Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Men's Soccer Faces Akron In First-Ever NCAA Men's Soccer Game At Alumni Field

Nov. 21, 2002

Notre Dame, Ind. –

Notre Dame-Akron NCAA Notes in PDF Format
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NOTRE DAME BACK IN THE NCAAs – Notre Dame (11-5-3) is making its second consecutive appearance in the Men’s College Soccer Cup and sixth in school history. The Irish are one of five BIG EAST teams in this year’s 48-team NCAA tournament field and are playing host to the first-ever NCAA men’s soccer game at Alumni Field. Notre Dame and Akron are meeting for the second time this season with the Irish earning a 1-0 victory on the road. Notre Dame has registered 10-plus wins for the second straight year under second-year head coach Bobby Clark. Last season’s Irish squad, which lost to Maryland 1-0 in the first round of NCAA tournament finished with a 12-7 mark. This season Coach Bobby Clark’s squad finished fourth in the final BIG EAST regular-season race with a 6-3-1 conference and lost to Georgetown 2-1 in overtime in the quarterfinals of the league championship. Clark has engineered a great turnaround for the Irish soccer program after it had suffered back-to-back losing seasons in both ’99 and ’00 with a combined 15-17-5 record. Under Clark, Notre Dame is 23-12-3 during the last two seasons. Notre Dame once again had a school record five players earn all-conference honors. Erich Braun (Frankfurt, Germany) became the first two-time first-team all-BIG EAST selection as he earned a spot on that team for the second consecutive year. Justin Detter (White Lake, Mich.) and Jack Stewart (Torrance, Calif.) captured second-team honors, while Chad Riley (Houston, Texas) and Chris Sawyer (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) were selected as third-team honorees. Notre Dame has an overall record of 1-5 in NCAA tournament competition.

SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame heads into the NCAAs with seven victories in its last nine outings. Coach Bobby Clark’s squad is ranked 15th in the Soccer America poll and 18th in the adidas/NSCAA ranking. The Irish lost only two games during the month of October – at home to Pittsburgh (1-0 in overtime on October 4) and on the road at Georgetown (3-2 on October 26). Notre Dame registered 11 regular season wins for the second straight year. Last year’s 11 wins marked the first time since 1993 that an Irish team won 11 games during the regular season. Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 37-19 and has outshot them 308-182. Seven of Notre Dame’s 19 games have been decided in overtime (the Irish are 2-2-3 in those contests), while 11 matches have been decided by a single goal (the Irish own a 6-5 record in those games). The Irish defense has held their opponents to one goal or less on 15 occasions. Overall, Notre Dame has a 0.95 team goals against average. Notre Dame has defeated four ranked opponents and three top 10 foes – both firsts in the 25-plus years in the history of the program. Senior Erich Braun leads the team in scoring for the third time in four years with 21 points, while junior Chad Riley stands second in the scoring column with 19 points, Braun has a team-leading nine goals and has dished off one assist. He has registered three two goal outings – versus Southwest Missouri State, Seton Hall and Providence. Riley has scored four goals and leads the team with 11 assists. His 11 assists are the most by an Irish player since Bill Lanza had 11 during the 1995 campaign. Justin Detter stands third on the team in scoring with six goals (second most by an Irish player) and five assists for 17 points. Greg Martin (Plano, Texas) is tied for second in goals scored and ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 12 points. Kevin Goldthwaite stands fifth on the team in scoring with a goal and seven assists (the second most by an Irish player). Rafael Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) and Devon Prescod (Marietta, Ga.) have registered eight points each. Garcia has two goals and four assists, while Prescod has three goals and two assists. Luke Boughen (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) has three goals each, while Jack Stewart and Justin Ratcliffe (Miami, Fla.) round out the scoring with one goal each. Kevin Richards (Warwick, Bermuda) has been credited with three assists this season. Junior goalkeeper Chris Sawyer (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) has started all 14 games he has played and has seen action in 1277:22 of a possible 1803:54 minutes. He has missed five games because of a hamstring injury suffered in the second half of the Pittsburgh game on October 4. Sawyer has allowed 14 goals this season and made 39 saves for a 0.99 goals against average. He also owns a .736 save percentage and has posted two complete-game shutouts. Senior Greg Tait (Fayetteville, N.Y.) has started five of the seven contests he has played. He has registered four complete-game shutouts and has played 526:32 minutes with a 0.85 goals against average and .815 save percentage.

