June 1, 2005
A pair of Notre Dame juniors – defenseman D.J. Driscoll (Downingtown, Pa./Malvern Prep School) and attackman Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.) – were both named honorable mention All-America by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) earlier this week. Walsh became the fourth Irish player ever to earn USILA accolades on three occasions, though he was the only one of 16 nominees for the Tewaaraton Trophy (awarded to the nation’s top player) who was left off the three All-America teams. This year marked the 13th in a row that at least one ND competitor was recognized by the USILA.
Notre Dame was in an elite group of just 16 schools that had multiple players recognized by the USILA, which named three 11-member teams (the third team featured 13 players due to ties in voting), as well as a 43-player honorable-mention list. The Irish had multiple players earn USILA All-America mention for the eighth time in the last 12 years, but the first since 2001.
D.J. Driscoll, the GWLL Defensive Player of the Year, joined an elite club of five Notre Dame defensemen to earn All-America accolades from the USILA.
Driscoll, the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) Defensive Player of the Year, earned All-America accolades for the first time, becoming the fifth Notre Dame defenseman ever to be so recognized. Joining him in that elite club are three-time honorees Mike Iorio (1993, ’94, ’95) and Todd Rassas (1996, ’97, ’98), as well as Mike Adams (2001) and A.J. Wright (2002). The Irish have been represented at that position on the USILA All-America lists in nine of the last 13 years. Driscoll has earned all-conference accolades in each of his collegiate seasons, copping second-team accolades as a rookie before being a first-team selection in each of the last two years. In 2005, Driscoll started all 10 games in which he played, helping Notre Dame to allow just 94 goals, which is tied for the second-lowest season total in the 25-year history of the program. He finished second on the team in ground balls with 37 and was the conference player of the week on March 15 after he held first-team All-American Jed Prossner to just one goal, one assist, and four turnovers in Notre Dame’s 9-7 win against #10 North Carolina in the The First 4 invitational.
Walsh is the only Irish player ever to earn All-America honors from the USILA in each of his first three collegiate seasons, having previously been honorable mention in 2003 and on the third team in ’04. Only three other ND players – Iorio, Rassas, and Chris Dusseau (1996-98) – have been three-time USILA honorees. Walsh is the first attackman to be recognized three times, though ND has now had at least one player tabbed by the USILA at attack in six of the last seven seasons. One of the Tewaaraton nominees for the second straight year, he was a first-team all-GWLL honoree for the third year in a row (joining Dusseau as the only players to be all-GWLL first-teamers in their first three seasons). Walsh, the top offensive player for an Irish team that ranks fifth nationally in scoring offense (11.91 goals per game), led the conference in scoring for the second straight year (3.91 points per game) and was tops in assists for the third consecutive season (2.00 per game). He ranks eighth in Division I in both categories, and he also led the Irish in points (43) and assists (22) for the third consecutive year. Walsh had four or more points in seven games this season. He exploded for six goals – including the game-winner in double-overtime – and an assist in ND’s win at #13 Hofstra, marking the most goals ever by a Notre Dame player against a ranked team. Having started all 37 games over the past three seasons, accumulating 62 goals and 80 assists (142 points), he is on pace to shatter the Irish record for assists per game (2.16; record is 1.96 by Ulrich in ’01).
For a full list of the USILA All-Americans, see usila.org.
Notre Dame, ranked 16th by Inside Lacrosse and 19th by the USILA, finished the season 7-4 (3-2 GWLL) and just missed the 16-team NCAA Championship. Notre Dame loses 12 seniors to graduation, but will return nine of 11 starters for the 2006 campaign.