Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Notre Dame athletics department held its ninth annual O.S.C.A.R.S (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements & Recognition Showcase) tonight inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, with the traditional year-end gala honoring more than 750 student-athletes for their achievements on the field and in the classroom during the 2009-10 school year.

The presentation of the three major athletics awards — the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award and the Christopher Zorich Award — highlighted the evening’s festivities, while the Top Gun Award and Chuck Linster Award (for the highest grade-point averages by a graduating senior student-athlete and athletics student support staff, respectively) also were presented in conjunction with the Notre Dame Office of Academic Services for Student-Athletics. In addition, a member of each team was selected for the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award and the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award.

Three team awards also were handed out — The Trophy Award (recognizing excellence in community service) was presented to the Notre Dame women’s basketball team, while awards for the highest team GPA went to the Fighting Irish women’s tennis team (spring 2009 semester) and women’s golf team (fall 2009 semester).

Senior hockey center Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.) and senior women’s tennis player Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan.) were double award recipients, with both receiving the Byron V. Kanaley and Christopher Zorich awards.

The Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete, has been given annually since 1926 to senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as both students and leaders. Chosen by the University’s Faculty Board on Athletics, the awards are named in honor of the 1904 Notre Dame graduate who was a member of the baseball team as an undergraduate. Kanaley went on to a successful banking career in Chicago and served the University as a lay trustee until his death in 1960.

Along with Deeth and Krisik, women’s basketball player Melissa Lechlitner (Mishawaka, Ind.), football player Mike Anello (Orland Park, Ill.), softball player Christine Lux (Glendale Heights, Ill.) and swimmer John Lytle (Clearfield, Pa.) were this year’s Kanaley award recipients.

Deeth, Krisik, fencer Zach Schirtz (Rochester, N.Y.), women’s basketball player Erica Williamson (Charlotte, N.C.) and women’s lacrosse player Maggie Zentgraf (Charlottesville, Va.) received the Christopher Zorich Award, which was first presented in 1998. The Zorich Award was created to recognize contributions of Notre Dame student-athletes to the University and community at-large. The award holds the name of the two-time Irish All-American and 1991 graduate who went on to play in the National Football League for both the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins before receiving his law degree from Notre Dame in 2002. Williamson taped acceptance remarks since she’s involved in a tryout with the WNBA New York Liberty.

Volleyball player Megan Fesl (Arlington Heights, Ill.) joined fencer Avery Zuck (Beaverton, Ore.) as 2010 recipients of the O’Connor Award. Since 1993, the University has presented this award in the name of O’Connor, a former student-athlete who died in 1973 following his freshman year at Notre Dame. Pat was the son of William “Bucky” O’Connor, who played guard for the Notre Dame football team in the 1940s. The O’Connor Award honors male and female student-athletes who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions and inspirations to their respective teams. To be considered, student-athletes must possess those qualities attributed to Pat O’Connor: caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience.

Joining Krisik, Lechlitner and Zuck as recipients of this year’s Leaders of Distinction Award – presented to those individuals deemed exceptional leaders by their coaches and teammates — were men’s tennis player Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn.), cheerleader Kelsey Ingram (Mercer Island, Wash.) and volleyball player Jamel Nicholas (Gibsonia, Pa.).

The Notre Dame women’s basketball team was recognized with The Trophy Award for its year-long work with various groups in the South Bend area, including reading and mentoring to grade school students, collecting donations for Riley Children’s Hospital, participating in Fight 4 Life (a pediatric cancer charity run by Memorial Hospital of South Bend) and run, jane, run (which benefits area chapters of the YWCA), conducting basketball clinics at area youth centers, and assisting with fundraising for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink Zone initiative, for which Notre Dame raised more than $103,000 in 2009-10. The women’s basketball team’s community service efforts were spearheaded by Williamson, who also served as president of this year’s Notre Dame Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), with the Fighting Irish women’s basketball team compiling more than 325 team hours of community service (averaging better than 25 hours per student-athlete). Established by the Office of Student Welfare and Development and first presented in 2006, The Trophy Award annually recognizes a Fighting Irish athletics team that has demonstrated its commitment and dedication to the community through unparalleled community service to Notre Dame and South Bend.

Men’s cross country/track & field athlete Jim Notwell (Upper Arlington, Ohio) received the Top Gun award, recognizing the graduating student-athlete with the highest grade-point average (Notwell currently maintains a 3.944 GPA). Meanwhile, student athletic trainer Ted Lee (Peoria, Ill.) was presented with the Chuck Linster Award, given annually to a senior member of the athletics student support group (athletic trainers, cheerleaders and student managers) with the highest grade-point average (Lee holds a 3.825 GPA).

Notre Dame grad Michael Somerville, now a standup comic, served as master of ceremonies. One of his lines was, “They wanted an alumnus to do this and it was either me or Regis Philbin, but I was cheaper. I’m doing this for cheese fries at La Fortune.”

Former Notre Dame athletics director Dick Rosenthal became Notre Dame’s 2010 honoree for National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Rosenthal, who came to the OSCARS event expecting to present an award, instead found himself honored for his tenure at Notre Dame when he added five women’s varsity sports and 50 women’s scholarships. He brought the University into the BIG EAST Conference and was part of the decision to expand Notre Dame Stadium. Said Rosenthal, kiddingly, on accepting the award, “My interest in women’s athletics had nothing to do with the fact I had six daughters.”

Women’s golfer Kristen Wetzel (later honored as one of the 4.0 GPA award-winners) sang a touching rendition of “Never Alone.” Ryan Gamboa (men’s track and field) played guitar underneath slides of Irish athletes performing community service. The women’s track and field sprinters took part in a dance number. Swimmers Colin Francesco and Jonny Whitcomb, plus track and field competitors Max Cruz and Marshall Sherman, collaborated on “Walking In Memphis,” and the Notre Dame First Class Step Team also performed.

The Notre Dame Monogram Club $5,000 post-graduate scholarships went to Tim Andree (men’s basketball) and Cosmina Ciobanu (women’s tennis).

Ted Mandell-produced videos featured strength coach Tony Rolinski in the spoof “Don’t Cuss Like A Champion;” a compliance “moment” starring Jill Bodensteiner, Brandon Newman, Jenny Borg and Mike Golic; a Monogram Club tribute headlined by hockey players Kevin Deeth and Christian Minella; and finally a taped and live rocked-up version of “We Are ND” led by the Notre Dame men’s soccer team, the cheerleaders and pom squad and Freekbass.

Here’s a full rundown of the award winners from tonight’s O.S.C.A.R.S event:

2009-10 Byron V. Kanaley Award Recipients
Mike Anello, Football
Kevin Deeth, Hockey
Kali Krisik, Women’s Tennis
Melissa Lechlitner, Women’s Basketball
Christine Lux, Softball
John Lytle, Men’s Swimming & Diving

2009-10 Francis Patrick O’Connor Award Recipients
Megan Fesl, Volleyball
Avery Zuck, Men’s Fencing

2009-10 Christopher Zorich Award Recipients
Kevin Deeth, Hockey
Kali Krisik, Women’s Tennis
Zach Schirtz, Men’s Fencing
Erica Williamson, Women’s Basketball
Maggie Zentgraf, Women’s Lacrosse

2009-10 Leaders of Distinction Award Recipients
Tyler Davis, Men’s Tennis
Kelsey Ingram, Cheerleading
Kali Krisik, Women’s Tennis
Melissa Lechlitner, Women’s Basketball
Jamel Nicholas, Volleyball
Avery Zuck, Men’s Fencing

2009-10 Top Gun Award Recipient
Jim Notwell, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field

2009-10 Chuck Linster Award Recipient
Ted Lee, Athletic Trainer

2009-10 Trophy Award Recipient
Women’s Basketball

2009 Team High GPA Award Recipients
Women’s Tennis (Spring 2009)
Women’s Golf (Fall 2009)

2009-10 Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award Recipients
Baseball TBA
Men’s Basketball Luke Harangody
Women’s Basketball Melissa Lechlitner
Men’s Cross Country TBA
Women’s Cross Country Lindsey Ferguson
Men’s Fencing TBA
Women’s Fencing TBA
Football Jimmy Clausen/Golden Tate
Men’s Golf TBA
Women’s Golf Becca Huffer
Hockey Calle Ridderwall
Men’s Lacrosse TBA
Women’s Lacrosse TBA
Rowing TBA
Men’s Soccer Michael Thomas
Women’s Soccer Courtney Barg
Softball TBA
Men’s Swimming & Diving John Lytle
Women’s Swimming & Diving TBA
Men’s Tennis TBA
Women’s Tennis TBA
Men’s Track & Field TBA
Women’s Track & Field TBA
Volleyball Serinity Phillips

2009-10 Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award Recipients
Baseball TBA
Men’s Basketball Tim Abromaitis
Women’s Basketball Alena Christiansen
Men’s Cross Country TBA
Women’s Cross Country Beth Tacl
Men’s Fencing Enzo Castellani
Women’s Fencing Courtney Hurley
Football Golden Tate
Men’s Golf Olavo Batista
Women’s Golf Annie Brophy
Hockey Kevin Deeth
Men’s Lacrosse TBA
Women’s Lacrosse TBA
Rowing Sarah Keithley
Men’s Soccer Michael Thomas
Women’s Soccer Courtney Barg
Softball Christine Lux
Men’s Swimming & Diving John Lytle
Women’s Swimming & Diving Megan Farrell
Men’s Tennis Daniel Stahl
Women’s Tennis Cosmina Ciobanu
Men’s Indoor Track & Field TBA
Women’s Indoor Track & Field TBA
Men’s Outdoor Track & Field TBA
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field TBA
Volleyball Tara Enzweiler

2009-10 Rosenthal Leadership Academy Participants
Tim Abromaitis, Men’s Basketball
Randall Babb, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field
Ashley Barlow, Women’s Basketball
Emily Barton, Women’s Swimming & Diving
Maggie Behrens, Women’s Swimming & Diving
Shaylyn Blaney, Women’s Lacrosse
Devin Blankinship, Cheerleading
Gwen Blythe, Women’s Swimming & Diving
Steven Brus, Men’s Swimming & Diving
Christina Buckley, Rowing
Maddie Buttinger, Women’s Track & Field
Jordan Carlson, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field
Spencer Carter, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field
Katie Casey, Women’s Swimming & Diving
Michael Cirone, Cheerleading
Daniel Clark, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field
Emily Crosby, Rowing
Tyler Davis, Men’s Tennis
Kristen Dealy, Volleyball
Kevin Deeth, Hockey
Jackie Doherty, Women’s Lacrosse
Mick Doyle, Baseball
Ashlee Edgell, Women’s Swimming & Diving
Jaclyn Espinoza, Women’s Track & Field
Megan Farrell, Women’s Swimming & Diving
John Flatley, Cheerleading
Katie Fleury, Softball
Lauren Fowlkes, Women’s Soccer
Lauren Fussner, Cheerleading
Nathan Geary, Men’s Swimming & Diving
Madeleine Genereux, Cheerleading
Conor Gettings, Men’s Fencing
Heidi Grossman, Women’s Swimming & Diving
Rachel Guerrera, Women’s Lacrosse
Neal Hicks, Men’s Lacrosse
Andrew Hills, Men’s Track & Field
Becca Huffer, Women’s Golf
Kelsey Ingram, Cheerleading
Heather Johnson, Softball
Brianna Jorgensborg, Softball
Christina Kaelin, Volleyball
Sarah Keithley, Rowing
Morgan Kelley, Rowing
Kali Krisik, Women’s Tennis
Kellyn Kuhlke, Women’s Swimming & Diving
Kelly Langhans, Women’s Track & Field
MacKenzie LeBlanc, Men’s Swimming & Diving
Melissa Lechlitner, Women’s Basketball
Christine Lux, Softball
Erin Marrone, Softball
Shannon Mathews, Women’s Tennis
Erin McConnell, Rowing
Dani Miller, Softball
Joe Miller, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field
Tyrone Nash, Men’s Basketball
Jamel Nicholas, Volleyball
Thomas Noel, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field
Joshua Nosal, Men’s Swimming & Diving
Jim Notwell, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field
Braegan Padley, Rowing
Amy Prestinario, Women’s Swimming & Diving
Kristin Rafael, Women’s Tennis
Calle Ridderwall, Hockey
Casey Robinson, Rowing
Zach Schirtz, Men’s Fencing
Lindsay Schrader, Women’s Basketball
Jessica Schuveiller, Women’s Soccer
Kellie Sciacca, Volleyball
Gina Scioscia, Women’s Lacrosse
Andrew Seroff, Men’s Fencing
Marshall Sherman, Men’s Swimming & Diving
James Solitto, Cheerleading
Daniel Stahl, Men’s Tennis
Kaitlyn Strand, Cheerleading
Michael Sullivan, Men’s Swimming & Diving
Megan Sullivan, Women’s Lacrosse
Ryan Thang, Hockey
Rachel Velarde, Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field
Denes Veres, Men’s Track & Field
Erica Williamson, Women’s Basketball
Maggie Zentgraf, Women’s Lacrosse
Avery Zuck, Men’s Fencing

2. In the recent Notre Dame Women’s Bookstore Basketball event, a mostly athletics-department team of (assistant basketball coach) Angie Potthoff, (former Irish basketball player and current Notre Dame development staffer) Sara Liebscher, (assistant women’s lacrosse coach) Meredith Simon, (former women’s lacrosse player) Kathryn Lam and (associate athletics director) Jill Bodensteiner played on the Anthony Travel squad that won the final game 21-15. According to Bodensteiner, “Simon and Lam carried us with their outside shooting. Angie and Sara owned the boards. I recruited well.” During earlier rounds, graduating Irish women’s basketball players Ashley Barlow and Lindsay Schrader made guest appearances. Anthony Travel’s toughest game came in a Friday night semifinal against Irish volleyball players Megan Fesl and Tara Enzweiler (among others) in a 21-19 battle.

3. Notre Dame men’s lacrosse operations director Kevin Dugan is featured on the front page of The Observer (Notre Dame’s student newspaper) today in a story on his Fields of Growth International program that promotes development in Uganda ÃÆ’Ã € ‘ ¯ ¿ ½ including lacrosse instruction for children whose parents are afflicted with AIDS. Current Irish sophomore lacrosse player Jake Brems will travel to Uganda this summer to intern with the program.

4. Notre Dame associate hockey coach Andy Slaggert – named back in February the winner of the American Hockey Coaches Association’s Terry Flanagan Award for 2010 — will receive the award Saturday at the AHCA Convention in Naples, Fla. The Terry Flanagan Award is named in honor of the former New Hampshire player and Bowling Green assistant coach and honors an assistant coach’s career body of work. Slaggert has been involved with Notre Dame hockey program for 20 years, playing three seasons from 1986-89, and then spending 17 seasons as an assistant and associate coach since 1993.

5. Heather Johnson went 4-for-4 with three RBI and scored three times in game two of a non-conference softball doubleheader with Bowling Green today at Melissa Cook Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. Johnson hit a two-run home run, two doubles and her first career triple while nearly clinching the cycle. Her efforts pushed No. 25 Notre Dame past Bowling Green (10-22) in game two, 10-5, while the Irish downed the Falcons in the opener, 4-1. Johnson finished the doubleheader with six hits in seven at-bats, five RBI and a slugging clip of 1.857.

In game one, Jody Valdivia (31-4) tossed a two-hitter with nine strikeouts, which earned her the title of Notre Dame’s all-time leader in wins for a single season. Valdivia, who nearly wrapped up the outing with a shutout before Susan Sontag homered to centerfield, leads the nation in wins. Notre Dame (40-9) is now 18-0 on its own turf this season and wraps up the home portion of the schedule against Wisconsin at 4 p.m. (ET) Thursday.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

1. In case you missed the campus Bookstore Basketball finals over the weekend, former Irish men’s senior walk-on Tim Andree helped his Alexander’s Grill team to a rainy 21-15 victory Sunday over the He Went to Jared team (that included three law students) in the title game.

2. Irish offensive tackle Paul Duncan and safety Kyle McCarthy have both signed with the Denver Broncos as undrafted free agents. Safety Sergio Brown will be reunited with former Notre Dame defensive backs coach Corwin Brown with the New England Patriots, as Sergio Brown signed as an undrafted free agent. Running back James Aldridge has been invited to the Miami Dolphins rookie minicamp, and wide receiver Robby Parris will attend the rookie minicamp of the Cleveland Browns. David Grimes will try out for the Kansas City Chiefs and former Irish head coach Charlie Weis.

3. Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey ranked fifth nationally during the 2009 fiscal year in terms of fundraising for the Coaches vs. Cancer (CVC) Program sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches on behalf of the American Cancer Society. With Brey’s help the Michiana-area program now has raised more than $2 million since 2002. Brey and his wife, Tish, headlined a variety of initiatives that raised $196,906.14 in 2009. Included in the events planned and arranged by the Breys were a BasketBall formal dinner, a combined golf outing and celebrity reception – as well as the Three Point Attack! program in which fans pledge donations for each three-point shot hit by Brey’s Notre Dame basketball squad.

“We talk all the time at Notre Dame about the importance of service – and we couldn’t have better examples than those set by Mike and Tish Brey,” said Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick. “They’ve been tireless in their dedication to the Coaches vs. Cancer Program, and they’ve taken advantage of every opportunity both locally and nationally to make a difference with their time and commitment. They’ve done so much more than simply lend their names to this cause – they’ve been active participants in the organization and execution of event after event. Mike and Tish have been absolute beacons on our campus and in our community when it comes to raising funds to fight cancer. We are fortunate to have them as part of the Notre Dame family.”

Brey was the recipient of the 2003 CVC Champion Award, given annually by the CVC National Council and the NABC. He has been a national board member of the Council since February 2003. He and Tish have been honored with several awards for their efforts in the community and were recipients of the 2007 Franklin D. Roosevelt Award presented by the March of Dimes for their volunteer service to the South Bend area.
In September 2009, Brey was among five head coaches to travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network Leadership Summit & Lobby Day on behalf of the health care reform with regards to cancer research.

4. The Notre Dame men’s soccer team held its annual awards banquet Saturday evening, with senior midfielder Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan.) receiving the Monogram Club Team MVP award. Former Irish All-America goalkeeper Chris Sawyer (`05) presented the award to Michael’s parents since he currently is playing in Sweden. The central midfielder also garnered the Knute Rockne Scholar-Athlete Award, presented annually to the top student on the Fighting Irish squad.

Senior defender John Schaefer (Troy, Mich.) received the Spirit Award. The award is presented annually to an inspirational member of the team. Luke Boughen, a 2005 Notre Dame graduate, garnered the Mike Berticelli “Bert” Award, named in honor of former Fighting Irish head coach Mike Berticelli, who suddenly passed away in 2000. Boughen earned the award for making a film called “Pelada” about pick-up soccer matches all around the world. He and his fiancÃÆ’Ã € ‘ ¯ ¿ ½e Gwendolyn Oxenham toured 25 countries making the film, which illustrates how soccer can break down almost any conventional social barriers. A preview of the film can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B5WxyGkDao. Boughen could not attend Saturday’s festivities due law school obligations in California but he did send his thanks via a video message.

5. The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team plays its final regular-season contest Saturday night at Arlotta Stadium against second-rated and once-beaten Syracuse – and it’s a hot ticket based on the game having been sold out for weeks. About five weeks from now, the Irish will head for a week-long trip to Japan and will play four games during that period.

6. Has a Notre Dame football player ever attended Law School at Notre Dame while competing for the Irish? Offensive lineman Chris Stewart will be doing just that this fall.

7. Tomorrow is the final day of classes at Notre Dame, and Irish student-athletes will cap off the evening by attending the OSCARS, the annual end-of-the-year celebration of Notre Dame athletics, at Purcell Pavilion.

8. Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick and new football coach Brian Kelly head to Chicago Friday when they’ll be part of the speaking program at the 52nd annual Rockne Athletic Banquet sponsored by the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Chicago.

9. The quartet of Cole Johnson, Ryan Sharpley, Joe Spano and Steven Mazur combined for Notre Dame’s first shutout of the season as the Irish blanked Toledo, 9-0, in non-conference college baseball action from Frank Eck Stadium tonight on the Notre Dame campus. The shutout was the first for Notre Dame since April 18, 2009.

Johnson, Sharpley, Spano and Mazur not only limited the Rockets to six hits, all singles, but combined to strike out 12 and walked only one. The 12 strikeouts were the most by the Irish this season and most since Notre Dame punched out 13 against Central Michigan on March 24, 2009. Toledo entered the contest batting .324 on the year with 113 doubles.

Johnson was credited with the victory and improved to 2-3 on the year. He looked sharp in his first outing since March 12. The junior had missed the last month with impingement in his right shoulder.

Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly and Casey Martin each went 2-for-4. Connolly drove in a pair and scored three runs, while Martin added an RBI. Connolly doubled to open the bottom of the first inning gave him a base hit in six consecutive plate appearances. Freshman second baseman Frank Desico chipped in with two RBI and a run scored, while senior designated hitter David Mills scored a run and drove in a run. Junior pinch hitter David Casey added an RBI single.

The Irish put the game out of reach with five unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, thanks to four Toledo errors. Notre Dame returns to action against Valparaiso at 7:00 p.m. CT Wednesday at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind.

Monday, April 26, 2010

1. Notre Dame seniors Scott Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y.) and Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md.) have earned men’s lacrosse weekly honors from the BIG EAST Conference. Rodgers, a goalie, was named the league’s defensive player of the week for the second time this season, while Krebs, a midfielder, was selected to the weekly honor roll.