SCOUTING THE ZIPS – Akron enters the contest with a 9-7-3 record and finished with a 4-1 record in Mid-American Conference play. After beginning the season with a 2-6-2 record, the Zips have gone 7-1-1 in their last nine contests. Akron has outscored its opponents 38-26 and 28-10 in the last nine matches. Junior forward Kirk Harwat leads the team in scoring with nine goals and three assists (21 points),

IRISH IN THE COLLEGE SOCCER CUP – Notre Dame has a 1-5 record in the six games it has played in five NCAA tournament appearances. The first Irish team to earn an NCAA berth was the 1988 squad and that was followed by back-to-back appearances in 1993 and ’94. In 1996, after winning the BIG EAST crown and earning the automatic berth, the Irish stunned No. 2 seed UNC Greensboro in Greensboro, N.C. with a 1-0 victory and then dropped a 1-0 decision to UNC Charlotte with the game-winning goal scored in the final 24 seconds of the contest.

HEAD COACH BOBBY CLARK – Bobby Clark is in his second season at Notre Dame after being named the fifth head coach in the program’s history on January 19, 2001. In his 16th season as a collegiate coach, Clark has an overall record of 176-75-28 for an overall winning percentage of .681 and is 23-12-3 (.645) at Notre Dame. Heading into the 2002 campaign, he ranked 16th all-time among active Division I coaches in terms of winning percentage. Last season, he guided the Irish to a 12-7 mark and their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1996. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he spent five seasons guiding the Stanford Cardinal to a 71-21-12 mark and .740 winning percentage from 1996-2000. Clark also was head coach at Dartmouth from 1985-93 where he led the Big Green to an 82-242-13 record (.646). Seven of Clark’s teams have advanced to NCAA tournament play with his ’98 Stanford squad finishing as the NCAA runnerup that season. In between his coaching stints at Dartmouth and Stanford, he was head coach of the New Zealand National Team (1994-95).

CLARK HAS LED THREE DIFFERENT TEAMS INTO NCAAs – As a head coach, Bobby Clark is certainly NCAA tournament tested. He has guided three different schools – Notre Dame, Stanford and Dartmouth – into NCAA tournament postseason competition and eight of his 16 teams have played in the NCAAs. This is the second straight year, his Irish team has received an NCAA berth. At Dartmouth, he led the Big Green to two appearances in nine years, while his Cardinal teams at Stanford earned four berths in the five seasons he spent on Palo Alto, Calif., campus. Clark is the first Notre Dame coach to lead the Irish to the NCAAs in his first season. His combined NCAA coaching record is 11-9 (.550).

SERIES RECORD VS. AKRON – Notre Dame is 1-6-2 against Akron in nine meetings between the two schools. The Irish’s 1-0 victory on October 6 at Akron was the first meeting since 1989 between the two schools. Akron is 6-0-2 in games played at Notre Dame.

NOTRE DAME-AKRON: PART 1 – Sophomore Jack Stewart scored the game-winning goal, the first of his career, off an assist from teammate Chad Riley at the 71:25 mark of the contest as Notre Dame recorded its first road win of the season and first-ever victory over the Zips. Senior Greg Tait started in goal for the Irish and registered five saves as he replaced sophomore Chris Sawyer who was injured in a game two days prior. Heading into the contest, Notre Dame had never beaten Akron as the Zips owned a 6-0-2 advantage in the previous eight meetings. The Irish outshot Akron 12-10 in the game, including a 9-4 shot advantage in the second half. The Irish also owned a 9-7 advantage in corner kicks.

