Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Men's Soccer Set To Face St. John's in BIG EAST Semifinal Matchup

Nov. 13, 2001

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NOTRE DAME ADVANCES TO THIRD BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINAL APPEARANCE – Notre Dame (12-5) has advanced to the semifinals of the 2001 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship for the third time in school history. The Irish, who are the No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament, earned the semifinal berth with a 1-0 victory over Georgetown at home in the quarterfinals on Nov. 10. Notre Dame is facing No. 3 seed St. John’s (12-2-3) for the first time this season (the two teams did not play each other during the regular season) and for the third time in BIG EAST tournament competition. The two teams tied for second in the final regular-season standings, but the Irish earned the number two seed by virtue of it conference wins. Notre Dame was 7-3 during the regular season, while St. John’s finished with a 12-2-3 mark. Since joining the BIG EAST in 1995, this is the highest seed that an Irish team has earned in the conference championship. Notre Dame is playing in the postseason tournament for the fifth time in seven seasons (the Irish missed qualifying in 1995 and 2000). Notre Dame won the tournament title in 1996 after earning the No. 3 seed and also advanced to the semifinals the following season in 1997. First-year head coach Bobby Clark’s squad has engineered a great turnaround for the Irish after Notre Dame suffered back-to-back losing seasons in ’99 and ’00) with a combined 15-17-5 record. The seven conference wins are the most by an Irish squad in seven seasons as a BIG EAST Conference member. Notre Dame finished ninth in the final regular season standings in 2000 and was picked to finish seventh in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Notre Dame’s 11 wins during the regular season are the most since the 1993 campaign when that Irish team registered 13 before finishing with a final 15-6 record.

SCOUTING THE IRISH – Under first-year head coach Bobby Clark, Notre Dame is 19th in the Soccer America ranking and 23rd in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas poll. It marks the first time since the 1996 campaign that the Irish have been ranked in both polls at the same time. Notre Dame has only lost once in its last 10 games and boasts one of the nation’s best win streaks having won nine of its last 10 games. Notre Dame lost only once during the month of October which included a 4-1 road mark during the eight-game span. Notre Dame’s lone loss in the last 10 games was a 1-0 setback at Connecticut on Oct. 27. Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 33-17 this season (101-54 in points). The Irish have displayed a very balanced scoring attack with 10 players having scored at least one goal this season. Junior forward Erich Braun leads the game in scoring with a personal best 12 goals and three assists for a career-high 27 points. Sophomore Devon Prescod is second in the scoring column with six goals and six assists (18 points), 16 more points than he scored a year ago as a freshman when he netted just one goal. Sophomore Justin Detter and freshman Kevin Goldthwaite are third in the Irish scoring column with four goals and five assists each for 13 points. Junior Justin Ratcliffe is the only other multiple-goal scorer as he has scored two goals. Griffin Howard, Greg Martin, Andreas Forstner, Matt Rosso and Chad Riley have one goal each. Prescod and Riley lead the team with six assists, while Detter and Goldthwaite each have five. The 33 goals are the most scored by an Irish team since the 38 scored by the Irish during their 21-game season in 1997. Notre Dame’s defense has been spectacular this season as the Irish own a team goals against average of 0.98 while registering eight shutouts. At one stretch in October, Clark’s squad registered five consecutive shutouts. The eight shutouts are the most since ’96 when that Irish squad registered 10 in 23 games. Senior Griffin Howard and junior Andreas Forstner anchor Notre Dame’s defensive attack along with Ratcliffe and sophomore Kevin Richards. Howard, Forstner and Ratcliffe are the only three Irish players who have started all 17 games this season, while Richards has been in the starting lineup in each of the 16 games he has played. Freshman Chris Sawyer became Notre Dame’s starting goalkeeper in the sixth game of the season and has a 10-2-0 overall record with six complete-game shutouts and a 6-2-0 conference record. His only two losses were both 1-0 setbacks on the road at Seton Hall and Connecticut. Sawyer has a 0.48 goals against average and .882 save percentage as he has allowed just six goals and made 45 saves. His goals against average ranks fifth nationally in Division I.

