Sept. 19, 2000
NOTRE DAME, IND. — The Notre Dame men’s soccer team (2-2-1, 1-1-0) snapped its two-game losing streak with a 3-0 shutout at Syracuse. The Irish, who started the season by playing four of its first five games on the road, now begin a five-game homestand with three games scheduled for this week. Coach Chris Apple’s squad plays a non-conference game against Cleveland State on Tues., Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m. and then plays back-to-back BIG EAST Conference games against two of the league’s top teams, Seton Hall and Connecticut. Notre Dame hosts the Pirates on Fri., Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and then entertains the Huskies on Sun., Sept. 24 at 1:00 p.m.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW: In its lone game of the week, the Irish rebounded from a two-game losing streak to post a 3-0 shutout over the Orangemen. It was the third shutout in four road games for Notre Dame. Freshman Chad Riley (Houston, Texas) had a goal and an assist to lead the Irish for the first points of his career. Seniors Connor LaRose (Claremont, Calif.) and Dustin Pridmore (Dallas, Texas) had their first goals of the season to round out the Irish scoring. Sophomore goalkeeper Greg Tait (Fayetteville, N.Y.) posted his third complete-game shutout of the season and made five saves in the game. LaRose tallied the first Irish goal in the 16th minute of play when he headed in Riley’s corner kick. The 1-0 score remained until the 69:47 mark of the contest when Erich Braun’s (Frankfurt, Germany) shot rebounded off of Syracuse goalkeeper Kevin Bacher and was picked up and put into the net by Pridmore. The assist was the first point of the season for Braun who made his first start of the 2000 campaign after being hampered with a hamstring injury. The final Irish score was put in the by Riley off an assist from Matt Rosso (Churchville, Pa.) at the 76:27 mark of the contest. Notre Dame is now 3-0 in games played at Syracuse and have outscored the Orangemen 7-1 in those contests.
HEAD COACH CHRIS APPLE: Chris Apple is in his first season as head coach of the Irish. He earned his first victory at Notre Dame in the team’s 2-0 season-opening win over New Mexico in the first round of the UNLV Fila/Snickers Rebel Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. Apple was named head coach on March 3, 2000 after spending four seasons as an assistant on the Notre Dame sidelines. This is the second head-coaching stint for the 30-year-old Apple whose first experience as a head coach was at North Carolina Wesleyan from 1994-95. In two seasons at the school, he compiled a 12-20-1 record. His overall coaching ledger currently stands at 14-22-2. He is the second-youngest coach in the BIG EAST, four years older than Chaka Daley of Providence, another first-year coach in the league who is 26 years old.
SERIES RECORD VS. UPCOMING OPPONENTS: Cleveland State: This is just the second meeting between the two teams who first met last season with Notre Dame earning a 1-0 victory in that contest. Seton Hall: Notre Dame and Seton Hall meet for the ninth time with the Irish holding a 5-2-1 advantage in the series. The Irish are 2-0 against the Pirates at Alumni Field and have never given up a goal to Seton Hall in those two meetings. Notre Dame is 2-0-1 in the last three meetings, including last year’s 1-1 tie in South Orange, N.J. Connecticut: Notre Dame trails in the series 2-4-1. The Irish have lost three straight to the Hukies, but two of those games have been decided in overtime (both in Storrs, Conn.). The Huskies are 1-0-1 against in the two games they have played at Alumni Field. The first-ever meeting at Notre Dame ended in a 1-1 tie in 1996, and two years ago, Connecticut earned a 2-0 victory.
IRISH RETURN HOME: After opening the season by playing four of first five games on the road, Notre Dame now plays five consecutive games on the friendly confines of Alumni Field. The homestand begins with a matchup against Cleveland State on Tue., Sept. 19 and ending with another non-conference contest versus Northwestern on Tue., Oct. 3. In between those two games, the Irish have three BIG EAST games scheduled against Seton Hall (Sept. 22), Connecticut (Sept. 24) and Pittsburgh (Sept. 29).
