Ian Etherington and the Fighting Irish have already clinched a spot in the 2005 BIG EAST Championship, which begins next week.

Fighting Irish To Wrap Up Regular Season With Two Crucial Matches At Home

Oct. 25, 2005

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Wednesday, Oct. 26

No. 4 Indiana at Notre Dame – 6:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Saturday, Oct. 29

No. 16 Seton Hall at Notre Dame – 7:00 p.m.

Notre Dame returns to Alumni Field to close out the regular season with two huge matches this week. The Fighting Irish are coming off a four-game trek away from home in which they went 2-1-1. Notre Dame will host No. 4 Indiana, the two-time defending national champions, on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 6:00 p.m. (CT). The game was originally scheduled for 7:00 p.m. yet was moved up an hour to accommodate the ESPNU broadcast. The Irish will close out the regular season against BIG EAST foe Seton Hall (No. 16) on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7:00 p.m.

SNAPSHOT OF THE IRISH: Notre Dame is 9-5-2 overall and 5-4-1 in BIG EAST play entering Wednesday’s non-conference showdown with Indiana … the Irish are currently tied for second place in the BIG EAST’s Blue Division … Notre Dame won back-to-back BIG EAST games for the second time this season with 2-1 wins over Providence on Wednesday, Oct. 19 and Pittsburgh on Saturday, Oct. 22 … junior forward Justin McGeeney tallied his team-leading fourth goal of the season versus Providence … sophomore midfielder Kurt Martin’s first collegiate goal came in dramatic fashion as it was the game-winner against the Friars with just under three minutes left in the second overtime period … with an assist on Martin’s goal, sophomore Joe Lapira now leads the team with 10 points on three goals and four assists … the four helpers tie him with Ryan Miller for the team lead … two goals in the first seven minutes of play secured the victory against Pittsburgh … sophomore Alex Yoshinaga struck first in the fourth minute with his second goal of the season and junior Greg Dalby added his second score of the season less than three minutes later … junior goalkeeper Chris Cahill collected the decision in each match … he made a career-high eight saves against the Friars and followed that up with four more against the Panthers.

TRAVELING TEAM: Notre Dame spent the University’s entire fall break on the road from Friday, Oct. 14 through Saturday, Oct. 22 … the Irish played three contests during that span (Georgetown, Providence and Pittsburgh) … the Fighting Irish flew to Washington, D.C. and then traveled by bus the rest of the way, including a drive from Pittsburgh to South Bend following Saturday’s game … the team trained at different locations during the week.

A LOOK AT INDIANA: The Hoosiers are 9-1-5 overall and 2-1-3 in the Big Ten Conference … Indiana is currently riding a seven-game unbeaten streak dating back to Sept. 30, a 2-1 loss to Penn State, which is the Hoosiers only loss this season … Indiana is coming off a 2-2 tie against Ohio State on Sunday, Sept. 23 … IU downed Butler 6-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 19 … senior midfielder Brian Plotkin leads the Hoosiers with 23 points on seven goals and nine assists … junior forward Jacob Peterson has a team-high eight goals to go along with two assists for a total of 18 points … Plotkin, Peterson and junior back Jed Zayner are all M.A.C. Hermann Trophy candidates.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS THE HOOSIERS: Notre Dame and Indiana are no strangers when it comes to meeting on the soccer pitch as the schools have squared off 24 times prior to this week’s match … Notre Dame has only faced one other school more times than the Hoosiers in the history of the program – Valparaiso, another instate rival, with 27 meetings all-time … Indiana owns a 20-3-1 mark versus Notre Dame, including a 2-0 victory last season in Bloomington, Ind. … the Irish were victorious the last time the two teams met at Alumni Field, a 1-0 overtime win during the 2003 campaign … the Fighting Irish are 2-9-0 at home against the Hoosiers and 1-11-1 in Bloomington … six prior meetings have gone into overtime with the Irish owning a 2-3-1 mark in those contests … Notre Dame is 0-4 against Indiana when the Hoosiers are the defending NCAA champion … Indiana has out-scored Notre Dame 68-13 all-time.

