Oct. 15, 2008
#9 Notre Dame (8-3-1) vs. #22 Indiana (6-4-2)
Two key matches await the ninth-ranked Notre Dame men's soccer team this week. The Fighting Irish will travel down state to face No. 22 Indiana on Thursday, Oct. 16. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Notre Dame returns home for a BIG EAST Blue Division showdown with Providence on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 1:00 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Field. The Irish are currently in first place in the Blue Division, while the Friars are tied for second.
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 ... Sunday's match against Providence can be seen live on und.com ... simply go to the front page of und.com and click on the `Live Events' tab and select the game to view the broadcast ... 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 (8-3-1, BE 4-1-1) is coming off two home wins last week over Michigan State (3-0) and Pittsburgh (4-1) ... the Fighting Irish are currently in first place in the BIG EAST Blue Division ... the Irish have 13 points in league play, while Connecticut and Providence both have 10 points ... the Irish are averaging 2.50 goals per game, which ranks second nationally ... the Fighting Irish are allowing 1.00 goals per game ... senior forward Bright Dike has scored a goal in six straight matches ... Dike leads the team in goals (9) and total points (21) ... senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn has started 11 games ... he carries a 0.81 goals-against average and a .827 save percentage with five shutouts ... 10 different players have scored a goal for Notre Dame this season ... Notre Dame is ranked in the top 25 of the four major national polls this week ... the Irish peak at No. 9 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) rankings ... Notre Dame is 11th according to Soccer Times ... Notre Dame is 14th in the College Soccer News rankings ... the Irish are 16th in the Soccer America poll ... head coach Bobby Clark is in his eighth season with the Irish ... he has a 102-41-21 (.686) record during his Notre Dame tenure.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS INDIANA: Notre Dame and Indiana will renew the instate rivalry with the 29th meeting on Thursday ... this will be the eighth straight year that both teams have met ... the Hoosiers hold a 22-5-1 advantage in the series ... Notre Dame is 4-4-0 against Indiana in the Bobby Clark era ... in their last meeting, the Hoosiers claimed a 3-2 victory at Notre Dame last season ... the Irish are 3-11-1 all-time against the Hoosiers in Bloomington, Ind. ... Notre Dame claimed a 5-4 overtime victory against the Hoosiers in the last match at Indiana, which came during the 2006 season ... the series began during the 1978 campaign, a 7-1 win for Indiana in Bloomington.
THE LAST TIME: Indiana topped Notre Dame, 3-2, last season at Alumni Field ... the Irish were ranked fourth at the time of the meeting, while the Hoosiers were 12th ... Notre Dame jumped ahead in the fifth minute behind a goal from Joseph Lapira ... Indiana grabbed the lead with scores from Rich Balchan (18:00) and Kevin Noschang (70:46) ... Lapira deposited the equalizer in the 74th minute before Neil Wilmarth scored the game winner seven minutes later.
SCOUTING THE HOOSIERS: Indiana will carry a 6-4-2 record into Thursday's match against the Irish ... the Hoosiers are coming off a 2-0 setback to Michigan State on Oct. 12 ... the Hoosiers are ranked 22nd in this week's Soccer Times poll and they are 25th according to College Soccer News ... Indiana is averaging 1.33 goals per game, while surrendering 1.25 per game ... Will Bruin has team-high totals in goals (4) and total points (8) ... Eric Alexander and Rich Balchan both lead the team with three assists apiece ... Chay Cain has started all 12 games in goal and carries a 1.20 goals-against average and a .674 save percentage ... Cain has four shutouts on the season ... last season, Indiana posted a 13-4-5 record and won the Big Ten title with a 4-0-2 league mark ... Indiana was eliminated by Bradley on penalty kicks in the second round of last season's NCAA Championships ... the Hoosiers returned nine starters and 21 letter-winners from that squad ... head coach Mike Freitag is in his fifth season at the helm of the Hoosier program.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS PROVIDENCE: Notre Dame and Providence will tangle for the 14th time on Sunday ... the Fighting Irish hold a 10-2-1 lead in the series ... the two teams played to a 2-2 draw last season in Providence ... prior to that, Notre Dame had won the last six meetings between the two schools ... the last Friar win was a 3-1 decision in 2000 at Providence ... the Friars are 0-5-0 all-time at Notre Dame ... during the last meeting at Notre Dame, the Irish came away with a 3-0 victory over the Friars ... the first encounter in the series came during the 1995 season, which was Notre Dame's inaugural campaign in the BIG EAST Conference ... the Irish prevailed 1-0 at home ... the Fighting Irish have out scored the Friars 28-9 in the series.
