Aug. 27, 1999
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team opens the 1999 season at Northwestern when it travels to Evanston, Ill., on Wednesday, September 1 for a 4:00 p.m. test. It will be the first of two games for the Irish in the opening week of the ’99 campaign as the Irish also play Boston College in the BIG EAST and season opener at Alumni Field on Saturday, September 4 at 7:30 p.m.
SCOUTING THE IRISH ? Notre Dame returns just four starters from last year’s 9-6-3 squad that finished seventh in the BIG EAST with a 5-4-2 record. The most notable departures are on defense where the Irish lose two four-year starters ? goalkeeper Greg Velho and defensive midfielder Matt Johnson ? and backs Phil Murphy and David Cutler, both two-year starters. Another notable departure is that of forward Shane Walton. Walton, a second-team all-BIG EAST selection and BIG EAST All-Rookie team honoree in 1998 after leading the Irish with 10 goals and seven assists (27 points), earned a scholarship in football and will be a member of the Irish football team this season.
Senior Ryan Cox (Broadview Heights, Ohio) returns at forward after scoring five goals and dishing off a team-leading eight assists (18 points). He and Walton were a formidable scoring duo a year ago as they combined for 45 of the team’s 92 points. Senior Andrew Aris (Auckland, New Zealand) will look to pick become more of a scoring threat this season. He was the third-leading scorer a year ago with five goals and four assists (14 points).
The lone returning starter in the backfield is senior Matt McNew (Arlington, Texas). A three-year starter at sweeper, he has two goals a year ago and was a second-team all-BIG EAST selection. McNew has started 57 of the 60 games he has played in his Irish career, nearly double that of any other returnee in ’99.
Juniors Connor LaRose (Claremont, Calif.) and Reggie McKnight (Greenville, S.C.) have experience as starters in the lineup. LaRose was an 18-game starter a year ago, while McKnight made seven starting appearances. Both will figure significantly into Berticelli’s plans this season. LaRose can fill a number of roles, while McKnight has explosive speed and will look to become more of an offensive scoring threat during the upcoming campaign.
There is a question mark in goal for Notre Dame after losing Velho. Captain Gerick Short is the only returning player at this position with playing experience. He, however, has not seen action in a game since 1996 campaign. Overall, Short, who was granted a fifth-year after separating he shoulder last season, has played in just six game and made two starts throughout his career.
HEAD COACH MIKE BERTICELLI ? Notre Dame head coach Mike Berticelli begins his 10 season at Notre Dame and 24th as a collegiate coach. He has led Notre Dame to three of the school’s four NCAA tournament appearances (1993, 1994 and 1996). In 1996, his Irish squad won the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament game when it defeated second-seeded UNC Greensboro in the first round. Berticelli has a 96-71-16 (.568) mark at Notre Dame and is 283-126-39 (.675) overall. In three of the last six seasons, Irish teams have won conference tournament titles. Under Berticelli, the Irish claimed the 1996 BIG EAST tournament crown in just its second year as a member of the league with consecutive wins over ranked opponents Connecticut and Rutgers. During the 1993 and 1994 campaigns, the Irish won back-to-back MCC tournament crowns and earned berths in the NCAA tournament. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he spent six seasons (1984-89) at Old Dominion where his teams compiled a 76-27-16 record for a .706 winning percentage. Berticelli coached for four years at UNC-Greensboro (1980-83) with his teams compiling a 70-9-5 record (.863) and winning two Division III national crowns in 1982 and 1983. His first head coaching stint was at Thomas College where he coached from (1976-79) with his teams posting a 41-19-2 mark during that four-year span. The Irish have won 10-plus games in six of his nine seasons at the Notre Dame helm.
300 AND CLIMBING ? Notre Dame earned its 300th win in school history with its 2-0 win over West Virginia in the ’98 regular-season finale. Since its inaugural season in 1977, the Irish have compiled a 300-141-38 record for a .666 winning percentage.
CAPTAIN GERICK ? Fifth-year player Gerick Short is the lone Irish captain for the 1999 season. Only three other times in the 23-year history of the program has Notre Dame had a single captain ? Jim Flynn (1986), Mike Palmer (1993) and Tony Capasso (1996).
BERTICELLI EYES WIN 100 WITH IRISH IN 10TH SEASON ? Mike Berticelli begins his 10th season along the Irish sidelines and 24th overall as a collegiate coach in ’99. He has guided Notre Dame to three conference tournament championships (two Midwestern Collegiate Conference and one BIG EAST) and three of the school’s four NCAA tournament appearances. Heading into the 1999 campaign, he is just four victories shy of his 100th win at Notre Dame as his teams have compiled a 96-71-16 record for a .568 winning percentage. His overall record following 23 seasons is 283-129-39 (.675).
