Oct. 20, 2008
#16 Notre Dame (9-4-1) vs. Seton Hall (6-6-3)
Wednesday, Oct. 22 – 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Owen T. Carroll Field – South Orange, N.J.
#16 Notre Dame (9-4-1) vs. #15 Connecticut (7-3-4)
Saturday, Oct. 25 – 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Joseph J. Morrone Stadium – Storrs, Conn.
Notre Dame will take to the road for two BIG EAST Blue Division matches this week. The Fighting Irish visit Seton Hall on Wednesday (Oct. 22) before heading to Connecticut for a key late-season league matchup on Saturday (Oct. 25). The Irish are currently in first place in the Blue Division, while the Huskies are second. Both contests are slated for a 7:00 p.m. (ET) kickoff.
HOW TO FOLLOW: To track the Notre Dame-Seton Hall match, log onto shupirates.com to follow the game via live stats … you can follow the Notre Dame-Connecticut match via Gametracker on und.com … simply go to the men’s soccer page on und.com and click on `Schedule’ and select the game to follow … you also can follow the Fighting Irish by signing up for `Irish Alert’ on und.com to receive text message score updates.
ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame (9-4-1, BE 5-1-1) went 1-1 overall last week and 1-0 in BIG EAST play to remain on top of the Blue Division standings … the Irish have 16 points in league play, while Connecticut is second with 13 and Georgetown is third with 12 … the Irish are averaging 2.43 goals per game, which ranks second nationally … the Fighting Irish are allowing 1.14 goals per game … senior forward Bright Dike has scored a goal in seven of the last eight matches … Dike leads the team in goals (10) and total points (23) … senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn has started 13 games … he carries a 0.99 goals-against average and a .790 save percentage with five shutouts … 10 different players have scored a goal for Notre Dame this season … head coach Bobby Clark is in his eighth season with the Irish … he has a 103-42-21 (.684) record during his Notre Dame tenure.
ROAD TRIP: This week marks Notre Dame’s annual fall break road trip during the University’s weeklong break from classes … the team will be away from campus all week as they travel to New Jersey to face Seton Hall on Wednesday before heading to Connecticut to face the Huskies on Saturday.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS SETON HALL: Notre Dame and Seton Hall will be squaring off for the 17th time on Wednesday … the Irish own a 10-4-2 record against the Pirates, including a 2-0 win last season at Alumni Field … Seton Hall is 3-3-0 at home this season … Notre Dame has not allowed a Seton Hall goal in the last six meetings of the series … the Irish are 5-0-1 against the Pirates in that stretch … the last Seton Hall victory in the series came during the 2001 season, a 1-0 decision in South Orange, N.J. … Notre Dame is 5-3-1 all-time at Seton Hall … the Irish grabbed a 2-0 win during the last meeting at Seton Hall in 2006 … Notre Dame has out scored Seton Hall 27-9 in the series.
THE LAST TIME: The Fighting Irish topped Seton Hall, 2-0, last season at Notre Dame … the Irish were ranked fourth at the time of the meeting, while the Pirates were unranked … Notre Dame got on the board in the 19th minute with an own goal, while Alex Yoshinaga made it 2-0 in the 57th minute … goalkeeper Chris Cahill picked up the shutout and the win for Notre Dame … the Irish out shot the Pirates 20-12 and also gained two more corner kicks (7-5).
SCOUTING THE PIRATES: Seton Hall will carry a 6-6-3 record into Wednesday’s match against Notre Dame … the Pirates are currently sixth in the BIG EAST Blue Division with a 2-3-3 league mark … Seton Hall is coming off a 1-1 tie at West Virginia on Saturday (Oct. 18) … the Pirates are averaging 1.53 goals per game, while surrendering 1.40 per contest … Samuel Petrone leads the team in goals (9) and total points (20) … Brayan Martinez and Dritan Sela both have three goals … Martinez, the 2007 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, has a team-high four assists … Paul McHenry has started 12 games in goal and has a 4-5-3 record with three shutouts … he carries a 1.15 goals-against average and a .773 save percentage … Sean Carr has three starts and is 2-1-0 with a 2.11 GAA and .647 save percentage … last season, Seton Hall went 7-11-1 overall, including a 3-8-0 mark in league play to finish sixth in the Blue Division … the Pirates returned eight starters and 18 letter-winners … Manfred Schellscheidt is in his 21st season at the helm of the Pirate program.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS CONNECTICUT: Notre Dame and Connecticut will be meeting for the 18th time on Saturday … the Huskies have a 9-6-2 edge in the series … the two schools met twice last season … Connecticut captured a 2-0 win in the title game of the BIG EAST Championship in Storrs, Conn. … earlier in the ’07 season, the Irish and Huskies played to a 3-3 draw at Notre Dame … the last Notre Dame victory in the series was a 1-0 triumph at Connecticut in 2006 … the Irish are 2-6-0 all-time at Connecticut … the first meeting in the series took place during the 1986 season at Connecticut … the Irish won that match, 2-1, in overtime … that was the only contest between the two schools prior to Notre Dame joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995.