Rodgers made 13 saves and allowed just five goals in 51:22 of action in a 13-6 win at St. John’s Saturday. It marked the seventh time this season that Rodgers had made at least 10 saves in a single game. The win improved his season record to 6-3 and his career mark to 21-4. Rodgers boasts a 7.88 goals-against average and a .586 save percentage this season.

Krebs spearheaded the Irish attack against St. John’s as he tallied his fourth hat trick of the season. He scored all three goals in succession in the second quarter (just 3:31 apart) to give Notre Dame a 6-2 lead at halftime. Krebs now has 20 goals this season, which marks the third straight season that he has tallied at least 20 goals. This was his second honor roll selection of the season.

The 12th-ranked Fighting Irish (7-5, 2-3) conclude the regular season against No. 2 Syracuse (11-1, 4-0) at 7 p.m. (ET) Saturday at Arlotta Stadium. The BIG EAST showdown will be aired live on ESPNU.

2. Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly is in Cleveland today – at noon speaking to the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Cleveland and tonight at the Northeastern Ohio Chapter Dinner of the National Football Foundation, receiving the 2010 Ohio College Coach of the Year Award from Ohio State coach Jim Tressel (the award is named after Tressel’s father, Lee, longtime coach at Baldwin-Wallace) for his unbeaten regular season at Cincinnati in 2009. At that same event Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith (a former player and coach at Notre Dame) will present the chapter’s Distinguished American Award to Archie Griffin.

3. Six Notre Dame rowers have been named to the inaugural BIG EAST All-Conference teams. The Irish placed three rowers apiece on the first and second teams, all of which came from the team’s varsity eight boat. The six selections led the way amongst all BIG EAST schools.

Seniors Brittney Kelly (Wexford, Pa.) and Casey Robinson (Alexandria, Va.), along with junior Stephanie Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.) were selected to the all-BIG EAST first team. The second-team selections were comprised of senior Sarah Keithley (Austin, Texas), junior Katherine Linnemanstons (Mequon, Wis.) and freshman Stephanie O’Neill (Vienna, Va.).

The six student-athletes were honored on the heels of capturing the gold medal in the Grand Final of the 2010 BIG EAST Championship, holding off Louisville for the win. O’Neill joins Louisville rower Erin Bennett as one of only two freshmen to be named to either of the all-conference teams.

Notre Dame will next return to action May 15-16 at the South/Central Regatta in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Last season the team finished eighth overall and sixth in the central region at the event.

4. The Irish women’s golf team is headed to the NCAAs. Notre Dame will play in the 2010 NCAA Women’s Golf Central Regional May 6-8 at Otter Creek Golf Course in Columbus, Ind. This marks the third straight year the Irish have qualified on a team basis for NCAA regional play (Notre Dame was 16th in both ’08 and ’09 in the Central Regional). Noriko Nakazaki played individually in the ’07 Central Regional – and the Irish as team also played in the Central Regional in 2004 (17th) and 2005 (18th).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

1. Former Notre Dame swimming coach Dennis Stark and the late Father Bernard Lange stole the show at the annual Notre Dame Monogram Club dinner last night on the concourse of the Joyce Center.

More than 100 former Irish swimmers (both men and women) returned for a weekend reunion and were in attendance to honor Stark who received the Monogram Club’s Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award. Stark has long been involved with the Special Olympics, with Logan Center in South Bend and various other charitable causes.

Former Irish swimmer Dan Rahill introduced Stark, calling him “a pioneer in terms of establishing community service within the Notre Dame family.” Rahill reminisced about the many times he and his teammates spent weekends and evenings volunteering at Logan Center – and also recalled how Stark, at the start of any road trip, would say, “You are here to represent the institution you represent.”

A 1947 Notre Dame graduate, Stark spent 27 years coaching (including four with the women’s program) and 48 years teaching physical education at Notre Dame. He talked about his wife Angelina’s death in 2003 and how he continued to teach PE for another two years, until he finally had a vision where she told him, “You’re 81, give it up.”

Stark also talked about he used to officiate football, including some Notre Dame scrimmages. Stark was serving as line judge one day when he made a call that prompted Ara Parseghian to yell, “Stark, he was in.” The next day, Stark stopped through the football office, saw Ara, and asked him, “Look at the film?” Ara’s response: “Get out of here.”

Also honored was Father Lange who for years taught weightlifting long before it became a routine part of Notre Dame athletics preparation, A plaque was dedicated at the Guglielmino Athletics Center in honor of Lange, a 1912 Notre Dame graduate.

One of Father Lange’s pupils, ’67 Notre Dame graduate Kent Durso, spoke on behalf of “FLAB” – the Father Lange Alumni Board. Durso said when he came to Notre Dame in 1963 Father Lange was already in his ’70s, and students kiddingly referred to him as the “geezer of power.” In 1922 Father Lange was rated the fourth-strongest man in the world.

Twenty-five members of the Lange family attended the dinner to honor the man Durso said “had one foot in the Rockne era and one foot in the Ara Parseghian era. He was so far ahead of his time in terms of weight training.”

Prior to the dinner Monogram Club president Joe Restic introduced new football coach Brian Kelly, who noted, “I’ve been kind of busy the last 19 years coaching other teams, so the last two days have been great in terms of seeing all the action around Notre Dame.”

Kelly mentioned that in the basement of the Morris Inn he saw a photo of Father Lange and he had it reproduced — and it’s now on display in the office of new Irish strength director Paul Longo.

Said Kelly, “We’re getting in touch with our roots. Our guys are going to have fun playing football. Winning makes it easier to enjoy the experience. This is the first coat of paint. We’re still in the early stages of developing our team.”

Restic noted the $297,000 in financial aid that this year went to 30 sons and daughters of Monogram Club members – making more than $3 million that has come from the Brennan-Boland-Riehle Fund to help students attend Notre Dame. A new Monogram Club mentoring program has been established, already pairing 28 current Notre Dame student-athletes with Monogram Club members.

Restic also introduced five new members of the Monogram Club board of directors – Mike Brown ’01 (leprechaun), Don Casey ’82 (swimming), Andrea Loman ’03 (softball), Kevin McShea ’90 (football) and Chris Parent ’93 (lacrosse).

2. For the third straight year and 10th time since joining the conference, the Notre Dame women’s tennis team today captured the BIG EAST Championship. The top-seeded Irish defeated the third-seeded DePaul Blue Demons, 4-0, to claim the crown at Notre Dame. The win guarantees Notre Dame’s 15th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame is now 22-3 on the season and has won seven straight.

Senior captain Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan.) was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after going 3-0 at both No. 5 singles and No. 1 doubles. Krisik earned match-clinching singles victories against West Virginia in the quarterfinals and DePaul in the final match.
Strong doubles play led the charge for the Irish, who captured the match’s initial point for the 22nd time this season. Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) cruised past Kirsten Gambrell and Gia McKnight, 8-2, at third doubles to improve to 7-0 together and 2-0 during the tournament. The third-ranked duo of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Krisik battled to an 8-6 victory over No. 19 Anna Redesci and Selma Salkovic at first doubles to clinch the point for the Irish and notch their third win of the weekend. Frilling and Krisik are now a perfect 21-0 at No. 1 doubles this season.

Cosmina Ciobanu (Brea, Calif.) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) led Katarina Milinkovic and Sandra Zmak, 8-7, at second doubles when the point was clinched.
Ciobanu put the Irish up 2-0 when she won her seventh straight match and 22nd this season, a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Zmak at fourth singles. The 16th-ranked Frilling topped No. 79 Redesci, 6-1, 6-2, to improve to 19-5 on the season and give Notre Dame a 3-0 advantage. Krisik clinched the win for the Irish with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over McKnight at fifth singles. Krisik notched her second match-clinching victory of the tournament and won her seventh straight contest.

The Irish are now 10-5 all-time in BIG EAST Championship finals. Notre Dame is 3-0 against DePaul this season and improved to 2-0 against the Blue Demons in the conference final. The Irish topped DePaul, 4-2, in the 2009 BIG EAST Championship. Notre Dame will be well-rested for NCAA Tournament action, which gets under May 14-15. Notre Dame is in the running to host the NCAA first and second rounds for the second straight year, but will have to wait until early May to find out its early-round location and pairings.

3. The Notre Dame women’s rowing team secured its seventh consecutive BIG EAST Conference title on today at Lake Quinisigamond in Worcester, Mass. The Irish won gold medals in the varsity eight, second varsity eight, varsity four, second varsity four and novice eight races, while the novice four crew finished second.

The current streak of seven straight championships stands as the second-longest active championship run in the BIG EAST conference — second only to Notre Dame’s stretch of 14 straight titles in women’s swimming and diving.

The Irish got off to a very quick start in the qualifying heats, capturing the best time in each of the varsity eight, second varsity eight, varsity four and novice eight races. Notre Dame would not slow down as it entered into grand final races. After finishing second in the opening grand final (novice four), the Irish went on to sweep each of the remaining five races.

Along with capturing the team championship, the Irish coaching staff of head coach Martin Stone, associate head coach Joe Schlosberg and assistant coach Marnie Stahl, was named the 2010 coaching staff of the year upon conclusion of the races. It is the fourth time that the group has been named staff of the year after garnering the award in back-to-back-to-back years from 2006-2008.

4. Back in the BIG EAST title game after missing out on a chance to play for the championship a season ago, the Fighting Irish men’s tennis team fell to 15th-ranked Louisville 4-0 this morning inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. With the win, Louisville picks up its second BIG EAST crown, while the Irish move to 7-5 all-time in BIG EAST title matches. Notre Dame is now 15-12 on the year while Louisville improves to 22-5.
Louisville jumped out to a 1-0 lead by virtue of winning a tightly contested doubles point. The Cardinals got on the board at No. 2 doubles where Austen Childs and Viktor Maksimcuk downed Notre Dame’s tandem of Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn.) and Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland) 8-5. After falling behind early, Davis and Fitzgerald tied their match at 4-4 but could not pull ahead as Childs and Maksimcuk took four of the next five games for the win.

Louisville clinched the doubles point at the No. 3 position where Robert Hall and Chidi Gabriel defeated David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass.) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md.) 8-4. Once the Cardinal duo established a 4-3 lead, they pushed ahead and for the win.

At No. 1 doubles, eighty-eighth ranked Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa.) were tied with 22nd-ranked Simon Childs and Alejandro Calligari, 8-8. Havens and Watt had been leading their match at 7-5 before Louisville made a comeback only to see the match go unfinished with the doubles point clinched.
Louisville continued to put the pressure on in singles play. At No. 5 singles, the Cardinals extended their lead to 2-0 when Andrew Carter downed Anderson in straight sets 6-3, 6-0. Moments later Louisville moved within one point of claiming the BIG EAST title as 18th-ranked A. Childs downed 47th-ranked Watt 6-0, 6-2.

Facing a 0-3 deficit, the Irish showed some fight as Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo.), Havens, Stahl and Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla.) extended their matches. Ultimately, Louisville claimed the 2010 BIG EAST title when Hall beat Moros at No. 6 singles 6-3, 6-3. After helping the Cardinals clinch the doubles point and the championship, Hall was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Performer.

Currently 38th in the Campbell/ITA rankings, the Irish have made a strong case to join the NCAA Championship field for the 19th time in the past 20 seasons by virtue of an at-large bid. The NCAA Division I Tennis Championships Selection Show is scheduled to reveal the 2010 field between 5 and 6 p.m. May 4, on ESPNEWS.

5. After Cincinnati plated two unearned runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the score, 4-4, Notre Dame senior designated hitter David Mills took a 1-1 fast ball from Bearcats closer Andrew Burkett and deposited it over the left field wall for a walk-off home run that gave the Irish a thrilling 5-4 baseball victory in the rubber game of the three-game series this afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium.

Notre Dame improves to 17-22 overall and 7-8 in the BIG EAST, while Cincinnati drops to 19-19 and 5-10. The Irish have won five of their last six BIG EAST games. Mills’ heroics marked the first time an Eck Stadium crowd had been treated to a game-ending home run since nearly four years earlier to the day (April 15, 2006), as Alex Nettey’s two-run bomb completed a rally that beat St. John’s, 7-5, and gave Notre Dame its 17th straight victory.

Mills’ home run was not exactly a no-doubter. The senior appeared to have fouled the ball down the left field line, but as Cincinnati right fielder Jake Proctor raced toward the line to make an attempt; the ball appeared to change direction. Proctor then turned completely around, with his back to home plate, and hustled back to the left field wall, but it just cleared the 330-foot sign.

The home run made a winner out of sophomore reliever Will Hudgins. The sidewinder improved to 4-1 on the season. Hudgins did not allow an earned run in 1.2 innings of relief.

Lost in the madness of the ninth inning and suspension of the contest in the middle of the fifth inning from Saturday night, senior Eric Maust tossed 5.0 scoreless innings. He equaled his career-high with six strikeouts. Maust limited the Bearcats to just four hits and one walk, but was unable to return to action on Sunday.

Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly collected a career-high five hits. He became the first Irish player with a five-hit contest since A.J. Pollock on March 21, 2007 against Western Michigan. Connolly’s five hits also tie for the third-most in Frank Eck Stadium history. Steve Sollman and Alex Porzel share the record with six.

Mills was the only other Notre Dame player with a multi-hit game. He went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI. The home run was his second of the season.

Freshman second baseman Frank Desico went 1-for-5 with an RBI and junior third baseman Greg Sherry went 1-for-4 with a run scored and RBI.

Notre Dame returns to action against Toledo at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday at Frank Eck Stadium.

6. Notre Dame scored eight runs in the second inning of today’s BIG EAST Conference softball contest against visiting Villanova as the twenty-third ranked Irish blanked the Wildcats, 10-0, in five innings. The Irish (38-9) posted six hits and used three Wildcat errors to do the deed in the second, and improved to 15-3 in league play to cap off a three-game series sweep of Villanova at Melissa Cook Stadium on the Notre Dame campus.

Christine Lux celebrated her Senior Day with a 2-for-3 showing at the plate, and her RBI-single in the second stanza put her in a tie with Jarrah Myers for the BIG EAST’s career record (64). Myers set the record as an Irish slugger from 1999-2002.

Jody Valdivia (30-4) fired home a two-hit shutout with four strikeouts, needing just 69 pitches for her third win against Villanova (18-27 overall, 4-10 BIG EAST) this season. Valdivia’s 15th shutout matched the program’s single-season record set by Terri Kobata 16 years ago, and her win total matches Brittney Bargar’s school record.

Valdivia permitted singles in the second and fifth innings, both coming off the bat of Amanda Marquez. That was the only offense generated by the Wildcats, contrasted by an Irish attack that finished with 10 hits and saw nine different players score at least one run. Six players chipped in RBI, with Dani Miller’s pair leading the way. Sadie Pitzenberger scored twice.

Notre Dame remains at home and faces Bowling Green in a 3:00 p.m. (ET) doubleheader Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium.

7. A Montana leading a Notre Dame squad to a come-from-behind victory. Except for the fact it was only a meaningless spring game, what more could a Fighting Irish fan ask for?

Nate Montana, son of former Notre Dame and San Francisco 49er great Joe Montana, threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns, two in a little over four minutes late in the second quarter, to lead the Gold to a 27-19 victory over the Blue squad Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. More importantly for Irish fans, Dayne Crist, the expected starter, looked solid in completing 20 of 31 passes for 172 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

“I thought he did some good things – threw the ball in the seam, the vertical push throws that we’ve tried to get into our offense quite a bit,” coach Brian Kelly said.

Crist, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee nearly six months ago, said he tried to force a few passes, but was pleased with how he played. He said learning Kelly’s spread offense, especially with how fast it’s run at practice, was overwhelming at first. He said the pace of the spring game felt slow.

“Because you’re waiting for referees to spot the ball it makes the game slow down a little bit, and I’m sure some fatigue set in with some guys,” he said. “But we’ll work through that.”

While Montana, a walk-on, isn’t expected to get major playing time next fall, he is the backup at this point, although he will be competing with three freshmen this fall. Kelly said Montana, who completed 18 of 30 passes with one interception, needs to be more consistent.

“Nate does some things really well, and then I’ll lose him for a couple of plays,” he said. “He hasn’t played a lot of college football, obviously, and consistency is the one area that he has to show.”

Montana was a reserve quarterback in high school. He took last fall off from Notre Dame and played at Pasadena City (Calif.) College where he was a backup, completing 31-of-88 passes with five interceptions and two touchdowns.

He said Saturday was his best practice.

“Everything felt like it was running smooth,” he said. “I had a lot of confidence in what I was doing.”

Although Kelly said the game was set up to make the offense look good, with the defense keeping things simple, he was particularly pleased with the tailbacks’ play. Cierre Wood, who didn’t play as a freshman last season, ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44-yard score. Jonas Gray had a 38-yard touchdown run.

Both runs were longer than any the Irish had all last season.

“I would say that the running back position is one that I feel really good after this game about the depth and the ability of that position,” Kelly said.

Kelly said he sees areas the Irish can build on, adding that there’s a lot of work to be done.

“This is the first series of tests for our team, and they did a very good job,” he said. “We’re developing a mental and physical toughness and shoring up some of the areas that I think we needed to shore up.”

The game, played under overcast skies with some showers, drew a crowd of 27,241. That was well shy of the record 51,852 fans who showed up three years ago for Jimmy Clausen’s first appearance after enrolling in January, but about average for the past decade or so.

8. Junior midfielder Shaylyn Blaney and senior attack standout Gina Scioscia led a furious second-half rally as Notre Dame bounced back from a 7-1 halftime deficit to tie the game in regulation only to lose at Rutgers, 12-11, in overtime Saturday afternoon in Piscataway, N.J. The overtime game was the third of the season for the Irish.

Brooke Cantwell’s goal with 2:02 left in the overtime period proved to be the lone tally in extra time as the Scarlet Knights snapped a five-game Irish winning streak with the victory at Yurcak Field in a physical get-together that featured 67 fouls (Notre Dame – 31, Rutgers – 36) and eight yellow cards (three to the Irish and five to the Scarlet Knights).

Blaney (four goals) and Scioscia (three goals and one assist) combined for seven second-half markers and got help from Ansley Stewart, Megan Sullivan and Betsy Mastropieri as Notre Dame out scored Rutgers, 10-4, in the second half. Kailene Abt had the lone Irish goal in the first half.
The loss drops 12th-ranked Notre Dame to 10-5 overall and 5-2 in BIG EAST play with one conference game — at Connecticut — left to play. Rutgers improves to 10-4 on the year and 3-3 in the BIG EAST. In 10 of the their 15 games this season, the Irish have gone to overtime three times, played in seven one-goal games and had all 10 decided by two goals or less. Notre Dame is 2-1 in overtime, 5-2 in one-goal games and 7-3 in games decided by tow or less. Notre Dame out shot the Scarlet Knights, 39-25, in the game. Freshman Ellie Hilling made 10 saves in the Irish goal. Notre Dame closes out the regular season at noon Saturday when the Irish travel to Connecticut to face the Huskies at the Sherman Family Sports Complex.

9. The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team defeated St. John’s 13-6 on Saturday afternoon in BIG EAST action at DaSilva Memorial Stadium in Queens, N.Y. The win improved the 15th-ranked Fighting Irish to 7-5 overall and 2-3 in BIG EAST play, while the Red Storm fell to 5-7 overall and 2-3 in the league.

Senior midfielder Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md.) paced the Irish with his fourth hat trick of the season. Junior midfielder Zach Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y.), sophomore attackman Sean Rogers (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) and senior attackman Neal Hicks (Atlanta, Ga.) all had two goals for Notre Dame.

St. John’s held a 35-30 edge in shots. Notre Dame’s Scott Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y.) started in goal and made 13 saves, while surrendering five goals, in 51:22 of play. Rodgers now is 6-3 this season. Brendan Moore (Charlotte, N.C.), a senior, played the final 8:38 and made three stops for the Irish. The Fighting Irish will conclude the regular season against top-ranked Syracuse at 7:00 p.m. (ET) Saturday at Arlotta Stadium. The game will be aired live on ESPNU.

10. Former Notre Dame offensive tackle Sam Young became the third Fighting Irish football member to be drafted in the 2010 NFL Draft and the first Notre Dame player to hear his name announced Saturday. Young was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 179th overall pick and the 10th selection of the sixth round. He was watching the Notre Dame spring football game when his cell phone rang and he had to walk back up the tunnel to be able to hear Cowboy owner Jerry Jones on the other end of the line.

Young started more games at Notre Dame than any other player in the program’s history. He became the first player to ever start 50 games in his career and also set the school record with 50 consecutive starts. He is the only Notre Dame offensive lineman to start every game since his freshman season. Young started 40 games in his Notre Dame career at right tackle and opened 10 contests at left tackle. He is the only Notre Dame offensive lineman in school history to ever start on the offensive line for two different 3,000-yard passers (Brady Quinn in 2006 and Jimmy Clausen in 2008 and 2009).

As a senior, Young started all 12 games at right tackle and allowed only two sacks in over 450 pass attempts. He blocked for Clausen has he passed for 3,722 yards with 28 touchdowns and Young was named to the Outland Trophy watch list and Lombardi Award watch list prior to the start of the season.

The Coral Springs, Fla., native is set to graduate from Notre Dame this May with a degree in management-entrepreneurship from the Mendoza College of Business.

Notre Dame offensive lineman Eric Olsen was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 14th pick of the sixth round and 183rd selection overall Saturday at the 2010 NFL Draft.

