Men's Soccer

Irish Prepare For Tough BIG EAST Road Games

Oct. 20, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The Notre Dame men's soccer team (8-5-2, 4-2-1) faces two tough road games this week against two of the BIG EAST's top teams. The Irish travel to Morgantown, W. Va., on Wednesday, October 20 for a 7:00 p.m. meeting with the Mountaineers who are currently second in the league standings. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad then faces 13th-ranked St. John's on Saturday, October 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Jamaica, N.Y. The Red Storm are third in the BIG EAST regular-season race.


Valparaiso: Freshmen Erich Braun (Frankfurt, Germany) and Paul Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas) each scored a goal in Notre Dame's 2-2 tie at Valparaiso. The game was halted at the 117:31 mark of the contest because of darkness. The tie is the first-ever in the series between the Irish and the Crusaders as Notre Dame had won the 26 previous matchups. Scott Daly scored both of Valparaiso's two goals, including the game-tying scor with 23 seconds remaining in regulation. He put the Crusaders up 1-0 in the game 5:26 into the contest, but the Irish countered with two quick goals at the 15:36 and 16:35 marks. Braun tied the game at 1-1 with an unassisted goal, and then Rodriguez, off a Braun assist, put Notre Dame up 2-1 59 seconds later. Notre Dame outshot Valparaiso 15-7 in the game, but Mike Sernel came up with 10 saves for the Crusaders. Irish goalkeeper Gerick Short (Mobile, Ala.) made three saves.

Villanova: Notre Dame used five different goal scorers to record its biggest BIG EAST margin of victory since joining the league in 1995 as the Irish beat Villanova 5-0. The five goals also were the most scored by Notre Dame in a BIG EAST game. Freshman Rafael Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) scored the game's first goal (and second of the season) off a Braun assist at the 16:55 mark. Another Irish rookie, Alan Lyskawa (Novi, Mich.) netted his second goal of the season at the 27:05 mark when he headed in a cross from Stephen Maio (Aurora, Ontario) at 27:05 as Notre Dame led 2-0 at the intermission. Notre Dame's next three goals were all by first-time goal scorers. Connor LaRose (Claremont, Calif.) scored his first collegiate goal off Braun's second assist of the game at 58:23. That was followed by sophomore Matt Rosso's (Churchville, Pa.) tally at 80:32 and by senior Peter Bandera's (South Bend, Ind.) score at 88:20 off an assist from Jason Jorski (Lutz, Fla.).

Rutgers: Notre Dame had its six-game unbeaten streak snapped as the Irish dropped a 1-0 decision to the 11th-ranked Scarlet Knights. Dennis Ludwig scored the game's lone goal at the 27:58 mark. The 1-0 final was the fifth straight meeting between the two schools in which the outcome was decided by the 1-0 score. Ludwig scored the goal from five yards out following a scramble in front of the net. Notre Dame outshot the Scarlet Knights 16-8 in the game.

For the second straight year, the Irish are led in scoring by a freshman. Last year it was forward Shane Walton (now a member of the Notre Dame football team), and this season, it's freshman forward Erich Braun. Braun leads the team in goals (eight), assists (five) and points (21). Prior to Notre Dame's 1-0 loss against Rutgers, he had had either a goal or an assist in five straight games. In the three games last week, he had a goal and three assists. In games against Syracuse and Providence this season, he had a pair of goals.

With Notre Dame's 5-2 victory over Eastern Michigan on September 29, head coach Mike Berticelli earned his 100th with the Irish. His current record at Notre Dame stands at 104-76-18. Just the third coach in the 22-year history of the program, Berticelli would become the second Notre Dame coach to garner 100 wins. Rich Hunter, the program's first head coach from 1977-83, produced a 128-32-8 mark during his seven-year tenure.

Notre Dame head coach Mike Berticelli is in his 10th season at Notre Dame and his 24th 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 a 104-76-18 (.571) mark at Notre Dame and is 291-131-41 (.673) overall. He coached his 450th career game against Boston College on September 4. In three of the last six seasons, his Notre Dame 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 nine seasons at the Notre Dame helm.

Notre Dame's game at St. John's on Saturday, October 23 against St. John's will mark the 200th for coach Mike Berticelli with the Irish.

Notre Dame scored just five goals in its first eight games and was shutout in three of those contests. Recently, however, the Irish have been very productive outscoring their opponents 17-5 in their last four outings. The five goals against Villanova equalled the five-goal total the Irish produced in a 5-2 victory over Eastern Michigan.

The five goals scored by Notre Dame against Villanova was the largest scoring output for the Irish in a BIG EAST game. The five-goal differential in the 5-0 win over the Wildcats was the biggest for the Irish in a conference game.


West Virginia: Notre Dame has won three straight against the Mountaineers and is 3-1 in the four-game series. The lone Irish loss came in the first-ever meeting between the two schools in Morgantown, W. Va. as Notre Dame dropped a 2-1 decision. This will be the game for Notre Dame at West Virginia.

St. John's: Notre Dame looks for its first win against the Red Storm. The Irish are 0-4-2 overall against St. John's in games played in Jamaica.

