September 29, 1998

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 17th-ranked Notre Dame men’s soccer team (4-1-2, 2-1-2) plays two road games this week as the Irish travel to Kalamazoo, Mich., to face the Western Michigan Broncos on Tuesday, September 29 at 4:00 p.m., and then meet BIG EAST rival Georgetown in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 3 at 1:00 p.m.


St. John’s: The 18th-ranked Irish faced their first ranked opponent of the 1998 campaign as Notre Dame battled seventh-ranked St. John’s to a 1-1 tie at Alumni Field. It marked the fourth straight overtime contest for the Irish and the second time in two years that the game between the two teams ended in a tie. In the first-ever visit by the Red Storm in 1996, the contest ended in a 2-2 deadlock. St. John’s, which leads the series 3-0-2, got on the scoreboard first with a goal 1:27 into the contest when Stefanie Miglioranzi connected from the inside right corner of the box off an assist from Jimmy Buscemi. The Irish responded less than 17 minutes later when freshman Shane Walton (San Diego, Calif.) tallied his seventh score of the season drilling a shot from the top of the box off an assist from junior Ryan Cox (Broadview Hts., Ohio). It marked the seventh time the duo combined in an Irish scoring effort this season. The Red Storm outshot Notre Dame 23-17 in the game and 6-3 in the two overtime periods. Senior goalkeeper Greg Velho (Longwood, Fla.) was outstanding in net as he tied his career-high with 12 saves.

HEAD COACH MIKE BERTICELLI – Notre Dame head coach Mike Berticelli is in his ninth season along the Irish sidelines and 23rd 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 an 92-66-14 (.576) mark at Notre Dame and is 279-121-37 (.681) overall. In three of the last five 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 eight seasons at the Notre Dame helm.


Western Michigan: This is the fourth consecutive year the two teams will be playing each other. Notre Dame leads the series 8-2-1 and has won the last eight meetings. Western Michigan’s two wins in the series have both been in Kalamazoo – 1-0 (1978) and 2-0 (1981). Notre Dame is 1-2 in Kalamazoo and its lone victory on the road was a 3-2 victory in 1996.

Georgetown: This will be the seventh meeting between the two schools and the fifth since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995. Notre Dame holds a 4-1-1 advantage in the series and is 2-0-0 in games played at Georgetown. Two of the last three meetings have been decided in overtime; the last three times the two teams have played each other, the final result has been a 2-1 decision. The Hoyas picked up their first-ever win in the series with a 2-1 overtime victory last year. The last time the two schools played each other in Washington, D.C., the Irish earned a 2-1 decision in overtime.

WALTON’S HEROICS ARE BECOMING ROUTINE – Just seven games into the 1998 season, rookie Shane Walton has had his hand in two game-winning goals and a game-tying goal. The first of his two game-winning goals came in Notre Dame’s 1-0 victory over Northwestern on September 8. The second was a week ago when tallied the game-winner in overtime in the 2-1 Irish victory at Villanova. Walton scored the lone goal for the Irish in the 1-1 tie with St. John’s. He was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Monday which marked the third time in four weeks he has been selected for this honor.

OFF AND RUNNING – In just seven games, Shane Walton has clearly emerged as one of the nation’s top freshmen. The 5-11 forward leads the team in scoring with seven goals and three assists (17 points) and has scored at least one goal in six of Notre Dame’s first seven games. He has been held scoreless in only one game this season (Rutgers). Walton has had one multiple-goal game and two multiple-point games. His first multiple-point performance was against Valparaiso in the season opener when he tallied twice and also dished off two assists. His second came in Notre Dame’s 2-2 tie with Pittsburgh on September 13.

COX DISHES OFF ANOTHER ASSIST – Junior Ryan Cox (Broadview Hts, Ohio), who missed all but the first two games of the 1997 campaign, has been an impact player for the Irish this season. Currently, he is second in the Irish scoring column with two goals and a team-leading six assists (10 points) and has had a goal or an assist in five of Notre Dame’s first seven games. Cox had the assist on Shane Walton’s game-tying goal against St. John’s on Saturday night. It was the fifth assist he has dished off to Walton this season.

HOME SWEET HOME – Notre Dame is 2-0-2 at home this season at Alummi Field. The 1998 campaign marks the ninth season for the Irish playing at Alumni Field. Since 1990, Notre Dame has won 72.2 percent of its games, compiling a 55-19-7 record. Alumni Field has not been a friendly place for Irish opponents the past three-plus seasons, although Coach Mike Berticelli’s squad somewhat struggled at home in 1997 winning just six of 10 games. The four losses represented the most for a Notre Dame team at Alumni Field in eight years. Four of the six wins, however, were shutouts. The previous season, 1996, the Irish had a 7-1-2 mark at home after posting an 8-3 record during the 1995 campaign. Notre Dame won a school-record 11 wins in 1994 en route to an 11-3-1 mark. Berticelli’s team recorded eight shutouts in 1996, six of which were at home.

WORKING OVERTIME – Saturday night’s overtime game against St. John’s marked the fourth straight contest the Irish have played beyond regulation tying a school mark for consecutive overtime outings. The last time Notre Dame played four straight overtime was during the 1987 season. Coach Mike Berticelli’s squad is 1-1-2 in overtime games this season. Both of the ties this season have been at Alumni Field. In 1997, Notre Dame played six overtime games and were 1-3-2 in those contests. Notre Dame’s lone victory was in an overtime game came against TCU (4-3) on October 5.

CLOSE CALLS – Notre Dame had 11 games in 1997 that were decided by a single goal and were 4-7 in those contests. Three of this year’s first seven outings have been one-goal decisions. Coach Mike Berticelli’s squad is 2-1 in overtime games this season. Notre Dame beat Northwestern 1-0, lost to Rutgers on the road in overtime and grabbed a 2-1 overtime victory at Villanova.