FAMILIAR SETTINGS: The Irish and Hoosiers have been around each other a couple times already this season, yet they have not met on the field … Notre Dame traveled to Bloomington to participate in the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic to open the 2005 season with games versus SMU and Wake Forest … Indiana made the trek to South Bend the following weekend to compete in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament at Alumni Field and faced Boston University and Saint Louis … this was the third straight year in which each team played in the other’s early-season tournament.

IRISH AND THE BIG TEN: Notre Dame is 5-3-2 versus the Big Ten in the Bobby Clark era, which began in 2001 … the only other contest versus a Big Ten foe during the ’05 regular season was a 0-0 tie at Michigan State on Oct. 11 … the past three Fighting Irish campaigns have all been ended by Big Ten teams … Notre Dame’s magical 2004 season was ended with a 2-1 loss to Big Ten member Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA tournament … a year earlier, Notre Dame fell to Michigan on penalty kicks, following a 1-1 tie, in a Sweet 16 battle in the NCAAs … Indiana knocked the Irish out of the 2002 NCAA tournament in the second round by a 1-0 decision.

A LOOK AT SETON HALL: The Pirates are 11-2-2 overall and 5-2-2 in BIG EAST play heading into Wednesday’s game versus Marquette … they lead the league’s Blue Division with 17 points … Seton Hall has won four consecutive contests going into the showdown with the Golden Eagles … as of Oct. 16, Seton Hall had the third-best scoring offense in the country, averaging 3.08 goals-per-game … the Pirates are currently averaging 2.93 GPG … junior forward Sacha Kljestan leads the conference with having scored 14 points in nine league games … he has seven goals and 13 assists for a total of 27 points on the year … Kljestan was named the BIG EAST Preseason Co-Offensive Player of the Year along with Georgetown’s Ricky Schramm … senior Boris Pardo was tabbed as the conference’s Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year … junior defender Christos Zisimatos is the reigning BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week … he helped the Pirates to wins over Princeton (3-1) and Connecticut (1-0) last week … he tallied the first game-winning goal of his career against Princeton, while he helped to hold the Tigers to just three shots on goal … Zisimatos also played a key role in the win over the Huskies, limiting them to four shots on goal and shutting down the league’s second-highest scoring team … Eliseo Giusfredi, a freshman forward, leads the Pirates with 10 goals.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS THE PIRATES: Notre Dame is 7-4-2 all-time against Seton Hall … the Irish defeated the Pirates 1-0 during last year’s regular season meeting in South Orange, N.J. … the two teams would meet later in the quarterfinals of the 2004 BIG EAST tournament, with the Pirates advancing 8-7 on penalty kicks following a 0-0 tie throughout regulation and overtime … the Fighting Irish are 3-1-1 at home versus the Pirates and 4-3-1 at Seton Hall … the Pirates have not defeated the Irish since a 1-0 overtime win during the 2001 season at Seton Hall … Notre Dame has out-scored Seton Hall 19-9 during the series.

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark comments on this week’s games and where the team stands as the regular season wraps up …

On this week’s upcoming matches …
“These are two huge games for our program. We have the chance to catapult ourselves into a fabulous position if we perform well in these two upcoming games. It will be excellent opposition versus nationally ranked teams. It’s a great opportunity for our program.”

On facing instate rival Indiana …
“I have tremendous respect for the Indiana program. What they’ve done is phenomenal. It’s great to have a team of that caliber as our next door neighbor.”

On where the team stands as the regular season comes to an end …
“My judgment of a good season is when you’re still playing for something at this point of the season. We still have something to play for and that is a huge opportunity for us.”

RECAPPING PROVIDENCE: The Notre Dame and Providence men’s soccer teams were less than three minutes away from a double-overtime tie when sophomore midfielder Kurt Martin netted the game-winner to give the Irish the 2-1 win at Glay Field on Wednesday, Oct. 19 … both teams entered the match tied for fourth place in the BIG EAST’s Blue Division with 10 points apiece … the Fighting Irish snapped their scoreless streak, which had spanned over two games, in the ninth minute as junior forward Justin McGeeney sent home his team-leading fourth goal of the season off of Friar goalkeeper Chris Konopka from 20 yards out … Ryan Miller collected the assist on the tally … each team had five shots in the first half yet the Irish would hold a 1-0 advantage on the scoreboard … Notre Dame was on the verge of collecting the victory in regulation, however the Friars’ Ian Wexler notched the equalizer early in the 88th minute … Wexler sent the ball into the back of the net after a long throw-in from Timothy Ritter and a Scott Hankard cross … after each team played a scoreless 10-minute first overtime period, Martin delivered the first goal of his Notre Dame career in dramatic fashion with 7:10 gone by in the second overtime … the tally was set up as midfielder Nate Norman worked his way around the Friar defense and hammered a cross that was flicked on by forward Joe Lapira to Martin … Notre Dame junior goalkeeper Chris Cahill stopped eight Friar shots to collect the win … Konopka collected six saves during the match … Providence held a 17-11 advantage in shots on the afternoon.