THE LAST TIME: Connecticut captured a 2-0 victory over Notre Dame in the title game of the BIG EAST Championship last November in Storrs, Conn. … the Irish were ranked 11th at the time of the contest, while UConn was second … Dori Arad tallied goals in the eighth and 18th minute to lead the Huskies to victory … current Irish senior Andrew Quinn replaced Chris Cahill in goal for the second half and did not allow a goal while making five saves … Connecticut held a 15-11 advantage in shots and a slight, 5-4, edge in corner kicks.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES: Connecticut is 7-3-4 entering its home game against Yale on Wednesday (Oct. 22) … the Huskies are second, behind the Irish, in the Blue Division with a 4-3-1 conference record … Connecticut is 5-1-2 at home this season … UConn is averaging 1.00 goals per game, while giving up 0.57 … O’Brian White, the 2007 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner, has team-high totals in goals (6) and points (14) … Akeem Priestley has three goals and three assists … Mike Pezza has a team-best five assists … Josh Ford has started all 14 games in goal and possesses a 0.53 goals-against average and a 0.875 save percentage … Ford has eight shutouts on the season … the Huskies went 20-3-1 last season and fell in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships to Virginia Tech, 1-0 … Connecticut tied Notre Dame for a share of the Blue Division title and the Huskies won the 2007 BIG EAST tournament … head coach Ray Reid is in his 12th season at Connecticut.
IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on his team’s road trip this week that will take the Irish to Seton Hall and Connecticut …
“We have to get ourselves ready for this road trip. We have two big games. We have to start taking something out of the road games, that’s a key for us. The last couple of road trips we haven’t done terribly well. We lost at Michigan and at Indiana so we have to start taking something out of these games.”
NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 81-49-17 (.609) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995 … 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).
MAKE-UP DATE: The Notre Dame versus Georgetown match that was originally scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 5, will now take place on Wednesday, Oct. 29 … kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Field … the contest was postponed due to an outbreak of the norovirus on the Georgetown campus.
DOWN THE STRETCH: Notre Dame will wrap up the 2008 regular season with four straight BIG EAST contests … following this week’s games at Seton Hall and Connecticut, the Irish will return home for a make-up game against Georgetown (Oct. 29) before hitting the road for the regular-season finale at West Virginia on Nov. 1.
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 103-42-21 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 256-105-46 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 1-1 last week, including a 1-0 mark in BIG EAST play … the Irish dropped a 3-1 decision at No. 22 Indiana on Oct. 16 … junior Michael Thomas scored the lone goal for the Irish against the Hoosiers off an assist from freshman Brendan King … senior forward Bright Dike saw an end to his six-game goal streak in the loss to Indiana, however he would respond with a goal in Notre Dame’s 3-1 home win over Providence on Oct. 19 … also scoring for Notre Dame against Providence was Thomas and sophomore forward Jeb Brovsky … junior midfielder Dave Donohue picked up his team-best fifth assist of the campaign in the win over the Friars … fellow junior Justin Morrow and senior Matt Besler also collected assists … Notre Dame put up the three goals on a Providence defense that was surrendering just 0.69 goals per game … Providence goalkeeper Timothy Murray was the reigning BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week … the Irish also held a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks against a Friar squad that has gained twice as many corner kicks as their opponents this season.
IRISH OFFENSE AMONG NATION’S BEST: The Notre Dame offense ranks second among all NCAA Division I teams by averaging 2.43 goals per game.
