February 24, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame mens lacrosse team opens up the 1999 campaign at Penn State on Sunday, February 28 at 1:00 p.m. in State College, Pa. This will be the fourth time in five seasons that the Irish and Nittany Lions have squared off in the season opener.
Notre Dame is coming off a 5-7 season a year ago and finished 20th in the final United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Poll. Penn State finished 6-6 last season and was 15th in the USILA ranking.
The Irish are ranked 22nd in the preseason Face-Off Lacrosse Magazine Poll, while the Nittany Lions are 16th. The USILA preseason ranking has not yet been released.
A LOOK AT THE IRISH – The 1999 Notre Dame mens lacrosse team returns six starters from last years squad which finished with a 5-7 record. The 1998 campaign marked the first time in seven seasons that the Irish failed to make the NCAA tournament; prior to the 98 campaign, they had earned six straight NCAA berths.
The Irish lose three key players from last years team – three-time honorable mention All-America Jimmy Keenan (midfield), three-time All-American and the 1998 Great Western Lacrosse League Player of the Year Todd Rassas (defense) and four-year starter Alex Cade (goal).
The Irish have a solid attack unit led by preseason All-America candidate senior Chris Dusseau (Columbus, Ohio). He has been Notre Dames leading goal-scorer in each of his three previous seasons. A starter in all 37 games he has played in during his career, Dusseau stands seventh in career goals scored (82) and 13th in scoring (91 points). In 1998, he scored 24 goals and dished off two assists (26 points) as the teams third-leading scorer.
Also returning at attack is sophomore David Ulrich (Baltimore, Md.). He had one of the best rookie seasons of any player in the history of the Notre Dame mens lacrosse program. He was the teams second-leading scorer as he netted 16 goals and dished off 18 assists (34 points). His assists and points were the most ever by an Irish freshman.
Senior Ned Webster (Baltimore, Md.) also returns at attack after sitting out all of last season with a knee injury. Webster had 13 goals and 18 assists (31 points) in 1997 in his junior season.
Notre Dame will need to replace two starters in the midfield. Brad Owen (Amherst, N.H.), Todd Ulrich (Baltimore, Md.) and Stedman Oakey (Charlottesville, Va.) are three returning players who will likely earn starting berths in the lineup. Owen started the first eight contests of 98 and had five goals before a hand injury sidelined him for the remainder of the campaign. In his sophomore season, he was a 12-game starter and was among the teams top goal scorers with 10. Ulrich, the twin brother of Dave, made three starts in the eight games he played. He finished his rookie season with four goals and three assists (seven points).
On defense, the Irish return two seniors, 12-game starter David Biddison (Baltimore, Md.) and Laurence Galli (Garden City, N.Y.) who made nine starts in his junior season.
There will be a new starting goalie for the first time in four years. Junior Kirk Howell (Nashville, Tenn.) will be Notre Dames starter in the season opener. His backup will be another junior, Patrick Darcy (Rockville Center, N.Y.). Neither Howell or Darcy has seen much playing time in their first two seasons. Howell played in three games last year for a total of 41 minutes and made five saves, while allowing three goals.
HEAD COACH KEVIN CORRIGAN – Kevin Corrigan begins his 11th season at the Notre Dame helm and his 13th in the collegiate ranks. The three-time Great Western Lacrosse League coach of the year starts the 1999 campaign just four wins shy of his 100th coaching victory. He owns a 96-64 (.600) overall ledger and an 86-49 (.637) mark with the Irish. Corrigan has guided Notre Dame to seven NCAA tournament appearances and 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 which propelled the Irish into the quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
IRISH IN SEASON OPENERS – Notre Dame is 13-5 in season openers. This will be the second consecutive year that the Irish and Nittany Lions have squared off in a season-opening game, and the fourth time in the last five years that they have met in the first game of the season. The last loss Notre Dame suffered in a season opener was two years ago to Loyola (14-7) at home. Notre Dame is 3-1 against the Nittany Lions in season-opening contests. The Irish are 1-2 playing at Penn State; their lone win was in a 9-5 come-from-behind win in 1997. Under Corrigan, Notre Dame has produced a 7-3 mark.