Olsen becomes the sixth former Irish offensive lineman drafted in the last five drafts (Dan Stevenson, New England, 2006; Ryan Harris, Denver, 2007; Dan Santucci, Cincinnati, 2007; John Sullivan, Minnesota, 2008; Sam Young, Dallas, 2010).

Olsen started 31 consecutive games to close his Notre Dame career and started at all three interior positions on the offensive line during his career. Olsen opened six games as the starter at right guard as a sophomore, started all 13 games at left guard as a junior and all 12 games at center in 2009.

As a senior, Olsen was voted one of four team captains by his teammates and served as co-captain of the offense along with quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Olsen was tabbed third-team All-America by Sporting News after the season after moving to center during training camp. He registered more snaps than any Irish offensive player and graded out the best of all linemen. At the season-ending banquet, Olsen was presented the Guardian of the Year award, acknowledging him as Notre Dame’s top offensive lineman. He allowed only one sack in 2009 in over 450 pass attempts and blocked for Clausen as he recorded one of the best passing seasons in nation in 2009. Olsen helped improve the Irish rushing attack as Notre Dame running backs and wide receivers combined to average 5.0 yards per carry, an increase from 4.1 yards per carry in 2008.

11. Sophomore Alexa Maldonado could not have asked for more on Saturday afternoon as she notched five hits in five trips to the plate, hit for the cycle on the day, drove in four runs, scored four more, ended game two with a three-run dinger, and set new career single-game highs in hits (three) and RBI (three) as No. 23 Notre Dame took a pair of softball games from Villanova by scores of 8-0 and 11-3 (both in five innings) at Melissa Cook Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. The Irish center fielder has now reached base safely in nine consecutive plate appearances dating back to the first game of the doubleheader at DePaul Thursday.

After Notre Dame’s contest earlier this season against Stephen F. Austin (Feb. 21), Maldonado sat at 3-for-23 (.130) on the season and was hitting .194 (27-for-139) for her career. But in 38 games since that day, the sophomore has been red hot, batting .404 (36-for-89) with 27 runs scored, 14 extra base hits – including all four of her career home runs – and 19 RBI. She has had a remarkable eye at the plate of late, as she has walked 11 times and struck out just five occasions over the last 26 games, compared to two walks and 10 punchouts in the first 20 games of the year.

Lost in the fray was the right arm of junior Jody Valdivia (29-4), who one-hit the Wildcats (18-26 overall, 4-9 BIG EAST Conference) in game one, her fifth one-hitter this season and the eighth of her career, before picking up the win in the second game after tossing 3.0 scoreless innings of relief. Valdivia is now 4-0 with a 0.55 ERA in 14 career relief appearances and holds a current string of 20.1 consecutive scoreless innings when she is not the starter. She last gave up a run in relief on May 4, 2008, against Syracuse.

The game-one shutout was the 14th of the season for Valdivia, leaving her one shy of Terri Kobata’s 16-year-old school record for shutouts in a season. She is also one shy of Brittney Bargar’s single-season wins record of 30.

The Irish (37-9, 14-3) ran their home winning streak to 16 games and are outscoring their opponents 118-25 over that stretch.

12. Sophomore Steve Sabatino (Lockport, Ill.) allowed just a pair of singles and one earned run in 5.2 innings, but Cincinnati plated four runs in the top of the ninth to overcome a 3-1 deficit and defeat Notre Dame, 5-4, in the first game of a baseball doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium on the Notre Dame campus.

After sophomore Will Hudgins (Richmond, Va.) retired the first batter of the Cincinnati (19-18, 5-9) ninth, a single and a double put runners on second and third with one out, prompting head coach Dave Schrage to turn to senior Steven Mazur (Round Rock, Texas) to attempt the save for the second time in as many days. But he was not so fortunate on Saturday, as he walked T.J. Jones to load the bases before Chris Peters made the score 3-2 in favor of Notre Dame with a bloop single to center. After another walk forced in the tying run, a sacrifice fly by Justin Riddell and an RBI single by Logan Jackson put the Bearcats up by two.

Notre Dame did hold its opponent to five runs or fewer for the seventh time in the last eight games; the staff ERA over those seven games (five wins) is a sparkling 2.71.

13. The Irish track and field squads wrapped up weekend competition Saturday, earning top-five finishes in eight events at the Drake Relays and Hillsdale’s Gina Relays.

At the Gina Relays, Jasmine Williams won the women’s triple jump, while Chrissy Finkel finished fourth in the women’s pole vault. For the men, Justin Schneider won the men’s pole vault with Jim Merchun finished fourth in the same event. Trent Sayers was third in the men’s 800 meters, and Patrick Glass and Connor Paladino finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the men’s triple jump.

At the Drake Relays, Joanna Schultz finished second in the women’s 400-meter hurdles.

Next week, the Irish head to Cincinnati, Ohio, to compete at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships.

14. The Actioncam over-the-field camera Saturday was a big hit for NBC observers as well as for fans watching the game live on und.com (more than 216,000 viewers tuned in to the game at some point). Live halftime guests were Chris Zorich and Joe Montana.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

1. Designated game captains for the Irish spring football game today are Armando Allen for the Blue team and Darrin Walls for the Gold squad. Coach Brian Kelly expects to have game captains throughout the 2010 season as opposed to permanent season captains.

2. Former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen was selected with the 48th overall pick Friday evening by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Here’s how today’s Charlotte Observer described what happened last night:

“Clausen was rated as a Top 10 overall prospect by some scouts and analysts, but fell way down draft boards when other teams needing quarterbacks didn’t take him, apparently because of questions about his leadership ability and personality.

“Carolina general manager Marty Hurney didn’t prescribe to that line of thinking, however. We know now that Hurney spent the day trying to trade up into the second round, never thinking that Clausen would fall all the way to Carolina’s spot at No. 48.

“He called the St. Louis Rams, who had the first pick in Round 2, 33rd overall. But the Rams wouldn’t make a deal, apparently because Hurney was not willing to surrender a future first-round pick for the third consecutive year.

“Hurney tried to trade all through Round 2, but kept running into the same problem.

“Alas, he sat there at 48 and got Clausen anyway, prompting him to say ‘Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.'”

Clausen flourished in his final two seasons at Notre Dame and left the Irish ranked first or second in 32 passing categories including tops in career completion percentage, completions per game for a career and tied for first in lowest interception percentage over a career. A starter in 34 of 35 career games played, Clausen completed 695 of 1,110 career pass attempts for 8,148 yards with 60 touchdowns and 27 interceptions.

Voted a team captain as a senior in 2009, Clausen was named a semifinalist for both the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Awards and was named third-team All-American by Sporting News. He completed 68.0 percent of his passes (289 of 425) for 3,722 yards with 28 TDs and four interceptions. Clausen set the Notre Dame single-season record for best completion percentage, highest efficiency rating (161.4) and recorded the second-most passing yards and passing yards per game in Irish history in 2009. He helped guide the Irish to five fourth-quarter comebacks as a junior (four of which ended in Notre Dame victories) and he set a school record with seven 300-yard passing games in the 2009 season.

Since the NFL began drafting players in 1936, Notre Dame has had at least one player selected in 73 of the 75 NFL Drafts (no players drafted in 1937 and 1977) and no school has produced more NFL draft picks than Notre Dame.

3. Former Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate was selected with the 60th overall pick by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Tate becomes the first Notre Dame wide receiver drafted since Maurice Stovall was taken in the third round of the 2006 draft by Tampa Bay and is the earliest an Irish receiver has been selected since Derrick Mayes was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the 56th overall pick in the 1996 draft.

Here’s what Seattle coach Pete Carroll told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “This is truly a touchdown-maker. This is a guy who’s going to get the ball in his hands, he’s going to break tackles, he’s going to run around the field and make things happen in a very special way. I love to get guys that have unique qualities and style to them that we can play to and he certainly has that. He’s going to want to get the ball in his hands when he’s out there in one-on-one situations and see if he can break that first tackle and go. We’re going to get him the ball on the move so that he’s able to use his elusive nature and his ability to break tackles. This is a guy who runs like a running back with the ball in his hands. He runs through tackles and bounces off guys and has been very effective, so there are certain things that we’ll do to make sure that he has a chance to do that.”

A former running back, Tate exploded onto the scene as a sophomore and junior becoming one of the most electrifying players to ever wear a Notre Dame uniform. He ranks first in Irish history with 2,707 career receiving yards, ranks second in career touchdown receptions with 26 and is tied for third with 157 career receptions. Tate also owns the school record with 15 games of at least 100 receiving yards and ranks in the top 10 at Notre Dame in career all-purpose yards (4,130 yards, sixth in school history), total career kick/punt return yards (1,196 yards, seventh) and kickoff return yards in a career (909 yards, eighth).

4. Brian Kelly was jazzed up a few minutes after 10 this morning when he took the wireless microphone in the middle of a packed house at the fan brunch that featured one of his players at each table.

Said Kelly, “Today is what Notre Dame is all about . . . Our players want to win for you and for Notre Dame . . . I know we need to win ’em all – we get that. They (the players) will create an atmosphere in the stadium that we haven’t seen in a long time. You’ll get the first glimpse today. I guarantee you that Notre Dame will win today – mark it down. You can go to your pregame tailgates and say with certainty that we’re gonna win today.” Kelly described the Sept. 4 season opener against Purdue as “the biggest game of our careers here.”

Kelly looked the part in his navy blue and gold striped tie and blue suit. Bob Nagle served as master of ceremonies for the packed event in the Joyce Center fieldhouse.

5. Lots of familiar alumni football faces in town for the Blue-Gold weekend and the Notre Dame Monogram Club events – from Mike Haywood (now head coach at Miami) to Terry Hanratty to Ryan Leahy to Allen Pinkett to Deke Cooper to Jay Vickers (he was the MVP for Notre Dame’s alumni team win in Japan last summer and now works in athletic development at the University of Arizona) to Kris Haines (now a Cotton Bowl Hall of Famer) to Tony Furjanic.

Special guests at the Friday night football alumni dinner included NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer (and his wife Lisa), Notre Dame grad and longtime Sugar Bowl rep Mike Read, coach Brian Kelly and his wife and children as well as his parents (in from their Cape Cod home). Kelly sat with Monogram Club board members Joe Restic, Marty Allen and Dick Nussbaum. As the program unfolded lots of attendees followed the NFL draft on their cell phones.

Monogram Club president Restic welcomed the former players and kiddingly suggested that former Irish captain Mike Golic apologize for wearing a USC jersey today (he lost a bet to radio partner Mike Greenberg on his “Mike & Mike in the Morning” ESPN Radio show), or risk losing his Monogram Club membership.

Athletics director Jack Swarbrick kidded that if he didn’t conclude his remarks quickly, he’d hear from someone in the front row (referring to Kelly) who would say, “Faster, faster, pick up the pace.”

Kelly took the stage just a few minutes after helping unveil “The Shirt” for 2010 and sported the green T-shirt (is it Kelly green or Kelly green?). Said Kelly to the former players, “From the shirt I’m wearing, what’s important is what’s on the front, the Fighting Irish.

“We will share in this success together with you. We are learning every day what it takes to be successful. You’ll start to see the Fighting Irish come out. I understand the job at hand. Everyone has high expectations. There’s not a team on our schedule where we look it at and say, ‘I don’t know about that one.’

“As we move forward, our identity as a team will be one that plays with great enthusiasm, that loves to be on the field and that plays like a Fighting Irish team should play.”

Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins spoke to the Irish football squad after its Friday practice. He talked about the players’ commitment to each other and the shared commitment to excellence at Notre Dame.

6. At the Alumni Stadium soccer facility dedication this morning, Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins delivered the blessing, while coaches Bobby Clark and Randy Waldrum and athletics director Jack Swarbrick spoke in the middle of a packed men’s locker room after weather forced the event indoors.

Said Waldrum, “I feel like this is the last piece of the puzzle. This is a place to bring recruits, to really be proud of.” Said Swarbrick, “It’s not just about building athletic facilities, but making them community spaces. You saw that with the local Hispanic community here for the games last night.

“We measure success in athletics in a lot of ways, wins, championships, graduation rates. But the single measure that’s most important is how athletes look back at their experiences, how those experiences impacted their lives. That’s how we succeed in athletics.”

Responding were benefactors and former Irish men’s players Rob Snyder (an ’84 grad who earned a law degree in ’86 and MBA in ’88, both from Texas) and Tom Crotty (an ’80 grad who has an MBA from Penn). Both are two-time Notre Dame monogram-winners.

7. Notre Dame junior Brian Dupra tossed 7.1 solid innings and senior Casey Martin drove in three, including a critical two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to help the Irish knock off Cincinnati, 5-2, in the BIG EAST series opener Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. Notre Dame improved to 16-21 overall and 6-7 in the conference, while the Bearcats dropped to 18-18 and 4-9.

Dupra improved to 3-2 on the season with his sixth quality start of the year and longest of 2010. The right-handed hurler scattered seven hits and allowed just two earned runs. Dupra equalled his career-high in strikeouts with eight and also walked just one. Dupra held the Bearcats scoreless over the first six innings as Notre Dame strolled out to a 3-0 lead. In fact, Cincinnati did not advance a runner to third base until two outs in the seventh inning. Justin Riddell followed with his third hit of the evening to cut the Irish lead to 3-1.

The Bearcats added another two-out run in the top of the eighth inning to cut the Notre Dame lead to a single run, 3-2, but Martin answered in the bottom of the eighth. After freshman second baseman Frank Desico led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position on senior designated hitter David Mills’ sacrifice bunt, the senior first baseman hammered Cincinnati reliever Andrew Strenge’s first offering deep over the left field wall to push the Notre Dame lead back to three runs, 5-2. The round-tripper was Martin’s fourth of the season.

Martin and DeSico each had three hits. Martin went 3-for-4 with a run scored and added an RBI double. DeSico also went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly went 1-for-4 with a solo home run.

Notre Dame return to action with two more games of the BIG EAST series against Cincinnati at 3 p.m. today at Frank Eck Stadium.

8. The Irish track and field squads opened the weekend’s competition on a high note Friday by earning nine top-five finishes at the Drake Relays and Hillsdale’s Gina Relays.

At Drake, the Irish finished second in the men’s 4×1600-meter relay, as Eric Quick took third in the men’s long jump and Matt Schipper finished sixth in the men’s pole vault. Marissa Treece finished fifth at Hillsdale’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, Kendra Jennings earned the second position in the women’s high jump and Maddie Buttinger wrapped up fourth place in the women’s long jump. On the men’s side, Greg Kiley was fourth in the men’s 1500 meters, Balazs Molnar finished third in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Andrew Hills was fifth in the men’s shot put and Dean Odegard earned a fourth-place finish in the men’s decathlon.

The Irish will continue competition at both meets today.

9. Notre Dame junior forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas) scored her second goal of the spring in the eighth minute to erase an early deficit, but the Mexican Women’s National Team scored three times in the final half-hour, including twice on the counterattack in the final three minutes, to ease past the Fighting Irish, 4-1, on a damp Friday night before a spirited overflow crowd of 2,737 fans at Alumni Stadium. It marked just the second time in eight spring matches between Notre Dame and Mexico that Los Tricolores have come away with the victory, the other coming in 2004, when Mexico earned a 3-2 victory at old Alumni Field (the Fighting Irish went on to win their second national championship eight months later).

Evelyn Lopez had a goal and an assist for Mexico, which is ranked third in CONCACAF and 22nd in the FIFA world rankings (as of March 12). Tania Morales, Nayeli Rangel and Natalia Gomez-Junco scored the other goals, as Mexico improved to 3-1-1 against college opponents this spring, having defeated UCF (2-1) and Auburn (3-2) and tied Georgia (2-2). Meanwhile, Notre Dame caps its spring season with a 2-2-1 record, earning wins over Purdue (6-0) and Iowa (3-1), as well as a scoreless draw with Michigan State. The other Fighting Irish loss was a 1-0 setback at the hands of the Chicago Red Stars, who compete in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS).

Junior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) went the distance in the Notre Dame net, making one save. Erika Vanegas also played the full 90 minutes in the Mexican goal, stopping five shots. Mexico outshot the Fighting Irish, 19-12, although the hosts held a 6-5 edge in shots on goal. Mexico also earned four of the six corner kicks in the match, while committing 10 of the 15 fouls.

“We scheduled this game for a reason and there’s a lot we can take from it,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “In the eight times we’ve played Mexico in these spring exhibitions, this is probably the best team they’ve brought in here. They make you pay for every little mistake and they know how to play with the lead, and those are some good lessons for our players to learn. I thought we did some nice things tonight and had some stretches, especially early in the second half, where we played with good pace and made some things happen. The final score is pretty deceiving, considering we pushed up quite a bit near the end to try and get that tying goal. Overall, we had a good spring season and we saw many players make solid improvements, which we can carry forward as we look ahead to next season.”

Notre Dame will open its fall training schedule in August, with a single exhibition match against Virginia scheduled for 1 p.m. (ET) Aug. 13 in Traverse City, Mich. The Fighting Irish will open the 2010 regular season at 5:30 p.m. (ET) Aug. 20 against Minnesota at Alumni Stadium.

10. The Notre Dame men’s soccer team defeated the Mexico Under-20 National Team, 2-1, on Friday night in front of 2,737 fans at Alumni Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. Sophomore midfielder Michael Rose (Severna Park, Md.) and junior forward Steven Perry (Edmond, Okla.) netted goals for the Irish.

It did not take long for Notre Dame to crack the scoring column as Rose tallied a goal in the third minute of play. Rose took control of a failed Mexico clear and scored from close range. Notre Dame went up 2-0 in the 11th minute as junior forward Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo.) played the ball ahead to Perry and he placed a shot past Mexico goalkeeper Francisco Cuadras and into the lower left corner of the net from 20 yards out. Mexico sliced the Irish lead to one in the 26th minute as Oscar Garcia deposited a free kick, which was taken just outside the 18-yard box. “It was a fabulous atmosphere,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “It was a very good game and they (Mexico U-20s) are a very, very good team. They’ll arguably be the best team we play all year. They possessed the ball a lot, but we had the best chances. It was a great game to watch. If you’re a soccer person, you’re not going to get much better than that. I was very, very happy with the team.”

The Mexico match marked Notre Dame’s final contest of the 2010 spring season. Last night was the fifth time the Fighting Irish have faced a Mexican National Team. The Irish have yet to lose a match to Mexico. Notre Dame defeated the Mexico Under-17 squad 1-0 in 2005 and followed that with a 5-0 triumph over the U-17s in 2006. Notre Dame met the U-20s for the first time in 2007 and claimed a 1-0 victory. The Irish and the Mexico U-20s played to a scoreless draw in 2008.

11. The Notre Dame rowing team has announced that its seven-member senior class will serve as team co-captains for postseason action, beginning this weekend at the BIG EAST Championships. The group consists of Andrea Archer (Redding, Conn.), Emily Backer (Cannelton, Ind.), Sarah Keithley (Austin, Texas), Brittney Kelly (Wexford, Pa.), Rachael Louie (Westfield, N.J.), Braegan Padley (Boise, Idaho) and Casey Robinson (Alexandria, Va.).

12. Several members of the Notre Dame football team participated in the Bald & The Beautiful fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Foundation Wednesday evening at LaFortune Student Center on the Notre Dame’s campus. Current football players walked to LaFortune approximately one hour following Wednesday’s practice and had their heads shaved to help raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity devoted to fighting childhood cancer. The event included head shaving and fundraising for St. Baldrick’s, donating hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths and the sale of colored hair extensions that will benefit South Bend’s Memorial Hospital. The donations fund childhood cancer research grants.

13. Former Irish quarterback Rick Mirer was in town Friday, holding an event at the LaSalle Grill to promote his latest offerings from his Napa Valley-based Mirror Wine Company.

14. Notre Dame’s women’s tennis team defeated Syracuse 4-0 today in the semifinals to move into the BIG EAST Championships title match tomorrow.

Friday, April 23, 2010

1. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team has lived on the edge all season, so there was no reason to stop on Thursday afternoon when the Irish pulled out a 12-11 win over Ohio State at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Maggie Tamasitis scored the game winner with just 24 seconds left on the clock for the big road win for Notre Dame.

In nine of the first 14 games this season, the Irish have gone to overtime twice, played in six one-goal games and had all nine decided by two goals or less. Notre Dame is 2-0 in overtime, 5-1 in one-goal games and 7-2 in games decided by two or less.

Before Tamasitis could provide her late-game heroics, junior midfielder Shaylyn Blaney did her best to keep the Irish in the lead, scoring five goals, including four goals in the second half. She has now scored 14 goals in her last five games. Senior attack standout Gina Scioscia scored three goals and added an assist for a four-point game — with Kailene Abt getting two goals and Ansley Stewart scoring once along with Tamasitis.

The win extended 12th-ranked Notre Dame’s current winning streak to five games and improves the Irish to 10-4 overall with a 5-1 record in the BIG EAST. The 18th-ranked Buckeyes fall to 8-6 overall for the year.

The Irish now travel to Piscataway, N.J., to face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights tomorrow in an 11:00 a.m. BIG EAST game.

2. The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team opened its postseason with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Georgetown on this morning in BIG EAST quarterfinal action at Leeper Park in South Bend. The Irish claimed the doubles point and then earned three singles win without dropping a set to improve to 14-11 on the year. With the win, Notre Dame advances to one of the BIG EAST semifinal matches, which is slated to begin at noon tomorrow at Notre Dame’s Courtney Tennis Center. The Irish play the winner of this afternoon’s USF and St. John’s match.

