Senior midfielder Alex Yoshinaga is tied for the team lead in points with three on a goal and an assist.

Irish To Open BIG EAST Home Slate Versus Louisville On Friday

Sept. 21, 2005

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Notre Dame opens a four-game homestand by playing host to two BIG EAST Conference newcomers in Louisville and Cincinnati this weekend at Alumni Field. The Irish and the Cardinals take to the pitch on Friday at approximately 7:30 p.m. (EST). That game will follow a 5 o’clock match-up between the Notre Dame and Cincinnati women’s soccer teams. The Irish men will square off against the Bearcats on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. The 18th-ranked Irish are 4-2-0 overall and opened conference play last weekend with a loss at St. John’s (2-1) and a win at Syracuse (1-0).

IRISH IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 56-42-10 (.565) all time in BIG EAST regular-season play dating back to the 1995 campaign … the Irish have posted four straight winning seasons within the conference, including an 8-1-1 mark last season … that was Notre Dame’s first eight-win BIG EAST campaign and that record gave them the regular-season title for the first time in program history … the Fighting Irish have captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003.

IRISH IN BIG EAST OPENERS: With a 2-1 loss at St. John’s on Friday, Sept. 16, Notre Dame is now 7-3-1 all time in BIG EAST openers … the Fighting Irish opened conference play last season with a 4-1 win over Georgetown at Alumni Field.

HOME OPENERS: The Fighting Irish are 6-2-2 in BIG EAST home openers … Notre Dame defeated Georgetown 4-1 in last year’s conference home opener … the last loss occurred in 2003, as No. 13 St. John’s took down the Irish 3-0.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS LOUISVILLE: Notre Dame and Louisville have met four times on the soccer field with the last occurring in 1984 … both teams met twice in South Bend and twice in Louisville from 1981-1984 … the Fighting Irish have won each contest and have outscored the Cardinals 14-2 … the last match was a 3-1 win for Notre Dame on Sept. 9, 1984.

ABOUT THE CARDINALS: Louisville (3-3-1, BE 1-1-1) is currently fifth with four points in the BIG EAST’s Red Division … the Cardinals are coming off a 2-1 upset over No. 5/1 Connecticut at home on Sunday … the game-winner was scored on a bicycle kick in the 86th minute by sophomore Frank Jonke … on Friday, Sept. 16, Andrew Celebre scored a goal with 40 seconds remaining against Providence to send the game into overtime before the match would end in a 1-1 draw … the Cardinals out-shot the Friars 26-6 but had trouble finding the back of the net … freshman defender Joey Belfour was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll on Sept. 19 … Louisville opened BIG EAST play with a 4-3 double-overtime loss to Cincinnati on Sept. 7 … Jonke leads the team with eight points on two goals and four assists … goalkeeper Charlie Edwards has played all 653:02 in goal with 22 saves, while giving up eight goals … he owns a 1.10 goals-against-average … the Cardinals were selected by the league coaches to finish seventh in the BIG EAST’s Red Division.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS CINCINNATI: The Fighting Irish and Bearcats have only met twice on the pitch, with each team claiming a victory … Cincinnati defeated Notre Dame 1-0 on Sept. 9, 1979 at Notre Dame … the Irish got a measure of revenge the following season (Sept. 7, 1980) with a 2-1 victory at Cincinnati.

ABOUT THE BEARCATS: Cincinnati (3-2-1, BE 2-0-1) sits atop the BIG EAST’s Red Division with seven points … last weekend, the Bearcats knocked off No. 5/1 Connecticut, 2-0, on Friday, Sept. 16 … Omar Cummings tallied both goals for Cincinnati in the win … Cummings was named the BIG EAST Co-Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 18 along with Matt Groenwald of St. John’s … Cincinnati finished the weekend with a 1-1 tie versus Providence … Sam Miller notched the only score for the Bearcats in the match … Cummings leads the team with six points on three goals … Mike Dwyer has registered five points, coming on two goals and an assist … goalkeeper Mike Vessells was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll on Sept. 18 for his efforts versus Cincinnati and Providence … the junior gave up just one goal and collected nine saves … he has allowed nine goals, while making 21 saves on the year … Vessells has played all 563:02 in goal … Cincinnati began BIG EAST play with a 4-3 double-overtime win over Louisville on Sept. 7 … the Bearcats were tabbed by the BIG EAST coaches to place fifth in the Red Division.

RECAPPING ST. JOHN’S: The 10th-ranked St. John’s Red Storm used two goals my Matt Groenwald to defeat No. 16 Notre Dame 2-1 in BIG EAST men’s soccer action on Friday, Sept. 16 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 continued to control possession and 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.

