Chris Sawyer

Men's Soccer Picked To Finish Third In BIG EAST

Aug. 3, 2004

The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team has been picked to finish third in the BIG EAST Conference in 2004, by vote of the league’s 12 coaches. The defending champion after sweeping through the BIG EAST Championship with three shutouts in ’03, Notre Dame has been selected to finish behind St. John’s and Connecticut. The Irish finished a close third in the preseason poll, compiling 104 points. St. John’s, who advanced to the final game of the NCAA College Cup in 2003, earned 117 points and eight first place votes. Connecticut ended up with 108 points and three first place votes. Notre Dame landed two players on the preseason all-BIG EAST squad, led by preseason goalkeeper of the year senior Chris Sawyer. Sawyer earned the same honor a year ago at this time and followed up on the accolade by claiming the league’s goalkeeper of the year award at the season ending banquet. The All-American also earned the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player award by shutting out all three opponents the Irish faced in the league’s tournament last season. Classmate Jack Stewart joined Sawyer on the preseason all-BIG EAST squad. Stewart plays a crucial role in Notre Dame’s defensive plans, patrolling the middle of the Irish defensive line. Widely regarded as one of the best players at his position in the nation, Stewart helped the Irish defense hold its opponents to one or fewer goals in 20 of 23 matches during the 2003 season. The 2004 Notre Dame men’s soccer season will begin with an exhibition match against Northwestern on August 23. The regular season kicks off on Friday, Sept. 3, with a match against Oregon State in Bloomington, Ind. The 2003 BIG EAST schedule will start with a game against Georgetown at Alumni Field on Saturday, Sept. 18. In other Notre Dame men’s soccer preseason information, College Soccer has released its preseason top 30 ranking. The Irish check in at 14th and will face five teams in the poll (#1 Indiana, #2 St. John’s, #11 Michigan, #18 Connecticut and #26 Seton Hall) during the 2004 season. College Soccer also has released its preseason All-America teams. Senior Chris Sawyer was the first team selection at goalkeeper, while senior defender Jack Stewart was named to the third team. Sawyer was a first-team All-American on the College Soccer News squad at the completion of the 2003 season. 2004 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll 1. St. John’s (8), 117 points 2. Connecticut (3), 108 points 3. NOTRE DAME, 104 points 4. Boston College, 84 points 5. Rutgers, 79 points 6. Seton Hall, 76 points 7. Georgetown, 52 points 8. Providence, 50 points 9. Syracuse, 47 points 10. Villanova, 40 points 11. West Virginia, 19 points 12. Pittsburgh, 16 points 2004 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Preseason Awards Offensive Player of the Year Simone Salinno, St. John’s Defensive Player of the Year Guy Melamed, Boston College Goalkeeper of the Year Chris Sawyer, Notre Dame Preseason All-BIG EAST Team Chris Sawyer, GK, Notre Dame Guy Melamed, D, Boston College Mpho Moloi, MF, Connecticut Steve Sealy, F, Connecticut Jeff Curtain, D, Georgetown Jack Stewart, D, Notre Dame Keeyan Young, F, Pittsburgh Chris Corcoran, MF/F, St. John’s Matt Groenwald, F, St. John’s Simone Salinno, F, St. John’s Sacha Kljestan, MF, Seton Hall