Jan. 20, 2012
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team has been picked to finish second in the BIG EAST according to the league’s 2012 preseason coaches poll. Fighting Irish junior goalie John Kemp was selected as the BIG EAST Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Syracuse was selected to win the league with four first-place votes, while Notre Dame received one first-place nod. Rounding out the order of finish was Villanova, Georgetown, St. John’s, Rutgers and Providence. Villanova had two first-place votes. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
Four Notre Dame student-athletes were named to the 2012 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team. Joining Kemp were seniors Kevin Randall (D) and Sean Rogers (A) along with sophomore Liam O’Connor (M/FO). Kemp and Randall both were unanimous picks. Notre Dame and Syracuse both had a league-best four players selected to the squad.
All four of those Irish players earned preseason All-America honors from Inside Lacrosse last month. Kemp was a third-team selection, while Randall, Rogers and O’Connor received honorable mention accolades.
Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep) earned honorable mention All-America honors last season from the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA). He posted an 11-3 record between the pipes in 2011, which was his first season as a full-time starter. Kemp ranked second nationally in goals-against average (6.60) and fourth in save percentage (.602). He also received a second-team all-BIG EAST citation in 2011.
Randall (Penfield, N.Y./Penfield) has been a mainstay in Notre Dame’s stifling defense over the past three campaigns. Last season, Randall was a starter in all 14 contests and he helped the Fighting Irish defense rank second nationally by allowing just 6.57 goals per game. He has played in 39 career games, including 33 starts, and has picked up 35 ground balls. The Charlotte Hounds selected Randall in the seventh round (49th overall selection) of last week’s Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft.
Rogers (New Hyde Park, N.Y./Holy Trinity) tallied career-high totals in goals (18), assists (7) and points (25) last season. The goal and point totals were tied for the team lead, while he ranked third in assists. Rogers also picked up a career-best 14 ground balls. He has played in 32 career games, including 29 starts, and has recorded 32 goals and 12 assists for 44 points.
O’Connor (Haverford, Pa./The Haverford School) ranked 18th nationally last season with a .553 faceoff winning percentage. He was 88-for-159 (.553) in faceoffs and scooped up a team-high 41 ground balls.
Syracuse’s Brian Megill (Jr./D) joined Kemp as the conference’s preseason co-defensive player of the year, while Villanova’s Kevin Cunningham (Sr./A) was tabbed as the league’s preseason offensive player of the year.
Last season, Notre Dame posted an 11-3 record overall and finished second in the BIG EAST with a 5-1 league mark. The Irish topped Penn, 13-6, in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Championship before falling to Duke, 7-5, in the quarterfinals. The Fighting Irish were ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in program history during a stretch of last season.
Notre Dame will open its 2012 campaign Feb. 18 with a home showdown against No. 2 Duke. The Fighting Irish also will face the U.S. National Team for the second straight season as part of the Champion Challenge on Jan. 28 in Orlando, Fla. Notre Dame is ranked ninth in the Inside Lacrosse preseason poll.
The seven men’s lacrosse members of the BIG EAST participate in a six-game, single round-robin format, with one division, playing each opponent once each year. The 2012 season will mark the first BIG EAST Championship, held May 3 and 5 at Goodreau Field on the campus of Villanova. The top four teams in the conference standings, determined and seeded by winning percentage in conference play at the conclusion of the regular season, will advance to compete in the postseason.
2012 BIG EAST Preseason Awards & Poll
BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Kevin Cunningham, Villanova, Sr., A
BIG EAST Preseason Co-Defensive Players of the Year
John Kemp, Notre Dame, Jr., G
Brian Megill, Syracuse, Jr., D
All-BIG EAST Preseason Team^
Zack Angel, Georgetown, Sr., M
Travis Comeau, Georgetown, Jr., A
* John Kemp, Notre Dame, Jr., G
Liam O’Connor, Notre Dame, So., SP
* Kevin Randall, Notre Dame, Sr., D
Sean Rogers, Notre Dame, Sr., A
Dillon Ayers, St. John’s, Jr., LSM
Tim Desko, Syracuse, R-Sr., A
Matt Harris, Syracuse, So., LSM
* JoJo Marasco, Syracuse, Jr., M
* Brian Megill, Syracuse, Jr., D
Matt Bell, Villanova, Sr., M
* Chris Creighton, Villanova, Sr., D
* Kevin Cunningham, Villanova, Sr., A
^ – two players were added to the All-BIG EAST Preseason Team due to a tie in voting
*- unanimous selection
BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll
2011 Points Overall RecordSyracuse (4) 34 15-2, 6-0 BIG EASTNotre Dame (1) 29 11-3, 5-1 BIG EASTVillanova (2) 28 11-5, 3-3 BIG EASTGeorgetown 21 7-7, 4-2 BIG EASTSt. John's 16 4-10, 2-4 BIG EASTRutgers 12 6-9, 1-5 BIG EASTProvidence 7 3-12, 0-6 BIG EAST
(-) - First-place votes