Nov. 7, 2012
#5 NOTRE DAME
BIG EAST Championship Semifinal
Friday, Nov. 9 7:30 p.m. (ET)
PPL Park Chester, Pa.
Connecticut leads series 11-7-4
TV: CBS Sports Network (Live)
Jason Knapp (play-by-play)
Shep Messing (analyst)
LIVE STATS: BIGEAST.org
UPDATES: Irish Alert! text messaging (sign up on UND.com)
#5 IRISH TO FACE #8 UCONN IN BIG EAST SEMIFINALS
No. 5 Notre Dame (14-3-1) will face No. 8 Connecticut (15-2-1) on Friday in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship. The match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
The game can be seen live on CBS Sports Network with Jason Knapp (play-by-play) and Shep Messing (analyst) calling the action.
Georgetown and Marquette will square off at 5 p.m. (ET) in Friday's first semifinal. That match can also be seen live on CBS Sports Network.
The title game is slated for noon (ET) on Sunday at PPL Park. The match will be aired live on BIG EAST Television.
This will be the second meeting this season between Notre Dame and Connecticut. The Irish fell to the Huskies, 2-1, on Sept. 29 in Storrs, Conn.
BLUE DIVISION DOMINANCE
All four BIG EAST semifinalists are from the league's Blue Division. Connecticut and Georgetown shared the regular-season title. The Huskies are the division's top seed and the Hoyas are the No. 2 seed. Notre Dame is the third seed from the Blue Division, while Marquette is the fourth seed.
The four squads rank in the top 10 of the Soccer America poll, the NSCAA poll and the RPI.
NOTRE DAME IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP
The Fighting Irish are making their 12th straight appearance in the BIG EAST Championship and the 16th trip overall in program history. The Irish own a 14-11-5 record in the league playoffs.
Notre Dame won the BIG EAST Championship in 1996 and 2003.
The Fighting Irish are in the BIG EAST semifinals for the eighth time, including the fifth time in the last six seasons. Notre Dame is 3-4-1 all-time in the semifinals.
Notre Dame is 7-2-3 at home in the conference tournament, 2-6-0 in true road games and 5-3-2 at neutral sites.
Head coach Bobby Clark boasts a 10-8-5 record in BIG EAST Championship games with the Fighting Irish. Clark guided Notre Dame to the 2003 BIG EAST title.
Last season, the Irish fell to Villanova, 1-0, in the first round.
Notre Dame is in pursuit of its sixth conference tournament title. The Fighting Irish captured three Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament championships (1988, 1993, 1994) and Notre Dame has won the BIG EAST Championship twice (1996, 2003).
HISTORY WITH THE HUSKIES
Friday will be the 23rd meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Connecticut. The Huskies hold an 11-7-4 edge in the series. Connecticut claimed a 2-1 home victory over the Irish earlier this season (Sept. 29).
Five of the last seven encounters have gone to overtime. The Irish are 1-1-3 in those matches.
This will be the fourth meeting between Notre Dame and Connecticut in the BIG EAST Championship. The Fighting Irish have gone, 2-1, in the three previous league tournament matchups with the Huskies. Notre Dame bested Connecticut, 2-1, in the 1996 semifinals and, 2-0, in the 2003 quarterfinals. The Irish went on to win the BIG EAST title both of those seasons. UConn topped Notre Dame, 2-0, in the 2007 final.
Head coach Bobby Clark is 5-6-3 against Connecticut during his Fighting Irish tenure.
A LOOK AT CONNECTICUT
The Huskies are 15-2-1 this season. Connecticut went 6-2 in BIG EAST play and shared the Blue Division title with Georgetown. UConn defeated Villanova, 1-0, in the league quarterfinals.
The Connecticut offense is averaging 2.00 goals per game, while the defense is surrendering 0.50 goals per contest. Junior forward Mamadou Diouf has team-high totals in goals (13) and points (28). Senior forward Carlos Alvarez has a team-best eight assists.
Sophomore goalkeeper Andre Blake has all 18 decisions in goal and carries a 0.50 goals-against average and a .850 save percentage. He has 10 shutouts this season.
The Huskies went 19-3-3 last season and finished third in the BIG EAST Blue Division with a 5-2-2 league mark. Connecticut fell to Charlotte in a penalty kick shootout in the quarterfinals of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Head coach Ray Reid is in his 16th season at UConn.
BATTLE OF STRENGTHS
Notre Dame ranks fourth nationally in goals scored (44), while Connecticut is fourth in goals allowed (9).
IRISH #1 IN RPI
Notre Dame is No. 1 in this week's RPI rankings. Six Fighting Irish opponents appear in the top 11 of the RPI. Those squads are Akron (2), Georgetown (5), Connecticut (6), Marquette (7), Indiana (10) and Louisville (11).
