Nov. 9, 2001
NOTRE DAME EARNS No. 2 SEED – Notre Dame is the No. 2 seed in the 2001 BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship. It marks the highest seed ever by an Irish team since joining the conference in 1995. Notre Dame qualified for the conference championship 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 advanced to the semifinals the following season in 1997. First-year head coach Bobby Clark’s squad has engineered an 11-5 overall record this season and finished tied for second in the BIG EAST regular season standings with a 7-3 mark. 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 were picked to finish seventh in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The 11 wins are the most regular-season wins 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 campaing that the Irish have been ranked in both polls at the same time. Nore Dame has only lost one game during the month of October (a 1-0 setback at Connecticut on Oct. 27) and has been victorious in eight of its last nine games, which included a 4-1 road mark during that nine-game span. Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 32-17 this season (98-54 in points). The Irish have displayed a very balanced scoring attack with nine 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 and Matt Rosso have one goal each. Prescod and classmate Chad Riley lead the team with six assists, while Detter and Goldthwaite each have five. The 34 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 1.04 while registering seven shutouts. At one stretch in October, Clark’s squad registered five consecutive shutouts. 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 16 game this season, while Richards has been in the starting lineup in each of the 15 games he has played. Freshman Chris Sawyer became Notre Dame’s starting goalkeeper in the sixth game of the season and has a 9-2-0 overall record with five 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 0.53 goals against average and .875 save percentage as he has allowed just six goals and made 42 saves. His 0.53 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 4-3 record in the seven 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. This is the second time that Notre Dame will play host to a quarterfinal game. The Irish hosted Georgetown in ’96 on its way to the BIG EAST crown as Notre Dame registered a 2-1 win.
SERIES RECORD VS. GEORGETOWN – The Irish lead the series 5-4-1 and this will be the second meeting between the two teams at Notre Dame this season. Coach Bobby Clark’s squad earned a 3-1 victory on Oct. 5 over the Hoyas which snapped a four-game Georgetown win streak. Since beginning BIG EAST play in 1995, Notre Dame is 4-4 in the the eight meetings. Prior to the loss earlier in the season, Georgetown had won two straight at Alumni Field with a 2-1 victory in ’97 and 3-1 win in ’99. This is the second time Notre Dame has hosted Georgetown in a BIG EAST quarterfinal game.
NOTRE DAME-GEORGETOWN PART I – Notre Dame snapped a four-game losing streak to Georgetown as Erich Braun tallied two goals and Chad Riley dished off two assists to lead the Irish. It was the first multiple-goal game of the season and fourth of his career for Braun who first put the Irish up 1-0 with 2:33 remaining before the intermission off assists from Kevin Goldthwaite and Kevin Richards. Georgetown knotted the score at 1-1 7:58 into the second half off of a Kenny Owens score. Braun scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at the 68:08 mark when he re-directed a shot into the corner off an assist from Riley. Justin Detter added the insurance goal off an assist from Riley to round out the game scoring. Irish goalkeeper Chris Sawyer came up with six saves in the contest and Notre Dame outshot Georgetown 23-12 in the game.
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 164-68-25 record for a .687 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 328-163-43 mark for a .654 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 11 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 game 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.
PRESCOD POWER – Sophomore Devon Prescod has had a presence in the Irish lineup this season as he has earned 15 starts in the 16 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 eight 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 LEADS THE TEAM IN ASSISTS – Although he is still looking for his first goal of the season, sophomore Chad Riley is one of two Irish players with a team-leading six assists. He 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, which led the team.
IRISH MAKING IT TOUGH – Notre Dame’s combined efforts in goal and on defense has produced tremendous results as the Irish have a 1.04 goals against average as a team following five straight shutouts and seven total for the season. Coach Bobby Clark’s squad did not give up a goal in more than 500 minutes spanning five-play 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.
OCTOBERFEST – Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 19-3 during the month of October after being outscored 14-13 in the month of September. The Irish have outscored their opponents 32-17 this season. The 32 goals are already 13 more than Notre Dame scored during the entire 2000 campaign.
IRISH ROOKIE MAKING AN IMPRESSION – Rookie goalkeeper Chris Sawyer has been in the starting lineup for each of the last 11 games and has allowed just six goals in 1024:45 of action. He has a 0.53 goals against average and .875 save percentage. He is 6-2 in the eight BIG EAST games he has played in and has an overall record of 9-2.
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 32 goals in the 16 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 seven games ago. Sawyer has started 11 of the 12 games he has played in goal, while Stewart has has gotten the starting nod in the last nine contests. Goldthwaite has cracked the starting lineup seven times this season.
HOME SWEET HOME – Notre Dame is 6-1 at home this season at Alumni Field after finishing just 4-4 last year. The Irish own a 75-28-7 mark for a .714 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 16 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 51 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 16 games. Heading into the matchup with Georgetown, the third-year Irish player has made 34 consecutive starts and has played in 50 of 51 career games.