Bright Dike will look to bring energy to the Fighting Irish offense when they take on Syracuse Wednesday night at Alumni Field.  The freshman forward tallied his second goal of the season versus Seton Hall on Saturday.

Fighting Irish Continue Road Trip With Showdowns Against Providence and Pittsburgh

Oct. 19, 2005


Wednesday, Oct. 19

Notre Dame at Providence – 3:00 (ET)

Saturday, Oct. 22

Notre Dame at Pittsburgh – 1:00 (ET)

Notre Dame continues its four-game stretch of road games with a match-up versus Providence on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 3:00 p.m. (ET). The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 18, yet due to the heavy rains in the Northeast region of the United States, the Friars had to push back their match with Marquette to Sunday, Oct. 16 and the showdown with the Fighting Irish to Wednesday. Following the Providence match, the Irish will travel to Pittsburgh for another BIG EAST battle on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1:00 p.m. (ET). The Irish are 7-5-2 overall and 3-4-1 in BIG EAST play. Notre Dame is currently tied with Providence for fifth place in the conference’s Blue Division.

SNAPSHOT OF THE IRISH: Notre Dame allowed just one goal during last week’s play, yet came up empty in the win column … the Irish played Michigan State to a 0-0 double-overtime tie on Tuesday, Oct. 11 in East Lansing, Mich. … that marked just the second time all year that the Fighting Irish had been shutout and the first time in 11 games … Notre Dame was held without a score for the second straight game with a 1-0 loss at Georgetown on Saturday, Oct. 15 … that was the first time the Fighting Irish have been shutout in consecutive games since September 12th and 15th of last year (Cal State Fullerton 0-0 tie, Indiana 2-0 loss) … the Irish held identical 18-11 advantages in shots during both matches this week … the Irish have out-shot their opponents 220-164 this season … Notre Dame had four more corner kicks that Michigan State (6-2) and six more than Georgetown (7-1) … the Fighting Irish have taken 32 more corner kicks than their opponents this season (86-54) … junior goalkeeper Chris Cahill registered his sixth shutout of the season versus the Spartans by stopping four shots … he collected three saves against the Hoyas, yet allowed the only tally of the contest … he now has a 0.776 goals-against-average for the season … 11 of Notre Dame’s 14 matches have been decided by a single goal … the Irish are 6-5 in those matches … the team has played two ties and the only match decided by more than one tally was a 4-1 season-opening win over SMU … sophomore forward Joe Lapira leads the Irish in scoring with nine points on three goals and three assists.

TRAVELING TEAM: While most Notre Dame students are spending the University’s fall break relaxing, the men’s soccer team has been on the road since Friday, Oct. 14 and will not arrive back in South Bend until Saturday, Oct. 22 … during that span, the Irish will play three key BIG EAST games (Georgetown, Providence, Pittsburgh) … the Fighting Irish flew to Washington, D.C. and will travel by bus for the rest of the trip, including a drive from Pittsburgh back to campus following Saturday’s game … the team will train at different locations during the week.

ABOUT THE FRIARS: Providence is 4-1-7 overall and 2-1-4 in BIG EAST play … the Friars enter Wednesday’s game looking to earn their third win in BIG EAST play this season and their first victory against the Irish since a 3-1 win in 2000 … PC’s most recent game versus Marquette on Sunday, October 16 was postponed due to field conditions … the Friars have earned two consecutive 1-1 ties in their last two games … PC tied Seton Hall on October 8 and tied Brown on October 11 … the Friars are undefeated at home this season, posting a 2-0-2 record at Glay Field … PC’s only loss this season was a 3-2 overtime defeat at No. 10 Connecticut on October 5 … the Friars have played in a team record eight overtime games this season … senior Eoin Lynch leads the Friars in scoring (18 points) and goals (seven) … he ranks third all-time at PC in goals (25) and fifth in points (57) … he has garnered two BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week honors this season (Sept. 5 and Oct. 3) … freshman Tim Ritter is second on the team in scoring (14 points) and goals (five) … junior Chris Konopka has played all 12 games this season and has posted an .819 save percentage and a 0.97 goals against average … he also has recorded three shutouts … Konopka was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week on Sept. 19.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS PROVIDENCE: Notre Dame is 8-2-0 all-time versus Providence … the Fighting Irish have won the last four meetings by a combined 10-1 score … the two teams have not met since the 2003 BIG EAST Tournament semifinals, a 1-0 Irish win in Storrs, Conn. … the last Providence win in the series was a 3-1 decision in Providence, R.I., during the 2000 season … Notre Dame is 3-2-0 all-time at Providence … the Irish hold a 21-6 goal advantage in the series.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS: Pittsburgh is 3-8-1 overall and 2-5-0 in BIG EAST play … the Panthers are currently seventh in the conference’s Blue Division … Dwayne Grant-Higgins leads the team in scoring with 10 points on five goals … Thomas DeCato has tallied two goals and assisted on three others for a total of seven points … Jordan Marks, Justin Lowery and Andy Jorgensen have all split time in goal … they have a combined goals-against-average of 2.58 … Lowery has logged the most minutes of the trio (495:00) … he has the most saves with 33 and has allowed the most goals with 15.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS PITTSBURGH: The Fighting Irish and Panthers have met nine times on the soccer pitch, with the series all knotted up with a 3-3-3 mark for both teams … Notre Dame has won the last two meetings, including a 3-0 win last season at Alumni Field … the last win for Pittsburgh in the series came in 2002, a 1-0 overtime contest also at Alumni Field … Notre Dame is 1-1-2 all-time at Pittsburgh … the Irish claimed a 2-0 victory during their last trip to Founders Field … the Fighting Irish have outscored the Panthers 13-10 in their nine meetings.

