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 To Open BIG EAST Tournament With Home Date Versus Syracuse

Nov. 2, 2005

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Wednesday, Nov. 2

Syracuse at Notre Dame – Alumni Field – 7:00 p.m. (EST)

Notre Dame will play host to Syracuse in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at Alumni Field with the first kick slated for 7:00 p.m. (EST). The Fighting Irish handed the Orange a 1-0 loss earlier this year in Syracuse, N.Y. Notre Dame is the third seed from the BIG EAST Blue Division, while Syracuse is the sixth seed from the Red Division. This is Notre Dame’s fifth-straight trip to the conference’s postseason tournament. The Fighting Irish are 8-5-1 all-time in the BIG EAST tournament, with championships in 1996 and 2003.

SNAPSHOT OF THE IRISH: Notre Dame is 10-6-2 overall and finished the season with a 6-4-1 mark in BIG EAST play … the Fighting Irish are coming off a 4-0 victory over Seton Hall on Saturday, Oct. 29 … Notre Dame is 5-3-1 at home this season and 2-2-1 in conference home games … sophomore forward Joe Lapira leads the team in points (15), goals (5) and assists (5) … he recorded the first two-goal game of his collegiate career versus Seton Hall … he also collected an assist in the match to give him a five-point match … for his efforts he was named the BIG EAST Conference Honor Roll and the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week … junior midfielder Nate Norman is second on the squad with nine points on three goals and three assists … junior goalkeeper Chris Cahill has collected all 18 decisions for the Irish this season … he has registered six solo shutouts and teamed with senior Justin Michaud for another … Notre Dame’s longest win streak of the year was two games, which occurred three times … the Irish’s longest unbeaten streak was three games this season … Notre Dame did not suffer consecutive losses all season … the Fighting Irish have outscored opponents 25-18 … 13 of Notre Dame’s 18 matches have been decided by one goal.

IRISH IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP: In eight trips to the BIG EAST Championship tournament, the Irish own an 8-5-1 mark overall … Notre Dame won the tournament in the school’s first trip in 1996 and again in 2003 … Notre Dame is 3-1-1 at home all-time in the league playoffs, 1-2-0 in true road games and 4-2-0 at neutral sites … the Irish tied Seton Hall 0-0 last year in the quarterfinals at Alumni Field, yet the Pirates advanced 8-7 on corner kicks … Notre Dame’s last victory in the league playoffs was in the championship game of the 2003 tournament, a 2-0 victory over St. John’s in Storrs, Conn., the site of this year’s semifinal and final rounds.

NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 61-45-11 (.568) all-time in BIG EAST regular-season play dating back to the 1995 campaign … the Irish have now posted five straight winning seasons within the conference, including this season’s 6-4-1 mark … Notre Dame won its first regular season BIG EAST title in 2004 with an 8-1-1 record … the Fighting Irish have captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003.

A LOOK AT SYRACUSE: The Orange are 7-8-3 overall this season and finished the BIG EAST campaign with a 3-7-1 mark … freshman forward Pete Rowley leads the team in goals with six and points with 13 … sophomore M/F Isaac Collings has a team-high five assists … he is second on the team with seven points … freshman goalkeeper Robert Cavicchia has all 18 decisions on the year … Cavicchia has allowed 17 goals while making 70 saves … he possesses a 0.92 goals-against-average … Syracuse will be making its first BIG EAST Championship appearance in five seasons … the last time Syracuse qualified for the postseason was in 2000 … the Orange earned the sixth seed in the Red Division by virtue of Villanova’s 3-1 triumph over DePaul on Oct. 31 … this marks the 13th time that the Orange have reached the conference championship tournament and the fifth appearance under head coach Dean Foti … the Orange has won two BIG EAST titles, claiming the league crown in 1982 and 1985 … Syracuse is 7-10-0 in its 12 previous BIG EAST Championship appearances and is 1-4-0 under Foti.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS THE ORANGE: Notre Dame is 8-2-1 all time versus Syracuse … the teams have met nine times since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995, with the Irish winning eight of those matches … Notre Dame won a 1-0 decision this season at Syracuse on September 18th … three of the last four meetings in the series have been one-goal Irish wins … the other was a 0-0 tie … the Fighting Irish and Orange first met in 1982 as Syracuse prevailed 3-1 in that contest, which was played in Rochester, N.Y. … the Irish own a 4-0-1 record at Syracuse and a 4-1-0 mark at home versus the Orange … Syracuse has not beaten the Fighting Irish since 1997, a 1-0 decision at Notre Dame … Notre Dame has outscored Syracuse 17-6 during the series.

