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    Ninth-Ranked Irish To Open Season Against No. 1 UCLA On Friday

    FIGHTING IRISH Senior forward Joseph Lapira will look to lead the Irish attack again in 2007. The reigning M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner led the nation with 22 goals last season.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Senior forward Joseph Lapira will look to lead the Irish attack again in 2007. The reigning M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner led the nation with 22 goals last season.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Aug. 29, 2007

    2007 adidas/IU Credit Union Classic
    Bill Armstrong Stadium • Bloomington, Ind.

    Friday, Aug. 31
    #1 UCLA vs. #9 Notre Dame - 5:00 p.m. (ET)
    #7 Maryland vs. #12 Indiana - 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, Sept. 1
    #7 Maryland vs. #9 Notre Dame - 11:30 a.m.
    #1 UCLA vs. #12 Indiana - 2:00 p.m.

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    Notre Dame will open the 2007 campaign at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. The ninth-ranked Fighting Irish will face No. 1 UCLA on Friday at 5:00 p.m. (ET) and then battle No. 7 Maryland on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The Irish are coming off the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals and senior forward Joseph Lapira returns as the reigning M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner.

    FOLLOW THE GAMES: Live stats for both Fighting Irish games this weekend will be available through Gametracker on und.com ... go to the Notre Dame men's soccer page and click on `Schedule' and select the game to follow ... also sign up for `Irish Alert' on und.com to receive text message score updates.

    ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame posted a perfect 2-0 mark in exhibition play ... the Irish topped No. 10 New Mexico and No. 20 Northwestern by identical 3-0 scores ... senior forward Kurt Martin led the Irish with three goals during the preseason ... the Irish are coming off a 15-6-2 campaign and the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals ... Notre Dame advanced to the final eight with a first-round bye and wins over Illinois-Chicago (1-0) and No. 7 Maryland (1-0, 2OT) ... Notre Dame fell to No. 3 Virginia, 3-2, to end the unprecedented run ... the Irish return six starters and 14 letterwinners from last season ... Joseph Lapira led all NCAA Division I men's players with 22 goals and 50 points in '06 ... the Fighting Irish averaged 1.87 goals per game last season, while surrendering just 0.79 ... head coach Bobby Clark is entering his seventh season with the Irish ... he has an overall record of 80-33-15 (.684) at Notre Dame.

     

     

    A MARQUEE EVENT: The adidas/IU Credit Union Classic showcases some of the nation's top teams each year ... this year, UCLA, Indiana, Maryland and Notre Dame are all ranked among the top 10 in the NSCAA and Soccer Times preseason polls ... this is the 25th year that Indiana has hosted the classic ... the eventual NCAA champion has played in the event nine times, with the Hoosiers capturing six of those titles.

    IRISH HISTORY AT THE ADIDAS/IU CREDIT UNION CLASSIC: This weekend will mark the eighth trip to the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic for the Fighting Irish (1989, 1992, 1993, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) ... Notre Dame owns a 6-6-2 overall mark in the tournament ... the Irish are 5-1-2 over their past four visits to the classic ... the Irish tied Saint Louis, 0-0, in the first game of last year's classic before topping No. 8 Indiana in a 5-4 overtime thriller as Joseph Lapira netted the winner in the 98th minute.

    A MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE: Joseph Lapira established an Indiana Classic record with four goals in a 5-4 overtime victory against No. 8 Indiana last season ... that performance earned him the tournament's offensive MVP and he received national player-of-the-week honors as well ... the four individual scores tied the mark for goals in an IU Classic ... Notre Dame's five goals were most surrendered in the history of the Hoosier program.

    IRISH IN SEASON OPENERS: Notre Dame is 19-8-3 all-time in season openers, including 4-1-1 in the Bobby Clark era ... the Irish fell in double-overtime to UAB, 1-0, in last season's opener ... that was the first loss in a season opener for Notre Dame since the 1994 campaign, a 1-0 loss at No. 15 Penn State.

    SERIES HISTORY VERSUS UCLA: This will be the fourth meeting between the Fighting Irish and the Bruins ... UCLA leads the series 3-0-0 ... the last encounter took place during the 1994 season, a 4-0 Bruin victory in Los Angeles ... in 1992, UCLA and Notre Dame squared off in the Indiana Classic with the Bruins coming away with a 1-0 decision ... the first meeting occurred in 1987, a 3-2 home victory for UCLA.