THE LAST TIME: The Fighting Irish and Friars played to a 2-2 draw last season at Providence ... Notre Dame was ranked seventh at the time of the match, while Providence was unranked ... the Irish got on the board first with a goal from Matt Besler in the 27th minute ... the Friars knotted the score on a Nick Cianci goal right before halftime ... Ryan Miller put Notre Dame on top in the 65th minute, yet Matt Marcin deposited the equalizer at the 82:39 mark of the contest.
SCOUTING THE FRIARS: Providence will take a 5-4-3 record into its match against Bryant on Wednesday ... the Friars are tied for second place in the BIG EAST Blue Division with a 3-4-1 record ... Providence is averaging 0.67 goals per game, while allowing 0.75 per contest ... the Friars have gained twice as many corner kicks as their opponents (84-42) ... Timothy Ritter and Matt Marcin share the team lead in goals with two apiece ... Ritter has a team-best six points, while Ryan Maduro leads the squad with three assists ... Timothy Murray, the reigning BIG EAST goalkeeper of the week, has started all 12 games this season ... he boasts a 0.71 goals-against average and a .809 save percentage to go along with seven shutouts ... Friar freshman Chris Stoker was named this week's BIG EAST rookie of the week ... Providence went 9-8-2 last season and posted a 5-4-2 league mark to finish fourth in the Blue Division ... the Friars fell to Old Dominion, 1-0, in the first round of the NCAA Championships last season ... head coach Chaka Daley is in his ninth season at Providence.
IRISH THOUGHTS: Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark shares his thoughts on this week's matches against Indiana and Providence ...
"We've seen Indiana play a few times this year because we played down at their tournament and they played up at ours earlier in the season. They are a very good team and they are similar to us. This will be a big test for us because they always work really hard. They are coming off a loss so they'll be ready for us. This will be a great opportunity because it will have the feel of a road (NCAA) tournament game. It will be a fantastic opportunity to give our guys a chance to play in that environment. It will be especially good for some of our younger guys who haven't had a chance yet to play in an environment like that."
"Providence will be another good test for us. They are right behind us in the Blue Division so they will be looking to move up. It's an opportunity for them, but it's also an opportunity for us to distance ourselves from a close rival."
NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY: Notre Dame owns an overall record of 80-49-17 (.606) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995 ... 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).
BESLER AND DIKE EARN LEAGUE HONORS: Seniors Matt Besler and Bright Dike both garnered weekly honors from the BIG EAST Conference on Oct. 13 for their roles in helping Notre Dame post a 2-0 record last week, while out scoring opponents 7-1 ... Besler was named the league's defensive player of the week, while Dike, a forward, was selected to the weekly honor roll ... Besler netted his first goal of the season in the 4-1 win over Pittsburgh and he also aided an Irish defense that surrendered just one goal (an own goal) in 180 minutes of play ... Dike tallied five points on the week with two goals and one assist ... the senior forward recorded a goal and an assist in a 3-0 victory over Michigan State and followed that up with a goal against Pittsburgh to up his personal-best goal streak to six games.
BESLER GAINS NATIONAL RECOGNITION: Matt Besler was named to the Soccer America national team of the week on Oct. 14 ... Besler scored the equalizer in the 23rd minute in a 4-1 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday (Oct. 11) ... the Kansas native helped hold Michigan State's Doug DeMartin, who entered play as the nation's second-leading scorer, to just one shot in a 3-0 win over the Spartans last Wednesday (Oct. 8) ... as a team, Michigan State was averaging 2.33 goals per game before being held scoreless by the Irish.
UP NEXT: Notre Dame will hit the road next week for two BIG EAST matches beginning with a date at Seton Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 22 ... the Irish will then travel to Connecticut to face the Huskies on Saturday, Oct. 25 ... both games are slated to begin at 7:00 p.m. (ET).
