Sept. 30, 2008
#8 Notre Dame (6-2-1) vs. Michigan (6-2-2)
The Notre Dame men's soccer team will face another challenging pair of games this week. The eighth-ranked Fighting Irish step away from conference play for a date with Michigan on Wednesday, Oct. 1. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m. (ET) at Eastern Michigan University's Scicluna Field. The match was originally scheduled to take place in Ann Arbor, Mich., yet the location and kickoff time had to be changed. Notre Dame returns to BIG EAST play with a home tilt against No. 24 Georgetown on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 1:00 p.m. (ET).
HOW TO FOLLOW: Both Irish matches this week can be followed via Gametracker on und.com ... simply go to the men's soccer page on und.com and click on `Schedule' and select the game to follow ... you also can follow the Fighting Irish by signing up for `Irish Alert' on und.com to receive text message score updates.
ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame (6-2-1, BE 3-1-1) saw an end to its seven-game unbeaten streak in Sunday's 2-1 overtime setback at Louisville on Sept. 28 ... the Fighting Irish are currently in first place in the BIG EAST Blue Division ... the Irish have 10 points in league play, while Connecticut has nine and Georgetown has seven ... the loss to Louisville also snapped Notre Dame's 15-game BIG EAST regular-season unbeaten streak ... the Irish are averaging 2.44 goals per game, while allowing 0.89... senior forward Bright Dike leads the team in goals (6) and total points (14) ... junior midfielder Dave Donohue has a team-high four assists ... senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn has started all nine games ... he carries a 0.87 goals-against average and a .818 save percentage with three shutouts ... Notre Dame is ranked in the top 25 of the four major national polls ... the Irish peak at No. 8 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll and they are 10th according to College Soccer News and Soccer Times ... Notre Dame is 14th in the Soccer America rankings ... eight different players have scored a goal for Notre Dame this season ... head coach Bobby Clark is in his eighth season with the Irish ... he has a 100-40-21 (.686) record during his Notre Dame tenure.
VENUE CHANGE: The site and game time for Wednesday's game between Notre Dame and Michigan was moved to a 4:30 p.m. (ET) start at Eastern Michigan University's Scicluna Field in Ypsilanti, Mich. due to ongoing construction of the new U-M Soccer Complex ... the contest was originally scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. (ET) kickoff in Ann Arbor, Mich.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS MICHIGAN: The Fighting Irish and Wolverines have squared off seven times on the pitch, with Notre Dame holding a 6-0-1 edge in the series ... Notre Dame downed Michigan, 3-0, last season at Alumni Field ... the tie in the series came during the 2003 NCAA Championships Round of 16 and Michigan advanced on penalty kicks, 4-3 ... Notre Dame and Michigan first met in 1977 ... the Irish won that contest, 4-2, at home ... Notre Dame owns an 18-6 scoring advantage in the series.
THE LAST TIME: Notre Dame defeated Michigan, 3-0, last season at Alumni Field ... the Fighting Irish were ranked third at the time of the meeting, while the Wolverines were 16th ... all of Notre Dame's goals came within the first 28:14 of the match ... Ryan Miller scored two goals for the Irish ... Cory Rellas also added a score in the winning effort ... goalkeeper Chris Cahill made seven saves in the shutout.
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES: Michigan will bring a 6-2-2 record into Wednesday's match against Notre Dame ... the Wolverines are coming off a 1-1 tie at Wisconsin in their Big Ten opener on Sept. 27 ... Michigan is averaging 2.30 goals per game, while allowing 1.50 ... Mauro Fuzetti leads the team in goals (6) and points (14) ... Jake Stacy and Perica Marosevic both have five goals on the season ... Patrick Sperry has started all 10 games in goal and carries a 1.51 goals against average and a .634 save percentage ... he has notched two shutouts on the season ... Michigan went 10-7-2 last season ... the Wolverines went 0-4-2 in the Big Ten to finish seventh ... Michigan returned 18 letter-winners from that squad ... head coach Steve Burns is in his eighth season at Michigan.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS GEORGETOWN: Notre Dame and Georgetown will be meeting for the 19th time on Sunday ... the Fighting Irish own a 9-7-2 edge in the series ... the two squads played to a scoreless draw last season at Georgetown ... the Hoyas are 3-6-0 all-time at Notre Dame ... the Irish grabbed a 4-1 victory during the last meeting at Notre Dame, which came during the 2006 season ... the first meeting between the two schools occurred in 1982, a 0-0 tie in Rochester, N.Y. ... both teams have met every season since 1995, Notre Dame's first in the BIG EAST Conference ... Notre Dame holds a 31-24 scoring edge in the series.
