Sept. 24, 2003
#8 Notre Dame vs. Bradley
Thursday, Sept. 25, 2003 * 7:00 p.m. * Alumni Field
#8 Notre Dame vs. Georgetown
Sunday, Sept. 28, 2003 * 2:00 p.m. * Alumni Field
Notre Dame continues home stand with Bradley and Georgetown this weekend:
The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (4-1-2), ranked as high as eighth in the nation, continues its September home stand this weekend as the Irish play host to the Bradley Braves (4-4-0) on Thursday (7 p.m.) and a BIG EAST Conference match with the Georgetown Hoyas (0-2-0) on Sunday (2 p.m.). Georgetown faces a conference game with Virginia Tech on Wednesday, Sept. 24, before their trip to Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame has been able to compile a four-game streak of impressive performances against some of the top teams in the nation. The Irish earned a momentum-swinging 1-0 victory over visiting Indiana on Thursday, Sept. 18, then followed up with a solid 1-0 win over conference foe West Virginia.
The Irish have faced four ranked teams already this season, while Akron appeared in the polls just days after participating in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament (Notre Dame and Akron tied 0-0).
The last time:
Notre Dame lost to Bradley 3-2 last season in Peoria, Ill. … Notre Dame lost to Georgetown 2-1 in overtime during the BIG EAST Championship last season at Alumni Field.
Notre Dame and Bradley have met three times, with the Braves holding a 2-1-0 advantage in the series … Thursday’s game will be Bradley’s second visit to Alumni Field and the first since 2000 (3-1 Bradley victory) … the Irish and Braves have met each season since 2000 … Notre Dame and Georgetown will meet for the 14th time on Sunday … the series is all even at 6-6-1 … the Hoyas have won the last two meetings, a 3-2 victory in Washington, DC, and a 2-1 win in the BIG EAST Championship last season … the series is highlighted by two winning streaks, Notre Dame winning four in a row from 1991-1996, followed by four consecutive wins by the Hoyas from 1996-2000 … Georgetown is 3-3-0 at Alumni Field.
Home sweet home:
Notre Dame continues its seven-match home stand during the month of September on Thursday evening. In fact, Notre Dame will play all of its games during September at Alumni Field. The last time the Irish played host to all of its games during September was in 1978 – the second season of varsity soccer. Notre Dame defeated Florissant Valley, Tri-State, IPFW, St. Joseph’s, Valparaiso, Michigan, Indiana Tech, Albion and Purdue to start the season 9-0.
So far, Notre Dame is 3-1-1 on its home stand, losing to St. John’s, tying Akron and defeating Fresno State, #18 Indiana and West Virginia.
National rankings update:
Notre Dame moved to eighth in the Soccer America national rankings, after defeating #18 Indiana and West Virginia by identical 1-0 scores last week. The Irish moved up to 15th in the NSCAA/adidas rankings, while College Soccer News puts Notre Dame at 13th and Soccer Times lists the Irish at 14th.
Notre Dame remained at second place in the NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes regional rankings. Oakland moved to first after their victory over Akron last weekend.
Challenging schedule continues evolving into one of the toughest slates in the nation:
No one can accuse the Irish team of ducking the competition this season. The BIG EAST Conference is recognized as one of the toughest in the nation, but even with a challenging conference schedule set for the 2003 season, Notre Dame has faced a number of highly-ranked non-conference opponents.
The exhibition season alone saw Notre Dame face Saint Louis (ranked as high as third in the nation currently) and Michigan. The regular season began with a 0-0 tie with #20 Alabama-Birmingham (currently 12th in the nation) and a 2-1 overtime victory over #11 California (now ranked 18th).
Notre Dame then suffered its first loss of the season to St. John’s, which has moved as high as fifth in the current national rankings. Last weekend, the Irish defeated Fresno State 2-1, then took on an unranked Akron team. Notre Dame and Akron fought to a 0-0 scoreless tie, but the Zips, by virtue of their win over Indiana that same weekend, jumped to 10th in the Sept. 15 NSCAA poll and first in the Great Lakes Region. Akron is currently ranked 14th.
Last week, Notre Dame grabbed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over in-state rival #18 Indiana in double overtime.
Several ranked teams for Notre Dame as well. #16 Connecticut and #13 Rutgers are on the 2003 schedule, along with regionally-ranked Michigan State.
Highly-aggressive offense yet to pay huge dividends:
After a challenging opening month schedule puts Notre Dame among the best in the country with a 4-1-2 record, the Irish could be in even better shape if the bounces would go in their favor.
Notre Dame has dominated its opponents on the offensive and defensive ends of the field this season. In seven games, the Irish have unleashed 106 shots (15.1 per game) while holding their opponents to 67 shots (6.7 per game). Notre Dame’s aggressive offense is even better in the second half, getting off 54 shots compared to just 26 for its opponents in the second 45 minutes.
