Junior long-stick midfielder Andrew Irving (pictured) was named to this week's BIG EAST weekly honor roll along with his teammate Max Pfeifer.

Irish To Open Inaugural BIG EAST Campaign On Saturday Against Rutgers

March 26, 2010

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

RUTGERS (4-2) at #8 NOTRE DAME (5-2)
Saturday, March 27 – 12:00 p.m. (ET)
Arlotta Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.
Gametracker on und.com

SETTING THE STAGE … The No. 8 Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team will play its first-ever BIG EAST Conference game when the Irish play host to Rutgers at noon (ET) on Saturday at Arlotta Stadium. The game against the Scarlet Knights will conclude Notre Dame’s three-game homestand. The Fighting Irish boast a 5-2 record this season, while Rutgers is 4-2. This will be the fifth meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Rutgers. The Irish lead the series 3-1.

ABOUT THE IRISH … Notre Dame (5-2) will look for its third straight victory when the Irish play Rutgers on Saturday … the Fighting Irish are coming off home wins over Denver (14-7) and Ohio State (7-6 in overtime) last week … junior midfielder David Earl completed his hat trick by scoring the game winner in overtime against the Buckeyes last Saturday … fellow junior midfielder Zach Brenneman also netted three goals in the victory … that was Brenneman’s team-best fourth hat trick of the season … Brenneman leads the Irish with 13 goals on the season … his 17 points tie him for the team lead along with senior attackman Neal Hicks, who has 12 goals and five assists … sophomore midfielder Max Pfeifer and senior attackman Colin Igoe share the assist lead with Hicks … the Fighting Irish are averaging 9.86 goals per game, while surrendering 7.71 per contest … Notre Dame has had 10 different players score a goal this season … senior goalie Scott Rodgers, a third-team All-American last season, has all seven decisions this season … Rodgers boasts a 7.62 goals-against average and a .585 save percentage … he has a 20-3 career record … Notre Dame is competing in its 30th season of varsity lacrosse … the Fighting Irish have an all-time record of 265-140 (.654) … Notre Dame has made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including four straight trips … Notre Dame returned six starters and 16 letterwinners from last year’s team that posted a 15-1 record … Kevin Corrigan is in his 22nd season as the head coach of the Fighting Irish … he has a record of 201-98 (.672) during his Notre Dame tenure.

ND-RUTGERS SERIES NOTES … Saturday will mark the fifth all-time meeting between Notre Dame and Rutgers … the Irish lead the series 3-1 … the two schools have not met since the 2002 season when Notre Dame captured an 11-6 win at home … the Irish defeated the Scarlet Knights 9-4 during the 2001 campaign in Piscataway, N.J. … the only Rutgers win in the series came in 1998 as the Scarlet Knights topped the Irish 13-12 in South Bend … the first encounter between the two teams came in 1994 as Notre Dame won at Rutgers, 8-7 in overtime.

ABOUT RUTGERS … Rutgers will bring a 4-2 record into Saturday’s game … the Scarlet Knights are coming off an 11-8 setback to Army on March 20 … Rutgers other wins this season have come against Wagner (24-4), St. Joseph’s (15-6), Penn State (7-4) and Marist (10-9) … Rutgers fell to UMBC, 6-5, on February 28 … junior attackman Kory Kelly leads the team in goals (15) and points (18) … senior midfielder Justin Pennington has a team-best eight assists … freshman Rudy Butler has started all six games in goal and carries a 7.08 goals-against average along with a .486 save percentage … Rutgers posted a 4-11 record last season … the Scarlet Knights returned four starters and 20 letterwinners from the 2009 squad … head coach Jim Stagnitta is in his ninth season at Rutgers.

WORKING OVERTIME … The 7-6 win over Ohio State last Saturday marked Notre Dame’s second overtime game of the season … the Irish dropped a 7-6 overtime decision at Drexel on March 9 … the last season prior to this year that Notre Dame played two overtime contests in the same season was in 2005 … Saturday was Notre Dame’s first overtime victory since an 8-7 win over Colgate in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

A COACHING MILESTONE … Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan earned his 200th victory at Notre Dame with the win over Denver on March 16 … Corrigan, who is in his 22nd season at Notre Dame, has a 201-98 (.672) record at the helm of the Fighting Irish program.

SCARLET KNIGHT CONNECTION … Notre Dame assistant coach Brian Fisher played at Rutgers from 1998-2001 and served as an assistant coach for his alma mater from 2002-06 before joining the Fighting Irish beginning with the 2007 campaign.