RECAPPING MICHIGAN STATE: Notre Dame and Michigan State played 110 minutes of soccer action, yet neither team could produce a goal at Old College Field … both the Irish and the Spartans had scoring opportunities but in the end the defense of both teams held strong … Notre Dame out-shot Michigan State 18-11 on the afternoon and the Irish also held a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks … Michigan State had one of the few scoring opportunities in the first half … with 28:30 remaining in the opening half, the ball slipped by the Irish defense and presented a one-on-one chance for the Spartans but a diving save by Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill put a halt to the chance … Notre Dame would out-shoot Michigan State 6-3 in the half … the Spartans came out of the intermission with some energy that nearly put them on the board eight minutes into the second half … a shot from the right side was blocked away by a diving Cahill and the dribbling ball would hit the left post before getting cleared out by the Irish … possibly Cahill’s best save of the night came with 22:50 left in regulation as Michigan State’s Ryan McMahen sent a shot at a running Cahill, who blocked it, but McMahen gathered the rebound and sent the shot wide left … Cahill, a junior, stopped four shots on the afternoon while Michigan State’s Jason Tillman collected seven saves … forward Joe Lapira led the Irish with six shots … the Irish nearly put themselves on the board with just over five minutes left in the second half … midfielder John Stephens sent a nice short ball to Tony Megna who sent it on goal but was saved by Tillman and regulation would end scoreless … in the first overtime, Irish midfielder Alex Yoshinaga gathered a nice pass from Ian Etherington and blasted a shot at the goal but Tillman was there yet again … later, the Fighting Irish would have the ball hit the left post but no one could get a good foot on the rebound.

RECAPPING GEORGETOWN: Georgetown cashed in one of its four shots on goal while visiting Notre Dame had several near-misses, as the Hoyas edged the Irish, 1-0, in BIG EAST Conference action on Saturday, Oct. 16 … Notre Dame held an 18-11 margin in shots – including a second-half blast by Alex Yoshinaga that clanged off the crossbar – while attempting seven of the game’s eight corner kicks … Georgetown scored the game’s only goal in the 33rd minute, capitalizing on a misclear by the visitors … the Hoyas collected the ball near the top of their attacking third and played a pass into the left side of the box for junior midfielder Daniel Grasso, who sent home a 20-yard shot into the far-right sidenetting … goalkeeper Andrew Keszler stopped all six of Notre Dame’s official shots on goal while receiving some help from the crossbar midway through the second half … Yoshinaga struck a 20-yard shot from the right side, with the ball clipping the bottom of the bar and bouncing straight down to maintain the 1-0 score … forward Joe Lapira had a strong chance to give the Irish the lead moments before the GU goal, springing free for a 1-on-1 chance with Keszler – but Lapira’s touch was a bit too strong and the ‘keeper smothered the ball … Irish forward Justin McGeeney had a similar chance in the 84th minute, after the Irish played the ball into him (Keszler made the clutch save to preserve the shutout) … a final chance for the Irish came with 10 minutes left to play, as Nate Norman was gaining position for the equalizer but was taken down in the box (no penalty kick was called) … Notre Dame’s strong push in the second half included a 14-5 shot edge.

LEADING POINTS: Joe Lapira leads the team with nine points on three goals and three assists … Nate Norman and Justin McGeeney are tied with Lapira for the team-lead in goals … Norman also has two assists for a total of eight points, which ranks him second on the Irish … John Stephens and Ryan Miller share the team-lead in assists with Lapira as they each have three.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Notre Dame has totaled 17 goals on the year, with nine players notching at least one tally … nine different individuals have recorded an assist … the Irish have 18 assists in all.

SECOND HALF SCORING: Eleven of Notre Dame’s 17 goals have been scored either in the second half or overtime … seven of the 13 goals the Irish have allowed have been scored in the second half or overtime.

IRISH IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 58-45-11 (.557) 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.

NO STREAKS: The Fighting Irish have not lost back-to-back regular season games since the beginning of the 2001 season when they fell to No. 5 Furman, 3-2, in double-overtime and then lost 4-0 to No. 16 Clemson … both of those matches occurred at the Umbro/Spinx Furman Invitational in Greenville, S.C … so far this season, the Irish have followed up three of their losses with wins … following the loss to Georgetown, they will look to continue that versus Providence on Wednesday.

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on where the team stands at this point in the season …

On the Providence match …

“They are going to be tough. They have only lost one match. But I have a good feeling about this game. We’ve had good practices since last weekend. It’ll be a good test for us. We can’t let this one slide by.”

On the mindset of the team …

“Our mindset is great right now, it’s really been fabulous. We’re in good shape, but we just need to face up to our situation and get some of these games. I’m optimistic about this game against Providence.”

NEXT UP: Notre Dame will return home to wrap up the regular season with two huge contests at Alumni Field … the Irish host Indiana, the two-time defending NCAA champion, on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7:00 p.m. (CT) … ESPNU will broadcast the match between the Fighting Irish and the Hoosiers … Notre Dame closes out the regular season with a BIG EAST showdown against Seton Hall on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7:00 p.m. (CT) at Alumni Field.