The Irish have forced their opponents to make 41 saves, while starting Notre Dame goal keeper Chris Sawyer has been asked to make just 17. Notre Dame also has dominated in the corner kick department, getting off 36 kicks compared to just 21 for their opponents.
Goldthwaite nabs two weekly awards:
Kevin Goldthwaite, a junior defender, earned two weekly awards on Monday, Sept. 22, after a great week of soccer during Notre Dame’s two victories last week. He was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week, as well as landing a spot on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week.
Goldthwaite notched the game-winning goal during double overtime in Notre Dame’s 1-0 victory over in-state rival #18 Indiana. The junior from Sacramento, Calif., dominated his side of the field against Indiana and West Virginia (Notre Dame’s other 1-0 victory last week). Moving up to attack at selected times, Goldthwaite managed five shots (tied for tops on the team last week) including a header and a shot off the crossbar against West Virginia.
Goldthwaite also played a hand in Notre Dame’s game-winning goal over West Virginia. His throw-in deep into the Mountaineer penalty box bounced around until teammate Devon Prescod corralled the ball and eventually scored his fourth goal of the season.
The BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week award is the second of Goldthwaite’s career and third BIG EAST weekly award in the last three seasons (he earned defensive honors on Sept. 9, 2002, and rookie of the week accolades on Nov. 5, 2001). He earns a spot on the College Soccer News Team of the Week for the second time in his career, after earning the award on Nov. 4, 2002.
Goldthwaite and the entire Notre Dame defense have posted three consecutive shut outs entering the team’s next contest against Bradley (Thursday, Sept. 25, 7 p.m., Alumni Field). The Irish allowed just five shots on goal last week and Notre Dame goalkeeper Chris Sawyer was asked to make just five saves.
Chris Sawyer on three-game shut out streak:
Junior Chris Sawyer, the 2003 BIG EAST Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year, has lived up to that billing so far this season. The Highlands Ranch, Colo., native has posted three-straight shut outs to lower his goals-against average to 0.636 – one of the best averages in the BIG EAST Conference and a mark that ranks him 27th in the country.
Sawyer has a total of four shut outs this season, blanking UAB, Akron, Indiana and West Virginia. The Blazers, Zips and Hoosiers are all currently ranked in the top 25 in the nation. Going back to the Fresno State game, the last contest in which Sawyer surrendered a goal, the Irish keeper has kept Notre Dame’s opponents scoreless for 348 minutes of action.
Devon Prescod on course for a career season:
Senior forward Devon Prescod is making the most of his final season with the Irish. After struggling through a series of leg injuries last season, Prescod is healthy and leading the Irish in scoring this season with four goals. His scores against #11 California and West Virginia proved to be the game winners, as well.
Prescod came into the 2003 season with 10 career goals after scoring six as a sophomore in 2001. His four goals this season already eclipses his three from a year ago. Named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 1, Prescod is first on the team in points with eight and second in shots on goal with 10.
Notre Dame’s defensive line is a tough one to break:
The Notre Dame defensive line of junior Kevin Goldthwaite, junior Jack Stewart, freshman Greg Dalby and senior Kevin Richards has meshed into one of the best in the country early in the 2003 season. In fact, the Irish are rated 24th in the nation according to team goals-against average (0.64).
Just a glance at Notre Dame’s team statistics show how well the Irish defense has played this season. Notre Dame’s opponents have managed just 22 shots on goal (3.14 per game) and have taken only 21 corner kicks (3.0 per game). Starting goalkeeper Chris Sawyer has been asked to make just 17 saves his season as well.
Freshman defender Greg Dalby has played all 844 minutes of action this season for the Irish.
Notre Dame’s defensive intensity steps up in overtime as well. While the Irish offense has uncorked 18 shots in both overtime periods this season, Notre Dame’s opponents have posted just 10 – including four in the first overtime period.
The defensive line play is even more impressive when it is considered that sophomore Dale Rellas, who started every game in the middle back for Notre Dame last season, has been sidelined with a foot injury. Rellas is expected back shortly, which will move Stewart up to the midfield for Notre Dame and give the Irish another strong offensive weapon on the field.
Another key to Notre Dame’s defensive performance has been the outstanding play Kevin Richards and Kevin Goldthwaite on the outside. Both have consistently dominated their section of the field and moved up at crucial times to provide Notre Dame with an additional scoring punch. Goldthwaite is third on the team in shots (11), while Richards has tormented opposing teams with his quickness down the sidelines.
