Sept. 13, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Notre Dame mens soccer team (2-1-1, 1-0-1) faces a tough three-game slate this week as the Irish start off the week hosting Cleveland State on Tuesday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. Coach Mike Berticellis squad then is on the road for its next two games as Notre Dame faces two strong BIG EAST foes in Seton Hall and 19th-ranked Connecticut. The Irish take on the Pirates on Friday, September 17 at 3:00 p.m. and then meet the Huskies on Sunday, September 19 at 1:00 p.m.
WEEK IN REVIEW: Western Michigan: The Broncos earned their first victory in eight tries at Alumni Field with a 1-0 overtime victory. Western Michigan picked up its first victory over the Irish since 1981 when Rob Zdrodowski picked up a loosed ball in front of the net and chipped it in past Irish goalkeeper Gerick Short (Mobile, Ala.). The Irish outshot Western Michigan 16-10 in the contest and owned a 10-1 advantage over the Broncos in the first half, but couldnt capitalize on its numerous opportunities. The goal was the first one allowed by the Irish after holding both of its first two opponents scoreless.
Pittsburgh: Playing its second straight overtime contest, Notre Dame battled Pittsburgh to a 1-1 tie in a BIG EAST test on the road. Freshman Alan Lyskawa (Novi, Mich.) tallied the contests first goal less than 14 minutes into the contest when he headed in a Connor LaRose (Claremont, Calif.) feed at the 13:18 mark. The Irish, who were outshot 28-13 in the game, had five shots in the first half as Pittsburgh held a 10-5 advantage in that category. The Panthers outshot Notre Dame 9-3 in the second half, and finally converted to tie the game at the 63:50 mark. Both teams had numerous scoring chances in the two 15-minute overtime sessions, but neither could convert. Pittsburgh outshot the Irish 8-0 in the first overtime, but Notre Dames defense stiffened in the final extra session stanza as the Irish owned a 5-0 advantage in that category. Both goalkeepers recorded career-highs in saves as Gerick Short came up with six stops for the Irish.
HEAD COACH MIKE BERTICELLI: Notre Dame head coach Mike Berticelli is in his 10th season at Notre Dame and his 24th as a collegiate coach. He has led Notre Dame to three of the school’s four NCAA tournament appearances (1993, 1994 and 1996). In 1996, his Irish squad won the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament game when it defeated second-seeded UNC Greensboro in the first round. Berticelli has a 98-72-17 (.570) mark at Notre Dame and is 285-127-40 (.675) overall. He coached his 450th career game against Boston College on September 4 and needs just two more victories to claim his 100th coaching win with the Irish. In three of the last six seasons, his Notre Dame teams have won conference tournament titles. Under Berticelli, the Irish claimed the 1996 BIG EAST tournament crown in just its second year as a member of the league with consecutive wins over ranked opponents Connecticut and Rutgers. During the 1993 and 1994 campaigns, the Irish won back-to-back MCC tournament crowns and earned berths in the NCAA tournament. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he spent six seasons (1984-89) at Old Dominion where his teams compiled a 76-27-16 record for a .706 winning percentage. Berticelli coached for four years at UNC-Greensboro (1980-83) with his teams compiling a 70-9-5 record (.863) and winning two Division III national crowns in 1982 and 1983. His first head coaching stint was at Thomas College where he coached from (1976-79) with his teams posting a 41-19-2 mark during that four-year span. The Irish have won 10-plus games in six of his nine seasons at the Notre Dame helm.
IN THE RANKINGS: Notre Dame made its first appearance in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) last week as the Irish were ranked 16th. Currently, two BIG EAST teams are ranked in the top 25 St. Johns (#3) and Connecticut (#19).
SERIES RECORDS VS. UPCOMING OPPONENTS: Cleveland State: This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Seton Hall: Notre Dame leads the series 5-2 and has won three of the five games it has played in South Orange, N.J. against the Pirates. The Irish have been winners in three of the last four meetings between the teams, including two consecutive 2-0 victories. Notre Dame has shutout out the Pirates in three of the last four games.