SERIES RECORD VS. PENN STATE – This will be the sixth meeting between the two teams and the second straight year in which the schools will square off in the season opener. Notre Dame owns a 3-2 advantage in the series after last seasons 14-9 victory at home.
IRISH FACE TOUGH SCHEDULE AGAIN IN 1999 – Coach Kevin Corrigan has once again put together a demanding schedule which features nine team which finished in the top 20 of the USILA final rankings in 1998 and are ranked in the preseason poll of Face-Off Lacrosse Magazine. The Irish are slated to face three top 10 teams – #3 Loyola, #8 Georgetown and #10 Hofstra. All three were on the Irish schedule in 1998, and Notre Dame posted a 1-2 mark against those teams. The lone victory came against Hofstra (8-4) in the season finale.
THE CAPTAINS – Seniors David Biddison and Chris Dusseau will serve as the Irish co-captains in 1999.
SEEING DOUBLE – Sophomores David and Todd Ulrich are the first twin brothers to play on the Notre Dame mens 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 four players who played at Boys Latin in Baltimore – the other two are Ned Webster and Tom Glatzel (Ellicott City, Md.).
IRISH STRONG AT HOME – In three (1994, 1995 and 1997) of the last five years, Notre Dame finished the home portion of its season undfeated. The Irish posted 5-0 marks in both 94 and 95 and were 6-0 in 97. The 99 schedule features seven home games and five road contests. Notre Dame opens up the season by playing four of its first seven games at home. Since 1984, Notre Dame has a 74-24 (.755) record at home and is 34-7 (.829) over the last seven seasons.
IRISH SCHEDULE REMAINS CONSISTENT – The 12-game 1999 schedule features all but two teams from the 1998 schedule. The two schools which appear on this years schedule are Villanova and Army. Notre Dame plays Villanova on March 13, and this will be the seventh meeting between the two schools. The Wildcats own a 4-2 advantage, but the Irish have won the last two outings as they have outscored Villanova 23-9. Notre Dames matchup with Army on April 10 will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools in the sport of mens lacrosse.
DUSSEAU PICKED FOR LACROSSE PRESEASON HONORS – Senior attack Chris Dusseau was selected to College Lacrosse USAs Preseason All-America team. He was the only Irish player tabbed for preseason All-America honors.
REVERSAL OF FORTUNE – Last seasons uncharacteristic 5-7 record marked the fewest wins in the 18-year history of the program and was only the second time ever that a Notre Dame mens lacrosse team had finished below the .500-mark. The last time an Irish team was under .500 was in 1983 when it finished with a 6-7 record. Notre Dame went on to post a 9-3 record that following season (1984).
UNITED STATES INTERCOLLEGIATE LACROSSE ASSOCIATION (Final Poll )
Pts. 1. Princeton 196 2. Loyola 192 3. Johns Hopkins 175 4. Syracuse 170 5. Maryland 165 6. Virginia 151 7. Duke 141 8. Georgetown 121 9. Maryland-Baltimore County 10510. Butler 10211. North Carolina 10212. Hobart 9213. Harvard 8214. Hofstra 6515. Penn State 6116. Delaware 4317. Navy 4118. Massachusetts 3119. Rutgers 2720. NOTRE DAME 15
FACE-OFF LACROSSE (Preseason Poll)
Pts. 1. Princeton 981 2. Johns Hopkins 893 3. Loyola 883 4. Syracuse 863 5. Virginia 843 6. Duke 782 7. Maryland 769 8. Georgetown 673 9. North Carolina 57110. Hofstra 43311. Maryland-Baltimore County 38612. Hobart 35313. Massachusetts 30814 Navy 30315. Brown 24116. Penn State 24017. Butler 23118. Towson 21919. Delaware 15420. Harvard 13921. Cornell 13122. NOTRE DAME 12423. Rutgers 10224. Army 9225. Pennsylvania 25