Josh Thiermann celebrates his goal in Notre Dame's 1-0 victory over St. John's in the quarterfinals of last season's BIG EAST Championship.

Third-Ranked Irish Welcome In No. 5 St. John's And Syracuse This Weekend

Sept. 18, 2008

#5 St. John’s (5-0-1) vs. #3 Notre Dame (4-1-0)
Friday, Sept. 19 – 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Field – Notre Dame, Ind.

Syracuse (3-0-2) vs. #3 Notre Dame (4-1-0)
Sunday, Sept. 21 – 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Alumni Field – Notre Dame, Ind.

Live streaming broadcast on for both games

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

The third-ranked Notre Dame men’s soccer team will play host to two BIG EAST showdowns this weekend to conclude its five-game home stand. A clash with No. 5 St. John’s will take place on Friday, Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m. (ET). Syracuse will visit Alumni Field on Sunday for a 1:00 p.m. match. The Fighting Irish are riding a four-game winning streak.

HOW TO FOLLOW: Both matches this weekend can be seen live on … simply go to the front page of and click on the `Live Events’ tab and select the game … live stats will be available through Gametracker via by going to the Notre Dame men’s soccer page and clicking on `Schedule’ to select the game to follow … also sign up for `Irish Alert’ on to receive text message score updates.

ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame (4-1-0) has won its last four matches … the Fighting Irish are coming off a 4-1 win over Marquette in the BIG EAST opener on Sept. 11 … junior midfielder Dave Donohue notched seven-points on three goals and one assist in the win over the Golden Eagles … Donohue, who was named the Soccer America national player of the week on Tuesday, has team-high totals in goals (4), assists (3) and total points (11) … Notre Dame is ranked in the top 25 of the four major national polls … the Irish peak at No. 3 in both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Soccer America polls … Notre Dame is seventh according to both Soccer Times and College Soccer News … seven different players have scored a goal for Notre Dame this season … the Irish returned seven starters and 14 letter-winners from last season’s squad that notched a 14-5-5 record and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championships for the second straight season … head coach Bobby Clark is in his eighth season with the Irish … he has a 98-39-20 (.688) record during his Notre Dame tenure.

DONONHUE RECEIVES NATIONAL AND CONFERENCE HONORS: Soccer America named Notre Dame junior midfielder Dave Donohue its national player of the week following his seven-point (3g, 1a) match in a 4-1 win over Marquette on Sept. 11 … Donohue headlined the publication’s 11-man national team of the week … he also was selected as the BIG EAST offensive player of the week in addition to being named to the College Soccer News national team of the week.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS ST. JOHN’S: Friday will mark the 17th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and St. John’s … the Red Storm hold a 10-3-3 advantage in the series … the Irish are 2-2-1 in their last five meetings against St. John’s … last season, Notre Dame topped St. John’s, 1-0, in the quarterfinal round of the BIG EAST Championships at Alumni Field … the last regular-season meeting between the two schools took place at St. John’s during the 2005 campaign … the Red Storm won that contest, 2-1 … St. John’s is 1-2-2 all-time at Notre Dame … the first meeting in the series, a 6-0 St. John’s victory, occurred in 1995 in Jamaica, N.Y. … the Red Storm went 5-0-2 in the first seven meetings of the series before the Irish claimed a 1-0 decision in 2000.

THE LAST TIME: The Fighting Irish defeated St. John’s, 1-0, during the quarterfinals of the 2007 BIG EAST Championships at Notre Dame … current sophomore Josh Thiermann notched his first collegiate goal when he scored in the 73rd minute to give the Irish the win.

