October 6, 1998
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The Notre Dame men's soccer team (4-3-2, 2-2-2), ranked 22nd nationally, takes a break from BIG EAST Conference play this week with three non-league contests. The Irish host IUPUI on Tuesday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m. and then travel to the West coast for two games in California. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad plays at Santa Clara on Friday, October 9 at 7:00 p.m. and then is in action at St. Mary's on Sunday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW - Western Michigan: Notre Dame played in a school-record fifth straight overtime outing as the Irish tied Western Michigan 1-1 in Kalamazoo, Mich. The tie was the third in five games for the Irish. Western Michigan got on the scoreboard first when Evan Fonger scored from the top of the penalty box off assists from Scott Loewe and Ryan Thompson 20:13 into the contest. Scott Wells (Phoenix, Ariz.) tied the game just over five minutes later when he drilled a shot off a Shane Walton (San Diego, Calif.) feed from the right corner of the box. For just the second time in eight games, Walton was held without a goal. Notre Dame dominated the contest and had several key scoring opportunities in the second half and in the two overtime sessions. The Irish outshot the Broncos 28-13 and 11-4 in the 30 minutes of overtime. Western Michigan goalkeeper Eric Progue came up with 15 saves, a season-high by any opposing goalkeeper this season, while Greg Velho (Longwood, Fla.) had seven stops for the Irish. Prior to the tie, Notre Dame had beaten the Broncos the last seven times the two schools had played each other.
Georgetown: The Irish and Hoyas played to their fourth consecutive 2-1 final and fifth straight one-goal decision. With the loss, Notre Dame is now 1-2-2 in its last five outings. The 17th-ranked Irish could not overcome two first-half goals by Jason Partenza. Partenza scored the first of his two goals at 15:50 and then tallied what proved to be the game-winner with one second left before intermission. Ryan Cox (Broadview Hts., Ohio) scored Notre Dame's only goal off an assist from Walton at 71:42 when he dribbled the ball past two Georgetown defenders into the penalty area and beat the Georgetown goalkeeper. The Hoyas have now won two straight over the Irish after earning last season's 2-1 victory in overtime.
HEAD COACH MIKE BERTICELLI - Notre Dame head coach Mike Berticelli is in his ninth season along the Irish sidelines and 23rd as a collegiate coach. He has led Notre Dame to three of the school's four NCAA tournament appearances (1993, 1994 and 1996). In 1996, his Irish squad won the school's first-ever NCAA tournament game when it defeated second-seeded UNC Greensboro in the first round. Berticelli has an 92-67-15 (.572) mark at Notre Dame and is 279-122-38 (.672) overall. In three of the last five seasons, Irish teams have won conference tournament titles. Under Berticelli, the Irish claimed the 1996 BIG EAST tournament crown in just its second year as a member of the league with consecutive wins over ranked opponents Connecticut and Rutgers. During the 1993 and 1994 campaigns, the Irish won back-to-back MCC tournament crowns and earned berths in the NCAA tournament. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he spent six seasons (1984-89) at Old Dominion where his teams compiled a 76-27-16 record for a .706 winning percentage. Berticelli coached for four years at UNC-Greensboro (1980-83) with his teams compiling a 70-9-5 record (.863) and winning two Division III national crowns in 1982 and 1983. His first head coaching stint was at Thomas College where he coached from (1976-79) with his teams posting a 41-19-2 mark during that four-year span. The Irish have won 10-plus games in six of his eight seasons at the Notre Dame helm.
SERIES RECORD VERSUS UPCOMING OPPONENTS - IUPUI: This will be only the second-ever meeting between the two schools. The Irish won the first meeting 5-1 in Indianapolis, Ind. back in 1977, the first year men's soccer was a varsity sport at Notre Dame.
Santa Clara: Notre Dame travels for a second time to Santa Clara, Calif. for its second-ever meeting with the Broncos. The only time the two have played each other was back in 1989 when the Irish dropped a 4-0 decision on the road.
St. Mary's: This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
IRISH SET OVERTIME RECORD - Notre Dame's overtime outing against Western Michigan (which ended in a 1-1 deadlock), marked the fifth straight for the Irish which established the school record for most consecutive overtime games. The previous record for overtime games heading into this sesaon was four set during the 1987 season. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad is 1-1-3 in overtime games this season. Two of the ties this season have been at Alumni Field. In 1997, Notre Dame played six overtime games throughout the campaign and were 1-3-2 in those contests. Notre Dame's lone overtime victory last season was against TCU (4-3) on October 5.
WALTON'S HEROICS - Just nine games into his rookie season, freshman Shane Walton has had his hand in two game-winning scores and a game-tying goal. The first of s two game-winning goals came in Notre Dame's 1-0 victory over Northwestern on September 8. The second was just over a week later when tallied the game-winner in overtime in the 2-1 Irish victory at Villanova on September 20. Walton scored the lone goal for the Irish in the 1-1 tie with St. John's. He has been named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week three times this season..
