Oct. 27, 2009
NOTRE DAME (9-6-1) at
MICHIGAN STATE (9-4-1)
Wednesday, Oct. 28 â€¢ 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Old College Field â€¢ East Lansing, Mich.
Notre Dame leads series 10-3-5
CONNECTICUT (10-2-3, 7-1-1) at
NOTRE DAME (9-6-1, 7-3-0)
Saturday, Oct. 31 â€¢ 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Stadium â€¢ Notre Dame, Ind.
Connecticut leads series 10-6-2
SETTING THE STAGE … Notre Dame will conclude its three-game road trip with a non-conference affair at Michigan State on Wednesday (Oct. 28). The match is scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. (ET) kickoff at Old College Field. The Fighting Irish will return home to conclude the regular season with a key BIG EAST Blue Division match up with Connecticut. The Halloween showdown against the Huskies is slated for a 2:00 p.m. (ET) start at Alumni Stadium. Senior day ceremonies will take place prior to the match against Connecticut.
TRACK THE GAMES … Both Irish matches this week will feature live stats via Gametracker … go to the men’s soccer schedule on und.com to access the link.
ABOUT THE IRISH … Notre Dame is 9-6-1 on the season and 7-3-0 in BIG EAST play … the Irish posted league wins at Georgetown (2-1 in overtime) and Pittsburgh (1-0) last week … Notre Dame currently is second in the league’s Blue Division … the Irish already have clinched a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament … senior forward Bright Dike leads the Irish in goals (8) and points (18) … senior midfielder Michael Thomas has a team-best five assists to go along with five goals … Notre Dame is averaging 1.56 goals per game, while surrendering 0.94 goals per contest … Philip Tuttle and Andrew Quinn have both started eight games in goal … Tuttle is 6-3-0 with four shutouts … the senior boasts a 0.65 goals-against average and a .750 save percentage … Quinn, a fifth-year senior, is 3-3-1 with one shutout … Quinn has a 1.23 goals-against average and a .769 save percentage … head coach Bobby Clark is in his ninth season with the Irish … he has a 115-51-23 (.669) record during his Notre Dame tenure.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS MICHIGAN STATE … The Fighting Irish and Spartans will be meeting for the 19th time when they square off on Wednesday … Notre Dame holds a 10-3-5 advantage in the series … the Irish topped the Spartans, 3-0, last season at Alumni Field … Notre Dame is 1-3-4 all-time at Michigan State … the Spartans won the last contest against the Irish in East Lansing (1-0 in 2007) … the first meeting between the two schools occurred in 1978, a 2-2 tie in East Lansing … Notre Dame has out scored Michigan State 32-13 in the series … five of the contests have gone to overtime, all of them resulting in a tie.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS … Michigan State will carry a 9-4-1 record into Wednesday’s match against Notre Dame … the Spartans have won the last three matches … Michigan State is 5-2-0 at home this season … the Spartans are averaging 1.57 goals per game, while allowing 0.64 per contest … Rubin Bega leads the team in goals (7) and points (18) … Jeff Ricondo has a team-high seven assists … Avery Steinlage has accounted for every decision in goal and has a 0.56 goals-against average and a .862 save percentage with six shutouts … Michigan State went 13-5-2 last season and garnered the No. 4 seed for the NCAA Tournament … the Spartans fell to Illinois-Chicago on penalty kicks following a scoreless draw in the second round … head coach Damon Rensing is in his first season at the helm of the Michigan State program.
COMMON OPPONENTS … Notre Dame and Michigan State have two common opponents this season (Michigan and Indiana) … the Irish defeated Michigan, 5-0, in the season opener (Sept. 1), while the Spartans topped Michigan, 2-1, on Oct. 25 … the Spartans downed Indiana, 1-0 in double-overtime, on Oct. 18 … Notre Dame fell to Indiana, 3-0, on Oct. 14.
THE LAST TIME … Notre Dame claimed a 3-0 win last season over Michigan State at Alumni Field … the Fighting Irish were ranked 14th at the time of the match, while the Spartans were unranked … Bright Dike gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute … Jeb Brovsky made it 2-0 in the 67th minute, while Michael Thomas netted the final score in the 86th minute … Andrew Quinn played all 90 minutes in goal and collected the win.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS CONNECTICUT … Notre Dame and Connecticut will be meeting for the 19th time on Saturday … the Huskies have a 10-6-2 edge in the series … Connecticut topped Notre Dame 1-0 in overtime last season in Storrs, Conn. … the Huskies are 3-3-2 all-time at Notre Dame … the two schools played to a classic 3-3 tie in the last meeting at Notre Dame during the 2007 campaign … the first meeting in the series took place during the 1986 season at Connecticut … the Irish won that match in overtime, 2-1 … that was the only contest between the two schools prior to Notre Dame joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES … Connecticut brings a 10-2-3 record into its match on Wednesday against Marquette … the Huskies reside in first place in the BIG EAST Blue Division with a 7-1-1 league mark … Connecticut is 3-1-2 on the road this season … the Huskies offense is averaging 1.60 goals per game this season, while the defense is allowing 0.47 per contest … Tony Cascio leads the team in goals (7) and total points (19) … Carlos Alvarez has a team-best 11 assists … Josh Ford has played every minute in goal and carries a 0.44 goals-against average and a .873 save percentage with 11 shutouts … last season, Connecticut went 11-5-6, including a 6-3-2 mark in the BIG EAST Blue Division to finish second behind the Irish … the Huskies fell to Creighton, 2-1 in overtime, in the third round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament … head coach Ray Reid is in his 13th season at Connecticut.
QUOTING CLARK … Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark discusses this week’s matches … “This is a big week for us. We have to take it one game at a time and all of our focus is on Michigan State. We’ve struggled in our last two trips up there, getting a loss and a tie. We need to get out of there with a victory. It’s going to be a hard game because they are a good team with some very good players. We’ll certainly be focused. We just need to start getting some wins to guarantee ourselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament.”
THE LAST TIME … Connecticut topped Notre Dame 1-0 in overtime last season in Storrs, Conn. … the Irish were ranked 13th at the time of the meeting, while the Huskies were 15th … Cruz Hernandez tallied the golden goal in the 93rd minute … goalkeeper Andrew Quinn made two saves for the Irish, while Josh Ford had three stops for the Huskies.
DOWN TO THE WIRE … Connecticut currently is in first place in the BIG EAST Blue Division with 22 points (7-1-1) with two league games remaining (Marquette and Notre Dame) … Notre Dame is second with 21 points (7-3-0) with one conference match left (Connecticut) … Georgetown is third with 18 points (6-4-0) with one BIG EAST game remaining (Providence) … West Virginia is fourth with 17 points (5-2-2) … the Mountaineers have two league contests left (Providence and Seton Hall) … all four of those schools already have locked up berths for the 2009 BIG EAST Championship.
UP NEXT … Following the conclusion of BIG EAST play on Saturday, Notre Dame will learn its fate for the 2009 league tournament … if the Irish finish first or second in the Blue Division, they will receive a first-round bye and host a quarterfinal match on Saturday, Nov. 7 … first-round games are slated for Wednesday, Nov. 4.
BACK ON TRACK … Notre Dame snapped its two-game losing skid with victories over Georgetown (2-1 in overtime) and Pittsburgh (1-0) last week.
FIRST TIMERS … It was a pair of first-time goal scorers that helped the Fighting Irish capture two wins last week … junior right back Bilal Duckett tallied the golden goal in the 97th minute in a 2-1 win at Georgetown on Oct. 21 … that was Duckett’s first career goal … sophomore midfielder Michael Rose netted the lone goal (48th minute) in Notre Dame’s 1-0 win at Pittsburgh on Oct. 24 … that was the first collegiate goal for Rose.
DUCKETT EARNS LEAGUE ACCOLADE … Junior defender Bilal Duckett was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for his effort in helping the Irish post two wins last week … Duckett deposited the golden goal in a 2-1 triumph of Georgetown … he also helped the Irish shut out Pittsburgh, 1-0 … Duckett played all 187 minutes on the pitch during the two matches … the Irish only allowed one shot on goal versus Pittsburgh … that was the first such conference accolade for Duckett.
GOLDEN MOMENTS … Bilal Duckett’s golden goal (97th minute) against Georgetown was Notre Dame’s second golden goal in the past four matches … senior forward Bright Dike deposited one (110th minute) against Providence on Oct. 10.
A CONSISTENT FORCE … Michael Thomas produced three points in helping Notre Dame to wins at Georgetown and Pittsburgh last week … Thomas gave the Irish a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute against the Hoyas … the senior midfielder assisted on the lone tally in a 1-0 victory over the Panthers … Thomas was named to the TopDrawerSoccer National Team of the Week for his efforts … Thomas leads the Irish with five assists, while his five goals rank him second on the team.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS … Four of Notre Dame’s last five matches have been decided by a single goal … the Fighting Irish have played a total of nine one-goal games this season … the Irish are 5-4 in those contests.
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS … Senior forward Bright Dike, the BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, is tied for second among all BIG EAST players with eight goals … Dike is tied for third among all league players in points with 18.
SECOND HALF SUCCESS … Notre Dame has out scored its opponents 20-10 in the second half and overtime periods this season.
NIGHT OWLS … Notre Dame is 5-1-1 this season when playing at night … last season, the Fighting Irish were 7-4-2 during night games.
NO. 700 … Notre Dame’s match at Marquette on Oct. 7 marked the 700th game in the history of the Fighting Irish varsity program … the Irish now are 430-209-66 (.657) since the varsity program began in 1977.
TAKING DOWN A TOP-10 … The 4-0 win over seventh-ranked Louisville on Sept. 25 marked Notre Dame’s first victory over a top-10 team since they defeated No. 5 USF, 5-0, last season (Sept. 7, 2008).
CRACKING THE CARDINALS … Prior to Notre Dame’s 4-0 triumph of Louisville on Sept. 25, the Cardinals had only surrendered one goal this season … senior goalkeeper Philip Tuttle and the Irish defense posted the shutout against Louisville, who entered the match averaging 2.5 goals per game … Tuttle made three saves to collect his second clean sheet of the season.
IRISH EXPLOSION … The four goals scored in the second half against Louisville on Sept. 25 were the most goals scored in a single period by the Irish since they netted four in the first half in a 5-0 win over USF last season (Sept. 7, 2008).
OFFENSE AT ALUMNI … Notre Dame has scored three or more goals three times this season at the brand new Alumni Stadium … those performances have occurred against Michigan (5-0), Seattle (3-0) and Louisville (4-0) … Notre Dame scored the first nine goals at the stadium before surrendering a score to New Mexico in the 38th minute during the game on Sept. 13 … the scoreless streak in the new venue reached 217:54.
MAUND AND POWERS AT U-20 WORLD CUP … Sophomore defender Aaron Maund and freshman midfielder Dillon Powers were members of the United States Under-20 National Team that recently competed at the U-20 World Cup in Egypt … the U.S. went 1-2 and finished in 17th place, one slot shy of advancing to the Round of 16 … Powers started the first contest of group competition, a 3-0 loss to Germany on Sept. 26, and played the entire first half … in a 4-1 win over Cameroon on Sept. 29, he came on in the 73rd minute and completed the game for the United States … Powers and Maund did not enter the final match of Group C play, a 3-0 loss to Korea Republic on Oct. 2 … Maund did not see match time during the tournament … Notre Dame and UCLA were the only two schools with multiple representatives on the team … the duo returned to the Irish for the match at Marquette on Oct. 7 … Notre Dame went 3-2 in their absence.
NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY … Notre Dame owns an overall record of 90-53-18 (.615) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995 … the Irish have posted eight straight winning seasons within the conference, including last season’s 7-2-2 mark … 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).
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 in 2007 … the 2008 title marked the third regular-season BIG EAST championship in program history … the Fighting Irish also won the championship outright in 2004.
LOSE THE SHOES … At halftime of the Notre Dame-Cincinnati match on Sept. 27, the championship game of the `Lose the Shoes’ tournament was held at Alumni Stadium … the preliminary games of the tournament took place on the Notre Dame campus on Sept. 26 … the proceeds from the 3-on-3 barefoot soccer tournament benefitted Grassroot Soccer, a South Africa-based non-governmental organization that integrates the cross-cultural appeal of soccer with evidence-based HIV prevention and life skills programs that arm African youth with the knowledge, skills, and support to live HIV free … Tommy Clark, the eldest son of Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark, is a cofounder of Grassroot Soccer … in the fall of 2006, Dartmouth College held the first ever `Lose the Shoes’ tournament … since then, over 90 `Lose the Shoes’ tournaments have raised almost $150,000 … Notre Dame raised approximately $1,200.
DIKE DEPOSITS HAT TRICK … Senior forward Bright Dike had a stellar start to the 2009 season as he registered the first hat trick of his career in a 5-0 win over Michigan … the hat trick was the first for a Notre Dame player since Dave Donohue scored three times against Marquette last season.
OFFENSIVE OPENER … Notre Dame’s five-goal outburst against Michigan in the season opener was the first for the Fighting Irish since a 5-0 triumph of USF on Sept. 7, 2008 … the five tallies are the most in a season opener for Notre Dame since a 5-0 victory over Villanova in 2001, which was head coach Bobby Clark’s first game with the Irish.
SHOOTING DOWN THE COMPETITION … Notre Dame has out shot 13 of its 16 opponents so far this season … the Irish hold a 230-161 advantage in shots, including 102-65 in shots on goal, over their opponents.