    SCOUTING THE BRUINS: UCLA is the defending national runner-up ... the Bruins fell to UC Santa Barbara, 2-1, in the 2006 NCAA title game ... UCLA returns nine starters and 23 letterwinners from last season's squad that went 14-6-4, including a 4-3-3 mark in the Pac-10 Conference ... David Estrada, a sophomore forward, led the team in scoring last season with 28 points on 12 goals and four assists ... Tony Beltran, a member of the U.S. Under-20 squad and a 2006 College Cup all-tournament team selection, returns to the midfield ... head coach Jorge Salcedo is in his fourth season at the helm of the Bruin program ... he carries a career record of 40-15-9 into the 2007 season.

    IRISH VS. #1: Friday's game against UCLA will mark the sixth time that Notre Dame has squared off against a team ranked No. 1 at the time of the match since 1990 ... the Irish are 0-5-0 in those games ... the Irish have not scored a goal in any of the contests ... the last time Notre Dame faced a team ranked first was Indiana in 2004, a 2-0 setback ... four of the five match-ups against No. 1 have come against the Hoosiers ... here are Notre Dame's encounters with No. 1 since 1990 ...

    9/15/04     at Indiana    L, 0-2
    10/16/98    Connecticut   L, 0-2
    9/2/97      Indiana       L, 0-4
    11/20/94    at Indiana    L, 1-0 (OT) (NCAA Tournament)
    9/23/94     at Indiana    L, 2-0

    TAKING DOWN A TOP-10: Notre Dame has claimed a victory against a top-10 team in seven consecutive seasons ... the Irish will look to extend that streak this weekend with contests against No. 1 UCLA and No. 7 Maryland ... Notre Dame took down three top-10 teams last season ... the Irish topped both Creighton (4-1) and Indiana (5-4, OT) when those squads were ranked eighth nationally ... Notre Dame bested No. 7 Maryland, 1-0, in double-overtime during the third round of the NCAA Tournament ... that marked the first time the Irish bested three top-10 teams in a season since 2002.

    SERIES HISTORY VERSUS MARYLAND: Notre Dame and Maryland have met twice on the pitch, with both matches coming in the NCAA Tournament ... the Irish topped the Terrapins, 1-0, in double-overtime during the third round of last season's tournament in College Park, Md. ... Joseph Lapira netted the game winner on an assist from Dale Rellas in the 107th minute ... Maryland won the first match between the two schools, a 1-0 decision in College Park, Md. during the first round of the 2001 tournament.

    SCOUTING THE TERRAPINS: Maryland went 16-5-1 in 2006 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Notre Dame, 1-0, in double-overtime ... the Terrapins were 4-3-1 in ACC play last season ... Maryland welcomes back eight starters and 16 letterwinners from the 2006 squad ... Stephen King returns to the midfield and was named to the 2007 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy watch list ... he tallied 19 points on six goals and seven assists last season ... Graham Zusi, a junior forward, led the team in scoring during the 2006 campaign with 29 points on 11 goals and seven assists ... head coach Sasho Cirovski is entering his 15th season at Maryland ... he has an overall record of 203-93-15 with the Terps.

    IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic ...

    On facing top-ranked UCLA ...
    "This is a great opportunity for us to play against one of the best teams in the country. It's an opportunity to take the program to a new height by playing the No. 1 team. It will also show us where we stand at this point of the season. Not every team has a chance to play a team like this early on in the season."

    On the exhibition season ...
    "We have to be careful not to read too much into the preseason. I felt we put together some good combinations and we were able to get a feel for one another. You need to play games to get ready for the season and it was good to win them."

    NEXT UP: Notre Dame hosts the sixth annual Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament on Friday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 9 ... Indiana squares off with Northern Illinois on Friday at 5:00 p.m., while the Irish take on Rhode Island at 7:30 p.m. ... on Sunday, Indiana meets Rhode Island at 11:30 a.m. and Notre Dame will take on Northern Illinois at 2:00 p.m. to wrap up the event.

    EXHIBITION ACTION: The Fighting Irish went a perfect 2-0 in exhibition play by notching identical 3-0 wins over No. 10 New Mexico and No. 20 Northwestern ... the Irish used three different goal scorers to top New Mexico ... Kurt Martin, Michael Thomas and Steven Perry all found the back of the net in the victory ... Cory Rellas notched two assists as well ... Martin scored two goals in the win over Northwestern, while Joseph Lapira tallied the third and final score for the Irish ... senior Chris Cahill and junior Andrew Quinn split time in goal and combined on both shutouts.

    MARTIN EMERGING: Senior forward Kurt Martin had a solid preseason as he led the Irish with three goals during exhibition play ... he tallied a sixth-minute goal in the 3-0 win over New Mexico and followed that up with a two-goal effort in the 3-0 triumph of Northwestern ... Martin carries 14 points on five goals and four assists into his final campaign.

