Men's Soccer


Oct. 13, 1997

#25 Notre Dame Suffers First Big East Loss Of Season After Dropping 1-0 Decision To Syracuse

Homestand Continues For Irish With Non-League Matchup Against Western Michigan And Conference Test Versus First-Place Georgetown On Friday

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- In its only contest last week, the 25th-ranked Notre Dame men's soccer team lost a tough 1-0 decision at home to Syracuse. It was the first loss for the Irish in the BIG EAST this season.

Notre Dame heads into two home games this week with a 7-4-2 overall mark and 4-1-1 record in the BIG EAST. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad faces its final non-league test of the season when the Irish host Western Michigan on Tuesday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m. Notre Dame entertains league-leading Georgetown on Friday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m. before embarking on a three-game BIG EAST road trip the following week.

Week in Review:

Jeff Knittel's seven-yard chip shot over the head of Notre Dame goalkeeper Greg Velho (Longwood, Fla.) at the 68:42 mark of the contest lifted the Syracuse Orangemen to a 1-0 victory over the 18th-ranked Irish as Notre Dame suffered its first BIG EAST loss of the season.

Knittel's goal came after Matt Torok's 10-yard shot was deflected out of the goal by Notre Dame's Alan Woods (Burtonsville, Md.). Knittel picked up the loose ball and then lofted it over Velho's head.

It was the first goal given up by the Irish in a BIG EAST game. Prior to the score, Notre Dame had gone 548:42 in five-plus league games without allowing a goal.

The victory was the first for the Orangemen against the Irish since Notre Dame joined the league in 1995. That first season, Berticelli's squad earned a 3-0 decision on Alumni Field and last year beat the Orangemen 1-0 in Syracuse.

Notre Dame outshot Syracuse 18-8 in the game and had an 11-0 advantage in corner kicks. Velho made two saves in goal, while Syracuse's Dan Hobson stopped six shots. Notre Dame had several scoring opportunities in both the first and seocnd halves. Andrew Aris (Auckland, New Zealand) and Ryan Turner (Scottsdale, Ariz.) both had shots which hit the post in the final minutes of the game.

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 84-60-13 (.576) mark at Notre Dame and is 271-115-36 (.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:

Notre Dame leads the series 7-2-1 and has won six straight over the Broncos and owns a 6-0-1 advantage in the last seven meetings between the two schools. Western Michigan has not beaten the Irish since the 1981 season when the Broncos gained a 2-0 victory in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Broncos have never won at Notre Dame (0-6-1). The lone tie in the 10 games of the series was in 1981 (2-2 at Notre Dame).

Turner Nets Hat Trick:
Ryan Turner had his first career hat trick in Notre Dame's 4-3 overtime decision at TCU on October 5. Turner tallied the game-winning and game-tying goals and also netted Notre Dame's first score of the game. His three goals ended a three-game scoring drought in which he did not register either a goal or assist. Turner missed the first two games of the season for disciplinary reasons, but has come back to start all 10 games he has played. He leads the team in scoring with eight goals and four assists (20 points). The last Notre Dame player to score three goals in a single-game was Konstantin Koloskov (vs. La Salle) during the 1994 campaign.

Irish Suffer Second Shutout at Home:
In two of its six home games thus far in 1997, Notre Dame has been shutout twice versus Indiana (4-0) and Syracuse (1-0). The Irish are 4-3 at home this season. Their other loss was a 3-2 overtime decision to Buffalo.

Tough Defense:
Prior to the Syracuse game, Notre Dame had not allowed a goal in its five BIG EAST games (480 minutes), which included one overtime contest (a 0-0 deadlock with Pittsburgh). It wasn't until the 68:42 mark of the contest against the Orangemen that the Irish had finally allowed a goal in a BIG EAST game. Overall, Notre Dame went 548:42 in five-plus league games without allowing a goal. The Irish have registered seven shutouts this season and four in its last six outings.

Irish Prove Tough on the Road:
Notre Dame is 3-1-2 on the road this season in six road outings. The Irish have played three of their four overtime games on the road and are 1-0-2 in those outings. Berticelli's squad has recorded three shutouts on the road -- Pittsburgh, Valparaiso and West Virginia.

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.

Irish Finish Season With Five BIG EAST Tests:
Following Tuesday night's match with Western Michigan, Notre Dame concludes its '97 slate with five consecutive BIG EAST games, including three straight road games next week versus St. John's (October 21), Seton Hall (October 24) and Connecticut (October 26). The Irish host Georgetown this Friday (October 17) and conclude the regular season with a home versus Boston College on November 2.

Home Sweet Home:
Alumni Field has not been a friendly place for Irish opponents the past two-plus seasons. The Irish are 4-3 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.

