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No. 20 Men's Soccer Takes A Break From BIG EAST Action As Irish Host Michigan State On Wednesday Night

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Oct. 15, 2002

Notre Dame, Ind. –

THE MICHIGAN STATE GAME – Notre Dame takes a break from BIG EAST Conference action on Wednesday evening when it plays host at Alumni Field to Michigan State on Oct. 16 at 7:00 p.m. The Irish have played four of its last six games on the road. The contest against Michigan State begins a two-game homestand for Coach Bobby Clark’s squad who has won two straight – both 1-0 decisions on the road. Notre Dame is ranked 20th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Poll this week.

SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame will play the first of its two home games this week when it hosts the Spartans on Wednesday night. The Irish have registered back-to-back 1-0 road wins in their last two outings and own a 6-3-3 overall record and 3-2-1 mark in BIG EAST play. Six of Notre Dame’s 12 games have been decided in overtime (the Irish are 2-1-3 in those contests), while seven matches have been decided by a single. Each of the Irish’s last three games resulted in a 1-0 final score (Notre Dame is 2-1 in its last three outings). Notre Dame played just one game last week as the Irish earned a 1-0 overtime road win at Boston College. The Irish will play four of their remaining six games at home and the match against Michigan State begins a two-game home stand. Notre Dame has scored 21 goals this season and allowed just 12 for a 0.92 team goals against average. The Irish defense has registered three shutouts this season and has outscored their BIG EAST opponents 11-4. In addition, Notre Dame has held its opponents to one goal or less on 10 occasions. Senior Erich Braun (Frankfurt, Germany) and junior Chad Riley (Houston, Texas) are tied for first in scoring with 12 points each. Braun has scored six goals this season, while Riley has tallied two goals and dished off a team-leading eight assists. All six of Braun’s goals have been scored in three games as he has had three two-goal outings – versus Southwest Missouri State, Seton Hall and Providence. He heads into the Michigan State game scoreless in the team’s last six outings. Riley has been one of the team’s most consistent performers of late as he has registered two goals and six assists (10 points) in Notre Dame’s last eight games. Riley dished off a career-best three assists in the win over the Friars. Justin Detter (White Lake, Mich.) ranks second on the team in goals scored with four. In addition, he has dished off three assists for 11 points, good for third on the Irish scoring list. Rafael Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) stands fourth in the scoring column with two goals. Luke Boughen (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) netted his third goal of the season in tallying the game-winner against Boston College. Greg Martin (Plano, Texas) has netted two goals, while Devon Prescod (Marietta, Ga.) and Jack Stewart (Torrance, Calif.) round out the goal scoring for the Irish with one goal each. Kevin Goldthwaite (Sacramento, Calif.) has dished off three assists, while Kevin Richards (Warwick, Bermuda) has been credited with two this season. Goalkeeper Chris Sawyer (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) has not played in the last two games – versus Akron and Boston College – after being injured in the Pittsburgh game on October 4. Senior Greg Tait (Fayetteville, N.Y.) entered the game against the Panthers 5:15 into the second half and has played the entire game in each of Notre Dame’s last contests. Tait has recorded back-to-back shutouts in his last two starts. He has played 256:32 and has allowed just two goals for a 0.70 goals against average and .875 save percentage. Sawyer has played 912:36 of a possible 1169:08 and has allowed 10 goals and made 31 saves for a 0.99 goals against average and .756 save percentage.

SCOUTING THE SPARTANS – Michigan State enters the game with a 7-4-0 overall record and 1-2-0 mark in Big Ten play. The Spartans have outscored their opponents 26-16 as they are averaging 2.4 goals per game. Michigan State began the season by winning five of its first six games, but have been victorious just twice in its last five contests. Brent Conley leads the Spartans in scoring as he has netted seven goals and dished off four assists, while teammate Jordan Gruber has six goals and three assists for 15 points.

RECAPPING BOSTON COLLEGE GAME – Luke Boughen scored his third goal of the season 3:36 into the first overtime session to lift the Irish to their third overtime victory of the season as Notre Dame defeated Boston 1-0 on the road. Boughen’s goal was assisted by teammate Justin Detter. The Irish outshot the Eagles 15-10 and owned a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks. Greg Tait earned his second straight start in goal and stopped four Boston College shots, while Eagle goalkeeper Kyle Singer made five saves.

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 January 19, 2001. In his 16th season as a collegiate coach, Clark has an overall record of 171-73-28 for an overall winning percentage of .680 and is 18-10-3 (.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 HAS LED 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. MICHIGAN STATE – Wednesday night’s contest will be the 14th meeting between the two schools, but the first since the 1993 campaign. Notre Dame owns a 7-2-4 advantage in the series and is 6-0-1 against the Spartans playing at home. The Irish are 5-1-1 against Michigan State the last seven times the two teams have played each other.

IRISH GARNER SECOND ROAD WIN OF SEASON – Notre Dame’s victory at Boston College was the second road win of the season for the Irish on their opponent’s home field. Six days prior to the win over the Eagles, Coach Bobby Clark’s squad earned a hard-fought 1-0 win at Akron. Earlier in the season, the Irish 3-2 over Southwest Missouri State on a neutral site in Omaha, Neb., to begin the season.

