Oct. 9, 2003
#5 Notre Dame vs. #25 Rutgers
Saturday, Oct. 11 * 7:30 p.m. * Alumni Field
Notre Dame plays host to Rutgers for key conference match up:
The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (7-1-3, 3-1-1) has just two home games left this season, one of which is set for Saturday against BIG EAST Conference opponent Rutgers (6-3-1, 3-1-1). The Irish or Scarlet Knights will take a step toward strengthening each other’s shot at the BIG EAST regular-season title with a victory this weekend.
Notre Dame and Rutgers will be meeting for the 13th time on Saturday … the Scarlet Knights lead the all-time series 8-3-1, including five straight victories from 1998-2001 … the two teams tied last season 1-1 in Piscataway, NJ … the last victory in the series for Notre Dame came at Alumni Field in 1997 (1-0) … Rutgers has only made three trips to campus, posting a 2-1 record at Alumni Field … Rutgers fought Seton Hall to a 1-1 tie on Wednesday, Oct. 8.
Home cooking serves the Irish well:
Notre Dame completed a seven-game homestand during the month of September with a 5-1-1 record, finishing up with a four-game win streak over #18 Indiana, West Virginia, Bradley and Georgetown.
The 2003 September marked just the second time in the program’s history the Irish spent the entire month at home. In 1978, the second season of varsity soccer, Notre Dame defeated Florissant Valley, Tri-State, IPFW, St. Joseph’s, Valparaiso, Michigan, Indiana Tech, Ablion and Purdue to start the season 9-0.
Irish have been unbeatable over the last month:
Notre Dame will enter Saturday’s match with a 6-1-1 record in their last seven matches, but the Irish have not lost since a 3-0 set back to St. John’s on Sept. 6 – a streak of seven games.
Notre Dame’s defense among the best in the nation:
Notre Dame ranks in the top 20 in the nation in two key defensive statistics, according to the latest NCAA statistical rankings. The Irish are 16th in team goals-against average (0.58) and 17th in shutout percentage (0.55). Notre Dame has posted six shutouts in 11 games this season (0-0 vs. #20 UAB, 0-0 vs. Akron, 1-0 vs. #19 Indiana, 1-0 vs. West Virginia, 2-0 vs. Bradley and 2-0 at Pittsburgh).
The defensive group of senior Kevin Richards, juniors Kevin Goldthwaite and Jack Stewart, along with freshman Greg Dalby, has been stifling at times this season. Goalkeeper Chris Sawyer (also ranked nationally at 16th in goals-against average) has been asked to stop just 25 shots this season (2.72 saves per game).
Goldthwaite and Richards play on the outside, moving back and forth as the Irish attack and defend. Goldthwaite has one goal and two assists this season, while Richards has assisted on two goals. Stewart scored his first goal of the season at Syracuse last weekend and is among the best backline players in the nation – on the ground and especially in the air.
Dalby has played every minute of every game as a true freshman this season. A former captain of the U.S. under-18 national team, Dalby is even younger than the rookies he sees on his own team and the opponents. Dalby completed his high school studies a year earlier than normal (born Nov. 3, 1985).
Detter steps up to lead the Irish offense:
Senior forward Justin Detter has become one of the most dangerous attack players in the nation this season. Although the White Lake, Mich., native has only put the ball in the net four times so far in 2003, he demands the attention of the opposing defense in each and every contest.
A two-time all-BIG EAST selection, Detter has launched a team-high 42 shots this season, incuding 18 on goal. Dangerous both in the air and on the ground with the ball, Detter has shown the ability to beat constant double teams – and has set his teammates up for numerous scoring chances (he has two assists this season).
Riley moves up to third on the all-time assist list:
Senior MF Chad Riley has tied Sami Kahale for second on the all-time assist ranking at Notre Dame. With his two assists last weekend, Riley now has six on the season, giving the Houston, Texas, native 30 in his career.
Chad Riley is currently tied for second on the all-time assist leaderboard at Notre Dame with 30 (as of Oct. 8).
Notre Dame career assists leaders:
1. Randy Morris (’85-’88), 40
2. Sami Kahale (’78-’81), 30
3. Chad Riley (’00- ), 30
4. Bill Lanza (’92-’95), 25
5. Richard Herdegen (’81-’84), 23
Riley has led Notre Dame in assists for all three previous season with the Irish.
While Notre Dame has faced several top teams this season, it has been consistently out-performing its rivals on the statistical end.
As of Oct. 8, Notre Dame has out-shot its opponents 173-94, an almost 2-1 ratio (15.7 per game vs. 8.5 per game). The Irish have unleashed 93 shots in the second half, compared to just 43 for all opponents.
Continuing a look at the statistics, Notre Dame’s opponents have been forced to make 71 saves, while Irish goalkeeper Chris Sawyer has been asked to make just 25 stops. Notre Dame also leads in corner kicks 63-30 and has committed 22 less fouls than its competitors. Irish competitors have earned 23 yellow cards and three red cards, compared to just six yellow cards for Notre Dame.
