April 25, 2002
THE WEEK AHEAD – Notre Dame (4-7) plays its final road game of the 2002 campaign when the Irish travel to Cambridge, Mass., to face the Harvard Crimson (4-7) in a non-conference matchup. Coach Kevin Corrigan’s squad is looking to end its current two-game losing streak as the Irish have dropped back-to-back contests to Army (11-8) and Fairfield (11-10).
RECAPPING THE WEEK – Notre Dame lost its first Great Western Lacrosse League contest of the season as the Irish dropped an 11-10 decision to visiting Fairfield. Coach Corrigan’s squad rallied for four goals in the final 5:58 of the contest, but its comeback bid fell one goal short as Notre Dame dropped its fourth one-goal decision of the season. With the loss, Notre Dame was eliminated from earning the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament due to the conference’s tie-breaker policy. Senior John Flandina (West Islip, N.Y.) and junior Travis Wells (Severna Park, Md.) tallied three goals each as Notre Dame fell to 3-1 in league play. Notre Dame began its fourth-quarter comeback with the Stags holding an 11-6 advantage in the contest. Following Fairfield’s goal with 7:29 remaining in the contest, junior Kyle Frigon (Salem, Mass.) netted his only goal of the game to pull the Irish to within three with 5:58 left in the contest. Flandina then his third score of the game at the 4:17 mark and then Wells followed with his third score with 3:32 remaining. Senior Chad DeBolt (Waterloo, N.Y.) won the face-off and raced down the field to score his first goal of the season and fourth of his collegiate career with 3:19 left in regulation. Notre Dame had a couple of scoring opportunities in the closing minutes, but the Irish committed a couple of costly turnovers and Fairfield was able to run out the clock. The Stags began the game by jumping out to an early 2-0 lead. Notre Dame answered with three consecutive scores from Wells, Owen Mulford (Ocean City, Md.) and Matt Howell (Huntington, N.Y.) and led 3-2 with 5:29 remaining in the first quarter. Fairfield tied the score at 3-3 28 seconds later as the first quarter with the two teams knotted at 3-3. Notre Dame’s offense was shut down in the second quarter as the Stags held the Irish scoreless. Fairfield scored three goals in the second period and led 6-3 at the intermission. The Irish struck first in the second half as Wells’ man-up goal 32 seconds into the second half, but the Stags answered with back-to-back scores. Flandina cut the Fairfield lead to 8-5 at the 8:42 mark of the second, but Fairfield went up by four goals (9-5) with 5:11 remaining in the third quarter. Flandina scored his second goal of the quarter with 34 seconds left as Notre Dame trimmed the deficit to 9-6. The Stags tallied what would proved to the game-winning goal with four seconds remaining in the third quarter which put the visitors up 10-6 heading into the final quarter.
SERIES RECORD VS. HARVARD – Saturday’s matchup will be the ninth meeting between the two schools with Notre Dame holding a 6-2 advantage in the series. The two schools have met continuously since the 199 5 campaign. The Irish have won the last three meetings, including last year’s 16-4 triumph at home. The 12-goal margin was the most by any team in the eight games of the series. Notre Dame has a 2-2 record against Harvard on the road. Two years ago, the Irish earned an 11-10 victory, but in 1998 suffered a 9-8 setback.