THE LAST TIME: Notre Dame and Georgetown played to a scoreless draw last season in Washington, D.C. ... the match was the regular-season finale for the Irish, who were ranked ninth at the time of the meeting ... Chris Cahill made two saves for Notre Dame.
SCOUTING THE HOYAS: Georgetown will take a 7-2-1 record into Sunday's game at Notre Dame ... the Hoyas are third in the BIG EAST Blue Division with a 2-2-1 league mark ... Georgetown is coming off a scoreless tie at Villanova on Sept. 28 ... the Hoyas are averaging 1.70 goals per game, while allowing 0.40 per game ... Georgetown has registered seven shutouts this season ... Peter Grasso leads the Hoyas with four goals ... Seth C'deBaca and Chandler Diggs both have two goals ... Matthew Brutto and Mark Wilber have split time in goal this season ... Brutto has notched a shutout in all five games in which he has played this season ... he possesses a 3-0-1 record ... Wilber has a 3-2-0 mark with a 0.79 goals-against average and a .846 save percentage ... he has two shutouts ... last season, Georgetown went 7-11-1, including a 5-5-1 mark in the BIG EAST Blue Division ... eight starters and 20 letter-winners are back from that squad ... head coach Brian Wiese is in his third season with the Hoyas.
IRISH-HOYAS CONNECTION: Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese spent five seasons (2001-05) at Notre Dame as an assistant for Bobby Clark before moving on to head the Hoya program ... prior to that, Clark and Wiese were together for five years at Stanford.
NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 79-49-17 (.603) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995 ... the Fighting Irish saw an end to their program-record 15-game unbeaten streak within regular-season BIG EAST play with Sunday's 2-1 overtime setback at Louisville ... Notre Dame went 10-0-5 in that stretch ... prior to Sunday, the last conference loss was a 2-1 defeat at West Virginia on Oct. 18, 2006 ... the Irish have posted seven straight winning seasons within the conference, including last season's 7-0-4 mark ... Notre Dame tied Connecticut for the 2007 BIG EAST Blue Division title ... that signified the second regular-season BIG EAST championship for the Fighting Irish, with the first coming in 2004 ... the Fighting Irish captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003 ... Notre Dame's high-water mark for BIG EAST victories in a season is eight, which has been reached twice (2004 & 2006).
IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on the two matches that await the Irish this week ...
"Wednesday's game will be very difficult for us. They (Michigan) are a Big Ten team and any Big Ten opponent is going to be a challenge. That league is similar to ours. This is also a regional rivalry and those always have NCAA (Tournament) implications so this game will be of significant importance."
"We'll then bounce back into BIG EAST play with Georgetown on Sunday. They (Georgetown) are really flying high this year. They are also in the (BIG EAST) Blue Division with us so this game will have a direct bearing on where we end up."
UP NEXT: Notre Dame returns to action with a non-conference home tilt against Michigan State on Wednesday, Oct. 8 ... game time is slated for 7:00 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Field.
CLARK REACHES THE CENTURY MARK WITH THE IRISH: Notre Dame's 3-0 victory at Cincinnati on Sept. 26 marked the 100th win for head coach Bobby Clark during his Fighting Irish tenure ... Clark is in his eighth season at the helm of the Notre Dame program and he has compiled a record of 100-40-21 at the school ... he is third on Notre Dame's career wins list ... Rich Hunter (1977-83) is first with 128 wins, while Mike Berticelli (1990-99) is second with 104 ... during his collegiate coaching career, Clark has a 253-103-46 record ... the Scotland native is in his 22nd season of college soccer ... prior to coming to Notre Dame, Clark went 71-21-12 from 1996-2000 at Stanford ... he posted a mark of 82-42-13 during a nine-year stint at Dartmouth from 1985-1993.
LAST WEEK: Notre Dame went 1-1-0 in BIG EAST play over the weekend ... the Irish defeated Cincinnati, 3-0, on Friday (Sept. 26) ... that marked the third straight shutout for senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn and the Fighting Irish defense ... the Irish used three different goal scorers to top the Bearcats ... Tamba Samba put the Irish up in the 57th minute on an assist from Steven Perry ... Michael Thomas gave Notre Dame a 2-0 advantage in the 73rd minute on assists from Justin Morrow and Bright Dike ... Dike then put a cap on the match with a score in the 88th minute ... the Irish then fell at Louisville, 2-1, in overtime on Sunday (Sept. 28) ... Dike gave the Irish a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute ... the Cardinals converted on a penalty kick with 48 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime ... Louisville netted the golden goal in the 95th minute.
