Nov. 19, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame received the No. 10 seed and a first-round bye for the upcoming NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship. The Fighting Irish will host the winner of the Oakland (Mich.)/Michigan State match in the second round on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Field. This marks the seventh straight appearance for the Fighting Irish in the NCAA Tournament and the 11th trip overall in program history.
This signified the fourth time in which the Fighting Irish have earned a one of the 16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame was the No. 12 seed last year and the fifth seed in both 2003 and 2004. Last season, the Irish advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in program history after knocking off Illinois-Chicago (1-0) and Maryland (1-0, 2OT) in the second and third rounds, respectively, before falling at Virginia (3-2).
The Fighting Irish will carry a 12-4-5 record into the tournament. Notre Dame finished BIG EAST play with a 7-0-4 mark and a share of the Blue Division title along with Connecticut, who defeated the Irish, 2-0, in the BIG EAST Championship final on Sunday.
Leading the way for the Irish is senior forward Joseph Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic), who has team-high totals in points (22), goals (7) and assists (8). Lapira and senior midfielder/defender Ryan Miller (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) were unanimous first-team all-BIG EAST selections this year. Miller has posted career-best numbers in points (15) and goals (6) this season. As a team, Notre Dame is averaging 1.44 goals per game, while allowing just 0.86 per contest.
Head coach Bobby Clark has led the Fighting Irish to an NCAA Tournament berth during all seven of his seasons at Notre Dame. The Irish have advanced to the Round of 16 on three occasions and the quarterfinals once under Clark. Notre Dame's all-time NCAA Championship record is 7-9-1 overall and 6-5-1 during Clark's tenure.
Oakland University has a mark of 11-6-3, while Michigan State is 11-5-4. Michigan State will host Oakland on Saturday, Nov. 24
For the third straight year, the BIG EAST Conference has placed seven schools in the field of 48 teams in the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship. Since the 2001 season, the BIG EAST has averaged six teams per year in the NCAA Championship. The BIG EAST put more squads in this year's field than any other conference.
Boston College garnered the top seed in the 2007 NCAA field, while Wake Forest and Connecticut are the second and third seeds, respectively. The Fighting Irish faced a total of nine teams that made this year's tournament and they own a 4-4-2 mark against those squads. Notre Dame faced UConn twice and went 0-1-1 against the Huskies. The Irish squared off against three other seeded teams, No. 4 Indiana (L, 3-2), No. 13 Maryland (L, 3-0) and No. 15 West Virginia (W, 1-0).
For more information on the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship, including a full bracket, log on to NCAAsports.com. Stay up-to-date on the Fighting Irish men's soccer team by logging on to und.com or by calling the Notre Dame Athletics Hotline at (574) 631-3000.