Nov. 16, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The No. 19 Notre Dame men's soccer team will play host to Green Bay on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) in the first round of the NCAA Championship. The Irish will be making their ninth straight NCAA Championship appearance and the 13th trip overall in program history.
Thursday's match will feature a live broadcast on und.com. Gametracker also will be available on und.com.
Notre Dame will bring a record of 10-7-4 into the match, while Green Bay is 14-2-3. The Irish are coming off a runner-up finish in the BIG EAST Championship. St. John's topped Notre Dame in a penalty kick shootout, 5-3, following a scoreless draw in yesterday's BIG EAST title game. Green Bay, nicknamed the Phoenix, captured the Horizon League Championship by upsetting top-seeded Butler in penalty kicks, 3-2, on Sunday. The match ended as a scoreless tie.
The Fighting Irish are 2-1 all-time against Green Bay. The last meeting occurred during the 1994 campaign and Green Bay won that match 2-1 at Notre Dame. Notre Dame won at Green Bay, 3-2 in overtime, in 1985 and captured a 2-1 home victory over the Phoenix in 1988. This will be the first NCAA Championship appearance for Green Bay since 1983.
"This game certainly won't be easy for us," said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. "They are a very well-coached team and they've only lost two games all season. No game at this stage is easy. Every team in the tournament has had a good season. It's a testament to our guys that we've made the tournament nine straight times, but the trick now is to advance."
The winner of the Notre Dame-Green Bay match will travel to Evanston, Ill. to face Northwestern on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 1:00 p.m. (CT) in the second round. The Wildcats are the tournament's No. 9 seed. Last season, Notre Dame suffered a 2-1 setback to Northwestern at home in the tournament's second round.
Akron is the top seed in the NCAA Championship with a perfect 20-0 record. Virginia is the No. 2 seed, while Wake Forest is the third seed. Only the top 16 teams in the field of 48 are seeded and those squads received a first-round bye.
Notre Dame faced eight teams that made this year's tournament. The Irish squared off against BIG EAST foes USF, Louisville and St. John's twice each. A total of five BIG EAST schools received a berth to the NCAA Championship. St. John's was the highest seeded team from the league as the Red Storm earned the No. 13 seed.
Clark has led the Fighting Irish to an NCAA Championship berth during all nine of his seasons at Notre Dame. The Irish have advanced to the Round of 16 on four occasions and the quarterfinals twice under Clark (2006 & 2007). Notre Dame's all-time NCAA Championship record is 9-11-1 and 8-7-1 during Clark's tenure.
Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North), the 2009 BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year, leads the Fighting Irish in goals (10) and points (23). Notre Dame boasts six all-BIG EAST honorees in all. Joining Dike on the all-BIG EAST first team was Irish senior midfielder Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas). Thomas has six goals and a team-best six assists.
Fellow senior Justin Morrow (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius), a defender, was a second-team pick. Junior forward Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain) and sophomore defender Aaron Maund (Dorchester, Mass./The Roxbury Latin School) were selected to the third team. Morrow and Maund have helped the Irish post eight shutouts, while Brovsky has three goals and four assists.
Freshman midfielder Dillon Powers (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team. Powers' four assists tie him with Brovsky for second on the team.
Tickets are $7 for adults (up to 55 years old), $3 for youth (age 6 to 'college age') and seniors (55 and older), while children (3-5 years old) are $1. The first 250 Notre Dame/St. Mary's/Holy Cross students will gain free admission into the match.
For more information on the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship, including a full bracket, log on to NCAAsports.com.