DOMINATION FROM DIKE: Senior forward Bright Dike saw an end to his six-game goal streak in the loss to Indiana, however he responded with a goal in Notre Dame’s 3-1 home win over Providence on Oct. 19 … Dike has team-high totals in goals (10) and points (23) … those are both single-season career-high numbers for the senior … his three assists also are a career-best mark … Dike ranks in a tie for 21st among all NCAA Division I men’s players by averaging 0.71 goals per game … that figure ranks him first in the BIG EAST Conference … he also leads the Fighting Irish with 57 shots.
THOMAS PROVIDING CONSISTENCY: Junior midfielder Michael Thomas has notched a point in a team-high 10 games this season … he is riding a team-best four-game point streak … Thomas is second on the team in goals (8) and points (20), while his four assists place him in a three-way tie for second on the squad … those are all single-season career-best marks for Thomas.
OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: The Fighting Irish have combined to score 31 goals during their nine wins this season … Notre Dame has scored at least three goals in eight games and the Irish have reached the four-goal plateau on four occasions.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Notre Dame has scored 34 goals so far this season after scoring 36 all of last season.
WIDE MARGINS: Eight of Notre Dame’s 14 games this season have been decided by three or more goals … the Irish are 7-1 in those contests.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Seven 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 … all three tallies in a 3-0 win over Michigan State on Oct. 8 came from different players … Notre Dame followed that performance with a 4-1 triumph of Pittsburgh on Oct. 11 in which all four goal scorers were different … the Irish received goals from three separate players in a 3-1 win over Providence on Oct. 19 … 10 different players have scored a goal for the Irish this season … a total of 11 players have tallied at least one point on the year.
STRONG STARTS: Notre Dame did not surrender a first-half goal until the 10th game of the season (Michigan) … Notre Dame has out scored its opponents 15-6 in the first half this season … the Fighting Irish also have out shot opponents 112-60 during the first period of play.
FINISHING STRONG: The Fighting Irish have out scored their opponents 19-9 in the second half this season.
CORNERING THE MARKET: Notre Dame has gained 29 more corner kicks (85-56) than its opponents this season … the Irish own a decisive 50-25 edge in corners in the first half.
SHUTTING DOWN THE COMPETITION: Senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn and the Fighting Irish defense have notched five shutouts this season … earlier this season, Quinn saw his personal-best scoreless stretch come to an end against Louisville (Sept. 28) 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 up until that point … that is a season-best stretch for the Fighting Irish.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: The win over Providence on Oct. 19 improved Notre Dame’s home record to 7-0-1 this season … the Irish are undefeated through their first eight home games of the season for the first time since 2004 … Notre Dame is 12-0-3 in its last 15 regular-season BIG EAST home games.
RPI RANKINGS: Notre Dame is sixth in the latest RPI rankings … there are four teams in the BIG EAST Conference that appear in the top-10 of the RPI … St. John’s is No. 1, while Louisville is fourth, the Irish are sixth and South Florida is 10th … the BIG EAST is the only league with four teams among the top 10 of the RPI.
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.
TOUGH SLATE: The Irish are facing another challenging schedule this season … there are seven teams ranked in the most recent Soccer America top-25 poll that appear on Notre Dame’s 2008 slate … Akron (3) and St. John’s (5) are in the top 10, while South Florida (12), Louisville (13), Michigan (14) Connecticut (17) and Indiana (18) also appear in the rankings … Notre Dame is currently 23rd in the Soccer America rankings.
BESLER A LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS FINALIST: Senior defender Matt Besler is one of 10 national finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the men’s soccer division … finalists were selected from a list of 30 candidates in each division, based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete … each finalist displays numerous accomplishments across all four award pillars: classroom, community, character, and competition … the award is presented annually to an NCAA Division I men’s senior soccer player who excels both on and off the field … the finalists will be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote beginning October 16 and concluding November 19 … votes from coaches and media will be coupled with fan balloting to determine the recipient of the award … fans can vote online during this time period at www.seniorclassaward.com … winners will be announced during the 2008 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship in Frisco, Texas, scheduled for December 12-14.
BESLER TABBED AS A PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Matt Besler, a senior defender, was 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 83 games, including 66 starts, during his Notre Dame career … he has tallied 17 points on five goals and seven 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 127-38-18 (.743) 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.