RACKING UP THE BIG EAST AWARDS – For the second straight year, Notre Dame had a record five players earn all-conference honors. Erich Braun garnered first team honors for the second consecutive year and became the first Irish player to earn first-team all-BIG EAST honors twice. Justin Detter and Jack Stewart claimed second-team honors, while Chad Riley and Chris Sawyer received third-team all-conference recognition.

BIG EAST BONANZA – The Irish are one of five BIG EAST teams in this year’s 48-team field. Three squads from the league are among the top seven seeds: St. John’s (4th), Boston College (5th) and Connecticut (7th). The Irish posted victories over both the Eagles and Huskies during the regular season and topped Seton Hall, which also gained entrance to the NCAAs.

IRISH OPPONENTS IN THE NCAAs – Eight of Notre Dame’s 19 opponents are in the NCAA’s 48-team field. In addition to Boston College, Connecticut, St. John’s and Seton Hall earning berths, four non-conference opponents – Creighton, Furman, Bradley and Akron – also gained entrance into the tournament. Notre Dame has a 5-2-1 record against this year’s NCAA tournament field. The two losses – Bradley and St. John’s – were both by a single goal.

ROLLING ALONG – Notre Dame ended the regular season by winning seven of eight games and put together a five-game win streak during a stretch in the month of October. Prior to that five-game win streak which began with an October 6 win at Akron and ended when the Irish lost to Georgetown (3-2), on the road, Notre Dame did not win consecutive outings.

SEEMS FAMILIAR – Under head coach Bobby Clark, Notre Dame seems to play well at the end of the season. The Irish, winners of seven of their last nine contests, enjoyed a similar win-streak to close out the 2001 regular season as they won nine of their last 10 games prior to the postseason.

HOME COOKIN’ FOR THE IRISH UNDER CLARK – Notre Dame suffered its first home loss of 2002 when the Irish dropped a 1-0 decision to Pittsburgh in overtime on October 4. It was just the second loss at home for the Irish during Bobby Clark’s tenure. The setback was the first for the Irish since dropping a 3-0 decision to Rutgers on September 22, 2001. Notre Dame’s 2-1 overtime loss to Georgetown was just the third loss for a Clark-coached team at Alumni Field. Notre Dame has a 14-3-1 record (.806) at Alumni Field under Clark.

FOUR WINS OVER RANKED OPPONENTS – The 3-1 win over Connecticut gave the the Irish their fourth win over a ranked opponent this season – a first in the 26-year history of the program. The victory also was the third by Notre Dame versus a top-10 opponent – also a first by an Irish team. Prior to this season, the most wins by an Irish team over a ranked opponent was three in 1996. During that season, Notre Dame defeated No. 14 Connecticut (2-1), No. 12 Rutgers (1-0) and No. 2 UNC Greensboro (1-0) in consecutive outings. The Irish’s other three ranked wins this season have been at home to No. 6 Seton Hall (4-0) and No. 7 Furman (2-1) and on the road at No. 15 Boston College (1-0) in overtime. In its 25-plus seasons of varsity competition, Notre Dame has 10 wins over teams that have been ranked in the top 10 of either the NSCAA or Soccer America polls.

THE CAPTAINS – Seniors Erich Braun and Justin Ratcliffe and junior Greg Martin are serving as captains for the 2002 men’s soccer team. Braun and Ratcliffe will be serving as captains for the first time in their career, while Martin has been selected as one of the Irish leaders for the second consecutive year. In 2001, Martin was the first sophomore in the 25-year history of the program to serve as a captain and becomes just the 10th player ever to serve as a two-time captain.

PLAYING OVERTIME – Through 19 games of the season, Notre Dame has played in six overtime contests. The Irish are 2-2-3 in those contests with four of them going to double overtime. Notre Dame’s two overtime wins were against Boston College and Furman. In the victory against the Paladins, they tallied the game-winner with 2:31 left in the second overtime session. Last season, Notre Dame played just three overtimes in 19 outings and were 1-2 in those contests. Under head coach Bobby Clark, Notre Dame is 3-4-3 in overtime games.