Freshmen Rafael Garcia and Alan Lyskawa scored their second goals of the 1999 campaign against Villanova. Garcia tallied the first Irish score in the 5-0 win 16:55 into the contest off an Erich Braun, while Lyskawa scored the second goal of the game off a Stephen Maio feed. Lyskawa is the second-leading scorer for the Irish with two goals and four assists (eight points). Garcia has two goals and an assist (five points).

Notre Dame will play three of its four remaining regular season games on the road. Following its two road games this week, the Irish return home for their final contest at Alumni Field on Friday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. The final regular season game will be against Seton Hall on Wednesday, November 3. That game, originally scheduled for September 17, was postponed due to inclement weather conditions.

Of the seven goals scored by the Irish last week, four were by first-time goal scorers. In Notre Dame's 2-2 tie at Valparaiso, Paul Rodriguez scored his first career goal that put the Irish up 2-1 in the contest. Against Villanova, in the 5-0 win, the final three goals scored by Notre Dame marked the first career goals for junior Connor LaRose, sophomore Matt Rosso and senior Peter Bandera.

As a team, the Irish have a 0.88 goals against average and have allowed just 14 goals in 15 games. Notre Dame has given up just three goals in six games and recorded four shutouts. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad has seven shutouts overall this season. The fewest goal allowed by a Notre Dame team was 15 in 1983 (22 games). During Mike Berticelli's tenure, the fewest goals given up by a Berticelli-coached squad is 17 (20 games) during the 1991 campaign, his second season at Notre Dame.

Seven of Notre Dame's 15 games in 1999 have been decided by a single goal. The Irish are 4-3 in those contests. Notre Dame has posted 1-0 wins over Northwestern, Boston College, Cleveland State and IUPUI. Two of three losses suffered have been in overtime - Western Michigan (1-0 at home) and Connecticut (2-1 on the road).

Graduation took its toll on the Notre Dame backfield with the losses of defenders Phil Murphy and David Cutler, central midfielder Matt Johnson and goalkeeper Greg Velho. The only returning starter in the backfield was sweeper Matt McNew, a three-year starter and second-team all-BIG EAST selection in 1998. He has started 71 of the 74 games he has played in during his Irish career, nearly double that of any other returnee in '99. Only two other players on this year's roster have started more than 25 games - Andrew Aris (41) and Ryan Cox (35).

Notre Dame finished 5-1-2 at home last season and is 7-2 in 1999 as the Irish have dropped two 1-0 decisions to Western Michigan and Rutgers. This marks the 10th year for the Irish playing at Alumni Field where Notre Dame owns a 65-22-7 mark overall for a 73.4 winning percentage.


                    BIG EAST     Overall
                    Record       Record 
 1. Rutgers         6-0-2 (14)   8-3-3
 2. West Virginia   6-2-1 (13)   10-4-1
 3. St. John's      4-1-3 (11)   8-2-3
    Georgetown      5-3-1 (11)   8-5-1
 5. Connecticut     5-2-0 (10)   9-4-0
    Syracuse        5-3-0 (10)   7-6-0
 7. NOTRE DAME      4-2-1 (9)    8-5-2
 8. Seton Hall      4-4-0 (8)    8-5-0
 9. Providence      3-6-0 (6)    4-8-1
10. Pittsburgh      1-5-2 (4)    5-6-3
11. Boston College  1-7-0 (2)    4-7-1
12. Villanova       0-9-0 (0)    2-11-0

(Week of October 18)

 1. Duke                       2
 2. Saint Louis                3
 3. Indiana                    4
 4. UCLA                       6
 5. San Diego                  8
 6. Wake Forest                7
 7. Maryland                   9
 8. Southwest Missouri State  10
 9. Penn State                 5
10. Furman                    11
11. Santa Clara                1
12. Connecticut               12
13. St. John's                13
14. Creighton                 17
15. Virginia Commonwealth     21
16. Jacksonville             T14
17. California                NR
18. Rutgers                   16
19. Akron                     19
20. Virginia                 T14 
21. Cornell                   NR
22. UMBC                      RV
23. Brown                    T23
24. Cal State Fullerton       18
25. Southern Methodist        22

(Week of October 18)

 1. Indiana                   1
 2. UCLA                      2
 3. Saint Louis               5
 4. San Diego                 8
 5. Southwest Missouri State  7 
 6. Maryland                 10
 7. Duke                      6
 8. Furman                   13
 9. Wake Forest              14
10. Rutgers                  11
11. Penn State                4
12. Creighton                15
13. Jacksonville             12
14. Connecticut              16
15. California               NR
16. Santa Clara               3
17. UMBC                     20
18. Southern Methodist        9
19. Ohio State               NR
20. St. John's               NR


(Week of Oct. 17)

 1. Indiana (11-2-0)           50
 2. Akron (8-3-2)              44
 3. Ohio State (10-4-0)        35
 4. Cincinnati (8-4-1)         34
 5. Marquette (9-5-0)          30
 6. Kentucky (9-3-1)           27
 7. Western Kentucky (11-2-0)  20
 8. Oakland (9-3-2)            18
 9. NOTRE DAME (8-5-2)         12
10. Michigan State (7-4-1)      5

Also receiving votes: UW-Milwaukee



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