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No. 12 Irish Men's Lacrosse Faces Tough Road Test At No. 19 Ohio State

April 5, 2003

Notre Dame, Ind. –

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THE WEEK AHEAD – The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team travels to Columbus, Ohio on Sunday, April 6 when the Irish face No. 19 Ohio State in a 1:00 p.m. (EDT) Great Western Lacrosse League contest. The Irish (5-3, 1-0), ranked 12th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse poll and 15th in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) ranking, will be looking to extend their current win streak to three game. Sunday’s matchup against the Buckeyes will be the third road game for the Irish in their last four outings. Ohio State, 4-2, will open up GWLL play agains the Irish. The Buckeyes are riding a three-game win streak heading into their contest with Notre Dame and have not lost since dropping a 9-8 decision to North Carolina at home on March 12. Notre Dame is facing a ranked opponent for the seventh time this season. The Irish are 3-3 versus ranked foes 2003.

SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame is riding a two-game win streak after posting victories over Hartford (17-3) and Denver (9-8) each of the last two Sundays. Coach Kevin Corrigan’s squad opened up the ’03 campaign 3-0 win winos over Penn State (10-9), Pennsylvania (14-5) and North Carolina (10-8), but then suffered three straight losses to Virginia (14-8), Loyola (9-8) and Hofstra (9-8). The Irish are averaging 10.50 goals per game, while allowing just 8.13 per contest. Notre Dame has scored 10-plus goals in four games this season, but has been held to under 10 goals in four of its last five games. The Irish’s 84 goals in its first eight are just 25 fewer than they scored all of last year. Matt Howell (Huntington, N.Y.) leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and a team-high 19 assists in seven games. He did not play in the Denver after an appendectomy four days prior to the contest against the Pioneers. Howell is expected to miss the next three to four games. He had scored a goal in six of the seven game that he had played before the surgery and had recorded at least one point (either a goal or an assist) in all seven games. Freshman Patrick Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y.) stands second in the Notre Dame scoring column with 12 goals and 16 assists. A starter in all eight games, he has scored at least one goal in six of eight games and and has registered three two-goal games. Junior Dan Berger (Phoenix, Md.) leads the Irish with 20 goals and is just one goal shy of equalling his personal best of 21 which he scored last season in the 13 games he played. Another Irish rookie, Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y.), has registered 10-plus points this season as he has scored eight goals and dished off two assists. Eric Simon (Flemington, N.J.) and Mickey Blum (Garden City, N.Y.) are the anchors of Notre Dame’s defensive unit. Simon leads the team with 39 ground balls. Stewart Crosland (Bethesda, Md.) has started all eight games and played 434 of a possible 480 minutes. He has a .591 save percentage and 8.43 goals against average as he has allowed 61 goals and made 88 saves.

SCOUTING OHIO STATE – The Buckeyes, 4-2. are riding a three-game win streak heading into their Great Western Lacrosse League opener against the Irish. Ohio State lost two of its first three games – Navy (13-10) and North Carolina (9-8), but owns wins over Quinnipiac (17-5), Drexel (12-5), Army (11-8) and Delaware (9-7). The Buckeys are averaging 11.2 goals per game and yielding just 7.8 in six games. Topping the scoiring list is Curtis Smith (20 goals, 8 assists) and Anthony Gilardi (9 goals, 9 assists).

SERIES RECORD VERSUS OHIO STATE – Sunday’s matchup will be the 26th meeting between the two schools with Notre Dame holding an 18-7 advantage in the series. Irish teams have won 12 of the last 13 matchups, including three straight heading into the contest. Last year, Coach Kevin Corrigan’s squad defeated the Buckeyes as Notre Dame held OSU scoreless in the second half after a 3-3 halftime deadlock. Notre Dame is 8-5 in its 13 visits to Columbus; in its last visit in 2001, the Irish posted a 13-4 victory. The last loss suffered by an Irish team to the Buckeyes was in 1999 when Notre Dame dropped a 5-4 decision – the lowest combined score in the series. That loss snapped a nine-game win streak for the Irish from 1990-98.

COMMON OPPONENTS – Notre Dame and Ohio State have played one common opponent thus far – North Carolina. The Irish were 10-8 winners over the Tar Heels on March 8 in Chapel Hill, while the Buckeyes dropped a 9-8 decision at home.

