Tamba Samba netted a goal in last season's 3-0 win at Cincinnati.

Notre Dame To Play Host To Louisville And Cincinnati This Weekend

Sept. 23, 2009

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

#9 LOUISVILLE (5-0-1, 2-0-0) at #21 NOTRE DAME (3-3-1, 1-1-0)
Friday, Sept. 25 • 5:00 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Stadium • Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame leads series 8-1-0
TV: ESPNU (Live)

CINCINNATI (5-2-0, 1-1-0) at #21 NOTRE DAME (3-3-1, 1-1-0)
Sunday, Sept. 27 • 3:30 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Stadium • Notre Dame, Ind.
Cincinnati leads series 3-2-1
TV: CBS College Sports (Live)

SETTING THE STAGE … Notre Dame will play host to two nationally-televised BIG EAST showdowns this weekend. The Irish welcome in Louisville on Friday, Sept. 25 at 5:00 p.m. (ET). The game can be seen live on ESPNU. Notre Dame will face Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 3:30 p.m. (ET). That match will be broadcast by CBS College Sports. Both matches can also be followed via a live audio-only broadcast on und.com.

ABOUT THE IRISH … Notre Dame brings a 3-3-1 record into the match against Louisville on Friday … the Fighting Irish are 1-1 in BIG EAST play … the Irish opened their league schedule with a 2-1 win at DePaul on Sept. 18 … Notre Dame dropped a 2-1 decision at USF on Sept. 20 … senior forward Bright Dike netted the game winner against the Blue Demons … junior forward Jeb Brovsky also scored in the match … Dike notched his team-leading fifth goal of the season in the loss to the Bulls … Dike has a team-best 11 points … senior midfielder Michael Thomas assisted on both goals in the DePaul match and possesses a team-high three assists to go along with two goals … Notre Dame is averaging 1.86 goals per game, while surrendering 1.14 per contest … Andrew Quinn and Philip Tuttle have split time in goal … Quinn, a fifth-year senior, has a 1-1-1 record with a 1.23 goals-against average and a .778 save percentage in 292:08 … Tuttle, a senior, possesses a 2-2 record with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .714 save percentage in 359:40 … head coach Bobby Clark is in his ninth season with the Irish … he has a 109-48-23 (.669) record during his Notre Dame tenure.

NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY … Notre Dame owns an overall record of 84-51-18 (.608) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995 … the Irish have posted eight straight winning seasons within the conference, including last season’s 7-2-2 mark … the Irish have three regular-season BIG EAST titles … Notre Dame won the championship outright in 2004 and 2008 (Blue Division) and shared the Blue Division trophy with Connecticut in 2007 … the Fighting Irish captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003 … Notre Dame’s high-water mark for BIG EAST victories in a season is eight, which has been reached twice (2004 & 2006).

BACK-TO-BACK TITLES … The Irish have won back-to-back BIG EAST regular-season titles for the first time in program history … Notre Dame shared the Blue Division crown with Connecticut in 2007 … the 2008 title marked the third regular-season BIG EAST championship in program history … the Fighting Irish also won the championship outright in 2004.

IRISH IN BIG EAST OPENERS … With the 2-1 win at DePaul on Sept. 18, the Fighting Irish are 10-4-1 all-time in BIG EAST Conference openers.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS LOUISVILLE … Friday will mark the 10th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Louisville … the Fighting Irish are 8-1-0 against the Cardinals … the two schools split last season’s two meetings … the Cardinals topped the Irish, 2-1, in overtime at Louisville during the regular season … Notre Dame played host to Louisville during the quarterfinals of the 2008 BIG EAST Championship and the Irish produced a 1-0 victory … the Cardinals are 0-5 all-time at Notre Dame … Notre Dame owns a 22-6 scoring advantage in the series.