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark comments on the beginning of the postseason as the Irish will battle Syracuse on Wednesday …

“This is the start of tournament play and tournament play is a different animal. Once you hit the sudden-death style of play you get no more second chances. It’s a different experience and it’s exciting. It’s also important for us to not only get a win to advance but also try and get another notch in the win column to improve our NCAA (tournament) chances. So this game is double-pronged for us. We need to advance and strengthen our case for the NCAAs.”

RECAPPING INDIANA: Indiana’s Mike Ambersley netted a goal and assisted on another as the fifth-ranked Hoosiers topped Notre Dame 3-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at Alumni Field … the Irish could never mount a solid offensive attack against the two-time defending national champions and were out-shot 20-7 in the match … Indiana opened the scoring in the 31st minute as freshman Lee Nguyen sent a perfectly placed free kick into the upper right corner of the net from 25 yards out … the score would remain 1-0 as both teams entered the locker rooms at halftime … the Hoosiers made it a 2-0 contest early in the second half with a goal from Ambersley in the 52nd minute … the senior forward blasted a shot from 35 yards away and Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill leaped and fully extended his 6-6 frame to get a hand on it yet that deflected the ball into the net … the game was put away in the 65th minute as Charley Traylor took a pass from Ambersley and blasted it in from 35 yards away to make it a 3-0 match … Notre Dame’s best chance of the game came with just over 10 minutes remaining in the contest as junior forward Justin McGeeney snuck into the Hoosier defense and sent a point-blank shot on goal that was stopped by Chris Monroe, who made three saves on the night … Cahill made several diving saves on the night and finished with seven total stops.

RECAPPING SETON HALL: Sophomore forward Joe Lapira tallied five points on two goals and an assist to lead Notre Dame to a dominating 4-0 victory over No. 16 Seton Hall on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Alumni Field … the Irish got on the board late in the first half as Lapira sent the ball ahead to freshman Bright Dike, who may have gotten a hand on it yet no call was made, and he beat his man and sent the ball past a sprawled-out Boris Pardo and into the net in the 41st minute … the goal was the second of the year for Dike … that would be the only scoring of the first half … two goals early in the second half cemented the victory for the Irish … in the 49th minute, freshman Matt Besler played the ball to Kurt Martin and he delivered a perfect cross in front of the net from the right side and Lapira sent a sliding kick into the back of the net … less than two minutes later, Besler would collect another assist as he dished the ball to junior defender Ryan Miller and he deposited the shot to put the Irish up 3-0 … that was the first career goal for Miller … Lapira put the final touch on the win as he sent a header into the net off a cross from Martin in the 76th minute … Irish goalkeepers Chris Cahill and Justin Michaud combined on the shutout … Cahill, a junior, stopped three shots in 76 minutes of play, while the senior Michaud made one save in the final 14 minutes of action … Seton Hall’s Pardo made two saves on the night.

TWICE IS NICE: Joe Lapira’s two-goal performance versus Seton Hall was the first two-goal game of his collegiate career … the sophomore became the first Notre Dame player to tally two goals since current senior Tony Megna did the same versus Pittsburgh last season on Oct. 7.

