Sept. 18, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. –
THE BRADLEY GAME – The Notre Dame men’s soccer travels to Peoria, Ill., on Thurs., Sept. 19 to take on the Bradley Braves in a 7:30 p.m. match. The contest is the first of three road games for the Irish over the next four games and marks the second straight year that the two teams have played each other during the regular season. Notre Dame (3-0-2) carries into action this week its highest rankings in school history in both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Soccer America polls as the Irish are ranked fifth and seventh, respectively. Bradley (4-0-2) participated in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Soccer Tournament at Notre Dame and was 1-0-1 in the two games they played. The Irish and Braves did not face each other in the tournament.
SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame is off to its best start since the 1996 campaign when that squad was 4-0-1 thru its first five games. The Irish played two double overtime contests during the Mike Berticelli Memorial Soccer Tournament and finished with a 1-0-1 result in the two games as the Irish tied Cornell 1-1 and beat Furman at the 107:29 mark. Senior Erich Braun (Frankfurt, Germany) has registered two multiple-goal games (versus Southwest Missouri State and Seton Hall) and leads the team with four goals. Rafael Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.), another senior, has been an offensive weapon for the Irish as he has scored two goals and dished off two assists, which already equals his career scoring of six points heading into this season. Junior Justin Detter (White Lake, Mich.) also has two goals and two assists on the season. Another junior, Chad Riley (Houston, Texas) and sophomore Kevin Goldthwaite (Sacramento, Calif.) lead the team with three assists each. Junior Greg Martin (Plano, Texas) also has stepped up his scoring this season as he has netted two goals. Goalkeeper Chris Sawyer (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), who has played all 507:29 minutes of the season has given up just five goals and made 15 saves for a 0.89 goals against average and .750 save percentage. Notre Dame’s offense has resulted in 2.2 goals per game.
SCOUTING THE BRAVES – Bradley also finished with a 1-0-1 record at the Mike Berticelli Memorial Soccer Tournament and heads into Thursday night’s matchup unbeaten with a 4-0-2 mark. The Braves tied #7 Furman 0-0 in double overtime and beat Cornell 3-0. Bradley has allowed just three goals in its six games and is outscoring its opponents 11-3. The Braves display a balanced scoring attack with Ryan Radschke and Joe Ducci each leading the team with two goals, while seven other players are tied with one goal each.
RECAPPING THE MIKE BERTICELLI MEMORIAL SOCCER TOURNAMENT – Notre Dame and Bradley each finished the tournament with 1-0-1 records, while Furman and Cornell finished 0-1-1. Bradley was declared the winner of the tournament based on the criteria of goal differential against in the Cornell game. Cornell: Justin Detter scored the game-tying goal off an assist from Devon Prescod (Marietta, Ga.) at the 61:17 mark of the contest as the Irish salvaged a 1-1 tied with the Black Bears. Notre Dame scored less than nine minutes after the Big Red had taken a 1-0 lead on an own goal when Irish rookie Dale Rellas (Plano, Texas) mistakenly tipped in a Cornell shot taken from 15 years out. Notre Dame owned a 20-9 shot advantage and 12-7 advantage in corner kicks and outshot the Big Red 10-3 in the second half leading up to overtime. Chris Sawyer finished with a season-high five saves in goal, while Doug Allan made seven stops. Furman: Greg Martin’s goal with 2:31 left in the second overtime session lifted the Irish to a 2-1 victory over the seventh-ranked Paladins. Martin scored from five yards out off assists from Chad Riley and Rafael Garcia. The win for the Irish avenged last year’s 3-2 overtime loss. The final score and ending to the game capped a rather bizarre series of events over the final 20 minutes of the contest. The game remained up until the 88:30 mark when Riley put the Irish on the Irish on the scoreboard with a direct kick into the corner of the net. Furman, which was playing a man down after one of its players was issued a red card in the 71st minute, came right back and knocked in the tying goal with 34 seconds remaining. Notre Dame dominated the second half of play and overtime as it limited the Paladins to just three shots the second half and none in the two overtime periods. Furman goalkeeper John Hanley made 10 saves, while Chris Sawyer came up with two stops.
MIKE BERTICELLI CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM – Three Notre Dame players – Justin Ratcliffe (Miami, Fla.), Devon Prescod (Marietta, Ga.) and Kevin Goldthwaite – were named to the all-tournament team. Bradley had four players selected, including goalkeeper Chris Dunsheath who also earned MVP honors. Furman and Cornell each placed two players on the squad.
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 168-70-27 for an overall winning percentage of .685 and is 15-7-2 (.667) at Notre Dame. Heading into the 2002 campaign, he ranked 16th all-time among active Division I coaches in terms of winning percentage. Last season, he guided the Irish to a 12-7 mark and their 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 coach to lead the Irish to the NCAAs in his first season.