SCOUTING THE CARDINALS … Louisville will bring a 5-0-1 record into its match with the Irish on Friday … the Cardinals are 2-0 in BIG EAST play … Louisville opened league action with home wins over West Virginia (2-0) and Pittsburgh (5-0) last weekend … Louisville’s other wins have come against Bowling Green (3-0), IUPUI (2-0) and SIU Edwardsville (2-0) … the Cardinals played UIC to a 1-1 draw … Louisville is averaging 2.50 goals per game, while surrendering 0.17 per contest … Freddie Braun and Colin Rolfe lead the team with three goals apiece, while Braun has two assists for a team-high eight points … Andre Boudreaux has played all 470 minutes in goal and carries a 0.19 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage … Louisville posted an 11-8-2 record last season and fell to Jacksonville, 4-3, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament … the Cardinals went 5-5-1 in the BIG EAST to finish fourth in the Red Division … head coach Ken Lolla is in his fourth season at Louisville.

THE LAST TIME … Notre Dame used a goal from Bright Dike in the 81st minute to defeat Louisville during the quarterfinals of the 2008 BIG EAST Championship at Alumni Field … Jeb Brovsky and Aaron Maund assisted on the tally … Notre Dame out shot Louisville, 14-11, while also holding a 5-1 edge in corner kicks … Irish goalkeeper Philip Tuttle made six saves to earn the win.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS CINCINNATI … Sunday will mark the seventh meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Cincinnati … the Bearcats hold a 3-2-1 edge in the series … the Irish topped the Bearcats, 3-0, last season at Cincinnati … the Bearcats are 2-0-1 all-time at Notre Dame … the last meeting at Notre Dame took place during the 2007 campaign and the two teams played to a 1-1 draw … the Fighting Irish hold an 8-7 scoring advantage in the series.

SCOUTING THE BEARCATS … Cincinnati will take a 5-2-0 record into its match at Marquette on Friday … the Bearcats are 1-1 in BIG EAST play … Cincinnati opened league action with a 1-0 win against Pittsburgh before falling to West Virginia, 2-0 … the Bearcats began the campaign with wins over Dayton (5-2), Canisius (5-0), Wright State (2-0) and Western Illinois (3-0) before dropping a 3-0 decision against top-ranked Akron … Cincinnati is averaging 2.29 goals per game, while allowing 1.00 per contest … Nick Weightman leads the team in goals (3) and assists (3) … Miguel Rosales and Matt Williams have split time in goal … Rosales is 3-1 and possesses a 0.50 goals-against average and a .600 save percentage to go along with three shutouts … Williams is 2-1 with a 1.67 goals-against average and a .792 save percentage with one shutout … head coach Hylton Dayes is in his ninth season with the Bearcats.

THE LAST TIME … Notre Dame captured a 3-0 decision last season at Cincinnati … the victory was the 100th for Bobby Clark during his Notre Dame tenure … the Fighting Irish used goals from Tamba Samba, Michael Thomas and Bright Dike to secure the victory … the Irish held a 16-15 edge in shots along with earning one more corner kick (7-6).

IRISH THOUGHTS … Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark discusses this weekend’s BIG EAST matches … “This will certainly be a great weekend of soccer. I don’t think we’ve ever taken both games against Louisville and Cincinnati (since they joined the BIG EAST in 2005). It’s certainly been a hard task and this year is no different. This is a good opportunity for us with two good league teams coming in. Louisville is off to a flying start just like they did last year. Cincinnati is also off to a good start and they are a good team. These will be two good games and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

LOSE THE SHOES … At halftime of the Notre Dame-Cincinnati match, the championship game of the `Lose the Shoes’ tournament will be held … the preliminary games of the tournament will take place on the Notre Dame campus on Saturday (Sept. 26) … the proceeds from the 3-on-3 barefoot soccer tournament will benefit Grassroot Soccer, a South Africa-based non-governmental organization that integrates the cross-cultural appeal of soccer with evidence-based HIV prevention and life skills programs that arm African youth with the knowledge, skills, and support to live HIV free … Tommy Clark, the eldest son of Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark, is a cofounder of Grassroot Soccer … in the fall of 2006, Dartmouth College held the first ever `Lose the Shoes’ tournament … since then, over 90 `Lose the Shoes’ tournaments have raised almost $150,000.