    BIG EAST ACCOLADES: Senior forward Joseph Lapira was named the preseason BIG EAST offensive player of the year and junior defender Matt Besler joined Lapira on the all-BIG EAST preseason team ... Lapira was the 2006 BIG EAST offensive player of the year.

    LAPIRA NAMED TO M.A.C. HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST: Joseph Lapira was named to the 2007 Missouri Athletic Club (M.A.C.) Hermann Trophy Watch List ... the trophy is presented annually to the top men's soccer player in the United States ... Lapira won the award last season as he led all NCAA Division I men's players with 22 goals and 50 points ... a panel of coaches from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) compiled the 29-man M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List ... Lapira will try to become the first back-to-back recipient of the most prestigious award in college soccer since Virginia's Claudio Reyna took home the Hermann Trophy in 1992 and 1993.

    GOOD CAUSE: Notre Dame raised $6,300 for the Grassroot Soccer organization during its exhibition game versus Northwestern on Monday, Aug. 27 ... admission was free and donations were taken with all proceeds benefiting the foundation, which is an international AIDS awareness and education organization that reaches youth in Africa through soccer clinics ... a crowd of 3,367 fans showed up at Alumni Field to watch the match ... a Notre Dame soccer alumnus, who wishes to remain anonymous, more than matched the amount from the crowd and Irish head coach Bobby Clark and the Notre Dame men's soccer camp matched the attendance output dollar-for-dollar.

    NEAR-RECORD CROWD: The 3,367 fans that attended Notre Dame's exhibition match on Monday, Aug. 27 marked the third largest crowd in program history ... the total nearly equaled the record of 3,502, which saw the game against SMU on Oct. 14, 1994.

    NOTRE DAME PICKED SECOND IN BLUE DIVISION: Notre Dame was selected to finish second in the BIG EAST Blue Division for the 2007 season ... the Irish garnered 102 points in voting by the league's head coaches, while Connecticut received 105 points ... Connecticut garnered 10 first-place votes in the Blue Division, while Notre Dame had four and West Virginia totaled three ... St. John's was tabbed to win the league's Red Division followed by Rutgers and South Florida.

    COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LISTS: Joseph Lapira was selected to the College Soccer News Pre-Season All-America first team ... the senior was not the only Irish student-athlete honored by the publication, as two incoming freshmen were named to the `100 Freshmen to Watch' list for the 2007 season ... (M) Matt Armstrong and (F) Josh Thiermann were selected to the list and are part of a very talented seven-man freshman class for the Irish.

    FRESHMAN CLASS NATIONALLY RANKED: Notre Dame's seven-man freshman class was ranked 15th nationally by College Soccer News ... (M) Matt Armstrong, (M) Jeb Brovsky, (D) Bilal Duckett, (M) Greg Klazura, (F) Andrew Luttrell, (F) Steven Perry and (F) Josh Thiermann make up the talented crop of Fighting Irish rookies.

    TOUGH SLATE: The Irish will be facing another challenging schedule this season ... Notre Dame has eight teams ranked in the College Soccer News preseason top-30 poll on its 2007 slate ... UCLA (1), Indiana (8), Maryland (9), West Virginia (14) and Connecticut (18) appear in the top 20, while Rutgers (24), Northern Illinois (26) and Rhode Island (29) also appear in the rankings.

    IRISH ON THE SMALL SCREEN: Notre Dame will have three of its regular-season matches televised ... the Fighting Irish will take on BIG EAST-rival Rutgers on Fox Soccer Channel on Friday, Sept. 21 in Piscataway, N.J. at 8:00 p.m. (ET) ... two Irish home games will also be televised ... Notre Dame and Michigan will appear on Comcast Local on Wednesday, Oct. 3 and the Irish's tilt against Indiana, set for Wednesday, Oct. 17, will also appear on Comcast Local ... both of those matches begin at 7:00 p.m. (ET).

    STAY UP-TO-DATE ON NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS: To stay updated on all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame you can log on to the official Notre Dame athletics web site at und.com or you can call the official Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000 ... to access men's soccer information on the hotline all you need to do is dial 4 from the main menu and then dial 1.

    FOLLOW ALL ND HOME GAMES ONLINE: All Notre Dame home games will feature livestats available through und.com, the official web site of all 26 varsity athletic programs at the University ... simply go to the men's soccer page and click on `Schedule' at the top of the page and find the game that is being played that day and click on `Gametracker' to follow the game for free ... live audio is also available for all home matches.

    SIGN UP FOR IRISH ALERT TEXT MESSAGE SERVICE: Go to und.com to sign up for Irish ALERT, a text messaging service designed to give fans up-to-the-minute game updates for all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame ... men's soccer fans can sign up to receive scores after each half of every game.

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