Nov. 6, 2003
2003 BIG EAST Championship
Saturday, Nov. 8
#8 Villanova at #1 St. John’s, 5 p.m.
#5 Seton Hall at #4 Rutgers, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 9
#7 Providence at #2 Virginia Tech, 1 p.m.
#6 Connecticut at #3 Notre Dame
Alumni Field * 1 p.m.
Notre Dame begins quest for BIG EAST Championship Sunday vs. Connecticut:
The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team (12-3-3, 6-3-1) begins post season competition this weekend, playing host to a BIG EAST Championship quarterfinal match up with #25 Connecticut (8-7-3, 5-3-2) at Alumni Field on Sunday, Nov. 9 (1 p.m.). Notre Dame will host BIG EAST Championship action for the fourth time overall and third season in a row on campus. The Irish are 5-5 all-time in BIG EAST Championship competition, landing in the semifinals in 1997 and 2001, while winning their lone BIG EAST title in 1996.
There will be a number of subplots involving each team on Sunday afternoon. Notre Dame is looking to strengthen its grip on an NCAA Championship berth with a strong showing in the conference championship. The Irish are in the running for home field advantage and a possible first-round bye in the NCAA Championship. Connecticut is looking for a victory to strengthen its own bid for an NCAA invite and want to return home for the BIG EAST semifinals and final – which will be in Storrs, Conn.
Notre Dame and Connecticut will be meeting for the 12th time … the Huskies lead the all-time series 7-3-1, including a 1-0 victory in Storrs on Oct. 18 … UConn has won six of the last seven meetings dating back to 1997 … Notre Dame’s victory over that time came last season, a 3-1 win at Alumni Field … the Irish are 1-2-1 against Connecticut at Ivy Field.
Want to catch the Irish in action?
Fans of the Irish men’s soccer team have a number of options to see, or hear, Notre Dame play during the BIG EAST Championship. Sunday’s game against UConn will be featured on www.und.com live audio feature for anyone with the College Sports Pass. Live statsitics are always available for all Notre Dame home games on www.und.com as well.
The BIG EAST Championship semifinals and final will be on several different television networks. The semifinals will be shown on CSTV on a delayed basis (11/15, 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.). The final will be broadcast live on the MSG network and Fox Sports Net Florida on Nov. 16 at 12 p.m.
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 two weeks) has persevered to establish itself as one of the best defenses in the nation. The Irish have given up just 14 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 16 of 18 games this season.
Several players deserve credit for this defensive excellence, which includes 10 shut outs –
Jr. GK Chris Sawyer – Sawyer has a 0.76 goals-against average this season and 10 shut outs. He has made 50 saves in 18 games.
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 Greg Dalby – Dalby has played 1,527 minutes of a possible 1,677 this season as a true freshman. The former captain of the U.S. under-17 national team, Dalby played in the midfield last week, when Chad Riley was sidelined with an injury.
Jr. D Kevin Goldthwaite – One of the most active players on the field in each game, Goldthwaite is third on the team in assists with five 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.
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 nine times so far in 2003 and demands the attention of the opposing defense in each and every contest. His nine goals this season are a career-best for the Irish forward.
A two-time all-BIG EAST selection, Detter has launched a team-high 69 shots this season, including 35 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. Riley has been sidelined with an injury, but is expected back in the line up for the Connecticut game on Sunday.
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 (Nov. 5) ranked 28th 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 16 of 18 games this season. Take away the five-goal aberration against Rutgers, and the Highlands Ranch, Colo., native has allowed nine goals over 17 games.
Sawyer’s goals against average stands at 0.76. His 10 shutouts rank first in the BIG EAST Conference.
While Notre Dame has faced several top teams this season, it has been consistently outperforming its rivals on the statistical end.
As of Nov. 5, Notre Dame has out-shot its opponents 263-163. The Irish have unleashed 141 shots in the second half, compared to just 78 for all opponents.
Continuing a look at the statistics, Notre Dame’s opponents have been forced to make 117 saves, while Irish goalkeeper Chris Sawyer has been asked to make just 50 stops. Notre Dame also leads in corner kicks 105-61.
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 20th 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 fourth. 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 reappeared at 11th in the latest NSCAA/adidas top 25.
Notre Dame’s second loss of the season at home to #25 Rutgers marked the fifth ranked team the Irish have faced this season.
Notre Dame defeated #9 Virginia Tech 2-1 in overtime in Blacksburg on Oct. 25 and posted a victory against #25 Villanova last weekend, establishing ND’s record vs. ranked opponents this season to 4-2-1.
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
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 10 goals. His scores against #11 California, West Virginia, Georgetown, Cleveland State and #25 Villanova 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 10 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 20 and second in shots on goal with 20.
Overtime warriors: Perhaps the Notre Dame players enjoy playing soccer a little too much. The Irish have played extra time in seven of 18 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.
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 1,237 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: 1,237 (as of Nov. 5)
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: 86th (1.56)
Team Goals Against Average: 17th (0.73)
Shut out Percentage: ninth (0.56)
Won-Lost-Tied Percentage: 13th (0.750)
Chad Riley, assists per game, 28th (0.50)
Chris Sawyer, goals against average, 23rd (0.736)
Etherington steps up in the Irish midfield:
Senior midfielder Chad Riley was forced to the sidelines over the last two weeks due to an injury, but freshman Ian Etherington has stepped up to be a important ball distributor in his place. Etherington posted his first two career assists on both goals in Notre Dame’s 2-0 victory over Villanova on Oct. 31 – a victory that assured the Irish home field advantage in Sunday’s game against UConn.
Lost in the aftermath of Notre Dame’s 5-2 defeat at the hands of #25 Rutgers was 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 18 games and 833 minutes. He made his first start of the season at Cleveland State.
Etherington’s first career goal came at the 66:05 mark of the Rutgers contest, 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 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 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.
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 www.CSTV.com, 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 www.und.com.
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. Wake Forest, 4. St. John’s, 5. Santa Clara, 6. NOTRE DAME, 7. Saint Louis, 8. Old Dominion, 9. North Carolina, 10. Indiana, 11. Florida International, 12. Washington, 13. Coastal Carolina, 14. Tulsa, 15. UCSB, 16. Akron, 17. San Diego, 18. Virginia Tech, 19. Oregon State, 20. VCU, 21. CS Northridge, 22. Hartwick College, 23. Fairleigh Dickinson, 24. Creighton, 25. Brown.
College Soccer News: 1. UCLA, 2. Maryland, 3. St. John’s, 4. Wake Forest, 5. Florida International, 6. Santa Clara, 7. Old Dominion, 8. Saint Louis, 9. NOTRE DAME, 10. Coastal Carolina, 11. Indiana, 12. VCU, 13. North Carolina, 14. Oregon State, 15. Hartwick College, 16. Washington, 17. San Diego, 18. Akron, 19. Fairleigh Dickinson, 20. Tulsa, 21. Virginia Tech, 22. UCSB, 23. Brown, 24. Michigan, 25. UAB, 26. Richmond, 27. Creighton, 28. Kentucky, 29. CS Northridge, 30. Davidson.