Senior Ben Crouse and the Notre Dame defense have posted two straight shutouts in the NCAA Tournament.  The Fighting Irish will look to make it three in-a-row at Clemson on Sunday.

Notre Dame To Battle Clemson In The Round Of 16

Nov. 25, 2005


NCAA Tournament – Third Round

Notre Dame vs. Clemson (Clemson, SC)

Sunday, Nov. 27 – 2:00 p.m. (EST)

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Notre Dame (12-7-3) advanced to the Round of 16 for just the third time in program history by defeating Indiana, the two-time defending NCAA champion, 2-0 on Tuesday night. The Fighting Irish will face Clemson (13-5-3) in a third round match-up on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 2:00 p.m. at Historic Riggs Field. Neither team is seeded. The Irish have never made it past the Sweet 16 in the 29-year history of the program. The winner of the Notre Dame/Clemson match will take on the winner of the Penn State/Creighton match in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals.

SNAPSHOT OF THE IRISH: Notre Dame is 12-7-3 overall and finished the season with a 6-4-1 mark in BIG EAST play … the Fighting Irish are coming off a 2-0 victory over Indiana in the second round of the NCAA Championship on Tuesday, Nov. 22 … the Hoosiers were the No. 3 seed in the tournament … Notre Dame has posted back-to-back shutouts with the first coming against Western Illinois (2-0) in the first round of the NCAAs … Notre Dame is 6-3-2 at home this season and 5-3-1 on the road and 1-1-0 at neutral sites … sophomore forward Joe Lapira leads the team in points (19), goals (7) and is tied for the team lead in assists with Ryan Miller (5) … juniors Greg Dalby and Ian Etherington were named to the All-BIG EAST First Team, while Lapira was a third team selection … Dalby was also tabbed as a M.A.C. Hermann Trophy semifinalist … junior forward Justin McGeeney is second on the squad with 10 points on five goals … junior goalkeeper Chris Cahill has collected all 22 decisions for the Irish this season … he has registered nine solo shutouts and has a 0.83 goals-against-average … Notre Dame’s longest win streak of the year is two games, which has now occurred four times … the Irish’s longest unbeaten streak was three games this season … Notre Dame did not suffer consecutive losses all season … the Fighting Irish have outscored opponents 29-19 … 17 of Notre Dame’s 22 matches have been decided by one goal or less.

IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: This is Notre Dame’s fifth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament and the ninth trip overall in program history … the Irish have a 5-7-1 record all-time in the NCAA Championship, including Tuesday’s win over Indiana … Notre Dame was the tournament’s fifth seed last year and earned a first round bye before falling to Ohio State, 2-1, at Alumni Field … Notre Dame owns a 3-1-1 mark at home and a 2-6-0 record on the road in the NCAAs … the Fighting Irish have been seeded twice in the NCAA Championship … both times they were the No. 5 seed – in 2003 and 2004 … head coach Bobby Clark owns a 4-3-1 record in the NCAA Tournament during his Notre Dame tenure.

SWEET 16 HISTORY: This is Notre Dame’s third trip to the NCAA Championship Round of 16 and just the second since the field was expanded to 48 teams in 2001 … in 1996, the Irish claimed a 1-0 first round upset over No. 2 UNC-Greensboro before falling to UNC-Charlotte, 1-0, in the Sweet 16 … in 2003, Notre Dame was the No. 5 seed and received a first round bye and topped Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 4-1, in the second round … the Fighting Irish were then eliminated by Michigan in penalty kicks, 4-3, following a 1-1 tie … this year marks the first time that Notre Dame has ever won two games during the same NCAA Tournament.