IRISH HEAD COACH KEVIN CORRIGAN – Kevin Corrigan is his 15th season at Notre Dame and 17th in the collegiate ranks. The four-time Great Western Lacrosse League Coach of the Year owns a 138-88 (.611) overall ledger and an 128-72 (.640) mark with the Irish. Notre Dame’s contest with Denver on March 30 marked the 200th game he has coached with the Irish. Corrigan has led Notre Dame to 10 NCAA tournament appearances in the last 14 years (including six straight from 1992-97) and 11 (either outright or shared) conference titles. In 2001, he guided the Irish to their 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. He has had 12 different players earn USILA All-America honors. 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.

DENVER REWIND – Notre Dame withstood a tough challenge by the Denver Pioneers in winning its Great Western Lacrosse League opener 9-8 at Moose Krause Stadium. The Irish were led by Dan Berger’s three goals and Pat Walsh’s two goals and five assists in winning its second straight game. Notre Dame jumped out to an early 4-1 advantage as Berger scored twice for the Irish in the first quarter, while Walsh and Matt Ryan (Ridley, Pa.) each added a score. Denver cut the lead to 4-2 with 14 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The Pioneers scored two goals in the second-period stanza and then held the Irish scoreless as the two teams headed into halftime tied at 4-4. Notre Dame wasted little time getting on the scoreboard at the start of the half as Brian Giordano (Princeton, N.J.) took a feed from Kyle Frigon (Salem, Mass.) to break the tie. Denver, however, came right back to break the tied 13 second later. Notre Dame regained the lead 6-5 at the 7:51 mark on Walsh’s unassisted goal before Denver tied the game for the third time with 3:37 remaining in the third quarter. Matt Karweck put the Irish up 7-6 on a man-up goal at the 10:43 mark off an assist from Walsh, but that lead was short lived as the Pioneers tied the game for the fourth and final time at 7-7. Notre Dame opened up a two-goal advantage on fourth-quarter scores by Steve Clagett (Chesapeake, Md.) and Berger at the 10:06 and 5:27 marks. Denver netted the game’s final score with 3:16 remaining in the contest for the final one-goal decision.

IN THE POLLS – Notre Dame is currently ranked 15th in the USILA poll and 12th in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse poll after beginning the season ranked 17th. Ten of Notre Dame’s 14 opponents began the season ranked – Virginia (#4), Maryland (#5), North Carolina (#9), Hofstra (#10), Loyola (#12), Penn State (#16), Ohio State (#19), Harvard (#21), Fairfield (#22) and Pennsylvania (#23). Seven of their opponents are currently ranked int he Warrior/Inside Lacross poll and six are in the top 20 of the USILA ranking.

RANKING FILE – After posting a 1-4 record against ranked teams in 2002, Notre Dame has turned it around in 2003 with a 3-3 record. Notre Dame is 10-8 against ranked opponents over the past three seasons.

WHO MAKES THE SCHEDULE? – Notre Dame opened the season by playing six ranked opponents – Penn State, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Loyola and Hofstra. Certainly, the Irish’s schedule ranks as one of the toughest in the country. Sunday’s game against Ohio State marks the seventh ranked opponent the Irish have faced this season.

ROAD WARRIORS – Making the first eight games of the season even more difficult has been the fact that the the Irish have played five of those contests on the road. The Ohio State contest will mark the Irish’s fifth road game. Notre Dame owns a 2-2 record on the road this season and is 1-0 in neutral site contests. Since the start of the 2000 campaign, Irish teams have a combined 20-9 mark (.690) in both away and neutral site contests.

BEFORE AND AFTER – In the first three games of the season, Notre Dame outscored its opponents 34-22 and the Irish led or were tied at halftime in all three of the wins. During its three-game losing streak, Notre Dame was outscored 32-26 an trailed in each of those three game. In a 17-3 win over, the Irish led 7-2 at the break and against Denver, in the 9-8 victory, the two teams were tied 4-4 at halftime.