The Slimmest of Margin:
Notre Dame has a 4-3 record in games decided by a goal this year. In its last six outings, the outcome of the game has been decided by a goal. Notre Dame is 4-2 in those contests with 1-0 victories over Eastern Illinois, Villanova and Rutgers and a 4-3 overtime decision at TCU. Both losses have been 1-0 decisions verus SMU and Syracuse.

Savarino Steps Up To Lead Irish in Assists:
Senior forward Bill Savarino is the team's third-leading scorer thus far in 1997 with two goals and five assists (nine points). His five assists is a team best. During his three-plus seasons, Savarino has scored seven goals and dished off 11 assists (24 points).

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 victories. 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 versus the Scarlet Knights booted in the game's only goal at the 19:07 mark.

Working Overtime:
Notre Dame has played three overtime games 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 12 games in the backfield and is currently tied for fourth in scoring with three goals and two assists (eight points). After not recording a goal or an assist in his freshman season, Woods has accounted for all eight of his career points this season.

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 Pittsburgh.

Velho Tough in Goal:
In six BIG EAST outings and 570 minutes of action, junior goalkeeper Greg Velho has given up just one goal. He recorded the 20th shutout of his career in Notre Dame's 1-0 victory over Rutgers. In 13 games overall this season, he has a 1.01 goals against average and .794 save percentage. Velho has played all 1243:06 minutes of the 1997 season.

Irish on the Internet:
The official Notre Dame Athletic Department web site is available at 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
(7-4-2, 4-1-1)
    25  Mon.    at Marquette (Exh.)     W, 1-0 
    29  Fri.    at Pittsburgh           T, 0-0 (OT)
     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
     3  Fri.    (23/NR) at SMU (T4/3)   L, 0-1 
     5  Sun.    (23/NR) at TCI          W, 4-3 (OT)
    11  Sat.    (18/NR) SYRACUSE        L, 0-1
    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.
     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.
(Week of October 13)
1.  Indiana                 (13-0-0)         1
2.  UCLA                    (11-1-0)         2
3.  Maryland                (9-1-1)          4
4.  Southern Methodist      (9-1-0)          6
5.  Duke                    (10-2-0)         7
6.  Stanford                (10-0-2)        10
7.  American                (8-2-2)         11
8.  Florida International   (9-3-1)          3
9.  St. John's              (9-2-2)          5
10. Virginia                (9-2-2)         13
11. Washington              (9-2-2)          8
12. Creighton               (8-3-1)         14
13. Dartmouth               (4-1-3)         12
14. Marquette               (9-2-2)         21
15. Wake Forest             (7-4-0)         NR
16. William & Mary          (9-2-0)         20
17. North Carolina State    (8-2-0)          9
18. Pittsburgh              (6-2-4)         16
19. Portland                (8-3-1)         19
20. Virginia Commonwealth   (9-1-2)         17
21. Vermont                 (9-2-2)         NR
22. Saint Louis             (7-4-3)         23
23  Cornell                 (4-2-2)         NR
24. James Madison           (9-3-0)         24
25. Notre Dame              (7-4-2)         18

(Week of October 13)
1.  Indiana                 (13-0-0)         1
2.  SMU                      (9-1-0)         2
3.  UCLA                    (11-1-0)         3
4.  Maryland                 (9-1-1)         7
5.  Duke                    (10-2-0)         9
6.  Virginia                 (9-2-2)        11
7.  Stanford                (10-0-2)        12
8.  North Carolina State    (8-2-0)          4
9.  Florida International   (9-3-1)          5
10. American                (8-2-2)         13
11. Washington              (9-2-2)         10
12. South Carolina          (6-2-1)          6
13. Creighton               (8-3-1)         14
14. St. John's              (9-2-2)          8
15. Marquette               (9-2-2)         17
16. Wake Forest             (7-4-0)         NR
17. Central Florida         (8-3-0)         NR
18. Georgia Southern        (10-1-2)        19
19. Dartmouth               (4-1-3)         18
20. Clemson                 (6-4-2)         NR

1997 BIG EAST Standings
                     Overall     BIG EAST   
 1.  Georgetown       8-4-0     6-1-0 (12)
 2.  NOTRE DAME       7-4-2     4-1-1 (9)
 3.  St. John's       9-2-2     4-1-1 (9)
 4.  Pittsburgh       6-2-4     3-2-3 (9)
 5.  Seton Hall       6-5-0     4-2-0 (8)
 6.  Rutgers          5-6-2     3-2-2 (8)
 7.  Syracuse         5-6-1     3-4-1 (7)
 8.  Villanova        4-4-4     2-2-3 (6)
 9.  Boston College   3-5-2     2-4-1 (5)
10.  West Virginia    5-8-0     2-5-0 (4)
11.  Connecticut      6-6-1     2-6-0 (4)
12.  Providence       3-9-0     1-6-0 (2)
(   ) number of points

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