Senior Jack Traynor and the Fighting Irish are looking for another deep postseason run.

Irish Set To Open NCAA Play Against Northwestern On Tuesday

Nov. 24, 2008

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

#16 Northwestern (13-4-3) vs. #13 Notre Dame (12-6-2)
NCAA Championship Second Round
Tuesday, Nov. 25 – 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Field – Notre Dame, Ind.

Live streaming broadcast on

Notre Dame will play host to Northwestern in the second round of the NCAA Championship on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at Alumni Field. The match is slated for a 7:00 p.m. (ET) kickoff. The Fighting Irish are seeded 12th in the tournament, while the Wildcats are unseeded. Admission to the match is free for all fans.

HOW TO FOLLOW: Tuesday’s match between Notre Dame and Northwestern can be seen live on … simply go to the front page of and click on the `Live Events’ tab and select the game … live stats will be available through Gametracker via 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 to receive text message score updates.

ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame (12-6-2) is coming off a 2-1 setback at South Florida in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship on Nov. 14 … Bright Dike scored the lone goal in the match to up his team-high total to 12 … the senior forward also leads the team with 29 points … sophomore forward Jeb Brovsky, who assisted on the Dike goal against the Bulls, has a team-best six assists … the Irish are averaging 2.00 goals per game, which ranks in a tie for 15th nationally … the Fighting Irish are allowing 1.05 goals per game … the Irish won their second straight BIG EAST Blue Division title with a 7-2-2 league mark … Notre Dame is 9-0-1 at home this season … the Fighting Irish are riding a 13-game home unbeaten streak … head coach Bobby Clark is in his eighth season with the Irish … he has a 106-44-22 (.680) record during his Notre Dame tenure.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: The winner of Tuesday’s NCAA Championship second-round match between Notre Dame and Northwestern will advance to the round of 16 to face either Ohio State or Akron on Saturday, Nov. 29 or Sunday, Nov. 30 … Akron is the tournament’s fifth seed and Ohio State is not seeded.

IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: The Irish are making their eighth straight NCAA Championship appearance and the 12th trip overall in program history … this signified the fifth time in which the Fighting Irish have earned one of the 16 seeds in the 48-team field … Notre Dame was the 10th seed last season … the Irish also were the 12th seed in 2007 and the fifth seed in both 2003 and 2004 … the Irish have a 9-10-1 record all-time in the NCAA Championship … Notre Dame advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in program history in 2006 and made a return trip last season … the Irish topped Oakland, 2-1, in the second round of last season’s tournament … Notre Dame then headed out west and knocked off seventh-seeded Santa Clara, 2-0 … the Fighting Irish fell at eventual national champion Wake Forest, 1-0 in overtime, in the quarterfinals … the Irish have made the tournament’s Round of 16 on five occasions (1996, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007) … Notre Dame owns a 5-1-1 mark at home and a 4-9-0 record on the road in the NCAAs … head coach Bobby Clark carries an 8-6-1 record in the NCAA Championship during his Notre Dame tenure, which is in its eighth season.

ROUND OF 32 HISTORY: Notre Dame is 5-4-0 all-time in the NCAA Championship’s round of 32 … the Fighting Irish have won their round-of-32 game in each of the last three tournaments … last season, Notre Dame topped Oakland, 2-1, at home during the second round.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS NORTHWESTERN: This will be the 15th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Northwestern … the Irish own a 12-1-1 advantage in the series … this will be the first-ever meeting in the NCAA Championship … the two schools have not meet since the 2000 campaign … the Fighting Irish won that match, 2-1, at home … Notre Dame has won the last three encounters and will carry a nine-game unbeaten streak against the Wildcats into Tuesday’s contest … the two schools first met in 1978 and the Irish won that encounter, 3-2, in Evanston, Ill. … Northwestern’s lone win in the series was a 1-0 decision at home in 1985 … the Wildcats are 0-8-0 at Notre Dame … Irish head coach Bobby Clark has never faced Northwestern in the regular- or post-season during his 22-plus seasons of collegiate coaching.

THE LAST TIME: In the last meeting between Notre Dame and Northwestern, the Irish claimed a 2-1 home victory during the 2000 season … Justin Detter scored both Irish goals… Detter put the Fighting Irish on top in the 14th minute before Northwestern’s Jun Kim netted the equalizer in the 18th minute … Detter deposited his second goal in the 48th minute to give Notre Dame the victory … Irish goalkeeper Greg Tait earned the win by making three saves … current Notre Dame assistant coach Chad Riley, a freshman at the time, started the match.

SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Northwestern will carry a 13-4-3 record into Tuesday’s match … the Wildcats advanced to the NCAA second round by topping Loyola (Ill.) on penalty kicks (4-1) following a scoreless draw on Friday in Evanston, Ill. … Northwestern posted a 3-3-0 record within the Big Ten Conference … the Wildcats average 1.25 goals per game, while surrendering 0.55 a game … Matt Eliason has team-high totals in goals (12) and points (25) … Tyler Voigt has a team-best four assists … Brian Usinger and Mark Blades both have three goals … Misha Rosenthal has started 19 games in goal and has a 13-3-3 record with 12 shutouts … he carries a 0.45 goals-against average and a .845 save percentage … last season, Northwestern posted a 12-5-3 record overall and fell to Illinois-Chicago, 2-0, in the second round of the NCAA Championship … head coach Tim Lenahan is in his ninth season at Northwestern.

COMMENTS FROM CLARK: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark discusses Tuesday’s NCAA second-round match against Northwestern …

“Northwestern is a very good side. They can make the case that they are one of the best teams in the Big Ten, which is a very strong conference. We know they have good players and it will be a big challenge for us.”

“This is an exciting time. We know that the first game in the NCAAs is always going to be a tough game. It’s usually an inter-regional game, which it is this year. If the past is any indication, we will have to fight hard. If we come ready and prepared, I think we can do very well.”

IRISH AGAINST THE NCAA FIELD: The Fighting Irish faced a total of 10 teams that qualified for this year’s tournament and they own a 5-6-1 mark against those squads … Notre Dame played both Louisville and South Florida twice, posting a win and a loss against each team … Notre Dame tied St. John’s (0-0) in their only meeting … the Irish squared off against five other seeded teams, No. 4 Michigan State (W, 3-0), No. 5 Akron (L, 3-0), No. 6 Indiana (L, 3-1), No. 11 Michigan (L, 3-1) and No. 16 Dartmouth (W, 2-1) … the Irish topped South Florida 5-0 on Sept. 5 before falling to the Bulls, 2-1, in the BIG EAST final on Nov. 14.

NOTRE DAME VS. THE BIG TEN: Tuesday’s match against Northwestern will mark Notre Dame’s fourth game this season against a Big Ten Conference opponent … the Irish are 1-2-0 against Big Ten competition this season … Notre Dame topped Big Ten regular-season and tournament champion Michigan State 3-0 on Oct. 8 … the Irish fell at both Michigan (Oct. 1) and Indiana (Oct. 16) by identical 3-1 margins.

BIG EAST HONORS: Five Notre Dame student-athletes received all-conference recognition at the annual BIG EAST men’s soccer awards banquet on Nov. 13 … Irish seniors Matt Besler, a defender, and Bright Dike, a forward, were named to the all-conference first team … Notre Dame has had at least two first-team all-BIG EAST picks in each of the past six seasons … receiving second-team honors were senior defender Jack Traynor and junior midfielder Michael Thomas … sophomore forward Jeb Brovsky was selected to the third team.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Bright Dike and Jeb Brovsky were named to the BIG EAST Championship all-tournament team … Brovsky provided the assist on Dike’s goal that gave the Irish the lead in the 19th minute in their 2-1 setback to South Florida in the league semifinals on Nov. 14.

BIG EAST BIDS: Five BIG EAST Conference teams earned berths into the NCAA Championship field … joining the Irish were St. John’s, South Florida, Connecticut and Louisville … the BIG EAST has three top-12 seeds for the third time since the NCAA began naming 16 top seeds in the bracket in 2003.

POSTSEASON PERFORMER: Bright Dike scored a goal in both of Notre Dame’s BIG EAST Championship contests … Dike’s first goal in the 81st minute against Louisville is all the Irish would need to advance to the BIG EAST semifinals … in the semifinals against South Florida, he put the Irish on top in the 19th minute before the Bulls would come back to take the 2-1 victory.

ANOTHER DOZEN: Notre Dame has claimed at least 12 wins in all eight seasons of the Bobby Clark era, including this year’s current 12-6-2 mark … the most wins under Clark was 16 in 2003 … Notre Dame posted 15 victories in 2006 … the Fighting Irish produced 14 wins last season and 13 in 2004 … the Irish have finished with 12 victories three times during Clark’s tenure (2001, 2002 & 2005) … Notre Dame has qualified for the NCAA Championship all eight seasons under Clark’s tutelage.

BACK-TO-BACK TITLES: The Irish have won back-to-back BIG EAST regular-season titles for the first time in program history … Notre Dame shared the Blue Division crown with Connecticut last season … this year’s title marked the third regular-season BIG EAST championship in program history … the Fighting Irish also won the championship outright in 2004.

NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 83-50-18 (.609) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995 … the Irish have posted eight straight winning seasons within the conference, including this season … the Irish have three regular-season BIG EAST titles … Notre Dame won the championship outright in 2004 and 2008 (Blue Division) and shared the Blue Division trophy with Connecticut in 2007 … 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).

