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    Fighting Irish

    Nov. 3, 1997

    Notre Dame Claims Fifth Seed for '97 Big East Championship With 3-1 Victory Over Boston College

    Irish Set for Quarterfinal Matchup at Seton Hall on Sunday

    Notre Dame, Ind. -- Notre Dame earned the fifth-seed in the 1997 BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championships following its 3-1 win over Boston College in the final game of the regular season. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Irish who had also lost five straight to league foes prior to its win over the Eagles. Notre Dame, 9-8-2 overall, finished tied for fifth with Villanova in the final league regular-season standings after finishing with a 5-5-1 mark. The Irish are the higher seed in the eight-team field by virtue of their victory over the Wildcats. Notre Dame will travel to South Orange, N.J. for a quarterfinal game against fourth-seeded Seton Hall (10-7-0, 7-4-0) on Sunday, November 9 at 1:00 p.m.. The top four finishers in the league regular-season standings host quarterfinal matchups with the winners advancing to the semifinals and championship at the University of Connecticut November 14 & 16. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad will be making its second consecutive appearance in the BIG EAST tournament. A year ago, the Irish won the tournament in just its second season as a member of the league. Notre Dame defeated sixth-seeded Georgetown (2-1), second-seeded Connecticut (2-1) and fourth-seeded Rutgers (1-0) to claim the '96 title and earn the Conference's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

    Week in Review: Boston College -- Notre Dame snapped its four-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over Boston College in the regular-season finale. It was the first win for the Irish over the Eagles since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995 and also ended a five-game skid in league games for Berticelli's team. Three second half goals by Matt Johnson (Livermore, Calif.), Ben Bocklage (St. Louis, Mo.) and Joe Gallo (Modesto, Calif.) powered the Irish to the win. After a scoreless first half, Johnson put the Irish on the scoreboard at the 65:20 mark with his first career goal off assists from Ryan Turner (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Andrew Aris (Auckland, New Zealand). Six minutes following the Johnson score, Bocklage gave the Irish at 2-0 advantage at the 71:37 mark with a 25-yard blast off a Connor LaRose (Claremont, Calif.) feed. Gallo finished off the scoring for the Irish less than five minutes later when he tallied his first goal of the season off an assist from David Cutler (Seattle, Wash.). Boston College netted its only goal at the 79:42 mark when Keith McDonald scored from 27 yards out on the right side of field off an assist from Asgeir Asgeirsson. Notre Dame outshot the Eagles 11-7 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 86-64-13 (.567) mark at Notre Dame and is 273-119-36 (.680) 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.

    1997 BIG EAST Tournament Schedule: Notre Dame is making its second appearance in the BIG EAST tournament and is the fifth-seed. Defending national champion St. John's is the number-one seed after winning a league-record fourth regular-season title. Below is the schedule for quarterfinal games to be held this weekend. The semifinals and championship will take place at the University of Connecticut Friday & Sunday, November 14 & 16.

    Quarterfinals (at campus sites of higher seeded team)
    Saturday, November 8
        No. 8 Boston College at No. 1 St. John's    5:00 p.m.
        No. 6 Villanova at No. 3 Rutgers            7:00 p.m.
    Sunday, November 9
        No. 7 Connecticut at No. 2 Georgetown       1:00 p.m.
        No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 4 Seton Hall        1:00 p.m.
    
    Semifinals and Championship (Joseph J. Morrone Stadium- Storrs, Conn)
    Friday, November 14
        Winner 2/7 vs. Winner 3/6   10:00 a.m.
        Winner 1/8 vs. Winner 4/5   Noon
    Sunday, November 16
        Semifinal winners           Noon
    

    Series Record vs. Upcoming Opponents: Seton Hall -- Notre Dame leads the series 3-2 and is 2-2 playing in South Orange, N.J. The Irish, however, have lost the last two times they have played at Seton Hall. Notre Dame is 1-2 versus the Pirates since joining the BIG EAST in 1995. The Irish lost 2-1 to the Pirates in South Orange on October 24 and lost 4-1 at Seton Hall during the '95 regular season. Last season, Notre Dame prevailed with a 1-0 victory at Alumni Field during the 1996 campaign.

    The Last Time They Met: The two teams met just two weeks ago in South Orange, N.J. in their regular-season matchup with the Pirates prevailing with a 2-1 victory. Notre Dame jumped out to a 1-0 lead 14:50 in the contest when Cutler knocked in a 12-yard shot off an Aris assist for his first career goal. Jeff Rigby tied the game for the Pirates at the 36:56 mark of the contest. Brian Cuddy's six-yard header at 69:48 provided the game-winning tally. Wells had a chance to tie the game for the Irish with just under 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 Velho registerd a season-high nine saves as Notre Dame was outshot 15-12 in the game.

    Irish Get Relief: Notre Dame's win over Boston College on Sunday ended a four-game slide for the Irish. Prior to its matchup with the Eagles, Notre Dame had dropped six of eight contests, including five straight BIG EAST matches. After posting a 4-0-1 record in their first five BIG EAST outings, the Irish won just once in its final six league contest to finish with a 5-5-1 mark. All five losses were by a single goal, while two of those were decided in overtime.

    Four Losses Most At Home For Irish: Notre Dame finished 6-4 at home this season after Sunday's win over Boston College. It marked the fewest home wins for the Irish since the '93 campaign. 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 were 6-4 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.

