Dec. 14, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team has been picked to finish second in the BIG EAST Conference according to a vote by the league’s head coaches. The results were published in the 2012 Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook.
Syracuse was tabbed to win the BIG EAST, while Villanova was slotted third, followed by Georgetown, St. John’s, Rutgers and Providence, respectively. Syracuse is No. 7 in the Face-Off Yearbook Top 20 and No. 4 in the publication’s Coaches’ Top 20. The Fighting Irish are ninth in both polls, while Villanova is 10th in the Face-Off Yearbook poll and 11th according to the coaches’ rankings.
Notre Dame had the most student-athletes selected to the Face-Off Yearbook Coaches’ Preseason All-BIG EAST Team as five Fighting Irish players were named to the 13-man squad. Sean Rogers (Sr./A), Kevin Randall (Sr./D), Quinn Cully (Jr./SSDM), John Kemp (Jr./G) and Liam O’Connor (So./FO) were the Notre Dame selections. Syracuse and Villanova both had three players picked. Rogers, Randall, Kemp and O’Connor all were tabbed as preseason All-Americans according to the Face-Off Yearbook.
Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep) earned honorable mention All-America honors last season from the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA). He posted an 11-3 record between the pipes 2011, which was his first season as a full-time starter. Kemp ranked second nationally in goals-against average (6.60) and fourth in save percentage (.602). He also received a second-team all-BIG EAST citation in 2011.
Randall (Penfield, N.Y./Penfield) has been a key cog in a stout Notre Dame defense over the past three campaigns. Last season, Randall was a starter in all 14 games and he helped the Fighting Irish defense rank second nationally by allowing just 6.57 goals per game. He has played in 39 career games, including 33 starts, and has picked up 35 ground balls.
Rogers (New Hyde Park, N.Y./Holy Trinity) tallied career-high totals in goals (18), assists (7) and points (25) last season. The goal and point totals were tied for the team lead, while he ranked third in assists. Rogers also picked up a career-best 14 ground balls. He has played in 32 career games, including 29 starts, and has recorded 32 goals and 12 assists for 44 points.
Cully (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) played in all 14 games last season and was a key defensive presence for the Fighting Irish. He also notched one assist and picked up six ground balls. Cully has seen action in all 31 contests during his Irish career and has registered 18 ground balls.
O’Connor (Haverford, Pa./The Haverford School) ranked 18th nationally last season with a .553 faceoff winning percentage. He was 88-for-159 in faceoffs and scooped up a team-high 41 ground balls.
Last season, Notre Dame posted an 11-3 record overall and finished second in the BIG EAST with a 5-1 league mark. The Irish topped Penn, 13-6, in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Championship before falling to Duke, 7-5, in the quarterfinals. The Fighting Irish were ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in program history during a stretch of last season.
Notre Dame will open its 2012 campaign Feb. 18 with a home showdown against No. 2 Duke. The Fighting Irish also will face the U.S. National Team for the second straight season as part of the Champion Challenge on Jan. 28 in Orlando, Fla.
COACHES’ PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE
A Kevin Cunningham, Villanova
A Travis Comeau, Georgetown
A Sean Rogers, Notre Dame
M Matt Bell, Villanova
M Zach Angel, Georgetown
M JoJo Marasco, Syracuse
LSM Matt Harris, Syracuse
F/O Liam O’Connor, Notre Dame
SSDM Quinn Cully, Notre Dame
D Brian Megill, Syracuse
D Chris Creighton, Villanova
D Kevin Randall, Notre Dame
G John Kemp, Notre Dame
PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
2. Notre Dame
5. St. John’s