Irish head coach Bobby Clark sees a bright future for his recently signed class.

Notre Dame To Host Bradley On Wednesday, West Virginia On Saturday

Sept. 28, 2005

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Notre Dame will step away from BIG EAST play for a match-up with Bradley on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at Alumni Field. The Fighting Irish are coming off a home split of two BIG EAST games last weekend. Notre Dame defeated Louisville, 2-1, Friday night and then suffered a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday. The Irish, who are 5-3-0 overall and 2-2-0 in league action, will conclude their four-game homestand as they host BIG EAST foe West Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7:00 p.m. The Irish and the Mountaineers are currently in a three-way tie, along with Providence, in second-place in the BIG EAST’s Blue Division. Each squad has six points.

IRISH IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 57-43-10 (.564) all time in BIG EAST regular-season play dating back to the 1995 campaign … the Irish have posted four straight winning seasons within the conference, including an 8-1-1 mark last season … that was Notre Dame’s first eight-win BIG EAST campaign and that record gave them the regular-season title for the first time in program history … the Fighting Irish have captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003.

HOME OPENERS: The Fighting Irish are 7-2-2 in BIG EAST home openers after downing Louisville, 2-1, on Friday, Sept. 23 … Notre Dame defeated Georgetown 4-1 in last year’s conference home opener … the last loss occurred in 2003, as No. 13 St. John’s took down the Irish 3-0.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS BRADLEY: Notre Dame and Bradley have met four times on the soccer field with each team claiming two victories apiece … the last meeting, a 2-0 Irish win, occurred on Sept. 25, 2003 … the Braves claimed a 3-2 win the year before in Peoria, Ill.

ABOUT THE BRAVES: Bradley improved to 6-2 overall and 3-1 away from home with a 3-2 victory Sunday at Western Illinois … for the third consecutive weekend, Bradley senior goalkeeper Chris Dunsheath set a school career record for the Braves … during Sunday’s 3-2 win at Western Illinois, Dunsheath set the school record for minutes played by a keeper by pushing his total to 6909:10 … this week, Dunsheath should become the third keeper in the history of the Missouri Valley Conference to play at least 7,000 minutes … through the season’s first eight games, eight different players have scored at least one goal for the Braves … Bradley has scored the first goal in seven of its eight games this season, including Sunday’s 3-2 win at Western Illinois when Steve Chromik scored at 6:51 … Teddy Anderson and Zach Bell lead the team in points with 10 apiece … Anderson has a team-high four goals, while Bell has three to go along with a team-leading four assists … three of Anderson’s goals are game-winners … the Braves return 20 lettermen from the 2004 squad, which posted a 10-6-3 overall record, tied for third in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 5-2-1 league record and advanced to the semifinals of the MVC Tournament for the seventh consecutive year.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS WEST VIRGINIA: Notre Dame is 6-3 all time versus the Mountaineers … the Irish have won all four contests at home in the series, which began in 1995 with a 2-1 West Virginia win … the Mountaineers claimed a one-goal victory versus the Fighting Irish last season in Morgantown, W.V. … West Virginia’s 1-0 win handed the Irish their only loss of the 2004 BIG EAST campaign … Notre Dame captured a 1-0 victory against the Mountaineers the last time the two teams met at Notre Dame back in 2003.

ABOUT THE MOUNTAINEERS: West Virginia is currently tied with Notre Dame and Providence for second-place in the BIG EAST’s Blue Division … each squad has six points … the Mountaineers have posted conference wins against Rutgers (3-0) and DePaul (2-0), while falling to league members Villanova (2-1) and South Florida (1-0) … West Virginia has posted five shutouts so far this season, most recently a 2-0 win over DePaul … the Mountaineers are within reach of breaking the school record for shutouts in a season with 10 games to play … both the 1989 and 1998 teams recorded nine … West Virginia goalkeeper Nick Noble has registered all five shutouts … he has allowed six goals, while making 35 saves … he owns a goals-against-average of 0.67 … Noble was named BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week back on Sept. 5 … Jarrod Smith and Dan Stratford lead the Mountaineers in scoring with seven points apiece … Smith has netted three goals while assisting on one other … Stratford has a team-high three assists to go along with his two goals.

COMMON OPPONENTS: Notre Dame and West Virginia have faced one common opponent so far this season … the Fighting Irish defeated SMU 4-1 in the season-opener on Sept. 2, while the Mountaineers lost to the Mustangs, 1-0, a week later on Sept. 9.

