Sept. 28, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. –
THE RUTGERS GAME – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team will look to rebound from its tough 1-0 loss on Thursday night at No. 2 St. John’s as they Irish continue their two-game road swing against Rutgers on Sun., Sept. 26 at 2:00 p.m. Notre Dame is ranked in both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Soccer America polls, standing 10th and 16th, respectively. Rutgers is ranked 19th in this week’s NSCAA poll.
SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame heads into its game with Rutgers with a 4-2-2 overall record and 2-1-0 mark in BIG EAST play. Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 18-10 on the season and 9-2 in league contests. The Irish defense has recorded one shutout and held its opponents to one goal or less on six occasions. Senior Erich Braun (Frankfurt, Germany) has three multiple-goal games which have accounted for all six of his goals this season. His most recent came in Notre Dame’s victory over the Friars; he also had multiple-goal games against Southwest Missouri State and Seton Hall. Chad Riley (Houston, Texas) has been one of the team’s most consistent performers of late as he has registered two goals and four assists in Notre Dame’s last four games. Riley dished off a career-best three assists in the win over Providence and stands second in scoring column with two goals and six assists (10 points). Justin Detter (White Lake, Mich.) has two goals and three assists, while Greg Martin (Plano, Texas) and Luke Boughen (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) each have scored a pair of goals. Devon Prescod (Marietta, Ga.) rounds out the scoring for the Irish with 18 goals. Goalkeeper Chris Sawyer (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) has played 752:21 of a possible 777:29 minutes. He has allowed nine goals and made 26 saves for a 1.08 goals against average and .743 save percentage.
SCOUTING THE SCARLET KNIGHTS – Rutgers improved to 3-2-1 and 3-1-0 in the BIG EAST with its 5-0 win on Wednesday against Villanova. Sherif El Bjaly scored twice in the contest to lead the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers two losses this season have been to Butler (3-0) and Georgetown (1-0). Like the Irish, the Scarlet Knights have displayed a tenacious defense and have allowed just four goals all season registered four shutouts.
RECAPPING THE ST. JOHN’S GAME – Notre Dame dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to St. John’s on the road as Jean Camere’s goal from 18 yards out with 1:48 to play lifted the Red Storm to the victory. The loss marked the continuation of frustration for the Irish against the Red Storm on the road. With the setback, Notre Dame is now winless in its five appearances in Jamaica, N.Y. and has been outscored 14-1. The Irish were outshot 11-8 in the contest, but had two scoring chances late in the game. The first came when Luke Boughen’s shot went wide with 8:45 remaining and then Erich Braun followed with a shot from 12 yards out with 7:49 remaining. Chris Sawyer made two saves in goal.
HEAD COACH BOBBY CLARK – Bobby Clark is in his second season at Notre Dame after being named the fifth head coach in the program’s history on Jan., 19, 2001. In his 16th season as a collegiate coach, Clark has an overall record of 169-72-27 for an overall winning percentage of .681 and is 16-9-2 (.629) at Notre Dame. Heading into the 2002 campaign, he ranked 16th all-time among active Division I coaches in terms of winning percentage. Last season, he guided the Irish to a 12-7 mark and their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1996. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he spent five seasons guiding the Stanford Cardinal to a 71-21-12 mark and .740 winning percentage from 1996-2000. Clark also was head coach at Dartmouth from 1985-93 where he led the Big Green to an 82-242-13 record (.646). Seven of Clark’s teams have advanced to NCAA tournament play with his ’98 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 (1994-95).
CLARK LEADS THREE DIFFERENT TEAMS INTO NCAAs – As a head coach, Bobby Clark is certainly NCAA tournament tested. With Notre Dame’s appearance in the 2001 championship, he has now guided three different schools to the NCAA postseason. At Dartmouth, he led the Big Green to two appearances in nine years, while his Cardinal teams at Stanford earned four berths in the five seasons he spent on Palo Alto, Calif., campus. Clark is the first Notre Dame coach to lead the Irish to the NCAAs in his first season.
SERIES RECORD VS. RUTGERS – Notre Dame has lost five straight to the Scarlet Knights and is just 1-6 playing Rutgers on its home field. The Irish have been outscored 10-1 in the last five games, including last year’s 3-0 setback at Alumni Field. Notre Dame’s last victory was a 1-0 win at Alumni Field during the 1997 campaign and its lone win at Yurcak field was a 1-0 decision in the final game of the 1996 BIG EAST Championship.
FURMAN WIN SIGNIFICANT – Notre Dame’s 2-1 victory over Furman proved to be significant because it marked the highest ranked opponent that an Irish team had beaten since a 1-0 victory over second-ranked UNC Greensboro in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament and was the last win over a top-10 team at home since a 1-0 victory over 10th-ranked St. John’s during the 2000 campaign. In its 25-plus seasons of varsity competition, Notre Dame has nine wins over teams that have been ranked in the top 10 of either the NSCAA or Soccer America polls.