BESLER EARNS ACADEMIC HONORS: Senior Matt Besler has earned first-team Academic All-America honors from ESPN the Magazine and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) … Besler becomes the sixth player in program history to be selected as a CoSIDA Academic All-American … the central defender carries a 3.462 cumulative grade-point average in the College of Arts and Letters as a pre-professional studies and psychology major … this season, he has played every possible minute on the field … Besler has notched three points on one goal and one assist, while anchoring a Fighting Irish defense that has posted seven shutouts on the season.

DOMINATION FROM DIKE: Senior forward Bright Dike has team-high totals in goals (12) and points (29) … those are single-season career-high numbers for Dike … his five assists also are a career-best mark … Dike ranks first in the BIG EAST by averaging 0.60 goals per game … he has notched a point in a team-high 13 games this season.

THOMAS A CONSISTENT FORCE: Junior midfielder Michael Thomas has notched a point in 10 games this season … Thomas is second on the team in goals (8) and points (20) … he has four assists … those are all single-season career-best marks for Thomas.

LEADING THE LEAGUE: Bright Dike and Michael Thomas rank first and third, respectively, in points per game among all BIG EAST Conference players … Dike is averaging 1.45 points per game, while Thomas has a 1.00 mark.

OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: The Fighting Irish have combined to score 35 goals during their 12 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.

OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT: Notre Dame has scored 40 goals in 20 games so far this season after scoring 36 in 24 matches all of last season.

HAT TRICK: Dave Donohue’s hat trick against Marquette on Sept. 11 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.

WIDE MARGINS: Eight of Notre Dame’s 19 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 … 11 different players have scored a goal for the Irish this season … a total of 14 players have tallied at least one point on the year.

IRON MAN: Senior defender Matt Besler has appeared in 85 straight contests for the Fighting Irish … he has started 67 consecutive matches along with playing every possible minute of those contests … the starting streak began at the beginning of his sophomore season … overall, he has played in 89 of a possible 90 games during his Notre Dame career.

ROOKIE IMPACT: Freshman Aaron Maund is one of two Irish players to have played all 1,846 minutes this season … fellow central defender Matt Besler is the other … Maund was named the BIG EAST rookie of the week on Sept. 22 … he was selected to the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic all-tournament team on Aug. 31 … Maund picked up his first point with an assist on Bright Dike’s game winner in a 1-0 victory over Louisville in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals on Nov. 8.

RELLAS RETURNS: Notre Dame senior midfielder/defender Cory Rellas saw his first action of the season in the Connecticut match on Oct. 25 … Rellas had missed the first 15 games of the season due to a knee injury … he has come off the bench to play in all five games since his return … Rellas started all 24 matches last season in the central defense for the Fighting Irish.

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 17-7 in the first half this season … the Fighting Irish also have out shot opponents 141-94 during the first period of play.

FINISHING STRONG: The Fighting Irish have out scored their opponents 23-12 in the second half this season.

CORNERING THE MARKET: Notre Dame has gained 35 more corner kicks (120-85) than its opponents this season … the Irish own a decisive 67-40 edge in corners in the first half.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame is 9-0-1 at home this season … the Fighting Irish are riding a 13-game home unbeaten streak … the Irish are 12-0-1 in that span … Notre Dame is 13-0-3 in its last 16 regular-season BIG EAST home games … the Irish have gone undefeated at home in BIG EAST play over the past two seasons … Notre Dame’s last loss to a BIG EAST foe at Alumni Field was a 2-0 setback to South Florida on Sept. 8, 2006 … the Irish are 17-0-3 at home against BIG EAST teams since that loss to the Bulls.

RPI RANKINGS: Notre Dame is eighth in the latest RPI rankings … there are four teams from the BIG EAST Conference that appear in the top 16 of the RPI … St. John’s is No. 2, while Louisville is 13th and South Florida is 16th.

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 this season (Sept. 7).

TOUGH SLATE: The Irish faced another challenging regular-season schedule this season … there were seven teams ranked in the most recent Soccer America top-25 poll that appeared on Notre Dame’s 2008 slate … Akron (4), South Florida (5), Michigan State (8) and St. John’s (9) are in the top 10, while Indiana (14t), Michigan (17) and Connecticut (25) also appear in the rankings … the Irish are 2-5-1 against those squads … Notre Dame played South Florida twice … the Fighting Irish are 13th in the poll.

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 106-44-22 at the school … he is second on Notre Dame’s career wins list behind Rich Hunter (1977-83), who is first with 128 wins … during his collegiate coaching career, Clark has a 259-107-47 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.

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 were placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote beginning Oct.16 and concluding Nov. 19 … votes from coaches and media will be coupled with fan balloting to determine the recipient of the award … 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 … 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 89 games, including 72 starts, during his Notre Dame career … he has tallied 17 points on five goals and seven assists.

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.

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 129-38-18 (.746) 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 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.