Kurt Martin has been a solid force in the Notre Dame midfield all year long.  The sophomore has played in all 19 games so far this season.

Fighting Irish Travel To St. John's For BIG EAST Quarterfinals

Nov. 4, 2005



Saturday, Nov. 5

Notre Dame at St. John’s – 7:30 p.m.

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Notre Dame will travel to Queens, N.Y. to battle No. 16/23 St. John’s in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (ET). The Irish played Syracuse to a 0-0 tie in the tournament’s first round, yet advanced on penalty kicks 4-2 on Wednesday night at Alumni Field. St. John’s defeated Notre Dame, 2-1, earlier this year at Belson Stadium on the St. John’s campus. The Irish are 2-9-3 all-time against the Red Storm and they will be looking for the program’s first-ever win at St. John’s. The winner of the match advances to the BIG EAST Championship semifinals in Storrs, Conn. on Friday, Nov. 11. St. John’s is the second seed from the conference’s Red Division, while the Irish are the Blue Division’s third seed.

SNAPSHOT OF THE IRISH: Notre Dame is 10-6-3 overall and finished the season with a 6-4-1 mark in BIG EAST play … the Fighting Irish are coming off a 0-0 tie against Syracuse in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship on Nov. 2 … the Irish advanced by topping the Orange 4-2 in penalty kicks … Notre Dame is 5-3-2 at home this season and 2-2-1 in regular season 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 on Oct. 29 … 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 seven 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 has not suffered consecutive losses all season … the Fighting Irish have outscored opponents 25-18 … 16 of Notre Dame’s 19 matches have been decided by one goal or less.

IRISH IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP: This is Notre Dame’s ninth trip to the BIG EAST Championship, the Irish own an 8-5-2 mark overall in the league playoffs, including Wednesday’s tie versus Syracuse … Notre Dame won the tournament in the school’s first trip in 1996 and again in 2003 … Notre Dame is 3-1-2 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 penalty 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.

QUARTERFINAL HISTORY: Notre Dame owns a 4-3-1 record all-time in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals … the Fighting Irish tied Seton Hall, 0-0, in last year’s quarterfinals at Alumni Field … the Pirates advanced on penalty kicks, 8-7 … St. John’s and Notre Dame have met one previous time in the conference quarterfinals with the Red Storm winning a 2-0 decision at St. John’s in 1998 … the Irish are 1-2 in BIG EAST quarterfinal matches on the road.

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 ST. JOHN’S: The Red Storm finished the regular-season with an 8-4-5 record and 6-2-3 in the BIG EAST, which placed them second in the Red Division … forward Matt Groenwald leads the team with 14 points on five goals and four assists … midfielder Andre Schmid and forward Sebastian Alvarado-Ralph each have 12 points on four goals and four assists … Alvarado-Ralph was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 12 … Steven Old was tabbed as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 19 … Jason Landers has started 16 of 17 games in goal … he has posted eight shutouts and owns a goals-against-average of 0.61 … he was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week on Oct. 10 … midfielder Garry Lewis was selected as the league’s Rookie of the Week on Sept. 12.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS THE RED STORM: St. John’s holds an 9-2-3 advantage in meetings with the Fighting Irish … the Red Storm downed the Irish 2-1 earlier this season at St. John’s on Sept. 16 … the Red Storm were ranked 10th at the time of the match … St. John’s has been ranked entering each tilt with Notre Dame … No. 5 Notre Dame knocked off No. 4 St. John’s, 1-0, in the championship game of the 2003 BIG EAST tournament … Notre Dame’s first win versus the Red Storm came in 2000 when the Irish upset No. 10 St. John’s, 1-0, at Alumni Field … the Irish have never won at St. John’s … Notre Dame has been outscored 28-10 throughout the series … the two schools have met four times in the BIG EAST Championship, with the Red Storm winning three … here’s a breakdown of those matches …


Date     Round          Site             Score
11/15/97 Semifinal Storrs, Conn. SJ-4, ND-1
11/7/98 Quarterfinal Queens, N.Y. SJ-2, ND-0
11/16/01 Semifinal Storrs, Conn. SJ-1, ND-0
11/16/03 Final Storrs, Conn. ND-2, SJ-0

