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    Second-Ranked Irish To Open Four-Game Homestand This Weekend

    FIGHTING IRISH Junior Cory Rellas and the Fighting Irish defense have posted three consecutive shutouts.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Junior Cory Rellas and the Fighting Irish defense have posted three consecutive shutouts.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Sept. 26, 2007

    Cincinnati vs. #2 Notre Dame
    Friday, Sept. 28 • 7:00 p.m.
    Alumni Field • Notre Dame, Ind.

    Louisville vs. #2 Notre Dame
    Sunday, Sept. 30 • 3:30 p.m.
    Alumni Field • Notre Dame, Ind.

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    Notre Dame carries a five-game unbeaten streak and a No. 2 national ranking into two weekend BIG EAST tilts. The Fighting Irish will face Cincinnati on Friday at 7:00 p.m. (ET) and then take on Louisville on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. The Irish are currently in first place in the BIG EAST Blue Division with a perfect 3-0 conference record.

    ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame (5-1-1, 3-0-0 BE) is off to a 3-0-0 start in BIG EAST play for the first time since joining the league in 1995 ... the Irish are ranked second nationally in every major poll ... that marks the highest ranking in program history ... Notre Dame posted a perfect 2-0 mark in BIG EAST play last weekend by registering two shutouts ... the Irish defeated Rutgers 2-0 on Friday night behind a career-best three-point game from senior Ryan Miller ... Notre Dame followed that performance with a 1-0 triumph of Villanova on Sunday ... freshman Jeb Brovsky netted the game winner in the 51st minute ... Chris Cahill was named the BIG EAST goalkeeper of the week on Monday for the second time this season ... he registered both shutouts over the weekend ... Cahill has a 4-0-1 record and a 0.39 goals-against average with a .900 save percentage ... Miller was named to the College Soccer News team of the week for his efforts against the Scarlet Knights ... senior Kurt Martin and sophomore Dave Donohue are tied for the team lead in goals with two apiece ... 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 85-34-16 (.689) at Notre Dame.

     

     

    SERIES HISTORY VERSUS CINCINNATI: Friday will mark the fifth meeting between Notre Dame and Cincinnati ... the Bearcats hold a 3-1-0 edge in the series ... Cincinnati captured a 2-1 home victory against Notre Dame last season ... the Bearcats are 2-0 at Notre Dame, including a 2-1 victory in 2005 ... Cincinnati won the first-ever matchup between the two schools, a 1-0 decision during the 1979 season at Notre Dame ... the Fighting Irish responded with a 2-1 victory the following season at Cincinnati.

    SCOUTING THE BEARCATS: Cincinnati (3-4-0, 2-0-0 BE) is tied for first in the BIG EAST Red Division ... the Bearcats went 2-0 last weekend with home wins over Georgetown (2-1) and Seton Hall (4-0) ... senior forward/midfielder Patrick Baxter is the reigning BIG EAST offensive player of the week, while goalkeeper Miguel Rosales was tabbed as the conference's rookie of the week ... he carries a 3-3-0 record with a 0.84 goals-against average and a .814 save percentage ... senior forward Kenny Anaba leads the team with five goals and 12 points ... Baxter is second on the team with three goals and seven points ... junior defender Lionel Jackson has a team-high four assists ... Cincinnati posted an 11-6-2 record last year and captured the league's Red Division title with a 7-3-1 mark ... the Bearcats fell to Northwestern, 3-0, in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament ... Cincinnati returned seven starters and 11 letterwinners from that squad ... head coach Hylton Dayes is in his seventh season at Cincinnati ... he has an overall record of 59-47-18 at the school.

    SERIES HISTORY VERSUS LOUISVILLE: Notre Dame has won all six previous encounters with Louisville ... the Fighting Irish defeated the Cardinals 2-0 last season at Louisville ... the Cardinals are 0-3-0 all time at Notre Dame.

    SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: Louisville (4-3-0, 1-1-0 BE) enters its Friday match at Marquette in a six-way tie for third in the BIG EAST Red Division ... the Cardinals split last weekend's two conference matches ... Louisville downed Seton Hall (4-0) before falling to Georgetown (1-0) ... senior forward Marco Terminesi leads the team with eight points on three goals and two assists ... he is tied for the team lead in goals along with junior midfielder Aaron Clapham ... sophomore goalkeeper David Simolike has all seven decisions ... he carries a 0.86 goals-against average and a .750 save percentage ... Louisville posted a 5-10-3 record last season, including a 4-5-2 mark in the BIG EAST to finish fifth in the Red Division ... head coach Ken Lolla is in his second season at Louisville ... he has a 9-13-3 record at the school.

    NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 72-48-12 (.591) 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's hot start in BIG EAST play ...

    "Cincinnati is coming off of two BIG EAST victories so they must be very confident coming into this game. We've played them twice since they've joined the league and they've beaten us both times so I think there's very little chance of us looking past this game."

    "We're off to a good start in the BIG EAST. In all fairness, I expected to win the games that we have, but it's still difficult to get those wins. I'm very pleased with the performances that we are putting on the field."

    NEXT UP: Notre Dame steps away from conference play with a matchup against Michigan on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at Alumni Field ... game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (ET) and the match will be aired on Comcast Local ... the Irish return to BIG EAST action by hosting West Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7:00 p.m. (ET).

