Nov. 21, 2004
NCAA Men’s College Cup Second Round
#9/12 Notre Dame (13-2-3) vs. Ohio State (11-6-2)
Irish finally back to action in NCAA Championship:
The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (13-2-3) will play host to the NCAA Men’s College Cup at Alumni Field for the third consecutive year when Big Ten regular season co-champion Ohio State (11-6-2) and the Irish kickoff at 7 p.m.
Notre Dame earned its second consecutive first round bye in the 48-team field this season, earning its highest-ever seed (#5). Ohio State is coming off its first-ever NCAA tournament win 1-0 over #11 Memphis in Columbus on Friday, Nov. 19.
The Irish will not have played a game for 16 days before its matchup with Ohio State on Tuesday. Notre Dame was eliminated from the BIG EAST Championship in the quarterfinals 8-7 on penalty kicks by #21 Seton Hall back on Nov. 6. The BIG EAST Championship ended with an unpredictable outcome this year – proving the difficulty of Notre Dame’s league and legitimizing the team’s regular-season title. All four lower seeds earned victories on the higher seeds home field in the tournament for the first time since the league shifted to the current tournament form 10 years ago.
Notre Dame men’s soccer live coverage:
Fans unable to attend the match this weekend at Alumni Field will have two options available on www.und.com to monitor the action. Live audio play-by-play will be available to subscribers of the College Sports Pass, with Notre Dame student John Welsh providing the commentary. Live statistics will also be available, providing up-to-the-second game situations and statistics.
Both offerings can be found on the right side of the front page on www.und.com.
NCAA College Cup ticket information:
Tickets for this weekend’s NCAA College Cup second round match are on sale now and can be purchased at the ticket windows on game day or by calling the Notre Dame Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356. Ticket prices are 6$ for adults, 4$ for youth. The first 100 Notre Dame students will be admitted into the game free of charge. After the first 100 students, all Notre Dame students will be charged 3$ for admission. Season ticket holders will be required to purchase a ticket to Saturday’s match.
Notre Dame – BIG EAST Champs:
The 2004 season will forever be remembered as the first BIG EAST regular season title for the Notre Dame men’s soccer program. While the winner of the BIG EAST Championship tournament is ultimately crowned `conference champion’ and receives the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championship, the regular season crown is significant – as it proclaims the Irish as the best team in one of the top conferences in the nation.
The Irish completed the conference schedule with a 8-1-1 record, which marks the first time the program has posted eight wins in BIG EAST Conference play. The team won seven games (7-3-0) in 2001.
What you need to know about Notre Dame this weekend:
â€¢ Notre Dame is hoping to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA College Cup for the second consecutive season.
â€¢ The Irish are returning to action after 16 days off – having played its last match on Nov. 6 vs. Seton Hall in the BIG EAST quarterfinals.
â€¢ Notre Dame has surrendered one goal and is unbeaten in its last 11 matches and currently leads the nation in goals-against average (0.37).
The last time…
Notre Dame played an NCAA match at home was Nov. 30, 2003, when the Irish battled Michigan to a 1-1 tie in the third round of the NCAA College Cup … the Wolverines advanced to the final eight in the NCAA tournament 4-3 on penalty kicks … the last time Notre Dame faced Ohio State was Sept. 9, 1994, when the Irish posted a 5-0 victory at Alumni Field.
Ohio State series history and team analysis:
The Irish and Buckeyes will be meeting for the ninth time … Notre Dame leads the all-time series 7-0-1, but the two teams have not met since 1994 … Ohio State won its first-ever NCAA tournament match on Friday, Nov. 19, defeating #11 Memphis 1-0 in Columbus … OSU won a share of the Big Ten regular season title this season and shutout Memphis for just the fourth time in `04 last weekend … Justin Cook led the team with 11 goals this season … Ray Burse has been outstanding in goal, allowing nine scores this season (0.76 per game) and making 40 saves … Ohio State is 0-5 at Alumni Field.
Stewart and Goldthwaite among MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalists:
Two Notre Dame players are among the 15 semifinalists for the 2004 Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy, the official National Soccer Coaches Association of America Player of the Year award for Division I. Seniors Jack Stewart (Torrance, Calif.) and Kevin Goldthwaite (Sacramento, Calif.), the backbone of Notre Dame’s outstanding defense, will be in the running for the three finalist positions – which will be announced at the 2004 Men’s College Cup in December.
Stewart was on the original watch list for the award in the preseason, while Goldthwaite appeared as a new addition – a remarkable accomplishment considering that the left back missed the first seven matches of the season due to a knee injury.
Stewart and Goldthwaite have helped the Irish hold their opponents to just seven goals in 18 matches this season. Notre Dame currently leads the nation in goals-against average (0.37) and has shutout 12 opponents this season.
The Irish are currently ranked as high as ninth in the country with a 13-2-3 overall record.