SUCCESSFUL TWO-YEAR STRETCH – Notre Dame’s 23 wins over the past two years marks the most successful two-year stretch since the 1996 and ’97 campaigns when it finished with 24 victories. The Irish finished 14-7-2 in ’96 and 10-9-2 in ’97.

IRONIC ENDINGS VERSUS HOYAS – Both of Notre Dame’s losses to Georgetown came with the Irish playing a man-up in the contest. The Irish were playing a man-up on the road against the Hoyas for nearly four minutes when a Notre Dame player was called for a handball in the box and Georgetown converted on a penalty kick in the final 24 seconds of the contest. The Hoyas had a player receive a red card at the 86:31 mark of the game and then tallied game-winning goal 4:46 into the first overtime session.

BREAKING THE IRISH HEART – All five of Notre Dame’s losses have come in either overtime or in the final nine minutes of the contest. Here’s at look at the Irish misfortune: * Bradley (3-2 loss on the road): Braves scored two goals in final 12:38, including the game winner at the 81:51 mark. * St. John’s (1-0 loss on the road): Red Storm tally the game’s only score at the 88:12 mark. * Pittsburgh (1-0 loss at home): Panthers net the only score of the contest 8:03 into overtime. * Georgetown (3-2 loss on the road): Playing a man down, the Hoyas score the game-winning-tally on a penalty kick with 24 seconds left in regulation. * Georgetown (2-1 loss at home): Again playing a man down, Georgetown nets the game-winning score at the 94:46 mark of the contest.

OCTOBERFEST – Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 37-19 this season. During the month of October, while racking up a 5-2 record, the Irish outscored their opponents 14-5. Notre Dame’s 37 goals are the most scored by an Irish team since the ’98 squad scored 38 in 21 games. Notre Dame’s 33 goals last season were 14 more than the entire 2000 campaign (19 goals).

BRAUN MOVING UP THE CHARTS – With his 11 goals this season, Erich Braun is tied for seventh on the Irish goal-scoring chart with 35 career goals. His 83 points (35 goals, 13 assists) ties him for ninth all-time on the Notre Dame scoring list.

RILEY ALSO MOVING UP – Chad Riley’s team-leading 11 assists this season nearly match the 12 he had in his first two seasons. His 23 career assists tie him for fourth all-time at Notre Dame. Riley’s 0.58 assist-per-game average ties him for 12th nationally.

MARTIN MAGIC – Greg Martin’s two goals against Connecticut on October 20 marked the first two-goal outing of his career. He scored Notre Dame’s first two goals as he helped the Irish erase a 1-0 halftime deficit. His second score came at the 53:41 mark of the contest, which proved to be the game-winning goal. He has scored six goals on the season and leads the team with three game-winners. Martin also had the decisive goal in Notre Dame’s 2-1 overtime win against Furman and in the regular-season finale against Loyola. He scored his first goal of the season in the season opener against Southwest Missouri State – a 3-2 Irish victory. Last year, Martin played in 13 games and earned starts in nine of those contests. Heading into the 2002 campaign, he had scored one goal and had dished off just one assist.

THREE CHEERS FOR CHAD – Chad Riley’s three assists against Providence marked a single-game career-best for the junior who has led the Irish in that category during his two-plus seasons. He leads the team with 11 assists this season, exceeding his previous single-season best of six during both the 2000 and ’01 campaigns.

BOUGHEN HAS CAREER DAY AGAINST FRIARS – Sophomore Luke Boughen registered the first two goals of his collegiate career against Providence just 1:12 apart from each other. It also marked his first career points in an Irish uniform. Boughen scored his first goal at the 51:19 mark and then followed with his second score at 52:31. He also had the game-winning goal in Notre Dame’s 1-0 overtime win at Boston College.

