Sept. 1, 1997
Notre Dame Opens with Tie at Pittsburgh; to Host #2 Indiana and Providence In Action
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- After opening up the 1997 campaign with a 0-0 overtime tie at Pittsburgh, the Notre Dame men's soccer team (0-0-1) plays two home games this week when the Irish host second-ranked Indiana on Tuesday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m. on Alumni Field. Notre Dame also entertains BIG EAST foe Providence on Sunday, September 7 at 1:00 p.m.
Week in Review: Pittsburgh -- In the season opener, Notre Dame traveled to Pittsburgh and the two teams battled to a scoreless 0-0 tie. Defense dominated the contest as both teams has few scoring opportunities. The Panthers outshot the Irish 8-7 in the game. Notre Dame had one shot in the second half of regulation, while Pittsburgh did not attempt a shot on goal. Notre Dame junior goalkeeper GREG VELHO (Longwood, Fla.) finished the game with four saves. He made two big saves in the first two minutes of overtime when he prevented the Panthers from scoring on three consecutive shots. Two of those shots in the flurry were directly on goal. Notre Dame had to play without two of its top players, RYAN TURNER (Scottsdale, AZ) and BILL SAVARINO (Orland Park, IL), did not make the trip because of a team policy violation.
Head Coach Mike Berticelli: Notre Dame head coach Mike Berticelli is in his eighth season along the Irish sidelines and 22nd as a collegiate coach. He has led Notre Dame to three of the school's four NCAA tournament appearances, (1993, 1995 and 1996). A year ago, his Irish squad won the school's first-ever NCAA tournament game when it defeated second-seeded UNC Greensboro in the first round. Berticelli has a 77-56-12 (.572) mark at Notre Dame and is 264-111-35 (.687) overall. In the last four seasons, his Irish teams have won three conference tournament titles. Under Berticelli, the Irish claimed the 1996 BIG EAST tournament crown in just its second year as a member of the league with consecutive wins over ranked opponents Connecticut and Rutgers. During the 1993 and 1994 campaigns, the Irish won back-to-back MCC tournament crowns and earned berths in the NCAA tournament. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he spent six seasons (1984-89) at Old Dominion where his teams compiled a 76-27-16 record for a .706 winning percentage. Berticelli coached for four years at UNC-Greensboro (1980-83) with his teams compiling a 70-9-5 record (.863) and winning two Division III national crowns in 1982 and 1983. His first head coaching stint was at Thomas College where he coached from (1976-79) with his teams posting a 41-19-2 mark during that four-year span. The Irish have won 10-plus games in five of his seven seasons at the Notre Dame helm. Notre Dame's 14 wins a year ago were the second most during Berticelli's tenure with the Irish. His 1993 squad finished the season with a 15-6 record.
Series Record vs. Upcoming Opponents: Indiana -- Notre Dame trails 1-17-1 in the series and have lost eight straight to the Hoosiers. The lone Irish victory in the 19-game series was during the 1987 campaign when Notre Dame came away with a 4-3 win at home. Two of the last three meetings between the two teams have been decided in overtime. In a first round NCAA tournament game in 1994, the Hoosiers earned a 1-0 victory over the Irish. The last time Indiana played at Alumni Field, the Hoosiers earned a 4-2 overtime victory after trailing 2-0. Providence -- Since the Irish joined the BIG EAST, the two teams have met twice with both games ending in 1-0 victories for Notre Dame. This will be the second time Providence has traveled to Notre Dame.
The Last Time: The last time Notre Dame played in a 0-0 game was during the 1991 campaign when it played Evansville on September 22 at home. The last time the Irish produced a tie in a season opener was in 1977 (the first varsity game for the program) against Dayton (3-3) on September 16.
Home Sweet Home: Alumni Field has not been a friendly place for Irish opponents the past two seasons. Notre Dame had a 7-1-2 mark at home in '96 after posting an 8-3 record during the 1995 campaign. Prior to the loss to Wisconsin on October 31, 1996, the Irish had won 12 straight at Alumni Field. The Irish were 11-3-1 at Alumni Field in 1994. Berticelli's squad recorded eight shutouts in 1996, six of which were at home. The Irish gave up only five goals in 10 games. Over the past three seasons, Irish opponents have been shutout 19 times at Alumni Field.
Irish on the Road: Notre Dame was 7-6 in road contests (including one neutral game) in 1996 - a vast improvement for the Irish from the previous two campaigns. Heading into last season, Notre Dame was 2-14-1 on the road during the '94 and '95 campaigns. Notre Dame won back-to-back road games against Western Michigan (3-2) and Syracuse (1-0) at the beginning of October which marked the first time since the 1993 campaign that Notre Dame had won consecutive road outings. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad won three straight road games before falling to UNC Charlotte in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Irish victory at Providence on August 31, 1996 marked the first-ever BIG EAST road win.
Reversal of Fortune: Notre Dame's BIG EAST fortunes took a turn for the better in '96 as the Irish were 5-1-2 against squads they were 0-6 against in 1995. The Irish tied St. John's 2-2 after suffering a 6-0 setback in '95; beat West Virginia 1-0 after dropping a 2-1 decision to the Mountaineers; tied Connecticut 1-1 after losing 4-0; defeated Seton Hall 1-0 which avenged a 4-1 defeat in the fifth game of last season; and shutout Pittsburgh 3-0 by the same score in the Panther victory last year. In the BIG EAST tournament, the Irish beat Connecticut 2-1 in semifinal action and defeated Rutgers 1-0 in the championship game. The Irish lost 5-2 to Rutgers last season and 1-0 during the regular season. Notre Dame's loss to Boston College on November 3 marked the second straight year the Irish suffered a setback to the Eagles. Notre Dame only lost to one team (Villanova) it beat in '95. Picked to finish seventh in the '96 preseason coaches' poll, the Irish won the BIG EAST tournament championship after ending previous season tied for 10th with a 4-7 mark.