RECAPPING LOUISVILLE: The Irish ended up on the right side of another one-goal decision as the Irish downed Louisville 2-1 in BIG EAST action on Friday, Sept. 23 in front of 2,136 fans at Alumni Field … Notre Dame overcame a 1-0 deficit when midfielders Alex Yoshinaga and Ian Etherington each netted goals in the final 15 minutes of the match … forward Tony Megna assisted on both Irish goals … Louisville struck first with a score in the 59th minute as they took advantage of one of their few opportunities of the match … Cardinal forward Frank Jonke recovered a ball from the Irish defense and played it to midfielder David Guzman, who beat Notre Dame goalkeeper Chris Cahill one-on-one for the tally … the Fighting Irish continued to attack after the Louisville goal just as they had all game … Notre Dame finally broke through in the 76th minute when Megna played the ball to Joe Lapira and he dished it to Yoshinaga who gathered it at the top of the box and blasted it past a rushing Louisville goalkeeper Steven DeGeorge … DeGeorge did get a hand on the ball but it was not enough to stop the shot … after the equalizer, the Irish continued to attack the Cardinals and keep them on their heels … the pressure paid off again as Megna did a give-and-go with Etherington and the junior midfielder sent another shot of DeGeorge’s hands and into the net to from 10 yards out put the Irish up with exactly nine minutes left to play … Notre Dame out-shot Louisville 12-2 in the second half and the Irish also had a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks on the night … Cahill collected one save during the match.

RECAPPING CINCINNATI: The Fighting Irish dropped a 2-1 decision to BIG EAST foe Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 25 at a rainy Alumni Field … Notre Dame fell behind 2-0 in the second half before a late surge produced a goal but the Irish could not net the equalizer … Ian Etherington scored the lone tally for the Irish in the 69th minute … a scoreless first half did not come without some chances for both teams … Cincinnati out-shot the Irish 7-3 in the opening period … with 13:55 left in the half, Cincinnati’s Omar Cummings sent a point-blank shot on goal but Irish keeper Chris Cahill collected the save to preserve the scoreless match … the Irish responded on the other end of the field just over a minute later as Joe Lapira shook off a defender and sent the shot just wide right … Notre Dame continued to threaten around the 35th minute but could not convert … Cincinnati did find the back of the net less than five minutes into the second half … forward Kenny Anaba collected a thru-ball from Matt Hayden and dribbled past a couple Irish defenders and sent the shot past Cahill to put the Bearcats up 1-0 … Notre Dame had a couple chances for the equalizer in the 58th minute as Nate Norman’s corner kick was momentarily dropped by Bearcat goalkeeper Mike Vessells, yet recovered in front of the net … shortly after that, midfielder Alex Yoshinaga sent a header to the far post that was punched out by Vessells … a set piece led to Cincinnati’s second goal of the match, which came in the 64th minute … Bearcat midfielder Landry Gray took the corner kick from the right side and defender Amir Ikner headed it into the net for a 2-0 Cincinnati advantage … as the rain started to pick up, so did the Fighting Irish attack … Notre Dame chipped away at the Bearcat lead with just over 20 minutes remaining in the match … Norman sent a corner kick to Ryan Miller, who lobbed the ball in from 25-yards out and Etherington got a head on it to direct it into the top left corner … the Irish continued to pressure the Bearcats late in the second half and would narrow the shot differential by totaling 13 in the second half alone but none resulted in the equalizer … for the game, Cincinnati out-shot the Irish 17-16.

ETHERINGTON ON A ROLL: Junior midfielder Ian Etherington was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll on Sept. 25 for his efforts over the weekend versus BIG EAST opponents Louisville and Cincinnati … Etherington notched the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over the Cardinals on Friday … it was his first goal of the season … he also tallied Notre Dame’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Bearcats on Sunday … Etherington is currently tops on the team with 19 career points, coming on six goals and seven assists.

NARROW MARGINS: Seven of Notre Dame’s eight matches have been decided by a single goal … the Irish are 4-3 in those games … two of the contests have been decided in overtime … the Irish lost to Wake Forest 1-0 in overtime on Sept. 4 and defeated Saint Louis 1-0 in double-overtime on Sept. 11 … the only game not decided by a single tally was Notre Dame’s 4-1 season-opening victory over No. 7 SMU on Sept. 2.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Notre Dame has totaled 11 goals on the year, with seven players notching at least one tally … eight different individuals have recorded an assist … the Irish have 11 assists in all.

SECOND HALF SCORING: Nine of Notre Dame’s 11 goals have been scored in the second half or overtime … while the Fighting Irish have only scored two first half goals, they have only allowed two as well … the Irish have surrendered five scores in the second half or overtime.

NEXT UP: With their four-game home stretch in the books following this weekend, the Irish will travel to BIG EAST-newcomer Marquette for a match on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7:00 p.m. (CT) … Notre Dame returns home for a marquee BIG EAST Blue Division contest with Connecticut on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:00 p.m. (CT) … after the match against the Huskies, the Fighting Irish will hit the road for four straight games away from Alumni Field.

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark looks ahead to this week’s games versus Bradley and West Virginia …

“They’ll be two very hard games. Bradley is coming in with a very solid record. They’ve proved to be a very difficult opponent for us in previous seasons. It’s going to be a hard game and we better be ready.”

“I’m not saying West Virginia is going to be a grudge match, but that was the only game that we lost last season in the BIG EAST. I know that was a disappointment for the boys. The previous year they came here and gave us a tough game also, so it’s never been easy.”

“I anticipate the team to respond well (from the loss to Cincinnati). That’s my anticipation. But that’s always the test for any team, how they come back after a setback. Obviously Sunday was a setback but we always talk about it being either a stumbling block or a stepping stone. We’ve got to use these setbacks as stepping stones to make us better.”