DIKE DELIVERS … Senior forward Bright Dike scored the game-winning goal in the 60th minute in the 2-1 win over DePaul in the BIG EAST opener on Sept. 18 … in the following match, Dike netted the equalizer in the 78th minute in a 2-1 setback at USF … he was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for his efforts … Dike has registered at least one point in 11 of the last 13 BIG EAST games (regular season or postseason).

MAUND AND POWERS OFF TO U-20 WORLD CUP … Sophomore defender Aaron Maund and freshman midfielder Dillon Powers were selected to the 21-man U.S. roster for the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt … the duo left the Fighting Irish following the game versus New Mexico on Sept. 13 and are scheduled to rejoin the team for their match against Georgetown on Oct. 21 … the U.S. is joined by Germany, Cameroon and Korea Republic in Group C for the tournament … the U.S. will have group matches on Sept. 26 (Germany), Sept. 29 (Cameroon) and Oct. 2 (Korea Republic) … if the U.S. advances out of group play, the Round of 16 will take place Oct. 5-7 … quarterfinals are set for Oct. 9-10, with the semifinals to follow on Oct. 13 … the championship match and third-place game are scheduled for Oct. 16 … Notre Dame and UCLA are the only two schools with multiple representatives on the team.

DEBUTS … Junior Greg Klazura and sophomore Michael Knapp made their collegiate debuts coming off the bench for the Irish in the loss to USF on Sunday … they are helping to fill the void with the absence of Aaron Maund and Dillon Powers, who are both with the U.S. U-20 team.

OFFENSE AT ALUMNI … Notre Dame scored the first nine goals in the brand new Alumni Stadium before surrendering a goal to the New Mexico in the 38th minute during the game on Sept. 13 … the scoreless streak in the new venue reached 217:54.

DIKE DEPOSITS HAT TRICK … Senior forward Bright Dike had a stellar start to the 2009 season as he registered the first hat trick of his career in a 5-0 win over Michigan … it marked the second multiple-goal game in Dike’s career … he scored twice in a 4-1 victory against Duke last season … the hat trick was the first for a Notre Dame player since Dave Donohue scored three times against Marquette last season (Sept. 11, 2008).

OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION … Notre Dame’s five-goal outburst against Michigan in the season opener was the first for the Fighting Irish since a 5-0 triumph of South Florida on Sept. 7, 2008 … the five tallies are the most in a season opener for Notre Dame since a 5-0 victory over Villanova in 2001 … that was head coach Bobby Clark’s first game with the Irish.

SHOOTING DOWN THE COMPETITION … Notre Dame has out shot six of its seven opponents so far this season … the Irish hold a 101-75 edge in shots over their opponents.

ALUMNI STADIUM … The 2009 season will mark a new era for Fighting Irish soccer as Notre Dame begins play in Alumni Stadium … the Irish opened the facility with a 5-0 victory over Michigan on Sept. 1 … the $5.7 million venue resides just east of the Joyce Center on the Notre Dame campus and features a natural grass field, lights, locker rooms, restrooms, concession areas and permanent seating for over 2,000 spectators … the lead benefactors for the facility are former Irish soccer players Tom Crotty and Rob Snyder.

TOUGH STRETCH … Last Sunday’s game versus fifth-ranked USF marked the third time this season that Notre Dame faced a top-five opponent … the Fighting Irish opened the 2009 season against three ranked teams (#21 Michigan, #3 Wake Forest, #1 St. John’s) … that signified the first time since 2003 that Notre Dame opened a campaign against three ranked opponents … the back-to-back games against Wake Forest and St. John’s was the first time ever the Fighting Irish had faced back-to-back top-three teams … it was the first time Notre Dame had consecutive matches against top-10 foes since 2007 (#7 Santa Clara and #2 Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament).

UP NEXT … Notre Dame will conclude its three-game home stand against BIG EAST foe Seton Hall on Friday, Oct. 2 … the match is slated for a 7:00 p.m. (ET) start.