SERIES RECORD VS. BRADLEY – Thursday night’s matchup will mark the second straight year the two teams will be facing each other in Peoria, Ill., and the third consecutive year that they have played each other during the regular season. It also will mark the third-ever meeting between the schools. Heading into the game, the series is tied at 1-1. Notre Dame and Bradley first played in 2000 at Notre Dame with the Braves coming away with a 3-1 victory. Last season, the Irish were the victors as they earned a 3-2 decision on a penalty kick with 2:47 remaining in regulation.
FURMAN WIN SIGNIFICANT – Notre Dame’s 2-1 victory over Furman proved to be significant because it marked the highest ranked opponent that an Irish team had beaten since a 1-0 victory over second-ranked UNC Greensboro in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament and was the last win over a top-10 team at home since a 1-0 victory over 10th-ranked St. John’s during the 2000 campaign. In its 25-plus seasons of varsity competition, Notre Dame has nine wins over teams that have been ranked in the top 10 of either the NSCAA or Soccer America polls.
HITTING THE ROAD – Notre Dame will play three of its next four (and five of its next seven) games on the road. Following the matchup with Bradley, Notre Dame returns home to face Providence to face BIG EAST foe Providence on Sun., Sept. 22 at 12:00 p.m., before road games at St. John’s (Sept. 26) and Rutgers (Sept. 29). After playing the Friars, Notre Dame will not be home again until its game with Pittsburgh on Fri., Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
THE CAPTAINS – Seniors Erich Braun and Justin Ratcliffe and junior Greg Martin are serving 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 was 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.
RATCLIFE HONORED WITH WEEKLY BIG EAST AWARD – Senior Justin Ratcliffe was honored by the BIG EAST Conference as the league’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week as he scored the honor with Chris Wingert of St. John’s. It marked the second straight week an Irish player was named the conference’s top defensive player. The previous week, Kevin Goldthwaite shared defensive player-of-the-week honors with Wingert. Ratcliffe, who earns the honor for the first time in his career, was a cog defensively as Notre Dame held both Cornell and Furman to just nine shots each in the two double overtime games. Against the Paladins, the Irish held the visitors without a shot in 17 minutes of overtime and to just three shots in the final 52:29 of the game.
BRAUN MOVING UP THE CHARTS – With his four goals this season, Erich Braun has moved to 10th on the all-time Irish goals scored list with 29. His 70 points (29 goals, 12 assists) places his 13th on the all-time scoring list.
BIG EAST PLAY BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN SAWYER – Chris Sawyer’s knack for playing well in BIG EAST games continued on Saturday with Notre Dame’s 4-0 shutout of Seton Hall. It marked the fifth shutout for Sawyer in nine regular-season league games. He has played 820:23 minutes in those nine conference games and allowed just four goals for a 0.44 goals against average. In addition, Sawyer has made 32 saves and owns a 88.9 save percentage.
RAFAEL IS COMING UP BIG – No Irish player has stepped up his level of play this season more than senior forward Rafael Garcia. He has two goals and two assists on the season and stands tied for second in the scoring column with six points. Garcia registered goals in both the Creighton and Seton Hall contests and is credited with assists in Southwest Missouri State and Furman matches. Garcia has started all five. Heading into the 2002 campaign, he had made 13 starts in 38 games and had scored two goals and dished off two assists.
IRISH MAINSTAYS – Four Irish veterans have started 90.0 percent or better of Notre Dame’s games during their careers: Erich Braun (Sr.) – 55 of 57 (.965); Justin Ratcliffe (Sr.) – 54 of 60 (.900); Justin Detter (Jr.) – 40 of 41 (.976); and Chad Riley (Jr.) – 38 of 41 (.927).
QUICK FLICKS – Notre Dame wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard in its first three games. Erich Braun tallied the season’s first goal 17 seconds into the contest in the season opener against Southwest Missouri State, while Rafael Garcia put in the Irish’s lone goal versus Creighton at the 7:12 mark. Against Seton Hall, Garcia scored Notre Dame’s initial goal 23:28 into the contest.
GETTING HIS STARTS – Freshman Dale Rellas (Plano, Texas) has been in the starting lineup for Notre Dame’s first five games. He was the only Irish rookie to see action against Southwest Missouri State in the season opener.
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.
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 330-165-44 record for a .653 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 78-28-8 mark all-time for a .719 winning percentage. The ’02 campaign will mark the 12th for Notre Dame at Alumni Field. Notre Dame owns a 9-1-1 mark at Alumni Field under Clark with its only loss coming to Rutgers (3-0 on Sept. 22, 2001).
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.
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.
DIADORA CHALLENGE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM – Notre Dame had four players named to the all-tournament team at the Diadora Challenge – Erich Braun, Greg Martin, Jack Stewart (Torrance, Calif.) and Luke Boughen (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.). In addition, Braun was selected as the tournament’s MVP as the Irish also won the tournament crown.
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 (www.und.com) 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.