GOING FOR FOUR: Notre Dame’s two biggest scoring outputs of the season have both come against ranked opponents … the Fighting Irish put up four goals against No. 7 SMU (4-1) on Sept. 2 and No. 16 Seton Hall (4-0) on Oct. 29 … ironically, those were the first and last games of the regular season.

LEADING POINTS: Joe Lapira, a sophomore forward, leads the team in points (15), goals (5) and assists (5) … junior midfielder Nate Norman is second on the squad with nine points on three goals and three assists … junior forward Justin McGeeney has tallied four goals for a total of eight points … he led the team last year with 12 points as a result of five goals and two assists.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Notre Dame has totaled 25 goals on the year, with 11 players notching at least one tally … the latest member to the scoring club was junior defender Ryan Miller who recorded his first career goal in the 4-0 win over Seton Hall on Oct. 29 … 11 different individuals have also registered an assist … the Irish have 26 assists in all … freshman Matt Besler and sophomore Kurt Martin each collected two assists against the Pirates … those assists were the first of their respective careers.

FIRST TIME: Six Fighting Irish players have recorded their first collegiate goal this season … seniors John Stephens (SMU) and Ben Crouse (Connecticut), juniors Greg Dalby (SMU) and Ryan Miler (Seton Hall), sophomore Kurt Martin (Providence) and freshman Bright Dike (Bradley) have all netted their first tally in a Notre Dame uniform this season.

NARROW MARGINS: Notre Dame has played 13 games this year that have been decided by one goal … the Irish own an 8-5 mark in those contests … earlier this season, the Fighting Irish played eight straight matches that were decided by one goal … the Fighting Irish went 5-3 in those games … a 3-3 double-overtime tie against West Virginia put a halt to the streak … the 13 one-goal games is the second most in program history for a single season … the Irish played 16 matches which were decided by one score during the 1996 campaign, including a stretch of 10 straight to close out the season.

STRIKING EARLY: A goal in the ninth minute versus Providence from Justin McGeeney and a tally in the fourth minute against Pittsburgh from Alex Yoshinaga propelled the Irish to victories … on the year Notre Dame has five goals within the first ten minutes of action … Greg Dalby tallied a score in the second minute of the season-opener against SMU … Bright Dike scored in the sixth minute versus Bradley and Joe Lapira did the same in the following game versus West Virginia … the Irish are 4-0-1 in those matches, with the tie coming against West Virginia.

SHOOTING AWAY: The Fighting Irish have out-shot their opponents 268-215 on the year … Joe Lapira leads the team with 65 shots taken, while Ian Etherington ranks second on the squad with 33 shots.

CORNER ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame has taken 107 corner kicks so far this season, compared to 65 taken by Irish opponents.

BIGGER EAST: Notre Dame has three of the BIG EAST Conference newcomers on the 2005 slate … the Irish downed Louisville 2-1 on Sept. 23 … Cincinnati knocked off the Irish by a 2-1 margin on Sept. 25 … Notre Dame downed Marquette 1-0 on Oct. 5 … other teams making their BIG EAST debut this season are DePaul and South Florida.

CHALLENGING SLATE: Once again, the Fighting Irish have scheduled a very tough ledger for the 2005 season … six of the teams on Notre Dame’s slate were ranked in the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll (#1 Indiana, #5 St. John’s, #7 SMU, #10 Wake Forest, #19 Connecticut, #25 Saint Louis) … five Irish opponents are currently ranked in the top-25 of the NSCAA/adidas rankings (#5 Indiana, #7 Connecticut, #12 SMU, #16 St. John’s, #21 Seton Hall) … the Irish opened up the season by facing SMU and Wake Forest, who were ranked seventh and 10th, respectively, at the time and were coming off Sweet 16 appearances in the 2004 NCAA tournament … in all, the Irish will face eight teams that made the College Cup last season … Notre Dame has only faced two teams with a losing record entering the match … Wake Forest was 0-1-0 after losing 1-0 to No. 1 Indiana at adidas/IU Credit Union Classic and Pittsburgh had a 3-9-1.

