Sept. 19, 2007
#3 Notre Dame at Rutgers
Notre Dame continues its three-game road trip with two key BIG EAST matches this weekend. The Irish will face Rutgers on Friday, Sept. 21 at 8:00 p.m. (ET). The match can be seen live on Fox Soccer Channel. Notre Dame squares off with Villanova on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. (ET). The Irish are ranked third in this week's Soccer America poll. That matches the highest ranking in program history.
ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame (3-1-1, 1-0-0 BE) is coming off a 1-0 victory at Marquette (Sept. 15) in the BIG EAST opener ... junior defender Jack Traynor netted the lone goal in the match ... that was the first goal of his college career ... junior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn got the start and picked up his first win of the season by posting his second career shutout ... senior Kurt Martin leads the Irish with two goals ... six Notre Dame players have scored a goal this season ... Notre Dame is No. 3 in this week's Soccer America rankings ... the Irish are fourth in the NSCAA coaches poll and the College Soccer News rankings along with being fifth in the Soccer Times poll ... the Irish have six starters and 14 letterwinners back from last season's squad that went 15-6-2 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals for the first time in program history ... head coach Bobby Clark is in his seventh season with the Irish ... he has an overall record of 83-34-16 (.684) at Notre Dame.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS RUTGERS: Friday will mark the 16th meeting all time between Notre Dame and Rutgers ... the Scarlet Knights hold a 10-4-1 edge in the series ... the Irish are 2-7-1 at Rutgers ... the two schools have not met in the regular season since 2004, yet Rutgers defeated Notre Dame, 2-1, in overtime during the quarterfinal round of last season's conference tournament in Piscataway, N.J. ... the last regular-season meeting was a 1-0 Irish victory during the 2004 campaign at Rutgers ... Fighting Irish head coach Bobby Clark is 1-3-1 against the Scarlet Knights during his Notre Dame tenure.
THE LAST TIME: Rutgers captured a 2-1 overtime victory against Notre Dame during the quarterfinals of the 2006 BIG EAST tournament ... Cory Rellas opened the scoring for the Fighting Irish in the 35th minute ... the Scarlet Knights netted the equalizer in the 80th minute, while the game winner was notched with five minutes remaining in the second overtime period ... Fighting Irish goalkeeper Chris Cahill collected five saves in the loss.
SCOUTING THE SCARLET KNIGHTS: Rutgers (1-3-1, 0-0-0 BE) will open BIG EAST play against Notre Dame ... the Scarlet Knights are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss at Lehigh on Friday, Sept. 14 ... Adam Sternberger leads the team with three points on one goal and one assist ... Dilly Duka has a team-high three assists ... goalkeeper Matt VanOekel has all five decisions this season ... he carries a 1.30 goals-against average and a .774 save percentage ... in 2006, Rutgers went 10-6-3, including 6-4-1 in BIG EAST play ... the Scarlet Knights return 12 starters and 13 letterwinners from last season's squad ... Bob Reasso is in his 27th year at the helm of the Rutgers program ... he has an overall record of 330-157-67 at the school.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS VILLANOVA: Notre Dame and Villanova will be meeting for the 12th time on Sunday ... the Fighting Irish own a 9-2-0 advantage in the series ... the two schools have not met since the 2004 season ... Notre Dame has won the past eight matches against Villanova, including a 1-0 decision during the last encounter in 2004 at Villanova ... the Irish are 4-2-0 all time at Villanova ... Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark is 4-0-0 against the Wildcats.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Villanova (5-1-0, 0-0-0 BE) begins BIG EAST play against Marquette on Friday, Sept. 21 prior to Sunday's showdown against the Irish ... Villanova is ranked 23rd in this week's College Soccer News poll ... the Wildcats are coming off a 3-0 win over Drexel ... following a 2-1 loss at Richmond in the season opener, the Wildcats have won five straight matches ... Villanova has not surrendered a goal in the past four games ... Mike Seamon is the reigning BIG EAST offensive player of the week ... he leads the team with five goals and 11 points ... goalkeeper Jason Friel is 4-1-0 with a 0.60 goals-against average and a .875 save percentage ... the Wildcats return 11 starters and 21 letterwinners from a team that went 6-10-1 last season ... Villanova recorded a 2-9-0 mark in BIG EAST play last season ... head coach Larry Sullivan is in his 17th season at Villanova ... he possesses an overall record of 109-156-28 at the helm of the Wildcat program.
IRISH IN BIG EAST OPENERS: The Fighting Irish are now 8-4-1 all time in BIG EAST Conference openers after a 1-0 win over Marquette on Sept. 15 ... that snapped a two-game losing streak in BIG EAST openers for the Irish.
NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 70-48-12 (.585) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995 ... the Irish have posted six straight winning seasons within the conference, including last season's 8-3-0 record ... it marked the second time that the Irish posted at least eight BIG EAST victories ... Notre Dame won its only regular-season BIG EAST title in 2004 with an 8-1-1 record ... the Fighting Irish captured BIG EAST Tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003.
IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on this weekend's games and his team at this stage of the season ...
"We just have to take one game at a time this weekend. Rutgers has always been a tough game for us and we haven't had the best record against them since I've been here. We lost to them last year in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST tournament and this is one we have to take care of. It'll be a tough game."