TRAVELIN MEN – Notre Dame’s outing at home against St. John’s on Saturday night (September 26) is one of just two home games the Irish will play until the weekend of October 16 and 18 when they play host to Connecticut and Seton Hall. Notre Dame’s lone home game until that weekend is against IUPUI on Tuesday, October 6. Four of the next five games and four of the next 10 outings to conclude the regular season are on the road. Following back-to-back outings against the Huskies and Pirates, the Irish play just one home game (West Virginia on Friday, October 30).

VELHO TIES CAREER BEST – Greg Velho tied his career best with 12 saves in Notre Dame’s 1-1 tie with St. John’s. The only other time he registered 12 saves in a game was in the second round of ’96 NCAA tournament in a 1-0 loss to UNC Charlotte. This season, he has a 0.90 overall goals against average and .848 save percentage. Velho has 39 saves overall with 36 coming in the five BIG EAST games the Irish have played thus far. He is averaging 7.2 saves in league contests and 5.6 seven games overall.

WALTON AND COX ARE A SCORING COMBINATION – The combination of Shane Walton and Ryan Cox has appeared prominently on the Irish scoresheet this season. Together, the duo has been involved in seven of the 18 goals scored by the team this season. They are both one-two in the Irish scoring column with 27 of the team’s 47 points. Walton and Cox have combined for nine goals and nine of Notre Dame’s 17 assists.

IRONMAN – Matt Johnson (Livermore, Calif.) has played in all 70 games throughout his career and has made starting appearances in 69 of those contests. The only start he has missed was against Georgetown during the 1995 season. Johnson dished off his first assist of the campaign when he and teammate Ryan Cox combined in Shane Walton’s scoring effort in the 1-0 win over Northwestern.

IRONMAN II – Since midway through the 1996 campaign, four-year starter Greg Velho has played every minute of every contest spanning Notre Dame’s last 39 outings. He has played 3,706 consecutive minutes in goal. With a shoulder injury to Gerick Short (Mobile, Ala.) this season, he is the only goalkeeper in the Irish lineup. Velho has not been replaced in the lineup since the Irish beat Western Illinois 6-0 on October 11, 1996.

BIG EAST WELL REPRESENTED IN POLLS – For the second straight week, the BIG EAST Conference has four teams ranked in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Poll. Notre Dame, which was 18th a week, moved up to 17th in the rankings. Connecticut is the top-ranked team in the country, moving up from third place last week. St. John’s fell one spot to eighth, while Seton Hall remained at 13th.


(Week of September 28)

                                LW 1. Washington (8-0-0)           3 2. Indiana (8-1-0)              4 3. San Jose State (8-0-0)       6 4. Virgnia (6-0-2)              5 5. Duke (8-1-0)                 2 6. Creighton (7-1-0)            8 7. Washington (7-1-0)           1 8. Clemson (7-1-0)              9 9. St. John's (5-1-2)           710. UCLA (6-1-0)                1011. Maryland (6-2-0)            1912. South Carolina (7-1-0)      1413. Seton Hall (6-1-1)          1314. James Madison (6-1-0)       1615. Dartmouth (4-0-0)           1516. Saint Louis (8-2-0)         1717. NOTRE DAME (4-1-2)          1818. Santa Clara (6-1-1)         2019. UNC Charlotte (5-1-1)       1120. Penn State (5-2-2)          2421. Butler (7-1-0)              NR22. Boston University (5-1-1)   2123. Bradley (6-0-2)             NR24  Alabama-Birmingham (7-1-0)   825. Hartwick (5-2-1)            25

SOCCER AMERICA (Week of September 28)

                                LW 1. Indiana (8-1-0)              2 2. UCLA (6-1-0)                 3 3. Duke (8-1-0)                 1 4. Clemson (7-1-0)              4 5. South Carolina (7-1-0)       5 6. Virginia (6-0-2)             6 7. San Jose State (8-0-0)       8 8. Connecticut (8-0-0)          9 9. Creighton (7-1-0)           1010. St. John's (5-1-2)           711. Dartmouth (4-0-0)           1112. Maryland (6-2-0)            NR13. Saint Louis (8-2-0)         1314. Stanford (5-2-0)            1515. Furman (7-1-2)              1416. Washington (7-1-0)          1217. Boston University (5-1-1)   1718. Portland (5-1-1)            NR19. Alabama-Birmingham (7-1-0)  NR20. Santa Clara (6-1-1)         19


 1. Indiana (50)          8-1-0 2. NOTRE DAME (44)       4-1-2 3. Butler (41)           7-1-0 4. Akron (34)            6-2-1 5. Cincinnati (29)       4-2-1 6. Louisville (26)       6-2-0 7. Michigan State (19)   5-3-0 8. Xavier (14)           5-3-0 9. Marshall (11)         5-3-110. Oakland (4)           4-3-0
Others receiving votes: Western Kentucky

Shane Walton – T16th (scoring)
Ryan Cox – T16th (assists)


                        BIG EAST   Overall                         Record    Record  1. Connecticut (10)     8-0-0     5-0-0 2. St. John's (7)       3-1-1     5-1-2 3. Rutgers (6)          3-1-0     4-3-1    NOTRE DAME (6)       2-1-5     4-1-2 5. Seton Hall (4)       2-1-0     6-1-1    Providence (4)       2-2-0     3-5-0    Syracuse (4)         2-3-0     3-4-0 8. Pittsburgh (3)       1-2-1     4-2-2 9. Georgetown (2)       1-2-0     6-2-0    West Virginia (2)    1-2-0     5-2-0    Boston College (0)   0-3-0     3-4-1    Villanova (0)        0-4-0     2-6-0
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