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 102-41-21 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 255-104-46 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 2-0 on the week overall and 1-0 in BIG EAST play ... the Irish snapped a two-game losing streak with a 3-0 non-conference win over Michigan State on Wednesday, Oct. 8 ... senior forward Bright Dike (1g, 1a) and junior midfielder Michael Thomas (1g, 1a) both notched three-points in the victory over the Spartans ... sophomore forward Jeb Brovsky also added a goal in the victory ... the Fighting Irish returned to league play with a 4-1 triumph of Pittsburgh on Saturday, Oct. 11 ... Notre Dame used goals from four different players in the win over the Panthers ... Dike scored against Pittsburgh to extend his personal-best goal streak to six games ... senior defender Matt Besler netted his first goal of the season in the Pittsburgh match, while freshman midfielder Brendan King deposited the first goal of his collegiate career ... Dave Donohue also found the back of the net for his fifth goal of the campaign ... senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn was in goal for both wins on the week.
IRISH OFFENSE AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Notre Dame offense ranks second among all NCAA Division I teams by averaging 2.50 goals per game ... Notre Dame has scored 30 goals so far this season after tallying 36 all of last season.
STREAKING: Bright Dike is currently riding a six-game goal streak ... the stretch began in a 3-0 win over Syracuse on Sept. 21 ... the last Irish player to notch a goal in six straight contests was Joseph Lapira, who scored in seven straight games in 2006 en route to winning the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy.
DOMINATION FROM DIKE: Bright Dike has team-high totals in goals (9) and points (21) ... those are both single-season career-high numbers for the senior ... his three assists also are a career-best mark ... Dike ranks in a tie for 21st among all NCAA Division I men's players by averaging 0.75 goals per game ... that figure ranks him first in the BIG EAST Conference ... he also leads the Fighting Irish with 54 shots.
THOMAS PROVIDING PRODUCTION: Junior midfielder Michael Thomas has notched a point in eight of 12 games this season ... that ties him with Bright Dike for the most games with a point this season for the Irish ... Thomas is second on the team in goals (6) and points (16), while his four assists place him in a three-way tie for first on the squad ... those are all single-season career-best marks for Thomas.
OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: The Fighting Irish have combined to score 28 goals during their six wins this season ... Notre Dame has scored at least three goals in seven games and the Irish have reached the four-goal plateau on four occasions.
WIDE MARGINS: Eight of Notre Dame's 12 games this season have been decided by three or more goals ... the Irish are 7-1 in those contests.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Six 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 ... all three tallies in a 3-0 win over Michigan State on Oct. 8 came from different players ... Notre Dame followed that performance with a 4-1 triumph of Pittsburgh on (Oct. 11) in which all four goal scorers were different ... the Irish have received at least one goal from 10 different players this season ... a total of 11 players have tallied at least one point on the year.
STRONG STARTS: The Fighting Irish have out scored their opponents 13-3 in the first half this season ... Notre Dame did not surrender a first-half goal until the 10th game of the season (Michigan) ... the Fighting Irish have out shot opponents 99-50 during the first period of play this season.
SHUTTING DOWN THE COMPETITION: Senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn and the Fighting Irish defense have notched five shutouts this season ... earlier this season, Quinn saw his personal-best scoreless stretch come to an end against Louisville (Sept. 28) 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 up until that point.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: The win over Pittsburgh on Oct. 11 improved Notre Dame's home record to 6-0-1 this season ... for the second straight year, the Irish are undefeated at home through the first seven games of the season.
RPI RANKINGS: Notre Dame is sixth in the latest RPI rankings ... there are four teams in the BIG EAST Conference that appear in the top-10 of the RPI ... St. John's is No. 1, while Louisville is fourth, the Irish are sixth and South Florida is 10th ... the BIG EAST is the only league with four teams among the top 10 of the RPI.
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 seven teams ranked in the most recent Soccer America top-25 poll that appear on Notre Dame's 2008 slate ... Akron (3), St. John's (5), South Florida (9) and Louisville (10) are in the top 10, while Michigan (11) Connecticut (20) and Georgetown (25t) also appear in the rankings ... Notre Dame is currently 16th in the Soccer America rankings.
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 81 games, including 64 starts, during his Notre Dame career ... he has tallied 16 points on five 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 126-38-18 (.742) 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.