Feb. 25, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team opens up the 2000 campaign at home on Sunday, February 27 at 1:00 p.m. when the Irish host Penn State. This will be the fifth time in six seasons that the two teams have squared off in the season opener.
Notre Dame finished 8-6 a year ago and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in eight seasons, while the Nittany Lions were 8-4. Both teams finished in the top 20 of the final STX/United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association ranking – Notre Dame was 14th and Penn State was 12th.
The Irish are ranked 14th in the preaseason Face-Off Lacrosse Magazine poll, while the Nittany Lions are 13th. The USILA ranking has not yet been released.
SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame will have strong and balanced offensive attack this season as the Irish return four of their top five scorers. While the Irish must replace second all-time leading goal scorer Chris Dusseau, the Irish are loaded with a variety of offensive weapons. Junior attack David Ulrich (Baltimore, Md.) is the top returning scorer as he finished the ’99 campaign with 17 goals and a team-leading 31 assists (48 points). Another third-year player the Irish will rely heavily on is attack Tom Glatzel (Ellicott City, Md.) who had an outstanidn season a year ago with 26 goals (second best on the team) and 15 assists (41 points). Todd Ulrich (Baltimore, Md.), also a junior, was very productive a year ago in scoring 13 goals and dishing off 12 assists (25 points). Junior midfield Steve Bishko (West Islip, N.J.) had a couple of game-winning scores and finished the season with 16 goals and eight assists (24 points.). Senior Stedman Oakey (Charlottesville, Va.) also will be among the team’s top scorers after netting six goals and dishing off three assists.
The Irish lose two starters on defense and return just one starter in junior Mike Adams (Wilton, Conn.) who made seven starts a year ago. Vying for the other two starting spots in the lineup will be seniors Steve Fiamingo (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Mike Pfeffer (Wilton, Connn.). Kevin Higgins (Wilton, Conn.), who handles much of Notre Dame face-off duties will help out defensively in the midfield.
In goal, senior Kirk Howell (Nashville, Tenn.) returns after playing extremely well in his first season as a starter. He started all 14 games and played all but 16 minutes of the entire season. Howell allowed 118 goals and made 160 saves. He registered a .576 save percentage and 8.58 goals against average.
HEAD COACH KEVIN CORRIGAN – Kevin Corrigan begins his 12th season at Notre Dame and 14th in the collegiate ranks. The three-time Great Western Lacrosse League coach of the year earned his 100th career win during the ’99 season in Notre Dame’s 10-8 victory over Hobart on March 27. He owns a 104-70 (.598) overall ledger and an 94-55 (.631) mark with the Irish. Corrigan has guided Notre Dame to eight NCAA tournament appearances and eight (either outright or shared) conference titles. Prior to 1998, he had led the Irish to six straight tournament berths from 1992-97. Under Corrigan in 1995, Notre Dame won its first-ever NCAA tournament game with a 12-10 victory over Duke which propelled the Irish into the quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Previous to his tenure at Notre Dame, he served as head coach at Randolph-Macon during the 1985 and 1986 campaign where his teams compiled a 10-15 mark.
IRISH IN SEASON OPENERS – Notre Dame is 13-6 in season openers. This will be the third consecutive year that the Irish and Nittany Lions have squared off in the season-opening game, and the fifth time in the last six years that they have met in the first game of the season. Penn State won last year’s decision in State College, Pa., 13-8, but Notre Dame is 3-2 against the Nittany Lions in season-opening contests.
SERIES RECORD VS. PENN STATE – This will be the seventh meeting between the two teams and the third straight year win which the two teams have played in the season opener. The series is tied 3-3. Penn State is winless in its two trips to Notre Dame. The Irish defeated the Nittany Lions 12-9 in 1994 and 14-9 in 1998.
SUPER SOPHS TURNED JUNIORS – Notre Dame’s junior class in 2000 was well represented in the Irish scoring column in ’99 as four of the team’s five scorers were sophomores a year ago. David Ulrich led the team in scoring with 17 goals and a team-high 31 assists (48 points), while teammate Tom Glatzel was second with 26 goals and 15 assists (41 points). David’s twin brother, Todd, was fourth in the scoring column with 13 goals and 12 assists (25 points), while Steve Bishko rounded out the top five scorers with 16 goals and eight assists (24 points).
THE CAPTAINS – The four captains for the 2000 season are seniors Patrick Darcy (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Steve Fiamingo, Kevin Higgins and Kirk Howell.
