Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Men's Soccer Plays Host To Michigan In Sweet 16 On Sunday

Nov. 28, 2003

Complete Release in PDF Format
dot.gifspacer.gifDownload Free Acrobat Reader

2003 NCAA Championship

Sweet 16 (Third Round)

Sunday, Nov. 30, Alumni Field (Notre Dame, Ind.)

#3 Notre Dame (16-3-3) vs. Michigan (15-7-0), 1 p.m.

Irish will appear in the Sweet 16 for the first time vs. Michigan:

The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (16-3-3) will experience a number of firsts on Sunday, Nov. 30. The Irish will play host to Michigan in both team’s first-ever appearances in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championship. Notre Dame also will be playing host to two home NCAA games for the first time in the program’s history. Michigan moved on with a 6-2 win over St. Peter’s on Nov. 26, while the Irish downed UW-Milwaukee 4-1.

The last time…

Notre Dame and Michigan faced each other in the preseason on August 25, when the teams battled to a 1-1 tie … Notre Dame leads the all-time official game series 3-0 … Devon Prescod scored in this season’s preseason meeting for the Irish, while Jeff Mermelstein scored for Michigan … the Wolverines are 0-3 at Alumni Field.

What you need to know about Notre Dame for Sunday’s match:

* Sunday marks Notre Dame’s first appearance in the Sweet 16.

* Notre Dame has won eight matches in a row, the longest winning streak in 16 years (1987) and the fourth-longest in the program’s history.

* Notre Dame’s victory over UW-Milwaukee in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Wendesday, Nov. 26, was the 40th victory for Bobby Clark at Notre Dame.

* Notre Dame earned a bye in the NCAA field for the first time this season.

* Notre Dame finished the regular season with a 12-3-3 record, then swept through the BIG EAST Championship with three shut outs to claim the program’s second conference championship.

* Justin Detter set a Notre Dame record for points in a single NCAA game with five (two goals, one assist) vs. UW-Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Michigan team overview:

The Wolverines earned their first-ever NCAA victory on Thursday with a 4-1 victory over St. Peter’s … Michigan has posted a program-best 14 wins this season … Mychal Turpin has scored a season-record 13 goals this season … Peter Dzubay had 10 saves in the NCAA game vs. St. Peter’s.

Notre Dame NCAA Championship history:

Notre Dame is making its seventh appearance in the NCAA Championship on Wednesday … the 2003 season marks the first time in school history the Irish earned a first-round bye in the 48-team field … Notre Dame is 3-6 in NCAA competition, earning first round victories over UNC Greensboro in 1996 and Akron in 2002 and a second-round win vs. UW-Milwaukee just four days ago … this season marks the second-consecutive year Notre Dame has played host to NCAA Championship action … Notre Dame first appeared in the NCAA Championship in 1988, suffering a 2-0 loss to SMU … the team is making its third-consecutive NCAA Championship appearance, another program first.

Are the Irish peaking at the right time?:

Notre Dame enters the NCAA Championship on an eight-match win streak, the longest run of the Bobby Clark era and the longest win streak since the 1987 campaign. The Irish have defeated four ranked teams during the streak and captured the program’s second BIG EAST Championship on Nov. 16 in Storrs, Conn.

Notre Dame win streak –

at Providence – W, 2-0

at #9 Virginia Tech – W, 2-1 (OT)

#25 Villanova – W, 2-0

at Michigan State – W, 1-0

#25 Connecticut (BIG EAST quarterfinals) – W, 2-0

vs. Providence (BIG EAST semifinals) – W, 1-0

vs. #4 St. John’s (BIG EAST final) – W, 2-0

vs. UW-Milwaukee (NCAA) – W, 4-1

Want to catch the Irish in action?

The NCAA third round match up with Michigan will be available to Irish Sports Pass subscribers via live audio on Live statistics will be available on

Snapshot of the Irish:

Notre Dame enters Wednesday’s match with a 16-3-3 overall record, compiling its most wins since 1988 (17). The Irish finished the BIG EAST schedule with a 6-3-1 record, suffering setbacks to St. John’s, Rutgers and Connecticut, but came through to win the BIG EAST Championship by defeating UConn, Providence and St. John’s during the tournament. The BIG EAST title is the second in school history (’96) and the first for Bobby Clark at Notre Dame.