RILEY HAS PRODUCTIVE OUTING AGAINST SYRACUSEL: Freshman Chad Riley put his name into the scoring column against Syracuse with the first points of his collegiate career as he registered a goal and an assist in the 3-0 victory. Riley produced his first career assist on Notre Dame’s first goal of the game and then had the third Irish score of the game which marked his first collegiate goal.
LAROSE, PRIDMORE GET THEIR FIRST SCORES OF THE SEASON: Seniors Connor LaRose and Dustin Pridmore recorded their first scores of the season in Notre Dame’s win over Syracuse. He has three goals and seven assists (13 points) in his career. Pridmore’s goal was the fifth of his career. In addition to his five goals, he also has three assists for 13 career points.
TAIT HAS HAPPY HOMECOMING:Sophomore Greg Tait made his homecoming back to the Syracuse, N.Y. area a happy one by posting his third shutout of the season in Notre Dame 3-0 victory over Syracuse. Tait made five saves in the contest in registering his third shutout in four games on the road. He has given up just five goals this season ad has 0.94 goals against average and .815 save percentage. Tait has had a career-high five saves in three games this season (New Mexico, Boston College and Syracuse).
WORTHY ROAD OPPONENT:Notre Dame is 2-1-1 in road games and neutral site contests this season. The Irish defense has played particular well on the road posting three shutouts and giving up just two goals. The only two goals Apple’s squad has allowed on the road were against Boston College in a 2-0 loss on Sept. 9.
BRAUN RETURNS TO STARTING LINEUP: Sophomore Erich Braun, the 1999 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and a member of the preseason all-conference team, started his first game of the season against Syracuse in the 3-0 victory. The 5-10 forward had a productive outing in his return to the starting lineup as he finished with an assist. Braun, who led the Irish in scoring last season with team-highs of nine goals and six assists (24 points), missed the first three games of the season because of a hamstring injury. He returned to the lineup against Boston College, coming off the bench in the final 10 minutes of the contest.
HOME SWEET HOME:Notre Dame finished the ’99 season with a 7-3-0 mark at home posting a 5-1-2 record at Alumni Field in ’98. The Irish lost two one-goal decisions at home (to Western Michigan and Rutgers) and also suffered a 3-1 setback to Georgetown. Last season marked the 10th season for the Irish playing at Alumni Field. Notre Dame owns a 65-24-5 mark for a .718 winning percentage.
BRAUN ON PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM: Erich Braun, the 1999 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, was tabbed for preseason all-conference honors. Also named to the list along with the sophomore forward were: Kevin Bacher (Syracuse, goalkeeper), Guy Abrahamson (Rutgers, midfielder), David Boutilier (Rutgers, defender), Jim Curtin (Villanova, defender), Chris Gbandi (Connecticut, defender), Kevin Jones (Providence, forward), Darin Lewis (Connecticut, midfielder/forward), Jeff Matteo (St. John’s, midfielder), Craig Patton (West Virginia, forward), Brent Rahlm (Connecticut, midfielder), Greg Strohmann (Seton Hall, forward).
TAIT, FORSTNER COP TOURNAMENT HONORS: Sophomore Greg Tait was named Most Valuable Player of the UNLV/Fila Snickers Rebel Classic as he posted two shutouts in the first starts of his career. He played 210 minutes and recorded nine saves in the two games. In addition, he was named BIG EAST goalkeeper of the week in the first week of the season. Against New Mexico, he had five stops. Defender Andreas Forstner, who also was instrumental in Notre Dame’s two shutouts, was selected the defensive player of the tournament.
PROMOTIONS THIS WEEK: Free tickets are available for Notre Dame’s home game against Cleveland State on Tue., Sept. 19 at area business in the South Bend area. Approximately 250 youths from Grand Rapids, Mich., will be attendance at the Seton Hall game on Fri., Sept. 22 and will participate in a soccer fest prior to the contest. The Connecticut game on Sun., Sept. 24 has been designated Jr. Irish Youth Soccer Day. Junior Irish members will be receive free admission by wearing their jersey to the game.