LOCKING DOWN … The Notre Dame defense ranks seventh nationally by surrendering just 7.71 goals per game … the Irish man-down defense is the fourth-best in the nation (.800) … the six Ohio State goals on Saturday were the fewest allowed by the Notre Dame defense this season … since the beginning of the 2007 season, the Fighting Irish defense has only allowed 10 or more goals five times in the 55 games played during that span.

SCORELESS QUARTERS … When the Notre Dame defense held Ohio State scoreless in the fourth quarter in the meeting on March 20, it marked the fourth time this season that the Irish have held an opponent without a goal for an entire quarter … in the season opener, Notre Dame did not allow a fourth-quarter goal against Duke … the Fighting Irish held Loyola scoreless during the second quarter of the game on March 6 … the Irish shut out Drexel in the third period on March 9.

FINISHING STRONG … Notre Dame has out scored its opponents 18-8 in the fourth quarter of play this season … the Irish own a 21-11 scoring edge in the second quarter.

COMING BACK … Notre Dame trailed Ohio State 6-4 entering the fourth quarter on March 20 … Fighting Irish goals from Zach Brenneman (8:49) and David Earl (3:20) along with a shut out from the Irish defense in the fourth quarter forced the game into overtime where Earl scored the game winner with 1:41 left in the first extra session.

HAT TRICKS … Six Notre Dame players have registered hat tricks this season … junior midfielder Zach Brenneman has a team-best four hat tricks this season … Neal Hicks (Sr./A), Grant Krebs (Sr./M) and David Earl (Jr./M) all have two … Max Pfeifer (So./M) and Sean Rogers (So./A) both have one hat trick this season … Pfeifer’s hat trick was a four-goal effort against Drexel … Brenneman has notched a hat trick in the past two games (Denver and Ohio State).

SPREADING THE WEALTH … The Fighting Irish have had 10 players score a goal this season … Notre Dame boasts three players with double-digit goal totals … Zach Brenneman (Jr./M) has a team-high 13 goals, while Neal Hicks (Sr./A) has 12 … David Earl (Jr./M) has netted 11.

STREAKING … Senior attackman Neal Hicks saw his team-best 24-game point streak come to an end against Ohio State last Saturday … the streak ranked eighth nationally … Hicks tallied 62 points on 38 goals and 24 assists during the streak … sophomore midfielder Max Pfeifer currently holds the top point streak for the Fighting Irish at six games … junior midfielder David Earl has scored a goal in a team-best five straight contests.

FACING OFF … Senior midfielder Trever Sipperly has gone 47-31 (.603) in faceoffs over the past four games … against Drexel (March 9) he went 13-17 (.765) to match a personal-best winning percentage for a single game … Sipperly followed that up with 14 wins out of 20 attempts (.700) against Fairfield … he boasts a .586 winning percentage (82-58) this season … last season, Sipperly ranked 13th nationally with a .559 percentage (85-67).

A GOOD CAUSE … The Notre Dame-Fairfield contest was part of the inaugural `Beating Cancer With a Stick Lacrosse Classic’ … the event, which was presented by Lacrosse 4 All, will help raise money for The Children’s Cancer Hospital at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center … it was the first NCAA Division I lacrosse game in Houston since 1970, when Johns Hopkins played Navy … four high school programs, Kinkaid, Houston Episcopal, Gulliver Prep (Fla.) and Palo Verde (Nev.), also participated in the event.

RETURNING TO TEXAS … The Fairfield game signified the second straight season that Notre Dame has played a game in the state of Texas … last year, the Fighting Irish topped Vermont, 13-7, in Dallas … that contest was part of the Patriot Cup.

RARE HAPPINGINGS … The 10 goals scored by Fairfield on March 13 snapped Notre Dame’s 20-game streak of not surrendering double digits in goals … Notre Dame saw its 20-game regular-season win streak come to an end earlier that week with a 7-6 overtime setback at No. 20 Drexel on March 9 … the back-to-back losses to Drexel and Fairfield marked the first time Notre Dame had dropped consecutive contests since the 2007 campaign when the Irish fell to Cornell and North Carolina.

BEATING THE BEST … Notre Dame has defeated two top-10 teams this season … the Irish knocked off No. 2 Duke, 11-7, in the season opener … Notre Dame took down No. 10 Loyola, 11-9, on March 6 … the last time the Fighting Irish beat two top-10 teams in the same season was during the 2008 campaign … that season, Notre Dame topped No. 9 Ohio State, 17-12, during the regular season and then downed the 10th-ranked Buckeyes, 9-2, during the GWLL tournament … Notre Dame also beat No. 10 Colgate, 8-7 in overtime, in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Championship.

