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    Fighting Irish

    Sept. 23, 1997

    Notre Dame Prepares for Three Home Games this Week; Irish Entertain Eastern Illinois and Face Two Crucial BIG EAST Tests against Villanova and Rutgers

    Notre Dame, Ind. -- The Notre Dame men's soccer team, 3-2-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the BIG EAST, plays three games this week (all at home). The Irish face Eastern Illinois on Tuesday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the the first-ever meeting with the Panthers. Following that contest, Notre Dame then prepares for two critical BIG EAST tests as the Irish host Villanova on Friday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m. and entertain Rutgers on Sunday, September 28 at 1:00 p.m.

    Notre Dame was 1-0-1 in two road contests last week, tying Northwestern 2-2 and beating West Virginia 3-0.

    Week in Review: Northwestern -- Notre Dame was forced to overtime for the second straight game and third time in six outings as the Irish and Wildcats played to a 2-2 tie.

    All the scoring by both teams was done in the first half. The Irish went up 1-0 when Ryan Turner (Scottsdale, Ariz.) took a Bill Savarino (Orland Park, Ill.) pass and drilled it from 20 yards just 3:18 into the contest. Northwestern scored back-to-back and took the lead 2-1 at the 22:24 mark, but Savarino scored the game-tying goal just 14 seconds later off assists from Joe Gallo (Modesto, Calif.) and Turner.

    Northwestern outshot the Irish 6-2 in the first half, but managed just one shot in the second half and one shot in the two sudden overtime sessions. Notre Dame proved to be far more aggressive in the second half and finished the game with a 12-8 shot advantage.

    Wildcat goalkeeper Matt Keeler made six saves in the net, while Greg Velho (Longwood, Fla.) had three for the Irish.

    West Virginia -- Ryan Turner and Scott Wells each had a goal and an assist to lead the Irish to its third straight shutout of a BIG EAST opponent in as many games as Notre Dame beat West Virginia 3-0 in Morgantown, W. Va.

    For the second straight game Turner scored the first Notre Dame goal at the 13:43 mark of the contest. Matt McNew (Arlington, Tex.) gave the Irish a 2-0 lead just five minutes before intermission.

    Wells scored Notre Dame's final goal off assists from Turner and freshman Connor LaRose (Claremont, Calif.). It was the first career BIG EAST goal for Wells and the first career assist for LaRose.

    Notre Dame dominated the Moutaineers in every facet of the game and outshot the hosts 15-6. Greg Velho made five stops in recording his fourth complete-game shutout of the season.

    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 an 80-58-13 (.573) mark at Notre Dame and is 267-113-36 (.685) 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: Eastern Illinois -- This is the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

    Villanova -- Notre Dame trails in the series 1-2 with neither team ever having on the opponent's field. Last year, the Irish dropped a 2-1 decision at Villanova. Two years ago, in their first-ever visit to Alumni Field, the Wildcats dropped a 4-1 decision.

    Rutgers -- Rutgers leads the series 3-2. Last time the two teams met, the Irish posted a 1-0 victory over the Scarlet Knights in the championship game of the BIG EAST tournament. It was Notre Dame's first victory over Rutgers in three outings. Earlier in the 1996 campaign, the Scarlet Knights beat the Irish 1-0 in regulation.

    This will be the first-ever visit for Rutgers to Notre Dame.

    Turner Strong in Last Several Outings: Ryan Turner accounted for four of Notre Dame's five goals last week. In a 2-2 tie with Northwestern, he scored the first goal of the game and then assisted on Bill Savarino's game-tying tally. In the 3-0 win over West Virginia, Turner also netted Notre Dame's first goal and then assisted on Scott Wells' second-half goal.

    Despite missing the first two games of the season for disciplinary reasons, Turner leads the team in scoring with four goals and four assist -- all of which has been accounted for in the last four games.

    Irish Prove Tough on the Road: Notre Dame is unbeaten on the road as the Irish have posted a 2-0-2 record in four road outings. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad has recorded three shoutouts on the road -- Pittsburgh, Valparaiso and West Virginia. Prior to giving up its first goal of the season on the road at Northwestern, the Irish had not given up a goal in 213:57.

    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 a combined 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 last season which marked the first time since the 1993 campaign that Notre Dame had won consecutive road outings. The Irish victory at Providence on August 31, 1996 marked the first-ever BIG EAST road win.

    Home Sweet Home: Alumni Field has not been a friendly place for Irish opponents the past two seasons. This season, however, the Irish have not been as successful as they are just 1-2 through the first three games of the season. Notre Dame had a 7-1-2 mark at home in '96 after posting an 8-3 record during the 1995 campaign. 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. Notre Dame's 3-0 win over Providence on September 7 marked the 20th shutout at Alumni Field over the past three-plus seasons.

    Freshman Sensation: Freshman Reggie McKnight, who earned BIG EAST Co-Rookie of the Week honors following Notre Dame's 3-0 win over Providence in which he scored a goal and dished off two assists, has continued to be impressive. McKnight scored a goal in three straight outings prior to last. He is the team's second leading scorer with three goals and three assists. McKnight is the only freshman to have played in all seven games and has earned starts in Notre Dame's last five outings. He was the only freshman to play in the season opener at Pittsburgh.