The Irish clinched the doubles point with wins at the first and second positions to take a 1-0 lead. At No. 1 doubles, eighty-eighth ranked Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa.) downed Andrew Bruhn and Tim Walsh, 8-5. Then Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn.) and Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland) defeated Will Lowell and David Tillem, also by an 8-5 margin. At No. 3 doubles, David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass.) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md.) were tied with Georgetown’s Charlie Caris and Anthony Tan, 6-6, when the point was clinched.

The Irish took a 2-0 lead when Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla.) cruised past Walsh 6-1, 6-0 at No. 6 singles. After dropping the first game of the match, Moros won the next 12 to claim his 14th win of the year. Next, Watt downed Tan 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 singles to stake the Irish to a 3-0 lead.

Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo.) then clinched the win at No. 4 singles when he defeated Lowell 6-2, 6-1 for his team-best 15th win of the year. Keeton just edged out Anderson to notch the clinching win, as Anderson was leading Bruhn at No. 5 singles 6-3, 5-1 when the match was decided.

Rounding out the Irish lineup, Havens was leading Tillem at No. 2 singles 6-1, 3-2 and Stahl was defeating Caris at No. 3 singles 6-4, 2-0 when Keeton clinched the win.

3. The top-seeded Irish women’s tennis team cruised to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship today with a 4-0 sweep of West Virginia at Courtney Tennis Center on the Notre Dame campus.

Notre Dame earned its 20th win of the season and continued its undefeated streak in the early rounds of the conference tournament. The Irish are undefeated in 24 early rounds of competition (first round through semifinals) and have recorded shutouts in 23 of those matches.

Notre Dame will play the winner of the Marquette-Syracuse match at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow at Courtney Tennis Center.

The Irish took advantage early, taking a 1-0 lead after clinching the doubles point. The third-ranked duo of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan.) won their 19th straight match with an 8-0 victory over Stephanie LaFortune and Monique Burton, 8-0, at No.1 doubles. Cosmina Ciobanu (Brea, Calif.) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) earned their seventh win of the season as they clinched the doubles point for the Irish with an 8-0 win over Veronica Cardenas and Emliy Mathis at second doubles.

Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) led Ashley Pilsbury and Liv Pettersson, 6-1, at third doubles when the point was clinched.

Ciobanu gave the Irish a 2-0 lead as she snagged her 20th win of the season with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Kathryn Haught at fourth singles. Mathews topped Cardenas, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 2 singles to improve to 13-10 and put Notre Dame up 3-0. Krisik cruised past Pilsbury, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 5 singles to move to 14-4 on the year and clinch the win for the Irish. At No. 1 singles, No. 16 Frilling led Burton, 6-2, 5-0, when the match was clinched. No. 112 McGaffigan was trailing Mathis, 0-1, in the second set after taking the first, 6-3, at third singles, and Rafael led Pettersson, 6-2, 1-0, at No. 6 singles when the match was called.

4. Dani Miller went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI, including a walk-off sacrifice fly to score Katie Fleury from third in the bottom of the seventh to give No. 23 Notre Dame a 7-6 non-conference softball win Wednesday against Valparaiso at Melissa Cook Stadium on the Notre Dame campus.

Miller stroked a three-run homer in her first at-bat, one of 11 hits for Notre Dame (35-7). It was her third home run in three career games versus the Crusaders, as she homered in both ends of the 2009 doubleheader. Sadie Pitzenberger was a perfect 3-for-3 with a run scored and Fleury added two hits and crossed the plate twice. The game featured two ties and five lead changes with the squads combining for 23 hits.

5. DePaul showed little mercy on No. 23 Notre Dame yesterday at Cacciatore Stadium in Chicago, during a BIG EAST Conference softball doubleheader that pitted the league’s top two teams against each other. Notre Dame took DePaul to extra innings in the opener before falling, 7-6. DePaul cruised to a 15-2 five-inning victory in game two. DePaul improved to 26-12 overall and 10-3 in the BIG EAST standings with the sweep. Notre Dame (35-9, 12-3) now looks ahead to a three-game home series with Villanova (April 24-25).

6. Michigan plated all of its runs with two outs and starting pitcher Matt Miller benefitted from a trio of double-play groundouts to lead the Wolverines past Notre Dame, 13-1, in college baseball action from Frank Eck Stadium Wednesday night on the Notre Dame campus. The Irish dropped to 15-21, while Michigan improves to 24-12.

Miller, who entered the season as the Wolverines No. 2 starter, tossed 6.0 scoreless innings and improved to 2-1 on the campaign. The righty limited Notre Dame to just two hits, but worked out of trouble in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning thanks to inning-ending twin killings in each frame. Miller walked three and fanned one.

Sophomore Steve Sabatino was dealt the defeat. The southpaw, who was slated to throw just one inning, struck out the first two Wolverines of the game, but junior shortstop Mike Doyle’s throw on a routine ground ball pulled first baseman David Casey off the bag and allowed Ryan LaMarre to reach. Michigan followed with four straight hits to for a 4-0 lead.

Notre Dame used a total of seven pitchers. Senior David Mills and freshman Patrick Veerkamp were the lone Irish pitchers to record scoreless outings. Mills did allow a base hit, but faced the minimum after recording a double play ground out. Veerkamp worked 2.0 scoreless innings. The rookie retired all six Michigan batters he faced.

Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly went 0-for-3 on the night and failed to reach base safely in a game for the first time since May 3, 2009. Connolly’s streak ends at 47 consecutive games, which entered tonight as the second-longest active streak in the NCAA.

Notre Dame returns to BIG EAST action for a three-game series against Cincinnati that opens at 6:05 p.m. today at Frank Eck Stadium.

7. Former Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Digger Phelps served as the guest speaker for the Thursday night banquet that kicked off the BIG EAST Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships for which Notre Dame is serving as the host institution.

8. Approximately 450 people will attend the Notre Dame Monogram Club annual dinner Saturday night, at the Joyce Center including more than 60 family and friends of Father Bernard H. Lange, who will be recognized posthumously (he died in 1970 at age 81) — and a large number of former swimmers spanning 50 years in support of honoree Dennis Stark, former Irish swim coach.

Around 650 people are expected tonight for the Blue-Gold football alumni dinner (including former players and families). That number includes the current team and staff which also will attend. The Monogram Club board of directors is in town for the spring board meeting – held at Club Naimoli in Purcell Pavilion today.

9. Both of the ISP Notre Dame Football Radio Network announcers, Don Criqui and Allen Pinkett, will be in town for the Blue-Gold game Saturday and will have a chance to touch base with new Irish coach Brian Kelly. In fact, Criqui will assist the Notre Dame Sports Properties streamed webcast of the game by conducting a post-game interview with the Irish head coach.

10. There’s been no shortage of public relations opportunities of late for Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly. In addition to playing host to hundreds of football coaches last weekend for the program’s annual clinic, he also spoke to the Alumni Senate that was in town for weekend meetings. This past week he spoke to the Hall Presidents Council. Today he met with the Monogram Club Board of Directors and also spent time with NBC Sports producer Rob Hyland, who produced Irish games for the network. Tonight, Kelly is part of the unveiling of “The Shirt” – then he’ll quickly return to Purcell Pavilion for the dinner for all returning Irish football players. Tomorrow morning he’ll speak at the brunch with fans and his Irish team. Next Friday he’ll head to Chicago for the Notre Dame Club of Chicago’s annual Rockne Dinner.

11. In case you missed it, Irish athletics director Jack Swarbrick made some opening remarks at the Notre Dame Men’s Basketball Banquet last week, noting that he receives lots of mail wondering why Irish coach Mike Brey doesn’t wear ties on the sidelines at games. Swarbrick then took off his own shirt and tie to reveal a mock turtleneck shirt of his own, looked at Brey and said, “Coach, I’ve got your back.”

12. Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick just returned from three days of Bowl Championship Series meetings in the Phoenix area. Although the agenda read BCS, much of the media coverage involved potential conference expansion.

13. Weather concerns already have scratched the Notre Dame football alumni flag football game that had been slated for tomorrow morning in Notre Dame Stadium.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

1. Notre Dame’s bullpen tossed four more scoreless innings of relief to give the Irish a chance, but Michigan held on for a 3-2 victory in college baseball action from Fisher Field Tuesday night in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Irish dropped to 15-20 on the year, while the Wolverines improved to 23-12.

Sophomore Ryan Richter picked up the loss and dropped to 1-1 on the season. He allowed three earned runs on five hits in 4.0 innings of work. Richter fanned three and walked one. He also hit a batter. Richter’s walk and hit batter both came around to score. Eric Katzman picked up the victory for Michigan and upped his record to 3-1 on the campaign. The lefty made it through 5.0 innings with a 3-1 lead in tact. The lefty surrendered one earned run on four hits. Katzman struck out three and issued three walks. He needed 100 pitches, but managed to keep the Irish off balance us enough to be effective.

Senior first baseman Casey Martin was the lone Irish player with a multi-hit game. He went 2-for-4. Senior designated hitter David Mills went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Junior shortstop Mick Doyle went 1-for-4 with a double and run scored. Junior David Casey added a pinch hit RBI single. Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly went 1-for-4 with a single. He has now reached base safely in 47 straight contests, second-longest active streak in the NCAA.

Notre Dame drew within a run, 3-2, in the top of the eighth inning. Doyle ripped a one-out double into the left centerfield gap, moved to third on a wild pitch and coasted home on Casey’s pinch hit RBI single. The Irish were unable to draw closer as sophomore Alex Robinson, who pinch ran, was throw out at second trying to steal and senior right fielder Boockford grounded out to end the inning. Sophomore sidewinder Will Hudgins tossed a scoreless eighth inning to keep the deficit one run heading into the ninth inning, but Matt Gerbe then retired the Irish 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to pick up his first save of the season.

Junior Brian Dupra, junior Ryan Sharpley and Hudgins combined to throw 4.0 innings of scoreless relief. Notre Dame’s bullpen has now thrown 17.1 consecutive scoreless innings — a span that covers the last five games.

Notre Dame returns to action against Michigan at 6:05 p.m. today at Frank Eck Stadium.

2. The Notre Dame men’s golf team came agonizingly close to collecting its seventh BIG EAST Conference title, carding a three-round total of 22-over par 874 (299-289-286) and finishing a solitary stroke behind Georgetown as the conference tournament concluded on Tuesday afternoon on the Innisbrook Resort/Copperhead Course (par 71/7,125 yards) in Palm Harbor, Fla. The Fighting Irish entered the day in fifth place, eight strokes behind Georgetown, but Notre Dame fashioned another of its patented final-round rallies at the BIG EAST Championship, firing the low round of the tournament (+2, 286) to put the pressure on the Hoyas. However, Georgetown’s Vincenzo Salina sank an eight-foot par putt on the 18th hole to blunt the Fighting Irish charge and give the Hoyas their first conference crown since 1998.

Salina actually played the villain twice for Notre Dame fans within the span of an hour, as he drained a 25-foot birdie putt to win the BIG EAST individual title on the first hole of a four-man sudden death playoff that also featured Fighting Irish sophomores Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) and Tom Usher (Bradford, England). Scodro and Usher tied Salina and Evan Beirne of St. John’s for first through the regulation 54 holes, with all four players shooting two-over par 215.

Notre Dame announced its intent early as, in succession, Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) Usher and Scodro each birdied the first hole. Usher went on to shoot a two-under par 69 to tie for the lowest round of the day. Like the Irish team, he came just as close to earning the individual championship. After his birdie at the first, Usher notched three pars and then added a birdie at the fifth. He then closed out the front nine with four more pars to card a two-under par 32. He continued his march through the back nine, notching pars on the next six holes. Then, at the par-four 16th, Usher’s approach flew the hole and landed in the rough 15-feet off the back of the green. But Usher was able to bump-and-run his chip into the hole for another dramatic birdie. Then, a day after acing the 17th, Usher recorded a par to stand at three-under par through 55 holes. But a bogey at the 18th brought him back to two-under par and ultimately placed him in the four-man playoff.

Along with Usher’s 69, the Irish counted an even-par 71 as well as a trio of two-over par 73’s in a total team effort. Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C.) turned in the even-par 71. After struggling through the first two rounds, the senior ensured his final BIG EAST Championship appearance counted. He recorded pars on his first four holes before notching a birdie at the fifth and a bogey at the sixth. He followed with six pars and then a bogey at the 13th. He rebounded to card a birdie at the 14th and then recorded pars on the remaining four holes.

Scodro, who started the day in third, played the front nine at one-over par. He opened the back nine with two pars but then bogeyed the 12th and doubled the 13th. But he rebounded quickly and played his final two holes at a two-under par clip that included birdies on the 14th and 17th holes to keep the pressure on Georgetown.

Senior Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif.) again got off to a slow start — he was two-over par after two holes of play — but he grinded out a strong finish that included 10 pars and a birdie on his final 11 holes of play. His birdie came on the par-five 14th.

3. The Notre Dame women’s golf team wrapped up play at the 2010 BIG EAST Conference Championship on Tuesday afternoon, finishing third in the seven-team field with a three-round score of 72-over par 936 (320-313-303) on the Innisbrook Resort/Island Course (par 72/6,205 yards) in Palm Harbor, Fla.

The Fighting Irish carded the lowest final-round score on Tuesday with a 303 (+15) and ended the three-day event 16 strokes back of tournament champion Louisville. South Florida finished second at 928 (+64), eight shots ahead of Notre Dame.

Senior Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash.) was the top Fighting Irish individual at this year’s conference tournament, tying for second place at 10-over par 226 (80-72-74), six shots behind BIG EAST medalist Sara-Maude Juneau of Louisville. Brophy played the front nine at two-over par and followed with an even-par back nine. She notched a birdie on the par-five 11th hole. With her tie for second, Brophy made a strong case to be voted onto the all-BIG EAST team for the fourth time in her Irish career. She would join Noriko Nakazaki as just the second player in program history to earn the distinction in all four seasons if she is named to the 2010 All-BIG EAST team.

Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) turned in a final round three-over par 75 to finish in a tie for seventh. Her final round was a tale of two nines, as she was four-over par on the day at the turn and then rallied to card a one-under par back nine. In fact, she played her final 11 holes of the tournament at one-under par.

Sophomore Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.) and junior Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y.) turned in five-over par 77s to round out final round scoring for the Irish. Allare finished tied for 15th in her first career team tournament start. Her final round was highlighted by a birdie at the par-five 15th. Conway had 11 pars and a birdie on the day and finished tied for 25th. Junior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea) carded an 84 and finished tied with Conway in 25th place.

The Irish now set their sights on NCAA Regional play. Selected teams will learn their fate on Monday when the fields for the three regional sites are announced by the NCAA selection committee. Teams will compete for the right to advance to the national championship in Wilmington, N.C.

The three regional sites for the 2010 tournament will be the Otter Creek Golf Club (Central Regional hosted by Indiana University), the Ironwood Country Club (East Regional hosted by East Carolina) and the Stanford Golf Course (West Regional hosted by Stanford University). Regional action will be played May 6-8, 2010. The eight lowest scoring teams, as well as the two lowest scoring individuals not on an advancing teams, from each of the three regional championships will qualify for the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship. The championship will be held May 18-21 at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C.

4. Check out USA Today today and look for a Jimmy Clausen piece as the sports section cover story.

Monday, April 19, 2010

1. The 2010 Notre Dame Relay for Life was the largest Relay ever on campus and was the first to be held in Notre Dame Stadium. As part of the event, participants were able to go on locker room tours and take a lap around the field at the Luminaria Ceremony. This year’s event honored long-time athletic department employee Rich O’Leary who lost his battle with cancer this past year. Athletic department staff and students from RecSports, the Rugby Club, Bengal Bouts and lacrosse all participated in honoring and remembering Rich. The event ran from 6:30 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday and generated a record number of participants (more than 1,200) and money raised (more than $100,000).

2. Coming to the Blue-Gold football game this weekend and looking for more things to do? Here are your options:

Friday, April 23
All Day BIG EAST Championships Courtney Tennis
  Men’s & Women’s Tennis Courts
4:00 p.m. “The Shirt” Unveiling & Festivities Eck Center
5:00 p.m. Women’s Soccer Game Alumni Stadium
  vs. Mexican National Team  
6:05 p.m. Baseball vs. Cincinnati Eck Baseball
7:15 p.m. Men’s Soccer Game Alumni Stadium
  vs. Mexican National Team  
Saturday, April 24
All Day BIG EAST Championships Courtney Tennis
  Men’s & Women’s Tennis Courts
8:00 a.m. Alumni Hall/Hannah & Friends 5K Run Campus
  Finish on the Fifty  
9:15 a.m. Football Fan Brunch Joyce Fieldhouse
10:00 a.m. Alumni Soccer Stadium Dedication Alumni Stadium
10:00-1:00 p.m. Fanfest at Irish Green Irish Green
11:30 a.m. Alumni Players Flag Football Game Stadium
12:00 & Softball vs. Villanova Melissa Cook
2:00 p.m.   Stadium
1:30 p.m. Blue Gold Football Game Notre Dame Stadium
*3:30 p.m. Baseball vs. Cincinnati Eck Baseball Stadium
* changed from original listed 6:05 p.m. start  
Sunday, April 25
All Day BIG EAST Championships Courtney Tennis
  Men’s & Women’s Tennis Courts
11:00 a.m. Softball vs. Villanova Melissa Cook
1:05 p.m. Baseball vs. Cincinnati Eck Baseball

3. Notre Dame softball pitcher Jody Valdivia was named BIG EAST Conference Pitcher of the Week, the league announced today. Valdivia, a four-time recipient of the award this season, won five games last week without allowing an earned run. The Anaheim Hills, Calif., native punched in 27.1 innings of work over those five appearances for the Irish, including four cameos versus BIG EAST teams. Now 10-0 in BIG EAST games this season, Valdivia (27-3) has been victorious in each of her last 20 regular-season league decisions (her last conference loss came during her freshman campaign in 2008).

4. Here are more notes and quotes on events connected with the Blue-Gold Spring Football Game this weekend:

— Because of construction there will be no east-side seating available in the lower bowl of Notre Dame Stadium between the goal posts. Fans are encouraged to enter Gates C, D or E and sit on the west side of the Stadium in either the upper or lower seating areas.

— The traditional Saturday morning brunch for fans (at which Brian Kelly will speak) is sold out (1,123 tickets).

— Additional parking will be available north of campus in White Field, and there will be three shuttle buses to bring fans back toward campus.

— The game itself will feature standard timing during 15-minute periods in the first half. A decision will be made at halftime as to plans for the second half.

— Both teams will utilize the home sideline (west side), so the full east sideline is available for photographers.

— The Carter Twins (they are appearing at Legends Saturday night) will sing the National Anthem – and approximately 100 members of the Band of the Fighting Irish also will be in attendance.

— Irish Green will be open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. The fan-fest that in previous years has been in the Joyce South parking area will be relocated this year to Irish Green. There will be no alcohol served this weekend.

5. First pitch for Saturday’s Notre Dame-Cincinnati baseball game at Frank Eck Stadium has been moved up to 3:30 p.m. to coincide with the conclusion of the Blue-Gold football game. It was originally scheduled for a 6:05 p.m. start.

Notre Dame returns to action with a two-game midweek series against Michigan. The Irish and Wolverines will open the home-and-home set at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Ann Arbor. The two rivals will then return to Notre Dame on Wednesday at 6:05 p.m.

6. Fighting Irish fans anxious to see the Notre Dame football team in action under the direction of head coach Brian Kelly, but unable to make it to campus this weekend, will be pleased to know that und.com will be providing an exclusive live stream of the 81st-annual Blue-Gold Game Saturday. The live stream will begin before kickoff, set for 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday, with commentary provided by und.com’s Jack Nolan and former Irish All-Americans Reggie Brooks and Mirko Jurkovic. The live stream will also feature the debut of Actioncam at Notre Dame Stadium, an aerial camera performing a test-run for NBC Sports on Saturday for possible inclusion in Irish football coverage during the fall of 2010. Keep an eye out on und.com during the week for updates on the Blue-Gold game format and team rosters.

7. Senior Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash.) paced the Fighting Irish women’s golf team today on day two of the 2010 BIG EAST Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla., as she turned in an even-par 72 at the Innisbrook Resort’s Island Course. All told, the Irish carded a second-round 313, seven strokes better than their opening round effort. Notre Dame enters the final round of play in third place at 57-over par (633).

Brophy went out in 37, notching six pars on the front to go along with a birdie and a bogey. Then, Brophy played the back nine at one-under par, notching eight pars as well as a birdie on the par-five 15th. She is eight-over par (152) and sits in fourth place entering the final round of play. Brophy’s 72 was an eight-shot improvement on her first-round score of 80.

Sophomore Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) shaved three strokes off her first-round total to turn in a second-round six-over par 78. Huffer had 12 pars and a birdie on the day but was hurt by three bogeys and two doubles. At 15-over par, Huffer is tied for 12th. Junior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea) carded another nine-over par 81, which also scored for the Irish. Her day was highlighted by a birdie at the par-3 eighth. Park has had success thus far on the par-threes, as she leads the field by playing those holes at three-under par through two rounds. At 18-over par (162), Park is tied for 18th.

Katie Conway shot a 10-over par 82 to round out the scoring for Notre Dame today. She took five strokes off her day one total and notched a birdie on the par-five 15th. Conway is currently 29th at 25-over par for the tournament.

Sophomore Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier Prep) rounded out the Notre Dame squad with a 12-over par 84. Through two rounds of play, Allare is tied for 18th with Park and two other players at 18-over par (162).