Seven BIG EAST squads are in the top 25 of the RPI, including four Blue Division teams in the top seven (Notre Dame, Georgetown, Connecticut and Marquette).
FINLEY PUTTING TOGETHER A FINE SEASON
Senior forward Ryan Finley ranks second nationally in goals (18) and third in points (40). He has tallied 12 goals in the last eight matches.
Finley led the BIG EAST with 12 goals in league play.
He has five multiple-goal games this season, including one hat trick.
Finley's 18 goals are the fifth-most for an Irish player in a single season and are the most for a Notre Dame player since Joseph Lapira had 22 in 2006.
Notre Dame ranks fourth nationally in goals scored (44) and sixth nationally in goals per game (2.44).
The 44 goals are the third-most for the Fighting Irish in their BIG EAST era (since 1995).
The Irish led the BIG EAST with 25 goals (3.12 gpg) in conference play this season.
Notre Dame has scored three or more goals eight times this season, including six times in the last eight games.
Notre Dame's seven-goal output against Pittsburgh was the largest for the Irish since a 7-1 win over Western Michigan on Oct. 14, 1997. The seven goals were the most ever scored by the Irish against a BIG EAST opponent.
The six goals in the 6-1 win at Seton Hall were the most ever tallied by the Irish in a BIG EAST road match.
SCORING IN A HURRY
The Fighting Irish have had a penchant for scoring goals in a rapid pace. On Saturday, Notre Dame reversed a 2-0 second-half deficit at Syracuse with two goals in 19 seconds.
Notre Dame tallied its final three goals in the 6-1 win at Seton Hall (Oct. 13) in a span of 8:16.
Senior forward Ryan Finley scored three goals in a span of 9:13 in the 3-0 win over Providence (Oct. 20).
The Irish overcame a 1-0 deficit against Marquette (Oct. 24) by tallying three goals in just 6:26
The Irish have not been shutout this season. This is just the second time in the 36-year history of the Notre Dame program that the Irish have not been shutout in the first 18 contests of a season. The other occurrence was in 1978 when the Irish went 22 straight games without getting blanked.
Notre Dame is 11-0 this season when scoring first.
Ten different Fighting Irish players have scored at least one goal this season.
SECOND HALF SUCCESS
Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 33-4 in the second half and overtime this season.
OWNING THE STAT SHEET
Notre Dame has registered more shots on goal in 15 of its 18 matches this season. The Fighting Irish have outshot their competition 349-197 this season, which includes a 150-68 advantage in shots on goal. The Irish also have earned 33 more corner kicks (114-81) than their opponents.
Notre Dame has fallen behind in each of its last three matches, but has gone on to post a 2-0-1 mark in those contests.
The Irish were down 2-0 to Syracuse on Saturday before going on to win 4-2.
Notre Dame fell behind 1-0 in both matches with Marquette, yet came back to win the first game (3-1) and tie the second (1-1).
The Irish are 3-3-1 this season when their opponent scores first.
Notre Dame's 14 victories are tied for the third-most in its BIG EAST era (since 1995). They are the most wins for the Irish since they went 14-5-5 in 2007.
The team's 13 regular-season victories were tied for the most regular-season wins for the Irish in their BIG EAST era. The Irish also notched 13 regular-season victories in 2004.
Notre Dame has reached the 14-win mark in four of head coach Bobby Clark's 12 seasons with the Irish. The most wins for the Irish under Clark are 16 in 2003 (16-3-4).
ROOKIE ON A ROLL
Freshman midfielder Patrick Hodan has 17 points on six goals and five assists this season. It's the most goals and points for an Irish freshman since Erich Braun tallied nine goals and 24 points as a rookie in 1999.
Hodan notched two goals and one assist in Saturday's 4-2 win at Syracuse. With Notre Dame trailing 2-0 in the second half, Hodan sliced the deficit to one in the 63rd minute and then assisted on Kyle Richard's equalizer just 19 seconds later. The rookie put the Irish up 3-2 in the 77th minute.
He was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week and to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for his performance against the Orange.
TAKING DOWN THE TOP 10
Notre Dame is 4-1-1 this season against top-10 competition. The wins have come against No. 3 Georgetown (3-0), No. 3 Marquette (3-1), No. 4 Akron (3-1) and No. 10 Indiana (1-0). The Irish tied No. 3 Marquette (1-1) and fell at No. 2 Connecticut (2-1).
Senior forward Ryan Finley notched a hat trick in the 3-0 win over Providence on Oct. 20. All three goals came in a span of 9:13 in the second half. It was the fourth career hat trick for Finley and his first since joining the Irish last season after transferring from Duke.
