Feb. 27, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. –
THE WEEK AHEAD – No. 17 Notre Dame plays its home opener on Saturday, March 1 at 1:00 p.m. when it plays host to No. 23 Pennsylvania at the Loftus Sports Center. The Irish are 1-0 heading into the contest following their 10-9 win at Penn State in the season opener. This will be the season opener for the Quakers.
SCOUTING THE IRISH – Notre Dame used a balanced scoring attack to defeat Penn State in the season opener with seven different players contributing goals. Dan Berger (Phoenix, Md.) tallied four goals, while Matt Howell (Huntington, N.Y.) finished with a goal and a career-high five assists. The Irish also received goals from from two freshmen – Matt Karweck (Penn Yan, N.Y.) and Patrick Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y.), senior Travis Wells (Severna Park, Md.), junior Owen Mulford (Ocean City, Md.) and sophomore Chris Richez (Freeport, N.Y.). Notre Dame had just one senior in the starting lineup – defenseman Eric Simon (Flemington, N.J.) – plus four-year lead longstick midfield John Souch (Watertown, N.Y.). In addition to Simon, the Irish started six juniors, a sophomore and two freshmen.
SCOUTING THE QUAKERS – The Quakers posted an overall record of 9-4 in 2002 and finished fifth in the final Ivy League standings with a 3-3 mark. Pennsylvania returns 18 letterwinners and five starters from last year’s squad that produced the best record in 13 seasons.
RECAPPING THE PENN STATE GAME – Behind Dan Berger’s four goals and Matt Howell’s goal and five assists, No. 17 Notre Dame defeated No. 16 Penn State 10-9 in State College, Pa. The contest marked the seventh straight year the two teams had faced each other in the season opener. The win was the sixth for the Irish The Irish held off the Nittany Lions in the fourth quarter to perserve the victory. Notre Dame’s 10th and final goal of the game was scored by Berger off of a Howell assists with 8:58 remaining in the contest to take a 10-7 lead. Penn State tallied the final two goals of the game with its final goal coming at 3:59. The Irish’s first goal of the game (and of the season) was scored by rookie Matt Karweck with 3:55 to play in the first quarter. Penn State jumped out to a 3-1 advantage early in the second quarter, but Notre Dame responded with three unaswered goals ina nine-minute span to close out the second quarter. The Irish received goals from Howell, Berger and Owen Mulford to close out the quarter and take a 4-3 lead into halftime. Berger’s second goal came off an asist from Matt Karweck with 8:41 remaining in the third quarter and Travis Wells scored just 23 seconds later to give the Irish a 6-3 lead. Notre Dame finally had its five-goal scoring barrage halted at the 3:58 mark of the third quarter, before Chris Richez tallied the Irish’s final goal of the quarter as the Irish owned a 7-4 advantage heading into the final stanza. Patrick Walsh pushed the Notre Dame lead to 8-4 with his first collegiate goal at the 14:49 mark of the fourth quarter. The Irish and Nittany Lions then traded goals. The two teams combined for eight goals in the final quarter. Junior goalkeeper Stewart Crosland (Bethesda, Md.) came up with 15 saves in goal for the Irish as he played all 60 minutes of the contest.
THE CAPTAINS – Seniors Eric Simon, John Souch and Travis Wells and junior Steve Clagett (Chesapeake Beach, Md.) will serve as captains for the 2003 campaign.
SERIES RECORD VERSUS PENNSYLVANIA – The Quakers have won two of the three meetings. This will be the fourth consecutive year the two teams have played each other. Pennsylvania won the first-ever game meeting as the Quaker earned a 10-7 at home. In 2001, Notre Dame captured a 10-8 home victory, but suffered a 7-6 setback last season in Philadelphia.
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 134-84 (.615) overall ledger and an 124-69 (.642) mark 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.
A NOTRE DAME RARITY – Notre Dame’s final 5-8 record a year ago marked just the third time in the 22-year history of the program that an Irish team fell below the .500 mark. The only other two times the Irish have experienced losing season were in 1983 (6-7) and 1998 (5-7). Notre Dame has also finished with a .500 record on two other occasions – 1981 (6-6) and 1991 (7-7). Notre Dame’s eight losses were the most ever by an Irish team.
IRISH IN SEASON OPENERS – Notre Dame owns a 16-7 record in season openers and are 10-5 in those contests under head coach Kevin Corrigan.
PROTECTING THE HOME TURF – Notre Dame was just 1-4 at home, the fewest wins at home since the 1996 campaign when that Irish squad finished just 2-3. Only three times in 22 seasons did Notre Dame lose four home games – 1981, 1991 and 2002. Both the 1981 and 1991 squad finished with 2-4 home records.
IN THE POLLS – Notre Dame begins the season ranked 17th in the Inside Lacrosse Preseason Poll. Ten of Notre Dame’s 14 opponents begin the season in the top 25 – Virginia (#4), Maryland (#5), North Carolina (#9), Hofstra (#10), Loyola (#12), Penn State (#16), Ohio State (#19), Harvard (#21), Fairfield (#22) and Pennsylvania (#23).
BERGER BITES – Sophomore Dan Berger started the season where he left off a year ago as Notre Dame’s leading scorer (21 goals, 4 assists). In the season opener against Penn State, Berger scored four of the Irish’s 10 goals in the contest. It marked the second four-goal game of his career. Last sason, he started all 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), 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. In the loss to Harvard, however, Berger also held without a goal or an assist. He was one of just four Irish players who has started all 13 contests last season.
HOWELL TABBED GWLL PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Junior attack Matt Howell was named the Great Western Lacrosse League Player of the Week after his one-goal, five assist performance in the 10-9 win over Penn State in the season opener. Howell’s five assists were a career best. In his first two seasons, he dished off just one assist. His performance also marked the first five-assist game by an Irish player since David Ulrich accomplished the feat against Butler on April 18, 2001. Howell missed most of last season with an injury and played in just three contests. He saw action in eight games during his freshman year and totaled six points over the course of his first two seasons.
THE B&H CONNECTION – Dan Berger and Matt Howell combined for five of Notre Dame’s 10 goals and for five of its seven assists. Howell assisted on three of Berger’s four goals in the game.
CLOSE CALLS – Notre Dame’s first four losses in 2002 season were by a combined five goals. Three of the team’s eight setbacks during the campaign 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 22-year history. Notre Dame also lost to Harvard on the road (7-6) in overtime. Last year’s three overtime contests were the most ever played by an Irish team in a single season. Notre Dame played two overtime contests in a single season on three other occasions – 1981, 1994 and 1996. Notre Dame wa 0-5 in one-goal games in ’02.
HOME SWEET HOME – Notre Dame owns a 92-31 (.748) mark in home games since 1981. Last season, the Irish were just 2-4 in their six homes which marked just the third time a Notre Dame team suffered that many losses at home. Since back-to-back 5-0 campaigns at home in 1994 and 1995, Irish teams own a 40-15 record for a winning percentage of 77.6 percent. Notre Dame has an all-time 91-30 (72.7 percent) home record since the program’s inaugural season. Since ’94, Notre Dame has been undefeated at home four times.
LOOKS FAMILIAR – Notre Dame’s 2003 schedule will feature 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 (West Islip, N.Y.), 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 – defenseman Eric Simon’s sister, Meredith, is a junior on the women’s lacrosse team, while freshman midfielder Will Shearer’s (Hampstead, Md.) sister, Danielle, also plays for head coach Tracy Coyne’s squad.
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.