Jan. 6, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team debuts at No. 9 in the Inside Lacrosse 2009 Face-Off Yearbook preseason rankings. The Fighting Irish are coming off a 14-3 campaign that included a trip to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship.
Virginia tops the poll, followed by Syracuse and Maryland. Cornell and Johns Hopkins round out the top five. Notre Dame has four of the top-20 teams on its 2009 schedule. North Carolina (#8), Denver (#16), Bucknell (#18) and Loyola (#19) are all slated to face the Irish this season.
Notre Dame returns five starters and 18 letter-winners from last season’s squad. In 2008, the Irish ranked fifth nationally in both goals-against average (7.04) and goals scored per game (12.09). Notre Dame captured a share of the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) regular-season title before winning the inaugural GWLL postseason tournament. The Irish fell to eventual national champion Syracuse, 11-9, in the NCAA quarterfinals and finished the season ranked sixth according to Inside Lacrosse.
Attackman Ryan Hoff (Baldwin, Md./Dulaney) returns for his senior season after earning honorable-mention All-America honors from the USILA in 2008. He will be gunning for a third straight 40-goal season in 2009. Hoff became the first player in program history to record back-to-back 40-goal campaigns as he notched 40 as a sophomore in ’07 and followed that with 41 tallies one season ago.
Seniors Duncan Swezey (Ambler, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) and Peter Christman (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School) along with junior Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary’s) also will aid the Irish offense. Swezey, an attackman, notched 22 goals and 17 assists last season. Christman, a midfielder, deposited 14 goals to go along with 20 assists. Krebs, a midfielder, established a program record for goals scored by a sophomore as he tallied 26.
Senior defenseman Regis McDermott (Amityville, N.Y./Chaminade) will be looked upon to help anchor the Irish defense. McDermott started all 17 games and picked up 37 ground balls last season and was a key force behind one of the nation’s top defenses. For his career, McDermott has appeared in 47 games.
Notre Dame will have some holes to fill on the defensive end of the field following the graduation of three-time All-America goalie Joey Kemp and All-America defenseman Sean Dougherty. Ross Zimmerman, a two-time all-GWLL pick, also was a major defensive presence for the Irish.
On the offensive end, Notre Dame graduated its leading point scorer in Alex Wharton (21 g, 32 a) along with All-American Michael Podgajny (25 g, 9 a). Notre Dame also will need to find a replacement for midfielder Taylor Clagett, who was one of the nation’s top faceoff men during his four-year career as he compiled a .602 winning percentage.
The Fighting Irish will open the 2009 season with a tilt against Loyola (Md.) on Saturday, Feb. 14 in Atlanta, Ga.
— ND –