Aug. 19, 2003
The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team, coming off a 12-6-3 record in 2002 and returning nine starters from its NCAA second-round appearance, has been ranked 12th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas preseason poll released on Tuesday.
The #12 ranking is the highest preseason slot in school history, as Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark – in his third season with the Irish – returns his most talented Irish team and adds one of the best recruiting classes in the nation.
Notre Dame is set to begin the exhibition portion of its schedule this weekend at 11th-ranked Saint Louis. The Irish and Billikens will meet at 7 p.m. in Saint Louis’ Robert R. Hermann Stadium.
Selected to finish second in the BIG EAST Conference this season, Notre Dame will face seven opponents from the NSCAA preseason poll in 2003 – including conference opponents #5 St. John’s, #10 Connecticut, #13 Boston College and #22 Syracuse. Other ranked opponents on the 2003 Notre Dame schedule include #7 Indiana, #17 California and Alabama-Birmingham (also receiving votes).
The Irish will be led by junior Chris Sawyer, who was named the preseason BIG EAST goalkeeper of the year, along with seniors Justin Detter and junior Jack Stewart (both of whom also earned preseason all-BIG EAST honors).
Notre Dame begins the 2003 regular season at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington, Ind., on Aug. 29 (vs. Alabama-Birmingham) and Aug. 30 (vs. #17 California). The Irish regular-season home opener will be against #5 St. John’s on Saturday, Sept. 6, at 7:30 p.m. Notre Dame does have an exhibition game at home this coming Monday, Aug. 25, against Michigan at 7 p.m.
NSCAA/adidas 2003 NCAA Division I Preseason Rankings
4. Wake Forest
5. Southern Methodist
5. St. John’s
11. Saint Louis
12. Notre Dame
13. Boston College
16. Penn State
19. North Carolina
20. Coastal Carolina
21. UC-Santa Barbara
22. Loyola Marymount
22. New Mexico
22. Virginia Commonwealth
Also receiving votes: Pennsylvania, Santa Clara, Alabama-Birmingham , William and Mary, Old Dominion.
Italics – indicates 2003 Notre Dame opponents