A LOOK AT CLEMSON: Just like the Irish, Clemson is coming off of back-to-back shutouts, including a win over a seeded team … the Tigers defeated No. 14 seed North Carolina State 3-0 on Tuesday after downing Coastal Carolina, 2-0, in the first round … Clemson is 13-5-3 overall and finished 2-4-2 in the ACC during the regular season … Clemson has been to the NCAA Tournament 25 times in the program’s history … the Tigers have been in the Sweet 16 a total of 21 times … Clemson has captured two NCAA men’s soccer titles (1984, 1987) … the Tigers were the seventh seed in this year’s ACC tournament, making it to the semifinals after knocking off second-seeded Virginia, before being eliminated by North Carolina … junior Dane Richards leads the team with 28 points on 10 goals and eight assists … Phil Marfuggi has played most of the minutes in goal, giving up 19 goals, while stopping 81 shots … he owns a 0.86 goals-against-average.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS THE TIGERS: Notre Dame and Clemson have only met one other time in men’s soccer … the Tigers claimed a 4-0 victory over the Irish during the early portion of the 2001 campaign at the Umbro/Spinx Furman Invitational in Greenville, S.C.

IRISH AND THE ACC: Notre Dame is 10-12-0 all-time against current Atlantic Coast Conference teams … all 10 of those victories came against Boston College and Virginia Tech while those schools were still members of the BIG EAST Conference … the last ACC team that Notre Dame faced, besides Boston College or Virginia Tech, was Maryland in the 2001 NCAA Tournament … the Terrapins claimed a 1-0 victory over the Irish.

QUOTING CLARK: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark discusses his team and their Sweet 16 match against Clemson …

On advancing in the tournament …
“Obviously it’s a good season when you get to the NCAA tournament and it’s great getting past the second round. It would be fantastic to still be standing after this next game. We have the talent to take it further. We have the opportunity as well and now we just have to make the most of it.”

On Clemson …
“They are similar to us in what they’ve done so far. We aren’t that familiar with Clemson since they are in the ACC, but we know they are going to be a good team. Although, at the end of the day it’s what we do as a team that will be the key to how we do.”

On his team and the win over Indiana …
“We have a good team with a lot of potential. Hopefully we can keep this rolling for a little bit longer. It was a great achievement to beat Indiana. Indiana is the best team that we’ve played and I said that after they beat us at our place. That’s the standard that we have to get to and I do believe we can get to that level. I think we took a step towards that by beating them.”

NEXT UP: The winner of the Notre Dame/Clemson match will face the winner of the Penn State/Creighton game in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship on either Friday, Dec. 2, Saturday, Dec. 3 or Sunday, Dec. 4 … Penn State is the No. 11 seed in the tournament, while Creighton is unseeded.

A HISTORIC WIN: Notre Dame’s 2-0 win over Indiana on Tuesday is arguably the biggest win in the history of the program … it marked the first time, out of nine tries, that the Fighting Irish had ever defeated a defending NCAA champion … Indiana carried a 10-game NCAA Tournament win streak into that match as the two-time defending champion … the Hoosiers also had a 19-game NCAA Tournament home win streak snapped … it was just the fourth loss for Indiana in 49 NCAA home games … this marked Notre Dame’s fourth-ever win against Indiana in 26 chances … Indiana defeated Notre Dame, 3-0, earlier this season on Oct. 26 at Alumni Field … the Hoosiers had been 2-0 against the Fighting Irish in NCAA games prior to the match.

RECAPPING INDIANA (NCAA SECOND ROUND): Notre Dame used a stellar second half performance to defeat Indiana 2-0 in the second round of the NCAA Championship on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at Bill Armstrong Stadium … the Fighting Irish used goals by Justin McGeeney and Joe Lapira to secure the upset over the Hoosiers, who were the two-time defending NCAA champion and the No. 3 seed in this year’s tournament … Notre Dame also had solid goalkeeping by junior Chris Cahill to keep the Irish in the match despite the Hoosiers threatening early … Indiana had several first half opportunities but could not convert … the Hoosiers out-shot the Irish 9-6 in the first half and 16-12 for the game, yet Cahill made six saves on the night to go along with two team saves … the Irish came out of the locker room looking like a new team in the second half … just over ten minutes into the second period, junior midfielder Ian Etherington sent a cross to McGeeney who headed it towards the far post and into the back of the net to put the Irish up 1-0 … it did not take long for Notre Dame to notch another tally as senior defender Ben Crouse sent a long pass to Lapira and he chipped it over the Indiana goalkeeper Chris Munroe and into the net for a 2-0 lead in the 62nd minute … the Fighting Irish played solid defense the rest of the way to preserve the 2-0 victory.

