Berticelli tourney set to kick off this weekend
Manuel De Jesus | Friday, September 4, 2015
Coming off an overtime victory on the road and looking to build some momentum, No. 4 Notre Dame hosts the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament this weekend at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame (1-0-1) has made its mark on the college soccer landscape as of late, consistently placing among the best in the country year after year. In the last three years, the Irish were the first, third and first seeds in the NCAA tournament, respectively. They kick off their first regular season home games of the year this weekend against South Florida and the Alabama-Birmingham (UAB).
The Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament has been held at Notre Dame every year since 2002, with the exception of 2013. Berticelli coached the Irish from 1990 to 1999 and compiled a 104-80-19 record. In 2000, he died from a heart attack at the age of 48.
“It’s always a nice way to remember someone who was a good friend of mine, a coach and colleague,” Irish head coach Bobby Clark said. “He was someone who did a great job at Notre Dame as a coach. It’s a nice thing that we’ve done every year remembering ‘Bert’ for who he was. It was very sad, I remember the morning I heard the bad news. It was tragic. He was just 48 years old. A young man.”
In addition, Notre Dame alumni come out every year and get together in Berticelli’s honor to support the Irish.
“It’s a nice weekend for alumni to come back to town and honor him,” graduate student defender Max Lachowecki said. “For us it’s a good weekend. We have a banquet, and our parents come into town. Everyone’s family comes in, and the older kids’ parents meet the younger kids’ parents. It’s a good thing for all of us.”
Friday night, the Irish will take on South Florida (2-0-0), which defeated No. 3 Georgetown, 2-0, on Monday. Despite leaving last week’s adidas/IU Credit Union Classic with a 1-0-1 record, Lachowecki said the Irish understand they will have to hone in on their offensive abilities to beat the Bulls.
“We come off a big win at IU, so hopefully we keep the momentum going and figure ourselves out even more as the season progresses,” Lachowecki said. “Hopefully we can get some more goals … and keep a clean sheet just like we did last week. This week we’re focused on being super-efficient in front of the goal.”
Freshman midfielder Thomas Ueland, who scored the game-winning goal against No. 14 Indiana in the team’s last contest, said he believes the Irish need to keep their intensity level high and not get look past either team.
“Especially after a big win, it’s easy for the level of play to drop,” Ueland said. “As a team, we let it drop sometimes, so we need to be careful we don’t do that and keep it high.”
“This is a huge tournament,” Clark said. “[South Florida is] coming off a huge win. They beat Georgetown so they’ll be feeling pretty good about themselves, and this is a good opportunity for them as well.”
For a team that has had a significant amount of success recently, Clark practices what he preaches about not looking past any opponents.
“I haven’t even thought about the ACC,” Clark said. “The only thing we’re worried about is South Florida.”
With its focus honed in on facing South Florida, Notre Dame will seek to improve to 2-0-1. The Irish will kick off their matchup against the Bulls at 7:30 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.