SCOUTING THE RED STORM: St. John’s will bring a 5-0-1 record and a No. 5 national ranking into Friday night’s clash with the Irish … the Red Storm have out scored their opponents 9-1 this season … this will be the 2008 BIG EAST opener for St. John’s … the Red Storm are coming off a 3-0 victory over No. 22 Virginia Tech on Sept. 14 … St. John’s opened the season with a 1-0 win over No. 18 Virginia … the Red Storm have defeated one other ranked opponent, No. 12 Brown (1-0) … St. John’s tied second-ranked Boston College, 1-1 … junior Adam Himeno leads the team in goals (3) and points (6) … sophomore Tafadzwa Chiduku and junior Nelson Becerra both have five points on two goals and one assist … redshirt-senior goalkeeper Neal Kitson has started five games and has yet to allow a goal in 450 minutes on the pitch … Dr. David Masur is in his 18th season at St. John’s … last season, the Red Storm went 9-7-5 and finished in a tie for second in the BIG EAST Red Division with a 6-3-2 league mark … nine starters and 16 letter-winners are back from that squad.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS SYRACUSE: Notre Dame and Syracuse will be meeting for the 12th time when the two squads meet on Sunday … the Irish are 8-2-2 all-time versus Syracuse … the last meeting occurred at Notre Dame during the first round of the 2005 BIG EAST Championships … following a scoreless draw, Notre Dame advanced on penalty kicks, 4-2 … the last regular-season meeting, a 1-0 Irish victory at Syracuse, came earlier that season … the teams have met 10 times since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995, with the Irish winning eight of those matches … three of the last five meetings have been one-goal Notre Dame victories … the other two have been scoreless ties … Syracuse has not beaten the Fighting Irish since 1997, a 1-0 decision at Notre Dame … the Orange are 1-4-1 all-time at Notre Dame … the Fighting Irish and Orange first met in 1982 as Syracuse prevailed 3-1 in that contest, which was played in Rochester, N.Y.

THE LAST TIME: The Fighting Irish and Orange last met during the first round of the 2005 BIG EAST Championships at Notre Dame … following a scoreless draw, the Irish prevailed, 4-2, on penalty kicks to advance to the quarterfinals … four current members of the Notre Dame squad played in that contest … Alex Yoshinaga, Jack Traynor and Matt Besler all started, while Bright Dike came off the bench … Besler tallied the penalty kick that clinched the shootout victory for the Irish.

SCOUTING THE ORANGE: Syracuse will carry a 3-0-2 record into its BIG EAST opener at Marquette on Friday, Sept. 19 … the Orange have out scored their opponents 8-1 this season … junior Tom Perevegyencev has team-high totals in goals (4) and total points (8) … junior Hansen Woodruff and senior Kyle Hall both have two goals … senior goalkeeper Robert Cavicchia has started all five games and has surrendered one goal, while making 20 saves … head coach Dean Foti is in his 17th season at Syracuse … last season, the Orange posted a 6-8-4 overall record, including a 3-8-0 mark in the BIG EAST Red Division … Syracuse returned seven starters and 12 letter-winners from that team.

NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 77-48-16 (.603) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995 … the Fighting Irish are currently riding a 12-game unbeaten streak within regular-season league play … Notre Dame is 8-0-4 in that stretch … the last conference loss was a 2-1 setback at West Virginia on Oct. 18, 2006 … the Irish have posted seven straight winning seasons within the conference, including last season’s 7-0-4 mark … Notre Dame tied Connecticut for the 2007 BIG EAST Blue Division title … that signified the second regular-season BIG EAST championship for the Fighting Irish, with the first coming in 2004 … 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).

IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on the two BIG EAST contests that await the Fighting Irish this weekend …

“This is possibly our hardest weekend of the year so far. Both St. John’s and Syracuse are undefeated. St. John’s is always a good team and they are hard to play against. They haven’t been letting in goals this season. Syracuse looks very, very good as well. This is one of their best teams in many years. This will be a challenge for us. It could be a fabulous weekend if we do our stuff right.”

UP NEXT: Following this weekend, Notre Dame hits the road for three straight contests away from Alumni Field … the first two legs of the journey are BIG EAST tilts … the Irish will play at Cincinnati on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7:00 p.m. (ET) … Notre Dame will then face Louisville on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 1:00 p.m. (ET) … that match will be aired live on CBS College Sports … Notre Dame will step away from league play with a date at Michigan on Oct. 1.