IRISH AGAINST THE NCAA FIELD: The Fighting Irish faced a total of nine teams that made this year’s field and they own a 4-5-1 mark against those squads, including two matches versus St. John’s … the Irish lost both matches to the Red Storm (2-1, 1-0) … Notre Dame defeated SMU (4-1), Providence (2-1 in double overtime), Seton Hall (4-0) and Bradley (1-0) … the Irish tied West Virginia (3-3) and lost to Connecticut (2-1), Indiana (3-0) and Wake Forest (1-0 in overtime).

BIG EAST BIDS: For the fifth straight year, the BIG EAST Conference has at least five teams in the field of 48-teams in the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship … for the first time in conference history, the league landed seven teams in the championship field, besting its previous record of six teams in 2003 and 2001 … Connecticut, St. John’s, West Virginia, South Florida, Providence, Notre Dame and Seton Hall all made this year’s field … Connecticut was the only league team that garnered a seed as the Huskies are the eighth seed … three BIG EAST teams made it to the Round of 16 (Notre Dame, Connecticut, St. John’s).

DALBY NAMED A M.A.C. HERMANN TROPHY SEMIFINALIST: Junior midfielder/defender Greg Dalby was tabbed as a semifinalist for the Missouri Athletic Club (M.A.C.) Hermann Trophy, the most prestigious individual award in intercollegiate soccer … the trophy is presented annually to the top male and female Division I soccer player in the United States … Dalby becomes the third student-athlete in program history to be selected as a semifinalist for the award … last season the Irish boasted two semifinalists, defenders Jack Stewart and Kevin Goldthwaite.

DUAL DOMINANCE: Notre Dame is one of five schools to have both its men’s and women’s soccer teams make the Sweet 16 of their respective NCAA Championship … the other schools were California, North Carolina, Penn State and Virginia … Notre Dame and UCLA were the only two schools to have student-athletes selected as M.A.C. Hermann Trophy semifinalists … Greg Dalby was named for the Irish men, while Jen Buczkowski, Candace Chapman, Kerri Hanks and Katie Thorlakson were selected for the Fighting Irish women.

STEPHENS NAMED SECOND TEAM ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA: Notre Dame senior midfielder John Stephens was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America Second Team for men’s soccer … Stephens, a tri-captain for the Fighting Irish, has played in 20 matches with 17 starts so far this season with one goal and three assists for five points … he carries a 3.857 cumulative grade-point average as an economics major in the College of Arts and Letters.

BIG EAST HONORS: Juniors Greg Dalby and Ian Etherington were named to the All-BIG EAST First Team, while sophomore forward Joe Lapira was a third team selection … voting was conducted by the league’s 16 head coaches … this was the first selection for both Dalby and Etherington to the conference’s first team … last season, Dalby was a second team selection and Etherington was named to the third team … Dalby was one of just four unanimous selections to the squad … Dalby was also a unanimous selection to the 2005 Preseason All-BIG EAST Team … Etherington was named to that team as well.

WINNING WAYS: The 2005 season marks the fifth straight winning season for Notre Dame all under the watch of head coach Bobby Clark … Clark has guided Notre Dame to five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including two trips to the Sweet 16 (2003, 2005) … Clark has a 65-26-13 (.688) record in his four-plus years at Notre Dame … he has an overall collegiate career mark of 218-89-38 (.687) with other stops at Dartmouth (1985-1993) and Stanford (1996-2000).

