March 19, 2004
The 10th-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team (1-2) will face a ranked team for the fourth consecutive game, heading to Geppi-Aikens Field in Baltimore to face #16 Loyola (1-2) at 1 p.m. (EST) on Saturday. Both teams have lost two in a row after opening the season with victories. In the last Irish visit to Loyola, Notre Dame registered its first-ever win at Geppi-Aikens Field with a 10-7 decision in 2001.
FOLLOWING THE NOTRE DAME-LOYOLA GAME: Fans and media unable to attend Saturday’s game will be able to obtain a free live internet audio broadcast of the contest via the official website of Loyola College athletics, www.loyolagreyhounds.com. There also will be a link to the broadcast on Notre Dame’s official athletic site, www.und.com. The radio broadcast will be available in the Baltimore area on WNST AM 1570. For other ways to follow the Irish, see “Keeping Up With ND Men’s Lacrosse” at the end of this release.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS NOTES PACKAGE: Below are some of the top points from this notes package. For more details on any topic, consult the remainder of this release.
* Notre Dame has lost two in a row after opening the season with a 17-7 victory over #17 Penn State. Last week, the Irish fell 19-13 at #3 Syracuse on Thursday and 14-11 at home vs. #9 North Carolina three days later.
* The Irish fell five spots to 10th in this week’s USILA national rankings.
* Notre Dame is coming off a 2003 season in which it was 9-5, won a share of a fifth consecutive Great Western Lacrosse League title, and finished 18th in the final USILA national rankings.
* The Irish return 20 monogram winners, including eight starters, from last year’s team. Among those are sophomore A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.), who led all Division I freshmen in scoring last season en route to setting a Notre Dame rookie scoring record and becoming the first Irish freshman to earn All-America accolades (honorable mention by USILA). In addition, he was the GWLL Newcomer of the Year.
* Loyola, which returns five starters from last year’s team that was 7-6 and finished 19th, also is on a two-game skid after opening the season with a victory. The Greyhounds beat #10 Towson 14-9 on the road on Feb. 28 before falling 9-8 at #19 Hofstra and 11-3 at home against #8 Duke.
* After losing in its first five games at Loyola, Notre Dame aims for its second consecutive victory at Geppi-Aikens Field after a 10-7 triumph in 2001.
* Loyola leads the all-time series with the Irish 12-2, including 11-1 in regular-season play.
* Each of the last four contests between the Greyhounds and Notre Dame have been decided by three goals or fewer.
* Notre Dame ranks second in Division I in scoring offense (13.67 goals per game).
* Notre Dame is tied for first the nation in converting extra-man opportunities (10-14, .714). The Irish had a streak of nine consecutive goals on EMOs (last six chances vs. Penn State and first three at Syracuse).
* The Irish boast the top two scorers in the Great Western Lacrosse League, as sophomore A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.) is fifth in the nation, averaging 5.00 points per contest, and senior A Matt Howell (Huntington, N.Y./Huntington H.S.) is tied for 14th with an average of 4.00. Walsh has 15 points (7 g, 8 a) and Howell has 12 (7 g, 5 a).
* Sophomore M Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) is tied with Butler’s Kyle Tietjen for the GWLL lead in goals per game, averaging 2.67. Karweck has eight goals, including four in the season opener vs. #17 Penn State.
* Sophomore A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.) was one of 26 players named to the watch list for the 2004 Tewaaraton Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top player at the conclusion of the season.
* Senior A Dan Berger (Phoenix, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.) and sophomore A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.) earned preseason honorable mention All-America honors from Inside Lacrosse magazine.
* Notre Dame boasts one of the most experienced coaching staffs in the nation. Head coach Kevin Corrigan and assistants Kevin Anderson and Guy Van Arsdale combine for 50 years of college and pro coaching experience heading into 2004. Thirty-two of those years have been as head coaches. Only three Division I teams have more years of combined coaching experience than the Irish, and just four have more previous seasons as head coaches.
* This year’s Irish schedule is highlighted by a pair of road trips to Final Four teams from last year (L, 19-13 at Syracuse; May 1 at Maryland) and four home games against ’03 NCAA participants. In all, nine of the 12 Irish opponents are either ranked or receiving votes in this week’s USILA poll.
LAST TIME ON THE FIELD: Notre Dame dropped a pair of games against top-10 opponents in a four-day span last week, falling 19-13 at #3 Syracuse on Thursday and losing 14-11 at home vs. North Carolina on Sunday.
In the initial game, Notre Dame held a 10-7 lead early in the third quarter before the Orangemen started a 9-1 run. Notre Dame’s offense was effective, especially in the first half, but Syracuse used a substantial ground ball advantage to get more possessions and, thus, more scoring opportunities generated by one of the top offenses in the country. The Orangemen finished with 53 ground balls, while the Irish had 34. In the second half, Syracuse held a 29-15 advantage.
The Orangemen had four players register hat tricks in scoring 18 or more goals for the third time in as many games this season. Leading the way was senior A Michael Powell, a three-time first-team All-American and three-time winner of the Jack Turnbull Award as the best attackman in Division I. He scored three goals in the first 12 minutes and added three assists to finish with six points to go with six ground balls. Sophomore A Brian Crockett had a game-high five goals, as well as an assist, after notching four goals in the fall contest against the Irish. Senior A Brian Nee added four goals and sophomore M Greg Rommel had three.
Leading Notre Dame offensively was junior M Brian Giordano (Princeton, N.J./Hun School), who had points on four of the first five Irish goals, scoring three times in the first 17 minutes before adding an assist. Sophomore A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.) also had four points, with three of them coming on assists. Senior A Dan Berger (Phoenix, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.) accounted for three of Notre Dame’s four second-half goals in registering the 13th hat trick of his career and second in as many contests this season. The Irish also got three points apiece from senior A Matt Howell (Huntington, N.Y./Huntington H.S.) and sophomore M Matt Ryan (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley H.S.). Howell, who had seven points in the season opener against Penn State, notched a pair of goals, while Ryan registered his first goal of the season to go along with two assists. Howell added four ground balls.
Notre Dame fell behind 5-1 in the first quarter and could not recover against the Tar Heels. After the initial spurt, the Irish cut the lead to two goals on four occasions, but could never come closer than that. Walsh led Notre Dame offensively with three goals and three assists. North Carolina junior A Jed Prossner finished with six goals – four in the first period and two to extend the Tar Heel lead back to three after Notre Dame had cut it down. He added a pair of assists and has 15 goals in five contests this spring. Junior M Bryant Will also was effective offensively, ending up with three goals on four shots to go with a trio of assists. Junior G Paul Spellman stopped 17 shots for a .607 save percentage, though the Irish were the first team to score double-digit goals against him in five games this season.
Notre Dame continued a trend of having offense generated from a wide variety of players. In the season opener Feb. 29 against Penn State, six Irish players netted multiple goals. Four accomplished the feat at Syracuse, and five did it on Sunday. Howell, Ryan, and sophomores M Brian Hubschmann (Franklin Lakes, N.J./Delbarton H.S.) and M Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) all had two to go along with Walsh’s hat trick, his second in three games this season after having just two all of last year. For the second game in a row, Notre Dame lost the ground ball battle, this time by a margin of 36-28, including 11-5 in the third period. Senior M Kevin Frew led the Tar Heels with 12, most of them on faceoffs. Notre Dame won half of the faceoffs for the first time this season, with juniors M Frank Matarazzo (Franklin Lakes, N.J./Bergen Catholic H.S.) and M Craig Bishko (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip H.S.) splitting the duties. Both won seven draws. Matarazzo registered a career-high five ground balls, all coming on faceoffs.
SNAPSHOT OF THE IRISH: Notre Dame’s men’s lacrosse program has experienced a wealth of success since the arrival of head coach Kevin Corrigan in 1989. In his 15 seasons, Corrigan has guided Notre Dame to a winning record 12 times, including 10 seasons with nine or more victories, compiling a 133-76 (.636) mark. The Irish have earned 10 berths to the NCAA Championship, including quarterfinal apperances in 1995 and 2000 and a Final Four trip in 2001. Notre Dame has 33 victories over ranked opponents, including eight vs. top-10 teams and hold a 69-22 (.758) overall record at home. Notre Dame has won 12 conference titles (9 Great Western Lacrosse League, 3 Great Lakes Conference) in that span. Since the formation of the GWLL in 1994, the Irish are 34-4 (.895) in conference play — including 20-1 (.952) at home — winning at least a share of the league championship in every season except 1998. Notre Dame has had at least one All-American in each of the last 11 seasons, a total of 22 honorees since 1994. In addition, the Irish have garnered 79 all-conference honors, highlighted by four GWLL player-of-the-year awards.
The 2004 Irish team returns 20 monogram winners and eight starters from last year’s squad that was 9-5, won a share of a fifth consecutive GWLL title and finished 18th in the final USILA national rankings.