Class of 2007 earns top-five recruiting class status:
University of Notre Dame men’s soccer coach Bobby Clark has announced the signing of seven highly-regarded prep standouts to national letters of intent. Three of those players have been members of the U.S. national team program and are current members of the under-18 national squad. Joining the Irish program beginning in the fall of 2003 will be goalkeeper Chris Cahill (Louisville, Ky./St. Francis DeSales) central defender Greg Dalby (Poway, Calif./Poway), midfielder Ian Etherington (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral HS), forward Justin McGeeney (Ames, Iowa/Ames), midfielder Ryan Miller (Barrington, Ill./Barrington), forward Brian Murphy (Granger, Ind./St. Joseph’s) and forward/midfielder Nate Norman (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams).
“These seven players comprise a fabulous recruiting class for us,” Clark says. “All the individuals we identified early on in the recruiting process decided to come to Notre Dame. We were looking for players who would come in and give up depth as well as have an impact immediately. We’re very excited to have all of them join our program.
“I think we’ve been very successful with our recruiting efforts the past two seasons. This year’s class adds tremendous depth to our team and continues to move the program in the direction that we want to go.”
The group ended up ranked fifth in the country by Soccer America and third by College Soccer News.com.
Notre Dame leads the nation in student-athlete graduation rate:
The University of Notre Dame compiled the nation’s highest overall graduation rate for Division I-A student-athletes to take top honors in the 2003 USA Today/NCAA Academic Achievement Awards announced today.
Ninety-two percent of the Fighting Irish student-athletes who enrolled in 1996 earned a degree from the University, three percentage points higher than second-place Tulsa University. Duke and Wisconsin finished third at 88 percent, followed by Northwestern, 87; Boston College, 86; Stanford, 84; Western Michigan, 83; Michigan, 82; and Syracuse, Rice and Utah State, 81.
In addition to the overall rate, Academic Achievement Awards are presented to the institutions with the best student-athlete graduation rates in comparison to the overall student body and to those that show the most improvement from the previous year.
Now in their third year, the awards include a $20,000 prize for the top institutions in each category. They are based on federally compiled figures submitted by NCAA member institutions.
The NCAA bases graduation rates on the raw percentage of student-athletes who entered an institution and graduated within six years. Students who leave or transfer, regardless of academic standing, are considered non graduates. Notre Dame’s graduation rate for student-athletes who complete all four years of athletic eligibility is 99 percent.
Keep up with the Irish via the Notre Dame hotline:
The Notre Dame athletic department hotline has realigned its menu offerings for the 2003 fall sports season.
The hotline provides schedule and results information for varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the live coverage and game recaps already provided on the official athletic website at www.und.com.
Here’s how the hotline now is realigned (as of Aug. 28):
*Dial (574) 631-3000
*Select any of the following subgroups:
(1) Upcoming schedule and recent results of ALL varsity sports currently in action (select cells 3-9 for the most updated results for specific sports).
(2) Football schedules for the 2003, ’04, ’05, ’06 and ’07 seasons.
(3) Basketball information (then press 1 for men’s basketball and 2 for women’s basketball)
(4) Soccer information (then press 1 for men’s soccer and 2 for women’s soccer).
(5) Women’s volleyball (press 1) and men’s ice hockey (press 2) information.
(6) Men’s and women’s cross country information.
(7) Men’s and women’s swimming and diving information (then press 1 for men’s swimming and 2 for women’s swimming).
(8) Tennis information (then press 1 for men’s tennis and 2 for women’s tennis) and men’s and women’s fencing information (press 3).
(9) Women’s golf (press 1), men’s golf (press 2) and women’s rowing (press 3) information.
Other national polls:
There are several polls supported by various magazines and websites that rank the Irish. Here is a look at the Soccer Times and College Soccer News polls.
Soccer Times: 1. Maryland, 2. UCLA, 3. Saint Louis, 4. Old Dominion, 5. SMU, 6. St. John’s, 7. South Carolina, 8. UAB, 8. Santa Clara, 10. North Carolina, 11. Wake Forest, 12. Rutgers, 13. UCSB, 14. NOTRE DAME, 15. Coastal Carolina, 16. Akron, 17. Virginia, 18. Penn State, 19. Washington, 20. Oakland, 20. Tulsa, 22. Florida International, 23. Connecticut, 24. Brown, 25. CS Northridge.
College Soccer News: 1. Maryland, 2. UCLA, 3. Saint Louis, 4. SMU, 5. St. John’s, 6. Old Dominion, 7. UAB, 8. North Carolina, 9. Santa Clara, 10. UCSB, 11. South Carolina, 12. Wake Forest, 13. NOTRE DAME, 14. Rutgers, 15. Washington, 16. Penn State, 17. Coastal Carolina, 18. Virginia, 19. Oakland, 20. Akron, 21. Tulsa, 22. Connecticut, 23. Hartwick College, 24. Indiana, 25. California, 26. Florida International, 27. Clemson, 28. CS Northridge, 29. Dayton, 30. Farleigh Dickinson.