IRISH IN THE BIG EAST TOURNAMENT – Notre Dame is making its fifth appearance in seven years in the BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship. The Irish have a 5-3 record in the eight tournament games they have played. Notre Dame won the conference tournament crown in its first-ever appearance in 1996 and then advanced to the semifinals in ’97. Notre Dame played host to a BIG EAST quarterfinal game for the second time ever last Saturday night in a 1-0 Irish win over Georgetown. The Irish also hosted the Hoyas in ’96 on its way to the BIG EAST crown as Notre Dame registered a 2-1 win.

ALL-TIME NOTRE DAME BIG EAST TOURNAMENT RESULTS – 1996: Notre Dame 2, Georgetown 1 (Notre Dame, Ind.) – quarterfinals Notre Dame, 2, Connecticut 1 (Piscataway, N.J.) – semifinals Notre Dame 1, Rutgers 0 (Piscataway, N.J.) – finals 1997: Notre Dame 2, Seton Hall 0 (South Orange, N.J.) – quarterfinals St. John’s 4, Notre Dame 1 (Storrs, Conn.) – semifinals 1998: St. John’s 2, Notre Dame 0 (Jamaica, N.Y.) – quarterfinals 1999: Rutgers 2, Notre Dame 0 (Piscataway, N.J.) – quarterfinals 2001: Notre Dame 1, Georgetown 0 (Notre Dame, Ind.) – quarterfinals

SERIES RECORD VS. ST. JOHN’S – The two teams did not play each other during the regular season so this will be the first meeting in 2001 and the ninth meeting overall between the two schools. The Irish trail in the series 1-5-2. Notre Dame’s lone win came last season when the Irish upset the 10th-ranked Red Storm 1-0 at Alumni Field on Oct. 14, 2000. Chad Riley scored the game’s only goal off an assist from Justin Detter in the 83rd minute of the contest to pull of one of the biggest home upsets in the program’s 25-year history. All eight meetings between the two schools have been since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST. Statistically, St. John’s has dominated the series and has outscored the Irish 20-6.

GEORGETOWN RECAP – Notre Dame advanced to its first BIG EAST Championship semifinal appearance since 1997 with a 1-0 victory over Georgetown. Sophomore Chad Riley scored the game-winning goal 10:52 into the contest off an assist from freshman Jack Stewart. Riley’s game-winner came from a shot outside of the box that sailed into an empty Hoya net. Stewart fed Riley from the right corner of the box and then he lofted a shot outside the box that sailed over goalkeeper Brian O’Hagan. Notre Dame dominated Georgetown in the contest and owed an 18-5 and 6-2 advantage in shots and corner kicks, respectively. O’Hagan made nine saves in the game for the Hoyas, while Irish freshman goalkeeper Chris Sawyer registered his sixth complete-game shutout as he came up with three saves.

HEAD COACH BOBBY CLARK – Bobby Clark is in his first season at Notre Dame. He was named the fifth head coach in the history of the Notre Dame men’s soccer program on Jan. 19, 2001. In his 15th season as a collegiate coach, Clark was victorious in his debut on the Irish sidelines in Notre Dame’s 5-0 win over Villanova. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he spent five seasons guiding the Stanford Cardinal to a 71-21-12 record and .740 winning percentage from 1996-2000. Clark also was the head coach at Dartmouth from 1985-1993 where he led the Big Green to an 82-42-13 mark (.646). Heading into this season, Clark ranked 15th among active Division I head men’s soccer coaches in terms of winning percentage. In 14-plus seasons, he owns a 165-68-25 record for a .688 winning percentage. Six of Clark’s teams have advanced to NCAA tournament play with his 1998 Stanford squad finishing as the NCAA runnerup that season. In between his coaching stints at Dartmouth and Stanford, he was head coach of the New Zealand National Team. Clark coached his 250th college game on Oct. 11 when the Irish traveled to West Virginia.