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 five of their losses with a win and one loss with a tie.

IRISH VERSUS THE TOP: Notre Dame is 2-4-0 versus ranked opponents in the 2005 campaign … the Fighting Irish downed No. 7 SMU, 4-1, in the season-opener on Sept. 2 … the Irish fell to No. 10 Wake Forest, 1-0, in overtime two days later … Notre Dame lost 2-1 to No. 10 St. John’s on Sept. 16 … for the third time this season the Irish faced a team ranked tenth when they battled Connecticut on Oct. 8 … Notre Dame lost that match, 2-1 … the Fighting Irish were topped by No. 5 Indiana on Oct. 26, yet responded three days later with a 4-0 victory over No. 16 Seton Hall.

NEXT UP: The winner of the Syracuse/Notre Dame match will face St. John’s in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Jamaica, N.Y. … the Red Storm earned the Red Division’s second seed with a 6-2-3 conference mark.

IRISH WIN MIKE BERTICELLI MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT: For the second time in the history of the four-year old Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament, the host Irish captured the title as they defeated Boston University 1-0 on Sept. 9 and Saint Louis 1-0 in double-overtime on Sunday, Sept. 11 … that marked the first time that Notre Dame won both games of the tournament … the Fighting Irish also won the event in 2003 … Indiana, the No. 1 team at the time, finished as runners-up of this year’s tournament after tying Saint Louis 1-1 on Friday and defeating Boston University 5-0 on Sunday.

NOTRE DAME LANDS FOUR ON ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Goalkeeper Chris Cahill, midfielder Nate Norman, forward Joe Lapira and defender Ryan Miller were all named to the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament All-Tournament Team for the Fighting Irish.

CAHILL GARNERS LEAGUE HONORS: Chris Cahill was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week on Sept. 12 following a weekend in which he posted shutouts over Boston University and Saint Louis in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament … the junior did not have any margin for error, as both Notre Dame wins were 1-0 decisions … Cahill was also named to BIG EAST Honor Roll following the first weekend of play as the Irish upset No. 7 SMU 4-1 and suffered a 1-0 overtime loss to No. 10 Wake Forest. TAKING DOWN A TOP-10: Notre Dame’s 4-1 win over No. 7 SMU was the first time the Fighting Irish defeated a top-10 opponent since they took down No. 9 Boston College last October … the Irish have now claimed a victory against a top-10 team in six straight seasons … a 4-0 win over No. 6 Seton Hall in 2002 was the last four-goal output for the Irish versus a top-10 team prior to the win over the Mustangs.

IRISH IMPROVE MARK IN SEASON-OPENERS: After taking down SMU in the first match of the 2005 campaign, Notre Dame is now 19-7-3 all time in season-openers, including 4-0-1 in the Bobby Clark era … the Irish have not lost a season-opener since the 1994 campaign, a 1-0 loss at No. 15 Penn State … prior to the SMU match, the last time Notre Dame defeated a nationally-ranked team in a season-opener was in 1993 when the Irish knocked off No. 20 Rutgers 4-1 … the four-goal performance against SMU in the season-opener was the most goals scored in a lid-lifter since 2001, a 5-0 win versus Villanova.

NOTRE DAME PICKED SECOND IN BLUE DIVISION: Notre Dame was selected to finish second in the BIG EAST’s Blue Division behind Connecticut, while St. John’s was tabbed to be the league’s Red Division champion … the Irish collected seven first-place votes compared to the Huskies’ nine … Notre Dame was tabbed to finish third in the conference last year, yet went on to win the regular-season league title.

DALBY AND ETHERINGTON NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST TEAM: Junior midfielder Greg Dalby was one of three unanimous selections to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Team as voted on by the league’s 16 head coaches … Dalby’s classmate and fellow midfielder Ian Etherington joined him on the 13-man squad … Dalby was a second-team all-BIG EAST selection last season … the other unanimous choices for the preseason squad were St. John’s midfielder Matt Groenwald and Seton Hall forward Sacha Kljestan … Etherington garnered third-team all-BIG EAST honors in 2004.

