Oct. 28, 1997
Notre Dame Looks To End Four-Game Skid
Irish Play Host Boston College in Regular Season Finale; Big East Tournament Spot on the Line When Irish Entertain Eagles
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame dropped to 8-8-2 and 4-5-1 in the BIG EAST after suffering two one-goal road losses at Seton Hall and Connecticut. The Irish lost to the Pirates 2-1 in regulation and dropped a 2-1 decision to the Huskies in overtime.
Notre Dame returns home after a three-game road swing when the Irish entertain Boston College on Sunday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m. in a game which will determine seeding for the BIG EAST tournament.
Coach Mike Berticelli's squad, which has lost four straight and five consecutive BIG EAST outings, is currently tied for sixth in the league's regular-season standings. A win over the Eagles guarantees the Irish a spot in the eight-team tournament field. Quarterfinal games will be played either on November 8 or 9 at the sites of the tournament's four top seeds. The semifinals and final will be held at the University of Connecticut in Storrs on November 14 and 16.
Week in Review:
Notre Dame jumped out to a 1-0 lead 14:50 into the contest when David Cutler (Seattle, Wash.) knocked in a 12-yard shot off an Andrew Aris (Auckland, New Zealand) assist. It was the first goal of the season and the first of his collegiate career for Cutler.
Jeff Rigby tied the game for the Pirates at the 36:56 mark of the contest and then Brian Cuddy's six-yard header at 69:48 provided the game-winning tally.
Scott Wells (Phoeniz, Ariz.) had a chance to tie the game for the Irish with just under nine minutes to play in the contest, but his penalty shot was stopped by Seton Hall goalie Derek Martin. Martin finished the game with 11 saves, while Greg Velho (Longwood, Fla.) registerd a season-high nine saves as Notre Dame was outshot 15-12 in the game.
Connecticut -- Playing its third consecutive road game, Notre Dame lost its fourth straight one-goal game as Connecticut beat the Irish 2-1 in overtime. It was the second overtime loss for Notre Dame in four games.
Roberto Vargas' 20-yard blast 6:24 into sudden death overtime lifted the Huskies in the come-from-behind win.
Notre Dame led 1-0 after the first half on freshman Reggie McKnight's (Greenville, SC) fourth goal of the season at the 33:31 mark of the contest. McKnight's 20-yard shot was assisted by another freshman Connor LaRose (Claremont, Calif.) who was making his first career start.
Connecticut, which outshot Notre Dame 13-7 in the game and owned an 11-3 advantage in corner kicks, tied the game on an Alex Cortes header at the 72:12 mark.
Velho finished with six saves in 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 85-64-13 (.565) mark at Notre Dame and is 272-119-36 (.679) 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: Boston College -- Notre Dame trails the series 1-2. The Irish have dropped two straight to the Eagles; losing 3-2 in overtime at Notre Dame in 1995 and 1-0 a year ago in a meeting in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Looking For Relief: Notre Dame heads into this weekend's match with Boston College looking to end a four-game slide. The Irish have dropped four consecutive games and six of their last eight. After posting a 4-0-1 record in their first five BIG EAST outings, the Irish have lost five straight league games. All five games have been decided by a single goal and two of those contests have been decided in overtime.
Four Losses Most At Home For Irish: Notre Dame is 5-4 at home this season following the 2-1 overtime loss to Georgetown on October 17. The four home losses are the most since 1990 when the Irish began playing at Alumni Field. Two of the four losses this season have been in overtime -- Notre Dame also lost 3-2 to Buffalo in September. Notre Dame was 7-1-2 at home during the '96 campaign. Only one other time (1984 when they finished 2-4-2) has an Irish team lost four games at home.
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 late September marked the 21st and 22nd shutouts for the Irish at Alumni Field in three-plus seasons.
Cutler Gets First Collegiate Goal: David Cutler, who has played in all 18 contests and started 13 of those games, scored his first collegiate goal in Notre Dame's 2-1 loss at Seton Hall. Cutler also had his first career assist this season.
Turner Leads Irish In Scoring: Ryan Turner leads the team in scoring with 11 goals and four assists (26 points) in '97. He has scored two or more goals in three games this season -- Valparaiso, TCU and Western Michigan. In two-plus seasons, Turner has 20 goals and 15 assists (55 points).
The Slimmest of Margin: Notre Dame has been involved in 11 games this season that have been decided by a single goal. The Irish are 4-7 in those contests. Five of the last six games have been one-goal decisions. All five have been BIG EAST games and all have resulted in a Notre Dame loss. Notre Dame's four wins have come against Eastern Illinois, Villanova, Rutgers and TCU.
Savarino Second in Irish Scoring Column: Senior midfielder Bill Savarino is the team's second leading scorer thus far in 1997 with four goals and five assists (13 points). He is having the best season in his three-plus seasons with the Irish. During his career, he has scored nine goals and dished off 11 assists (29 points).
Working Overtime: Notre Dame has played six overtime games this season and is 1-3-2 in those contests. Two of three losses have been at home to Buffalo and Georgetown, while the other loss came on the road at Connecticut. The win was a 4-3 victory at TCU and the two ties were at Pittsburgh and Northwestern.
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 Connecticut. Three of the four teams are ranked in the top 10 (Indiana (#1), #4 St. John's and #5 SMU).
Wells Leads Irish in Assists: Senior forward Scott Wells leads the Irish with seven assists on the season. He is third on the team in scoring with two goals and seven assists (11 points).
Velho Tough in Goal: In 10 BIG EAST outings and 950:51 minutes of action, junior goalkeeper Greg Velho has given up eight goals. He recorded the 20th shutout of his career in Notre Dame's 1-0 victory over Rutgers on September 28 (its last BIG EAST win). In 18 games overall this season, he has a 1.16 goals against average and .778 save percentage. Velho has played all 1713:57 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.