in Dingwall over the Ross County under-21 squad. The game-winning Irish score came from Filippo Chillemi 10 minutes into the second half. The opposition nearly tied the game with three minutes remaining in the contest on a questionable call that resulted in a penalty kick, but Greg Tait’s save preserved the win. Game #4 (August 12) – Notre Dame 2, Aberdeen FC Under-21 0 Notre Dame posted its most noteworthy victory of its two-week summer tour and improved to 4-0 with a 2-0 shutout over the Aberdeen under-21 squad. Erich Braun scored his fourth goal of the trip early in the second half with Filippo Chillemi adding the second goal midway through the half. Devon Prescod set up both goals in the game. Goalkeeper Chris Sawyer played the entire 90 minutes of the contest. The victory marked the first time in four games that one of Clark’s teams had produced a win over that squad. Previously, he had brought to Scotland two of his Dartmouth and one of his Stanford teams. Game #5 (August 14) – Notre Dame 1, Dundee United 1 Playing its fifth game in 11 days, Notre Dame tied Dundee United 1-1 in its fifth and final game of its Scotland tour. Erich Braun netted the contest’s lone goal off an assist from Devon Prescod. Dundee United tallied the equalizer with three minutes left in the contest.