May 6, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame (11-3) will meet No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins (9-4) in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship on Saturday, May 12 in Baltimore, Md. The game is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. (ET) and will be aired live on ESPNU. The Fighting Irish are making the 12th trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history. Notre Dame fell to eventual national champion Virginia, 14-10, in the first round of last season’s tournament.
Notre Dame, winners of eight straight games, earned a spot into this year’s field of 16 by claiming the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) title and the conference’s automatic bid to the tournament. The eighth-ranked Irish defeated Quinnipiac, 14-9, on Saturday to finish with a perfect 5-0 mark in GWLL play this season.
The Irish and Blue Jays have met four times on the lacrosse field, with Johns Hopkins holding a 3-1 edge in the series. All of the previous encounters have taken place in the NCAA Tournament. The last meeting occurred in 2001, a 13-9 Irish victory in the quarterfinal round of the NCAAs in College Park, Md.
The Irish boast one of the best offenses and defenses in the nation. Sophomore attackman Ryan Hoff (Baldwin, Md./Dulaney) leads Notre Dame with 38 goals, while freshman attackman Will Yeatman (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) has team-highs in points with 44 and assists with 23. The Irish offense, which averages 11.79 goals per game, boasts five players with at least 18 goals scored.
Notre Dame’s defense is allowing just 6.36 goals per game. Junior goaltender Joey Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep) ranks among the nation’s best in goals-against average (6.47) and save percentage (.630). The starting defensive trio of Joey Rallo (Cockeysville, Md./Boys’ Latin), Sean Dougherty (Malvern, Pa./Malvern Prep) and Ross Zimmerman (Utica, Mich./Brother Rice) have been key components for the defensive unit.
Johns Hopkins is led by midfielder Paul Rabil, who has team-high totals in points (39), goals (23) and assists (16). Attackman Steven Boyle is second in each of those categories (34 points, 21 goals, 13 assists). As a team, the Blue Jays are averaging 10.16 goals per game. The Johns Hopkins defense is surrendering 7.87 goals per game. Goaltender Jesse Schwartzman has started all 13 games, while owning an 8-4 record with a 8.32 goals-against average and a .543 save percentage.
The 16-team NCAA field is comprised of seven automatic-qualifying teams and nine at-large teams. Only the top eight squads in the field are seeded. Duke garnered this year’s No. 1 seed.
Notre Dame is 4-11 all-time in NCAA Tournament play. The Irish’s top postseason run occurred in 2001 as they advanced to the national semifinals. Along with the 2001 campaign, Notre Dame made quarterfinal appearances in 1995 and 2000.
The winner of the Notre Dame-Johns Hopkins contest will take on the winner of the Georgetown-Princeton tilt in the quarterfinal round on May 19 in Princeton, N.J. The semifinals and finals will be held in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium on May 26 and 28. For more information on the 2007 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament, including a complete bracket, log onto ncaasports.com
Stay up-to-date on the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team by logging onto und.com or by calling the Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000. You can also sign up to receive text message score updates through Irish Alert. Log onto und.com for more details.