The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Irish travel for Big East games

Pat Leonard | Thursday, October 2, 2003

The Notre Dame men’s soccer team travels to the East Coast Thursday to play its first road game in 32 days.

The Irish, ranked No. 4 in the most recent Soccer America poll, will play Big East opponents Syracuse and Pittsburgh on Thursday and Sunday, respectively.

Notre Dame (6-1-2, 2-1-0) is coming off an impressive seven-game home stand in which it went 5-1-1 versus opponents at Alumni Field.

The Irish defeated Fresno State, No. 18 Indiana, West Virginia, Bradley and physical Big East foe Georgetown. Its only loss came against St. John’s, who opened the home stand with a 3-0 shutout of the Irish.

Since the St. John’s game, Notre Dame has built a six-game unbeaten streak and allowed just two goals.

The shot totals tell the story of the Irish season. Notre Dame has out shot its opponents by almost a 2:1 ratio, with 138 shots to opponents’ 79.

The offense deserves credit for pressuring opposing defenses. Senior forward Justin Detter received some of that credit this Monday, being named Big East co-offensive player of the week. Detter scored one goal in each of the victories over Bradley and Georgetown.

The offense, however, feeds off the midfield and defense. Notre Dame’s defense has been superb up to the season’s midway point.

Just as left defender Kevin Goldthwaite heard praise last week, right defender Kevin Richards is being recognized for his efforts. Richards was named conference defensive player of the week on Monday. He plays on a defense that has allowed only six goals all season – three in one game – and that has a goals-against average of 0.61, ranking thirteenth in the nation.

Now, the Irish will face a Syracuse team (2-5-2, 0-2-1) they have had great success against. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 6-2-0. The Irish and Orangemen did not meet last season, but Notre Dame won the last meeting with the Orangemen by a score of 2-1 at Alumni Field in 2001.