Overall, the Irish trail Louisville by 17 strokes and the USF Bulls by 14. On the individual leaderboard, Louisville’s Sara-Maude Juneau leads the field by five strokes after turning in a two-round one-over par total (145).

Third-round action of the 2010 BIG EAST Championship gets underway at 8 a.m. tomorrow. As the third seed after two rounds of play, Notre Dame’s tee times are slated to begin at 8:50 a.m. The Irish will be playing in threesomes with opposition from both Louisville and USF.

8. A trio of sophomores helped lead the Fighting Irish men’s golf team on day two of the 2010 BIG EAST Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla., as Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas), Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) and Tom Usher (Bradford, England) all shot even par or better today at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club’s Copperhead Course. The Irish moved up to fifth place at the championship after shaving 10 strokes off their first-round total to turn in a second-round five-over par 289 on day two. Entering the final round of play, the Irish trail the leaders from Georgetown by eight strokes.

Scodro carded his second consecutive even-par 71 to take hold of third place on the individual leaderboard. In the second round, Scodro played the front nine at minus-one 35, including birdies on the first, third and fifth holes. On the back nine, he registered a one-over par 36 and he ended up recording pars on 11 of his final 12 holes. He enters the final day of play just two strokes off the lead currently held by Michael Furci of DePaul.

Walker was a major force in Notre Dame’s 10-stroke improvement, as he shot a minus-one 70 in the second round after shooting an eight-over par 79 in the opening round. He got off to a strong start with a birdie on the first hole and, after two pars and a bogey, he chipped in for birdie at the par-four fifth to regain some momentum. He also birdied the ninth to turn in a two-under par 34 on the front. He then notched eight pars before recording a bogey at the 18th for a one-over par 36 on the back nine. Walker jumped from 49th to 27th on the individual leaderboard.

Usher also had a strong day for the Irish that was highlighted by a hole in one at the par-three 17th. Usher used a five iron to ace the 205-yard hole. He also had 13 pars and two birdies on the day. Aided by the ace, he played the back nine at a minus-one clip. He also had an impressive birdie chip-in from a sand trap on the fifth hole. For the tournament, Usher is four-over par (146) and tied for ninth with six other golfers.

Senior Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif.) rounded out the scoring for the Irish with a six-over par 77. He struggled early, as he was four-over par after three holes of play, but he settled down to record 11 pars and a birdie on his final 15 holes of play. After two rounds, Fortner is tied for 45th at 11-over par (153).

Senior Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) carded an eight-over par 79 and is now in 54th.

The final round of play at the 2010 BIG EAST Championship gets underway at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, when the Irish are slated to begin teeing it up from the first hole with players from Louisville and Villanova.

Sunday, April 18, 2010 – Part II

1. The fifth-ranked Fighting Irish women’s tennis team wrapped up the regular season with a 6-1 victory over Marquette Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on the Notre Dame campus. With the win, Notre Dame improved to 19-3 on the season, while Marquette falls to 12-13.

The Irish jumped out to a 1-0 lead after sweeping the doubles point for the fourth straight match. The third-ranked duo of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan.) won their 18th straight match with an 8-2 win over Olga Fischer and Maggie Wilson at first doubles. Cosmina Ciobanu (Brea, Calif.) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) topped Gillian Hush and Paola Calderon, 8-1, at second doubles to earn their fifth win of the season and clinch the point for the Irish.

Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) downed Kelly Barry and Elly Strother, 8-3, at third doubles to complete the sweep.

No. 15 Frilling put the Irish up 2-0 and improved to 17-5 on the season with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Calderon at No. 1 singles. Krisik notched her 13th win with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Strother at fifth singles. Rafael clinched the win for the Irish with her 10th victory of the season, a 6-0, 6-1 win over Wilson at sixth singles.

Ciobanu improved to 19-3 with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Hush at fourth singles. No. 119 McGaffigan earned her 15th win of the season with a 6-2, 3-6, 1-0 besting of Barry at No. 3 singles.

Fischer gave the Golden Eagles their only point of the day with a 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 defeat of Mathews at second singles.

The BIG EAST Championship is up next for the Irish. Notre Dame will play host to the league tournament April 22-25 at the Courtney Tennis Center and Leeper Park.

2. The Irish track and field squads wrapped up weekend competition with a successful Saturday as Notre Dame earned six first-place finishes on the final day of action.

At the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., Joanna Schultz won the women’s 400-meter hurdles — and Eric Quick finished first in the men’s triple jump at the Long Beach Invitational. At Purdue’s Dave Rankin Invitational, Marissa Treece won the women’s 1500 meters, Miklos Szebeny finished first in the men’s 100-meter dash, Rebecca Tracy was the top runner in the women’s 800 meters and Balazs Molnar won the men’s 400-meter hurdles.

Next weekend, the Irish will head to the Drake Relays and the Hillsdale Relays.

3. One day after seeing its nine-game winning streak come to an end, No. 24 Notre Dame responded with a strong showing at Ulmer Stadium to deal No. 25 Louisville a 3-1 BIG EAST Conference softball defeat today in Louisville. The win improved Notre Dame’s record to 34-7 (12-1 BIG EAST) and gave the Irish a 2-1 edge in the regular-season series with the Cardinals (27-15, 6-5). Jody Valdivia (27-3) walked one but kept the Cardinals on their heels all afternoon. She was backed by a defense that, despite committing one error that led to an unearned Cardinal run in the bottom of the seventh, made big stop after big stop throughout the day.

Notre Dame’s bats were resuscitated in the fourth starting with Katie Fleury’s leadoff triple down the rightfield line. While rounding second, Fleury’s helmet flew off as she went head-first into third and her hustle rallied the Irish lineup as Heather Johnson was walked and Christine Lux pounded a Collins offering to right-center, landing the rock beyond the stadium’s two-tier berm. That home run proved to be the game winner.

Notre Dame was out-hit by Louisville, 5-3, as each of the Irish knocks went for extra bases. Alexia Clay doubled for Notre Dame.

4. The Notre Dame hockey program announced its individual awards for the 2009-10 season at its annual awards program this afternoon at the Mendoza College of Business Atrium and Auditorium on campus. The end-of-season program also honored the Irish graduating senior class of 2010.

Leading the list of honorees was junior left wing Calle Ridderwall (Stockholm, Sweden) who was chosen as the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s team Most Valuable Player and the team’s Offensive Player of the Year. Ridderwall led the Irish in scoring during the 2009-10 season, scoring 19 goals with eight assists for 27 points. Senior alternate captain Kevin Deeth (Gig Harbor, Wash.) was the recipient of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley’s Rockne Student-Athlete Award as the player with the top grade-point average on the team. A four-time monogram winner at Notre Dame, Deeth has a 3.568 grade-point average in marketing. In March he was selected as Notre Dame’s representative to the CCHA’s Scholar-Athlete team. For his efforts in the community, Deeth was a nominee for college hockey’s Humanitarian Award that goes to the game’s “top citizen.” He also was a finalist for the CCHA’s Mike and Marian Ilitch Humanitarian Award.

The Notre Dame rookie of the year award was presented to freshman goaltender Mike Johnson (Verona, Wis.) who was chosen in voting done by his teammates. The 5-10, 194-pound netminder was selected to the CCHA all-rookie team and captured the team’s Perani Cup three stars award. In his rookie season, Johnson played in 29 games, making 28 starts, including the final 14 of the season. He was 10-13-5 overall with a 2.60 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage with a pair of shutouts.

Senior defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) claimed his second William Donald Nyrop Defensive Player of the Year. The award is named after former Irish All-American defenseman Bill Nyrop ’74, who played for the Irish from 1970-74. Lawson, an alternate captain as a senior, finished third in scoring on the team with four goals and 18 assists for 22 points with three power-play goals, one short-handed tally and two game winners to his credit. Senior defenseman Brett Blatchford (Temperance, Mich.) was selected by the coaching staff as the winner of the Charles “Lefty” Smith Coaches Award, an award presented to the unsung hero of the hockey program, a player who is unheralded, has overcome adversity and shows loyalty and commitment to his teammates, Notre Dame hockey and the University of Notre Dame. The award is named after the first Irish hockey coach of the modern era — Charles “Lefty” Smith who served as head coach of the Irish for 19 seasons from 1968 to 1987, compiling a record of 307-320-30. Blatchford developed into a top-four defenseman during his four seasons at Notre Dame, becoming the quarterback of the Irish power play. He played in 153 games during his career, scoring six goals with 67 assists for 73 points. The winner of the team’s Most Improved Player Award went to sophomore left wing Rich Ryan (Toronto, Ont.). A hard-working player, Ryan worked his way into the lineup in the second half of the season, playing in 18 games.

The Irish also honored former standout player and coach Dave Poulin ’82 with their Distinguished Alumni Award. Currently the Vice-President of Hockey Operations with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Poulin joins past winners Dave Bossy `77, Paul Regan `73, Brian Walsh `77, Phil Wittliff ’71, Greg Meredith `80, Bob McNamara `83 and Andy Slaggert `89. Poulin is a 1982 graduate of the program and a four-time monogram winner under Lefty Smith. He finished his Irish career with 89 goals and 107 assists for 196 career points to rank sixth on the all-time scoring list.

Two Honorary Alumni Awards were presented this season, with one going to team physician and orthopedic specialist Dr. Robert Clemency and one to academic advisor Adam Sargent. Clemency has worked with student-athletes at Notre Dame since 1993 and is one of the top orthopedic specialists in Michiana. Sargent has served as hockey’s academic advisor for the past six years and the Irish have ranked consistently among the top athletic program’s each year with Sargent’s guidance. Both men received a personalized team jersey to commemorate the honor.

5. Notre Dame senior designated hitter David Mills dropped in a two-out, go-ahead RBI single, fellow senior first baseman Casey Martin followed with a two-run base hit to give the Irish a 7-4 lead in the top of the ninth inning and sophomore reliever Will Hudgins tossed a perfect ninth inning to secure a BIG EAST baseball series sweep of Seton Hall this afternoon in South Orange, N.J. The Irish, who have won four consecutive games, improved to 15-19 overall and 5-7 in the BIG EAST.

With the game knotted at 4-4 and two outs in the top of the ninth inning, senior Ryan Connolly ripped a single to left field. The base hit not only extended his streak of reaching base safely to 46 games, but also started a two-out Notre Dame rally. Mike Genovese fell behind freshman second baseman Frank Desico 2-0. Seton Hall catcher Frank Esposito then registered a pass ball, which not only allowed Connolly to advance into scoring position, but also forced the Pirates to internally walk DeSico. Mills followed with a single just over the out-stretched arm of Pirates; shortstop A.J. Rusbarsky in shallow centerfield to give the Irish a 5-4 lead. Both DeSico and Mills moved up a base when Seton Hall center fielder Michael Rogers threw wildly to the plate. Seton Hall turned to ace closer Matt Singer and he was greeted rudely by Martin, who ripped his first offering into right field for a two-run single and give Notre Dame a three-run lead, 7-4.

The three-run cushion was more than enough for Hudgins. The right-handed sidewinder, who retired the only batter he faced on one pitch in the eighth inning, sent down the Pirates in order in the ninth inning. Hudgins improved to 3-1 on the season with the victory. He tossed 1.1 scoreless and hitless innings of relief. Hudgins retired all four batters he faced.

Mills and Martin paced the Irish offensive attack. Mills went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Martin went 3-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI.

Notre Dame returns to action with a two-game midweek series against Michigan. The Irish and Wolverines will open the home-and-home set in Ann Arbor on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The two rivals will then return to Notre Dame on Wednesday at 6:05 p.m.

6. The Fighting Irish women’s golf team braved heavy rains and soggy conditions to turn in an opening round 36-over par 320 today and secure second place at the 2010 BIG EAST Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla. Most of the five-member team made it to the ninth hole before a halt to play was called due to the heavy rains at the Innisbrook Resort, site of both the men’s and women’s 2010 BIG EAST Championship. After a three-hour layoff, the Irish went back out on the Island Course to finish their first round of play. Sophomore Katie Allare (Phoenix, Ariz.), who was making her debut as a member of Notre Dame’s starting five, led the Irish with a seven-over par 78 effort. After one round of play, Allare is tied for third and sits four strokes off the lead. She had a consistent day that included 11 pars and seven bogeys.

Senior co-captain Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash.) carded a nine-over par 80 for one of Notre Dame’s three remaining team scores. She struggled through the middle of her round with a stretch of four consecutive bogeys after the restart, but closed strong. Brophy was able to play her final three holes at a minus-one clip that was highlighted a birdie on the par-four 16th. She is tied for 10th with two rounds to play.

Junior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea) and sophomore Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) each turned in opening round 81s to round out Notre Dame’s team scoring. Park played an impressive front nine, reaching the turn at even par on the strength of birdies at the fourth and eighth holes, but she could not recapture the touch after the rain delay and finished at 10-over par. Huffer, on the other hand, struggled in the early going with a seven-over par front nine. But in the afternoon, she went three-over par on her back nine, including seven pars. The Irish duo enters the second round of play tied for 14th.

Overall, the Irish trail Louisville by nine strokes after the Cardinals turned in an opening round 311. Second-round action of the 2010 BIG EAST Championship gets underway tomorrow at 8 a.m. As the second seed after round one of play, Notre Dame’s tee times are slated to begin at 9:40 a.m. The Irish will be playing in threesomes with opposition from both Louisville and Cincinnati.

7. The Fighting Irish men’s golf team dealt with heavy rains and soggy conditions today to turn in an opening round 299 (+15) at the 2010 BIG EAST Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla. Most of the five-man Irish team reached the eighth hole before rain halted play on Sunday morning. After a three-hour layoff, Notre Dame returned to the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort to finish its first round. Notre Dame is currently in sixth place, but both Georgetown and Seton Hall — who sit ahead of the Irish in the standings — still have to complete their first rounds of play. Notre Dame trails first-round leaders St. John’s by 10 strokes.

Sophomore Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) led the Irish on day one of the championship by firing an even-par 71. His steady round included two pars and two bogeys on both the front and back nines and he played his final eight holes of the day at a minus-one clip. As one of just seven players to shoot even par or better, Scodro is tied for fourth entering the second round of play and he trails leaders Michael Furci of DePaul and Troy Spencer of Seton Hall by just two strokes.

Sophomore Tom Usher (Bradford, England) was the next Irish player to see his total counted towards the team score as he turned in a four-over par 75. Playing mostly in heavy rains, Usher had a strong front nine in which he went one-over par and notched a birdie at the par-four second. But he was slowed on the back nine by five bogeys and ended the day in a tie for 22nd.

Senior Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif.) carded a five-over par 76 to also have his score counted. He struggled at the start, recording three bogeys and a double in his first six holes. Fortner put the early struggles behind him by notching 12 consecutive pars to end his round, including an impressive up-and-down sand save on the 18th hole. He is tied for 28th.

Senior Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) rounded out the scoring for the Irish with a six-over par 77. His day was highlighted by a birdie on the par-five 14th, and he added 13 pars, but Sandman was hurt by double bogeys on the seventh and 17th holes. He is tied for 40th.

Because round one was not completed, the BIG EAST conference will not re-seed teams entering round two and Notre Dame will once again play with Marquette and Connecticut beginning at 8:50 a.m. Monday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

1. Former longtime Notre Dame men’s basketball radio play-by-play announcer Jack Lorri was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame last night at the ISSA Hall of Fame Banquet at the Wyndham Hotel in Indianapolis. Lorri spent 38 years originating Notre Dame games on radio (1968-2006). A Norwich, Conn., native, he spent two years doing play by play for Kentucky basketball on radio in Lexington, Ky., then came to Elkhart, Ind., as sports director for WSJV-TV (then the ABC affiliate) and WTRC radio. Some of his 38 seasons involved originating games on WGN in Chicago and most recently via Notre Dame Sports Properties.

In accepting his award, Lorri said he had been doing Notre Dame games on radio “since the Johnson administration – Lyndon, not Andrew.” He added, “I started doing games in an era when they actually called traveling and when the lower parts of uniforms were actually short.” Lorri said he came to appreciate the standing of Indiana high school basketball when he first came to WTRC in Elkhart. “I had done two seasons of Kentucky games with Adolph Rupp’s squads, but before I could do Indiana high school games, they made me go to two or three games at Northside Gym in Elkhart and do demo tapes before they would give me the job.” In closing, Lorri added, “I was always sedated by the fact that no basketball games were ever won or lost by good or bad announcing.”

Lorri’s longtime broadcasting sidekick (and current play-by-play voice) Jack Nolan presented Lorri, and Notre Dame athletic staff members John Heisler and Scott Correira (NDSP) also attended. Other ISSA Hall of Famers include Joe Doyle, Bob Towner and Forrest Miller from the South Bend Tribune, as well as longtime Mutual Radio Notre Dame football voice Tony Roberts.

2. The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team used eight different goal scorers to top Providence 11-3 on Saturday afternoon at a sunny and breezy Arlotta Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. The win was the first for the Fighting Irish in BIG EAST play. Notre Dame (6-5, 1-3) broke the game open with an 8-0 run that started with 14:05 left in the second quarter and ended with 3:37 remaining in the third period. Freshman goalie John Kemp (Potomac, Md.) made the start in goal and earned his first career victory. Kemp made five saves and surrendered three goals in 55:25 of play. Providence (0-10, 0-3) grabbed a 1-0 lead on a Pete Wujciak goal with 52 seconds left in the first quarter. That was the game’s only goal of the first period. The first of Notre Dame’s eight straight goals came from junior midfielder Zach Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y.), who had a game-high four points on two goals and two assists. Trever Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y.) won 13 of his 15 faceoff attempts. That marked a personal-best single-game winning percentage (.867) for the senior midfielder. Brendan Moore (Charlotte, N.C.), a senior, replaced Kemp in goal for the final 4:35 of the contest. Notre Dame outshot Providence 44-14. The 14 shots were the fewest allowed by the Irish defense this season. The three goals were the fewest surrendered by Notre Dame since a 12-2 victory over St. John’s last season (4/19/09). The second-quarter shutout marked the sixth time this season that the Notre Dame defense has held an opponent without a goal for an entire quarter. The Fighting Irish return to action next Saturday at BIG EAST foe St. John’s. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. (ET) in Queens, N.Y.

3. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team ran its winning streak to four games on Saturday afternoon as the Irish handed Cincinnati a 15-5 BIG EAST loss in the home finale at Arlotta Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. Senior attack All-American Gina Scioscia turned in her top performance of the season as she scored three goals, including the 100th of her Notre Dame career and added four assists for a seven-point afternoon. Also scoring three times in the game were junior Shaylyn Blaney and freshman Jenny Granger. Kailene Abt added a pair of goals while Ansley Stewart, Kate Newall, Maggie Tamasitis and Jackie Doherty had single goals for the Irish. The win improves the 12th-ranked Irish to 9-4 overall and 5-1 in the BIG EAST, good for second place, one game behind front-runner Georgetown. For Cincinnati the loss was the fifth in a row for the Bearcats as they fall to 4-8 on the year and 0-4 in conference play. Prior to the start of the game, Notre Dame honored its senior class of 2010 — Scioscia, defender Rachel Guerrera and midfielder Maggie Zentgraf — and it didn’t take long for Scioscia to get her team off on the right track. The Irish outshot Cincinnati 31-10 in the game. Over the last three games — Villanova (16-0), Syracuse (6-5) and Cincinnati (15-5) — the Irish have given up just 10 goals for a 3.33 per game average. Notre Dame closes out the season with its final three games on the road. That will begin Thursday when the Irish travel to Ohio State for a 5 p.m. game versus the Buckeyes at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

4. Notre Dame got a quality start from sophomore Steve Sabatino and the bullpen tossed 2.2 hitless and scoreless innings of relief to lead the Irish to a 2-1 victory over Seton Hall in BIG EAST baseball action Saturday afternoon in South Orange, N.J. Notre Dame has now captured its first conference series of the year. The Irish improved to 14-19 overall and 4-7 in the league, while the Pirates drop to 13-19 and 3-8. Sabatino equalled his season-long outing with 6.1 innings and improved to 3-4. The southpaw allowed one earned run on just five hits. Sabatino struck out four and walked three. Sabatino walked the final two batters he faced in the seventh and left the game with a 2-1 lead with two on and one out, but the trio of sophomore Will Hudgins, sophomore Joe Spano and senior David Mills made the lead stand. Senior first baseman Casey Martin was the only player in the game, including both clubs, to register a multi-hit game. Martin went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored. Mills went 1-for-4 with a critical two-out RBI single, while senior right fielder Billy Boockford went 1-for-3 with an RBI. The Irish return to action this afternoon against Seton Hall. First pitch is slated for noon. Senior Eric Maust will take the mound for Notre Dame.

Boockford collected a critical two-strike, two-out RBI single in the top of the 10th inning to give the Irish a one-run lead and fellow senior closer Steven Mazur made it stand as the Irish rallied past Seton Hall, 6-5, in BIG EAST baseball action Friday afternoon. Mazur picked up the victory and improved to 1-0 on the season. He tossed 2.1 scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts. Mazur retired Seton Hall 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 10th, including the final two Pirates of the game via strikeout. Notre Dame’s top three batters in the order, senior left fielder Ryan Connolly, freshman second baseman Frank Desico and senior designated hitter David Mills combined to go 7-for-14 (.500) with three runs scored and four RBI. Connolly went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBI and a triple. DeSico went 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Mills went 3-for-5 with a run scored. With the game tied, 5-5, in the Notre Dame 10th, Mills led off the inning with an opposite-field single. Mills then scampered into scoring position on an errant pickoff attempt. After Martin struck out and junior shortstop Mick Doyle flied out, Boockford stepped to the plate. Boockford quickly fell behind in the count, 0-2, but the right fielder placed an 0-2 fast ball right back up the middle to plate Mills and give the Irish a 6-5 advantage. Mazur made the one-run lead stand. The righty got a ground out to open the 10th before fanning Giuseppe Papaccio and Ryan Sullivan to end the game.

