Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Men's Soccer Plays Host To Crucial BIG EAST Battle With Villanova On Friday Evening

Oct. 29, 2003

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#7 Notre Dame vs. #25 Villanova

Friday, Oct. 31 * Alumni Field * Notre Dame, Ind. * 7:30 p.m.

#7 Notre Dame at Michigan State

Sunday, Nov. 2 *Old College Field * East Lansing, Mich. * 1:00 p.m.

Notre Dame needs win over Villanova to assure top-four spot in final BIG EAST standings:

The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (10-3-3, 5-3-1) plays host to a key BIG EAST Conference match on Friday, Oct. 31, at 7:30 p.m. when Villanova (9-6-1, 4-5-0) visits Alumni Field. The Irish currently sit in third place of the BIG EAST Conference standings – knowing that the top four teams in the final regular-season standings play host to quarterfinal games in the conference tournament.

A win over the Wildcats will assure Notre Dame home field advantage in the BIG EAST quarterfinals, but a tie or loss will bring tie breakers into play. The Irish control their own destiny this weekend.

Villanova is in desperate need of a victory on Friday as well. A loss would leave the 25th-ranked Wildcats looking at tie breakers to make the BIG EAST Conference tournament.

Notre Dame also will face a key regional match up with Michigan State at 1 p.m., in East Lansing, on Sunday. The Spartans are ranked seventh in the NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes Regional standings and are currently 10-3-2 on the season.

BIG EAST Championship overview:

The eight competitors of the BIG EAST Championship will not be determined until after this weekend’s action. St. John’s, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall and Connecticut should all be in the field, while Providence, Villanova and Boston College will battle for the final spot. The top four spots (who play host to quarterfinal matches) will also be determined between Rutgers, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall and Connecticut.

Series history:

Notre Dame and Villanova will be meeting for the 10th time … the Irish lead the all-time series 7-1-0, including a perfect 4-0-0 record at Alumni Field … Notre Dame has won the last six meetings, including a 5-0 victory at Villanova last season … on Sunday, Notre Dame and Michigan State will meet for the 15th time … the Irish lead the all-time series 8-2-4 … Notre Dame is 1-2-3 at Old College Field … the two teams last met in 2002, a 2-0 Notre Dame victory at Alumni Field.

Notre Dame completes key road trip with 3-1-0 record:

The Irish hit the road for the University’s fall break with a tough three-game stretch of games, following a 6-0 victory at Cleveland State on Oct. 14. The trip started with a challenging road match at Connecticut. In front of 4,802 fans, the Huskies came away with a hard-fought 1-0 victory, scoring in the 41st minute.

Notre Dame recovered to grab its eighth shut out of the season at Providence on Oct. 22, cruising to a 2-0 victory. The Irish then headed down to Blacksburg, Va., for a key match up with #9 Virginia Tech. Bolstered by two goals from Justin Detter, the Irish claimed an overtime victory and moved a step closer to finishing in the top four in the final conference standings – giving them a chance to host a BIG EAST Championship quarterfinal match.

Detter steps up to lead the Irish offense:

Senior forward Justin Detter has become one of the most dangerous attack players in the nation this season. The White Lake, Mich., native has put the ball in the net eight times so far in 2003 and demands the attention of the opposing defense in each and every contest. His eight goals this season are a career-best for the Irish forward.

A two-time all-BIG EAST selection, Detter has launched a team-high 64 shots this season, including 32 on goal. Dangerous both in the air and on the ground with the ball, Detter has shown the ability to beat constant double teams – and has set his teammates up for numerous scoring chances (he has four assists this season).

Riley moves into second on the all-time assist list:

Senior MF Chad Riley has passed Sami Kahale for second on the all-time assist ranking at Notre Dame. With his assist on Oct. 14 at Cleveland State, Riley now has eight on the season, giving the Houston, Texas, native 32 in his career.

Notre Dame career assists leaders:

1. Randy Morris (’85-’88), 40

2. Chad Riley (’00- ), 32

3. Sami Kahale (’78-’81), 30

4. Bill Lanza (’92-’95), 25

5. Richard Herdegen (’81-’84), 23

Riley has led Notre Dame in assists for all three previous seasons with the Irish. He is currently (Oct. 27) ranked 30th in the nation in assists per game (0.50).

Sawyer outstanding in goal:

Junior goalkeeper Chris Sawyer has held Notre Dame’s opposition to one or zero goals in 14 of 16 games this season. Take away the five-goal aberration against Rutgers, and the Highlands Ranch, Colo., native allowed nine goals over 15 games.

Sawyer’s goals against average stands at 0.85 right now, which stands fourth in the BIG EAST Conference. His seven shut outs rank first in the conference as well.

Statistical domination:

While Notre Dame has faced several top teams this season, it has been consistently outperforming its rivals on the statistical end.

As of Oct. 29, Notre Dame has out-shot its opponents 244-138, an almost 2-1 ratio (15.2 per game vs. 8.6 per game). The Irish have unleashed 130 shots in the second half, compared to just 63 for all opponents.

Continuing a look at the statistics, Notre Dame’s opponents have been forced to make 107 saves, while Irish goalkeeper Chris Sawyer has been asked to make just 43 stops. Notre Dame also leads in corner kicks 94-47 and has committed 28 less fouls than its competitors.

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 this season) and Michigan (currently ranked 25th). The regular season began with a 0-0 tie with #20 Alabama-Birmingham (currently 21st in the nation) and a 2-1 overtime victory over #11 California (now unranked).