The Irish have faced several ranked teams this season and started off strong losing just one game in their first nine. Rutgers and Connecticut handed Notre Dame two losses over a three-game stretch, but the Irish have recovered to post a seven-game win streak heading into Wendesday’s match.

Seniors Justin Detter and Devon Prescod have been the offensive stars for Notre Dame. The two top scorers on the team, Detter is deadly in the air and on the ground with the ball – displaying an incredible first touch. Prescod provides instant offense off the bench, entering the game anywhere from 10-20 minutes into the first half. Both seniors are enjoying career campaigns.

The midfield has seen the most changes as far as line ups, but has posted consistent performances this season. Senior captain Greg Martin has contributed six goals and six assists, while classmate Chad Riley is second all-time in assists at Notre Dame with 32 (eight this season). Luke Boughen, Filippo Chillemi, Ian Etherington and Greg Dalby also have logged important minutes in the midfield.

The defense has been led by junior Jack Stewart. One of the best central defenders in the nation, Stewart rarely loses a duel in the air and is capable of running down the fastest opposing offensive players. His running mates on the outside, Kevin Goldthwaite (left back) and Kevin Richards (right back) have played almost every minute of each contest this season, moving up to attack and providing great crosses into the defensive zone. Richards scored perhaps the most important goal of the season, putting Notre Dame up 1-0 in its eventual 2-0 victory over St. John’s in the BIG EAST Championship final. Goldthwaite currently leads the Irish team in assists with nine.

Chris Sawyer has been in goal for all but 10 minutes this season, posting a 16-3-3 record and 12 shut outs (plus one shared).

Notre Dame lands eight players on all-BIG EAST teams:

Eight Irish players earned all-conference honors at the BIG EAST year end banquet on Nov. 13 in Vernon, Conn. Led by goalkeeper of the year Chris Sawyer, the eight selections for Notre Dame mark a program best since the team joined the BIG EAST in 1995.

Sawyer led the league in shut outs with 12 (13 CBO) and has allowed just 14 goals this season. He backed up his major award at the conference championship, posting three straight shut outs to earn the most oustanding defensive player award.

Sawyer was joined on the all-BIG EAST first team by senior forward Justin Detter and junior defender Jack Stewart. Detter, one of two unanimous selections for the first team, has 11 goals this season and is widely respected as one of the best attack players in the nation.

Stewart has anchored the Irish backline defense throughout the year. He scored his lone goal of the season at Syracuse, but his ability to win balls in the air and run down opposing offensive players provide the measure of his impact on the Irish team.

Junior D Kevin Goldthwaite (nine assists) and senior MF Chad Riley (eight assists) landed on the all-BIG EAST second team. Senior MF Greg Martin (18 points), senior F Devon Prescod (12 goals, seven game winnners) and senior Kevin Richards (five points) were named to the all-BIG EAST third team.

Notre Dame’s defense tells the story of the season:

The Notre Dame defensive unit, which has gone through a number of changes over the course of the season (especially over the last three weeks) has persevered to establish itself as one of the best defenses in the nation. The Irish have given up just 15 goals this season, and eight of those scores came in two games (vs. St. John’s, vs. Rutgers). That means that Notre Dame has surrendered one or zero goals in 20 of 22 games this season.

Several players deserve credit for this defensive excellence, which includes 13 shut outs –

Jr. GK Chris Sawyer – Sawyer has a 0.67 goals-against average this season and 13 shut outs (one shared). He has made 61 saves in 22 games and was named the BIG EAST Championship most outstanding defensive player after posting three shut outs in the tournament.

Jr. D Jack Stewart – Stewart has established himself as one of the best central defenders in the nation, though the preseason plans had him in the Irish midfield. An injury to sophomore Dale Rellas (out for the season) pushed Stewart back to the middle of the Notre Dame defense.

Fr. D/MF Greg Dalby – Dalby has played and started all 22 games this season this season as a true freshman. The former captain of the U.S. under-17 national team, Dalby has moved up to the midfield over the last month.

Jr. D Kevin Goldthwaite – One of the most active players on the field in each game, Goldthwaite is first on the team in assists with nine and scored the game-winning goal against #19 Indiana.

Sr. D Kevin Richards – An unsung hero in the backline for the Irish, Richards is one of the most consistent players on the team. He is adept at moving up on the outside and providing dangerous crosses into the opposing defense. He has three assists this season and scored the game-winning goal against St. John’s in the BIG EAST Championship final.