NOTRE DAME CELEBRATING 25TH SEASON OF VARSITY COMPETITION – The 2001 campaign marks the 25th season of varsity competition for the Notre Dame men’s soccer team. Since its inaugural campaign in 1977, Irish teams have compiled a 329-163-43 mark for a .655 winning percentage. Notre Dame has won 20-plus games on three occasions and 15 or more games 11 times. In the program’s history, only five teams have had a losing season.

IRISH EYES ARE SMILING – Notre Dame’s six-game win streak prior to the loss to Connecticut was the longest since the 1991 campaign. The Irish’s 12 wins are already more than in each of the two previous seasons. The seven league wins are the most ever by a Notre Dame team since joining the BIG EAST in 1996. It’s five-game conference win streak (victories over Georgetown, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College and Providence) was the longest by an Irish squad. During the six-game win streak, the Irish outscored their opponents 13-1.

ROAD WARRIORS FIND SUCCESS – Notre Dame is having one of its best seasons playing on the road as the Irish sport an overall record of 5-4 (5-3 on the home field of their opponents and 0-1 in a neutral site contest). During the month of October, Notre Dame played five of nine games away from the friendly confines of Alumni Field and finished with a 4-1 record. The Irish also had a stretch during the season where they played seven of nine games on the road and were 5-2 in those road contests.

ROLLING ALONG – Erich Braun’s 12 goals this season are a personal best for the third-year forward who scored nine goals as a freshman. His 27 points (12 goals, three assists) also marks a career-best. He is the first player since Shane Walton in 1998 to register 10-plus goals in a season. Braun had a six-game goal-scoring streak during the season that was snapped when the Irish lost to Connecticut 1-0. He has scored a goal in all five games this season. Prior to the season finale against Syracuse, Braun had scored in every game in which Notre Dame had scored a goal. He also did not score in Notre Dame’s win over Georgetown on Saturday night.

PRESCOD POWER – Sophomore Devon Prescod has had a presence in the Irish lineup this season as he has earned 16 starts in the 17 games he has played. Entering the 2001 campaign, Prescod had one goal to his credit. This year, he stands second in the Irish scoring column with six goals and a team-leading six assists (18 points). Prescod has had either a goal or an assist in six of Notre Dame’s last nine games.

DETTER, GOLDTHWAITE THIRD IN IRISH SCORING COLUMN – Justin Detter and Kevin Goldthwaite each stand third in the scoring column with four goals and five assists each for 13 points. Detter recorded the second multiple-goal game of his career in Notre Dame’s win over Cleveland State on Sept. 19 when he tallied two goals and an assist. The five points marked the most in a single game by the Irish sophomore. Detter’s first multiple-goal outing occurred in 2000 in Notre Dame’s 2-1 victory over Northwestern. Goldthwaite has produced three game-winning goals in his rookie season, including the overtime score in Notre Dame’s 2-1 victory over Syracuse one week ago. He had the first multiple-point game of his career in the previous outing (ND’s 4-0 over IUPUI) as he tallied a goal and dished off an assist.

RILEY FINALLY FINDS THE NET – Chad Riley, Notre Dame’s leading scorer a year ago as a freshman, registered his first goal of the season, on Saturday night when he tallied the game-winner against Georgetown. Riley, who stands fifth in the scoring column with eight points, leads the team, along with teammate Devon Prescod, with six assists. Riley has dished out two assists in both the Georgetown and Providence wins. As a freshman, he had three goals and a team-best six assists for 12 points.

IRISH MAKING IT TOUGH – Notre Dame’s combined efforts in goal and on defense has produced tremendous results as the Irish have a 0.98 goals against average as a team following five straight shutouts and eight total for the season. Coach Bobby Clark’s squad did not give up a goal in more than 500 minutes spanning five-plus contests. Before giving up the score at the 15:03 mark of the contest against Connecticut, Notre Dame had not been scored upon since the 52:58 mark of the Georgetown game on Oct. 5.