RECAPPING PITTSBURGH: Two goals in the first seven minutes of play propelled the Notre Dame to a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh at Founders Field on Saturday, Oct. 22 … sophomore Alex Yoshinaga put the Irish on the board in the fourth minute and junior Greg Dalby … followed that tally up with one of his own less than three minutes later to put the Irish up 2-0 early on … Notre Dame’s first score followed a corner kick as Yoshinaga controlled the ball and sent it into the back of the net for his second goal of the year … Dalby would add his second score of the year after he secured a loose ball in front of the goal after another corner kick and sent it past Panther goalkeeper Jordan Marks … the Fighting Irish out-shot Pittsburgh 10-2 in the first half and 16-5 for the game … Notre Dame also held a 12-2 advantage in corner kicks … Pittsburgh sliced the deficit in half in the 63rd minute as Matt Firster rebounded the ball, after a Brendon Smith shot was saved, and scored … goalkeeper Chris Cahill and the Irish defense would hold on for the win … Cahill collected four saves in his ninth win of the year … Marks stopped 10 Notre Dame shots.

STRIKING EARLY: A goal in the ninth minute versus Providence and another tally in the fourth minute against Pittsburgh 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.

ENDING THE DROUGHT: Prior to Justin McGeeney’s goal against Providence, Notre Dame had gone nearly 243 minutes without a goal … however, since the snapping of the drought the Irish have scored multiple goals in back-to-back games for the first time all season.

LEADING POINTS: Joe Lapira leads the team with 10 points on three goals and four assists … his four assists ties him with junior defender Ryan Miller for the team lead … Nate Norman has nine points coming on three goals and three assists … junior forward Justin McGeeney has a team-high 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 21 goals on the year, with 10 players notching at least one tally … nine different individuals have recorded an assist … the Irish have 21 assists in all.

FIRST TIME: Five Fighting Irish players have recorded their first collegiate goal this season … seniors John Stephens (SMU) and Ben Crouse (Connecticut), junior Greg Dalby (SMU), 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 now played 13 games this year that have been decided by one goal … the Irish own an 8-5 mark in those contests … of the three other matches not decided by a single tally, two were ties and one was a 4-1 win over SMU … 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.

SHOOTING AWAY: The Fighting Irish have out-shot their opponents 247-186 on the year … Joe Lapira leads the team with 61 shots taken, while Nate Norman ranks second on the squad with 28 shots.

CORNER ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame has taken 102 corner kicks so far this season, compared to 60 taken by Irish opponents.

IRISH IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 60-45-11 (.565) 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.

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 preseason poll (#1 Indiana, #5 St. John’s, #7 SMU, #10 Wake Forest, #19 Connecticut, #25 Saint Louis) … six Irish opponents are currently ranked in the top-25 of the Soccer American rankings (#4 Indiana, #7 Connecticut, #11 St. John’s, #16 Seton Hall, #19 Wake Forest, #24 SMU) … 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 four of their losses with a win and one loss with a tie.

IRISH VERSUS THE TOP: Notre Dame is 1-3-0 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 will try to improve their mark against ranked foes as they take on No. 6 Indiana on Wednesday.

NEXT UP: The Irish have clinched a spot in the BIG EAST tournament, however their opponent and the date of the match is yet to be determined … this marks the ninth time that Notre Dame has clinched a spot in the conference’s postseason playoff since the school joined the league in 1995.

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.

ALBY 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 Fighting Irish have put together four straight winning seasons 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 und.com 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 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.