RAFAEL IS COMING UP BIG – One Irish player who has stepped up his level of play this season has been senior forward Rafael Garcia. He has two goals and three assists on the season for seven points. Garcia registered goals in both the Creighton and Seton Hall contests and is credited with assists in the Southwest Missouri State and Furman matches. Garcia has started all 19 games. Heading into the 2002 campaign, he had made 13 starts in 38 games and had scored two goals and dished off two assists.

DETTER DOING IT – Justin Detter is Notre Dame’s third-leading goal scorer this season with six goals (second best on the team) and and five assists (17 points). Detter has already equalled his single-season best for goals scored and has 14 career goals and 11 assists (39 points).

IRISH LOOK TO GOLDIE – Sophomore Kevin Goldthwaite has been one of the team’s most consistent players at both ends of the field this season. The Irish defender has scored a goal and dished off seven assists (second most on the team). In his rookie season, he had four goals and five assists (13 points).

IRISH MAINSTAYS – Four Irish veterans have started 90.0 percent or better in Notre Dame games during their careers: Erich Braun (Sr.) – 69 of 71 (.972); Justin Ratcliffe (Sr.) – 68 of 74 (.919); Justin Detter (Jr.) – 54 of 55 (.982); and Chad Riley (Jr.) – 52 of 55 (.945).

QUICK FLICKS – Notre Dame has wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard in six games this season. Erich Braun tallied the season’s first goal 17 seconds into the contest in the season opener against Southwest Missouri State, while Rafael Garcia put in the Irish’s lone goal versus Creighton at the 7:12 mark. Against Seton Hall, Garcia scored Notre Dame’s initial goal 23:28 into the contest and Braun gave the Irish a 1-0 lead at the 11:04 mark of the match against Providence. In the win over Villanova, Chad Riley knocked in the first Irish goal 22:20 into the game, while Justin Detter tallied the game’s first score against Georgetown 15:30 into the game.

GETTING HIS STARTS – Freshman Dale Rellas (Plano, Texas) has been in the starting lineup in all 19 of Notre Dame’s games in 2002. He was the only Irish rookie to see action against Southwest Missouri State in the season opener. Rellas came up with a critical back save in the Connecticut game which prevented the Huskies from going up 2-0 in the contest.

PLAYING THE BEST – The ’02 men’s soccer schedule featured nine teams that advanced to NCAA tournament play a year ago. Those teams featured on the 18-game slate include: Akron, Boston College, Connecticut, Creighton, Furman, Michigan State, Rutgers, St. John’s and Seton Hall.

25 AND COUNTING – The 2001 campaign marked the 25th season of varsity competition for the Notre Dame men’s soccer program. Since its inaugural season in 1977, Irish teams have compiled a 338-170-45 record for a .652 winning percentage. Notre Dame has won 20-plus games on three occasions and 15 or more contests 11 times. In the program’s history, only five teams have had a losing season.

ALL IN THE FAMILY – Freshman defender John Stephens (Woodbridge, Ill.) is no stranger to athletics at Notre Dame. His grandfather, Colonel John Stephens, served as Notre Dame’s longtime associate athletics director until the mid-80’s. His father, John, is a graduate of Notre Dame and received a law degree from the University.

HOME SWEET HOME – Notre Dame is 7-2-1 at home this season after finishing the 2001 campaign with a 7-1 mark at Alumni Field (its only loss was to Rutgers). The Georgetown contest on November 9 marked 120th game at Alumni Field. The Irish own an 82-30-8 mark all-time for a .717 winning percentage. The ’02 campaign marks the 12th for Notre Dame at Alumni Field.

LEADER OF THE PACK – For the first time in the history of the BIG EAST Conference, six teams represented the league in the 2001 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship. The BIG EAST led all conferences with six selections. In addition to Notre Dame, Boston College, Connecticut, Rutgers, St. John’s and Seton Hall earned spots in the 48-team field.