“In a perfect world, it would be great if we started the conference season a little bit later after playing all of the early non-conference games. Then you could concentrate solely on the conference games. But that’s not the way it is. It is important that you do play out of conference games. It’s a good measuring stick. It’s important to play other teams from the Midwest like Bradley, Michigan State and Indiana. So it’s very important that we do keep these Midwest rivalries.”

LISTEN TO THE FIGHTING IRISH: Every Notre Dame home match is broadcast on the internet … to access the link, go to the official Notre Dame athletics web site at and go to the men’s soccer home page … click on the `Schedule’ link at the top of the page and find the day’s game and click `Listen’ … live stats are also available through the `Gametracker’ link.

IRISH IN BIG EAST OPENERS: With a 2-1 loss at St. John’s on Sept. 16, Notre Dame is now 7-3-1 all time in BIG EAST openers … the Fighting Irish opened conference play last season with a 4-1 win over Georgetown at Alumni Field.

NO STREAKS: The Fighting Irish have not lost back-to-back regular season games since the beginning of the 2001 season when they fell to No. 5 Furman, 3-2, in double-overtime and then lost 4-0 to No. 16 Clemson … both of those matches occurred at the Umbro/Spinx Furman Invitational in Greenville, S.C.

McGEENEY CONNECTS: Justin McGeeney notched his first goal of the season versus Syracuse on Sept. 18 … the tally, which was assisted by John Stephens, was the game-winner in Notre Dame’s 1-0 victory over the Orange … those were the first points of the season for the junior forward, who led the team with 12 points, on five goals and two assists, one season ago.

STEPHENS’ POINTS: When senior midfielder John Stephens assisted on Justin McGeeney’s goal versus Syracuse, it marked his third point of the season, which is a single season-best for the tri-captain … his first points of the campaign came on a goal in the season-opener versus SMU … that was his first career tally … Stephens previous season-high was two points, which occurred last season on two assists.

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.

NOTRE DAME LANDS FOUR ON ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: 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.

CAHILL GARNERS LEAGUE HONORS: Chris Cahill was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week on Sept. 12 following a weekend in which he posted shutouts over Boston University and Saint Louis in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament … the junior did not have any margin for error, as both Notre Dame wins were 1-0 decisions … Cahill was also named to BIG EAST Honor Roll following the first weekend of play as the Irish upset No. 7 SMU 4-1 and suffered a 1-0 overtime loss to No. 10 Wake Forest. TAKING DOWN A TOP-10: Notre Dame’s 4-1 win over No. 7 SMU was the first time the Fighting Irish defeated a top-10 opponent since they took down No. 9 Boston College last October … the Irish have now claimed a victory against a top-10 team in six straight seasons … a 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.

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.

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 preseason poll (#1 Indiana, #5 St. John’s, #7 SMU, #10 Wake Forest, #19 Connecticut, #25 Saint Louis) … six Irish opponents are currently ranked in the top-25 of the NSCAA rankings (#5 Indiana, #8 St. John’s, #13 Connecticut, #14 Wake Forest, #21 Cincinnati, #25 Georgetown) … 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 will face eight teams that made the College Cup last season … Notre Dame has only faced one team with a losing record entering the match … Wake Forest, who was 0-1-0 after losing 1-0 to No. 1 Indiana at adidas/IU Credit Union Classic.

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.

DALBY AND ETHERINGTON NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST TEAM: Junior midfielder Greg Dalby was one of three unanimous selections to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Team as voted on by the league’s 16 head coaches … Dalby’s classmate and fellow midfielder Ian Etherington joined him on the 13-man squad … Dalby was a second-team all-BIG EAST selection last season … the other unanimous choices for the preseason squad were St. John’s midfielder Matt Groenwald and Seton Hall forward Sacha Kljestan … Etherington garnered third-team all-BIG EAST honors in 2004.

DALBY NAMED TO M.A.C. HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST: Greg Dalby was named to the 2005 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List … the trophy is presented annually to the top male and female Division I soccer player in the United States … the 25-man watch list was compiled by a panel of coaches from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) … Notre Dame and UCLA were the only schools to have at least one member of the men’s and women’s soccer team named to the 2005 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List … Jen Buczkowski, Candace Chapman and Katie Thorlakson were all named to the list for the Irish women.

COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LIST: Greg Dalby was also 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).

WINNING WAYS: The Fighting Irish have put together four straight winning seasons all under the watch of head coach Bobby Clark … Clark has guided Notre Dame to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including the program’s first trip to the Sweet 16 in 2003.

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.

METHEMBE NDLOVU NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR: Indiana Invaders head coach Methembe Ndlovu, a volunteer assistant coach for the Irish, was named the Premier Development League Coach of the Year on Aug. 11 … the award was voted on by the United Soccer League’s coaches and general managers … the second-year Invaders head coach led the team to its third straight 11-win season at 11-5-0, missing the postseason by one point for the second consecutive season … he was 11-5-0 in his debut last season.

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.