Justin Morrow scored twice within the first five minutes in a 3-0 win at Pittsburgh last season.

Irish Back In Action With Two Home Tilts This Week

Oct. 7, 2008

Michigan State (5-4-0) vs. #14 Notre Dame (6-3-1)
Wednesday, Oct. 8 – 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Field – Notre Dame, Ind.

Pittsburgh (6-4-1) vs. #14 Notre Dame (6-3-1)
Saturday, Oct. 11 – 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Field – Notre Dame, Ind.

Both matches streamed live on und.com

Complete Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Notre Dame returns home this week with matches against Michigan State and Pittsburgh. The 14th-ranked Fighting Irish will welcome in the Spartans on Wednesday, Oct. 8 before playing host to the Panthers in a BIG EAST showdown on Saturday, Oct. 11. Both matches are slated for a 7:00 p.m. (ET) kickoff at Alumni Field and will be streamed live on und.com.

HOW TO FOLLOW: Both Fighting Irish matches this week can be seen live on und.com … simply go to the front page of und.com and click on the `Live Events’ tab and select the game to view the broadcast … live stats will be available through Gametracker via und.com by going to the Notre Dame men’s soccer page and clicking on `Schedule’ to select the game to follow … also sign up for `Irish Alert’ on und.com to receive text message score updates.

ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame (6-3-1, BE 3-1-1) will look to rebound after suffering back-to-back regular-season losses for the first time since the 2001 season … the Irish are coming off a 3-1 setback to Michigan on Oct. 1 … the Fighting Irish are currently in first place in the BIG EAST Blue Division … the Irish have 10 points in league play, while Connecticut has nine and West Virginia has eight … the Irish are averaging 2.30 goals per game, which ranks ninth nationally … the Fighting Irish are allowing 1.10 goals per game … senior forward Bright Dike leads the team in goals (7) and total points (16) … junior midfielder Dave Donohue has a team-high four assists … senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn has started nine games … he carries a 0.87 goals-against average and a .818 save percentage with three shutouts … eight different players have scored a goal for Notre Dame this season … Notre Dame is ranked in the top 25 of the four major national polls … the Irish peak at No. 14 in the Soccer Times rankings … Notre Dame is 15th according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) … the Irish are 18th and 21st in the College Soccer News and Soccer America polls, respectively … head coach Bobby Clark is in his eighth season with the Irish … he has a 100-41-21 (.682) record during his Notre Dame tenure.

POSTPONEMENT: Notre Dame was scheduled to play host to BIG EAST foe Georgetown on Sunday, Oct. 5, yet the game had to be postponed due to an outbreak of the norovirus on the Georgetown campus … both schools are working to set a make-up date for the contest.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS MICHIGAN STATE: The Fighting Irish and Spartans will be meeting for the 18th time when they square off on Wednesday … Notre Dame holds a 9-3-5 advantage in the series … the Spartans topped the Irish, 1-0, last season in East Lansing, Mich. … that snapped Notre Dame’s six-game unbeaten streak against Michigan State … Michigan State is 0-8-1 all-time at Notre Dame … the last meeting at Notre Dame was a 3-0 Irish win during the 2006 season … the first meeting between the two schools occurred in 1978, a 2-2 tie in East Lansing … Notre Dame has out scored Michigan State 29-13 in the series … five of the contests have gone to overtime, all of them resulting in a tie.

THE LAST TIME: Michigan State claimed a 1-0 decision against Notre Dame last season in East Lansing, Mich. … the Irish were ranked third at the time of the meeting and riding a nine-game unbeaten streak … Spencer Thompson scored the game’s lone goal in the 64th minute for the Spartans … Notre Dame held a 17-12 advantage in shots and a 6-3 edge in corner kicks.