RECAPPING SYRACUSE: Notre Dame got on the board early in the second half and held on to defeat Syracuse 1-0 in BIG EAST men’s soccer action on Sunday, Sept. 18 at the SU Soccer Stadium … junior forward Justin McGeeney notched his first goal of the season in the 52nd minute with the assist going to John Stepehens … despite a late Orange surge, that goal would prove to be the difference in the match … Notre Dame controlled possession early in the first half and the Irish nearly capitalized in the fourth minute when Stephens sent a free kick into the box to forward Tony Megna, who headed the ball just over the crossbar … the Fighting Irish had another close call on a set piece in the 18th minute when a Stephens corner kick was headed by Ben Crouse but saved right in front of the net. With 17:42 remaining in the half, the Orange almost found the net on a corner kick as Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill momentarily lost possession of the ball before snagging it to keep the game scoreless … the match was knotted 0-0 after the first half, with the Irish holding a 9-5 advantage in shots … in the second half, it did not take Notre Dame long to snap the scoreless tie as Stephens sent a cross into the box that was deflected out and McGeeney would take the deflection and send the ball to the back left of the net from 10 yards out to put the Irish on top 1-0 … Syracuse nearly equaled the score in the 61st minute when an Orange corner kick was barely cleared to the right of the Notre Dame net by the Irish … the ensuing corner kick was headed just over the crossbar by the Orange … Syracuse would continue to keep the pressure on late into the second half but Notre Dame negated any chances, including a blast from 30 yards out by Syracuse’s Pat Gallagher that was knocked away by Cahill … with 5:50 remaining in the game, the Orange sent a long ball into the box but the header was sent over the crossbar … just over a minute later, Syracuse did find the back of the net after a collision with Cahill left the ball on the ground, yet the goal was waived off and the Irish would go on to claim their fourth victory of the season.

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. … the Irish have followed up both of their losses this season with wins.

McGEENEY CONNECTS: Justin McGeeney notched his first goal of the season versus Syracuse on Sunday, Sept. 18 … the tally, which was assisted by John Stephens, was the game-winner in Notre Dame’s 1-0 victory over the Orange … those were the first points of the season for the junior forward, who led the team with 12 points, on five goals and two assists, one season ago.

STEPHENS’ POINTS: When senior midfielder John Stephens assisted on Justin McGeeney’s goal versus Syracuse, it marked his third point of the season, which is a single season-best for the tri-captain … his first points of the campaign came on a goal in the season-opener versus then No. 7 SMU … that was his first career tally … Stephens previous season-high was two points, which occurred last season on two assists.

NEXT UP: The Irish homestand will continue as Notre Dame steps away from BIG EAST play for a night to host Bradley on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7:00 … the Irish return to conference play when West Virginia pays a visit to Alumni Field on Saturday, Oct. 1 for a 7 o’clock match-up … the Mountaineers handed Notre Dame its only loss in BIG EAST play last season, a 1-0 decision in Morgantown, W.V.

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark looks ahead to this weekend’s games …

“Both of these teams (Louisville and Cincinnati) had great weekends. The No. 1 team in the country (Connecticut) came in to both of their homes and lost. So both of those teams must be feeling great about themselves right now. They are confident and will provide stiff opposition for us.”

“We have not played against either of these teams since I’ve been here at Notre Dame. They are both new to the league and have played well so far. They will both be hard games.”

“We have to start stringing something together ourselves. We had a solid weekend last week by facing two tough BIG EAST teams. Getting one win was good. But that’s only good if we can put something together, beginning this weekend. It’s that time of the season when you need to start putting things together and making things happen. We’ve seen positive signs that this can happen.”

“We need to have patience as a team this weekend. Neither team (Louisville or Cincinnati) gave up much last weekend. We need to settle in and make things happen.”

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 Friday, 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.

CAHILL AND MILLER GARNER 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 … prior to this season, Cahill had not seen any game action during his Fighting Irish career due to the presence of All-American Chris Sawyer … junior defender Ryan Miller was selected to the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week following his play in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournamet … he was also named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll for his efforts, which included anchoring a defense that did not allow a goal over the weekend … he also collected an assist on Joe Lapira’s game-winning goal versus Saint Louis.

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.

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 No. 7 SMU, 4-1, 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.

CAHILL AND DALBY NAMED TO ADIDAS/IU CREDIT UNION CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Goalkeeper Chris Cahill and midfielder Greg Dalby were named to the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic All-Tournament Team for their efforts last weekend … in his first collegiate game action, Chris Cahill got the start in goal and allowed only one goal, while stopping one shot in Notre Dame’s 4-1 victory over SMU … the junior held No. 10 Wake Forest scoreless throughout regulation and his only blemish came nearly seven minutes into the first overtime period as the Demon Deacons topped the Irish 1-0 … he made six saves on the weekend … Dalby scored his first collegiate goal just 1:26 into Notre Dame’s victory over SMU … he would go on to collect an assist on a John Stephens goal, which put the Fighting Irish up 3-1 … Cahill and Dalby were also named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll.

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 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 rankings (#1 Indiana, #8 St. John’s, #12 Connecticut, #15 Wake Forest, #18-T 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 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 Fighting Irish have put together four straight winning seasons 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.

METHEMBE NDLOVU NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR: Indiana Invaders head coach Methembe Ndlovu, a volunteer assistant coach for the Irish, was named the Premier Development League Coach of the Year on Aug. 11 … the award was voted on by the United Soccer League’s coaches and general managers … the second-year Invaders head coach led the team to its third straight 11-win season at 11-5-0, missing the postseason by one point for the second consecutive season … he was 11-5-0 in his debut last season.

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 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.