ALUMNI STADIUM … The 2009 season signifies a new era for Fighting Irish soccer as Notre Dame begins play in Alumni Stadium … the Irish opened the facility with a 5-0 victory over Michigan on Sept. 1 … the $5.7 million venue resides just east of the Joyce Center on the Notre Dame campus and features a natural grass field, lights, locker rooms, restrooms, concession areas and permanent seating for over 2,000 spectators … the lead benefactors for the facility are former Irish soccer players Tom Crotty and Rob Snyder.
CHEERING ON THE IRISH … Notre Dame ranks 13th among all NCAA Division I men’s soccer programs in home attendance this season … the Fighting Irish are averaging 1,485 fans per contest at Alumni Stadium … Connecticut is the only BIG EAST team that ranks higher than the Fighting Irish in home attendance.
ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOK … Jeb Brovsky’s goal in the 26th minute of the season-opening 5-0 win over Michigan was the first goal scored in Alumni Stadium … Michael Thomas collected the assist on the play.
TOUGH SLATE … The Fighting Irish opened the 2009 season against three ranked teams (#21 Michigan, #3 Wake Forest, #1 St. John’s) … that marked the first time since 2003 that Notre Dame opened a campaign against three ranked opponents … the back-to-back games against Wake Forest and St. John’s was the first time ever the Fighting Irish had faced back-to-back top-three teams … it was the first time Notre Dame had consecutive matches against top-10 foes since 2007 (#7 Santa Clara and #2 Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament) … a match against No. 5 USF on Sept. 20 was the third time this season that the Irish have met a top-five squad … Notre Dame has faced six ranked opponents so far this season … the Irish are 2-3-1 in those matches.
LEAGUE HONORS FOR DIKE AND THOMAS … Senior forward Bright Dike was named the 2009 BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year … he was joined on the league’s all-preseason squad by Irish senior midfielder Michael Thomas.
IRISH PICKED TO WIN BLUE DIVISION … Notre Dame was selected to win the 2009 BIG EAST Blue Division title according to a vote by the league’s head coaches … the Fighting Irish received 12 first-place votes among the Blue Division squads, while Connecticut garnered three and Georgetown had one vote … the league’s 16 head coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams … St. John’s was picked to win the Red Division.
POWERS EARNS NATIONAL HONORS … Freshman midfielder Dillon Powers was named the 2008-09 Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year … in addition, he was selected as the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Co-Player of the Year in July.
RETURNING FIREPOWER … Notre Dame returned 38 of 41 goals scored from last season … leading the way was senior forward Bright Dike, who led all BIG EAST players in goals (12) and points (29) one year ago … Michael Thomas was the top scoring midfielder in the league with 21 points on eight goals and five assists … junior forward Jeb Brovsky is back after totaling five goals and six assists as a sophomore … seniors Dave Donohue (5g, 5a) and Justin Morrow (2g, 4a) registered 15 and eight points, respectively, one season ago … sophomore Brendan King and senior Tamba Samba chipped in two goals apiece for the Irish … King also added three assists.
COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LISTS … Two Notre Dame freshmen were named to the College Soccer News `100 Freshmen To Keep An Eye On’ list for the 2009 season … midfielder/defender Danny O’Leary and midfielder Dillon Powers were selected to the list and are part of a very talented six-man freshman class for the Irish.
FRESHMAN CLASS NATIONALLY RANKED … Notre Dame’s freshman class was ranked ninth according to College Soccer News … Bob Novak (M), Danny O’Leary (M/D), Dillon Powers (M), Kyle Richard (M/F), Grant Van De Casteele (D) and Eric Tilley (M/D) make up the stellar class.
IRISH NAME CAPTAINS … Senior midfielders Dave Donohue, Justin Morrow and Michael Thomas along with fifth-year senior midfielder/defender Cory Rellas were named team captains for the 2009 campaign … this is the second straight season in which Thomas has been an Irish captain, while the other three are first-time captains.
SEASON IN REVIEW … Last season, Notre Dame posted a 12-7-2 mark, including a 7-2-2 record in conference play, en route to capturing its second straight BIG EAST Blue Division title … the Fighting Irish garnered the 12th seed for the NCAA Championship … the Irish fell to Northwestern, 2-1, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Alumni Field … the Fighting Irish concluded the season ranked 16th in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll … Notre Dame averaged 1.95 goals per game last season, while allowing 1.10 per contest … Bright Dike led the BIG EAST in goals (12) and total points (29) … the forward copped first team all-league and all-region honors in 2008 … central defender Matt Besler was named a first-team All-American and first team Academic All-American in addition to being tabbed as the NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year … Besler became the highest MLS SuperDraft pick in program history as he was selected eighth overall by the Kansas City Wizards … the New York Red Bulls drafted his backline mate, Jack Traynor, with the 29th overall selection.
SIGN UP FOR IRISH ALERT … 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.