5. The Irish track and field squads opened competition at the Mt. SAC Relays Friday in Walnut, Calif., earning seven top-five finishes on the first day of action. Eric Quick finished second in the men’s long jump, while Kevin Schipper earned a fourth-place finish in the men’s pole vault. Jeremy Rae, Jordan Carlson and Johnathan Shawel wrapped up the 2-3-4 positions in the men’s 1500 meters as Daniel Clark took the top spot in the men’s 1500 meter Olympic Development University/Open heat. On the women’s side, Nevada Sorenson finished third in the 100-meter hurdles. The Irish will continue competition at Mt. SAC and will get underway at the Long Beach Invitational and Purdue’s Dave Rankin Invitational throughout the weekend.

6. The two lone ranked BIG EAST Conference softball teams met Saturday at Ulmer Stadium in Louisville on an afternoon suited for the Kentucky Derby, as No. 24 Notre Dame split a pair of games with No. 25 Louisville. Jody Valdivia (26-3) jockeyed the Irish to a 5-0 win in the opener, striking out five while holding the Cardinals to one hit. It was the 16th shutout of the year for Valdivia and six of those blankings have been against BIG EAST squads. Valdivia has not allowed a run in her last 29.0 innings from the circle. Louisville (27-14, 6-4) left its horses in the stable until game two and ended the day with a 4-1 win, handing Notre Dame (33-7) its first league loss (11-1). Louisville was also the last BIG EAST team to beat Notre Dame, taking the front end of the 2009 regular-season doubleheader. Notre Dame and Louisville will meet at noon today to wrap up the series.

7. The fifth-ranked Fighting Irish women’s tennis team battled into the night, but pulled off a 6-1 win over No. 22 DePaul Friday at the Courtney Tennis Center on the Notre Dame campus. With the win, the Irish improve to 18-3 on the season, while the Blue Demons fall to 15-4. The Irish struck first, sweeping all three matches to claim the doubles point. Cosmina Ciobanu (Brea, Calif.) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) dispatched Katarina Milinkovic and Sandra Zmak, 8-1, at No. 2 doubles to earn their fifth win of the season. The third-ranked duo of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan.) won their 17th straight match at No. 1 doubles with an 8-3 victory over No. 16 Anna Redesci and Selma Salkovic that clinched the point for the Irish. Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) improved to 4-0 in dual action and topped Kirsten Gambrell and Gia McKnight, 8-2, at third doubles to complete the sweep. Rafael put the Irish up 2-0 with her ninth win of the season, a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Gambrell at No. 6 singles. Krisik won her third straight match and 12th of the season with a 6-2, 6-2 besting of McKnight at fifth singles. Ciobanu improved to 18-3 on the season and clinched the win for the Irish with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Zmak at No. 4. Redesci gave the Blue Demons their first point of the day with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-0 upset of No. 15 Frilling at No. 1 singles. No. 119 McGaffigan edged Milinkovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 to notch her 14th win of the season and increase the Irish lead to 5-1. Mathews recorded her 12th win of the season with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Salkovic at second singles to wrap up the match. The Irish honored the senior trio of Ciobanu, Krisik and Colleen Rielley as they wrapped up the regular season this morning with a home match against Marquette.

8. The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team closed out the regular season on a two-match winning streak after it cruised past Navy, 7-0, on Saturday afternoon at Navy’s Hooper Brigade Sports Complex Outdoor Courts in Annapolis, Md. With the win Notre Dame finishes the regular season with a 13-11 mark, while Navy’s record evens at 13-13 on the year. The Irish set the tone early with a doubles sweep, improving to 10-1 on the year when winning the doubles point. Fifty-first ranked Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa.) earned the first doubles win at the No. 1 position over Navy’s Owen Bullard and Nicholas Gutsche, 8-2. Then, at No. 3 doubles, David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass.) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md.) secured the point with an 8-4 win over Eddie Konrad and Jeremy New. At No. 2 doubles, the Irish duo of Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn.) and Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland) downed Nick Birger and Ramsey Lemaich, 8-5. The Irish took a 2-0 lead when Davis defeated Zach Nicholson in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Davis pushed his dual season singles record to 4-1 with the win. At No. 3 singles, 93rd-ranked Stahl pushed the score to 3-0 when he downed Anderson Walls 6-2, 6-3. Stephen Havens then clinched the win for the Irish by defeating Marcus Rebersak 6-3, 6-2. Anderson extended it to 5-0 by downing Zach Nicholson at No. 5 singles 6-1, 6-3. Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo.) turned in Notre Dame’s next win when he recorded a straight sets victory over Jeremy New 7-5, 6-2 at No. 4 singles. In the only match that reached a third set, Watt made it an Irish sweep, by knocking off Owen Bullard 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Prior to the match, Irish head coach Bobby Bayliss was honored for his historic career, which recently saw him eclipse the 700-win plateau. Bayliss began his career at Navy, where he served as the Navy head coach for 15 years (1970-84). During that time span with Navy, Bayliss compiled an overall record of 248-50 and a 15-0 mark against Army. “It is a huge thrill for me to be back here,” said Bayliss. “I left a big part of myself in Annapolis. The Naval Academy means a great deal to me. It really molded me with values such as accountability and integrity. The guys I was here with still are a big part of my life. It also is rewarding to see what John [Officer] has been able to do with the program here. It is great to see the facilities that we talked about come to fruition. The Naval Academy will always be special to me.” Bayliss and the Irish will return home to begin the 2010 postseason as they play host to the 2010 BIG EAST championships, which begin play Thursday.

9. Notre Dame’s final men’s lacrosse home game May 1 (7 p.m. start) against second-ranked and once-beaten Syracuse is sold out.

Friday, April 16, 2010

1. About 800 coaches are registered for the Notre Dame Football Coaching Clinic taking place this weekend on campus.

2. A media briefing was held this afternoon in the Club Naimoli area of Purcell Pavilion to provide background on construction of the new Notre Dame hockey facility. Participating were Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson, Irish senior associate athletics director Tom Nevala and senior project manager Craig Tiller from the Office of the University Architect.

3. A pair of hot softball teams squared off at Melissa Cook Stadium Thursday afternoon as No. 24 Notre Dame, winners of seven straight, faced a Cleveland State squad that had been victorious in 19 of its last 21 games. But the Vikings, like nine other teams this season, failed to even make the Irish play seven frames as Notre Dame used six runs in the fifth and sixth innings to defeat Cleveland State, 8-0, in non-conference action.

Along with extending their winning streak to eight, the Irish (32-6) upped their home winning streak to 13 games and improved to 31-2 in their last 33 games, tying for the second-best 33-game stretch in the history of the program. The only better stretch was the school-record 33-game winning streak by the 2001 team, which went 54-7.

Dani Miller, Kristina Wright and Brianna Jorgensborg all went yard for the Irish, who have 14 home runs in the last seven games. Notre Dame is on pace to once again break the school’s single-season home run record after the 2009 team broke the old mark, notching 66 circuit clouts.

Starting back-to-back games for the first time in her career, freshman Brittany O’Donnell retired 10 of the first 11 batters she faced before walking a pair in the fourth and yielding to Jody Valdivia, who retired all nine batters she saw to earn the victory (25-3). The Vikings (28-10) managed just one hit off of the pair, a bloop single to right-center in the first inning.

Notre Dame returns to the field tomorrow for a BIG EAST Conference doubleheader at Louisville, with the first pitch of game one scheduled for noon (ET). The squads will wrap up the three-game set with a single contest at 11 a.m. Sunday.

4. Both the men’s and women’s Irish golf teams are headed for Palm Harbor, Fla., this weekend for the BIG EAST Championships that begin Sunday.

5. If you’re on campus this weekend, you can check out women’s tennis today at 5:00 p.m. against DePaul, men’s and women’s lacrosse on Saturday at Arlotta Stadium (men at noon vs. Providence, women at 3:00 p.m. vs. Cincinnati) and then women’s tennis at 10 a.m. Sunday against Marquette.

6. Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly will be speaking to all the award-winning Notre Dame alumni clubs in weeks to come. His schedule features events April 26 in Cleveland, May 11 in St. Louis, May 18 in Cedar Rapids/Iowa City (lunch) and Denver (dinner), May 19 in Fresno, May 23 with the Jersey Shore (N.J.) club and May 24 in Staten Island (lunch) and the Mid-Hudson Valley (dinner).

7. The Relay for Life event that benefits the American Cancer Society and begins tonight at Notre Dame Stadium includes the late Rich O’Leary (the longtime RecSports director of club sports who passed away last July after 38 years in the department) as its honorary chairman. Linda O’Leary will take part in a ceremonial lap with the RecSports staff and will be speaking at 9:30 p.m. as part of the luminaria ceremony.

8. Actioncam out of Tulsa, Okla., will test an over-the-field camera as part of the Blue-Gold spring football game next Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. The shot will be incorporated into the live streaming video coverage of the game by Notre Dame Sports Properties on und.com. NBC Sports personnel will be on the scene and are considering using the camera as part of 2010 telecasts of Irish home games. The camera is supported by cables attached to the four light stanchions on the corners of the facility and runs down the center of the field.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

1. A miniature Notre Dame football reunion broke out Wednesday at fancy new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas where former Irish stars Joe Montana and Kris Haines were officially inducted into the AT&T Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. Former Irish offensive coordinator Merv Johnson (he’s now at Oklahoma as radio analyst and director of football operations) came for the inductions, as did 14 other former Irish players – Joe Alvarado, Jay Case, Darryll Dewan, Leo Driscoll, Tom Gibbons, Dennis Grindinger, Scott Grooms (cousin of new Irish football equipment manager Ryan Grooms), Dan Novakov, Steve Orsini, Peter Pallas (college roommate of Haines), Patrick Steenberge, Joe Unis, Robin Weber and Kurt Zachrison. Cowboys radio voice Brad Sham served as master of ceremonies, while longtime CBS and FOX Cotton Bowl voice Pat Summerall also attended.

At a private dinner for inductees on Tuesday night at the Cowboys’ new facility, Haines presented the gold helmet he wore when the Irish defeated Houston in the ’79 version of the Cotton Bowl to longtime Cotton Bowl media relations chief Charlie Fiss for the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Montana talked of flying Tuesday from San Francisco on the same plane with San Francisco Giant baseball great Willie Mays and Hall of Fame New York Giant quarterback Y.A. Tittle. Tittle invited Montana back to his seat location to chat – and when two young girls came back to request autographs from Montana, Montana advised them they would be wise to obtain Tittle’s as well.

The Notre Dame influence could be seen all over the ceremonies. Inductee Wilbur Evans, the longtime Cotton Bowl executive director, was lauded for joining with Field Scovell to help convince Notre Dame to change its postseason bowl stance after sitting on the sidelines for 45 years. That resulted in Notre Dame’s first two Cotton Bowl appearances following the ’69 and ’70 seasons. During Evans’ tenure, the Cotton Bowl played host to three national championship games – all between Notre Dame and Texas. The Longhorns prevailed following that ’69 season, the Irish spoiled the 30-game Texas win streak the next year, while the Irish jumped over the top-rated ‘Horns to become #1 at the end of the ’77 season.

Sham noted that the famous Montana-to-Haines TD pass as time ran out to beat Houston in the ’79 game actually only tied the score – and the winning point was scored by Dallas native Unis (he still lives in Dallas), who was present today.

Haines noted the “miracle” catch – the Xs and Os of which are now present in large form on the glass walls of the Cotton Bowl outer offices at the Stadium. Haines thanked his father and high school coach, Dave, and other family members who came for the festivities.

Inductee Phil Harris from Texas also introduced a number of family members, but suggested some had actually been more interested in coming to see Montana as opposed to him.

In talking about the famous late-game hookup with Haines, Montana said, “Kris saved my life on a not-so-well-thrown ball,” though Montana kidded that he wasn’t sure Haines actually needed to dive for the ball.

Montana sat next to inductee Jackie Sherrill, the former coach at Pittsburgh, Texas A&M and Mississippi State, and noted that Sherrill had been in his living room trying to persuade Monongahela, Pa., product Montana to stay home and play for Pitt. “But Notre Dame had my heart from day one,” said Montana.

Montana went out of his way to thank and praise Johnson who he called “the glue to our offensive team,” and indicated it was the first time he’s had an opportunity to publicly thank Johnson. Montana also pointed out that Unis had to kick his final PAT twice because the Irish were offside the first time.

Sherrill confirmed his interest in recruiting Montana but said, “Touchdown Jesus already had him sewn up.” Sherrill introduced a lengthy list of family members, including grandchildren who refer to him as “Pop-Pop” – though Sherrill also kiddingly noted that once the grandkids found out Montana was going to be there “it didn’t matter who Pop-Pop was any more.”

2. A two-RBI double off the bat of Notre Dame senior Brayden Ashdown (Tucson, Ariz.) gave the Irish the lead for good in the fifth inning of a 6-4 victory over Chicago State in Tuesday baseball action from Frank Eck Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. Ashdown also delivered a two-out RBI base hit in the third inning, giving him a career-high tying three RBI in the contest and seven over his last five games.

After the Cougars scored three times in the top half of the fifth, Notre Dame strung together three consecutive hits to quickly regain the lead. A single from senior Casey Martin (Chesterton, Ind.) and a two-bagger off the bat of junior Mick Doyle (LaGrange Park, Ill.) put runners on second and third with one out, bringing up Ashdown, who drilled a double off the left field wall to score both runners and put the Irish on top to stay.

Sophomore Will Hudgins (Richmond, Va.) bounced back from the loss against Rutgers by turning in the longest (and arguably the best) outing of his career to pick up the win (2-1). He worked 4.1 innings in relief and yielded just a run on four hits, falling just one out shy of finishing the game after entering in the fifth inning. Senior David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.) needed just two pitches to record the final out and notch his second career save.

Senior Ryan Connolly (Binghamton, N.Y.) also drove in multiple runs for Notre Dame, going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI to extend his streak of reaching base to 43 consecutive games. Connolly has now driven in 37 runs during the streak to go along with 10 home runs, 14 doubles, and averages of .353 (batting average), .660 (slugging), and .479 (on-base). Martin also picked up a pair of hits and drove home the other Irish tally.

Notre Dame continued feeding ones to the scoreboard, tacking on another run in the seventh inning, and it would be too much for Chicago State to overcome. Connolly notched his second RBI of the game with a line-drive single to left, putting the Irish up 6-4, the eventual final score.

Next up for the Irish are the Seton Hall Pirates, who welcome Notre Dame to town for the first time since 2006. Game times for the weekend series at Owen T. Carroll Field are set for 6 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday, and noon Sunday.

3. Angie Potthoff, an assistant women’s basketball coach at Notre Dame for the past five seasons, has been named associate director for women’s basketball operations & technology, head coach Muffet McGraw announced today.

In her new position, Potthoff will coordinate all technology aspects for the Fighting Irish women’s basketball program, including in-game video operations, film exchange and scouting data compilation. In addition, she will coordinate recruiting efforts on behalf of the program to include: preparation and distribution of recruiting materials; coordinating official visits, and arranging logistics surrounding on-campus recruiting weekends. She also will serve as the liaison to the offices of athletics compliance and Academic Services for Student-Athletes on all academic and compliance issues, and she will assist with summer camp operations.

Potthoff steps into her new role after a five-year stint as an assistant coach with the Fighting Irish, during which time she worked with the team’s post players, coordinated equipment and apparel needs, and assisted with game scheduling, game scouting and practice planning. In that time, Potthoff successfully tutored several Notre Dame post players, most notably junior forward Becca Bruszewski (Valparaiso, Ind.), who more than doubled her scoring and rebounding outputs from her freshman to sophomore seasons, and has been a reliable threat, both on the blocks and from the perimeter, since moving into the starting lineup in 2008-09. What’s more, Potthoff worked with senior center Erica Williamson (Charlotte, N.C.) throughout her four-year career, helping her finish eighth on the school’s career blocked shots list (125) and earn a place on the 2006-07 BIG EAST All-Freshman Team.

4. Fighting Irish women’s golfer Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash.) was named the BIG EAST Women’s Golfer of the Week, it was announced by the conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Brophy, a senior co-captain with the Irish, earned the honor after finishing tied for 11th at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational, which concluded play on Monday. Playing against a 15-team field that included four top-25 ranked teams, Brophy turned in a nine-over par (219) total in her three rounds of play, including four birdies in her final round of play. With the 11th-place showing, Brophy has now finished in the top-15 in four of her nine events this season. Her finish at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational also marked her best finish of the spring campaign.

5. Irish sophomore Kristy Frilling has been named the BIG EAST Women’s Tennis Player of the Week for the second time this season, the league announced today.

The Sidney, Ohio, native went 2-0 over nationally-ranked opponents last week in both singles and doubles action, helping the Irish defeat No. 39 Texas A&M, 4-3, and No. 19 South Florida, 7-0. Frilling topped No. 70 Nazari Urbina, 6-1, 6-3, before besting No. 41 Irene Rehberger, 7-6, 4-6, 1-0. At. No. 1 doubles, Frilling teamed with Kali Krisik to down No. 71 Urbina and Elze Potgieter, 8-5, and No. 16 Rehberger and Melissa Koning, 8-6. Frilling is currently ranked 15th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll with a 16-4 singles mark. She and Krisik hold a perfect 16-0 record at No. 1 doubles and are ranked third nationally.

6. Fans of the Notre Dame women’s soccer team will have the opportunity to show their support for the Fighting Irish in a unique way and help a local charity at the same time, as the Notre Dame players will auction off the jerseys they wear for their April 23 exhibition match against the Mexican National Team at Alumni Stadium. The 5 p.m. (ET) contest, which will be the final match of the spring season for the Fighting Irish, is part of the dedication weekend for the $5.7 million state-of-the-art Alumni Stadium that opened last fall.

Proceeds from this year’s auction will go entirely to Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do, a Fort Wayne camp for children dealing with the effects of cancer. Bidding begins at noon (ET) on Wednesday, April 14 and will run through 3 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, April 24. Fans can bid on any or all 31 player jerseys at the official Notre Dame athletics auction website — www.und.com/auctions, or by visiting the Notre Dame women’s soccer web page and clicking on the AUCTION link in the sidebar. Bids on each jersey will start at $50.00, with all proceeds going to benefit Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do (their web site can be viewed at www.campwatchawannado.com).

Fans must be registered to bid on these special jerseys by setting up an auction profile (user name/password/billing information) in advance. To register, link to . Each jersey will be autographed by the player wearing it, and also one additional player (NCAA rules stipulate a minimum of two signatures per jersey) of the bidder’s choice. The winning bidder has the option to have the jersey autographed by the entire team if they wish.

Notre Dame is 1-1-1 during the spring 2010 season, most recently rolling past in-state rival Purdue, 6-0 on April 11 at old Alumni Field, behind a goal and three assists from sophomore forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas), two goals from junior forward Lauren Fowlkes (Lee’s Summit, Mo.), a goal and an assist from freshman midfielder Lindsay Brown (Ladera Ranch, Calif.), single goals by junior forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington, Texas) and junior forward Erica Iantorno (Hinsdale, Ill.), and a clean sheet in the nets by freshman goalkeeper Maddie Fox (San Jose, Calif.).

The Fighting Irish will return to action at 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday when they square off with Iowa at old Alumni Field, before closing their spring schedule April 23 with the exhibition against the Mexican National Team. Following a pair of shutout losses to the U.S. National Team on March 28 (3-0 in San Diego) and March 31 (1-0 in Sandy, Utah), Mexico has earned one-goal wins over UCF (2-1) and Auburn (3-2) and a tie at Georgia (2-2) on its early slate of college opponents. Among the featured players on this year’s Mexico roster is Rebecca Mendoza (’09), who played for Notre Dame from 2005-08, helping the Fighting Irish to three consecutive NCAA College Cups, including national championship match appearances in 2006 and 2008.

Admission for Saturday’s match against Iowa is free, while tickets for the Mexico contest must be purchased — they remain on sale at the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office (Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion), by calling the ticket office from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays at (574) 631-7356, or by going on-line at www.und.com/tickets. Tickets also will be sold at the Alumni Stadium ticket windows on match day.

7. The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team snapped a three-match losing streak by dispatching Ball State, 5-2, this afternoon at the Courtney Tennis Center on the Notre Dame campus. The victory pushes the Irish record back over the .500 mark at 12-11 on the year. Notre Dame has now won 20 consecutive matchups against the Cardinals, dating back to 1990.

Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn.) and Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland) were first to finish for the Irish in doubles, claiming the opening match, 8-5, over Dalton Albertin and Andres Monroy of Ball State. The two teams traded games to take the score to 3-3. Notre Dame then took four of the next five games to jump up 7-4 before putting the match away two games later.

Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa.) clinched the doubles point, claiming an 8-5 victory over the Cardinals number one duo of Eduardo Pavia and Zane Smith. Havens and Watt, now 51st in the latest ITA doubles rankings, reeled off five straight games after the match was tied at two games apiece to grab a commanding 7-2 advantage. Ball State was able to hold twice and break serve to bring the match back to 7-5 before the Irish put the match away and took an early 1-0 lead in the contest.