Close Calls: Six of Notre Dame's 14 victories last season were by 1-0 scores. Four of the six 1-0 decisions were on the road - Providence, Syracuse, Rutgers and UNC Greensboro. The final 10 games of the season were decided by one goal. Notre Dame was 5-5 in those outings.
Tough Schedule: Notre Dame will once again play a formidable schedule. Five opponents on the '97 slate are ranked in either one or both of the preseason polls (Soccer America or NSCAA/Umbro) -- defending national champion St. John's, Indiana, Rutgers, SMU and Connecticut.
Jorski Gets First Career Start: Sophomore forward JASON JORSKI (Lutz, Fla.) made his first career start against Pittsburgh. JORSKI earned a monogram last season while appearing in six games.
Cutler Returns: Senior DAVID CUTLER (Seattle, Wash.) returned to the Notre Dame lineup after spending the last year studying in Rome, Italy and started his first game back against Pittsburgh on Friday. The senior architecture major was one of just two players to start all 19 games for the Irish in 1995. A Dean's List student, he earned a perfect 4.00 grade point average in the '97 spring semester.
Velho Tough in Goal: Junior goalkeeper GREG VELHO made four saves in the scoreless tie with Pittsburgh in recording his 14th career shutout In his last eight outings dating back to last season, VELHO has given up just six goals for a 0.72 goals against average.
McKnight Plays in First Collegiate Contest: Freshman midfielder REGGIE McKNIGHT (Greenville, SC) was the only freshman to play in Friday night's season opener at Pittsburgh. McKNIGHT was the South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year a year ago.
Irish on the Internet: The official Notre Dame Athletic Department web site is available at www.und.com. All media guide information, press releases, results and gamenotes are available. Questions concerning the site can be directed to the Notre Dame Sports Information Office by calling 631-7516.
BIG EAST Standings: BIG EAST OVERALL 1. Rutgers 1-0-0 (2) 1-0-0 Connecticut 0-1-0 (0) 0-1-0 2. Syracuse 1-0-0 (2) 1-0-0 Seton Hall 0-1-0 (0) 0-1-0 3. NOTRE DAME 0-0-1 (1) 0-0-1 4. Pittsburgh 0-0-1 (1) 0-0-1 5. Providence 0-0-0 (0) 0-0-0 St. John's 0-0-0 (0) 0-0-1 Boston College 0-0-0 (0) 0-1-0 Georgetown 0-0-0 (0) 0-1-0 Villanova 0-0-0 (0) 0-1-0 West Virginia 0-0-0 (0) 0-1-0 ( ) number of points NSCAA/Umbro (Preseason) LY 1. St. John's (22-2-2) 1 2. Virginia (16-3-3) 13 3. UCLA (16-4-0) 15 4. Florida Intl (17-5-2) 2 5. Indiana (15-3-3) 6 6. Washington (15-3-1) 8 7. Creighton (17-5-2) 3 8. SMU (14-5-1) 18 9. UNC Greensboro (21-2-0) 16 10. Rutgers (13-7-3) 19 11. Fresno State (17-5-1) 7 12. William & Mary (20-3-1) 4 13. Maryland (14-6-3) 9 14. UNC Charlotte (19-5-0) 5 15. James Madison (14-5-2) 21 16. South Florida (17-4-0) 22 17. Harvard (16-2-0) 12 18. Penn State (11-6-2) NR 19. Bowling Green (18-4-1) 17 20. Clemson (10-7-2) NR 21. Air Force (14-3-3) NR 22. Saint Louis (5-10-3) NR 23 Duke (12-7-0) NR 24. Cal State Fullerton (11-4-6) 14 25. Connecticut (15-3-3) NR Soccer America (Preseason) LY 1. St. John's (22-2-2) 8 2. Indiana (15-5-3) 4 3. Maryland (14-6-3) 12 4. Virginia (16-3-3) 3 5. Florida Intl (17-5-2) 9 6. Creighton (17-4-2) NR 7. Washington (15-3-1) 2 8. UCLA (16-4-0) 1 9. SMU (14-5-1) 6 10. UNC Greensboro (21-2-0) 7 11. George Mason (14-6-3) 15 12. California (12-7-2) NR 13. UNC Charlotte (19-5-0) NR 14. Portland (11-7-1) NR 15. Boston University (10-7-1) NR 16. Duke (12-7-0) NR 17. William & Mary (20-3-1) 5 18. South Florida (17-4-0) 11 19. Rutgers (13-7-3) NR 20. Rhode Island (16-5-0) NR 1997 BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll '96 Overall '96 BIG EAST 1. St. John's 22-2-2 9-1-1 (1st) 2. Rutgers 13-7-3 6-4-1 (4th) 3. NOTRE DAME 14-7-2 6-3-2 (3rd) 4. Connecticut 15-3-3 7-2-2 (2nd) 5. Seton Hall 7-10-2 4-5-2 (T6th) 6. Syracuse 10-7-2 5-5-1 (5) 7. Boston College 3-10-4 3-4-4 (T6th) 8. Georgetown 7-10-2 4-5-2 (T6th) 9. Providence 6-8-4 2-5-4 (T9th) 10. Villanova 7-8-3 3-6-2 (T9th) 11. West Virginia 7-12-1 3-7-1 (11th) 12. Pittsburgh 8-7-2 2-7-2 (12th) ( ) final '96 regular season finish