Aug. 8, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Notre Dame men’s soccer team, which returns eight starters from a year ago, has been picked seventh in the BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll by a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches. Sophomore forward Erich Braun (Frankfurt, Germany), the 1999 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, is listed on the 12-member preseason all-conference team.
Connecticut, the reigning conference champion and a semifinalist at last year’s NCAA College Cup, is a unanimous selection to capture the 2000 league title. St. John’s finished second in the voting, followed by Rutgers, Georgetown, West Virginia and Seton Hall. Syracuse is picked to finish eighth behind the Irish, and rounding out the poll are Boston College (ninth), Pittsburgh and Providence (tied for 10th), and Villanova (12th).
Notre Dame begins its sixth year of competition in the BIG EAST Conference under first-year head coach Chris Apple, who served the past four years as an assistant coach at the University. Last year, the Irish were 8-9-3 overall and finished tied for eighth in the league standings. Notre Dame advanced to the eight-team league championship for the fourth straight year. The Irish failed to qualify for the championship in their first season as a league member in 1995, and won the conference crown in their first showing in 1996.
Braun led Notre Dame in scoring a year ago with nine goals and six assists (24 points) and was the first Irish player to capture one of the BIG EAST’s major player-of-the-year awards when he named the rookie of the year. He finished third in the league in scoring and ranked seventh overall in that category. In 11 conference matches, he tallied seven goals and dished off three assists for 17 points to set the league’s rookie single-season scoring record.
2000 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll
( ) – first-place votes in parentheses
Offensive Player of the Year: Darin Lewis, Sr., Connecticut
Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Gbandi, Jr., Connecticut
Goalkeeper of the Year: Kevin Bacher, Sr., Syracuse
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Kevin Bacher, Sr., GK, Syracuse
Guy Abrahamson, So., M, Rutgers
David Boutilier, Jr., D, Rutgers
Erich Braun, So., F, Notre Dame
Jim Curtin, Sr., D, Villanova
Chris Gbandi, Jr., D, Connecticut
Kevin Jones, Sr., F, Providence
Darin Lewis, Sr., M/F, Connecticut
Jeff Matteo, Jr., M, St. John’s
Craig Patton, Sr., F, West Virginia
Brent Rahlm, Sr., M, Connecticut
Greg Strohmann, Jr., F, Seton Hall