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    Fighting Irish

    Sept. 30, 1997

    Notre Dame Riding Four-Game Win Streak After Shutout Wins In Weekend-Sweep Of Big East Foes Villanova And Rutgers

    Irish Move Into Sole Possession Of First-Place In Big East Regular Season Race As They Travel To Texas For Non-League Matchups With #3 SMU And TCU

    Notre Dame, Ind. -- The Notre Dame men's soccer team is riding a four-game winning streak after three straight 1-0 shutout wins last week against Eastern Illinois, Villanova and Rutgers. With the victories, the Irish improve to 6-2-2 overall and 4-0-1 in the BIG EAST. Notre Dame is in sole possession of first-place in the BIG EAST regular-season standings. This week, the Irish travel to Texas for two non-league tests. Notre Dame plays third-ranked Southern Methodist in Dallas on Friday, October 3 at 7:30 p.m. and then plays the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth on Sunday, October 5 at 1:00 p.m.

    Week in Review: Eastern Illinois -- Junior forward Ryan Turner (Scottsdale, Ariz.) tallied the game's lone goal 11:14 into the second half to lift the Notre Dame men's soccer team to a 1-0 win over Eastern Illinois. Turner's game-winning goal came from four yards out after senior Scott Wells (Phoenix, Ariz.) fed him the ball from the right corner of the penalty box. The first half was somewhat of a defensive battle and was evenly contested as the Irish held a slim 6-5 shot advantage, but owned a 7-2 margin in corner kicks. Notre Dame finished the game with a 13-7 shot advantage in the contest. The Irish controlled the tempo of the game in the second half and allowed the Panthers just four shots on goal. Irish goalkeeper Greg Velho (Longwood, Fla.) had six saves in the game as he recorded his fourth shutout of the season Villanova -- Alan Woods' (Burtonsville, Md.) headed in a Scott Wells corner kick 12:11 into the contest as the Irish posted their third straight shutout with a 1-0 win over Villanova. Notre Dame dominated the contest outshooting the Wildcats 14-7 in the game. The Irish also held a 11-3 advantage in corner kicks. Velho made six saves in goal in recording his third straight shutout and sixth of the 1997 campaign. Rutgers -- Notre Dame moved into sole possession of first-place in the BIG EAST Conference as they beat Rutgers 1-0, marking the second straight victory over the Irish over the Scarlet Knights. It also was the third consecutive outing in which the final outcome was decided by a 1-0 score. Andrew Aris (Auckland, New Zealand) provided the game's only goal as he scored 19:07 into the contest on assist from Bill Savarino (Orland Park, Ill.) and David Cutler (Seattle, Wash.). Notre Dame dominated the contest early on as Aris scored on a chip shot from just inside the penalty box. Savarino fed the ball from the left side of the field just outside the box to Cutler who had moved to the right corner of the field. Cutler then found Aris in the middle of the box and lofted a shot past Scarlet Knight goalkeeper Jonathan Conway. Rutgers controlled the remainder of the first half outshooting Notre Dame 7-2 and 11-7 for the game. Velho, in completing his seventh complete-game shutout of the season, had five saves in the first half and finished with six for the game. The win over the Scarlet Knights pushes the Irish win streak to four straight (all shutouts). Notre Dame also has not allowed a goal in a BIG EAST contest this 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 83-58-13 (.581) mark at Notre Dame and is 270-113-36 (.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: SMU -- Notre Dame trails the series 0-1-1. The teams first met in 1988 in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Dallas, Texas. The Mustangs won that contest 2-0. In 1994, they battled to a 0-0 overtime decision at Alumni Field. Texas Christian -- This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

    Velho Cops BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week: Greg Velho was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in his career. Velho earns the honor after leading the Irish to three consecutive 1-0 shutouts last week. He collected 16 saves in victories over Eastern Illinois, Villanova and Rutgers. Velho, who has played every minute of every game this season, has yet to yield a goal to a conference opponent in five games. He has 20 career shutouts.

    Tough Defense: Notre Dame has not given up a goal in five BIG EAST contests this season and has posted four consecutive shutouts and seven for the season. The Irish have not allowed a goal in over 457 minutes of action. The last opponent to score on Notre Dame was Northwestern. The Wildcats scored at the 22:24 mark to go up 2-1 in a game that eventually went to overtime and ended in a 2-2 deadlock. The Irish are outscoring their opponents 18-9 in 10 games and 8-0 in five BIG EAST outings.