HEAD COACH KEVIN CORRIGAN – Kevin Corrigan is in his 14th season at Notre Dame and 16th in the collegiate ranks. The four-time Great Western Lacrosse League coach of the year owns a 132-83 (.614) overall ledger and an 122-68 (.642) mark with the Irish. Corrigan has guided Notre Dame to 10 NCAA tournament appearances in the last 12 years (including six straight from 1992-97) and 10 (either outright or shared) conference titles. Last season, he guided the Irish to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship national semifinals. Under Corrigan, Notre Dame has been victorious in the first round of the NCAA tournament on three occasions. 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. In 2000, his squad upset fifth-seeded Loyola (Md.) in 15-13 in the first round for the school’s first-ever win over the Greyhounds. Last season, Notre Dame defeated Bucknell 12-7 in first round action and Johns Hopkins 13-9 in the quarterfinals. Previous to his tenure at Notre Dame, Corrigan served as head coach at Randolph-Macon during the 1985 and 1986 campaign where his teams compiled a 10-15 mark.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN – Saturday’s contest against Harvard represents the final road contest for the Irish this season. Notre Dame began the season by playing four of its first six games at home and then was on the road for four consecutive road games. Last Sunday’s matchup with Fairfield marked the first home game the Irish had played since March 23. Prior to the loss to the Stags, Notre Dame had gone 3-1 while playing four consecutive road games. Notre Dame picked up wins against Denver (15-8), Air Force (9-3) and Butler (12-8) and lost to Army 11-8.
AN IRISH RARITY – With just two games remaining in the regular season and a 4-7 record, Notre Dame will end the campaign with a losing record. It will mark just the third time the 21-year history of the program that an Irish team has suffered a losing season – 6-7 in 1983 and 5-7 in 1998. Notre Dame has also finished with a .500 record on two other occasions – 1981 (6-6) and 1991 (7-7). In five other seasons, an Irish team has suffered seven losses – 1983 (6-7), 1985 (9-7), 1990 (9-7), 1991 (7-7) and 1998 (5-8). A loss to Harvard on Saturday would mark the most in the program’s 22 seasons of varsity competition.
BALANCED SCORING – Notre Dame has received scoring help from 15 different players have scored a goal this season. Three players – Dan Berger (20 goals), Devin Ryan (15 goals) and Kyle Frigon (11 goals) – have scored 10 or more goals. As a team, Notre Dame has only scored 10 or more goals four times this season – vs. Rutgers (11 goals), Denver (15 goals), Butler (12 goals) and Fairfield (11-10). It’s offensive production has picked up significantly in the last five games as the Irish have averaged 10.8 goals per game. Coach Corrigan’s squad had a season-high 15 goals against Denver in a 15-8 win with three players recording hat tricks in the contest.
GETTING OFFENSIVE – Notre Dame averaged just 7.0 goals per game in its first six games, but since a 15-5 loss to Hofstra, the Irish are averaging 10.8 goals per game in their last five outings. Prior to the Denver contest, in which they scored a season-high 15 goals, Notre Dame had scored 10-plus goals in just one other contest (11 in a 11-6 win over Rutgers). In four of the first six games, Notre Dame scored fewer than 10 goal in five of those contests. In a three-game stretch against Virginia, Loyola and Hofstra, the Irish averaged just 5.33 goals per game.
PROTECTING THE HOME TURF – Notre Dame is just 1-4 this season, the fewest wins at home since the 1996 campaign when that Irish squad finished just 2-3. Only three times in 21-plus seasons has Notre Dame lost four home games – 1981, 1991 and 2002. Both the 1981 and 1991 squad finished with 2-4 home records.
FACING THE BEST – Seven of Notre Dame’s 13 opponents this season are ranked in both the USILA and Inside Lacrosse.com rankings this week. Notre Dame has already played six of those teams – Penn State, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Loyola, Hofstra and Fairfield. The Irish face Ohio State in the final game of the regular season on Sat., May 4. 2002 Irish opponents in the polls this week are: USILA Inside Lacrosse.com Virginia 3rd 3rd Hofstra 9th 11th Loyola 11th 9th Pennsylvania 16th 20th Penn State 17th 19th OhioState 18th 16th Fairfield 19th NR
BERGER BITES – Irish sophomore Dan Berger leads the team in scoring with 20 goals and four assists (20 points) and has started all 11 games for Notre Dame at attack. Last season, he played in just six games as a freshman and scored one goal. He has had six multiple-goal games this season, including a personal best four goals in a 7-6 loss at Pennsylvania on March 2. Berger was held without a goal in Notre Dame’s loss to Fairfield, but has recorded a point in all 11 contests. Heading into the matchup with the Stags, he had scored a goal in all 10 of the team’s previous outings.