SCOUTING THE SPARTANS: Michigan State will carry a 5-4-0 record into Wednesday’s match against the Irish … the Spartans have won their past three contests, including a 1-0 victory over Wisconsin on Oct. 5 … Michigan State is 0-2 against top-25 teams this season … the Spartans fell at No. 21 New Mexico (3-2) and at No. 15 Ohio State (1-0) … Michigan State is averaging 2.33 goals per game while giving up 1.44 a game … Doug DeMartin leads the team with 10 goals and 22 points … Zac Scaffidi has a team-best five assists and ranks second on the squad with nine points … Avery Steinlage and Jeremy Clark have split time in goal … Steinlage has a 4-1-0 record with two shutouts … he possesses a 0.82 goals-against average and a .882 save percentage … Clark is 1-3-0 with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .625 save percentage … last season, Michigan State posted an 11-6-4 record, including a 2-2-1 mark in the Big Ten, and fell in the first round of the NCAA Championships to Oakland, 2-1 … Joe Baum is in his 32nd and final season as the head coach of the Spartans.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS PITTSBURGH: Notre Dame and Pittsburgh will be squaring off for the 13th time on Saturday … the Fighting Irish own a 6-3-3 advantage in the series, including a 3-0 victory last season at Pittsburgh … the Irish have won the last five meetings overall in the series … prior to that, the Panthers had won two straight … four of the matches have gone to overtime, with three of the those ending in ties and the other was a Pittsburgh victory … Pittsburgh is 2-3-1 all-time at Notre Dame … the Irish claimed a 3-1 decision in the last encounter at Notre Dame, which came during the 2006 campaign … the first meeting in the series occurred during the 1995 season and the Panthers came away with a 3-0 win at home … the scoring edge in the series belongs to the Irish, 21-12.

THE LAST TIME: The Fighting Irish topped Pittsburgh, 3-0, last season at Pittsburgh … Notre Dame scored all of its goals in the first 14 minutes of the match … Justin Morrow netted the first two scores for the Irish with Joseph Lapira assisting on both tallies … Michael Thomas deposited the third goal … the Irish out shot the Panthers 15-3 and held a 9-2 advantage in corner kicks.

SCOUTING THE PANTHERS: Pittsburgh will bring a 6-4-1 record into its match at West Virginia on Wednesday, Oct. 8 … the Panthers have a 2-3-0 mark in BIG EAST play and are currently tied for fifth in the Blue Division … Pittsburgh snapped a three-game losing skid with a 1-0 win over Marquette on Oct. 5 … the Panthers are averaging 0.91 goals per game, while allowing 0.55 per game … E.J. McCormick has a team-high six points on two goals and two assists … Chris Wilcox is tied for the team lead in goals with two … Jordan Marks and Eric Barnes have shared time in goal this season … Marks is 4-1-0 with three shutouts … he boasts a 0.38 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage … Barnes is 2-3-1 with two shutouts … he has a 0.63 goals-against average and a .889 save percentage … last season, Pittsburgh went 3-13-2 overall and finished seventh in the Blue Division with a 1-9-1 league mark … head coach Joe Luxbacher is in his 25th season at Pittsburgh.

NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 79-49-17 (.603) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995 … the Fighting Irish saw an end to their program-record 15-game unbeaten streak within regular-season BIG EAST play with a 2-1 overtime setback at Louisville on Sept. 28 … Notre Dame went 10-0-5 in that stretch … the Irish have posted seven straight winning seasons within the conference, including last season’s 7-0-4 mark … Notre Dame tied Connecticut for the 2007 BIG EAST Blue Division title … that signified the second regular-season BIG EAST championship for the Fighting Irish, with the first coming in 2004 … the Fighting Irish captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003 … Notre Dame’s high-water mark for BIG EAST victories in a season is eight, which has been reached twice (2004 & 2006).

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on the Michigan State match … “Michigan State is a team that beat us last year. They are a good side and coming off a nice stretch with three straight wins. Their confidence is high so we certainly have to take this game very seriously. They are a very good team with very good players. They have good attacking players and we’ll have our work cut out for us.”

UP NEXT: Notre Dame will travel down state for a showdown with Indiana on Oct. 16 … game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, Ind.

CLARK REACHES THE CENTURY MARK WITH THE IRISH: Notre Dame’s 3-0 victory at Cincinnati on Sept. 26 marked the 100th win for head coach Bobby Clark during his Fighting Irish tenure … Clark is in his eighth season at the helm of the Notre Dame program and he has compiled a record of 100-41-21 at the school … he is third on Notre Dame’s career wins list … Rich Hunter (1977-83) is first with 128 wins, while Mike Berticelli (1990-99) is second with 104 … during his collegiate coaching career, Clark has a 253-104-46 record … the Scotland native is in his 22nd season of college soccer … prior to coming to Notre Dame, Clark went 71-21-12 from 1996-2000 at Stanford … he posted a mark of 82-42-13 during a nine-year stint at Dartmouth from 1985-1993.

LAST WEEK: Notre Dame went 0-1 last week … the Irish dropped a 3-1 decision to Michigan on Wednesday, Oct. 1 … the match was played at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich. … the Wolverines scored twice in the first half … those marked the first first-half goals surrendered by the Fighting Irish this season … the setback also marked the first time that Notre Dame has lost back-to-back regular-season contests since the 2001 season (the Irish fell at Louisville on Sept. 28) … senior forward Bright Dike netted the lone goal for the Irish against the Wolverines … junior goalkeeper Philip Tuttle made his first career start in the Michigan match … Tuttle played all 90 minutes and made three saves.

