Junior D.J. Driscoll was named the GWLL Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the fifth ND student-athlete to be tabbed a conference player of the year.

Driscoll, Kemp Win Major Awards, Headlining Quintet Of Irish All-GWLL Selections

May 24, 2005

Junior D.J. Driscoll (Downingtown, Pa./Malvern Prep School) was named Defensive Player of the Year and goaltender Joey Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep School) was tabbed Rookie of the Year when the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) annual awards, determined by voting of the conference’s head coaches, were announced recently. Driscoll was joined on the all-GWLL first team by junior A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.), while Kemp, senior A Jim Morrison (Fulton, Md./Mount St. Joseph H.S.), and junior M Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) earned second-team accolades.

The five total honorees were the most for any school, while Driscoll and Walsh continued the streak of having multiple first-team all-conference selections in all 17 years since Kevin Corrigan took over as Notre Dame’s head coach.

In this the first year that the GWLL has named an offensive player of the year (sophomore M Greg Downing of Fairfield) and a top defensive player, Driscoll became the first Irish student-athlete to earn a player-of-the-year award since A David Ulrich did so in 2001. Overall, he is the fifth ND player to be recognized as tops in the GWLL (since its formation in 1994), also following D Mike Iorio (1994), A Randy Colley (1995), and D Todd Rassas (1998). 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. He is now in an elite group of five Irish defensemen who have been tabbed first-team all-GWLL on multiple occasions, joining Iorio (1994, ’95), Rassas (1996, ’97, ’98), Mike Adams (2000, ’01), and A.J. Wright (2001, ’02). 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. Driscoll was a preseason third-team All-America pick by Inside Lacrosse

Kemp became the second Irish player in the last three years to be named the GWLL Rookie of the Year, after Walsh did so in 2003. The current freshman took over the starting duties in goal in the third game of the season and finished with a 5-2 record, as well as an 8.36 goals-against average (led GWLL and currently ranks 18th in Division I). His save percentage of .652 currently is tops in Division I. Kemp earned victories in each of his first four collegiate starts, matching the most ever by an Irish player. He also stopped 23 shots in a 10-9 road defeat against #19 Dartmouth on April 2, which was the most saves by an Irish player since 1994. Kemp posted a save percentage above .630 in all but two of his starts, including a .842 mark in the season finale at Ohio State, which saw him stop 16 of the 19 shots he faced.

Walsh, one of the 16 nominees for the Tewaaraton Trophy awarded to the top player in college lacrosse for the second straight year, was a first-team honoree for the third year in a row. He joins 1999 graduate Chris Dusseau as the only Irish players to be tabbed to the all-GWLL first team in each of 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). With one weekend left in the NCAA tournament, he ranks eighth in Division I in both categories. He led the Irish in points (43) and assists (22) for the third consecutive year in both. Walsh was a second-team Inside Lacrosse preseason All-American after being tabbed a third-team selection by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) in 2004. He 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).

Morrison led the Irish (25) and finished second in the conference in goals per game this season (2.27) after having played in just five games in his collegiate career prior to 2005 and scoring only a single goal. He became the first Notre Dame player ever to open a season with four consecutive hat tricks and then netted a career-high five at Villanova. Morrison ranked fifth in the GWLL in points per game (2.82) and scored on 46.3% of his shots, a team-best efficiency.

Karweck earned all-league accolades for the first time after a campaign in which he was forced to move to attack just before the start of the season after being a midfielder up to that point. He returned to midfield for the final three games and finished third on the team in scoring (26 points) and second in assists (13). He ranked third in the GWLL in assists per game (1.18) and shared the team lead with five man-up goals – which was tied for third in the conference (0.45 per game) – for the Irish EMO that ranks fourth in the nation (.436). He had a career-best offensive game against Butler, finishing with five goals (on six shots) to go with three assists. His eight points were the most by any league player in a game this season and were just one shy of the Irish record. Karweck also netted four points in road games against a pair of NCAA qualifiers, Penn State (3 G, 1 A) and Fairfield (3 G, 1 A).

Ted Spencer of conference-champ Fairfield was named the GWLL Coach of the Year, while Air Force’s Justin Pavoni was the Goalie of the Year.

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.