PENALTY KICKS: Notre Dame has played a postseason match that has gone to penalty kicks in each of the past three seasons … the match against Syracuse in the first round of the BIG EAST tournament (Nov. 2) marked the first time that the Irish had ever came out victorious on penalty kicks … the Fighting Irish downed the Orange 4-2 in the shootout … in 2003, Notre Dame and Michigan played to a 1-1 tie in the third round of the NCAA tournament and the Wolverines would advance by winning the shootout, 4-3 … Notre Dame and Seton Hall locked up in a 0-0 tie in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST tournament last season before the match went to a shootout and eventually sudden-death penalty kicks with the Pirates advancing 8-7.

TWO IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: Notre Dame is 7-0-1 this season when scoring at least two goals … the high-goal mark for the Irish this season is four, which occurred on two occasions (SMU, Seton Hall) … Notre Dame scored more than two goals on one other occasion – a 3-3 tie versus West Virginia. GOING FOR FOUR: Notre Dame’s two biggest scoring outputs of the season have both come against ranked opponents … the Fighting Irish put up four goals against No. 7 SMU (4-1) on Sept. 2 and No. 16 Seton Hall (4-0) on Oct. 29 … ironically, those were the first and last games of the regular season.

LEADING POINTS: Joe Lapira, a sophomore forward, leads the team in points (17), goals (6) and is tied for the team lead in assists with Ryan Miller (5) … junior midfielder Nate Norman is second on the squad with nine points on three goals and three assists … junior forward Justin McGeeney has tallied four goals for a total of eight points … he led the team last year with 12 points as a result of five goals and two assists.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Notre Dame has totaled 27 goals on the year, with 11 players notching at least one tally … 11 different individuals have also registered an assist … the Irish have 27 total assists.

FIRST TIME: Six Fighting Irish players have recorded their first collegiate goal this season … seniors John Stephens (SMU) and Ben Crouse (Connecticut), juniors Greg Dalby (SMU) and Ryan Miler (Seton Hall), sophomore Kurt Martin (Providence) and freshman Bright Dike (Bradley) have all netted their first tally in a Notre Dame uniform this season.

SECOND HALF SCORING: Of Notre Dame’s 29 goals on the season, 17 have occurred in the second half and two have been scored in overtime.

TWICE IS NICE: Joe Lapira’s two-goal performance versus Seton Hall was the first two-goal game of his collegiate career … the sophomore became the first Notre Dame player to tally two goals since current senior Tony Megna did the same versus Pittsburgh last season on Oct. 7.

NARROW MARGINS: Notre Dame has played 14 games this year that have been decided by one goal … the Irish own an 8-6 mark in those contests … earlier this season, the Fighting Irish played eight straight matches that were decided by one goal … the Fighting Irish went 5-3 in those games … a 3-3 double-overtime tie against West Virginia put a halt to the streak … the 14 one-goal games is the second most in program history for a single season … the Irish played 16 matches which were decided by one score during the 1996 campaign, including a stretch of 10 straight to close out the season … Notre Dame has also played three ties this season, making 17 of its 22 games being decided by one goal or less.

NO STREAKS: The Fighting Irish have not lost back-to-back games since the end of the 2001 season when they fell to No. 8 St. John’s, 1-0, in the BIG EAST semifinals and then lost to Maryland, 1-0, in the first round of the NCAA tournament … the Fighting Irish are 6-0-1 following losses this season.

STRIKING EARLY: On the year, Notre Dame has five goals within the first ten minutes of action … Greg Dalby tallied a score in the second minute of the season-opener against SMU … Bright Dike scored in the sixth minute versus Bradley and Joe Lapira did the same in the following game versus West Virginia … Justin McGeeney netted a goal in the ninth minute versus Providence and Alex Yoshinaga tallied a goal in the fourth minute against Pittsburgh … the Irish are 4-0-1 in those matches, with the tie coming against West Virginia.

SHOOTING AWAY: The Fighting Irish have out-shot their opponents 330-266 on the year … Joe Lapira leads the team with 86 shots taken, while Ian Etherington ranks second on the squad with 37 shots … Notre Dame has out-shot its opponents on 15 occasions this season … the Irish are 10-2-3 in those contests … the only times the Irish have won while being out-shot was against Providence (17-11) on Oct. 19 and Indiana (16-12) on Nov. 22.