BIG STAGE … Notre Dame has played in some big venues over the past few seasons … on March 6, the Irish defeated Loyola, 11-9, in front of 19,742 fans at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. during the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic … last season, Notre Dame topped Ohio State, 14-8, in front of an NCAA regular-season record crowd of 30,192 fans at Ohio Stadium … the game was played prior to Ohio State’s spring football game … the Fighting Irish bested Denver, 10-8, at Invesco Field at Mile High one season ago … in 2008, Notre Dame faced Denver at Toyota Park, which is home to the Chicago Machine (MLL) and Chicago Fire (MLS).

A FANTASTIC 400 … The Penn State contest on Feb. 28 marked the 400th game in the history of men’s varsity lacrosse at Notre Dame … the Fighting Irish carry an all-time record of 265-140 (.654).

GRAND OPENING … Notre Dame’s 11-7 season-opening win over No. 2 Duke on Feb. 20 marked the program’s first victory over a team ranked in the top-two of the national polls … Notre Dame is 23-7 all-time in season-openers, including a 17-5 record in the Kevin Corrigan era … the Irish have won a program-record eight straight season-openers … the Fighting Irish have opened their slate against a ranked opponent for 17 consecutive seasons.

DELIGHTFUL DEBUT … Notre Dame freshman midfielder Steve Murphy netted two goals in his collegiate debut against Duke on Feb. 20 … the last time a Fighting Irish freshman scored at least two goals in their Notre Dame debut was when Ryan Hoff and Peter Christman deposited two goals each in an 8-4 win over Penn State in 2006.

THREE NAMED TO TEWAARATON WATCH LIST … Notre Dame seniors Sam Barnes (D), Grant Krebs (M) and Scott Rodgers (GK) have been named to the 64-man watch list for the 2010 Tewaaraton Trophy … The Tewaaraton Award was formally established in August of 2000 and is the pre-eminent lacrosse award, which is given annually to the NCAA men’s and women’s lacrosse player of the year … the award will be presented on June 3rd, 2010 at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

DEFENDING THE CAGE … Notre Dame currently ranks seventh nationally with a 7.71 goals-against average … Notre Dame boasted the nation’s top defense in 2009 by producing a school-record 6.19 goals-against average, which shattered the program standard of 6.66 from the 2007 season … in his first season as a starter, Scott Rodgers led all NCAA Division I goalies with a 6.14 goals-against average and a .663 save percentage en route to earning third-team All-America honors in 2009 … his 15 victories also established a Fighting Irish record … the Irish had the nation’s fifth-best scoring defense in 2008 by allowing 7.04 goals per game … in 2007, Notre Dame ranked fourth nationally with the 6.66 mark.

ARLOTTA STADIUM … Arlotta Stadium is the new home for the Notre Dame men’s and women’s lacrosse programs … construction of the facility began in August of 2008 and it held its first event on October 16, 2009 as the Notre Dame men’s team played the Iroquois National Team in an exhibition contest … the official stadium dedication was held on October 17, 2009 … Notre Dame defeated Denver, 14-7, in its first regular-season game in the facility … the stadium features over 2,000 seats, lights, an artificial-turf field, locker rooms, player lounges, restrooms and concession areas … the state-of-the-art facility is named after Notre Dame graduate John Arlotta, president and chief executive officer of Denver-based Coram Inc. … he and his wife Bobbie pledged the lead gift toward the stadium, which was built to the east of the Joyce Center as part of the University’s new athletics quadrangle … the Arlotta children – Mindy, Andy and Jon – pledged an additional gift from The Arlotta Family Foundation toward the project … in addition to their generous donation, alumni and friends of the lacrosse programs donated over two million dollars.

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS … Five Notre Dame players have garnered preseason All-America honors from Inside Lacrosse … Scott Rodgers (Sr., G) was named to the first team, while Grant Krebs (Sr., M) and Sam Barnes (Sr., D) were second-team selections … Trever Sipperly (Sr., M/FO) and Andrew Irving (Jr., LSM) were honorable mention picks.

BIG EAST DEBUT … The 2010 campaign marks the first season of BIG EAST men’s lacrosse … the seven conference schools that will participate in the newly-formed league are Georgetown, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Syracuse and Villanova … the teams will play a six-game single round-robin regular-season schedule … men’s lacrosse is the BIG EAST’s 11th men’s sport while the Conference conducts 13 women’s sports … Notre Dame already is a member of the BIG EAST in 23 other sports … Notre Dame was a member of the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) from 1994-2009 … the Fighting Irish captured 12 GWLL regular-season titles in addition to winning the only two GWLL Tournaments (2008 & 2009).