David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass.) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md.) secured the doubles sweep with a hard-fought victory over Ball State’s team of Shaun Bussert and Cliff Morrison, 8-7 (7-4). The two teams held serve through the entire contest taking the match to 7-7 and a decisive tiebreaker. Notre Dame took control with the score at 3-3, winning four of the next five points to earn the tiebreak win, 7-4.
Notre Dame pushed the advantage to 2-0 when Anderson finished off Albertin of Ball State, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 5 singles. The win pushes Anderson’s mark to a perfect 4-0 on the season at the fifth position and improves his overall season mark to 11-9. Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla.) moved the Irish within a point of victory at 3-0 after shutting down Bussert of the Cardinals, 6-2, 6-2 at six singles. Moros continued his streak of hot play recently, moving his record over his last 10 contests to 9-1. Overall he now owns a 13-7 dual season record.

The Irish clinched the match when 93rd-ranked Stahl closed out his victory over Monroy of the Cardinals at No. 3 singles, 6-4, 6-2. The win at third singles was the tenth of the season (10-7) for him.

Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo.), who made the move up to No. 4 singles for the match, made it 5-0 when he closed out Alexandre Brym in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2.

Ball State then managed to get on the board with a straight sets win at No. 2 singles. The Cardinal’s Morrison was able to defeat Havens, 6-3, 6-4, to make the match 5-1 overall. Watt, now ranked 44th, was last to finish singles for the Irish, dropping a hard-fought match, 6-4, 7-5 to Pavia of Ball State. He was able to gain a 4-3 advantage in the second set trying to force the decisive third set but was unable to do so, dropping four of the next five games.

The Irish will return to action at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at the Dyer Tennis Clubhouse in Annapolis, Md., to take on Navy in the team’s final match before heading to the BIG EAST Championships.

8. The Fighting Irish men’s golf team topped Detroit Mercy by six strokes this afternoon to take the Battle at The Warren title. Playing as individuals, senior Doug Fortner (Tustin, Calif.) and sophomore Tom Usher (Bradford, England) led the way with minus-one 69 totals to tie for medalist honors. As a team, the Irish finished at 12-over par (292), while Detroit Mercy finished at 18-over par (298).

The starting Irish five consisted of seniors Carl Santos-Ocampo (Naples, Fla.) and Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C.), junior Connor Alan Lee (Solana Beach, Calif.) and sophomores Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) and Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.). Scodro led the team contingent with an even-par 70, while Sandman turned in a two-over par 72. Also scoring for the Irish was Chris Walker’s 74 and Santos-Ocampo’s 76. Alan Lee carded a 77.

In addition to Fortner and Usher, junior Jeff Chen (Walnut, Calif.) shot a 76 and freshman Paul McNamara shot a 77 playing as individuals. Also playing as individuals, senior Kyle Willis (Lake Forest, Ill.) added a 79, junior Dustin Zhang (Calgary, Alberta) carded an 80 and senior Olavo Batista (Sao Paulo, Brazil) notched an 83.

The Irish return to action Sunday at the BIG EAST Championship. This year’s tournament will be contested at the Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla., and the men will play the Copperhead Course.

9. Christine Lux had two home runs in game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader between No. 24 Notre Dame and Georgetown to preserve a two-game BIG EAST Conference softball sweep of the Hoyas at Melissa Cook Stadium. Notre Dame won the first game 5-0, and the second, 3-2.

10. For the second consecutive season, senior guard and tri-captain Melissa Lechlitner (Mishawaka, Ind.) was selected as the recipient of the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award, it was announced during the 2009-10 Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Banquet on Tuesday evening at Purcell Pavilion on the Notre Dame campus. In addition, fellow senior guard Alena Christiansen (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) was a double honoree on Tuesday, as she was chosen to receive the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award, as well as a share of the team’s Spirit Award (an honor she also took home last season).

A sold-out crowd of 600 people was in attendance (the second-largest gathering in banquet history), as the Fighting Irish celebrated a magnificent `09-`10 season that culminated with a 29-6 record (the third-highest win total in program history) and Notre Dame’s eighth NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in the past 14 years, as well as a top-11 ranking in the final Associated Press (7th) and ESPN/USA Today (11th) polls.

In addition, the Fighting Irish recorded their seventh 25-win season in the past 14 years and 16th 20-win season in the past 17 years, not to mention its 18th consecutive winning season, 22nd in the 23-year Muffet McGraw era and 29th in the 33-year history of Notre Dame women’s basketball. The Fighting Irish also ranked among the top 16 teams in the nation in eight NCAA statistical categories — steals (4th – 12.9 spg.), assists (6th – 18.1 apg.), turnover margin (9th – 6.29), assist/turnover ratio (10th – 1.11), scoring offense (11th – 77.2 ppg.), scoring margin (13th – 14.9 ppg.), won-loss percentage (14th – .829) and field goal percentage (16th – .454).

As if that weren’t enough, Notre Dame won the 2009 Paradise Jam Island Division title, opened with a 15-game winning streak (the second-best start in program history), appeared in the top five of the Associated Press poll for 15 consecutive weeks, and set school records for steals (450) and turnovers forced (791), while also collecting six wins over ranked opponents (four coming away from home). Furthermore, the Fighting Irish finished a program-best fourth in the country in attendance this season with an average of 8,377 fans per game (easily the best in school history, surpassing the old mark of 7,825 in 2001-02), its 10th consecutive top-20 attendance ranking, and Notre Dame had six sellout crowds (and three others within 350 fans of a sellout) this year after having attracted a total of six sellouts in its first 32 seasons of competition.

Other honorees at Tuesday night’s banquet (as chosen by a vote of their teammates) included: senior guard/tri-captain Ashley Barlow (Indianapolis, Ind.) and freshman guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind.), who shared the team’s Defensive Player of the Year honor; sophomore guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky.), who was tapped for the team’s Most Improved Player award; senior center Erica Williamson (Charlotte, N.C.), who shared the Spirit Award with Christiansen. In addition, fifth-year senior guard/tri-captain Lindsay Schrader (Bartlett, Ill.) was voted by members of the South Bend media to receive the inaugural Woody Miller Player of the Year award, named in honor of the longtime South Bend Tribune reporter and women’s basketball beat writer Forrest “Woody” Miller, who passed away in February 2009.

Notre Dame will have two starters and eight monogram winners returning next season, along with a three-player freshman class that was ranked eighth in the nation by ESPN Hoopgurlz, and 10th by both All-Star Girls Report and Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. It’s the 14th consecutive year that the Fighting Irish have attracted a top-20 recruiting class, with Notre Dame being one of only three schools in the country that holds that distinction.

11. Three-time All-American Luke Harangody (Schererville, Ind.) was the recipient of the Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award for the second consecutive year and junior Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) was the winner of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award. Both awards were presented at the annual Irish men’s basketball banquet held tonight on the arena floor of the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on the Note Dame campus.

In addition to receiving the Rockne Student-Athlete Award, Abromaitis and classmate Carleton Scott (San Antonio, Texas) were the co-winners of the Most Improved Player Award. Senior Tory Jackson (Saginaw, Mich.) also was a double winner, as he copped both the Captains’ Award and the Outstanding Playmaker Award. Junior Tyrone Nash (Queens, N.Y.) received the Best Defensive Player Award, while Ben Hansbrough (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) and Jonathan Peoples (Bellwood, Ill.) were named the winners of the Team Irish Award.

Notre Dame finished with 2009-10 campaign with its fourth straight 20-win season. That has not happened since the Digger Phelps’ era when those squads produced six consecutive 20-win seasons from 1983-89. The Irish also finished tied for seventh in the final BIG EAST regular-season standings with a final 10-8 mark. It marked the third time in four years and sixth time in the last 10 seasons that Notre Dame has won 10 or more games in conference play.
The Irish made the school’s 30th appearance in the NCAA tournament, third in the last four years and sixth in the last 10 seasons under head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame’s senior class of Tim Andree (Colts Neck, N.J.), Harangody, Jackson and Peoples closed out their careers as the all-time winningest class in school history as they compiled a 93-43 (.637) winning percentage and also recorded the most wins ever by an Irish class in BIG EAST Conference regular-season play with a 43-27 ledger for a 61.4 winning percentage.

The Irish closed out the regular-season campaign by winning its final three regular-season contest and advanced to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship for the second time in four years and third time overall in 15 years as a member of the BIG EAST Conference following wins over Seton Hall and Pittsburgh. Before its two-point loss (53-51) to eventual BIG EAST Tournament champion and Final Four participant West Virginia, the Irish rattled off six straight victories that included three over ranked opponents.

The season also saw head coach Mike Brey celebrate his 300th career win during the season, his 200th career win at Notre Dame and his 100th win in the BIG EAST (regular season and tournament games) as he became just the sixth coach in league history to reach the 100-win plateau.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

1. Three members of the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team have been honored for their outstanding play last week in helping the Irish to a 3-0 record with all three wins coming in BIG EAST Conference play. Junior midfielder Shaylyn Blaney (Stony Brook, N.Y.) has been selected as the BIG EAST offensive player of the week for the week ending April 11. She was joined by junior midfielder Jackie Doherty (Ellicott City, Md.) who was selected by the BIG EAST as the defensive player of the week. Joining those two is freshman goalkeeper Ellie Hilling (Rochester, N.Y.) who was selected by WomensLax.com as its Division I rookie of the week for the past week.

Blaney took BIG EAST offensive honors as she scored six goals on the week while grabbing seven ground balls, five draw controls and eight caused turnovers. Doherty led a Notre Dame defense that went 98:33 over three games without giving up a goal as the Irish recorded the BIG EAST’s first-ever shutout with a 16-0 win over Villanova. In three conference wins, Hilling gave up 15 goals for a 5.0 goals-against average and made 18 saves for a .545 save percentage.

2. Former Notre Dame football stars Joe Montana and Kris Haines will be inducted tomorrow into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame (the event will be held at Cowboys Stadium) in Dallas, Texas. Montana and Haines comprised the highly successful quarterback/receiver combo that helped the Irish to memorable Cotton Bowl wins after both the ’77 and ’78 regular seasons. The 38-10 win over top-rated Texas to finish off the ’77 campaign handed the Irish the national title. A year later, Montana and Haines hooked up on the final offensive play of their college careers for a one-yard TD pass that gave Notre Dame an amazing 35-34 comeback win over Houston in the snow and ice of Dallas. Montana completed 10 of 25 throws against Texas for 111 yards and one TD, then connected on 13 of 34 for 163 and one TD versus Houston. Haines caught two passes for 29 yards versus Texas, then four for 31 and the winning TD (as well as a two-point conversion reception earlier) against Houston. Notre Dame senior athletic staffers Bill Scholl and John Heisler traveled to Dallas to attend the ceremonies. Previous Notre Dame inductees have been Ara Parseghian (2007) and Joe Theismann (2003). Other former Irish players expected to attend this year’s event include Dan Novakov, Joe Unis, Dennis Grindinger, Pete Pallas and Steve Orsini (now athletics director at SMU). Also attending is former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Merv Johnson (he’s now in charge of football operations at Oklahoma and also does radio analysis for the Sooners).

3. The USA Today Sports Weekly NFL Draft preview issue rates QB Jimmy Clausen the #14 overall prospect, with WR Golden Tate #17.

4. Notre Dame senior third baseman Heather Johnson was named the BIG EAST Conference Softball Player of the Week after she helped the Fighting Irish hold on to its unblemished conference record with a three-game sweep of USF, the league announced Monday. With Johnson’s second such accolade of the season, Notre Dame has now been awarded five of the eight player of the week awards dished out by the BIG EAST. Johnson showed she could play under pressure as she went a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with a solo home run and a sacrifice fly in a nationally-televised victory over USF (April 10) on CBS College Sports. She continued her strong play in game two of the doubleheader, blasting her first career grand slam and finishing with five RBI. For the week the third baseman totaled seven RBI while hitting .500, slugging 1.500 and recording an on-base mark of .500. Junior pitcher Jody Valdivia was named to the league’s honor roll after going 2-0 for the week including a one-hitter to cap a three-game sweep of USF, her 13th shutout of the season.

5. Notre Dame fencers Gerek Meinhardt, Courtney Hurley, Beatriz Almeida and Lian Osier recently competed at the 2010 Junior and Cadet World Fencing Championships, which concluded play Saturday at the Haydar Aliyev Sport and Concert Complex in Baku, Azerbaijan. As members of Team USA, Meinhardt and Hurley each won medals at the event.

Meinhardt (San Fransisco, Calif.) earned a silver medal in the men’s foil individual competition and he was also part of Team USA’s first-place showing in men’s foil. In the men’s foil individual competition, Meinhardt received a bye into the last 64, where he downed Maciej Wlosek of Poland, 15-3, in his first elimination bout. Next, Meinhardt knocked-off Moritz Kroplin of Germany, 15-9. To book a place in the quarterfinals, Meinhardt edged Russia’s Roman Kuts, 15-13. In the quarterfinals, Meinhardt fenced the first of two consecutive bouts against Italian opposition. First he defeated Edoardo Luperi, 15-12, for a place in the semifinals, where he was ultimately bested by Tommaso Lari, 15-13. After trailing early in the semifinals, Meinhardt rallied back to tie the bout at 6-6 and then went ahead, 9-6. But Lari eventually tied it at 12-12 and landed three of the final four touches for win, initially leaving Meinhardt with the bronze. But after Lari was black-carded following the gold-medal bout, Meinhardt was awarded the silver. To earn the team gold, Meinhardt helped the United States down Poland (45-32) and Hungary (45-35) to advance to the semifinals, where the USA cruised past Germany, 45-28. Then, in the championship, the USA downed Italy, 45-35. In the individual women’s epee competition, Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) went 5-1 in pool play and added a +16 indicator to earn the 10th seed and a first-round bye into the direct elimination table of 64. She defeated Daria Strelnikov of Israel, 15-3, to advance to the next round. But Hurley lost her next bout to Sweden’s Emma Vaggo, 15-12. Hurley and Team USA won their first match against Great Britain, 45-36, to advance to the final eight of the women’s epee team competition. In the quarterfinals, Hurley and Team USA downed Sweden, 43-31, and followed with a quarterfinal win over Israel, 45-36. Then, in the championship showdown with Estonia, Team USA was bested by a 45-29 margin to walk away with the silver.

Fighting Irish sophomore Almeida (Chappagua, N.Y.) and freshman Osier (Battle Ground, Wash.) competed in women’s sabre. Almeida, representing her native Brazil, went 3-3 in preliminary pool action and recorded an indicator of +2. In direct elimination, Almeida lost to Lucia Martin-Portugues of Spain in the round of 64, 15-9. Osier went 5-1 in pool play and notched a +13 indicator. In the round of 64, Osier edged Cuba’s Irelis Zayas Nueva, 15-14. But then Osier dropped a 15-10 decision to Amira Ben Chaabane of Tunisia.

The 2010 Junior and Cadet World Championships were organized by the Azerbaijan Fencing Federation and the Azerbaijan Olympic Committee. Qualifying squads sent four person teams in each weapon to compete for individual and team medals in each weapon. The United States finished third in the overall standings for the Junior World Championships, behind Russia and Hungary.

Monday, April 12, 2010

1. Jody Valdivia hurled a one-hitter with six strikeouts in 7.0 innings to lead No. 23 Notre Dame past visiting USF, 2-0, Sunday in softball action at Melissa Cook Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. Valdivia’s 13th shutout of the season boosted Notre Dame’s record to 29-6 overall and 8-0 against BIG EAST Conference opponents. The Irish swept the three-game series from USF (18-19, 3-3) to run the team’s winning streak over the Bulls to five contests following a two-game sweep in 2009. Valdivia (22-3) finished the series with two wins and an ERA of 1.00 in 14.0 innings of action. Notre Dame out-hit USF, 3-1, but both of its runs were scored on sacrifice flies. Katie Fleury and Dani Miller both drove in runs with fly balls to the outfield. Notre Dame stays at home for a midweek doubleheader with Georgetown (April 14) and one game with Cleveland State (April 15) before heading to Louisville (April 17-18). The Irish have won each of their nine home games this season.

2. When Notre Dame and Syracuse get together in women’s lacrosse fans can usually expect loads of goals as both teams have traditionally had high-scoring offenses. On Sunday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium on the Notre Dame campus, defense was the name of the game as the Irish upset the seventh-ranked Orange, 6-5. After shutting out Villanova, 16-0, on Friday, Notre Dame tacked on another 30 minutes of scoreless defense as they Irish took a 6-0 lead at halftime as each team got all its goals in one half. Senior Gina Scioscia paced the Notre Dame attack with two goals and one assist. Shaylyn Blaney, Ansley Stewart, Kailene Abt and Kaitlin Keena had single goals for the Irish. In the game, each team had 26 shots on goal. Freshman Ellie Hilling finished with six saves for Notre Dame while Liz Hogan had 10 for Syracuse. Hilling saw her scoreless streak snapped at 98:33 when Tumolo broke up the shutout 3:55 into the second half. Before that, the last goal she surrendered came on April 5 at Loyola when the Greyhounds scored with 4:38 left in that game. The victory, the third straight for the Irish, improves Notre Dame to 8-4 overall and 4-1 in the BIG EAST. Syracuse falls to 7-4 on the year and 2-1 in conference play. The win was the first for the Irish at home against Syracuse since the 2006 season.

The Orange came into the game averaging 15 goals a game and featuring four players with 20 or more goals, highlighted by senior midfielder Christina Dove who had 40. When Sunday’s game was over, Dove still had 40 goals as the Irish defense, led by Jackie Doherty, Rachel Guerrera, Lauren Fenlon, Emily Conner and Kate Newall blanketed the Orange attack, holding them to just five goals. Notre Dame would score the first six goals of the game, giving them 23 consecutive goals since Monday’s game at Loyola.

After winning three games on the week, Notre Dame will play just one game this week as the Irish play host to Cincinnati on Saturday in a 3:00 p.m. game at Arlotta Stadium. That is the final home game of the regular season for the women’s lacrosse team and Notre Dame will honor its graduating seniors — Rachel Guerrera, Gina Scioscia and Maggie Zentgraf — prior to the game.

3. Notre Dame’s home baseball game scheduled for 6:05 p.m. on Wednesday has been cancelled due to IPFW scheduling conflicts. The Mastadons scheduled beyond their 56-date maximum and have yet to be rained out.

4. Rutgers tallied a pair of runs in the top of the 11th inning to grab an 8-6 come-from-behind victory over Notre Dame and secure a baseball series victory at Frank Eck Stadium Sunday afternoon on the Notre Dame campus. The Scarlet Knights improve to 17-13 overall and 7-2, while the Irish drop to 11-19 and 2-7. Notre Dame was two outs away from one of the more remarkable turn-around victories in recent memory. Just 24 hours following a 25-5 loss to Rutgers, the Irish clung to a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the ninth. Notre Dame senior closer Steven Mazur fanned Brandon Boykin to open the ninth, but Michael Lang and Pat Biserta followed with back-to-back bloop singles to put runners on the corners. The Irish closer then induced Steve Nyisztor into a potential game-ending double play ground ball, but it was not hit hard enough to nail the speedy Scarlet Knights second baseman and Lang scored to tie the score at 6-6. Mazur fanned Jaren Matthews to end the inning and keep the score tied.

Rutgers regained the lead in the top of the 11th inning off Irish sophomore reliever Will Hudgins. Lang opened the frame with a single, giving him four hits for the second consecutive game. After Biserta executed a sacrifice bunt, Nyisztor golfed a single to centerfield to plate Lang and give Rutgers a 7-6 lead. Sophomore Joe Spano replaced Hudgins and walked Matthews. Jayson Hernandez followed with a ground out that allowed both Nyisztor and Matthews to advance into scoring position. Spano then uncorked a wild pitch that clearly bounced in the dirt and ricocheted off Jarred Jimenez, which should have been a hit batter and dead ball, and Nyisztor scampered home for the ever important insurance run to make the Scarlet Knights lead, 8-6. Senior right fielder Billy Boockford paced the Irish attack with three hits. Boockford, who was making his first start in the outfield in 2010 and first since April 22, 2009, went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Freshman Frank Desico, first baseman Casey Martin, senior centerfielder Brayden Ashdown and junior catcher Cameron McConnell all chipped in with two hits apiece. Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly went 1-for-3 with two walks and a three-run home run. Ashdown and McConnell each also added solo home runs. Notre Dame returns to action at Frank Eck Stadium on Tuesday against Chicago State. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

4. No. 9 Georgetown scored the game’s only five second-half goals to top No. 19 Notre Dame 11-8 in men’s lacrosse action on Sunday afternoon on a warm and sunny Multi-Sport Field in Washington, D.C. Senior midfielder Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md.) paced the Fighting Irish with a career-high four goals. Consecutive man-up goals from Krebs produced a three-goal advantage (7-4) for Notre Dame with just under five minutes left in the first half. That was the largest lead of the day for the Fighting Irish. A goal from Neal Hicks (Atlanta, Ga.) with 28 seconds left in the first half gave Notre Dame an 8-6 lead at the intermission. Senior Scott Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y.) started in goal for the Fighting Irish and made four saves in the first half. Rodgers missed the previous game due to injury. Freshman John Kemp (Potomac, Md.) played the entire second half between the pipes for Notre Dame and made six stops. The Fighting Irish return home Saturday to face Providence in BIG EAST action. Game time is slated for noon (ET) at Arlotta Stadium.

5. The 16th-ranked Irish rowing team finished in second place in each of the eight heats on Saturday on La Ballona Creek in Marina del Ray, Calif. Notre Dame faced eighth-ranked USC in the morning session before battling with 15th-ranked UCLA in the afternoon.