Stewart has been an anchor for the Irish team all season. He carried Notre Dame through the first weekend of the year, scoring two goals (including the game winner against Boston University) and capturing the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week Award. Highly effective in the air, Stewart demands the attention of the entire opposing team when moving forward to attack and spends a great deal of his time limiting the opposing team’s top scoring options. In fact, Stewart has helped hold Notre Dame’s opponents to just 163 shots (only nine per contest).
Goldthwaite had an immediate impact on the Irish team when he returned to the lineup this season. One off the top attacking defenders in the nation, his return to the pitch at #21 Villanova sparked Notre Dame to back-to-back victories over teams above them in the BIG EAST standings (the Irish defeated Villanova 1-0 and #9 Boston College 1-0).
Since Goldthwaite made his comeback, Notre Dame is unbeaten (9-0-2) and the team has surrendered just one goal (at #10 St. John’s) in those 11 games.
Notre Dame nabs three BIG EAST major awards:
Notre Dame earned three major awards at the 2004 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship Awards Banquet on Thursday, Nov. 11, led by senior goalkeeper Chris Sawyer who earned his second-straight Goalkeeper of the Year award. Classmate Jack Stewart was named the Defensive Player of the Year while the Coaching Staff of the Year Award went to Notre Dame as well. The Irish also landed six players on the three all-BIG EAST teams.
Sawyer, who has been the preseason goalkeeper of the year and eventual end of the season awardwinner the last two years, currently leads the nation with a 0.37 goals-against average. He collected seven shutouts in 10 league games and boasted a 0.29 goals-against average in conference play. Sawyer also earned first-team all-BIG EAST honors – giving him four all-conference honors in his career.
Senior central defender Jack Stewart becomes the first Notre Dame player to earn the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year Award since the Irish joined the league in 1995. Respected as one of the best in the nation at his position, Stewart has helped the Irish to a recent 11 match unbeaten streak which includes 10 shutouts. He and his defensive teammates have preformed brilliantly this season, as the Irish have allowed just seven goals and lead the nation in goals-against average (0.37). Stewart is a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy this season (collegiate soccer’s player of the year award).
Head coach Bobby Clark and his assistants, Mike Avery and Brian Wiese, land the group’s first coaching staff of the year award since 2001 – their first season at Notre Dame. The Irish finished the BIG EAST regular season 8-1-1, recording eight wins in league play for the first time in the program’s history. In addition, the team earned its first-ever regular-season title and has been ranked as high as fourth in the country this season.
Joining Sawyer and Stewart on the all-BIG EAST first team was classmate Kevin Goldthwaite. Notre Dame’s left back has keyed Notre Dame’s defensive surge this season, as his return to the lineup after missing the first seven matches of the year with an injury marked the turning point of the season. Since Goldthwaite has joined the Irish lineup, the team has surrendered just one goal and has an 11-match unbeaten streak. Along with Stewart, Goldthwaite is a semifinalist for the MA Hermann Trophy.
Sophomore Greg Dalby, a central midfielder, earned all-BIG EAST second team honors for his first career all-conference accolade. Sophomore midfielder Ian Etherington, second on the team in scoring with 11 points (three goals, five assists) earned all-BIG EAST third team honors along with classmate forward Justin McGeeney, who leads the team with 12 points (five goals, two assists).
Christopher High earns academic all-district honors:
Senior central defender Christopher High (Camarillo, Calif.) has been named to the CoSIDA District V Academic All-District Team and will move on to the national ballot and consideration for Academic All-America honors.
High has played a key role in Notre Dame’s defensive dominance this season, starting all 18 matches for the ninth-ranked Irish this season. He has helped the Irish defensive unit shutout 12 of its opponents and the team currently leads the nation in goals-against average (0.37).
In addition, High has scored the first two goals of his career in 2004. His goal against Evansville early in the season helped Notre Dame to a 2-1 victory, while his header vs. Pittsburgh ended up part of a 3-0 Irish win.
High also was a key factor in Notre Dame’s late-season surge to the BIG EAST Championship in 2003. As a late-season injury substitution, High helped Notre Dame post three consecutive shutouts during the BIG EAST Championship and eventually end up advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championship for the first time in school history.
A finance major in the Mendoza College of Business, High is set to graduate in May of 2005 and boasts a 3.21 grade-point average.
Dominating 11-match run:
Notre Dame boasts a 11-match unbeaten streak entering Tuesday’s match with Ohio State. In fact, the Irish have given up just one goal in that streak (at #10 St. John’s in a 1-1 tie) – giving the team 10 shutouts in the last 11 games.
Many of Notre Dame’s accomplishments this season have been linked to the 1988 season, as the Irish began the season with their best-ever start since that `88 campaign. The 11-match unbeaten streak matches Notre Dame’s best since the `88 season. Notre Dame began that year with a 12-match unbeaten streak.
To find a more dominating defensive streak, the record book retreats 21 years to 1983. In `83, the Irish shutout 12 of their first 14 opponents. Notre Dame’s six-straight shutouts (Sept 26 – Oct. 13) this season are also the second-best ever behind the `83 team’s seven.