IRISH TABBED TO FINISH SECOND IN BIG EAST … Notre Dame was picked to finish second in the inaugural season of the BIG EAST men’s lacrosse league … the conference’s head coaches casted the votes and were not permitted to vote for their own teams … Syracuse was tabbed to win the league with six first-place votes, while Notre Dame received one first-place nod … rounding out the order of finish was Georgetown, Villanova, Rutgers, St. John’s and Providence.

IRISH EARN PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE HONORS … Four Notre Dame student-athletes were named to the 2010 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team … senior Scott Rodgers was the lone goalie selected to the 15-man squad … fellow seniors Sam Barnes (D), Neal Hicks (A) and Grant Krebs (M) also were chosen for the all-conference team.

RODGERS NAMED A LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE … Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers has been named one of 20 candidates for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the men’s lacrosse division … to be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition … an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities … Rodgers, a third-team All-American last season, carries a 3.077 cumulative grade-point average as a sociology major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.

QUALITY COMPETITION … The Fighting Irish have five teams on their 2010 slate that appear in the latest Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll … Notre Dame currently is ranked 11th in the poll … Notre Dame opened the campaign with an 11-7 victory over current No. 9 Duke … the Blue Devils were ranked second at the time of the contest … Notre Dame took down current No. 15 Loyola, 11-9, on March 6 … the Irish fell at No. 14 Drexel, 7-6 in overtime, on March 9 … Notre Dame will face No. 2 Syracuse on May 1 and No. 8 Georgetown on April 11.

IRISH NAME CAPTAINS … Seniors Mike Creighton (D), Neal Hicks (A) and Kelly McKenna (M) are first-time captains for the Fighting Irish, while Scott Rodgers (G), a fifth-year senior, will be serving as a team captain for the second straight season.

GETTING OFFENSIVE … The Notre Dame offense has been one of the best in the nation over the past few seasons … last season, the Irish tied for 10th nationally by averaging 11.00 goals per-game … in 2008, the Irish averaged 12.04 goals per game and that placed them fifth among all NCAA Division I teams … Notre Dame ranked fourth in 2007 with an 11.65 goals per-game average … the Irish are averaging 9.86 goals per game this season.

A QUICK LOOK BACK … In 2009, Notre Dame posted the first undefeated regular season in program history … the Fighting Irish went 13-0 overall in the regular season, including a 5-0 mark in Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) play … Notre Dame notched two more wins to take its second straight GWLL Tournament title … the Irish concluded the season with a 15-1 record after falling to Maryland, 7-3, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament … Notre Dame garnered the No. 7 seed for the NCAAs … the win total and winning percentage (.938) established program records … the Fighting Irish defense led the nation in 2009 with a 6.19 goals-against average, while the offense was tied for 10th by scoring 11.0 goals per game … five Notre Dame players garnered All-America honors in 2009 … Scott Rodgers (G), Ryan Hoff (A) and Regis McDermott (D) were third-team selections, while Sam Barnes (D) and Grant Krebs (M) were honorable-mention picks … Rodgers, Barnes and Krebs are back for the Irish in 2010 … Rodgers was named the 2009 GWLL Player of the Year, while Kevin Corrigan was named the league’s coach of the year for the fifth time … Rodgers led the nation in goals-against average (6.14) and save percentage (.663) … attackman Neal Hicks led the Irish with 43 points on 25 goals and 18 assists … Hoff scored a team-best 32 goals.

WINNING WAYS … In 2009, Notre Dame’s 15-1 mark established program records for wins and winning percentage in a single season … the Fighting Irish compiled the first undefeated regular season in program history and it marked the fourth straight season that the Irish have reached double figures in wins … Notre Dame’s 15-game win streak was a program best.

SUSTAINED SUCCESS … Notre Dame has earned four straight appearances to the NCAA Championship … over the past two seasons, the Irish have garnered one of the tournament’s eight national seeds and have posted a first-round contest … last season, the seventh-seeded Fighting Irish fell to Maryland, 7-3, in the tournament’s first round … Notre Dame has made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances since 1990.

KEEPING UP WITH ND MEN’S LACROSSE … Log onto und.com for the latest information on the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse program … und.com, the official athletics web site for the University of Notre Dame, features press releases, game stories, feature stories, video interviews, stats, rosters and more … fans also can sign up for Irish ALERT, a text messaging service designed to give fans game updates for all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame … Irish men’s lacrosse fans can sign up to receive scores following each quarter … in addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting assistant sports information director Sean Carroll at Carroll.64@nd.edu or (574) 631-2664 … all requests for story ideas, interview access, match credentials and further information on Irish men’s lacrosse should similarly be directed to Carroll … credential and interview requests should be made at least 24 hours in advance.