Spring Success
Notre Dame has four teams headed for NCAA competition; baseball a possible fifth.

May 11, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame’s athletic program is on the vergeof its most successful spring season since 1996.

The Irish already have four teams headed for NCAA competition thisspring. If the baseball squad qualifies for the NCAAs, it would mark thebest performance by Notre Dame since ’96 when five spring teams — men’sand women’s tennis, baseball, softball and men’s lacrosse — all made it toNCAA competition.

Here’s what’s happened so far this spring:

* WOMEN’S TENNIS — Notre Dame won the ’99 BIG EAST Championship,earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Championships. The 12th-rated Irishplay host to a first-round match against Illinois-Chicago at 10:00 a.m. ESTSaturday at Notre Dame’s Courtney Tennis Center. Nineteenth-ranked FloridaState and 38th-rated Iowa follow at 2:00 p.m., with the winners to meet at11:00 a.m. Sunday in a second-round match.

* MEN’S TENNIS — Notre Dame won the ’99 BIG EAST Championship,earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Championships. The 30th-ranked Irishplay a first-round match against 20th-rated Harvard at 2:00 p.m. ESTSaturday in Terre Haute, Ind. The winner of that match plays theBaylor-Indiana State winner at 10:00 a.m. Sunday in a second-round match.

* MEN’S LACROSSE — Notre Dame finished the regular-season at 8-5,ranked 13th nationally, and last Sunday earned an NCAA bid for the seventhtime in eight seasons. The Irish meet fifth-seeded Georgetown at noon EDTSunday in a first-round match at Towson State in Towson, Md.

* SOFTBALL — Notre Dame won its first BIG EAST Conference softballtournament title last weekend, earning an automatic bid into the NCAAChampionships. The Irish, who stand 41-18 (a perfect 16-0 in BIG EASTplay), will learn their postseason destination Sunday night when the NCAAsoftball brackets are announced.

The 25th-ranked baseball team took a 39-11 record (and a 19-3league mark, good for first place in the BIG EAST Conference) into amidweek series against third-rated Miami and three games May 15-16 againstSt. John’s. Paul Mainieri’s team will play in the BIG EAST championship May19-22 in hopes of becoming the fifth Notre Dame squad to qualify forpostseason play on a team basis.

The Irish already have tied their own record by winning six BIGEAST titles — in volleyball, women’s soccer, women’s swimming, women’stennis, men’s tennis and softball — with baseball representing a chancefor a seventh. The five women’s championships also is a BIG EAST record.

Additionally, the Irish may garner additional Sears Directors’ Cupall-sports competition points from men’s and women’s track (if they canimprove on their indoor NCAA finishes of 33rd by the men and 47th by thewomen).

Notre Dame already has automatically qualified the followingindividuals for the NCAA outdoor track championships:

  • — Ryan Shay in the 10,000 meters.
  • — JoAnna Deeter in the 3,000 meters, 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
  • — Alison Klemmer in the 10,000 meters.

Provisional qualifiers include Mike Brown in the pole vault, Shayand Antonio Arce in the 5,000 meters, Jennifer Engelhardt in the highjump, Nicole LaSelle in the 10,000 meters, Liz Grow in the 400 meters,Nadia Schmiedt in the 400 hurdles, Klemmer in the 5,000 meters.