    RECAPPING VILLANOVA: A goal from Jeb Brovsky in the 51st minute proved to be the difference as Notre Dame defeated Villanova 1-0 on Sunday, Sept. 23 at the VU Soccer Complex ... the Fighting Irish controlled possession in the first half and out shot Villanova 14-3 in the period ... Notre Dame had two good looks at the goal after free kicks from Jack Traynor ... the first was sent in and Cory Rellas headed it just over the crossbar ... the second was punched out by Wildcat goalkeeper Jason Friel and the rebound attempt from Joseph Lapira was saved ... Notre Dame's attack paid of with just over 35 minutes remaining in the match as Lapira played the ball to Dave Donohue and the sophomore fed Brovsky, who netted his first goal of the season ... Villanova upped the pressure late in the game, yet the Irish defense held tight to post its third straight shutout and its fourth of the season ... senior goalkeeper Chris Cahill earned his fourth win of the season by notching his second straight shutout ... he made three saves on the afternoon ... Friel made six saves for the Wildcats, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

    RECAPPING RUTGERS: A goal and an assist from senior Ryan Miller helped propel Notre Dame to a 2-0 BIG EAST victory over Rutgers in front of 6,309 fans at Yurcak Field on Friday, Sept. 21 ... Notre Dame dominated possession in the first half and out shot Rutgers 12-1 during the first period of play ... the offensive attack paid off as Miller sent a cross to Dave Donohue and the sophomore used a diving header to send the ball into the goal and give the Irish a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute ... the Irish had a couple of near misses that would have made it 2-0 late in the first half ... with just over seven minutes remaining, the Scarlet Knight goalkeeper, Matt VanOekel, came off his line and Joseph Lapira sent a shot on goal that was kicked out by a Rutgers defender ... Donohue had a blast saved with one minute left in the stanza ... the second Irish goal came in the 65th minute as Lapira played the ball across the field to Miller on the right side and he beat a defender before sending the ball low off the far post and into the back of the net ... that was the senior's first goal of the season and the second of his career ... the three-point match was a career-high total for Miller ... the Fighting Irish kept pressuring late into the match ... Kurt Martin nearly connected in the 87th minute as he sent a shot on goal that was saved by a diving VanOekel ... Rutgers had a close call with just under eight minutes remaining as Notre Dame's Chris Cahill made a diving save of his own and a rebound attempt was put wide to the right ... Cahill made four saves on the night to pick up the win ... VanOekel made seven saves in the loss ... the Irish out shot the Scarlet Knights 22-10, while also holding a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.

    WEEKLY HONORS: Seniors Ryan Miller and Chris Cahill earned accolades for helping Notre Dame to victories over Rutgers and Villanova ... Miller was named to the College Soccer News national team of the week, while Cahill was selected as the BIG EAST goalkeeper of the week ... Miller notched a career-best three-point match in the win over Rutgers ... he assisted on the first goal of the game in the 35th minute and then scored in the 65th minute to put the game away ... Cahill was tabbed as the BIG EAST goalkeeper of the week after recording shutout victories against Rutgers and Villanova ... the senior made four saves in the win over the Scarlet Knights and then had three stops against the Wildcats ... this is the second such honor for Cahill this season ... he was named the conference's goalkeeper of the week on Sept. 1 following a victory over No. 1 UCLA ... Cahill has received four weekly honors from the BIG EAST during his career.

    HIGH MARKS: Notre Dame is No. 2 in all four of this week's major polls (Soccer America, NSCAA, Soccer Times, College Soccer News) ... that signifies the highest-ever ranking in program history ... the previous high mark was third, which occurred last week and during the 2003 campaign.

    BLANKING THE COMPETITION: The Irish just completed a perfect 3-0 BIG EAST road trip by registering shutouts over Marquette (1-0), Rutgers (2-0) and Villanova (1-0) ... Notre Dame has posted four shutouts this season ... Irish goalkeepers Chris Cahill and Andrew Quinn both saw action in a 3-0 win over Rhode Island ... Quinn picked up the shutout against Marquette, while Cahill and the Irish defense held Rutgers and Villanova without a goal ... Cahill currently has a 262:04 scoreless streak.

    SHOCKING SHUTOUT: While the Irish defense has posted four shutouts this season, Notre Dame has been held without a goal just once in the past 21 matches ... 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.

    SHOOTING STARS: Notre Dame has out shot its opponents 112-73 this season ... the Irish own a 55-24 advantage in shots during the first half and a 52-46 edge in the second period.

    CORNERING THE MARKET: The Fighting Irish have a 31-19 advantage in corner kicks over their opponents, including a decisive 15-7 margin in first-half play.

    SPREADING THE WEALTH: Eight different Irish players have notched at least one goal this season ... senior Kurt Martin and sophomore Dave Donohue lead the Irish with two goals apiece, while six other players have scored once ... a total of 10 players have tallied at least one point ... Donohue (2G, 1A) and senior forward Joseph Lapira (1G, 3A) are tied for the team lead with five points each.

    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.

    TOUGH SLATE: Six of Notre Dame's 2007 regular-season opponents appear in the latest Soccer America media poll ... Connecticut is No. 3, while UCLA is ranked 10th ... the Irish opened the season with a 2-1 overtime victory against the Bruins when they were ranked No. 1 ... Michigan is 12th, while West Virginia is 14th and Indiana is 23rd ... Maryland, who topped the Irish 3-0 when the Terps were ranked seventh, is currently 24th.

    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 ... Yoshinaga has four points this season on one goal and two assists.

    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 ... he is tied for the team lead in points this season with five on one goal and a team-high three assists.

    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 82 career points rank him 11th in program history.

    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.

    IRISH ON THE SMALL SCREEN: Notre Dame will have three of its regular-season matches televised ... the Fighting Irish defeated BIG EAST-rival Rutgers, 2-0, on Fox Soccer Channel on Sept. 21 in Piscataway, N.J. ... 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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