CORNER ADVANTAGE: Notre Dame has taken 127 corner kicks so far this season, compared to 88 taken by Irish opponents.

CHALLENGING SLATE: Once again, the Fighting Irish have scheduled a very tough ledger for the 2005 season … six of the teams on Notre Dame’s slate were ranked in the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll (#1 Indiana, #5 St. John’s, #7 SMU, #10 Wake Forest, #19 Connecticut, #25 Saint Louis) … six Irish opponents finished the regular season ranked in the top-25 of the NSCAA/adidas rankings (#4 Connecticut, #5 Indiana, #14 SMU, #18 St. John’s, #19 Wake Forest, #20 Seton Hall) … the Irish opened up the season by facing SMU and Wake Forest, who were ranked seventh and 10th, respectively, at the time and were coming off Sweet 16 appearances in the 2004 NCAA tournament … in all, the Irish faced nine teams that made the 2005 NCAA Championship.

IRISH AGAINST RANKED FOES: Notre Dame is 3-5-0 versus ranked opponents in the 2005 campaign … the Fighting Irish downed No. 7 SMU, 4-1, in the season-opener on Sept. 2 … the Irish fell to No. 10 Wake Forest, 1-0, in overtime two days later … Notre Dame lost 2-1 to No. 10 St. John’s on Sept. 16 … for the third time this season the Irish faced a team ranked tenth when they battled Connecticut on Oct. 8 … Notre Dame lost that match, 2-1 … the Fighting Irish were topped by No. 5 Indiana on Oct. 26, yet responded three days later with a 4-0 victory over No. 16 Seton Hall … Notre Dame fell to No. 16 St. John’s, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship on Nov. 5 … the Fighting Irish defeated No. 5 Indiana, 2-0, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 22.

TAKING DOWN A TOP-10: Notre Dame’s wins over No. 5 Indiana (2-0) and No. 7 SMU (4-1) this season marked the sixth straight campaign in which the Fighting Irish have claimed a victory against at least one top-10 team during a season … the last time the Fighting Irish defeated multiple top-10 teams in one season was in 2002 as they Irish took down No. 6 Seton Hall (4-0), No. 7 Furman (2-1) and No. 5 Connecticut (3-1) … the 4-0 win over No. 6 Seton Hall in 2002 was the last four-goal output for the Irish versus a top-10 team prior to the win over the Mustangs … the last shutout against a top-10 team prior to Tuesday’s 2-0 win against Indiana occurred last year, a 1-0 overtime win versus Boston College … before winning at No. 5 Indiana on Nov. 22, the last time Notre Dame defeated a top-10 team on the road was a 2-1 overtime win at No. 9 Virginia Tech during the 2003 season.

NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 61-45-11 (.568) all-time in BIG EAST regular-season play dating back to the 1995 campaign … the Irish have now posted five straight winning seasons within the conference, including this season’s 6-4-1 mark … Notre Dame won its first regular season BIG EAST title in 2004 with an 8-1-1 record … the Fighting Irish have captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003.

IRISH WIN MIKE BERTICELLI MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT: For the second time in the history of the four-year old Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament, the host Irish captured the title as they defeated Boston University 1-0 on Sept. 9 and Saint Louis 1-0 in double-overtime on Sunday, Sept. 11 … that marked the first time that Notre Dame won both games of the tournament … the Fighting Irish also won the event in 2003 … Indiana, the No. 1 team at the time, finished as runners-up of this year’s tournament after tying Saint Louis 1-1 on Friday and defeating Boston University 5-0 on Sunday … goalkeeper Chris Cahill, midfielder Nate Norman, forward Joe Lapira and defender Ryan Miller were all named to the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament All-Tournament Team for the Fighting Irish.