LAST WEEK: Notre Dame upped its win streak to four games with a 4-1 win over Marquette in the BIG EAST opener for both squads on Thursday, Sept. 11 … junior midfielder Dave Donohue notched a hat trick in the win over the Golden Eagles … he also collected an assist for a career-best seven-point match … fellow junior midfielder Michael Thomas also added a goal and an assist in the victory.

DOMINATION FROM DONOHUE: Junior midfielder Dave Donohue notched a single-game career-best seven points (3g, 1a) in the 4-1 win over Marquette … it marked his first collegiate hat trick … he leads the team in goals (4), assists (3) and total points (11) … all of those numbers are career-high marks for a single season … earlier this season, he deposited the game-winning goal in the 89th minute in a 2-1 victory over Dartmouth.

THOMAS PROVIDING PRODUCTION: Junior midfielder Michael Thomas registered a single-game career-high three points on a goal and an assist in the win over Marquette … Thomas has a team-best four-game point streak.

IRISH IN BIG EAST OPENERS: The 4-1 win over Marquette upped Notre Dame’s record to 9-4-1 all-time in BIG EAST Conference openers … the Fighting Irish have opened the last two conference slates with victories over Marquette.

OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: The Fighting Irish have scored 15 goals during their four-game win streak, including nine in the past two games alone … the nine goals in consecutive matches marks the first time the Irish have accomplished that feat since the 1998 season … Notre Dame has reached the four-goal plateau in three of its first five games this season … that has not been accomplished by a Fighting Irish squad since the start of the 1994 campaign … Dave Donohue’s hat trick against Marquette was the first for an Irish player since Joseph Lapira’s four-goal effort in a 5-4 overtime win against Indiana on Sept. 3, 2006.

SUPER SUNDAYS: Notre Dame has combined to score nine goals in its two Sunday contests this season … the Fighting Irish topped Duke, 4-1, on Sunday, Aug. 31 at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic … Notre Dame bested South Florida, 5-0, on Sunday, Sept. 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament … the Irish will hope that production continues when they face Syracuse this Sunday.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Notre Dame used four different goal scorers in a 4-1 win over Duke on Aug. 31 … the Irish had five players notch a goal in a 5-0 triumph of South Florida on Sept. 7 … the Irish have received at least one goal from seven different players this season … a total of nine players have tallied at least one point on the year.

STREAKING: Notre Dame’s current four-game win streak marks the first such stretch for the Irish since the middle portion of the 2006 campaign … that season, the Fighting Irish produced a seven-game win streak … last season, the Irish had a nine-game unbeaten streak where they compiled a 7-0-2 record … Notre Dame also produced a separate six-game unbeaten stretch in 2007 … the team went 4-0-2 in that span.

TAKING DOWN A TOP-10: Notre Dame has defeated a top-10 team in each of the past nine seasons, including the win over fifth-ranked South Florida (Sept. 7) this season … the Irish downed two top-10 squads last season … Notre Dame defeated top-ranked UCLA, 2-1 in overtime, in the ’07 season opener and later toped No. 3 Santa Clara, 2-0, in the third round of the NCAA Championships.

IRISH VS. RANKED FOES: Notre Dame is 1-1 against teams ranked at the time of the meeting so far this season … the Irish defeated South Florida, 5-0, on Sep. 7 when the Bulls were ranked fifth … Notre Dame fell to No. 12 Akron, 3-0, in the season opener on Aug. 29.

TOUGH SLATE: The Irish will face another challenging schedule this season … there are 10 teams ranked in the most recent NSCAA top-25 poll that appear on Notre Dame’s 2008 slate … St. John’s (5), Connecticut (T-7) and Akron (10) are in the top 10, while Indiana (14), Dartmouth (18), Louisville (19), Providence (20), South Florida (21), Georgetown (22) and Duke (25) also appear in the rankings.

NO LOSING STREAKS: Notre Dame has 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. … Notre Dame followed up this season’s only loss, a 3-0 setback against Akron, with a 4-1 win over Duke.

BESLER A LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATE: Senior defender Matt Besler is one of 30 national candidates for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the men’s soccer division … the award is presented annually to an NCAA Division I men’s senior soccer player who excels both on and off the field … candidates were selected based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete … a national media committee will select 10 finalists in October.

