Sept. 1, 2017
by Tony Jones
2017 NOTRE DAME MEN’S SOCCER – Match 3#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0-0) vs. #RV Connecticut Huskies (1-1-0)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The open road awaits the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team this weekend. In the first official road trip of the 2017 regular season, the No. 9 Irish travel to Storrs, Connecticut, to face former BIG EAST Conference foe UConn on Saturday at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Morrone Stadium.
Notre Dame (2-0-0) returns to Morrone Stadium for the first time since 2012, its final season as a member of the BIG EAST. From 1995 through 2012, the Irish and UConn (1-1-0) won a combined 18 championships in the tournament and regular season as conference members.
“(This year’s team) is like all UConn teams, they’re exceptionally talented,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “They will be one of the most talented teams in the country, player-for-player, I don’t think many teams will have a better squad than Ray Reid’s squad. UConn is always well-coached and they are an excellent team, we’ve watched a bit of video on them and they look good. They’ve dominated their games even though I know they lost the first one, but they controlled and dominated that game and it was strange how they lost that game.
“In all of my time in the BIG EAST I think we played there about seven times and won once, so they had our number in Storrs,” Clark added. “This is a great test for our guys. UConn is always one of the strongest teams in the country. There’s always going to be a big crowd, it’s a terrific atmosphere and fun place to play as there will be 5,000 people there. We’re looking forward to it, and without question this will be our stiffest test so far this year.”
Irish Win Eighth Bert Tourney Crown
Two opening weekend wins for Notre Dame yielded the program its eighth all-time championship victory at the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.
The Irish defeated San Diego 2-0 on Aug. 25 before finding a late game-winner in the 101st minute to down Cal Poly 2-1 in double overtime on Aug. 27. Notre Dame extended its tournament hardware haul two clear of regional foe Indiana (six all-time tournament championships) since the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament was first held in 2002. The Irish are the first team in the history of the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament to win the event in three consecutive seasons (2015-17). Only Indiana (2006-07) can join the current Irish run with back-to-back tournament victories.
Farina Named CSN National POTW
Senior forward Jeff Farina closed the opening weekend as Notre Dame’s leading goal scorer, finding the back of the net three times in two games to claim College Soccer News National Player of the Week honors.
Farina was named the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament Most Outstanding Offensive Player for the first time in his career after leading all players with three goals during the four-game tournament at Notre Dame’s Alumni Stadium. Farina deposited an insurance header in the 84th minute on Friday to open his season goal account in a 2-0 win over San Diego.
He followed up the performance with his first career multi-goal game on Sunday against Cal Poly. Farina headed home a cross in the eighth minute for the 1-0 Irish lead, then finished a pass for the game-winning goal in the 101st minute of a 2-1 victory in double overtime later in the afternoon.
Joining Farina as Notre Dame representatives on the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament All-Tournament Team was junior defender Felicien Dumas, senior midfielder Blake Townes and senior forward/tri-captain Jon Gallagher.Dumas made the most of his first two official career starts in the Notre Dame lineup as the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament Co-Most Outstanding Defensive Player, scoring one game-winning goal and adding two assists for the Irish on offense.
Townes played the duration of both wins against San Diego and Cal Poly and managed four totals shots in the offensive third of the pitch (three on goal) in his 191 minutes-plus of game action. Townes made his biggest offensive contribution as a central midfielder in the buildup of the Notre Dame attack, connecting key passes and winning back possession for the Irish in the neutral field that led to 47 team shot attempts for the weekend.
Gallagher rounded out the Notre Dame all-tournament selections after a standout Sunday performance against Cal Poly. The senior striker established a Notre Dame program record with 14 shots in the contest against the Mustangs, breaking the previous mark of 11 shared by Patrick Hodan (Northwestern, 2015), Joseph Lapira (West Virginia, 2005 and Syracuse, 2006) and Richard Herdegen (Bethel, 1983).
First Career Points For K. Dedrick, Dumas
Senior midfielder Kyle Dedrick and junior defender Felicien Dumas both opened their Notre Dame career point accounts during the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament last weekend. Dedrick claimed one of two assists on the first Irish goal in the victory over Cal Poly, while Dumas notched the first Notre Dame goal of 2017 and added two assists to his standout tournament performance.
Irish Succeed In Season Openers
With last weekend’s sweep of both San Diego and Cal Poly, Notre Dame continued its historic success in the first weekend of a given season. The Irish have now earned a result in their debut match of a regular season in 30 out of 41 varsity seasons, posting a 24-11-6 mark all-time in season openers. Notre Dame has opened its regular season with a result each year dating back to 2010.
Connecticut opened the 2017 regular season with a 1-1-0 mark last week, falling 1-0 to Iona in double overtime on Aug. 25 before beating Quinnipiac 1-0 in extra time on Aug. 28. The Huskies finished 11-7-1 in the American Athletic Conference in 2016, bowing out to Tulsa in the opening round of the AAC tournament. Notre Dame downed the Huskies 1-0 in double overtime on Sept. 13 of last year at Alumni Stadium.
Head coach Ray Reid is 280-100-56 in his 21st season at the helm of UConn, and has fashioned a 425-117-71 overall mark in 29 seasons as a head coach. Reid is 10-7-3 all-time against Notre Dame since arriving at UConn in 1997, including a 6-2-1 record in Storrs.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.