Notre Dame then suffered its first loss of the season to St. John’s, which is currently ranked fifth. During the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament, 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 12th.

The Irish also defeated #18 Indiana during the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament. The Hoosiers have reappeared at 14th in the latest NSCAA/adidas top 25.

Notre Dame’s second loss of the season at home to #25 Rutgers last week marked the fifth ranked team the Irish have faced this season.

Connecticut was ranked through out the season, and Notre Dame defeated #9 Virginia Tech in Blacksburg last weekend.

Friday, Notre Dame will face #25 Villanova.

Devon Prescod enjoying 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 nine goals. His scores against #11 California, West Virginia, Georgetown and Cleveland State 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 nine goals this season far eclipses his three from a year ago. Named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 1, Prescod is second on the team in points with 18 and second in shots on goal with 18.

Overtime warriors:

Perhaps the Notre Dame players enjoy playing soccer a little too much. The Irish have played extra time in seven of 16 games this season, posting a record of 4-0-3 in those contests. The first weekend of the season, Notre Dame tied UAB 0-0, then defeated California 2-1 in two overtime periods. The Irish eventually defeated Fresno State and Indiana in OT, while tieing Akron and Syracuse.

Notre Dame has matched the team record of seven overtime contests in 1985 (compiling a 1-2-4 record). The Irish have posted several seasons with six overtime contests (1981, ’97, ’98, ’02). Notre Dame is 30-21-16 all-time in overtime contests (.567).

Home cooking serves the Irish well:

Notre Dame completed a seven-game homestand during the month of September with a 5-1-1 record, finishing up with a four-game win streak over #18 Indiana, West Virginia, Bradley and Georgetown.

The 2003 September marked just the second time in the program’s history the Irish spent the entire month at home. In 1978, the second season of varsity soccer, Notre Dame defeated Florissant Valley, Tri-State, IPFW, St. Joseph’s, Valparaiso, Michigan, Indiana Tech, Ablion and Purdue to start the season 9-0.

Irish home attendance on the rise:

Notre Dame men’s soccer has developed a solid following in the local South Bend market over the past six seasons. In 2003, the Irish are averaging 1,228 fans for each home contest – a mark that would have placed Notre Dame 14th in the final attendance figures for the nation last season.

Here is a look at Notre Dame’s home attendance over the last six seasons:

2003: 1,228 (as of Oct. 29)

2002: 803

2001: 886

2000: 810

1999: 587

1998: 491

Notre Dame’s 1-0 victory over Indiana was attended by 2,131 fans, the largest crowd this season at Alumni Field.

Notre Dame in the NCAA statistical rankings:

Notre Dame’s rankings in the NCAA statistical lists –

Scoring Offense: 84th (1.56)

Team Goals Against Average: 26th (0.82)

Shut out Percentage: 15th (0.50)

Won-Lost-Tied Percentage: 25th (0.719)

Etherington logs first career goal vs. Rutgers:

Lost in the aftermath of Notre Dame’s 5-2 defeat at the hands of #25 Rutgers was freshman Ian Etherington’s first goal of his career. Etherington has seen significant minutes this season on the right side of the Irish midfield, appearing in all 16 games and 765 minutes. He made his first start of the season at Cleveland State.

Etherington’s first career goal came at the 66:05 mark, a header off a cross from Chad Riley.

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

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.

See Irish men’s soccer action on CSTV’s “Notre Dame Primetime”:

College Sports Television (CSTV) has launched “Notre Dame Primetime” on Sunday evenings. Those with Direct TV can catch the show, hosted by former Irish football player Derrick Mayes. “Notre Dame Primetime” recaps all of Notre Dame’s athletic action over the past week, features interviews with student-athletes and highlights from all of the Irish athletic teams.

“Notre Dame Primetime” is on each Sunday evening at 8:30 p.m. (EDT). Local Irish sports fans can catch a rebroadcast of “Notre Dame Primetime” at 7:00 p.m. Monday evenings on WHME-TV 46 (cable channel 11).

CSTV is currently available nationwide to more than 15 million cable and satellite homes. To find out where CSTV is available in your area, log on to, or call your local cable or satellite operator.

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

Here’s how the hotline is aligned (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. UCLA, 2. Maryland, 3. Old Dominion, 4. Wake Forest, 5. St. John’s, 6. Santa Clara, 7. North Carolina, 8. Washington, 9. UCSB, 10. NOTRE DAME, 11. Saint Louis, 12. San Diego, 13. Coastal Carolina, 13. Florida International, 15. Indiana, 16. CS Northridge, 17. Akron, 18. Tulsa, 19. Virginia Tech, 20. Hartwick College, 21. Oregon State, 22. Rutgers, 23. VCU, 24. Fairleigh Dickinson, 25. Creighton.

College Soccer News: 1. UCLA, 2. Maryland, 3. Old Dominion, 4. St. John’s, 5. Wake Forest, 6. North Carolina, 7. Florida International, 8. Washington, 9. Santa Clara, 10. San Diego, 11. Coastal Carolina, 12. UCSB, 13. Saint Louis, 14. NOTRE DAME, 15. VCU, 16. Hartwick College, 17. Rutgers, 18. Akron, 19. Fairleigh Dickinson, 20. Indiana, 21. Virginia Tech, 22. Tulsa, 23. Oregon State, 24. Brown, 25. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 26. CS Northridge, 27. Creighton, 28. Kentucky, 29. Michigan, 30. Dayton.