IRISH OFFENSE AMONG NATION’S BEST: Notre Dame is averaging 2.30 goals per game, which ranks ninth among all NCAA Division I teams … the average places the Irish first in the BIG EAST … Notre Dame has scored 23 goals so far this season … the Irish tallied 36 goals last season and averaged 1.43 goals per game.

DOMINATION FROM DIKE: Bright Dike has tallied a goal in four straight contests for the Irish … that is a career-best streak for the senior forward … Dike has team-high totals in goals (7) and points (16) … those are both single-season career-high numbers for the senior … Dike ranks in a tie for 25th among all NCAA Division I men’s players by averaging 0.70 goals per game … he also leads the Fighting Irish with 45 shots.

THOMAS PROVIDING PRODUCTION: Junior midfielder Michael Thomas has notched a point in six of the 10 games this season … he is second on the team with five goals and is tied for second with 12 points … those are both single-season career-best marks … Thomas registered a single-game career-high three points on a goal and an assist in the win over Marquette on Sept. 11.

OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: The Fighting Irish have combined to score 21 goals during their six wins this season … Notre Dame has scored at least three goals in five games and the Irish have reached the four-goal plateau in three of their first 10 games this season … Dave Donohue’s hat trick against Marquette was the first for an Irish player since Joseph Lapira’s four-goal effort in a 5-4 overtime win against Indiana on Sept. 3, 2006.

STRONG STARTS: The Irish have out scored their opponents 11-2 in the first half this season … Notre Dame did not surrender a first-half goal until the 10th game of the season (Michigan).

SUPER SUNDAYS: Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 13-2 in its four Sunday contests this season … the Fighting Irish topped Duke, 4-1, on Sunday, Aug. 31 at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic … Notre Dame bested South Florida, 5-0, on Sunday, Sept. 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament … the Fighting Irish defeated Syracuse, 3-0, on Sunday, Sept. 21 … Notre Dame fell at Louisville in overtime, 2-1, on Sunday, Sept. 28.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Four times this season the Irish have had at least three different players score a goal in a game … Notre Dame used four different goal scorers in a 4-1 win over Duke on Aug. 31 … the Irish had five players notch a goal in a 5-0 triumph of South Florida on Sept. 7 … Notre Dame used three different goal scorers in a 3-0 victory over Syracuse on Sept. 21 … the Irish had three separate scorers in a 3-0 win at Cincinnati on Sept. 26 … the Irish have received at least one goal from eight different players this season … a total of 10 players have tallied at least one point on the year.

SHUTTING OUT THE COMPETITION: Senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn upped his personal-best shutout streak to three games in the win over Cincinnati on Sept. 26 … he saw his personal-best scoreless stretch come to an end in the following match against Louisville as the Irish surrendered a penalty kick in the 90th minute … the streak lasted 385:07 … overall, the Irish defense had held opponents scoreless for 395:12.

TAKING DOWN A TOP-10: Notre Dame has defeated a top-10 team in each of the past nine seasons, including the win over fifth-ranked South Florida (Sept. 7) this season … the Irish downed two top-10 squads last season … Notre Dame defeated top-ranked UCLA, 2-1 in overtime, in the ’07 season opener and later topped No. 3 Santa Clara, 2-0, in the third round of the NCAA Championships.

IRISH VS. RANKED FOES: Notre Dame is 1-2-1 against teams ranked at the time of the meeting so far this season … the Irish defeated South Florida, 5-0, on Sep. 7 when the Bulls were ranked fifth … Notre Dame played fifth-ranked St. John’s to a scoreless draw on Sept. 19 … the Irish fell to No. 12 Akron, 3-0, in the season opener on Aug. 29 … Notre Dame suffered a 2-1 overtime setback at No. 19 Louisville on Sept. 28.

TOUGH SLATE: The Irish are facing another challenging schedule this season … there are nine teams ranked in the most recent Soccer America top-25 poll that appear on Notre Dame’s 2008 slate … Akron (3), Louisville (7), St. John’s (8) and South Florida (10) are in the top 10, while Connecticut (11), Michigan (13), Indiana (23), Duke (24) and Georgetown (25t) also appear in the rankings … Notre Dame is currently 21st in the Soccer America rankings.

SURPRISING STREAK: Prior to the setbacks to Louisville (2-1 in overtime) and Michigan (3-1), the Fighting Irish had not dropped 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 to No. 16 Clemson, 4-0 … both of those matches occurred at the Umbro/Spinx Furman Invitational in Greenville, S.C.