The Irish also are threatening the school record for goals allowed in a season. The `83 squad allowed 15, while the Irish have surrendered just seven goals so far in 2004 and currently lead the nation with a 0.37 average.
Notre Dame vs. ranked teams in 2004:
Notre Dame has faced seven ranked teams this season so far and has suffered a loss just one time, a 2-0 setback at #1 Indiana on Sept. 15. The Irish have posted a win and two ties in their six other matchups with ranked teams (1-0 over #21 Villanova, 1-0 over #9 Boston College, 3-0 over #22 Michigan, 1-1 at #10/22 St. John’s, 1-0 at #17 Seton Hall and 0-0 vs. #21 Seton Hall).
Notre Dame is 16-10-5 (.597) vs. ranked teams under Bobby Clark.
Bobby Clark brings home 12 wins for fourth consecutive year:
Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark has won at least 12 games with the Irish since his arrival on campus in 2001.
Clark’s first Notre Dame team won 12 games in `01, followed up by another 12 in `02 and 16 wins last season. The Irish are currently 13-2-2 in `04.
That four-season run of victories (53) is the best for the program since the `86 (13-7-2), `87 (17-3-1), `88 (17-4-2) and `89 (10-7-3) teams posted 57 wins.
Snapshot of the Irish:
Notre Dame graduated 35 of its 38 goals scored last season and was expected to spend the beginning of the `04 campaign searching for a dedicated scoring threat. While the goal scoring issue was in doubt for a portion of the year, Notre Dame found its stride and posted a 11-game unbeaten streak which included six straight shutout victories – three over ranked opponents (1-0 vs. #21 Villanova, 1-0 vs. #9 Boston College, 3-0 vs. #22 Michigan).
The one factor which changed for Notre Dame from the West Virginia loss to the Villanova victory (followed by six more wins and a tie) was the return of senior D Kevin Goldthwaite to the left side of the Irish defense. A preseason All-America selection by Soccer America, Goldthwaite injured his knee in practice before Notre Dame’s first regular-season contest and missed the first seven matches of the season. Since his return to the lineup, he has provided two assists and the Notre Dame defense has not allowed a single goal.
Notre Dame’s two forwards, sophomore Justin McGeeney and junior Tony Megna, are starting to play like veterans – never mind the fact that neither scored a goal before this season.
McGeeney leads the team with five game winners – including two straight at #21 Villanova and vs. #9 Boston College. Megna was on fire vs. Loyola Chicago and Pittsburgh – scoring four goals in the two matches – but was sidelined vs. Michigan with a leg injury. He will be back in Notre Dame’s lineup for the NCAA Championship.
Another player who has emerged as a spark for the Irish is sophomore MF Ian Etherington. Capable of scoring on his own, setting up teammates or dropping in a perfect free kick, Etherington has three goals and a team-high five assists this season.
Senior MF Luke Boughen also has been strong of late and is second on the team with four assists. He scored his first goal of the year vs. #22 Michigan.
Preseason All-Americans Jack Stewart (middle defender) and Chris Sawyer (goalkeeper) have lived up to the hype as well. Stewart has been masterful in defense for the Irish and carried the team with two goals in the first weekend at the IU Credit Union Classic.
Sawyer has a 0.37 goals-against average this season, 11 shutouts and posted a 623 scoreless minute streak in `04.
Bobby Clark quick biography:
Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark is in his fourth season at Notre Dame. He has led the Irish to at least 12 wins each season and the 2003 BIG EAST Championship. Overall, he is 53-18-10 at Notre Dame (.716) and helped the Irish qualify for the NCAA Championship tournament for an unprecedented fourth-straight season in `04.
Winning has been synonymous with Clark’s teams where ever he has coached. His Dartmouth teams (1985-93) posted an 82-42-13 (.646) record over nine years and three Ivy League Championships. At Stanford, Clark put up an 82-42-13 (.646) mark in nine years and finished second in the NCAA Championship in 1998.
Overall, Clark has compiled a 206-81-35 collegiate record (.694) and has landed seven teams in the final national rankings.
The Irish established their motto of `Making History’ early in the 2003 season and that goal was achieved in remarkable fashion. Notre Dame earned its highest-ever preseason ranking in 2003 (third in the Soccer America ranking) and highest-ever in-season ranking in both major polls (third in both polls). Notre Dame also has earned two consecutive first-round byes in the NCAA Championship and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the fourth-straight season in `04 – another unprecedented achievement.
Clark reached a coaching milestone when the Irish head man earned his 200th collegiate coaching victory with a 4-0 win over Loyola-Chicago on Sunday, Oct. 3. He also grabbed his 50th victory at Notre Dame in just four seasons on Oct. 13, 2004, against #22 Michigan.
Please see p. 12-15 of the 2003 Notre Dame men’s soccer media guide for a more detailed historical biography on Clark.