TOUGH STRETCH – Notre Dame’s is in the midst of a touch stretch in which the Irish are playing four of five games on the road, Following this weekend’s road swing, Coach Clark’s squad faces Pittsburgh at home on Fri., Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and then travels to Akron (Oct. 6) and Boston College (Oct. 12). Notre Dame concludes the regular season by playing four of its six games at home.
THE CAPTAINS – Seniors Erich Braun and Justin Ratcliffe and junior Greg Martin are serving as captains for the 2002 men’s soccer team. Braun and Ratcliffe will be serving as captains for the first time in their career, while Martin has been selected as one of the Irish leaders for the second consecutive year. In 2001, Martin was the first sophomore in the 25-year history of the program to serve as a captain and becomes just the 10th player ever to serve as a two-time captain.
BRAUN MOVING UP THE CHARTS – With his eight goals this season, Erich Braun has moved to 10th on the all-time Irish goals scored list with 31. His 74 points (31goals, 12 assists) places him 12th on the all-time scoring list.
THREE CHEERS FOR CHAD – Chad Riley’s three assists against Providence marked a single-game career-best for the junior who has led the Irish in that category during his two-plus seasons. He leads the team with six assists this season and registered six assists in both of his first two campaigns. In 44 career games, Riley has dished off 18 assists. The second-leading scorer on the Irish team with two goals and six assists, he has been Notre Dame’s most consistent performer of late as he has scored two goals and dished off four goals in the Irish’s last three games.
BIG EAST PLAY BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN SAWYER – Chris Sawyer has a knack for playing well in BIG EAST games. In Notre Dame’s three BIG EAST contests, he has surrendered just one goal a goal in 244:52 minutes of action. In 11 career league games, he has registered five complete-game shutouts. Sawyer has played 975:15 minutes in those 11 conference games and allowed just five goals for a 0.46 goals against average. In addition, he has made 36 saves and owns a .878 save percentage.
BOUGHEN HAS CAREER DAY AGAINST FRIARS – Sophomore Luke Boughen registered the first two goals of his collegiate career against Providence 1:12 apart. It also marked his first career points in an Irish uniform. Boughen scored his first goal at the 51:19 mark and then followed with his second score at 52:31.
RAFAEL IS COMING UP BIG – No Irish player has stepped up his level of play this season more than senior forward Rafael Garcia. He has two goals and three assists on the season and stands fourth in the scoring column with seven points. Garcia registered goals in both the Creighton and Seton Hall contests and is credited with assists in Southwest Missouri State and Furman matches. Garcia has started all eight games. Heading into the 2002 campaign, he had made 13 starts in 38 games and had scored two goals and dished off two assists.
PRESCOD POWER – Junior forward Devon Prescod has been slowed by nagging injuries this season that has limited his playing time during the game. Prescod is slowly regaining the form of a year ago, and last Sunday against Providence, tallied his first goal of the season. He has played in all eight games this season, and in addition to the goal, has dished off one assist.
IRISH MAINSTAYS – Four Irish veterans have started 90.0 percent or better of Notre Dame’s games during their careers: Erich Braun (Sr.) – 58 of 60 (.966); Justin Ratcliffe (Sr.) – 57 of 63 (.905); Justin Detter (Jr.) – 43 of 44 (.977); and Chad Riley (Jr.) – 41 of 44 (.932).
QUICK FLICKS – Notre Dame has wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard in four of its first eight games. Erich Braun tallied the season’s first goal 17 seconds into the contest in the season opener against Southwest Missouri State, while Rafael Garcia put in the Irish’s lone goal versus Creighton at the 7:12 mark. Against Seton Hall, Garcia scored Notre Dame’s initial goal 23:28 into the contest and Braun gave the Irish a 1-0 lead at the 11:04 mark of the match against Providence.
GETTING HIS STARTS – Freshman Dale Rellas (Plano, Texas) has been in the starting lineup for Notre Dame’s first eight games. He was the only Irish rookie to see action against Southwest Missouri State in the season opener.
PLAYING THE BEST – The ’02 men’s soccer schedule features nine teams that advanced to NCAA tournament play a year ago. Those teams featured on the 18-game slate include: Akron, Boston College, Connecticut, Creighton, Furman, Michigan State, Rutgers, St. John’s and Seton Hall.
IRISH TABBED THIRD IN BIG EAST PRESEASON POLL – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team has been chosen to finish third in the Preseason BIG EAST Coaches Poll. Connecticut, the 2001 regular-season champion, has been chosen first by a vote of the league’s head coaches, while St. John’s, last year’s tournament champion, has been chosen second. Chris Sawyer has been selected as the Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year, while he, Erich Braun and Justin Detter were named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST squad.
25 AND COUNTING – The 2001 campaign marked the 25th season of varsity competition for the Notre Dame men’s soccer program. Since its inaugural season in 1977, Irish teams have compiled a 331-167-44 record for a .651 winning percentage. Notre Dame has won 20-plus games on three occasions and 15 or more contests 11 times. In the program’s history, only five teams have had a losing season.
ALL IN THE FAMILY – Freshman defender John Stephens (Woodbridge, Ill.) is no stranger to athletics at Notre Dame. His grandfather, Colonel John Stephens, served as Notre Dame’s longtime associate athletics director until the mid-80’s. His father, John, is a graduate of Notre Dame and received a law degree from the University.
