Sept. 28, 2012
#8 NOTRE DAME
Saturday, Sept. 29 7 p.m. (ET)
Morrone Stadium Storrs, Conn.
Connecticut leads series 10-7-4
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WHUS.org (radio stream)
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#8 IRISH HEAD TO #2 UCONN FOR BIG EAST BATTLE
No. 8 Notre Dame (8-1-0, 0-1-0) will conclude its four-game road stretch on Saturday at No. 2 Connecticut (8-0-1, 1-0-0). The BIG EAST Blue Division battle is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn.
A live video broadcast will be available on UConnHuskies.com, while a live radio stream can be found on WHUS.org. Live stats via Gametracker will be available on UND.com.
Notre Dame captured a 1-0 win at No. 10 Indiana on Wednesday. Senior central defender Grant Van De Casteele headed home the game winner in the 71st minute.
Notre Dame has eight wins in its first nine matches of a season for the first time since the 1988 campaign.
The Irish have defeated three ranked opponents this season (#4 Akron, 3-1; #10 Indiana, 1-0; #21 Duke, 1-0).
Notre Dame's recent seven-game win streak was tied for the second-longest streak under head coach Bobby Clark, who took over the Fighting Irish program in 2001.
HISTORY WITH THE HUSKIES
Saturday will be the 22nd meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Connecticut. The Huskies hold a 10-7-4 edge in the series. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie last season at Alumni Stadium.
The last two showdowns between the Irish and Huskies have been scoreless draws, while the last four encounters have gone to overtime. The Irish are 1-1-2 in those matches.
The Fighting Irish are 2-7-1 all-time at Connecticut. Notre Dame's last win in Storrs was a 1-0 decision during the 2006 campaign.
Head coach Bobby Clark is 5-5-3 against Connecticut during his Fighting Irish tenure.
A LOOK AT CONNECTICUT
The Huskies will bring an 8-0-1 record into Saturday's showdown with the Irish. Connecticut is coming off a 2-0 victory at Yale on Tuesday. The Huskies opened BIG EAST play with a 3-0 win over St. John's.
The Connecticut offense is averaging 2.11 goals per game, while the defense is surrendering 0.22 goals per contest. Junior forward Mamadou Diouf has team-high totals in goals (7) and points (15). Senior forward Carlos Alvarez has a team-best five assists.
Connecticut has shutout its last four opponents. Sophomore goalkeeper Andre Blake has all nine decisions in goal and carries a 0.22 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. He has six shutouts this season.
The Huskies went 19-3-3 last season and finished third in the BIG EAST Blue Division with a 5-2-2 league mark. Connecticut fell to Charlotte in a penalty kick shootout in the quarterfinals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Head coach Ray Reid is in his 16th season at UConn.
RIGID ROAD SWING
Saturday's match will be the last of four straight road games for the Irish. The stretch began Sept. 16 with a 1-0 double-overtime victory at Michigan. Notre Dame fell at Louisville, 2-1, on Saturday and rebounded with a 1-0 win at Indiana on Wednesday.
GRANT GETS GOAL
Senior central defender Grant Van De Casteele headed in a Dillon Powers corner kick in the 71st minute in Wednesday's 1-0 win at Indiana. It was the first goal of the season for Van De Casteele and his fourth career tally.
The victory gave the Irish their first-ever three-game unbeaten streak against the Hoosiers. Notre Dame is 2-0-1 in its last three matches against Indiana, including two straight victories in Bloomington.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Notre Dame has posted five shutouts this season, including clean sheets in three of the last four matches. The Irish are allowing just 0.67 goals per game.
Fifth-year senior Will Walsh and junior Patrick Wall have split time in goal. Walsh has a 4-1 record with three shutouts, a 0.80 goals-against and a .692 save percentage. Wall is 4-0 with two shutouts, a 0.48 goals-against average and a .800 save percentage.
Seven of Notre Dame's nine matches this season have been decided by one goal. The Irish are 6-1 in those contests.
Senior forward Ryan Finley and junior forward Harrison Shipp have combined for 20 points this season. Finley leads the Irish in goals (6) and points (13), while Shipp has seven points on two goals and three assists. The assist total is tied for the team lead.
Notre Dame has scored 15 goals in its first nine games of the season. The Irish have not been shut out in the first nine games of a season for the first time since 1995. Eight different Fighting Irish players have scored a goal this season.
SECOND HALF SUCCESS
Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 11-2 in the second half and overtime this season. The 71st minute goal against Indiana was the first second-half goal allowed by the Hoosiers this season (9 games).