On paper, there are few teams in Division I that can match the offensive firepower Notre Dame boasts this season, as evidenced by the Irish ranking second in the nation in scoring (13.67 per game). Headlining that group is sophomore A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.), who was the highest-scoring freshman in the country last season en route to setting a Notre Dame freshman scoring record and becoming the first Irish rookie ever to earn All-America honors. His 32 assists matched the Notre Dame record, led the GWLL, and ranked sixth nationally (2.29 per game), including tops by far among freshmen (the second-best mark was 1.73). Walsh leads the conference and is fifth nationally in scoring this season with seven goals and eight assists (5.00 points per game). Junior A Dan Berger (Phoenix, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.) has been Notre Dame’s leading goal scorer in each of the last two seasons, establishing himself as one of the best finishers in Division I. A two-time first-team all-GWLL honoree and preseason honorable mention All-America selection by Inside Lacrosse, he had 32 goals in 2003, which ranked 18th in the nation (2.29 per game). In three games this spring, he has two hat tricks, bringing his career total to 13. Senior A Matt Howell (Huntington, N.Y./Huntington H.S.) entered the season as one of Notre Dame’s top attackmen for the third straight year, but he has been plagued by injuries in each of the last two campaigns. Despite missing five contests in 2003, he ranked ninth in the nation in points per game (3.78) and eighth in assists per game (2.11). He ranks second behind Walsh in scoring (7 goals, 7 assists) this season and is 14th in the nation. Freshman A Brian Boyle (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) is the only reserve attackman to have played in each of the first three games.
As on attack, Notre Dame’s midfield boasts outstanding depth. Back as a starter for the third consecutive season is junior M Brian Giordano (Princeton, N.J./Hun School), who has been Notre Dame’s top offensive middie over the last two-plus seasons. A first-team all-GWLL honoree last season and an All-America candidate in 2004, he has five goals and four assists through three games. Joining Giordano in starting roles are sophomores M Matt Ryan (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley H.S.) and M Brian Hubschmann (Short Hills, N.J./Delbarton H.S.), who were top reserves a year ago. Hubschmann matched his season total from ’03 with a six-point (two goals, four assists) performance in this year’s season opener and has five goals and four assists. Another sophomore, M Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy), is Notre Dame’s leading goal scorer, with eight — putting him in a tie for the GWLL lead (2.67 per game). Among the other top reserves are seniors M Steve Clagett (Chesapeake Beach, Md./DeMatha Catholic H.S.) and M Owen Mulford (Ocean City, Md./Loyola Blakefield H.S.), who are two of just three players on the Irish roster to have already won three monograms. Sophomore M Drew Peters (Babylon, N.Y./Babylon H.S.) and freshman M Bill Liva (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Malvern Preparatory School) also played key roles in the opener. Another rookie, M Ryan Cunn (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip H.S.), started in the Irish midfield in fall ball before suffering a season-edning anterior cruciate ligament injury in a scrimmage against the Boston Cannons.
Juniors M Craig Bishko (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip H.S.) and M Frank Matarazzo (Franklin Lakes, N.J./Bergen Catholic H.S.) have split time in the faceoff circle for the Irish this spring. Bishko was Notre Dame’s top draw man a year ago and has won 18-47 (.383) this season, while Matarazzo has been successful on 19-41 (.463) attempts, including a career-high 10 won against Syracuse.
Junior M Chris Richez (Freeport, N.Y./Freeport H.S.), senior M Chris Masterson (West Hempstead, N.Y./Chaminade H.S.), and sophomore M Brandon Schultheis (Babylon, N.Y./Babylon H.S.) are Notre Dame’s top longstick midfielders. The role is new for Richez, who had 10 goals and seven assists in his first two seasons as a regular middie, and his athleticism and prior experience could make him an occasional offensive threat.
Though Notre Dame’s defense is not quite as experienced as the other Irish units, it nonethless boasts a number of battle-tested players and could turn out to be a team strength. Senior D Mickey Blum (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City H.S.) is in his third year as a starter on the Irish defense, while another senior, D Brennan Creaney (Baltimore, Md./Loyola Blakefield H.S.), also is back after starting the first 10 games of last season before suffering an injury. Sophomore D D.J. Driscoll (Downington, Pa./Malvern Preparatory School) became the first defenseman and just the second freshman ever to lead Notre Dame in ground balls a year ago, with 61. A second-team all-GWLL honoree, he was a large reason the Irish ranked second in the nation in ground balls per game. He leads the team with 12 in 2004.
The final line of defense figures to be a strength for the Irish, with senior G Stewart Crosland (Bethesda, Md./Landon School) manning the cage again in 2004. He got a taste of being the top Notre Dame goalie two seasons ago before establishing himself as not only the best goalkeeper on the Irish, but one of the elite players at the position in the country in 2003. Crosland was fifth in Division I in save percentage (.626) a year ago and ranked 11th in goals-against average (7.49), leading the Great Western Lacrosse League in both categories. In 2004, he has a 13.33 GAA and .518 save percentage.