FLANDINA FOLLIES – After somewhat of a slow start to the season, John Flandina has picked up his game. The senior midfield is tied for second in scoring with nine goals and a team-leading 13 assists (22 points). Last season, Flandina finished with 20 goals and seven assists in 16 contests and was the Irish’s top returning scorer heading into this season. He was named the Great Western Lacrosse Player of the Week three weeks ago after scoring three goals and dishing off three assists in Notre Dame’s 15-8 win over Denver. His hat trick against Fairfield on Sunday was his second of the season.
IRONMAN – Senior John Flandina is the only fourth-year Irish player who have played in all 55 games during his Notre Dame career. Another senior, Chad DeBolt (Waterloo, N.Y.), had played in every game of his career prior except one – versus Army on April 13. Prior to that game, he had played in 53 consecutive games, but an injury against Butler in Notre Dame’s win the previous week forced him to miss the contest against the Cadets.
SIMON SAYS – Junior Eric Simon (Flemington, N.J.) was back in the lineup against Fairfield after missing the previous four outings with a broken hand. Prior to the injury, he had been a mainstay for the Irish on defense. Simon has started all seven games he has played and has collected 30 ground balls. In his first two seasons, he had played in 19 career games and collected 12 ground balls. Simon missed the Denver, Air Force, Butler and Army contests with a broken hand.
RYAN STEPPING UP – Senior Devin Ryan has proven to be one of the team’s top offensive threats this season. The Irish captain has scored 15 goals (second most on the team) and dished off four assists (19 points) while starting all 11 contests. Ryan has had three hat tricks this season (Penn State, Loyola and Denver) and has recorded at least one goal in seven of 11 contests.
CLOSE CALLS – Notre Dame’s first four losses of the 2002 season were by a combined five goals. Two of the team’s six setbacks this year have been decided in overtime. The Irish lost 10-9 in overtime to Penn State at home in the season opener and then dropped a 7-6 double overtime decision to Loyola at home, which marked the first-ever double overtime game in the program’s 21-year history. Notre Dame has played two overtime contests in a single season on three other occasions – 1981, 1994 and 1996. Notre Dame is 0-4 in one-goal games in ’02.
HOME SWEET HOME – Notre Dame was undefeated at home last season and finished with a 6-0 mark. This season, the Irish have struggled and are just 1-3 at home this season. The three losses are the most suffered by a Notre Dame team at home since the 1996 season when it finished with a 2-3 mark. Since back-to-back 5-0 campaigns at home in 1994 and 1995, Irish teams own a 38-11 record for a winning percentage of 77.6 percent. Notre Dame has an all-time 91-30 (75.2 percent) home record since the program’s inaugural season in 1981. Since the ’94 campaign, Notre Dame has been undefeated at home four times.
LOOKS FAMILIAR – Notre Dame’s 2002 schedule will feature the same 13 opponents it did a year ago. The Irish finished with a 12-1 record during the regular season; its only blemish was an 11-10 overtime loss to Hofstra.
ALL IN THE FAMILY – Craig Bishko (West Islip, N.Y.), a freshman midfield on this year’s Irish lacrosse team, is the brother of former Notre Dame standout Steve Bishko, a 2001 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) third-team All-America selection and three-year starter. The Bishkos are the fourth brother tandem to play lacrosse at Notre Dame. The others are Todd (1992-96) and Joe Bialous, Jason (1992-94, ’95) and Connor (’98) Pett and David (1998-2001) and Todd (1998-2001) Ulrich.
ALL IN THE FAMILY II – Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are represented by members of both the Simon and Shearer families. Junior defenseman Eric Simon’s sister, Meredith, is a sophomore on the women’s lacrosse team, while freshman midfield Will Shearer’s (Hampstead, Md.) sister, Danielle, also plays for head coach Tracy Coyne’s squad.