March 18, 2005
Junior defenseman D.J. Driscoll (Downingtown, Pa./Malvern Preparatory School) was named the Great Western Lacrosse League Player of the Week by the conference yesterday after helping the University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team to a 9-7 upset of #10 North Carolina last Saturday in The First 4 invitational at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Driscoll led all players with six ground balls and held Carolina All-America attackman Jed Prossner in check, allowing him to notch just one goal and one assist.
Driscoll, Notre Dame’s top on-ball defender, drew the assignment of marking the opposition’s top player – as is customarily the Irish junior’s role. Prossner was a first-team All-American and one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy (awarded to the nation’s top collegiate player) in 2004. He was a major factor in North Carolina’s 14-11 win at Notre Dame, scoring six goals and assisting on two others. But it was a different story on Saturday, as he found the net just once on seven shots and also committed a game-high four turnovers.
Driscoll – a third-year starter on the Irish defense – also provided leadership for the unit that held UNC under eight goals for just the third time in the last three years. That was despite the fact that the Irish had two defensive players – freshman G Joey Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Preparatory School) and sophomore D J.R. Stahl (Sparks, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.) – making their first collegiate starts. Additionally, one of Carolina’s goals came inadvertently, when a UNC pass was deflected by Kemp into the right side of the goal. Another was scored with just six seconds remaining in the contest when the outcome had already become apparent.
A preseason third-team All-America selection by Inside Lacrosse this season after being tabbed first-team all-Great Western Lacrosse League in 2004 and second-team all-league as a rookie, Driscoll shares the Irish lead in ground balls this season with 16 for an average of 5.33 per game that is tied for fourth in the GWLL. In 2003, he ranked second among Division I freshmen in ground ball average (4.36) and set an Irish freshman record with 61 total. He also became the first defenseman and first rookie ever to lead Notre Dame in the category, while helping the team rank second in the nation in ground balls (44.7 per game).
It was the second time in two weeks that Notre Dame boasted the conference’s top player. Fifth-year senior G Stewart Crosland (Bethesda, Md./Landon School) earned the first award of the 2005 season. It was the first such honor of Driscoll’s career.
Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Driscoll was an All-American at the Philadelphia-area Malvern Prep School, which also produced two other key players on the current Irish roster: sophomore M Bill Liva (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Malvern Prep School) and freshman LSM Sean Dougherty (Malvern, Pa./Malvern Prep School). He served as team captain of both the lacrosse and football teams in his final year, helping both squads to national rankings. Driscoll also was the Inter-AC Player of the Year in lacrosse in 2001.
Driscoll, expected to be the top defenseman in the GWLL this season (as the only conference defender listed on the Inside Lacrosse preseason All-America lists), will lead Notre Dame into its quest to reclaim the league title after a second-place finish a year ago. The Irish will open conference action on Saturday, playing host to Butler at 1 p.m. (EST) in the Loftus Sports Center.