BESLER A LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATE: Senior defender Matt Besler is one of 30 national candidates for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the men’s soccer division … the award is presented annually to an NCAA Division I men’s senior soccer player who excels both on and off the field … candidates were selected based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete … a national media committee will select 10 finalists in October.

BESLER TABBED AS A PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Matt Besler, a senior defender, has been named a second-team preseason All-American by Soccer America and College Soccer News … these are the first such national accolades for the team tri-captain … as a junior, Besler was named an NSCAA Scholar All-American in addition to taking home second-team all-BIG EAST honors for the second consecutive season … Besler has played in 79 games, including 62 starts, during his Notre Dame career … he has tallied 14 points on four goals and six assists.

BIG EAST ACCOLADES FOR BESLER: Senior defender Matt Besler was named to the 2008 BIG EAST All-Preseason Team … this marked the second straight season that he has been named to the all-league preseason squad … Besler has been a second-team all-BIG EAST pick the last two seasons.

NOTRE DAME PICKED SECOND IN BLUE DIVISION: Notre Dame was selected to finish second in the BIG EAST Blue Division for the 2008 season … the Irish garnered 99 points in voting by the league’s head coaches, while Connecticut received 112 points … Connecticut totaled 14 first-place votes in the Blue Division, while Notre Dame had two … South Florida was tabbed to win the league’s Red Division and Louisville was picked to finish second.

COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LISTS: Three Notre Dame freshmen were named to the College Soccer News `100 freshmen to keep an eye on’ list for the 2008 season … (M/F) Brendan King, (M/F) Michael Rose and (GK) Will Walsh were selected to the list and are 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 12th nationally by College Soccer News … (M/F) Brendan King, (M/D) Aaron Maund, (D) Sean McGrath, (M) Adam Mena, (M/F) Michael Rose, (M/D) Chris Sutton and (GK) Will Walsh make up the talented crop of Fighting Irish rookies.

IRISH NAME TRI-CAPTAINS: Fifth-year senior Alex Yoshinaga will serve as a team tri-captain for the second straight season … senior defender Matt Besler will also be a tri-captain for the second time and junior midfielder Michael Thomas is the third captain for Notre Dame … he is a first-time captain.

RECAPPING `07: In 2007, Notre Dame posted a 14-5-5 record and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championships for the second straight season … the Irish fell at eventual national champion Wake Forest, 1-0, in overtime during the quarterfinals … the Fighting Irish won a share of the 2007 BIG EAST Blue Division title … Notre Dame tied Connecticut in points, but the Irish were the only team to go undefeated in league play as they posted a 7-0-4 mark … the Fighting Irish averaged 1.43 goals per game last season, while surrendering just 0.83 … the Irish peaked at a program-best No. 2 in the national rankings on Sept. 24 … departed seniors Joseph Lapira (F) and Ryan Miller (M/D) both copped All-America honors for the Irish in 2007 … Lapira led the Irish in both goals (9) and points (28) for the third straight season … he also had a team-high 10 assists in ’07.

ALUMNI FIELD FAREWELL: The 2008 campaign will mark the final season for the Fighting Irish at Alumni Field, which has been home to the Notre Dame men’s soccer team since 1990 … the Irish will begin play in a new $5.7 million state-of-the-art facility starting in 2009 … in 18-plus seasons at Alumni Field, the Irish have won 74 percent of their contests by posting a 124-38-18 (.739) home record.

A NEW PITCH: The Notre Dame men’s and women’s soccer teams will begin play in a new $5.7 million state-of-the-art facility starting in 2009 … plans for the stadium include a lighted facility that will feature a natural grass field, locker rooms, restrooms, concession areas and 2,000 seats … the stadium will reside just east of the Joyce Center on the Notre Dame campus … the lead benefactors for the facility are former Irish men’s soccer players Tom Crotty and Rob Snyder.

PARKING CHANGES: Due to ongoing construction within the Notre Dame Athletics Quad, parking for Irish soccer games this year is limited to the Eck Baseball Stadium and Joyce Center lots … fans are asked to walk around the south end of Eck Stadium, then proceed north between the stadium’s right-field wall and the soccer practice field before entering at the south end of Alumni Field.

SIGN UP FOR IRISH ALERT TEXT MESSAGE SERVICE: Go to und.com and sign up for Irish ALERT, a text messaging service designed to give fans up-to-the-minute game updates for all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame … men’s soccer fans can sign up to receive scores after each half of every game.