Jr. D Christopher High – High stepped into the back line when Dalby moved up to the midfield and has not missed a beat. With High in the line up, Notre Dame has shut out six of its last eight opponents.

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 13 times so far in 2003 and demands the attention of the opposing defense in each and every contest. His 13 goals this season are a career-best for the Irish forward.

A three-time all-BIG EAST selection (including a unanimous choice for the 2003 first team), Detter has launched a team-high 87 shots this season, including 44 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 five 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

Sawyer outstanding in goal:

Junior goalkeeper Chris Sawyer has held Notre Dame’s opposition to one or zero goals in 20 of 22 games this season. Take away the five-goal aberration against Rutgers, and the Highlands Ranch, Colo., native has allowed 10 goals over 22 games.

Sawyer’s goals against average stands at 0.67. His 12 shut outs rank first in the BIG EAST Conference. He was named the College Soccer News player of the week on Monday, Nov. 10, the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year and the BIG EAST Championship Most Oustanding Defensive Player.

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 Nov. 24, Notre Dame has out-shot its opponents 327-199. The Irish have unleashed 176 shots in the second half, compared to just 95 for all opponents.

Continuing a look at the statistics, Notre Dame’s opponents have been forced to make 131 saves, while Irish goalkeeper Chris Sawyer has been asked to make just 61 stops. Notre Dame also leads in corner kicks 130-72.

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 (ranked nationally this season). The regular season began with a 0-0 tie with #20 Alabama-Birmingham (currently 25th 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, a setback which was avenged in the BIG EAST Championship final. 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 21st.

The Irish also defeated #18 Indiana during the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament. The Hoosiers have moved up to the top 10 in the latest NSCAA/adidas top 25.

Notre Dame defeated #9 Virginia Tech 2-1 in overtime in Blacksburg on Oct. 25 and posted a victory against #25 Villanova and #25 Connecticut over the last two weeks, establishing ND’s record vs. ranked opponents this season to 6-2-1.

Notre Dame vs. ranked opponents this season:

vs. #20 UAB – T 0-0

vs. #11 California – W 2-1

vs. #13 St. John’s – L 0-3

vs. #19 Indiana – W 1-0 (OT)

vs. #25 Rutgers – L 2-5

vs. #9 Virginia Tech – W 2-1 (OT)

vs. #25 Villanova – W 2-0

vs. #25 Connecticut – W 2-0

vs. #4 St. John’s – W 2-0

Bobby Clark quick biography:

Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark is in his third 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 40-16-6 at Notre Dame (.694) and helped the Irish qualify for the NCAA Championshp tournament for an unprecedented third-straight season.

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 193-79-31 collegiate record (.688) and has landed seven teams in the final national rankings.

The Irish established their motto of ‘Making History’ early this season and that goal has already been achieved. Notre Dame earned its highest-ever preseason ranking this year (third in the Soccer America ranking) and highest-ever in-season ranking in both major polls (third in both polls). Notre Dame also earned its first-ever bye in the NCAA Championship and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the third-straight season – another unprecedented achievement.

Please see p. 14-17 of the 2003 Notre Dame men’s soccer media guide for a more detailed historical biography on Clark.

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 fully healthy and second on the team-lead in goals with 12. His scores against #11 California, West Virginia, Georgetown, Cleveland State, #25 Villanova, #25 Connecticut and UW-Milwaukee 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 12 goals this season far eclipses his three from a year ago. Named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 1 and to the all-BIG EAST third team this season, Prescod is second on the team in points with 26 and second in shots on goal with 22.

Overtime warriors:

Perhaps the Notre Dame players enjoy playing soccer a little too much. The Irish have played extra time in seven of 21 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 (.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.

This season Notre Dame is 8-2-1 at Alumni Field, suffering losses to St. John’s and Rutgers while tieing Akron.

Notre Dame successful on the road as well: While Notre Dame embraces its home field advantage, it also takes pride in its record on the road. The Irish posted a 5-1-1 record on the road this season, its only loss to Connecticut on Oct. 18.

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 1,157 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: 1,152 (as of Nov. 24)

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.

Class of 2007 earns top-five recruiting class status:

University of Notre Dame men’s soccer coach Bobby Clark announced the signing of seven highly-regarded prep standouts to national letters of intent late last season. 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.