BESLER TABBED AS A PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Matt Besler, a senior defender, has been named a second-team preseason All-American by Soccer America and College Soccer News … these are the first such national accolades for the team tri-captain … as a junior, Besler was named an NSCAA Scholar All-American in addition to taking home second-team all-BIG EAST honors for the second consecutive season … Besler has played in 74 games, including 57 starts, during his Notre Dame career … he has tallied 14 points on four goals and six assists.

BIG EAST ACCOLADES FOR BESLER: Senior defender Matt Besler was named to the 2008 BIG EAST All-Preseason Team … this marked the second straight season that he has been named to the all-league preseason squad … Besler has been a second-team all-BIG EAST pick the last two seasons.

NOTRE DAME PICKED SECOND IN BLUE DIVISION: Notre Dame was selected to finish second in the BIG EAST Blue Division for the 2008 season … the Irish garnered 99 points in voting by the league’s head coaches, while Connecticut received 112 points … Connecticut totaled 14 first-place votes in the Blue Division, while Notre Dame had two … South Florida was tabbed to win the league’s Red Division and Louisville was picked to finish second.

COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LISTS: Three Notre Dame freshmen were named to the College Soccer News `100 freshmen to keep an eye on’ list for the 2008 season … (M/F) Brendan King, (M/F) Michael Rose and (GK) Will Walsh were selected to the list and are 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 12th nationally by College Soccer News … (M/F) Brendan King, (M/D) Aaron Maund, (D) Sean McGrath, (M) Adam Mena, (M/F) Michael Rose, (M/D) Chris Sutton and (GK) Will Walsh make up the talented crop of Fighting Irish rookies.

IRISH NAME TRI-CAPTAINS: Fifth-year senior Alex Yoshinaga will serve as a team tri-captain for the second straight season … senior defender Matt Besler will also be a tri-captain for the second time and junior midfielder Michael Thomas is the third captain for Notre Dame … he is a first-time captain.

RECAPPING `07: In 2007, Notre Dame posted a 14-5-5 record and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championships for the second straight season … the Irish fell at eventual national champion Wake Forest, 1-0, in overtime during the quarterfinals … the Fighting Irish won a share of the 2007 BIG EAST Blue Division title … Notre Dame tied Connecticut in points, but the Irish were the only team to go undefeated in league play as they posted a 7-0-4 mark … the Fighting Irish averaged 1.43 goals per game last season, while surrendering just 0.83 … the Irish peaked at a program-best No. 2 in the national rankings on Sept. 24 … departed seniors Joseph Lapira (F) and Ryan Miller (M/D) both copped All-America honors for the Irish in 2007 … Lapira led the Irish in both goals (9) and points (28) for the third straight season … he also had a team-high 10 assists in ’07.

ALUMNI FIELD FAREWELL: The 2008 campaign will mark the final season for the Fighting Irish at Alumni Field, which has been home to the Notre Dame men’s soccer team since 1990 … the Irish will begin play in a new $5.7 million state-of-the-art facility starting in 2009 … in 18-plus seasons at Alumni Field, the Irish have won 74 percent of their contests by posting a 123-38-17 home record.

A NEW PITCH: The Notre Dame men’s and women’s soccer teams will begin play in a new $5.7 million state-of-the-art facility starting in 2009 … plans for the stadium include a lighted facility that will feature a natural grass field, locker rooms, restrooms, concession areas and 2,000 seats … the stadium will reside just east of the Joyce Center on the Notre Dame campus … the lead benefactors for the facility are former Irish men’s soccer players Tom Crotty and Rob Snyder.

PARKING CHANGES: Due to ongoing construction within the Notre Dame Athletics Quad, parking for Irish soccer games this year is limited to the Eck Baseball Stadium and Joyce Center lots … fans are asked to walk around the south end of Eck Stadium, then proceed north between the stadium’s right-field wall and the soccer practice field before entering at the south end of Alumni Field.

SIGN UP FOR IRISH ALERT TEXT MESSAGE SERVICE: Go to 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.