    Johnson Gets First Collegiate Goal: Matt Johnson who has started 60 of the 61 contests he has played in during his career, scored his first collegiate goal against Boston College. The junior midfielder, who is known for his defensive prowess, broke a scoreless tie at the 65:20 mark in the contest off assists from Ryan Turner and Andrew Aris. Johnson also has four assists this season for a season-best six points and has posted career totals of a goal and seven assists (nine points).

    Turner Leads Irish In Scoring: Ryan Turner leads the team in scoring with 11 goals and five assists (27 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 16 assists (56 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 seven games have been one-goal decisions. Five of the seven one-goal losses have been to BIG EAST teams. Notre Dame's four wins have come against Eastern Illinois, Villanova, Rutgers and TCU.

    LaRose Coming On Strong: Freshman Connor LaRose has earned starts in Notre Dame's last two contests versus Connecticut and Boston College. He has assisted on goals in each of those two contest. Other than freshman Reggie McKnight (Greenville, S.C.), LaRose has played in more games (11) than any other rookie and has three assists.

    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).

    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).

    Gallo Scores First Goal of the Season: Senior midfielder Joe Gallo scored his first goal of the season and the second of his career in Notre Dame's 3-1 victory over Boston College. Gallo scored the final Irish goal in the contest. He also has registered five points and 12 points for his career which includes two goals and eight assists.

    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 (# 1 Indiana, #2 St. John's and #4 SMU).

    Velho Tough in Goal: In 11 BIG EAST outings and 1040:51 minutes of action, junior goalkeeper Greg Velho has given up nine 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 1.15 goals against average and .775 save percentage. Velho has played all 1803:57 minutes of the '97 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 November 3)
                                            LW
    1.  Indiana (18-0-0)                    1
    2.  St. John's (14-2-2)                 4
    3.  Washington (12-2-2)                 7
    4.  SMU (13-2-0)                        5
    5.  UCLA (15-2-0)                       9
    6.  American (11-3-3)                   8
    7.  Duke (14-4-0)                       6
    8.  South Carolina (12-2-1)             10
    9.  Virginia (11-3-3)                   3
    10. Stanford (13-2-2)                   2
    11. Dartmouth (8-2-3)                   12
    12. Maryland (12-4-1)                   14
    13. Clemson (9-4-3)                     15
    14. Southwest Missouri State (11-3-3)   RV
    15. Creighton (12-4-1)                  11
        Marquette (11-4-3)                  17
    17. Rider (12-5-1)                      21
    18. Florida International (13-5-1)      24
    19. Gonzaga (13-4-0)                    20
    20. William & Mary (11-3-2)             13
    21. Connecticut (11-6-1)                23
    22. St. Francis-N.Y. (14-4-1)           22
    23  Saint Louis (11-4-3)                16
    24. UNC Charlotte (11-5-2)              14
    25. Rutgers (11-6-2)                    RV
    
    SOCCER AMERICA
    (Week of November 3)
                                            LW
    1.  Indiana (18-0-0)                    1
    2.  UCLA (15-2-0)                       3
    3.  SMU (13-2-0)                        5
    4.  Washington (12-2-2)                 7
    5.  South Carolina (12-2-1)             8
    6.  Duke (14-4-0)                       6
    7.  St. John's (14-2-2)                 9
    8.  Virginia (11-3-3)                   4
    9.  Stanford (13-2-2)                   2
    10. American (11-3-3)                   11
    11. Clemson (9-4-3)                     14
    12. Creighton (12-4-1)                  10
    13. Maryland (12-4-1)                   13
    14. Air Force (13-2-0)                  17
    15. New Mexico (13-5-0)                 18
    16. Southwest Missouri State (11-3-3)   NR
    17. UNC Charlotte (11-5-2)              NR
    18. Saint Louis (11-4-3)                NR
    19. Gonzaga (13-4-0)                    19
    20. William & Mary (12-3-2)             16
    
     1997 BIG EAST Standings
    (Through games of Nov. 3)
                        Overall  BIG EAST   
    1.  St. John's      14-2-2  9-1-1 (19)
    2.  Georgetown      12-5-0  9-2-0 (18)
    3.  Rutgers         11-6-2  7-2-2 (16)
    4.  Seton Hall      10-7-0  7-4-0 (14)
    5.  NOTRE DAME      9-8-2   5-5-1 (11)
        Villanova       6-7-5   4-4-3 (11)
    7.  Connecticut     11-8-2  5-6-0 (10)
    8.  Boston College  5-8-2   4-6-1 (9)
        Pittsburgh      9-5-4   3-5-3 (9)
    10. Syracuse        6-11-1  3-7-1 (7)
    11. West Virginia   6-13-0  3-8-0 (6)
    12. Providence      3-14-0  1-10-0 (2)
    (   ) number of points
    1997 Schedule/Results
    (9-8-2, 5-5-1)
    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.    (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    W, 7-1
        17  Fri.    GEORGETOWN  L, 1-2 (OT)
        21  Tues.   (24/NR) at St. John's (T5/13)   L, 0-1
        24  Fri.    (24/NR) at Seton Hall   L, 1-2
        26  Sun.    (24/NR) at Connecticut  L, 1-2 (OT)
    NOVEMBER
      2 Sun.    BOSTON COLLEGE  W, 3-1
      8 Sun.    at Seton Hall#  TBA
     14 Fri.    BIG EAST Semifinals *   TBA
     16 Sun.    BIG EAST Finals *   TBA
     
    #BIG EAST Quarterfinal
    *at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium (Storrs, CT)
    (       )  - indicates rankings at time of game in 
    NSCAA/Umbro and Soccer America polls.
    
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