HOME SWEET HOME – Notre Dame will play nine of its 18 regular season contests at the friendly confines of Alumni Field during the 2002 season. The Irish finished 7-1 last year at home (its only loss was to Rutgers). The Irish own a 78-28-8 mark all-time for a .719 winning percentage. The ’02 campaign will mark the 12th for Notre Dame at Alumni Field. Notre Dame owns a 10-1-1 mark (.875) at Alumni Field under Clark with its only loss coming to Rutgers (3-0 on Sept. 22, 2001).
LEADER OF THE PACK – For the first time in the history of the BIG EAST Conference, six teams represented the league in the 2001 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship. The BIG EAST led all conferences with six selections. In addition to Notre Dame, Boston College, Connecticut, Rutgers, St. John’s and Seton Hall earned spots in the 48-team field.
BIG EAST FORMAT – With the addition of Virginia Tech at the start of the 2001 campaign, the BIG EAST created a change in its regular-season format with a 10-game conference format instituted. Notre Dame will not play West Virginia and Syracuse this season.
DIADORA CHALLENGE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM – Notre Dame had four players named to the all-tournament team at the Diadora Challenge – Erich Braun, Greg Martin, Jack Stewart (Torrance, Calif.) and Luke Boughen (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.). In addition, Braun was selected as the tournament’s MVP as the Irish also won the tournament crown.
MIKE BERTICELLI CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM – Three Notre Dame players – Justin Ratcliffe (Miami, Fla.), Devon Prescod (Marietta, Ga.) and Kevin Goldthwaite – were named to the all-tournament team. Bradley had four players selected, including goalkeeper Chris Dunsheath who also earned MVP honors. Furman and Cornell each placed two players on the squad.
LIGHTENING STRIKES TWICE – Notre Dame has had two games this season delayed by lightening – Creighton and Bradley. Against Creighton, there was a 30-minute lightening delay, while the Bradley contest was delayed 20 minutes in the 16th minute of the contest.
SCOTTISH CORNER KICKS – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team reported back to campus on July 21 to begin an intense 10 days of workouts in preparation for their 14-day trip to Scotland. The squad left for the native homeland of head coach Bobby Clark on Aug. 2 and returned back to Indiana on Aug. 16. The Irish made their headquarters on the University of Aberdeen and Edinburgh University campuses. Junior midfielder Greg Martin recorded the events of the trip in a diary which appeared on Notre Dame’s website (www.und.com) during the trip. Former Notre Dame men’s soccer player Thomas Crotty (1977-79) who contributed $50,000 – the entire amount needed for the cost of the trip. The Irish finished 4-0-1 while playing five games in 11 days.
Game #1 (August 4) – Notre Dame 6, Formatine United 1 Notre Dame opened its Scotland Tour with a 6-1 victory over Formatine United. Erich Braun scored two first-half goals and Paul Rodriguez added another as the Irish built a 3-1 halftime advantage. Devon Prescod gave the Irish a 4-1 lead early into the second, while Rafael Garcia and Justin Ratcliffe also added scores. Chris Sawyer started and played the entire first half, while Greg Tait played the entire second half.
Game #2 (August 6) – Notre Dame 8, Banks of Dee 1 Notre Dame was impressive in its second game as the Irish registered an 8-1 win victory over the Banks of Dee. The Irish claimed a 3-0 halftime advantage on goals by Kevin Goldthwaite, Rafael Garcia and Erich Braun. Second-half scores from Chad Riley, Justin Ratcliffe and Devon Prescod pushed the Irish lead to 6-0. After the Banks of Dee scored its lone goal of the contest, Justin Detter and Prescod added the contest’s final two scores.
Game #3 (August 8) – Notre Dame 1, Ross County 0 Notre Dame improved to 3-0 with a 1-0 win in Dingwall over the Ross County under-21 squad. The game-winning Irish score came from Filippo Chillemi 10 minutes into the second half. The opposition nearly tied the game with three minutes remaining in the contest on a questionable call that resulted in a penalty kick, but Greg Tait’s save preserved the win.
Game #4 (August 12) – Notre Dame 2, Aberdeen FC Under-21 0 Notre Dame posted its most noteworthy victory of its two-week summer tour and improved to 4-0 with a 2-0 shutout over the Aberdeen under-21 squad. Erich Braun scored his fourth goal of the trip early in the second half with Filippo Chillemi adding the second goal midway through the half. Devon Prescod set up both goals in the game. Goalkeeper Chris Sawyer played the entire 90 minutes of the contest. The victory marked the first time in four games that one of Clark’s teams had produced a win over that squad. Previously, he had brought to Scotland two of his Dartmouth and one of his Stanford teams.
Game #5 (August 14) – Notre Dame 1, Dundee United 1 Playing its fifth game in 11 days, Notre Dame tied Dundee United 1-1 in its fifth and final game of its Scotland tour. Erich Braun netted the contest’s lone goal off an assist from Devon Prescod. Dundee United tallied the equalizer with three minutes left in the contest.