THE FIRST TIME: (Recap of the Notre Dame/St. John’s match on Sept. 16, 2005 in Queens, N.Y.) Tenth-ranked St. John’s used two goals by Matt Groenwald to defeat No. 16 Notre Dame 2-1 on Friday, Sept. 16 in front of 1,619 fans at Belson Stadium … Notre Dame registered its only tally in the 83rd minute on an own goal off a cross by Fighting Irish forward Joe Lapira … the contest marked the BIG EAST opener for both teams … St. John’s had a couple of chances early and capitalized in the 13th minute when Groenwald collected a long ball from Garry Lewis, beat a defender and sent a low blast from 16 yards out into left side of the net past Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill …Notre Dame had an opportunity in the first half with 11:20 remaining as Irish midfielder John Stephens got the rebound off a Greg Dalby free kick but sent it into the hands of St. John’s goalkeeper Jason Landers … that was Landers only save of the night … St. John’s out-shot the Irish 8-2 in the first half and the Red Storm would lead 1-0 after the first 45 minutes of play … St. John’s continued to control possession and out-shoot the Irish in the early stages of the second half … the Red Storm made it a 2-0 match in the 54th minute as Jeff Carroll played a nice ball to Groenwald, who shot it just inside the 18-yard box and beat Cahill to the low left corner for his fourth goal of the year … one of Notre Dame’s best scoring opportunities in the second half came with just under 18 minutes left to play … Stephens played the ball ahead to Bright Dike, who beat a defender and sent the shot wide left as Landers was running towards him … the Irish would continue to put pressure on the Red Storm late, yet could not capitalize until Lapira sent a cross into the 18-yard box, which was headed in by St. John’s Sam Matthews for an own goal that cut the Red Storm lead to one with 7:30 to play … following the goal, Lapira sent a shot just wide right with 6:35 left as the Irish tried for the equalizer … Notre Dame’s final chance came when Ryan Miller booted a free kick that went wide right in the final seconds of the match … the Red Storm held a decisive 17-5 advantage in shots for the game. Cahill, the reigning BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week, collected two saves on the night.

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on the BIG EAST quarterfinal match-up against St. John’s … “Obviously this is a huge game for our team. This is a fabulous opportunity to make a little bit of history because Notre Dame has never won at St. John’s. So this is a great opportunity and we know it.” “We were disappointed the way we played the last time we were there (earlier this season). This is an opportunity to square the scales. We have a different attitude this time. We didn’t play until the last five minutes last time and we know we have to play right from the opening minute this time.”

RECAPPING SYRACUSE: Following 110 minutes of scoreless action at Alumni Field on Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Notre Dame men’s soccer team topped Syracuse 4-2 in penalty kicks to advance to the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship … the match is officially scored as a tie … Notre Dame held a 30-17 advantage in shots during the contest yet could not get any attempts into the back of the net … sophomore forward Joe Lapira kept firing away for the Irish and had a few good looks among his game-high 11 shots … Syracuse held an 11-8 advantage in shots during the first half, yet Notre Dame would have an 11-3 edge in the second half plus an 11-1 advantage during the two overtime periods … Notre Dame’s Chris Cahill collected five saves on the night to register his seventh shutout of the season … Syracuse’s Robert Cavicchia had six saves on the night …

NOTRE DAME-SYRACUSE SHOOTOUT RECAP • Notre Dame’s Justin McGeeney went first and put the Irish up 1-0.
• Syracuse responded with a goal from Pete Rowley past Cahill to make it 1-1.
• Ian Etherington put the Irish up 2-1.
• The Orange’s Brad Peetoom sent his shot of the crossbar so the Irish still led 2-1 after two rounds.
• Notre Dame’s Kurt Martin put his shot away to make it a 3-1 advantage.
• Mike McCallion sailed his shot over the crossbar so the Irish were still up 3-1 after three rounds.
• Joe Lapira had his shot saved by Cavicchia to temporarily preserve the outcome.
• Syracuse’s Isaac Collings sent in his must-have goal to make it 3-2 Irish.
• Freshman Matt Besler tallied the goal that clinched the shootout victory for the Irish, 4-2.

PENALTY KICKS: Notre Dame has played a postseason match that has gone to penalty kicks in each of the past three seasons … Wednesday’s Syracuse contest marked the first time that the Irish had ever came out victorious on penalty kicks … in 2003, Notre Dame and Michigan played to a 1-1 tie in the third round of the NCAA tournament and the Wolverines would advance by winning the shootout, 4-3 … Notre Dame and Seton Hall locked up in a 0-0 tie in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST tournament last season before the match went to a shootout and eventually sudden-death penalty kicks with the Pirates advancing 8-7.

BLUE DOMINANCE: The four teams that advanced out of the first round of the BIG EAST Championship all hail from the conference’s Blue Division … three of the four matches went to double-overtime with two of them going to a penalty kick shootout … West Virginia (Blue #4) eliminated Rutgers (Red #5) on a `golden goal’, 1-0. in the 102nd minute … Providence (Blue #6) upset Cincinnati (Red #3) 2-1 … Georgetown (Blue #5) and Villanova (Red #4) played to a 2-2 tie before the Hoyas advanced on penalty kicks, 3-0.

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 … Notre Dame will try to improve its mark against ranked foes when the Irish lock-up with No. 16/23 St. John’s on Saturday.

NEXT UP: The winner of the St. John’s/Notre Dame match will earn a berth in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals in Storrs, Conn. on Friday, Nov. 11 … the finals of the BIG EAST tournament will be played on Sunday, Nov. 13 also in Storrs, Conn.

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 … Notre Dame has also played three ties this 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 298-232 on the year … Joe Lapira leads the team with 76 shots taken, while Ian Etherington ranks second on the squad with 35 shots … Notre Dame has out-shot its opponents on 14 occasions this season … the Irish are 9-2-3 in those contests.

CORNER ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame has taken 111 corner kicks so far this season, compared to 74 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 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.

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.