Dec. 16, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team is ranked No. 2 in Inside Lacrosse’s Face-Off Yearbook preseason top 20 poll. The Fighting Irish are the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion and national runner-up.
Denver is ranked No. 1, while Notre Dame’s ACC counterparts Duke (3), Syracuse (4), North Carolina (6) and Virginia (10) also appear in the top 10.
Along with the preseason rankings, the Face-Off Yearbook unveiled its preseason All-America teams and five Notre Dame players were recognized. Junior attackman Matt Kavanagh was selected to the first team, while sophomore midfielder Sergio Perkovic was placed on the second team. Junior defenseman Matt Landis earned a third-team citation and Garrett Epple (So./D) and Jack Near (Sr./M) both were honorable mention picks.
Kavanagh (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) tallied 42 goals and 33 assists last season en route to second-team All-America honors. The 75 points and 33 assists both are Fighting Irish records. Kavanagh posted 12 multiple-goal games, including eight hat tricks, during the season. He also appeared on the All-ACC Team and was named the MVP of the ACC Championship. During his career, Kavanagh has registered 74 goals and 49 assists.
Perkovic (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) compiled 28 goals and five assists during his stellar rookie campaign. He netted a season-high five goals against Duke in the national title game and was selected to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team.
Landis (Pelham, N.Y.) started 17 of 18 games on Notre Dame’s close defense unit. He picked up 14 ground balls and caused seven turnovers. Epple (Cockeysville, Md.) joins Landis as a key cog in the Fighting Irish defense. Epple started the final seven games of his rookie season and helped Notre Dame post a 6-1 mark in those contests. He scooped up 28 ground balls and caused 10 turnovers, including the one that led to Kavanagh’s last-second game-winning goal against Maryland in the semifinals of the ACC Championship.
Near (Bronxville, N.Y.) copped honorable mention All-America accolades last season as he recorded nine goals, six assists and 30 ground balls. The short-stick defensive midfielder had at least one point in seven of Notre Dame’s last eight games, including a career-high two goals in the 18-17 win over Army in the regular-season finale. He assisted on Kavanagh’s game-winning tally in the ACC semifinals before scoring what proved to be the deciding goal in the 15-14 victory over Syracuse in the conference tournament title game.
The Fighting Irish finished the 2014 campaign with a 12-6 record after appearing in the NCAA Championship for the ninth straight season. Notre Dame advanced to Championship Weekend for the third time in the last five seasons and for the fourth time overall in program history. Notre Dame fell to Duke, 11-9, in the national title game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
The University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team pursues excellence on and off the field through the three pillars in which the program is built: Character, Culture & Community. These three foundational values guide the promise of the program, which is to provide its student-athletes with the most compelling and enriching experience in all of college athletics. Through academics, competition, service and travel, the program aims to immerse its players in situations that enhance their student-athlete experience to help them become the people, students and teammates they aspire to be.
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