Jack Traynor notched the lone goal in Notre Dame's 1-0 win at Marquette last season.

Fifth-Ranked Irish To Open BIG EAST Play With Home Tilt Against Marquette

Sept. 10, 2008

Marquette vs. #5 Notre Dame
Thursday, Sept. 11 – 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Field – Notre Dame, Ind.
Live streaming broadcast on und.com

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

The fifth-ranked Notre Dame men’s soccer team will begin defense of its 2007 BIG EAST Blue Division co-championship with a home showdown against Marquette on Thursday, Sept. 11. The conference opener for both squads is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. (ET) kickoff at Alumni Field. Last weekend, the Fighting Irish went 2-0 and captured the Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.

HOW TO FOLLOW: Thursday’s match between Notre Dame and Marquette can be seen live on und.com … simply go to the front page of und.com and click on the `Live Events’ tab and select the game … live stats will be available through Gametracker via und.com by going to the Notre Dame men’s soccer page and clicking on `Schedule’ to select the game to follow … also sign up for `Irish Alert’ on und.com to receive text message score updates.

ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame (3-1-0) defeated Dartmouth, 2-1, and No. 5 South Florida, 5-0, last weekend to win the 2008 Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament at Alumni Field … the Irish are riding a three-game winning streak … Notre Dame is ranked in the top 25 of the four major national polls … the Irish peak at No. 5 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll, while they are seventh in the Soccer America rankings … Notre Dame is ninth according to Soccer Times and 13th in the College Soccer News poll … senior forward Bright Dike leads the team with seven points on a team-high three goals and one assist … four Irish players are tied for the team lead in assists with two apiece … seven different players have scored a goal for Notre Dame this season … the Irish returned seven starters and 14 letter-winners from last season’s squad that notched a 14-5-5 record and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championships for the second straight season … head coach Bobby Clark is in his eighth season with the Irish … he has a 97-39-20 (.686) record during his Notre Dame tenure.

IRISH WIN BERTICELLI TOURNAMENT: With the wins over Dartmouth (2-1) and South Florida (5-0) last weekend, Notre Dame won the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament for the third time in the seven-year history of the event … the other tournament victories came in 2003 and 2005 … this marked the second time the Irish won the event with two victories … the other occurred in ’05.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS MARQUETTE: Thursday will be the 16th meeting between Marquette and Notre Dame … the Fighting Irish hold a 9-5-1 advantage in the series … the Irish captured a 1-0 victory at Marquette last season … this will mark the fourth straight season that the two schools have met … Notre Dame and Marquette squared off during 12 straight seasons from 1979-1990 … both schools were in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference together from 1988-1990 … the Irish own a 27-25 scoring edge in the series … Notre Dame is 5-1-1 all-time against Marquette at home, including a 4-0 victory during the 2006 campaign.

THE LAST TIME: The Fighting Irish opened last season’s BIG EAST slate with a 1-0 win at Marquette on Sept. 15, 2007 … defender Jack Traynor tallied the game’s lone goal in the ninth minute … that is the only goal of Traynor’s collegiate career … Irish goalkeeper Andrew Quinn picked up the shutout by making three saves.

SCOUTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES: Marquette will carry a 1-0-2 record into Thursday’s match … the Golden Eagles opened the season with a 4-1 win over Bryant University … Marquette played Penn and Columbia to scoreless draws last weekend … Anthony Colaizzi leads the team in points with five and goals with two … Matt Pyzdrowski has played all 310 minutes in goal … he has a 0.29 goals-against average and a .857 save percentage … head coach Louis Bennett is in his third season at Marquette … last season, the Golden Eagles went 2-12-4, including a 1-9-1 record in the BIG EAST Blue Division … Marquette returned nine starters and 14 letter-winners from that squad.

IRISH IN BIG EAST OPENERS: The Fighting Irish are 8-4-1 all-time in BIG EAST Conference openers … last season, Notre Dame won at Marquette, 1-0, to open league play.

NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 76-48-16 (.600) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995 … the Irish have posted seven straight winning seasons within the conference, including last season’s 7-0-4 mark … Notre Dame tied Connecticut for the 2007 BIG EAST Blue Division title … that signified the second regular-season BIG EAST championship for the Fighting Irish, with the first coming in 2004 … the Fighting Irish captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003 … Notre Dame’s high-water mark for BIG EAST victories in a season is eight, which has been reached twice (2004 & 2006).

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on opening the BIG EAST Conference season against Marquette …

“This will be a very tough game for us. Any game in the BIG EAST is a huge game for our program and at the present moment that game is Marquette. They have played six games, including three exhibition games, and they have yet to lose. So they are coming in here playing well and it will be a good challenge for us.”