IRISH OFFENSE AMONG NATION'S BEST: Notre Dame is averaging 2.44 goals per game, which ranks 10th nationally ... the average places the Irish first in the BIG EAST ... Notre Dame has scored 22 goals so far this season ... the Irish tallied 36 goals last season and averaged 1.43 goals per game.
DOMINATION FROM DIKE: Bright Dike was named to the BIG EAST weekly honor roll following his five-point weekend (2g, 1a) against Cincinnati and Louisville ... Dike has tallied a goal in three straight contests for the Irish ... that is a career-best streak for the senior forward ... Dike has team-high totals in goals (6) and points (14) ... those are both single-season career-high numbers for the senior ... he also leads the Fighting Irish with 41 shots.
THOMAS PROVIDING PRODUCTION: Junior midfielder Michael Thomas has notched a point in six of the nine games this season ... he is second on the team with four goals and is tied for second with 12 points ... those are both single-season career-best marks ... Thomas registered a single-game career-high three points on a goal and an assist in the win over Marquette on Sept. 11.
OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: The Fighting Irish have combined to score 21 goals during their six wins this season ... Notre Dame has scored at least three goals in five games this season and the Irish have reached the four-goal plateau in three of their first nine games this season ... Dave Donohue's hat trick against Marquette was the first for an Irish player since Joseph Lapira's four-goal effort in a 5-4 overtime win against Indiana on Sept. 3, 2006.
STRONG STARTS: The Irish have out scored their opponents 10-0 in the first half this season ... Notre Dame owns a 12-7 scoring edge in the second half of play.
SUPER SUNDAYS: Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 13-2 in its four Sunday contests this season ... the Fighting Irish topped Duke, 4-1, on Sunday, Aug. 31 at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic ... Notre Dame bested South Florida, 5-0, on Sunday, Sept. 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament ... the Fighting Irish defeated Syracuse, 3-0, on Sunday, Sept. 21 ... Notre Dame fell at Louisville in overtime, 2-1, on Sunday, Sept. 28.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Four times this season the Irish have had at least three different players score a goal in a game ... Notre Dame used four different goal scorers in a 4-1 win over Duke on Aug. 31 ... the Irish had five players notch a goal in a 5-0 triumph of South Florida on Sept. 7 ... Notre Dame used three different goal scorers in a 3-0 victory over Syracuse on Sept. 21 ... the Irish had three separate scorers in a 3-0 win at Cincinnati on Sept. 26 ... the Irish have received at least one goal from eight different players this season ... a total of 10 players have tallied at least one point on the year.
SHUTTING OUT THE COMPETITION: Senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn upped his personal-best shutout streak to three games in the win over Cincinnati on Sept. 26 ... he saw his personal-best scoreless stretch come to an end against Louisville as the Irish surrendered a penalty kick in the 90th minute ... the streak lasted 385:07 ... overall, the Irish defense had held opponents scoreless for 395:12.
TAKING DOWN A TOP-10: Notre Dame has defeated a top-10 team in each of the past nine seasons, including the win over fifth-ranked South Florida (Sept. 7) this season ... the Irish downed two top-10 squads last season ... Notre Dame defeated top-ranked UCLA, 2-1 in overtime, in the '07 season opener and later topped No. 3 Santa Clara, 2-0, in the third round of the NCAA Championships.
IRISH VS. RANKED FOES: Notre Dame is 1-2-1 against teams ranked at the time of the meeting so far this season ... the Irish defeated South Florida, 5-0, on Sep. 7 when the Bulls were ranked fifth ... Notre Dame played fifth-ranked St. John's to a scoreless draw on Sept. 19 ... the Irish fell to No. 12 Akron, 3-0, in the season opener on Aug. 29 ... Notre Dame suffered a 2-1 overtime setback at No. 19 Louisville on Sept. 28.
TOUGH SLATE: The Irish are facing another challenging schedule this season ... there are eight teams ranked in the most recent Soccer America top-25 poll that appear on Notre Dame's 2008 slate ... St. John's (2), Connecticut (4), Akron (8) and South Florida (9) are in the top 10, while Louisville (13), Indiana (17), Duke (24) and Georgetown (25t) also appear in the rankings ... Notre Dame is currently 14th in the Soccer America rankings.