IRISH IMPROVE MARK IN SEASON-OPENERS: After taking down SMU in the first match of the 2005 campaign, Notre Dame is now 19-7-3 all time in season-openers, including 4-0-1 in the Bobby Clark era … the Irish have not lost a season-opener since the 1994 campaign, a 1-0 loss at No. 15 Penn State … prior to the SMU match, the last time Notre Dame defeated a nationally-ranked team in a season-opener was in 1993 when the Irish knocked off No. 20 Rutgers 4-1 … the four-goal performance against SMU in the season-opener was the most goals scored in a lid-lifter since 2001, a 5-0 win versus Villanova.

NOTRE DAME PICKED SECOND IN BLUE DIVISION: Notre Dame was selected to finish second in the BIG EAST’s Blue Division behind Connecticut, while St. John’s was tabbed to be the league’s Red Division champion … the Irish collected seven first-place votes compared to the Huskies’ nine … Notre Dame was tabbed to finish third in the conference last year, yet went on to win the regular-season league title.

COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LIST: Greg Dalby was selected to the College Soccer News Pre-Season All-America second team … the junior tri-captain was not the only Irish student-athlete honored by the publication, as four incoming freshmen were named to the `100 Freshmen to Watch’ list for the 2005 season … (M/D) Matt Besler, (F) Bright Dike, (GK) Luke Seibolt and (D) Jack Traynor were selected to the list and are all part of a very talented seven-man freshman class for the Irish.

FRESHMAN CLASS NATIONALLY RANKED: Notre Dame’s seven-man freshman class was ranked 18th nationally by College Soccer News … (M/D) Matt Besler, (D) Kyle Dagan, (F) Bright Dike, (GK) Andrew Quinn, (M//D) Cory Rellas, (GK) Luke Seibolt and (D) Jack Traynor make up the talented crop of Fighting Irish rookies.

DALBY CAPTAINS U.S. UNDER-20s AT FIFA WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP: Junior midfielder Greg Dalby captained the U.S. Under-20 team during a solid showing at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship this past summer … the U.S. won Group D, which was referred to as the `Group of Death’ entering play, with an undefeated 2-0-1 record … the highlight of the tournament occurred in the first match as the U.S. defeated eventual champion Argentina 1-0 … that would be Argentina’s only loss during its seven-game stretch … a disappointing 3-1 loss to Italy in the Round of 16 brought an end to the event for the U.S. … despite the loss, the U.S. still had a historic run at the tournament … back-to-back-to-back shutouts versus Argentina (1-0), Germany (0-0) and Egypt (1-0) in the tournament’s toughest group marks one of the greatest national team accomplishments in U.S. soccer history … the U.S. became just the 12th team in the tournament’s 28-year history to manage that feat … Dalby was one of 10 college players on the Under-20 team, which also featured a formidable mix of professional and high school standouts … one name easily recognizable to all soccer fans was DC United’s Freddy Adu, but the Under-20 team also featured Eddie Gaven (N.J. Metrostars), Jonathan Spector (Manchester United) and attacking players Jacob Peterson (Indiana) and Lee Nguyen (the lone high school player out of Texas).

McGEENEY WINS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Justin McGeeney, a junior forward, was part of the Des Moines (Iowa) Menace team that lifted the PDL national championship in El Paso, Texas on Saturday, Aug. 13 … the Menace and the El Paso Patriots fought out a 0-0 tie in front of 7,000 spectators and the Menace took the title in a penalty kick tie-breaker.

NOTRE DAME TOTAL ACCESS ON CSTV: College Sports Television (CSTV) will feature a special monthly 30-minute original program called Total Access that concentrates solely on Notre Dame athletics … the show began airing on Oct. 9 and then on the first Sunday of every month for the rest of 2005 and returning on Jan. 8, 2006 … the first show featured a “Cribs”-style tour of the dorm room of Irish soccer players Ryan Miller, Ian Etherington, Kurt Martin and Andrew Benton.

STAY UP-TO-DATE ON NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS: To stay updated on all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame you can log on to the official Notre Dame athletics web site at or you can call the official Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000 … to access men’s soccer information on the hotline all you need to do is dial 4 from the main menu and then dial 1.