LEAGUE HONORS FOR DIKE AND THOMAS … Senior forward Bright Dike was named the 2009 BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year … he was joined on the league’s all-preseason squad by Irish senior midfielder Michael Thomas.

POWERS EARNS NATIONAL HONORS … Freshman midfielder Dillon Powers was named the 2008-09 Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year … in addition, he was selected as the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Co-Player of the Year in July.

THOMAS A LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE … Midfielder Michael Thomas has been named one of 30 candidates for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for men’s soccer … a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award at the end of September … those 10 names will then be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote beginning October 5 and concluding November 13 … fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award … the winner will be announced during the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s College Cup in Cary, North Carolina, scheduled for December 11-13.

RETURNING FIREPOWER … Notre Dame returned 38 of 41 goals scored from last season … leading the way is senior forward Bright Dike, who led all BIG EAST players in goals (12) and points (29) one year ago … Michael Thomas was the top scoring midfielder in the league with 21 points on eight goals and five assists … junior forward Jeb Brovsky is back after totaling five goals and six assists as a sophomore … seniors Dave Donohue (5g, 5a) and Justin Morrow (2g, 4a) registered 15 and eight points, respectively, one season ago … sophomore Brendan King and senior Tamba Samba chipped in two goals apiece for the Irish … King also added three assists.

IRISH PICKED TO WIN BLUE DIVISION … Notre Dame was selected to win the 2009 BIG EAST Blue Division title according to a vote by the league’s head coaches … the Fighting Irish received 12 first-place votes among the Blue Division squads, while Connecticut garnered three and Georgetown had one vote … the league’s 16 head coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams … St. John’s was picked to win the Red Division.

COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LISTS … Two Notre Dame freshmen were named to the College Soccer News `100 Freshmen To Keep An Eye On’ list for the 2009 season … midfielder/defender Danny O’Leary and midfielder Dillon Powers were selected to the list and are part of a very talented six-man freshman class for the Irish.

FRESHMAN CLASS NATIONALLY RANKED … Notre Dame’s freshman class was ranked ninth according to College Soccer News … Bob Novak (M), Danny O’Leary (M/D), Dillon Powers (M), Kyle Richard (M/F), Grant Van De Casteele (D) and Eric Tilley (M/D) make up the stellar class.

IRISH NAME CAPTAINS … Senior midfielders Dave Donohue, Justin Morrow and Michael Thomas along with fifth-year senior midfielder/defender Cory Rellas have been named team captains for the 2009 campaign … this is the second straight season in which Thomas has been an Irish captain, while the other three are first-time captains.

SEASON IN REVIEW … Last season, Notre Dame posted a 12-7-2 mark, including a 7-2-2 record in conference play, en route to capturing its second straight BIG EAST Blue Division title … the Fighting Irish garnered the 12th seed for the NCAA Championship … the Irish fell to Northwestern, 2-1, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Alumni Field … the Fighting Irish concluded the season ranked 16th in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll … Notre Dame averaged 1.95 goals per game last season, while allowing 1.10 per contest … Bright Dike led the BIG EAST in goals (12) and total points (29) … the forward copped first team all-league and all-region honors in 2008 … central defender Matt Besler was named a first-team All-American and first team Academic All-American in addition to being tabbed as the NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year … Besler became the highest MLS SuperDraft pick in program history as he was selected eighth overall by the Kansas City Wizards … the New York Red Bulls drafted his backline mate, Jack Traynor, with the 29th overall selection.

TICKETS ON SALE … To purchase a 2009 season pass or single-game tickets, call the Notre Dame ticket office at (574) 631-7356, visit und.com/tickets or stop by the Notre Dame ticket office on the second level of the Joyce Center … tickets can also be purchased at Alumni Stadium on gamedays.

PARKING … Fans coming to enjoy Fighting Irish soccer at the brand new Alumni Stadium are encouraged to park at the Joyce Center’s C1 lot.

SIGN UP FOR IRISH ALERT … Go to und.com and sign up for Irish ALERT, a text messaging service designed to give fans up-to-the-minute game updates for all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame … men’s soccer fans can sign up to receive scores after each half of every game.