"We haven't put a full game together yet. We are starting to come together and we showed signs of that against Marquette. We hope that trend continues so we can have a big weekend."
NEXT UP: Notre Dame returns to Alumni Field for a four-game homestand beginning with a BIG EAST showdown against Cincinnati on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:00 p.m. (ET) ... Notre Dame then faces conference foe Louisville on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 3:30 p.m. (ET).
RECAPPING MARQUETTE: A Jack Traynor goal in the ninth minute is all the eighth-ranked Notre Dame men's soccer team would need to notch a 1-0 victory over Marquette on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Valley Fields ... the match was the BIG EAST Conference opener for both squads ... Notre Dame was awarded a free kick with 8:42 elapsed in the match and Traynor sailed the shot just over the finger tips of Marquette goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski from 35 yards out and into the back of the net ... that marked the first career goal for Traynor ... Ryan Miller nearly connected on a second goal for the Irish late in the first half, yet Pyzdrowski made the save ... the Fighting Irish out shot the Golden Eagles 6-3 in the first half and 14-6 for the game ... Marquette almost notched the equalizer in the 84th minute, yet Dan Addis sent a shot just wide left of the net ... Andrew Quinn got the start in goal for Notre Dame and picked up his first win of the season by posting the second shutout of his career ... the junior made two saves on the night, while Pyzdrowski stopped three shots for Marquette.
JUNIOR DAY: The 1-0 victory over Marquette last Saturday (Sept. 15) was a big day for a couple members of Notre Dame's junior class ... defender Jack Traynor netted the lone goal on free kick in the ninth minute ... that was the first goal of Traynor's collegiate career ... goalkeeper Andrew Quinn received the start in goal and earned his first win of the season by posting the second shutout of his career.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Six different Irish players have notched at least one goal this season ... senior Kurt Martin leads the Irish with two goals, while five other players have scored once ... a total of 10 players have tallied at least one point ... Alex Yoshinaga, who has a team-high two assists, is tied with Martin for the team lead in points with four.
HIGH RANKINGS: Notre Dame is No. 3 in this week's Soccer America rankings ... that matches the highest-ever ranking in program history ... the Fighting Irish were also ranked third nationally during the 2003 season after capturing the BIG EAST tournament title.
HONORS FOR MARTIN: Senior forward/midfielder Kurt Martin was named to the College Soccer News national team of the week on Sept. 10 for his two-goal weekend in the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament (Sept. 7 & 9) ... he was also named to the BIG EAST weekly honor roll on Sept. 10 for the first time of his career.
NO STREAKS: The Fighting Irish have not lost back-to-back regular-season games since the beginning of the 2001 season when they fell to No. 5 Furman, 3-2, in double-overtime and then lost 4-0 to No. 16 Clemson ... both of those matches occurred at the Umbro/Spinx Furman Invitational in Greenville, S.C. ... Notre Dame followed up this season's only loss, a 3-0 setback against Maryland, with a 3-0 win over Rhode Island.
TAKING DOWN A TOP-10: The victory over top-ranked UCLA on Aug. 31 gave Notre Dame a win over a top-10 team for the eighth straight season ... 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.
IRISH VS. #1: Notre Dame defeated No. 1 UCLA, 2-1 in overtime, on Aug. 31 at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic ... heading into that match, the Irish had been 0-5-0 against a team ranked No. 1 at the time of the match since 1990 ... the Irish had not scored a goal in any of the five previous encounters with a top-ranked team.
BACK IN ACTION: Senior midfielder Alex Yoshinaga is back in the Fighting Irish lineup after missing most of last season with a collarbone injury ... Yoshinaga made his presence felt in the season opener as he netted a golden goal in the 94th minute to down top-ranked UCLA ... he also collected an assist on Notre Dame's first goal of the match.
PICKING UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF: Joseph Lapira opened the season with a three-point match in a 2-1 overtime win over No. 1 UCLA ... he gave the Irish a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute and then assisted on Alex Yoshinaga's golden goal in the 94th minute to give Notre Dame the victory ... Lapira led all NCAA Division I men's soccer players with 22 goals and 50 points last season.
IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Joseph Lapira currently ranks in a tie for 10th place on Notre Dame's all-time goals list ... he has 33 tallies, which ties him with Pat Szanto, who played from 1983-85 ... Lapira is five goals away from cracking into the top five ... his 80 career points rank him 11th in program history.
SHOCKING SHUTOUT: Notre Dame's 3-0 loss to Maryland on Sept. 2 marked the first time the Fighting Irish had been shut out since Sept. 20, 2006, a span of 15 games ... that match was a 0-0 tie with Northern Illinois.
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.
QUITE A CROWD: The 3,367 fans that attended Notre Dame's exhibition match against Northwestern 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 ... all proceeds from the match against Northwestern went to Grassroot Soccer, which is an international AIDS awareness and education organization that reaches youth in Africa through soccer clinics.
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: Six of Notre Dame's 2007 regular-season opponents appear in the latest Soccer America media poll ... Connecticut is No. 2, while UCLA is ranked fifth ... the Irish opened the season with a 2-1 overtime victory against the Bruins when they were ranked No. 1 ... West Virginia is No. 11 and Indiana is 15th ... Maryland, who topped the Irish 3-0 when the Terps were ranked seventh, is currently 18th.
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.