OFF AND RUNNING - Nine games into the season, Shane Walton has clearly emerged as one of the nation's top freshmen. The 5-11 forward leads the team in scoring with seven goals and five assists (19 points) and has scored at least one goal in six of Notre Dame's first nine games. He has been held without a goal or an assist in only one game this season (Rutgers) . Walton has had one multiple-goal game and two multiple-point games. His first multiple-point performance was against Valparaiso in the season opener when he tallied twice and also dished off two assists. His second came in Notre Dame's 2-2 tie with Pittsburgh on September 13.
COX A BIG FACTOR IN THE LINEUP - Junior Ryan Cox (Broadview Hts, Ohio), who missed all but the first two games of the 1997 campaign, has been an impact player for the Irish this season. Currently, he is second in the Irish scoring column with three goals and a team-leading six assists (12 points) and has had a goal or an assist in six of Notre Dame's first nine games. Cox scored Notre Dame's lone goal in the 2-1 loss at Georgetown on Saturday.
IRISH LOOK TO GET OVER THE HUMP - After starting the season with a 3-0-1 mark in its first four games, Notre Dame is 1-2-2 in its last five outings.
HOME SWEET HOME - Notre Dame is 2-0-2 at home this season at Alummi Field. The 1998 campaign marks the ninth season for the Irish playing at Alumni Field. Since 1990, Notre Dame has won 72.2 percent of its games there, compiling a 55-19-7 record. Alumni Field has not been a friendly place for Irish opponents the past three-plus seasons, although Coach Mike Berticelli's squad somewhat struggled at home in 1997 winning just six of 10 games. The four losses represented the most for a Notre Dame team at Alumni Field in eight years. Four of the six wins, however, were shutouts. The previous season, 1996, the Irish had a 7-1-2 mark at home after posting an 8-3 record during the 1995 campaign. Notre Dame won a school-record 11 wins in 1994 en route to an 11-3-1 mark. Berticelli's team recorded eight shutouts in 1996, six of which were at home.
CLOSE CALLS - Notre Dame had 11 games in 1997 that were decided by a single goal and were 4-7 in those contests. Four of this year's first nine outings have been one-goal decisions. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad is 2-2 in one-goal games. Notre Dame beat Northwestern (1-0) and Villanova (2-1 in overtime), lost road games to Rutgers (1-0 in overtime) and Georgetown (2-1).
TRAVELIN MEN - Notre Dame has eight games remaining in the regular season, four at home and four on the road. Following its Oct. 6 home outing against IUPUI, the Irish are not at home again until the 16th of this month when they host Connecticut, followed by another BIG EAST test two days later against Seton Hall on October 18.
VELHO HAS BEEN STRONG IN GOAL - Greg Velho has 42 saves overall this season (4.7 per game) and 38 in six BIG EAST games (6.3 per game). He tied his career best with 12 saves in Notre Dame's 1-1 tie with St. John's on September 26. The only other time he registered 12 saves in a game was in the second round of '96 NCAA tournament in a 1-0 loss to UNC Charlotte. This season, he has a 0.99 overall goals against average and .808 save percentage. Velho has 39 saves overall with 36 coming in the five BIG EAST games the Irish have played thus far. He is averaging 7.0 saves in his last six games.
WALTON AND COX ARE A SCORING COMBINATION - The combination of Shane Walton and Ryan Cox (Broadview Hts, Ohio) has appeared prominently on the Irish scoresheet this season. Together, the duo has been involved in eight of the 17 goals scored by the team this season. They are both one-two in the Irish scoring column with 31 of the team's 53 points. Walton and Cox have combined for 10 goals and 11 of Notre Dame's 19 assists.
IRONMAN - Matt Johnson (Livermore, Calif.) has played in all 72 games throughout his career and has made starting appearances in 71 of those contests. The only start he has missed was against Georgetown during the 1995 season. Johnson dished off his first assist of the '98campaign when he and teammate Ryan Cox combined in Shane Walton's scoring effort in the 1-0 win over Northwestern.
IRONMAN II - Since midway through the 1996 campaign, four-year starter Greg Velho has played every minute of every contest spanning Notre Dame's last 41 outings. He has played 3,916 consecutive minutes in goal. With a shoulder injury to Gerick Short (Mobile, Ala.) this season, he is the only goalkeeper in the Irish lineup. Velho has not been replaced in the lineup since the Irish beat Western Illinois 6-0 on October 11, 1996.
BIG EAST WELL REPRESENTED IN POLLS - For the third time this season, the BIG EAST Conference has five teams ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Poll. Notre Dame, which was 17th a week, is tied for 22nd this week with Conference foe Rutgers. For the second straight week, Connecticut is the top-ranked team. St. John's fell two spots to 10th, while Georgetown moved into the rankings at number 11. Seton Hall dropped one place to 14th.
1998 BIG EAST STANDINGS
Others receiving votes: Ohio State, Michigan State, Wright State
IRISH IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: