November 3, 1998
NOTRE DAME, IND. -- The Notre Dame men's soccer team earned the seventh seed in the 1998 BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship. The Irish, after their 2-0 win on October 30 against West Virginia, have a 9-5-3 overall, while finishing with a 5-4-2 mark in league play. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad will play its quarterfinal game at 10th-ranked St. John's (10-4-3, 8-2-1) on Saturday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. Notre Dame is making its third straight BIG EAST tournament appearance. Since joining the BIG EAST in 1995, the Irish have qualified for the tournament three of four years.
THE 1998 BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP - The 1998 BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship begins this weekend with quarterfinal matchups being played at campus sites of the four highest seeds. The semifinals and championship games will take place November 13 and 15 at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.
Quarterfinals - at campus sites of highest seeded team Saturday, November 8 No. 8 West Virginia at No. 1 Connecticut Noon No. 6 Seton Hall at No. 3 Rutgers 7:00 p.m. No. 7 Notre Dame at No. 2 St. John's 7:30 p.m. Sunday, November 8 No. 5 Providence at No. 4 Georgetown 1:00 p.m.
IRISH IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP - Notre Dame is playing in its third consecutive BIG EAST Championship. The Irish have a 4-1 record in their two appearances. In its first-ever appearance in 1996, Notre Dame, the number three seed, claimed the title and last season, as the fifth-seed, advanced to the semifinals.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW - West Virginia: Notre Dame concluded its regular season with a 2-0 blanking of West Virginia. It was the fifth shutout of the season for the Irish and their third of the season. It also marked the third straight meeting in which Notre Dame held the Mountaineers without a goal. After a scoreless first half in which West Virginia owned a 7-6 shot advantage, Notre Dame got on the scoreboard at the 53:36 mark when sophomore Dustin Pridmore (Dallas, Tex.) blasted a 15-yard shot from the right corner of the box off an assist from senior captain Matt Johnson (Livermore, Calif.) for his first career goal. Notre Dame's second goal came less than 16 minutes later when Ryan Cox (Broadview Hts. Ohio) took a pass from Shane Walton (San Diego, Calif.) and connected from just inside the penalty box at 69:15. Walton took the ball from 20 yards out off a pass from Andrew Aris (Auckland, New Zealand) and dribbled a pass through two Mountaineer defenders. The goal marked the 10th time this season that Cox and Walton had combined for a goal. Senior goalkeeper Greg Velho (Longwood, Fla.) had five stops in recording his 26th career shutout.
1998 Schedule/Results (9-5-3, 5-4-2) AUGUST 21 Fri. OHIO STATE (Exhibition) L, 1-2 28 Fri. DEPAUL (Exhibition) W, 3-1 SEPTEMBER 1 Tue. VALPARAISO W, 6-1 5 Sat. at Syracuse* W, 3-1 8 Tue. (15/NR) NORTHWESTERN W, 1-0 13 Sun. (15/NR) PITTSBURGH* T, 2-2 (OT) 18 Fri. (16/NR) at Rutgers* L, 0-1 (OT) 20 Sun. (16/NR) at Villanova* W, 2-1 (OT) 26 Sat. (18/NR) ST. JOHN'S* (7/7) T, 2-2 (OT) 29 Tue. (17/NR) at Western Michigan T, 1-1 (OT)
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 a 96-70-16 (.571) mark at Notre Dame and is 283-125-39 (.677) 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 ST. JOHN'S - St. John's owns a 3-0-2 advantage in the five meetings between the two schools. Earlier this season, the two teams played to a 1-1 draw at Notre Dame. In the game, St. John's scored first (1:27 into the game) when Stefanie Miglioranzi connected off a Jimmy Buscemi assist. Notre Dame tied the game less than 17 minutes later when Shane Walton drilled a shot from the top of the box off an assist from Ryan Cox. The Red Storm outshot Notre Dame 23-17 in the game and 6-3 in the two overtime periods. Irish goalkeeper Greg Velho was outstanding in net as he tied his career-high with 12 saves in the contest. Notre Dame is 0-2 versus the Red Storm playing in Jamaica, N.Y. They dropped a 6-0 decision in 1995 and suffered a 1-0 setback in 1997. This will be the second time the two schools have faced each other in the BIG EAST tournament. At the '97 championship, St. John's defeated the Irish 4-1 in a semifinal contest in Storrs, Conn.
PRIDMORE NOTCHES FIRST CAREER GOAL - Sophomore Dustin Pridmore notched his first career goal in Notre Dame's 2-0 victory against West Virginia in the regular season finale. Pridmore now has a goal and two assists on the season (and in his career). He has registered a point in the last three Irish contests with assists coming in both the Providence and Boston College games.
COX HAS STRONG RETURN THIS SEASON - Junior Ryan Cox, who battled injuries during both the '96 and '97 campaigns in his first two seasons, is one of seven players who has started all 17 contests this season. He is the team's second leading scorer overall with five goals and a team-leading eight assists for 18 points. Cox, who missed all but two games last season with an ankle injury after earning BIG EAST All-Rookie team honors in '96, has six goals and 10 assists (22 points) in his career.
OVERTIME IRISH - Notre Dame has played six overtime games this season. Coach Mike Berticelli's squad is 2-1-3 in overtime games in '98. The Irish played in a school-record five consecutive overtimes games earlier this season. The single-season record for overtime games in a season by a Notre Dame squad is seven set during the 1985 campaign.
WALTON'S HEROICS - Freshman Shane Walton has four game-winning goals this season and one game-tying goal. He leads the team in scoring with 10 goals and seven assists (27 points). Walton has scored a goal in nine of 17 contests in 1998 and has been named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week three times. He has had one multiple-goal game and two multiple-point contests this season. Walton's 10 goals and 27 points are the most by an Irish rookie since Jean Joseph (1991-95) who had 11 goals and 28 points in his freshman season in 1991. The last rookie to lead the Irish in both goals scored and overall scoring was Bill Lanza who had eight goals and four assists (20 points) during his freshman in 1992.
HOME SWEET HOME - Notre Dame finished 5-1-2 at home this season. The 1998 campaign marked the ninth campaign for the Irish playing at Alumni Field. Since 1990, Notre Dame has won 72.4 percent of its games there, compiling a 58-20-7 record.
CLOSE CALLS - Seven of Notre Dame's 17 games this season have been decided by a single goal. The Irish are 4-3 in those games in 1998. Notre Dame beat Northwestern (1-0), Villanova (2-1 in overtime), IUPUI (1-0 in overtime) and Saint Mary's (3-1) and lost road games to Rutgers (1-0 in overtime), Georgetown (2-1) and Providence (2-1).
VELHO GETS CAREER SHUTOUT 26 - Greg Velho recorded his second straight shutout and 26th of his career in Notre Dame's 2-0 victory over West Virginia in the regular season finale. Velho has played in 75 games during his career and made 71 starts while registering a 39-25-7 record.
VELHO HAS BEEN STRONG IN GOAL - Greg Velho has 80 saves overall this season (4.7 per game) and 58 in 11 BIG EAST games (5.3 per game). He tied his career best with 12 saves in Notre Dame's 1-1 tie with St. John's on September 26.
IRISH IN REGULAR SEASON FINALES - With its 2-0 win over West Virginia on Friday night, the Irish are now 16-5-1 in regular season finale for an 75.0 winning percentage. Notre Dame last lost a regular-season finale versus Boston College in 1996 (1-0 on the road).
WALTON AND COX ARE A SCORING COMBINATION - The combination of Shane Walton and Ryan Cox has appeared prominently on the Irish scoresheet this season. Together, the duo has been involved in 10 of the 29 goals scored by the team this season. They are both one-two in the Irish scoring column with 45 of the team's 92 points. Walton and Cox have combined for 15 goals and 15 of Notre Dame's 34 assists.
IRONMAN - Matt Johnson (Livermore, Calif.) has played in all 80 games throughout his career and has made starting appearances in 79 of those contests. The only start he has missed was against Georgetown during the 1995 season. Johnson has a goal and four assists (five points) this season.
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 49 outings. He has played 4,641 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.
NSCAA (Week of November 2) LW 1. Clemson (17-1-0) 2 2. Washington (14-2-0) 3 3. Indiana (16-2-0) 1 4. UCLA (13-2-0) 8 5. Virginia (12-2-2) 5 6. Duke (15-2-0) 7 7. Creighton (12-2-1) 6 8. Connecticut (16-2-0) 4 9. Saint Louis (14-3-1) 11 10. Stanford (13-4-0) 15 11. South Carolina (13-4-0) 10 12. Akron (14-2-1) 14 13. St. John's (11-4-3) 9 14. Brown (11-2-1) 17 15. Rutgers (11-6-2) 23 16. Southern Methodist (13-3-1) 18 17. Seton Hall (10-3-4) 13 18. Maryland (11-6-0) 16 19. Cal State Fullerton (12-4-1) 25 20. North Carolina (11-4-2) NR 21. Georgetown (13-4-0) NR 22. Butler (15-4-0) 19 23. UNC Greensboro (14-3-2) 24 24 Gonzaga (11-3-2) NR 25. Bradley (12-1-2) NR Fairfield (14-3-1) NR Boston University (11-3-3) NR