UP NEXT: Notre Dame will enjoy some time off before playing host to two more BIG EAST showdowns … the Irish face St. John’s on Friday, Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Field … on Sunday, Sept. 21, Syracuse visits Notre Dame for a 1:00 p.m. tilt … the contest against the Orange will wrap up Notre Dame’s five-game homestand.

LAST WEEKEND: Notre Dame won the 2008 Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament by defeating Dartmouth, 2-1, on Sept. 5 and No. 5 South Florida, 5-0, on Sept. 7 … the Fighting Irish claimed the 2-1 win over Dartmouth during the first night of the tournament … a goal from junior midfielder Dave Donohue in the 89th minute, on an assist from sophomore Jeb Brovsky, gave the Irish the win in their 2008 home opener … junior midfielder Michael Thomas put Notre Dame on the board in the sixth minute … senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn made four saves in the win over the Big Green … Notre Dame used five different goal scorers to top fifth-ranked South Florida, 5-0, during the second and final day of the Berticelli Tournament … the Irish had goals from Justin Morrow, Bright Dike, Josh Thiermann, Thomas and Brovsky … Notre Dame scored four goals in an 11-minute span in the first half to break the game open … Quinn did not need to make a save to register his first shutout of the season and the third of his career.

NON-CONFERENCE AFFAIR: Despite Notre Dame and South Florida being BIG EAST foes, Sunday’s match did not count in the conference standings … the Irish and Bulls were not slated to meet each other in the league’s 11-game 2008 regular season so they scheduled the out-of-conference showdown.

OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: Notre Dame has combined to score 11 goals in its last three matches … that is the most in a three-game span for the Irish since the 1999 season … the 5-0 win over South Florida on Sept. 7 marked the first time the Irish had reached the five-goal plateau since a 5-4 overtime victory at Indiana on Sept. 3, 2006 … both South Florida (5th) and Indiana (12th) were ranked at the time of those meetings … the five-goal margin of victory against the USF was the most since a 6-0 win over Cleveland State on Oct. 14, 2003.

SUPER SUNDAYS: Notre Dame has combined to score nine goals in its two Sunday contests this season … the Fighting Irish topped Duke, 4-1, on Sunday, Aug. 31 at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic … Notre Dame bested South Florida, 5-0, on Sunday, Sept. 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Notre Dame used four different goal scorers in a 4-1 win over Duke on Aug. 31 … the Irish had five players notch a goal in a 5-0 triumph of South Florida on Sept. 7 … the Irish have received at least one goal from seven different players this season.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: The Irish had four players named to the Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament all-tournament team … senior defender Matt Besler was named the defensive MVP of the event, while junior midfielder Michael Thomas took home offensive MVP honors … they were joined on the all-tournament team by senior forward Bright Dike and junior midfielder Dave Donohue.

BESLER COPS NATIONAL AND CONFERENCE HONORS: Senior defender Matt Besler was selected to the College Soccer News national team of the week along with being named to the BIG EAST honor roll for his part in helping the Irish win the Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament over the weekend … Besler helped anchor a Fighting Irish defense that surrendered just one goal in 180 minutes of play … Notre Dame topped Dartmouth, 2-1, on Friday, Sept. 5 before taking down fifth-ranked South Florida, 5-0, on Sunday, Sept. 7 … the Irish defense only allowed the South Florida lineup, which includes three preseason all-BIG EAST players, to attempt three shots … Besler was named the Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament defensive MVP.

TAKING DOWN A TOP-10: Notre Dame has defeated a top-10 team in each of the past nine seasons, including the win over fifth-ranked South Florida this season … the Irish downed two top-10 squads last season … Notre Dame defeated top-ranked UCLA, 2-1 in overtime, in the ’07 season opener and later toped No. 3 Santa Clara, 2-0, in the third round of the NCAA Championships.

BESLER TABBED AS A PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Matt Besler, a senior defender, has been named a second-team preseason All-American by Soccer America and College Soccer News … these are the first such national accolades for the team tri-captain … as a junior, Besler was named an NSCAA Scholar All-American in addition to taking home second-team all-BIG EAST honors for the second consecutive season … Besler has played in 73 games, including 56 starts, during his Notre Dame career … he has tallied 14 points on four goals and six assists.

BIG EAST ACCOLADES FOR BESLER: Senior defender Matt Besler was named to the 2008 BIG EAST All-Preseason Team … this marked the second straight season that he has been named to the all-league preseason squad … Besler has been a second-team all-BIG EAST pick the last two seasons.