SOLID ON THE STAT SHEET
The Fighting Irish have outshot their opponents 161-87 this season, which includes a 64-23 advantage in shots on goal. The Irish also have earned 16 more corner kicks (57-41) than their opponents.
Senior midfielder Dillon Powers has played in 60 straight games, including 47 consecutive starts. The only five games he has missed during his Fighting Irish career were during his freshman season when he played for the U.S. at the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt.
Senior central defender Grant Van De Casteele has started 47 straight matches. He did not play during the 2009 campaign, but has not missed a game since.
Junior forward Harrison Shipp has appeared in all 47 matches during his Irish career.
The Irish have another challenging schedule this season as seven of their opponents appear in the latest Soccer America top-25 poll. Included in that group are four top-10 teams (#2 Connecticut, #3 Akron, #7 Marquette, #10 Indiana). The Irish will face Marquette twice during the regular season. Notre Dame foes Georgetown (#11), Northwestern (#18) and Louisville (#24) also appear in the rankings. Notre Dame is ranked 9th in the poll.
The Irish have defeated Akron (3-1) and Indiana (1-0). Notre Dame fell at Louisville (2-1).
SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATES
Dillon Powers (M) and Grant Van De Casteele (D) have been named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award in the men's soccer division. The Fighting Irish duo is among 30 student-athletes up for the prestigious honor.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2012 NCAA Men's College Cup, which will take place December 7 and 9 in Hoover, Ala.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
Prior to the double-overtime victory at Michigan (Sept. 16), Notre Dame's last overtime triumph was a 2-1 decision over Michigan last season at Alumni Stadium. Both games took place on Sept. 16.
BIG EAST BEST
The Irish have produced four BIG EAST player-of-the-week honorees this season. Juniors Andrew O'Malley (Aug. 27) and Luke Mishu (Sept. 17) along with sophomore Max Lachowecki (Sept. 10) have been named the league's defensive player of the week, while senior Ryan Finley (Sept. 3) was tapped as the offensive player of the week.
Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST school to have four men's soccer player-of-the-week honorees this season.
NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY
Notre Dame owns an overall record of 102-59-19 (.619) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995. The Irish have posted 11 straight winning campaigns within the league, including last season's 5-3-1 mark.
The most wins for Notre Dame in BIG EAST play is eight, which occurred in 2004 (8-1-1), 2006 (8-3) and 2009 (8-3).
The Irish have three regular-season BIG EAST titles. Notre Dame won the championship outright in 2004 and 2008 (Blue Division) and shared the Blue Division trophy with Connecticut in 2007. The Fighting Irish captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003.
BEST IN THE BERT
The Fighting Irish captured the 11th annual Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament by besting Oregon State (1-0) and Akron (3-1). It was the fifth time (`03, `05, `08, `10) that the Irish won the event, which is named after the former Notre Dame coach. Akron was the runner up, while Indiana and Oregon State finished third and fourth, respectively.
Leon Brown (Jr./F), Max Lachowecki (So./D), Dillon Powers (Sr./M) and Grant Van De Casteele (Sr./D) represented Notre Dame on the all-tournament team. Brown was the tournament's offensive MVP, while Van De Casteele was the defensive MVP. Junior Patrick Wall and senior Will Walsh were the goalkeeping co-MVP honorees.
BEASTS IN BLOOMINGTON
Wednesday's 1-0 victory at Indiana gave the Irish a 3-0 record in Bloomington, Ind., this season. Notre Dame won the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic (Aug. 31-Sept. 2) by posting wins over San Diego State (3-2) and Clemson (2-1).
It was the second time in 13 appearances that Notre Dame won the IU Classic. The Irish also won the 1993 tournament.
HAULING IN THE HARDWARE
Notre Dame has played in both the Indiana Classic and the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament in each of the last 10 seasons and this year marks the first time the Irish have won both events in the same season.
Freshman midfielder/defender Michael Shipp has joined his older brother, Harrison, this season on the Irish roster. Harrison is a junior forward.
Midfielders Dillon Powers and Michael Rose will serve as Notre Dame team captains during the 2012 campaign. Powers, a senior, will be serving as captain for the second straight season, while Rose, a fifth-year senior, is a first-time captain.
FOLLOW THE IRISH ON UND.COM
All 2012 Notre Dame home matches that are not televised can be seen live on UND.com. The streaming broadcasts are free of charge. Log on to UND.com to stay up to date on the Fighting Irish men's soccer team throughout the 2012 campaign.