DALBY NAMED TO M.A.C. HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST: Greg Dalby was named to the 2005 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List … the trophy is presented annually to the top male and female Division I soccer player in the United States … the 25-man watch list was compiled by a panel of coaches from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) … Notre Dame and UCLA were the only schools to have at least one member of the men’s and women’s soccer team named to the 2005 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List … Jen Buczkowski, Candace Chapman and Katie Thorlakson were all named to the list for the Irish women.

COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LIST: Greg Dalby was also selected to the College Soccer News Pre-Season All-America second team … the junior tri-captain was not the only Irish student-athlete honored by the publication, as four incoming freshmen were named to the `100 Freshmen to Watch’ list for the 2005 season … (M/D) Matt Besler, (F) Bright Dike, (GK) Luke Seibolt and (D) Jack Traynor were selected to the list and are all 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 18th nationally by College Soccer News … (M/D) Matt Besler, (D) Kyle Dagan, (F) Bright Dike, (GK) Andrew Quinn, (M//D) Cory Rellas, (GK) Luke Seibolt and (D) Jack Traynor make up the talented crop of Fighting Irish rookies.

DALBY CAPTAINS U.S. UNDER-20s AT FIFA WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP: Junior midfielder Greg Dalby captained the U.S. Under-20 team during a solid showing at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship this past summer … the U.S. won Group D, which was referred to as the `Group of Death’ entering play, with an undefeated 2-0-1 record … the highlight of the tournament occurred in the first match as the U.S. defeated eventual champion Argentina 1-0 … that would be Argentina’s only loss during its seven-game stretch … a disappointing 3-1 loss to Italy in the Round of 16 brought an end to the event for the U.S. … despite the loss, the U.S. still had a historic run at the tournament … back-to-back-to-back shutouts versus Argentina (1-0), Germany (0-0) and Egypt (1-0) in the tournament’s toughest group marks one of the greatest national team accomplishments in U.S. soccer history … the U.S. became just the 12th team in the tournament’s 28-year history to manage that feat … Dalby was one of 10 college players on the Under-20 team, which also featured a formidable mix of professional and high school standouts … one name easily recognizable to all soccer fans was DC United’s Freddy Adu, but the Under-20 team also featured Eddie Gaven (N.J. Metrostars), Jonathan Spector (Manchester United) and attacking players Jacob Peterson (Indiana) and Lee Nguyen (the lone high school player out of Texas).

WINNING WAYS: The 2005 season marks the fifth straight winning season for Notre Dame all under the watch of head coach Bobby Clark … Clark has guided Notre Dame to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including the program’s first trip to the Sweet 16 in 2003.

McGEENEY WINS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Justin McGeeney, a junior forward, was part of the Des Moines (Iowa) Menace team that lifted the PDL national championship in El Paso, Texas on Saturday, Aug. 13 … the Menace and the El Paso Patriots fought out a 0-0 tie in front of 7,000 spectators and the Menace took the title in a penalty kick tie-breaker.

LISTEN TO THE FIGHTING IRISH: Every Notre Dame home match is broadcast on the internet … to access the link, go to the official Notre Dame athletics web site at and go to the men’s soccer home page … click on the `Schedule’ link at the top of the page and find the day’s game and click `Listen’ … live stats are also available through the `Gametracker’ link.

NOTRE DAME TOTAL ACCESS ON CSTV: College Sports Television (CSTV) will feature a special monthly 30-minute original program called Total Access that concentrates solely on Notre Dame athletics … the show began airing on Oct. 9 and then on the first Sunday of every month for the rest of 2005 and returning on Jan. 8, 2006 … the first show featured a “Cribs”-style tour of the dorm room of Irish soccer players Ryan Miller, Ian Etherington, Kurt Martin and Andrew Benton.

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 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.