    Savarino Steps Up: Senior forward Bill Savarino is the team's third-leading scorer thus far in 1996 with two goals and three assists (seven points). He missed the first two games of the season for disciplinary reasons, but has come back in to start four of the five games he has played.

    Wells Has Big Game Against Mountaineers: Senior forward Scott Wells had one of the best games of his career in scoring a goal and dishing off an assist in Notre Dame's 3-0 victory at West Virginia. It was the first career goal for Wells in a BIG EAST game. He has a goal and two assists (four points) on the season -- all in three league games.

    McNew Scores First BIG EAST: Matt McNew's unassisted goal against West Virginia was the second of his career and first in a BIG EAST game. He has four points on the season with a goal and two assists.

    Working Overtime: Notre Dame has played three overtime games already this season and is 0-1-2 in those contests. Two of those games (both ties) have been on the road at Pittsburgh and West Virginia. The Irish suffered a 3-2 loss to Buffalo at home.

    From the Defensive to the Offensive: Sophomore defender Alan Woods has provided some scoring punch for the Irish this season. Woods has started all seven games in the backfield and is currently the team's fourth leading scorer with five points (two goals and one assist). After not recording a goal or an assist in his freshman season, Woods has accounted for all five of his career points in three outings. His second career goal at the 86:17 mark against Buffalo on September 13 sent the contest into overtime.

    Tough Schedule: Notre Dame will once again play a formidable schedule. Four opponents on the '97 slate are ranked in either one or both of the polls (Soccer America or NSCAA/Umbro) this week -- defending national champion St. John's, Indiana, Pittsburgh and SMU.

    Velho Tough in Goal: In three BIG EAST outings and 300 minutes of action, junior goalkeeper Greg Velho has yet to give up a goal. He recorded the 17th shutout of his career in Notre Dame's 3-0 victory over West Virginia. In seven games overall this season, he has a 1.16 goals against average and .727 save percentage. Velho has played all 699:47 minutes of the 1997 season.

    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 (291) 631-7516.

    NSCAA/Umbro
    (Week of September 22)
                                        LW
     1. Indiana (7-0-0)                  1
     2. St. John's (6-0-1)               3
     3. Washington (5-0-2)               4
     4. Duke (6-1-0)                     5
     5. Southern Methodist (4-1-0)       6
     6. UCLA (7-1-0)                     8
     7. James Madison (7-0-0)            7
     8. Virginia (4-1-2)                13
     9. UNC Greensboro (5-2-0)          NR
    10. Maryland (5-1-1)                 2
    11. Massachusetts (3-1-1)           NR
    12. Stanford (7-0-0)                23
    13. Florida International (4-2-1)   15
    14. Pittsburgh (3-0-3)              RV
    15. Boston University (4-2-1)        9
    16. Creighton (4-3-1)               11
    17. William & Mary (5-1-0)          17
    18. Bowling Green (4-3-0)           T25
        Portland (5-1-0)                NR
    20. South Carolina (4-1-1)          T25
    21. California (4-1-1)              14
    22. Saint Louis (4-2-2)             RV
    23  San Diego (5-1-1)               1888
    24. Virginia Commonwealth (6-0-0)   NR
    25. UNC Charlotte (4-2-1)           12
    
    SOCCER AMERICA
    (Week fo September 22)
                                        LW
     1. Indiana (7-0-0)                  1
     2. St. John's (6-0-1)               3
     3. Washington (5-0-2)               4
     4. SMU (4-1-0)                      5
     5. Duke (6-1-0)                     7
     6. Virginia (4-1-2)                 8
     7. South Carolina (4-1-1)          10
     8. UCLA (6-1-0)                    11
     9. North Carolina St. (5-1-0)      NR
    10. Maryland (5-1-1)                 2
    11. Portland (5-1-0)                NR
    12. James Madison (7-0-0)           16
    13. Stanford (7-0-0)                17
    14. UNC Greensboro (5-2-0)          NR
    15. California (4-1-1)               9
    16. Massachusetts (3-1-1)           NR
    17. William & Mary (5-1-0)          NR
    18. Virginia Commonwealth (6-0-0)   NR
    19. Creighton (4-3-1)                6
    20. Georgia Southern (5-1-0)       144
    
    1997 BIG EAST Standings
                          Overall    BIG EAST   
    1.  Georgetown        5-2-0      3-0-0 (6)
        Pittsburgh        2-0-2      3-0-3 (6)
    3.  NOTRE DAME        3-2-2      2-0-1 (5)
        Villanova         3-2-2      2-0-1 (5)
        Rutgers           2-3-1      2-1-1 (5)
    6.  St. John's        6-0-1      2-0-0 (4)
    7.  Seton Hall        4-3-0      2-2-0 (4)
    8.  Boston College    1-3-2      1-2-1 (3)
    9.  Syracuse          3-4-0      1-2-0 (2)
    10. Providence        2-4-0      1-3-0(2)
    11. Connecticut       2-4-1      0-4-0 (0)
        West Virginia     2-6-0      0-4-0 (0)
    (   ) number of points
    
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