TAIT TABBED BIG EAST GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK – Greg Tait was named BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week for the second time in his career after registering four saves in Notre Dame’s 1-0 overtime win at Boston College on Saturday. Tait has started the last two games for the Irish and has not allowed a goal while making nine saves. He is the third Notre Dame player this season to earn one of the conference’s weekly awards.

BOUGHEN EARNS SPOT ON COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS TEAM OF THE WEEK – Luke Boughen earned a spot on College Soccer News’ Team of the Week after scoring the game-winning goal in Notre Dame’s 1-0 overtime victory at Boston College. It marked Boughen’s third career and first game-winning tally. Also named to the team were: Tony Anderson (Vermont), Jimmy Frazelle (UCLA), Ryan Glynn (Bradley), Mike Munoz (California), Peer Rogge (Virginia Tech), Brian Rowland (UMBC), Gonzalo Segares (VCU), Mike Tracnchilla (Creighton), Arturo Torres (Loyola Marymount) and Dimelon Westfield (Clemson).

HOME COOKIN’ FOR THE IRISH UNDER CLARK – Notre Dame suffered its first home loss of 2002 when the Irish dropped a 1-0 decision to Pittsburgh in overtime on Friday. It was just the second loss at home for the Irish during Bobby Clark’s tenure. The setback was the first for the Irish since dropping a 3-0 decision to Rutgers on September 22, 2001. Prior to the loss to the Panthers, Notre Dame had produced an 8-0-1 mark in its last nine games.

THREE WINS OVER RANKED OPPONENTS – Notre Dame’s 1-0 overtime win over No. 15 Boston College on Saturday was the third for the Irish over a ranked opponent this season. It marks the most wins over ranked teams by an Irish squad since the 1996 campaign. During that season, Notre Dame defeated No. 14 Connecticut (2-1), No. 12 Rutgers (1-0) and No. 2 UNC Greensboro (1-0) in conecutive outings. The Irish’s first win over a ranked opponent was against No. 6 Seton Hall 4-0 (at Alumni Field), which was followed by a 2-1 double overtime victory over No. 7 Furman at home. 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.

TWO ROAD GAMES LEFT – Notre Dame’s contest at Boston College on Saturday completed a tough stretch for the Irish which saw them play four of their last six games on the road. With six games left in the regular season, only two will be on the road – Villanova (Oct. 23) and Georgetown (Oct. 26).

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.

GOING OVERTIME – Through the first 12 games of the season, Notre Dame has already played six overtime contests. The Irish are 2-1-3 in those contests with four of them going to double overtime. Notre Dame’s two overtime wins were against Boston College and Furman. In the victory against the Paladins, they tallied the game-winner with 2:31 left in the second overtime session. Last season, Notre Dame played just three overtimes in 19 outings and were 1-2 in those contests. Under head coach Bobby Clark, Notre Dame is 3-3-3 in overtime games.

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 (31 goals, 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 eight assists this season, exceeded his previous single-season best of six during both the 2000 and ’01 campaigns. In 48 career games, Riley has dished off 20 assists. His team-leading eight match that of Ryan Cox’s during the 1998 campaign.

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 five BIG EAST contests, he has surrendered just two goals in 405:07 minutes of action. In 13 career league games, he has registered five complete-game shutouts. Sawyer, who did not play against Boston College on Saturday because of an injury, has played 1135:30 minutes in those games and allowed just six goals for a 0.48 goals against average. In addition, he has made 41 saves and owns a .872 save percentage.

STEADY SUB – Greg Tait has filled in admirably for Chris Sawyer since the sophomore was injured at the start of the second half against Pittsburgh on Oct. 4. He has started the last two games – versus Akron and Boston College – and has not allowed a goal in either contest, while also filling in admirably for the Irish on Oct. 4 when Chris Sawyer left the Pittsburgh game with an injury early in the second half. Despite being on the field for the Panthers’ game-winning goal in overtime, Tait finished with two saves in the contest. He earned the starting nod against Akron two days later and followed up with five saves in that contest. His start against the Zips marked the first for him since the 2001 campaign against Rutgers on September 22 in the fifth game of the season.

BOUGHEN HAS CAREER DAY AGAINST FRIARS – Sophomore Luke Boughen registered the first two goals of his collegiate career against Providence just 1:12 apart from each other. 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 the Southwest Missouri State and Furman matches. Garcia has started all 12 games. Heading into the 2002 campaign, he had made 13 starts in 38 games and had scored two goals and dished off two assists.

DETTER DOING IT – Justin Detter is Notre Dame’s third-leading goal scorer this season with four goals and and three assists (11 points). Detter has already equalled his single-season best for goals scored and has 12 career goals and nine assists (33 points).

IRISH MAINSTAYS – Four Irish veterans have started 90.0 percent or better in Notre Dame games during their careers: Erich Braun (Sr.) – 62 of 64 (.968); Justin Ratcliffe (Sr.) – 61 of 67 (.910); Justin Detter (Jr.) – 47 of 48 (.979); and Chad Riley (Jr.) – 45 of 48 (.938).

QUICK FLICKS – Notre Dame has wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard in four of its first 11 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 all 12 of Notre Dame’s games in 2002. 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.

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 333-168-45 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 78-29-8 mark all-time for a .713 winning percentage. The ’02 campaign will mark the 12th for Notre Dame at Alumni Field. Notre Dame owns a 10-2-1 mark (.875) at Alumni Field under Clark.

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.

LIGHTNING 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 ( 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.