    Turner Leads Team in Scoring: Ryan Turner leads the team in scoring with five goals and four assists (14 points). In the last seven games, he has accounted for five goals and four assists. Turner missed the first two games of the season for disciplinary reasons. He has started all eight games he has played in this year.

    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-plus seasons. The Irish are 4-2 this season at home which includes four shutouts. 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 two 1-0 wins over Villanova and Rutgers over the weekend marked the 21st and 22nd shutouts for the Irish at Alumni Field in three-plus seasons.

    Cutler Gets First Career Assist: Senior David Cutler, who returned to the Irish lineup this season after missing the entire 1996 campaign while studying abroad in Italy, was credited with his first career assist in Notre Dame's 1-0 win over Rutgers. Cutler assisted on Andrew Aris' game-winning tally at the 19:07 mark of the contest.

    Savarino Steps Up: Senior forward Bill Savarino is the team's third-leading scorer thus far in 1997 with two goals and four assists (eights points). He was one of the players that assisted on Andrew Aris' goal in the 1-0 win over Rutgers on Sunday. 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 Gets Two Assists: Senior forward Scott Wells had two assists in two of Notre Dame's three 1-0 victories last week. He assisted on Ryan Turner's goal at the 61:14 mark in the win over Eastern Illinois and then had the lone assist on Alan Woods' game-winning tally against Villanova at the 12:11 mark.

    Irish Score Early, Then Hang On: In Notre Dame's two 1-0 wins over Villanova and Rutgers, the Irish scored early in the contest and then hung on for the victory. Coach Berticelli's squad scored less than 20 minutes into the game in both contests. Against the Wildcats, Notre Dame scored 12:11 into the contest and versus the Scarlet Knights booted in the game's only goal at the 19:07 mark.

    Aiming for Four: Notre Dame will be aiming for their fourth straight shutout when the Irish face Southern Methodist on Friday night. The last Notre Dame team to record four straight shutouts was Berticelli's 1991 squad which finished the season with a 13-5-2 mark. That season the Irish beat Western Michigan, Kentucky, Detroit and Xavier which is the longest consecutive shutout streak in the program's history. The 1979 Notre Dame team also recorded four straight shutouts during the season as the Irish beat Marquette, Triton, Valparaiso and Ohio.

    McNew and Pridmore Homecomings: Notre Dame's two games this weekend in Texas marks homecomings for two Texans -- Matt McNew (Arlington, Tex.) and Dustin Pridmore (Dallas, Tex.). McNew has started all 10 games for the Irish this season and has a goal and two assists, while Pridmore has played in three contests.

    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 10 games in the backfield and is currently the team's fourth leading scorer with seven points (three goals and one assist). After not recording a goal or an assist in his freshman season, Woods has accounted for all seven of his career points in three outings. His third career goal at the 12:11 mark against Villanova last Friday night (September 26) was the only score for either team in the 1-0 Irish win.

    Tough Schedule: Notre Dame once again is playing 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, SMU and Seton Hall.

    Velho Tough in Goal: In five BIG EAST outings and 480 minutes of action, junior goalkeeper Greg Velho has yet to give up a goal. He recorded the 20th shutout of his career in Notre Dame's 1-0 victory over Rutgers. In 10 games overall this season, he has a 0.84 goals against average and .816 save percentage. Velho has played all 969:47 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.

    1997 Schedule/Results
    (6-2-2, 4-0-1)
    AUGUST
    25  Mon.    at Marquette (Exh.)     W, 1-0 
    29  Fri.    at Pittsburgh           T, 0-0 (OT)
         
