Sept. 7, 1999
NOTRE DAME, IND. – The 16th-ranked Notre Dame men’s soccer team, which opened up the 1999 campaign with a pair of 1-0 wins over Northwestern and Boston College, plays two games this week. The Irish host non-conference foe Western Michigan on Tuesday, September 6 at 7:30 p.m., and then travels to Pittsburgh for its first BIG EAST road test of the season on Saturday, September 11 at 1:00 p.m.
WEEK IN REVIEW – Northwestern: Freshman Rafael Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) broke a scoreless tie with 23 minutes remaining in the contest to lift the Irish in the season opener. The Notre Dame rookie registered his first collegiate goal when he headed a cross from senior forward Andrew Aris (Auckland, New Zealand) past Wildcat goalkeeper Matt Keeler midway through the second stanza. Irish goalkeeper Gerick Short (Mobile, Ala.), playing in his first game since the 1996 campaign, made his third career start in recording his first career solo shutout and registered two saves in the game. The contest was a defensive battle in the first half as both teams could only get off three shots. The Irish held the Wildcats without a shot in the second half. Boston College: For the second time in as many games, Notre Dame got the game-winning goal from a freshman. Rookie Erich Braun (Frankfurt, Germany) tallied his first collegiate goal at 20:52 when he picked up a loose ball inside the penalty box. The score was assisted by Aris and Garcia. The shutout marks the first time since 1995 that Notre Dame started the season two shutout wins. Notre Dame, which outshot the Eagles 11-8, survived a scare with just under 12 minutes left in the contest. Short made his second straight start in goal and tied his personal best with five saves.
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 98-71-16 (.573) mark at Notre Dame and is 285-126-39 (.675) overall. He coached his 450th career game against Boston College 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) ranking this season as the Irish are ranked 16th in this week’s poll. Four other BIG EAST teams also are among the top 25 teams nationally – St. John’s (#7), Connecticut (#11), Rutgers (#15) and Georgetown (#20).
SERIES RECORDS VS. UPCOMING OPPONENTS – Western Michigan: Notre Dame owns an 8-2-2 mark against the Broncos. This is the fifth straight year the two teams have played each other with Notre Dame owning a 3-0-1 mark during the last four meetings. Last year in Kalamazoo, Mich., the two teams battled to a 1-1 stalemate. The Broncos are 0-7 in games played at Notre Dame. Pittsburgh: The series between the Irish and Panthers is tied at 1-1-2. The last two games have ended in a tie – 2-2 in 1998 at Notre Dame and 0-0 in 1997 at Pittsburgh. The Irish will be playing for the third time at Pittsburgh and will be looking to score their first goal against the Panthers on the road. In addition to the contest two years ago, Coach Mike Berticelli’ squad lost to the Pittsburgh 3-0 in 1995, which was Notre Dame’s first year as a member of the BIG EAST Conference.
SHORT AND GARCIA HONORED BY BIG EAST – Senior goalkeeper Gerick Short and freshman midfielder Rafael Garcia were honored with BIG EAST weekly awards this week. Short shared goalkeeper-of-the-week honors with Jon Conway of Rutgers, while Garcia copped the league’s rookie-of-the-week award. Short registered the first two complete games shutouts of his career and totalled seven saves in the two games, while Garcia had the game-winning goal in the season opener and assisted on the lone goal against Boston College.
CAPTAIN GERICK – Fifth-year player Gerick Short is the lone Irish captain for the 1999 season. Only three other times in the 23-year history of the program has Notre Dame had a single captain – Jim Flynn (1986), Mike Palmer (1993) and Tony Capasso (1996).
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 98-71-16. 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 program’s first head coach from 1977-83, produced a 128-32-8 mark during his seven-year tenure.
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 59 of the 62 games he has played in during his Irish career, nearly double that of any other returnee in ’99. Only two other players on this year’s roster have started more than 25 games – Andrew Aris (31) and Ryan Cox (27).
FRESHMEN OF INFLUENCE – Notre Dame’s freshman class, which now totals 10, have certainly had a major impact this far. In the opener, five rookies started and six played. Earning starts in their collegiate debuts were: defender Justin Ratcliffe (Miami, Fal.), defender Andreas Forstner (Gerlinden, Germany), forward Erich Braun (Frankfurt, Germany), midfielder Rafael Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) and midfielder Alan Lyskawa (Novi, Mich.). Also playing in the season opener was forward Shea Helmle (Valrico, Fla.). The same five freshmen started the game against Boston College, while Helmle also saw playing time off the bench. Notre Dame’s two goals of the season were scored by Garcia and Braun as well.
THE GERMAN CONNECTION – Head coach Mike Berticelli and his coaching staff signed an impressive list of recruits for the 1999 campaign, including two players from Germany ? Andreas Forstner (defender) and Erich Braun (forward). Prior to these two, only two other Germans have played soccer at Notre Dame. The most recent was Chris Mathis, a midfielder from Kaiserslautern who starred for the Irish from 1993-96. Ivor Deweydenthal, a native of Munich, played for just one season at Notre Dame (1986).
HOME SWEET HOME – Notre Dame finished 5-1-2 at home last season and started off 1999 with a win over Boston College. It was the third straight victory at home dating back to last season. The last time the Irish lost at home was to top-ranked Connecticut, 2-0, on October 16, 1998. The 1999 campaign marks the ninth season Notre Dame has played on Alumni Field. Since that time, the Irish have compiled a 60-20-7 record for a 72.9 winning percentage.
EIGHT NON-CONFERENCE FOES ON IRISH SCHEDULE – Notre Dame will play 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. Notre Dame plays San Diego at the Saint Mary’s Tournament in Moraga, Calif., on Sunday, September 26 and hosts Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m.
THE LAST TIME – The last time Notre Dame began the season with two shutout wins was in 1995 when the Irish began the campaign with three shutout wins and outscored opponents 18-0 in the opening three games.