Challenging schedule continues evolving into one of the toughest slates in the nation:
No one can accuse the Irish team of ducking the competition this season. The BIG EAST Conference is recognized as one of the toughest in the nation, but even with a challenging conference schedule set for the 2003 season, Notre Dame has faced a number of highly-ranked non-conference opponents.
The exhibition season alone saw Notre Dame face Saint Louis (ranked as high as third in the nation this season) and Michigan. The regular season began with a 0-0 tie with #20 Alabama-Birmingham (currently 20th in the nation) and a 2-1 overtime victory over #11 California (now ranked 22nd).
Notre Dame then suffered its first loss of the season to St. John’s, which has been ranked as high as fifth in the national rankings (currently eighth). Last weekend, the Irish defeated Fresno State 2-1, then took on an unranked Akron team. Notre Dame and Akron fought to a 0-0 scoreless tie, but the Zips, by virtue of their win over Indiana that same weekend, jumped to 10th in the Sept. 15 NSCAA poll and first in the Great Lakes Region. Akron is currently ranked 12th.
Three ranked teams remain on the upcoming schedule for Notre Dame as well. #17 Virginia Tech, #25 Rutgers await the Irish along with regionally-ranked Michigan State.
Devon Prescod on course for a career season:
Senior forward Devon Prescod is making the most of his final season with the Irish. After struggling through a series of leg injuries last season, Prescod is healthy and leading the Irish in scoring this season with five goals. His scores against #11 California,West Virginia and Georgetown proved to be the game winners, as well.
Prescod came into the 2003 season with 10 career goals after scoring six as a sophomore in 2001. His five goals this season already eclipses his three from a year ago. Named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 1, Prescod is tied for first on the team in points with 10 and second in shots on goal with 11.
Notre Dame’s defense ranked among the national leaders:
In the latest NCAA statistical rankings, the Irish are among the top 25 in three different categories. Notre Dame is 16th in goals-against average (0.58), 17th in shutout percentage (0.55) and 20th in win-loss percentage (0.773).
Individually, junior goalkeeper Chris Sawyer is ranked 16th in the country in goals-against average (0.579).
Perhaps the Notre Dame players enjoy playing soccer a little too much. The Irish have played extra time in six of 11 games this season, posting a record of 3-0-3 in those contests. The first weekend of the season, Notre Dame tied UAB 0-0, then defeated California 2-1 in two overtime periods. The Irish eventually defeated Fresno State and Indiana in OT, while tieing Akron and Syracuse.
Notre Dame is one overtime game away from matching the team record of seven overtime contests in 1985 (compiling a 1-2-4 record). The Irish have posted several seasons with six overtime contests (1981, ’97, ’98, ’02). Notre Dame is 29-21-16 all-time in overtime contests (.561).
Irish home attendance on the rise:
Notre Dame men’s soccer has developed a solid following in the local South Bend market over the past six seasons. In 2003, the Irish are averaging 1,274 fans for each home contest – a mark that would have placed Notre Dame 14th in the final attendance figures for the nation last season.
Here is a look at Notre Dame’s home attendance over the six seasons:
2003: 1,247 (as of Oct. 8)
Notre Dame’s 1-0 victory over Indiana was attended by 2,131 fans, the largest crowd this season at Alumni Field.
Class of 2007 earns top-five recruiting class status:
University of Notre Dame men’s soccer coach Bobby Clark has announced the signing of seven highly-regarded prep standouts to national letters of intent. Three of those players have been members of the U.S. national team program and are current members of the under-18 national squad. Joining the Irish program beginning in the fall of 2003 will be goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./St. Francis DeSales) central defender Greg Dalby (Poway, Calif./Poway), midfielder Ian Etherington (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral HS), forward Justin McGeeney (Ames, Iowa/Ames), midfielder Ryan Miller (Barrington, Ill./Barrington), forward Brian Murphy (Granger, Ind./St. Joseph’s) and forward/midfielder Nate Norman (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams).
“These seven players comprise a fabulous recruiting class for us,” Clark says. “All the individuals we identified early on in the recruiting process decided to come to Notre Dame. We were looking for players who would come in and give up depth as well as have an impact immediately. We’re very excited to have all of them join our program.
“I think we’ve been very successful with our recruiting efforts the past two seasons. This year’s class adds tremendous depth to our team and continues to move the program in the direction that we want to go.”
The group ended up ranked fifth in the country by Soccer America and third by College Soccer News.com.
Notre Dame leads the nation in student-athlete graduation rate:
The University of Notre Dame compiled the nation’s highest overall graduation rate for Division I-A student-athletes to take top honors in the 2003 USA Today/NCAA Academic Achievement Awards announced today.