    SEPTEMBER
    2   Tues.   (18/NR) INDIANA (3/1)   L, 0-4      
    7   Sun.    (18/NR) PROVIDENCE      W, 3-0      
    10  Wed.    (19/NR) at Valparaiso   W, 5-0      
    13  Sat.    (19/NR) BUFFALO         L, 2-3 (OT)
    16  Tues.   at Northwestern         T, 2-2  (OT)
    20  Sat.    at West Virginia        W, 3-0
    23  Tues.   EASTERN ILLINOIS        W, 1-0
    26  Fri.    VILLANOVA               W, 1-0
    28  Sun.    RUTGERS                 W, 1-0
    OCTOBER
    3   Fri.    at Southern Methodist   7:30 p.m.
    5   Sun.    at Texas Christian  1:00 p.m.
    11  Sat.    SYRACUSE    7:30 p.m.
    14  Tues.   WESTERN MICHIGAN    7:30 p.m.
    17  Fri.    GEORGETOWN  7:30 p.m.
    21  Tues.   at St. John's   7:30 p.m.
    24  Fri.    at Seton Hall   3:00 p.m.
    26  Sun.    at Connecticut  1:00 p.m.
    NOVEMBER
    2   Sun.    BOSTON COLLEGE  1:00 p.m.
    8   Sat.    BIG EAST Quarterfinals  TBA
                (Site to be determined)
    14  Fri.    BIG EAST Semifinals *   TBA
    16  Sun.    BIG EAST Finals *   TBA
     
    *at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium (Storrs, CT) ( ) - indicates rankings at time of game in NSCAA/Umbro and Soccer America polls.
    NSCAA/Umbro
    (Week of September 29)
    RK  Team                            LW
    1.  Indiana                 (9-0-0) 1
    2.  St. John's              (8-0-1) 2
    3.  UCLA                    (8-1-0) 6
    4.  Virginia                (6-1-2) 8
        Southern Methodist      (6-1-0) 5
    6.  Duke                    (7-2-0) 4
    7.  Maryland                (6-1-1) 10
    8.  Washington              (6-1-2) 3
    9.  Florida International   (7-2-1) 13
    10. Boston University       (5-2-2) 15
    11. Stanford                (8-0-0) 12
    12. William & Mary          (7-1-0) 17
    13. Creighton               (6-3-1) 16
    14. North Carolina St.      (6-1-1) NR
    15. James Madison           (7-1-0) 7
    16. Bowling Green           (6-3-0) T18
    17. Portland                (6-1-1) T18
    18. Saint Louis             (6-2-2) 22
    19. Temple                  (5-1-2) NR
        Seton Hall              (6-3-0) NR
    21. South Carolina          (4-1-1) 20
    22. Dartmouth               (3-1-1) NR
    23  NOTRE DAME              (6-2-2) NR
    24. Marquette               (6-2-1) NR
    25. California              (5-1-1) 21
    
    SOCCER AMERICA
    (Week fo September 29)
    RK                                  LW
    1.  Indiana                 (9-0-0) 1
    2.  St. John's              (8-0-1) 2
    3.  SMU                     (6-1-0) 4
    4.  Virginia                (6-1-2) 6
    5.  UCLA                    (7-1-0) 8
    6.  North Carolina St.      (6-1-0) 9
    7.  South Carolina          (4-1-1) 7
    8.  Maryland                (6-1-1) 10
    9.  Portland                (6-1-1) 11
    10. Duke                    (7-2-0) 5
    11. Washington              (6-1-2) 3
    12. Stanford                (8-0-0) 13
    13. California              (5-1-1) 15
    14. William & Mary          (7-1-0) 17
    15. Florida International   (7-2-1) NR
    16. Creighton               (6-3-1) 19
    17. Marquette               (6-2-1) NR
    18. James Madison           (7-1-0) 12
    19. Georgia Southern        (7-1-1) 20
    20. Wake Forest             (5-3-0) NR
    
     1997 BIG EAST Standings
                        Overall BIG EAST    
    1.  NOTRE DAME      6-2-2   4-0-1 (9)
    2.  St. John's      8-0-1   4-0-0 (8)
        Georgetown      6-3-0   4-1-0 (8)           
        Seton Hall      6-3-0   4-2-0 (8)
    5.  Rutgers         4-4-1   3-2-1 (7)
        Pittsburgh      3-1-4   2-1-3 (7)
    7.  Villanova       3-3-3   2-1-2 (6)
    8.  Boston College  2-4-2   2-3-1 (5)
    9.  Syracuse        4-5-0   2-3-0 (4)
    10. Providence      2-7-0   1-5-0 (2)
    11. West Virginia   3-7-0   1-5-0 (2)
    12. Connecticut     2-6-1   0-6-0 (0)
    ( ) = number of points
    
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