DIADORA CHALLENGE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM – Notre Dame had four players named to the all-tournament team at the Diadora Challenge – Erich Braun, Greg Martin, Jack Stewart (Torrance, Calif.) and Luke Boughen (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.). In addition, Braun was selected as the tournament’s MVP as the Irish also won the tournament crown.

MIKE BERTICELLI CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM – Three Notre Dame players – Justin Ratcliffe (Miami, Fla.), Devon Prescod (Marietta, Ga.) and Kevin Goldthwaite – were named to the all-tournament team. Bradley had four players selected, including goalkeeper Chris Dunsheath who also earned MVP honors. Furman and Cornell each placed two players on the squad.

LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE – Notre Dame has had two games this season delayed by lightening – Creighton and Bradley. Against Creighton, there was a 30-minute lightening delay, while the Bradley contest was delayed 20 minutes in the 16th minute of the contest.

SCOTTISH CORNER KICKS – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team reported back to campus on July 21 to begin an intense 10 days of workouts in preparation for their 14-day trip to Scotland. The squad left for the native homeland of head coach Bobby Clark on Aug. 2 and returned back to Indiana on Aug. 16. The Irish made their headquarters on the University of Aberdeen and Edinburgh University campuses. Junior midfielder Greg Martin recorded the events of the trip in a diary which appeared on Notre Dame’s website ( during the trip. Former Notre Dame men’s soccer player Thomas Crotty (1977-79) who contributed $50,000 – the entire amount needed for the cost of the trip. The Irish finished 4-0-1 while playing five games in 11 days.

Game #1 (August 4) – Notre Dame 6, Formatine United 1 Notre Dame opened its Scotland Tour with a 6-1 victory over Formatine United. Erich Braun scored two first-half goals, and Paul Rodriguez added another as the Irish built a 3-1 halftime advantage. Devon Prescod gave the Irish a 4-1 lead early into the second, while Rafael Garcia and Justin Ratcliffe also added scores. Chris Sawyer started and played the entire first half, while Greg Tait played the entire second half.

Game #2 (August 6) – Notre Dame 8, Banks of Dee 1 Notre Dame was impressive in its second game as the Irish registered an 8-1 win victory over the Banks of Dee. The Irish claimed a 3-0 halftime advantage on goals by Kevin Goldthwaite, Rafael Garcia and Erich Braun. Second-half scores from Chad Riley, Justin Ratcliffe and Devon Prescod pushed the Irish lead to 6-0. After the Banks of Dee scored its lone goal of the contest, Justin Detter and Prescod added the contest’s final two scores.

Game #3 (August 8) – Notre Dame 1, Ross County 0 Notre Dame improved to 3-0 with a 1-0 win in Dingwall over the Ross County under-21 squad. The game-winning Irish score came from Filippo Chillemi 10 minutes into the second half. The opposition nearly tied the game with three minutes remaining in the contest on a questionable call that resulted in a penalty kick, but Greg Tait’s save preserved the win.

Game #4 (August 12) – Notre Dame 2, Aberdeen FC Under-21 0 Notre Dame posted its most noteworthy victory of its two-week summer tour and improved to 4-0 with a 2-0 shutout over the Aberdeen under-21 squad. Erich Braun scored his fourth goal of the trip early in the second half with Filippo Chillemi adding the second goal midway through the half. Devon Prescod set up both goals in the game. Goalkeeper Chris Sawyer played the entire 90 minutes of the contest. The victory marked the first time in four games that one of Clark’s teams had produced a win over that squad. Previously, he had brought to Scotland two of his Dartmouth and one of his Stanford teams.

Game #5 (August 14) – Notre Dame 1, Dundee United 1 Playing its fifth game in 11 days, Notre Dame tied Dundee United 1-1 in its fifth and final game of its Scotland tour. Erich Braun netted the contest’s lone goal off an assist from Devon Prescod. Dundee United tallied the equalizer with three minutes left in the contest.