It was the second straight game that an Irish player produced a hat trick. Junior forward Harrison Shipp tallied a career-high three goals in the 6-1 victory at Seton Hall.
HOME SWEET HOME
Notre Dame is 8-0 at home this season. The Irish are 20-4-5 (.776) at Alumni Stadium over the past three seasons.
Bobby Clark NOTCHES 300TH CAREER WIN
Notre Dame's 6-1 win at Seton Hall on Oct. 13 was the 300th career victory for Bobby Clark as a college head coach. Clark, who is in his 12th season with the Irish, has a 150-67-35 record at Notre Dame. He was 71-21-12 at Stanford (1996-2001) and 82-42-13 at Dartmouth (1985-93).
Clark is the 14th active Division I men's soccer head coach to reach the 300-win milestone.
Senior midfielder Dillon Powers has posted career-high totals this season in points (14) and assists (6), while his four goals have tied a career-best mark. The six assists are a team-high total.
GUARDING THE GOAL
Fifth-year senior Will Walsh and junior Patrick Wall have split time in goal. Walsh has a 6-2-1 record with four shutouts, a 0.87 goals-against average and a .750 save percentage. Wall is 8-1-0 with three shutouts, a 0.89 goals-against average and a .778 save percentage.
Wall made a career-high eight saves in the 3-1 win over Marquette (Oct. 24) and Walsh had a career-high eight saves in the 1-1 tie at Marquette (Oct. 27).
Senior midfielder Dillon Powers has played in a team-best 69 straight games, including 56 consecutive starts. The only five games he has missed during his Fighting Irish career were during his freshman season when he played for the U.S. at the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt.
Senior central defender Grant Van De Casteele has started 56 straight matches. He did not play during the 2009 campaign, but has not missed a game since.
Junior forward Harrison Shipp has appeared in all 56 matches during his Irish career.
NOTRE DAME IN BIG EAST PLAY
Notre Dame owns an overall record of 107-60-20 (.626) in BIG EAST regular-season play since joining the conference in 1995. The Irish have posted 12 straight winning campaigns within the league, including this season's 5-2-1 mark.
The most wins for Notre Dame in BIG EAST play are eight, which occurred in 2004 (8-1-1), 2006 (8-3) and 2009 (8-3).
The Irish have three regular-season BIG EAST titles. Notre Dame won the championship outright in 2004 and 2008 (Blue Division) and shared the Blue Division trophy with Connecticut in 2007. The Fighting Irish captured BIG EAST tournament crowns in 1996 and 2003.
POWERS A SENIOR CLASS AWARD FINALIST
Midfielder Dillon Powers has been named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award in the men's soccer division. The Fighting Irish standout is among 10 student-athletes up for the prestigious honor.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates that were announced in September. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through November 19 (once daily per computer). Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner.
The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2012 NCAA Men's College Cup, which will take place December 7 and 9 in Hoover, Ala.
Harrison Shipp NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Junior forward Harrison Shipp has been named to the Capital One Academic All-District V first team for men's soccer. He is one of 11 student-athletes on the squad.
First-team Academic All-District ® honorees advance to the Capital One Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.
Shipp has 15 points on five goals and five assists this season. He boasts a 3.846 cumulative grade-point average as a finance major in the Mendoza College of Business.
Each of Notre Dame's three losses this season have been one-goal decisions. The Fighting Irish are 6-3 in one-goal contests this season.
Prior to the double-overtime victory at Michigan, Notre Dame's last overtime triumph was a 2-1 decision over Michigan last season at Alumni Stadium. Both games took place on Sept. 16.
HAULING IN THE HARDWARE
Notre Dame has played in both the Indiana Classic and the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament in each of the last 10 seasons and this year marks the first time the Irish have won both events in the same season. It was Notre Dame's fifth Berticelli tournament title (11 appearances). The Irish also won in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010. It was the second time in 13 appearances that Notre Dame won the IU Classic. The Irish also captured the 1993 tournament.
Freshman midfielder/defender Michael Shipp has joined his older brother, Harrison, this season on the Irish roster. Harrison is a junior forward.
Midfielders Dillon Powers and Michael Rose will serve as Notre Dame team captains during the 2012 campaign. Powers, a senior, will be serving as captain for the second straight season, while Rose, a fifth-year senior, is a first-time captain.
FOLLOW THE IRISH ON UND.COM
All 2012 Notre Dame home matches that are not televised can be seen live on UND.com. The streaming broadcasts are free of charge. Log on to UND.com to stay up to date on the Fighting Irish men's soccer team throughout the 2012 campaign.