Ninety-two percent of the Fighting Irish student-athletes who enrolled in 1996 earned a degree from the University, three percentage points higher than second-place Tulsa University. Duke and Wisconsin finished third at 88 percent, followed by Northwestern, 87; Boston College, 86; Stanford, 84; Western Michigan, 83; Michigan, 82; and Syracuse, Rice and Utah State, 81.
In addition to the overall rate, Academic Achievement Awards are presented to the institutions with the best student-athlete graduation rates in comparison to the overall student body and to those that show the most improvement from the previous year.
Now in their third year, the awards include a $20,000 prize for the top institutions in each category. They are based on federally compiled figures submitted by NCAA member institutions.
The NCAA bases graduation rates on the raw percentage of student-athletes who entered an institution and graduated within six years. Students who leave or transfer, regardless of academic standing, are considered non graduates. Notre Dame’s graduation rate for student-athletes who complete all four years of athletic eligibility is 99 percent.
See Irish men’s soccer action on CSTV’s “Notre Dame Primetime”:
College Sports Television (CSTV) has launched “Notre Dame Primetime” on Sunday evenings. Those with Direct TV can catch the show, hosted by former Irish football player Derrick Mayes. “Notre Dame Primetime” recaps all of Notre Dame’s athletic action over the past week, features interviews with student-athletes and highlights from all of the Irish athletic teams.
“Notre Dame Primetime” is on each Sunday evening at 8:30 p.m. (EDT). Local Irish sports fans can catch a rebroadcast of “Notre Dame Primetime” at 7:00 p.m. Monday evenings on WHME-TV 46 (cable channel 11).
Keep up with the Irish via the Notre Dame hotline:
The Notre Dame athletic department hotline has realigned its menu offerings for the 2003 fall sports season.
The hotline provides schedule and results information for varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the live coverage and game recaps already provided on the official athletic website at www.und.com.
Here’s how the hotline is aligned (as of Aug. 28):
*Dial (574) 631-3000
*Select any of the following subgroups:
(1) Upcoming schedule and recent results of ALL varsity sports currently in action (select cells 3-9 for the most updated results for specific sports).
(2) Football schedules for the 2003, ’04, ’05, ’06 and ’07 seasons.
(3) Basketball information (then press 1 for men’s basketball and 2 for women’s basketball)
(4) Soccer information (then press 1 for men’s soccer and 2 for women’s soccer).
(5) Women’s volleyball (press 1) and men’s ice hockey (press 2) information.
(6) Men’s and women’s cross country information.
(7) Men’s and women’s swimming and diving information (then press 1 for men’s swimming and 2 for women’s swimming).
(8) Tennis information (then press 1 for men’s tennis and 2 for women’s tennis) and men’s and women’s fencing information (press 3).
(9) Women’s golf (press 1), men’s golf (press 2) and women’s rowing (press 3) information.
Other national polls:
There are several polls supported by various magazines and websites that rank the Irish. Here is a look at the Soccer Times and College Soccer News polls.
Soccer Times: 1. UCLA, 2. Maryland, 3. North Carolina, 4. Old Dominion, 5. NOTRE DAME, 6. Saint Louis, 7. St. John’s, 8. Washington, 9. Santa Clara, 10. SMU, 11. Wake Forest, 12. UCSB, 13. Florida Int’l, 14. Tulsa, 15. UAB, 16. CS Northridge, 17. Coastal Carolina, 18. Hartwick College, 19. Akron, 20. Rutgers, 21. Oakland, 22. Virginia Tech, 23. Loyola Marymount, 24. Fairleigh Dickinson, 25. South Carolina.
College Soccer News: 1. UCLA, 2. Maryland, 3. Old Dominon, 4. North Carolina, 5. NOTRE DAME, 6. St. John’s, 7. Hartwick College, 8. Saint Louis, 9. UCSB, 10. Washington, 11. SMU, 12. UAB, 13. Santa Clara, 14. Coastal Carolina, 15. Rutgers, 16. Oakland, 17. Flordia Int’l, 18. CS Northridge, 19. Tulsa, 20. William & Mary, 21. Virginia Tech, 22. Connecticut, 23. Wake Forest, 24. California, 25. Indiana, 26. Dayton, 27. Farleigh Dickinson, 28. Akron, 29. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 30. Lehigh.
Notre Dame in the BIG EAST statistical rankings (as of Oct. 5):
Shots: 3rd (173)
Goals: 8th (13)
Points Per Game: 8th (3.73)
Assists: 5th (15)
Assists Per Game: 6th (1.36)
Goals Allowed: t-1st (7)
Goals Against Average: 1st (0.58)
Saves: 13th (25)
Shutouts 2nd (6)
Shots: Detter, 1st (42)
Points: Prescod, 9th (11)
Detter, 9th (11)
Goals: Prescod, 6th (5)
Detter, 9th, (4)
Assists: Riley, 2nd (6)
Game-Winning Goals: Prescod, t-2nd (3)
Goals Against Average: Sawyer, 1st (0.58)
Shutouts: Sawyer, 1st (6)