SEEING DOUBLE – Juniors David and Todd Ulrich are the first twin brothers to play on the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team. David plays attack, while Todd is in the midfield. Both are expected to be in the starting lineup this season. They are one of three players who played at Boys’ Latin in Baltimore, Md. – the other is Tom Glatzel.
HOWELL WAS A BIG FACTOR IN GOAL THIS SEASON – Junior Kirk Howell, who spent two seasons prior to the ’99 campaign as the backup to four-year starter Alex Cade, was impressive in his first season with the Irish. He played 825:54 of the possible 842:11 minutes and allowed 118 goals while making 160 saves. The 160 saves were the eighth most by an Irish player in a single-season. Howell had a .576 save percentage and an 8.58 goals against average during the season. He registered a career-high 17 saves in two games this season – Loyola and Georgetown – and has had 10 or more saves in eight of his last 10 outings and in nine games overall a year ago.
TOUGH DEFENSE – Notre Dame’s defense stifled opponents as the Irish allowed just 8.71 goals per game last season. The 14 goals by Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA represented the most goals given up by the Irish in ’99. In the four games leading up to that contest with the Hoyas, Notre Dame had allowed an average of just 6.75 goals and had held all four of its opponents to under 10 goals. Coach Kevin Corrigan’s squad gave up 10 or more goals in just six contests and held eight of its opponents to under 10 goals. The Irish were most effective in the second and fourth quarters as opponents averaged just 1.86 and 1.93 goals per game, respectively.
IRISH STRONG AT HOME – In three (1994, 1995 and 1997) of the last seven years, Notre Dame finished the home portion of its season undefeated. The Irish posted 5-0 marks in both ’94 and ’95 and were 6-0 in ’97. Corrigan’s squad was 6-1 at home in ’99. Since 1984, Notre Dame has an 80-25 (.762) record at home and is 41-8 (.837) over the last eight seasons.
IRISH WELCOME PENNSYLVANIA AND FAIRFIELD TO SCHEDULE – While many of the opponents on this year’s schedule remain the same, the Irish will play Pennsylvania and Fairfield for the first time. Notre Dame faced 10 opponents on last year’s schedule in ’99 with Penn State, Denver, Air Force, Loyola, Hofstra, Ohio State, Butler, Army, Villanova and Harvard on the 12-game slate this year. Coach Kevin Corrigan’s squad was 6-4 against those foes a year ago.
FAMILIAR FACE ON IRISH SIDELINES – A familiar face to Notre Dame lacrosse is on the sidelines this season. Will DeRiso, who played for the Irish from 1994-97 and served as a captain in his senior season, has joined the Irish coaching staff as an assistant coach. DeRiso, a two-year starter at attack, finished his career with 35 goals and 37 assists (72 points). In his senior season, he led Notre Dame in scoring with 43 points as he recorded personal bests of 18 goals and 25 assists. DeRiso, whose Notre Dame team won four consecutive Great Western Lacrosse League championships and earned four NCAA tournament berths, was a GWLL first-team selection in ’97.
ROAD WARRRIORS – After the Penn State game, Notre Dame will be on the road for three straight games. The Irish travel to Pennsylavania on Sat., March 4 and then play at Denver and Air Force on March 11 and 13, respectively. Following its matchup with the Falcons, the Irish return home for three consecutive contests against Loyola (March 18), Hofstra (March 26) and Ohio State (April 1).
THE WILTON CONNECTION – Witon High School in Wilton, Conn., has long been a school that has been well represented on the Irish roster. Three members of this year’s team – seniors Kevin Higgins and Mike Pfeffer and junior Mike Adams – were all on the same Wilton squad for three seasons.
DOUBLE DUTY – Sophomore Chad DeBolt (Waterloo, N.Y.), one of just two freshmen a year ago to see action in all 14 games, did not participate in fall practices. DeBolt missed fall drills because of his involvement as a walk-on member to the Irish football team as a defensive back. He is planning to rejoin the Irish football team in the fall.
STX/UNITED STATES INTERCOLLEGIATE
LACROSSE ASSOCIATION POLL
|?||Johns Hopkins (10-2)||178|
|12.||Penn State (8-4)||89|
|14.||NOTRE DAME (8-5)||73|
|15.||North Carolina (6-9)||43|
FACE-OFF LACROSSE POLL