Connecticut: The Irish trail the Huskies 2-3-1 in the series. Notre Dame is 1-2-0 in games played at Storrs, Conn. The Irish have lost two straight to the Connecticut. Their last victory over Connecticut was a 2-1 in the semifinals of the 1996 BIG EAST tournament.
BERTICELLI EYES WIN 100 WITH IRISH IN 10TH SEASON: Mike Berticelli is just two wins shy of his 100th coaching victory at Notre Dame. His current mark with the Irish stands at 98-72-17. Just the third coach in the 22-year history of the program, Berticelli would become the second Notre Dame coach to garner 100 wins. Rich Hunter, the programs first head coach from 1977-83, produced a 128-32-8 mark during his seven-year tenure.
DEJA VU WITH PITT: The 1-1 against Pittsburgh marked the third consecutive year that the game between the Panthers and the Irish ended in a tie. Two years in 1997 at Pittsburgh the teams battled to a 0-0 score, and last year (1998), the game ended in 2-2 stalemate. Ironically, the goal scored by the Irish this year was the first-ever on the road against the Panthers. In 1995, Notre Dame lost 3-0 in the inaugural meeting between the two teams.
FRESHMAN SCORING BONANZA: All three of Notre Dames goals in its four games have been scored by its freshman class. Midfielder Alan Lyskawa was the latest Irish rookie to tally a score when he gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the eventual 1-1 tie with the Panthers. Lyskawas goal came off an assist from junior Connor LaRose. Rafael Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) scored in the season opener at Northwestern, a 1-0 victory, while Erich Braun (Frankfurt, Germany) had the game-winner in a 1-0 shutout of Boston College.
GOING OVERTIME: Both of Notre Dames two outings last week went to overtime, something the Irish grew accustomed to a year ago with six contests played in overtime. At one point during the 1998 campaign, Coach Mike Berticellis squad played a school-record five consecutive overtime contests.
SHORT IN GOAL: Prior to the start of the season, fifth-year player Gerick Short had only seen action in six total games throughout his career and had only made two starts. He also had not played in a game since midway through the 1996 campaign. This season, Short has played all 391:19 of the season. He has 14 saves and a 0.46 goals against average.
McNEW GETS HIS STARTS: Graduation took its toll on the Notre Dame backfield with the losses of defenders Phil Murphy and David Cutler, central midfielder Matt Johnson and goalkeeper Greg Velho. The only returning starter in the backfield is sweeper Matt McNew, a three-year starter and second-team all-BIG EAST selection in 1998. He has started 61 of the 64 games he has played in during his Irish career, nearly double that of any other returnee in 99. Only two other players on this years roster have started more than 25 games Andrew Aris (33) and Ryan Cox (27).
IRISH HIT THE ROAD: After Tuesdays (Sept. 17) contest against Cleveland State at home, Notre Dame plays four straight road games with two BIG EAST contests on tap over the weekend. The Irish are at Seton Hall on Friday, September 17 and then play at Connecticut on Sunday, September 19. Notre Dame takes a break from league play when the Irish face two non-league foes at the Saint Marys Tournament in Moraga, Calf. Coach Mike Berticellis squad plays host Saint Marys on Friday, September 24 and then faces San Diego on Sunday, September 26. Notre Dame finally returns to Alumni Field following its West coast swing for four home games beginning on Wednesday, September 29 versus Eastern Michigan.
HOME SWEET HOME: Notre Dame finished 5-1-2 at home last season and began 1999 with a 1-0 win over Boston College, but suffered a 1-0 overtime loss to Western Michigan in its second home game of the year. This season marks the season Notre Dame has played on Alumni Field. Since that time, the Irish have compiled a 60-21-7 record for a 72.2 winning percentage.
EIGHT NON-CONFERENCE FOES ON IRISH SCHEDULE: Notre Dame plays eight non-conference games this season. A year ago, the Irish had six non-league tests and produced a 4-1-1 record against those opponents. Two of the opponents San Diego and Eastern Michigan are first-time foes on the schedule.