‘HOWELL’ OVER IT- Matt Howell’s return to the lineup in 2003 has certainly paid off for the Irish. The junkior attack missed all but three games of the ’02 campaign with an injury after scoring scoring four gaols and dishing off an assist. This season, he leads the team with 12 goals and 19 assists (31 points) to bring his career totals to 17 goals and 20 assists. Although the season is just seven games old, it is worthy to note that the last Notre Dame player to lead his team in goals and assists in the same season was Randy Colley in 1995 as he tallied 49 goals and dished off 25 assists. Howell missed the Denver game after undergoing an appendectomy and is expected to miss the next three to four weeks.

BERGER KING – Sophomore Dan Berger started the season where he left off a year ago as Notre Dame’s leading scorer (21 goals, 4 assists). Berger has 20 goals and and has started all eight games. In 2002, Berger started 13 games after playing in just six games during his freshman year in which he scored just one goal. He had six multiple-goal games in 2002, including a personal-best four goals in a 7-6 loss at Pennsylvania on March 2. Prior to the Fairfield game (the 11th game of the season in 2002), Berger had scored a goal in the first 10 games of the season. Against the Stags, he did manage to dish off an assist to keep his streak alive of contributing either a goal or an assist in all 11 games. That streak ended though the next game in a loss to Harvard. Overall, Berger has scored in 20 of his last 21 games for the Irish (12 of 13 in 2002 and all eight in 2003).

GETTING SOME MATT-I-TUDE: The Irish scoring punch has been coming from guys named Matt this season as junior Matt Howell leads the team with 11 goals and 22 points this season, while freshman Matt Karweck has six goals and an assist and freshman Matt Ryan has two goals and two assists. Sophomore Matt Malakoff also has a shot but no points for the Irish in 2003.

FRESHMAN FINESSE: The freshman class has made an immediate impact for the Irish in 2003 as D.J. Driscoll, Brian Hubschmann, Matt Karweck, Drew Peters, Matt Ryan and Patrick Walsh have all seen valuable minutes for Notre Dame. In fact, Walsh is the second-leading scorer for the Irish this season with 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in his first eight games. In his first game in an Irish uniform, Walsh recorded a goal and an assist and then followed that with two goals and two assists against Penn. He has scored at least one goal in in his first five games of his career, including two goals against then top-ranked Virginia. He did not score against Hofstra , but did record two assists, before registering his first career hat trick against Hartford. Walsh had a personal best seven points against Denver with two goals and five assists. Karweck has eight goals and two assist on the season and is fourth on the Irish in scoring while Ryan has six points and Hubschmann has three points.

HOWELL YOU DO MR. BERGER – Dan Berger and Matt Howell have figured in the scoring in 35 of Notre Dame’s 84 goals in 2003. Against Penn State, the duo combined for five of Notre Dame’s 10 goals and for five of its seven assists. In a win against Penn, Howell and Berger figured in six goals, while versus North Carolina it was six and Virginia is was five. In the loss to Loyola, Berger had had tthere goals, while Howell had a goal and two assists.

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS: Irish goalie Stewart Crosland has been impressive in goal this season in helping the Irish to a 5-3 start this season. Crosland has given up 61 goals in eight games this season for a 8.43 goals-against average and .591 save percentage.

PRESEASON HONORS – Senior longstick midfielder John Souch and senior defensman Eric Simon were both tabbed as preseason honorable mention selections by Inside Lacrosse Face Off Yearbook. So far in 2003, Souch has played in all four games, starting zero, while Simon has started every game and had nine ground balls in his first two contests.

HOME SWEET HOME – Notre Dame owns a 94-31 (.752) mark in home games since 1981 and is 2-1 in 2003. Since back-to-back 5-0 campaigns at home in 1994 and 1995, Irish teams own a 41-13 record for a winning percentage of 75.9 percent. Since ’94, Notre Dame has been undefeated at home four times.

LOOKS FAMILIAR – Notre Dame’s 2003 schedule features 11 opponents the Irish faced a year ago – Penn State, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Loyola, Hofstra, Denver, Ohio State, Butler, Air Force, Fairfield and Harvard.

ALL IN THE FAMILY – Craig Bishko, a freshman midfielder 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 the Simon family as defenseman Eric Simon’s sister, Meredith, is a junior on the women’s lacrosse team.