Senior forward Tamba Samba and the Fighting Irish carry a top-10 national ranking into the 2009 season.

Irish To Open Season And Stadium Against Michigan On Tuesday

Aug. 31, 2009

#21 Michigan (0-0-0) vs. #10 Notre Dame (0-0-0)
Tuesday, September 1 • 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Stadium • Notre Dame, Ind.

Gametracker on

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SETTING THE STAGE … The 10th-ranked Notre Dame men’s soccer team will open the 2009 campaign and its new state-of-the-art Alumni Stadium against No. 21 Michigan on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m. (ET). The Fighting Irish are entering their 33rd season of varsity soccer. This will be the ninth meeting between the two schools. Notre Dame holds a 6-1-1 advantage in the series.

FOLLOW THE GAME … Live stats will be available through Gametracker on … go to the Notre Dame men’s soccer page and click on `Schedule’ and select the game to follow … also sign up for `Irish Alert’ on to receive text message score updates.

ALUMNI STADIUM … The 2009 season will mark a new era for Fighting Irish soccer as Notre Dame will begin play in Alumni Stadium … 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 and concession areas … the lead benefactors for the facility are former Irish soccer players Tom Crotty and Rob Snyder.

ABOUT THE IRISH … Notre Dame was perfect in exhibition play, taking two contests at Northern Illinois (2-1, 3-0) and then topping No. 9 Northwestern (1-0) … Notre Dame enters the 2009 campaign seeking its third straight BIG EAST Blue Division crown … last season, Notre Dame posted a 12-7-2 mark, including a 7-2-2 record in conference play, en route to garnering 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 … Notre Dame returns eight starters and 14 letterwinners from the 2008 squad … the Irish bring back 38 of 41 goals from last season, including senior Bright Dike who led the BIG EAST in goals (12) and total points (29) … the forward copped first team all-league and all-region honors in 2008 … Notre Dame averaged 1.95 goals per game last season, while allowing 1.10 per contest … head coach Bobby Clark is entering his ninth season with the Irish … he has a 106-45-22 (.676) record during his Notre Dame tenure.

IRISH IN SEASON OPENERS … Notre Dame is 20-9-3 all-time in season openers, including 5-2-1 in the Bobby Clark era … the Irish fell to Akron, 3-0, during the 2008 season opener at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS MICHIGAN … The Fighting Irish and Wolverines have squared off eight times on the pitch, with Notre Dame holding a 6-1-1 advantage in the series … Michigan’s only win against the Irish was a 3-1 decision last season in Ypsilanti, Mich. … the tie came during the 2003 NCAA Championship Round of 16 and Michigan advanced on penalty kicks, 4-3 … Notre Dame and Michigan first met in 1977 … the Irish won that contest, 4-2, at home … Michigan is 0-5-1 all-time at Notre Dame … the Irish own a 19-9 scoring advantage in the series.

THE LAST TIME … Michigan topped Notre Dame, 3-1, last season in a game that was played in Ypsilanti, Mich. … Mauro Fuzetti opened the scoring for the Wolverines in the 10th minute … Bright Dike netted the equalizer in the 23rd minute … Jake Stacy put Michigan back on top less than a minute later and a second-half tally (69th minute) from Perica Marosevic produced the final margin … Philip Tuttle played all 90 minutes in goal for the Irish and made three saves … Michigan’s Patrick Sperry made three stops in the win.

SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES … Michigan went 1-0-2 in exhibition play … the Wolverines tied Marquette (0-0) and West Virginia (1-1) before defeating Xavier (2-1) … Michigan posted a 13-6-3 record last season and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Indiana (3-0) … the Wolverines finished second in the Big Ten Conference with a 4-1-1 league mark … Michigan brings back five starters and 17 letterwinners from last season’s squad … head coach Steve Burns is entering his ninth season at the helm of the Wolverine program … he carries a 90-72-18 mark at Michigan.

IRISH THOUGHTS … Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on the season-opening match against Michigan … “The big thing with this game is that it’ll be in our new stadium and that’s exciting within itself. It’s also a huge rivalry and they beat us last year. They’re a good team and they always give us a hard game so we know no one can overlook them.”

UP NEXT … Notre Dame will travel down state to take part in the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington, Ind. over Labor Day weekend … the Irish will face Wake Forest on Friday, Sept. 4 at 5:00 p.m. (ET) … on Sunday, Notre Dame will square off against St. John’s at 11:30 a.m. … that match is not an official BIG EAST contest.

PRESEASON PLAY … The Fighting Irish swept their exhibition matches prior to the 2009 season … Notre Dame took two games from Northern Illinois on Aug. 20 … the first contest was a 2-1 decision, while the Irish took the second tilt, 3-0 … the Irish used mostly two separate squads for both contests … the first match featured many of Notre Dame’s younger talent, while several of the veterans played in the evening contest … senior defender John Schaefer netted both goals in the first match … senior forward Bright Dike tallied two goals, while senior midfielder Michael Thomas chipped in one goal, in the second game … Notre Dame took down No. 9 Northwestern, 1-0, on Aug. 24 … junior forward Steven Perry deposited the lone goal in the victory.

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.

THOMAS A LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE … Midfielder Michael Thomas has been named one of 30 candidates for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for men’s soccer … a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award at the end of September … those 10 names will then be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote beginning October 5 and concluding November 13 … fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award … the winner will be announced during the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s College Cup in Cary, North Carolina, scheduled for December 11-13.

MAUND AND POWERS SELECTED TO U.S. U-20 WORLD CUP SQUAD … Sophomore defender Aaron Maund and freshman midfielder Dillon Powers have been selected to the 21-man U.S. roster for the upcoming Under-20 World Cup in Egypt … the duo will leave the Fighting Irish following the game versus New Mexico on Sept. 14 and are scheduled to rejoin the team for their match against Georgetown on Oct. 21 … the U.S. is joined by Germany, Cameroon and Korea Republic in Group C for the tournament … the U.S. will have group matches on Sept. 26 (Germany), Sept. 29 (Cameroon) and Oct. 2 (Korea Republic) … if the U.S. advances out of group play, the Round of 16 will take place Oct. 5-7 … quarterfinals are set for Oct. 9-10, with the semifinals to follow on Oct. 13 … the championship match and third-place game are scheduled for Oct. 16.

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 returns 38 of 41 goals scored from last season … leading the way is 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.

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.

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 .

TOUGH SLATE … The Irish will face another challenging schedule this season … Notre Dame has eight teams ranked in the NSCAA preseason top-25 poll on its 2009 slate … the Irish are ranked in a tie for 12th in the poll … Wake Forest (3), St. John’s (5), Indiana (7), South Florida (11) and Connecticut (T-12th) join Notre Dame in the top dozen of the rankings … Michigan State (20), Michigan (22) and Louisville (25) are other Irish foes that appear in the poll.

IRISH NAME CAPTAINS … Senior midfielders Dave Donohue, Justin Morrow and Michael Thomas along with fifth-year senior midfielder/defender Cory Rellas have been 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 AND SINGLE-GAME TICKETS ARE ON SALE … To purchase a season pass or single-game tickets, call the Notre Dame ticket office at (574) 631-7356, visit or stop by the Notre Dame ticket office on the second level of the Joyce Center … tickets can also be purchased at Alumni Stadium on gamedays.

PARKING … Fans coming to enjoy Fighting Irish soccer at the brand new Alumni Stadium are encouraged to park at the Joyce Center’s C1 lot.

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.