McNEW GETS HIS STARTS ? Graduation took its toll on the Notre Dame backfield with the losses of defenders Phil Murphy and David Cutler, central midfielder Matt Johnson and goalkeeper Greg Velho. The only returning starter in the backfield is sweeper Matt McNew, a three-year starter and second-team all-BIG EAST selection in 1998. He has started 57 of the 60 games he has played in his Irish career, nearly double that of any other returnee in ’99. Only two other players on this year’s roster have started more than 25 games ? Andrew Aris (29) and Ryan Cox (27).
WALTON CHOOSES THE OTHER FOOTBALL ? Shane Walton, a member of the 1998 BIG EAST All-Rookie team and a second-team all-BIG EAST selection, made the decision to join the Irish football team after being awarded a football scholarship. Walton, who was a standout performer in both soccer and football in high school, worked out and practiced with the football team throughout the winter and spring. Walton’s offensive productivity will certainly be missed this season. As a freshman, he led the team in scoring with 10 goals and seven assists. The San Diego, Calif., native had four-game winning goals and a game-tying goal in ’98 and was selected the BIG EAST Rookie of the Wee three times. His 10 goals and 27 points were the most by and Irish rookie since Jean Joseph (1991-95) had 11 goals and 28 points in his freshman season in ’91.
BERTICELLI INDUCTED INTO MAINE-FARMINGTON HALL OF FAME ? Irish head coach Mike Berticelli was inducted into the University of Maine-Farmington’s (his alma mater) Sports Hall of Fame on June 25. Berticelli, a 1973 graduate, was a two-sport athlete at the school as he played both soccer and basketball. A native of Lewiston, Maine, he was inducted into the Maine Sport Hall of Fame in 1984.
THE GERMAN CONNECTION ? Head coach Mike Berticelli and his coaching staff signed an impressive list of six recruits for the 1999 campaign, including three players from Germany ? Andreas Forstner (defender), Erich Braun (forward) and Alex Altmann (midfielder). Prior to these three, only two other Germans have played soccer at Notre Dame. The most recent was Chris Mathis, a midfielder from Kaiserslautern who starred for the Irish from 1993-96. Ivor Deweydenthal, a native of Munich, played for just one season at Notre Dame (1986).
HOME SWEET HOME ? Notre Dame finished 5-1-2 at home this season. It marked the ninth season for the Irish playing at Alumni Field. Since 1990, Notre Dame has won 72.4 percent of its games there, compiling a 58-20-7 record.
BERTICELLI SUCCESS IN THE COACHING RANKS ? Among active Division I head coaches, Mike Berticelli’s 283 victories places him 11th and 17th all-time, while his .675 winning percentage is 20th amongst his coaching peers.
NOTRE DAME IN SEASON OPENERS ? Notre Dame has a 12-7-2 (.619) record in season openers and is 4-3-1 during Berticelli’s eight-year tenure. Notre Dame played Valparaiso a year ago and registered a 6-1 victory at home. The last time Notre Dame dropped a season opener was against Penn State on the road (1-0) to start the 1994 campaign.
1998 BIG EAST FINAL STANDINGS
BIG EAST Overall Final Record Record 1. Connecticut 9-2-0 17-4-0 2. St. John's 8-2-1 16-5-3 3. Rutgers 8-3-0 12-7-2 4. Georgetown 7-4-0 15-6-0 5. Providence 6-4-1 9-9-1 Seton Hall 5-3-3 11-4-4 7. NOTRE DAME 5-4-2 9-6-3 8. West Virginia 4-6-1 11-8-1 Syracuse 4-6-1 8-9-110. Boston College 2-8-1 5-10-211. Pittsburgh 1-8-2 6-9-312. Villanova 1-10-0 5-12-0
1. Indiana 2. Stanford 3. Maryland 4. Clemson 5. Santa Clara 6. Virginia 7. Creighton 8. St. John's 9. UCLA 10. South Carolina 11. Washington 12. Duke 13. UNC Greensboro 14. Butler 15. Southern Methodist 16. Connecticut 17. Akron 18. Saint Louis 19. Cal State Fullerton 20. Penn State 21. William & Mary 22. Brown 23. Jacksonville 24 San Diego 25. Georgetown
SOCCER AMERICA (Preseason)
1. Indiana 2. Maryland 3. UCLA 4. Clemson 5. Stanford 6. Virginia 7. SMU 8. Brown 9. St. John's 10. Connecticut11. Santa Clara12. Saint Louis13. Cal State Fullerton14 Washington15. Creighton16. Duke17. South Carolina18. South Florida19. William & Mary20. Jacksonville
BIG EAST PRESEASON POLL
1998 Finish (Regular Season) 1. St. John's (118) 2nd 2. Connecticut (114) 1st 3. Rutgers (93) 3rd 4. Georgetown (79) 4th Seton Hall (79) t5th 6. NOTRE DAME (67) 7th 7. Syracuse (61) t8th 8. Providence t5th 9. Boston College (49) 10th10. West Virginia (44) t8th11. Pittsburgh (23) 11th12. Villanova (11) 12th