MONUMENTAL WIN – Notre Dame pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the program’s history when the Irish defeated then sixth-ranked Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. The win was just the second ever for Notre Dame in the series spanning 21 games. Heading into the contest, the Hoosiers had won nine straight and held a commanding 18-1-1 advantage in the contest. It was the first win ever for the Irish in Bloomington and the first victory since a 4-3 win in 1987.

OCTOBERFEST – Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 22-3 during the month of October and through its first two games in November after being outscored 14-13 in the month of September. The Irish have outscored their opponents 33-17 this season. The 33 goals are already 14 more than Notre Dame scored during the entire 2000 campaign (19 goals).

IRISH ROOKIE MAKING AN IMPRESSION – Rookie goalkeeper Chris Sawyer has been in the starting lineup for each of the last 12 games and has allowed just six goals in 1114:45 of action. He has a 0.48 goals against average and .882 save percentage. He was 6-2 in the eight BIG EAST regular-season games he has played in and has an overall record of 10-2 this season.

SCORING OFFENSE UP – Notre Dame struggled to score goals in 2000 with just 19 goals in 17 games. This season, the Irish have already exceeded their goal-scoring total with 33 goals in the 17 games.

FRESHMEN GETTING INTO THE ACT – Notre Dame’s freshman class is beginning to make its presence felt on the field. Three rookies – Chris Sawyer, Jack Stewart and Kevin Goldthwaite – were all in the starting lineup in the Irish win over Virginia Tech (the most freshmen to start in a game this season) and each has been in the starting lineup since that contest eight games ago. Sawyer has started 12 of the 13 games he has played in goal, while Stewart has has gotten the starting nod in the last 10 contests. Goldthwaite has cracked the starting lineup eight times this season.

HOME SWEET HOME – Notre Dame is 7-1 at home this season at Alumni Field after finishing just 4-4 last year. The Irish own a 76-28-7 mark for a .716 winning percentage at Alumni Field. The 2001 campaign marks the 11th season for the Irish playing at Alumni Field.

A GAME OF FIRSTS – Notre Dame’s win over Villanova proved to be a night of firsts for many associated with the team. First, head coach Bobby Clark got his first win with the Irish in his coaching debut. Three players – freshman Kevin Goldthwaite, sophomore Greg Martin and junior Justin Ratcliffe tallied their first collegiate goals. Martin had the first multiple-point game of his career as he also dished off his first career assist.

GETTING INTO THE ACTION – Of the six freshmen on the Irish roster, two rookies – Kevin Goldthwaite and Jack Stewart have seen action in all 17 games coming off the bench. Goldthwaite’s first collegiate game will be one to remember as his first goal in a Notre Dame uniform came off of his first-ever shot in a game. It also was the first goal scored by the Irish in 2001.

GOOD BIG EAST START – Notre Dame continued its trend of success in BIG EAST openers with its 5-0 win over Villanova in what was the season and conference opener for the Irish this season. Overall, Notre Dame is 5-1-1 in league openers since becoming a conference member in 1995. The Irish dropped their league opener last season at Boston College (2-0) and tied Pittburgh (0-0) in 1997. Both of those games were on the road. Notre Dame’s five wins this season in the BIG EAST already matches its season total of a year ago.

YOUNG GUNS – The 25-man Notre Dame roster is comprised of just four seniors and nine juniors with almost half of the squad made up of sophomores and freshmen. Bobby Clark inherited a program which returned eight starters and 19 letterwinners from last year’s squad.

IRONMAN – Junior defender Andreas Forstner has missed just one start in the 52 games he has played in during his collegiate career. Forstner started 17 of the 18 games he played in during his rookie season and started all 17 contests in 2000. This season, he has been one of three players who has started all 17 games. Heading into the matchup with St. John’s, the third-year Irish player has made 35 consecutive starts and has played in 51 of 52 career games.