NO LOSING STREAKS: Notre Dame has 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 to No. 16 Clemson, 4-0 ... both of those matches occurred at the Umbro/Spinx Furman Invitational in Greenville, S.C. ... Notre Dame followed up this season's first loss, a 3-0 setback against Akron, with a 4-1 win over Duke ... the Irish will look to rebound from their 2-1 overtime loss at Louisville (Sept. 28) against Michigan on Wednesday.
BESLER A LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATE: Senior defender Matt Besler is one of 30 national candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in the men's soccer division ... the award is presented annually to an NCAA Division I men's senior soccer player who excels both on and off the field ... candidates were selected based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete ... a national media committee will select 10 finalists in October.
BESLER TABBED AS A PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Matt Besler, a senior defender, has been named a second-team preseason All-American by Soccer America and College Soccer News ... these are the first such national accolades for the team tri-captain ... as a junior, Besler was named an NSCAA Scholar All-American in addition to taking home second-team all-BIG EAST honors for the second consecutive season ... Besler has played in 78 games, including 61 starts, during his Notre Dame career ... he has tallied 14 points on four goals and six assists.
BIG EAST ACCOLADES FOR BESLER: Senior defender Matt Besler was named to the 2008 BIG EAST All-Preseason Team ... this marked the second straight season that he has been named to the all-league preseason squad ... Besler has been a second-team all-BIG EAST pick the last two seasons.
NOTRE DAME PICKED SECOND IN BLUE DIVISION: Notre Dame was selected to finish second in the BIG EAST Blue Division for the 2008 season ... the Irish garnered 99 points in voting by the league's head coaches, while Connecticut received 112 points ... Connecticut totaled 14 first-place votes in the Blue Division, while Notre Dame had two ... South Florida was tabbed to win the league's Red Division and Louisville was picked to finish second.
COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS WATCH LISTS: Three Notre Dame freshmen were named to the College Soccer News `100 freshmen to keep an eye on' list for the 2008 season ... (M/F) Brendan King, (M/F) Michael Rose and (GK) Will Walsh 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 12th nationally by College Soccer News ... (M/F) Brendan King, (M/D) Aaron Maund, (D) Sean McGrath, (M) Adam Mena, (M/F) Michael Rose, (M/D) Chris Sutton and (GK) Will Walsh make up the talented crop of Fighting Irish rookies.
IRISH NAME TRI-CAPTAINS: Fifth-year senior Alex Yoshinaga will serve as a team tri-captain for the second straight season ... senior defender Matt Besler will also be a tri-captain for the second time and junior midfielder Michael Thomas is the third captain for Notre Dame ... he is a first-time captain.
RECAPPING `07: In 2007, Notre Dame posted a 14-5-5 record and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championships for the second straight season ... the Irish fell at eventual national champion Wake Forest, 1-0, in overtime during the quarterfinals ... the Fighting Irish won a share of the 2007 BIG EAST Blue Division title ... Notre Dame tied Connecticut in points, but the Irish were the only team to go undefeated in league play as they posted a 7-0-4 mark ... the Fighting Irish averaged 1.43 goals per game last season, while surrendering just 0.83 ... the Irish peaked at a program-best No. 2 in the national rankings on Sept. 24 ... departed seniors Joseph Lapira (F) and Ryan Miller (M/D) both copped All-America honors for the Irish in 2007 ... Lapira led the Irish in both goals (9) and points (28) for the third straight season ... he also had a team-high 10 assists in '07.
ALUMNI FIELD FAREWELL: The 2008 campaign will mark the final season for the Fighting Irish at Alumni Field, which has been home to the Notre Dame men's soccer team since 1990 ... the Irish will begin play in a new $5.7 million state-of-the-art facility starting in 2009 ... in 18-plus seasons at Alumni Field, the Irish have won 74 percent of their contests by posting a 124-38-18 home record.
A NEW PITCH: The Notre Dame men's and women's soccer teams will begin play in a new $5.7 million state-of-the-art facility starting in 2009 ... plans for the stadium include a lighted facility that will feature a natural grass field, locker rooms, restrooms, concession areas and 2,000 seats ... the stadium will reside just east of the Joyce Center on the Notre Dame campus ... the lead benefactors for the facility are former Irish men's soccer players Tom Crotty and Rob Snyder.
PARKING CHANGES: Due to ongoing construction within the Notre Dame Athletics Quad, parking for Irish soccer games this year is limited to the Eck Baseball Stadium and Joyce Center lots ... fans are asked to walk around the south end of Eck Stadium, then proceed north between the stadium's right-field wall and the soccer practice field before entering at the south end of Alumni Field.
SIGN UP FOR IRISH ALERT TEXT MESSAGE SERVICE: Go to und.com and 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.