BACK IN THE ATTACK: Forwards Bright Dike and Tamba Samba will be key cogs in the Notre Dame attacking unit this season … Dike, a senior, did not play at all during the 2007 campaign, while Samba, a junior, missed all but two games due to injury … as a sophomore in 2006, Dike tallied six points on two goals and two assists … Dike has started all four games this season and has a team-high three goals … Samba has played in three matches this season.

NOTRE DAME PICKED SECOND IN BLUE DIVISION: Notre Dame was selected to finish second in the BIG EAST Blue Division for the 2008 season … the Irish garnered 99 points in voting by the league’s head coaches, while Connecticut received 112 points … Connecticut totaled 14 first-place votes in the Blue Division, while Notre Dame had two … South Florida was tabbed to win the league’s Red Division and Louisville was picked to finish second.

COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LISTS: Three Notre Dame freshmen were named to the College Soccer News `100 freshmen to keep an eye on’ list for the 2008 season … (M/F) Brendan King, (M/F) Michael Rose and (GK) Will Walsh were selected to the list and are 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 12th nationally by College Soccer News … (M/F) Brendan King, (M/D) Aaron Maund, (D) Sean McGrath, (M) Adam Mena, (M/F) Michael Rose, (M/D) Chris Sutton and (GK) Will Walsh make up the talented crop of Fighting Irish rookies.

IRISH NAME TRI-CAPTAINS: Fifth-year senior Alex Yoshinaga will serve as a team tri-captain for the second straight season … senior defender Matt Besler will also be a tri-captain for the second time and junior midfielder Michael Thomas is the third captain for Notre Dame … he is a first-time captain.

TOUGH SLATE: The Irish will face another challenging schedule this season … there are 10 teams ranked in the most recent Soccer America top-25 poll that appear on Notre Dame’s 2008 slate … Akron (3) and Connecticut (4) are in the top 10, while St. John’s (12), Indiana (15), South Florida (17), Michigan (19), Louisville (20), Georgetown (23), Providence (25t) and Dartmouth (25t) also appear in the rankings … Notre Dame is 1-1 against ranked teams so far this season … the Irish have defeated South Florida (5-0) and Dartmouth (2-1), while falling to Akron (3-0).

RECAPPING `07: In 2007, Notre Dame posted a 14-5-5 record and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championships for the second straight season … the Irish fell at eventual national champion Wake Forest, 1-0, in overtime during the quarterfinals … the Fighting Irish won a share of the 2007 BIG EAST Blue Division title … Notre Dame tied Connecticut in points, but the Irish were the only team to go undefeated in league play as they posted a 7-0-4 mark … the Fighting Irish averaged 1.43 goals per game last season, while surrendering just 0.83 … the Irish peaked at a program-best No. 2 in the national rankings on Sept. 24 … departed seniors Joseph Lapira (F) and Ryan Miller (M/D) both copped All-America honors for the Irish in 2007 … Lapira led the Irish in both goals (9) and points (28) for the third straight season … he also had a team-high 10 assists in ’07.

ALUMNI FIELD FAREWELL: The 2008 campaign will mark the final season for the Fighting Irish at Alumni Field, which has been home to the Notre Dame men’s soccer team since 1990 … the Irish will begin play in a new $5.7 million state-of-the-art facility starting in 2009 … in 18-plus seasons at Alumni Field, the Irish have won 74 percent of their contests as Notre Dame has posted a 122-38-17 home record.

A NEW PITCH: The Notre Dame men’s and women’s soccer teams will begin play in a new $5.7 million state-of-the-art facility starting in 2009 … plans for the stadium include a lighted facility that will feature a natural grass field, locker rooms, restrooms, concession areas and 2,000 seats … the stadium will reside just east of the Joyce Center on the Notre Dame campus … the lead benefactors for the facility are former Irish men’s soccer players Tom Crotty and Rob Snyder.

PARKING CHANGES: Due to ongoing construction within the Notre Dame Athletics Quad, parking for Irish soccer games this year is limited to the Eck Baseball Stadium and Joyce Center lots … fans are asked to walk around the south end of Eck Stadium, then proceed north between the stadium’s right-field wall and the soccer practice field before entering at the south end of Alumni Field.

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′.

FOLLOW ALL ND HOME GAMES ONLINE: All Notre Dame men’s soccer home games will be streamed live for free on und.com, the official web site of all 26 varsity athletic programs at the University … the site also will feature live stats available through Gametracker … simply go to the men’s soccer page and click on `Schedule’ at the top of the page and find the game that is being played that day and click on `Watch’ to view the game and on `Gametracker’ to follow the stats.

SIGN UP FOR IRISH ALERT TEXT MESSAGE SERVICE: Go to und.com and sign up for Irish ALERT, a text messaging service designed to give fans up-to-the-minute game updates for all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame … men’s soccer fans can sign up to receive scores after each half of every game.