The Irish were unable to capture a race victory in any of the four races in the morning session against USC. Action started with the Trojans capturing the first varsity eight race with a winning time of 6:40.64, besting Notre Dame who concluded in a time of 6:52.07. The second varsity eight race also saw the Irish fall by nearly 12 seconds as the Notre Dame boat finished in a time of 7:11.83. USC crossed the finish line at 6:59.30 to capture the heat victory. The Notre Dame varsity four boat earned the closest decision of the morning and day for the Irish, crossing just over four seconds after the USC boat. The Trojans stopped the clock at 7:52.37 while the Irish crossed the gate at 7:56.90. In the final heat of the morning the Notre Dame novice eight was in action. The Irish crew posted a time of 7:20.36, crossing after the victorious USC boat that finished in 7:14.64.

Afternoon action got underway with the novice eight race. The Irish boat was able to complete the course in a time of 8:12.67, while UCLA finished with a mark of 8:02.70. In varsity four competition the Bruins’ boat posted a race-winning time of 8:44.90. The Notre Dame crew finished just under nine second later with a final time of 8:53.03. The Notre Dame second varsity eight boat concluded its afternoon run in a time of 7:53.21 while the UCLA crew was able to record the winning time after stopping the clock at 7:40.05. In the final race of the day the Irish varsity eight boat crossed the finish line at 7:36.33 trailing the Bruins, who concluded the course in a time of 7:26.30.

Notre Dame will return to the water in two weekends when it heads to the BIG EAST Championships on Sunday, April 25, from Worcester, Mass. The Irish will be seeking to claim their seventh consecutive conference title.

6. The Fighting Irish women’s golf team finished eighth at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational after shooting a final round 308 on Sunday morning at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla. Notre Dame finished at 63-over par (903) at the University of Florida-hosted event.

Senior Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash.) led the Irish Sunday as she turned in a final round four-over par 74 to finish at nine-over par for the tournament (219), placing her in a tie for 11th. Her final round included four birdies but she was hurt by two double bogeys and a triple. Brophy has finished in the top-15 in four of her nine events this season and her 11th-place showing marked her best finish of the 2010 spring campaign. Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) and So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea) carded final round seven-over par 77s. Huffer, who entered the day three strokes off the lead, finished tied for 18th at 11-over par (219). She notched nine pars on the day, added eight bogeys and closed with a birdie on her final hole of play — the par-five third. Park’s 77 ensured that all three of her weekend rounds counted towards Notre Dame’s team score. Her final round of play included 12 pars, five bogeys and a double as she finished tied for 55th at 25-over par (235). Katie Conway’s (Wading River, N.Y.) final round 80 rounded out the team scoring for Notre Dame. She finished the tournament at 22-over par and tied for 46th. Her Sunday round included two birdies, seven pars, six bogeys, a double and a triple. All told, she notched eight birdies on the weekend. Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y.) finished tied for 73rd after turning in a final round 87. She recorded a 36-over par (246) total on the weekend.

Michigan State took the 2010 SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational team title by carding a 28-over par 868, besting runner-up Florida State by three shots. The SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational marked Notre Dame’s final regular-season event of the 2009-10 season. The Irish play next at the 2010 BIG EAST Championship on April 18 in Palm Harbor, Fla.

7. The Irish track and field squads notched an impressive 35 top-five finishes and six wins Saturday at the Border Battle “Kentuckiana” held at the Cardinal Park Soccer and Track Stadium on the campus of the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. Kentucky and Louisville teamed up to edge Notre Dame and Indiana, 100-96, in the men’s events, while The Commonwealth teams topped the Hoosierland squads, 103-99, on the women’s side. Notre Dame notched wins from Molly Hirt in the women’s 5,000 meters, Nevada Sorenson in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, Joanna Schultz in the women’s 400 meters, Elise Knutzen in the women’s javelin, Matt Schipper in the men’s pole vault and Justin Schneider in the men’s javelin. The Irish will head to the Mt. SAC Relays and Purdue’s Dave Rankin Invitational next weekend.

8. On the cover of the latest ESPN The Magazine is Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen as part of the magazine’s draft preview (with the back cover showing a blue Clausen with an Avatar-style look for the 2154 NFL Draft preview). The story itself is billed as “Jimmy Clausen Throws a Perfect Spiral: Will It Be Enough?” The magazine includes the Scouts Inc. Top 100 which has Clausen rated #38 and wide receiver Golden Tate #36.

9. The Sporting News draft preview (April 12 issue) has a top 100 list by former NFL scout Russ Lande – with Clausen projected as the 30th pick to Minnesota and Tate the first pick in the second round (#33 overall) to St. Louis. Under quarterbacks, Clausen is rated second, with his greatest asset listed as accuracy. He’s also tabbed as the best in terms of field vision. Under receivers, Tate is rated #3 overall, with his best asset listed as run after the catch.

10. One final note on the wide-open nature of the Jimmy Clausen pro day event last week — the atmosphere was a far cry from the events of yesteryear for Irish players like Raghib Ismail and Rick Mirer. Way before the advent of things like the NFL Network, those events were held in something of a shroud of secrecy, with no media permitted to attend.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

1. Pat Biserta and Michael Lang each collected two of Rutgers’ seven home runs as the Scarlet Knights took advantage of fierce winds blowing out to power past the Irish, 25-5, in baseball action from Frank Eck Stadium this afternoon on the Notre Dame campus. Biserta upped his conference-leading home run total to 12 and drove in four, while Lang finished with seven RBI and Ryan Kapp added five RBI. The loss snaps Notre Dame’s 10-game home winning streak over Rutgers.

Irish sophomore Steve Sabatino (2-4) shouldered the loss in the shortest outing of his career, lasting 2.2 innings and giving up eight earned runs. Sabatino had worked at least 5.0 innings in five straight starts, and in his only other start this season he worked 3.0 innings of no-hit ball against Mississippi Valley State. Nine of the 13 base runners he allowed (including all four walks) reached with two outs, leading to seven two-out tallies. In all, Rutgers (16-13, 6-2 BIG EAST) used 13 two-out hits to register 18 two-out RBI. The Irish bullpen fared no better, as senior Billy Boockford (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) and junior Ryan Sharpley (Marshall, Mich.) combined to give up seven runs in 2.1 innings, while sophomore Ryan Richter (South Bend, Ind.) gave the Irish 3.0 innings in which the Scarlet Knights scored 10 times. Rutgers pounded out eight extra base hits off of Richter alone and 14 total in the game.

Freshmen second baseman Frank Desico (Cleveland, Ohio), freshman third baseman Adam Norton (Highland, Ind.) and senior first baseman Casey Martin (Chesterton, Ind.) all had multi-hit efforts for the Irish (11-18, 2-6), with Norton and Martin each picking up three (Norton’s three matched his career-high). Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly (Binghamton, N.Y.) extended his streak of reaching base (via base hit, walk, or hit-by-pitch) to 41 games, as he walked in the second inning and was plunked in the fourth. He failed to reach base in his first at bat, marking the first time all season Connolly has been retired in his first plate appearance (excluding sacrifice bunts) in consecutive games.

The Irish aim to capture the series tomorrow afternoon in the 12:05 series finale at Frank Eck Stadium. Senior right-hander Eric Maust (0-3, 7.18 ERA) looks to bounce back from the two shortest starts of his career and will square off against freshman left-hander Dan O’Neill (1-0, 5.90) of the Scarlet Knights.

2. The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team dropped a 5-2 decision to BIG EAST foe Louisville this afternoon at the Courtney Tennis Center on the Notre Dame campus. With the loss, Notre Dame, which was playing in its first home outdoor match since 2008, moves to 11-11 on the season while 16th-ranked Louisville improves to 17-5.

Louisville jumped out to a 1-0 lead after earning wins at first and second doubles. At second doubles, Austen Childs and Viktor Maksimcuk put the Cardinals up 1-0 by defeating Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn.) and Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland) 8-3. Davis and Fitzgerald held an early 3-1 lead but dropped the next seven games to lose the match. Then the 25th-ranked team of Simon Childs and Alejandro Calligari clinched the doubles point by downing Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa.) at No. 1 doubles, 8-2.

At No. 3 doubles the Irish team of David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass.) and Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md.) took on Louisville’s Sumit-Prakash Gupta and Robert Hall. Anderson and Stahl took a 4-1 lead but Gupta and Hall won the next two games to cut the lead to 4-3. The Irish then took four of the next six games to earn the win, 8-5.

Louisville took a 2-0 lead when Simon Childs downed Stahl at third singles 6-0, 6-3. Then Anderson fell to Calligari 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4 singles, giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.

With the remaining four matches still close, Maksimcuk clinched the victory for Louisville by edging Havens at No. 2 singles. Maksimcuk took the first set 6-3. Havens then rebounded to take a 2-1 lead in the second set and built his lead up to 5-3. But Maksimcuk won the next two games to tie it at 5-5 and he eventually won the set 7-6 (7-3) to secure the overall win for Louisville. Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo.) got the Irish on the board at No. 5 singles with a three-set win over Hall 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3. At No. 6 singles, Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla.) wrapped things up with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 win over Andrew Carter.

Before the match, Irish head coach Bobby Bayliss was honored for recently notching his 700th career win. Bayliss is now one of four active Division I men’s coaches with at least 700 wins and he stands in eighth place on the men’s all-time career wins list (now 703-308-1) in 41 seasons as a head coach at Notre Dame, MIT and Navy. Bayliss and the Irish return to the courts at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when they play host to Ball State in their final home match of the regular season.

3. After waiting through a lengthy delay for an illegal Rutgers substitution in the eighth inning, pinch-hitter David Casey (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) delivered a two-out, game-tying single and freshman Adam Norton (Highland, Ind.) followed with an RBI triple over the head of a diving Jarred Jimenez in center field to give the Irish a 9-8, come-from-behind victory over Rutgers Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium on the Notre Dame campus.

The controversy began when Rutgers, leading 8-7, attempted to bring its freshman closer, Tyler Gebler, into the game with two outs in the eighth and senior Brayden Ashdown (Tucson, Ariz.) on second base after reaching on an error. Gebler, who normally wears #43, was wearing jersey #4 for Friday’s contest, but #41 was crossed out (and #4 written next to it) instead of #43 on the lineup card. The umpires thenceforth deemed Gebler (who has a 1.84 ERA and six saves on the season) ineligible because he was incorrectly listed on the lineup card, and the Scarlet Knights had to turn to Kevin Lillis instead, who promptly blew the save and took the loss (0-2) after giving up the final two Irish hits.

The Irish (11-17, 2-5 BIG EAST) battled back from 1-0, 6-2, and 8-7 deficits in the game and registered their first victory of the season when trailing after seven innings. Junior Brian Dupra (Rochester, N.Y.) made the start for Notre Dame but struggled, throwing 101 pitches in 4.0+ innings. He yielded six runs (five earned) on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts, failing to extend his streak of 6.0+-inning outings to six. Senior David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.) worked a career-high 4.0 innings for the victory (1-1) in relief of Dupra, giving up two runs on a Jaren Matthews bomb. Mills also drove in a pair of runs, giving him nine RBI in his last four games.

4. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returned to action on Friday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium on the Notre Dame campus where the Irish handed the Villanova Wildcats a 16-0 blanking for the first shutout in the 14-year history of the Irish program. The shutout also was the first in BIG EAST history since league play began in 2001.

For the Irish, 14 different players got on the score sheet with several players making their first collegiate playing appearances. Junior Ansley Stewart led the way with three goals in the game and was followed by juniors Kailene Abt and Shaylyn Blaney and sophomore Jordy Shoemaker with two goals each. Maggie Tamasitis, Kaitlin Keena, Gina Scioscia, Flannery Nangle, Kelly Driscoll, Jaimie Morrison and Betsy Mastropieri had one goal each. Tamasitis and Scioscia also had two assists for three-point games while Abt add one assist for three points in the contest.

Villanova was held to just 16 shots in the game as Notre Dame freshman goalkeeper Ellie Hilling made eight saves in the game to record the first-ever shutout for the Irish. The victory improved the Notre Dame to 7-4 overall and 3-1 in BIG EAST play, while Villanova goes to 7-3 for the year and 0-2 in conference play. The Wildcats are in just their first season of BIG EAST play during the 2010 campaign. In the game, Notre Dame outshot Villanova, 29-16, Hilling had eight saves in the game.

The shutout was only the second in the nation this year as Penn blanked St. Joseph’s, 14-0, on March 17, 2010. Prior to getting the shutout versus Villanova, Notre Dame owned the BIG EAST record for fewest goals in a game as it had defeated Loyola, 11-1, on March 25, 2007 and Rutgers, 9-2, on April 28, 2002. Notre Dame is next in action tomorrow when the Irish play host to seventh-ranked Syracuse in a 1:00 p.m. game at Arlotta Stadium.

5. A pair of comeback wins provided plenty of highlight-reel material for No. 23 Notre Dame Saturday at Melissa Cook Stadium, as the Irish swept visiting BIG EAST Conference foe USF 4-2 and 10-1 on the Notre Dame campus. The nation’s leader in team batting average entering the day, Notre Dame (28-6 overall, 7-0 BIG EAST) racked up 16 hits in the twinbill including three doubles and three home runs. Two of the homers came off the bat of Heather Johnson and her game-two grand slam was part of an eight-run fourth inning. Brittany O’Donnell (7-1) took a no-hitter into the fifth and final inning of game two before giving up a two-out bloop single to Gina Kafalas. The sweep kept Notre Dame on top of the BIG EAST standings as the only team unscathed in league play. Notre Dame meets USF at noon (ET) tomorrow in the series finale.

USF (18-18, 3-2) struck first in the opener. Tara Toscano singled home Janine Richardson after Jody Valdivia (21-3) issued a pair of walks to start the game. A third walk loaded the bases with no outs but the Irish defense answered the challenge beginning with the first of Valdivia’s two strikeouts on the day. Valdivia then got Cat Olnick to fly out to center, where Alexa Maldonado rifled a throw to the plate to a ready Kristina Wright, who laid a tag on Kafalas to end the inning with a banger.

Notre Dame responded with a two-out Johnson home run in the bottom half of the first. Johnson fouled off four straight pitches before landing a shot beyond the centerfield fence. The Irish took the lead for good when Alexia Clay singled home Christine Lux. The gloves stayed warmed for the Irish in the second with Sadie Pitzenberger wowing the crowd with a gamble in left field that paid off. With one Bull runner on base, Pitzenberger hustled in and made a full-extension catch for the final out of the frame. Pitzenberger’s two-bagger count for the season hit double digits with a knock to right-center in the fifth. She went to third on Katie Fleury’s fly ball to center and scored on Johnson’s single.

JoJo Medina brought USF within one, 3-2, with a solo home run to deep left in the sixth. Brianna Jorgensborg matched Medina’s solo homer with one of her own in the home half. Jorgensborg, who homered for the second time in as many games, finished the game with her third straight statline featuring at least one hit, run and RBI.

Valdivia gave up two earned runs on three hits and walked only one batter after the first inning. Lindsey Richardson (8-4) tossed 5.2 innings for the Bulls and was taken to town for four earned runs on eight hits.

Two rare defensive errors led to an unearned USF run in the first inning of game two, putting the Irish in position to work from behind once again. In fact, errors plagued both teams throughout the second game, as each squad finished with three errors apiece. Lux recorded the first hit by either team with a lead-off single in the second. Clay then ripped an RBI-double to right to tie the game, 1-1.

Johnson was credited with sacrifice fly in the third, which pushed across Maldonado for what would prove to the game-winning run. The bulk of the day’s excitement came in the eight-run fourth inning, which featured Lux alone scoring two runs and posting a pair of hits. The Irish used five hits and two USF errors to do the damage. Jorgensborg had a two-RBI double to right and Johnson later followed with her grand slam.

O’Donnell struck out six and walked three without giving up an earned run. Brittany Bowles (4-7) went 3.1 innings and allowed six earned runs to score on six hits. Candace Howell followed by surrendering two unearned Irish runs on two hits in 0.2 innings. Johnson’s five RBI marked a career best, bettering the previous total of four accomplished six times throughout her career. Lux finished a perfect 3-for-3 and scored three times.

6. Braving cold temperatures and windy conditions, the sixth-ranked Irish women’s tennis team took to the outdoor courts at the Courtney Tennis Center and swept No. 19 South Florida, 7-0, Friday on the Notre Dame campus. With the win, Notre Dame improved to 17-3, while the Bulls fell to 10-6 on the season.

The Irish jumped on the board first after sweeping the doubles point. Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) cruised past Ecaterina Vasenina and Jessica Zok, 8-0 at No. 3 doubles, while the third-ranked duo of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan.) won their 16th-straight match and clinched the point for the Irish with an 8-6 victory over No. 16 Irene Rehberger and Melissa Koning at first doubles. Cosmina Ciobanu (Brea, Calif.) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) battled Janette Bejlkova and Lauren Shumate at No. 2 doubles, eventually coming away with an 8-6 win to complete the sweep.

Mathews gave the Irish a 2-0 lead and snapped her three-match losing streak with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Koning at second singles. Krisik topped Zok 6-0, 6-4 at No. 5 singles to earn her 11th win of the season and give Notre Dame the 3-0 advantage. No. 113 McGaffigan improved to 13-7 on the season and clinched the win for the Irish with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Vasenina at No. 3 singles. Ciobanu took the No. 4 singles match after Bejlkova was forced to retire due to injury. No. 18 Frilling edged No. 41 Rehberger, 7-6, 4-6, 1-0, at No. 1 singles to earn her 16th win of the season, and Rafael improved to 8-7 on the year with a 5-7, 6-2, 1-0 victory over Natalia Guevara at No. 6 singles.
The Irish will wrap up the regular season next weekend when they host DePaul and Marquette.

7. Irish football coach Brian Kelly, several of his assistants and Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph traveled to Cincinnati Friday night to attend the visitation at St. Xavier High School for Matt James, the Notre Dame football letter-of-intent signee who died April 2.

8. Former Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen held his Pro Day Friday at the Loftus Center on the Notre Dame campus, and about half the National Football League teams sent one or more representatives to the event to observe. Of the 21 NFL reps who signed in, three each came from Seattle, Buffalo and St. Louis, and two each came from Jacksonville and Minnesota. The lone head coach present was St. Louis’ Steve Spagnuolo.

Directing the workout was Marc Trestman, currently the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He’s a former collegiate assistant at Miami and North Carolina State and has been an assistant with eight NFL teams. Trestman and Clausen combined to create a half-hour-long scripted workout that featured 59 throws (all but two were caught). Catching Clausen’s tosses were Notre Dame players Golden Tate (wearing his golden shoes), James Aldridge, Robby Parris and David Grimes. Lots of current and former Irish players sat in the bleachers to watch.

It was almost eerily quiet as the workout began, with Clausen’s throws eventually punctuated every so often by yells of encouragement from the players involved. Clausen and the other Irish took the field about 11:45 a.m., engaged in some brief warmups and at 12:18 p.m. the event concluded. Clausen wore a black shirt, grey shorts and mostly white shoes. Approximately 40 media members covered the event, which was shown live on und.com. ESPN draft expert Todd McShay was on hand, as was NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, both with video crews.

Any NFL team could receive a DVD of the workout (shot by Notre Dame video coordinator Tim Collins) by leaving behind a business card.

9. The Fighting Irish women’s golf team is in fifth place after two rounds of play at the SunTrust Gator Women’s Golf Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. The Irish fired an opening round 295 this morning at the Mark Bostick Golf Course and followed with a 300 in the afternoon session to stand at 35-over par (595).

Notre Dame was led in the first round by Katie Conway’s (Wading River, N.Y.) even-par 70 that included four birdies and 11 pars. The 70 marked Conway’s first even par or better round of the 2009-10 season and matched her lowest stroke total with the Irish, as she also netted a 70 in the third round of the 2008 Heather Farr Memorial. In the afternoon session, Conway carded an 82, which did not count towards Notre Dame’s team score.

In addition to Conway’s strong opening round, the Irish were led by top of the lineup starters Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) and Annie Brophy (Spokane, Wash.), who are each in the top-10 heading into Sunday. Huffer carded a 74 in the opening round and followed with an even-par 70 in the second round, with her four-over par (144) total placing her in a tie for fifth. Her second round was highlighted by birdies at the 11th and 15th holes. Brophy shot a two-over par 72 in the morning and followed with a three-over par 73 in the afternoon. Brophy notched five birdies on the day including two at the par-five seventh. Her five-over par (145) total places her in a tie for eighth entering the final day of play. Each of Huffer and Brophy’s rounds counted towards Notre Dame’s team score.

So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea) also saw both of her rounds counted as she recorded back-to-back 79’s to put her at 18-over par (158). She is currently tied for 59th. Her only birdie of the day came during the first round at the 16th. Rounding out the Irish contingent, senior co-captain Kristin Wetzel (Middletown, N.Y.) opened with an 81 that was not counted towards Notre Dame’s team score. She then chipped in with a second round 78, which was highlighted by a birdie at the 11th. The 78 helped comprise Notre Dame’s second round team total. Wetzel is tied for 62nd at 19-over par (159).

Florida State leads the 15-team field at 17-over par (577) and Michigan State is in second with a 20-over par (580) total. On the individual leaderboard, Huffer trails Michigan State’s Laura Kueny by just three strokes, as the Spartan leads the 80-player field at one-over par (141).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

1. After a week off for the long Easter holiday (there were no classes at Notre Dame Friday or Monday), Brian Kelly and his Irish football squad return to the practice field today (in the rain) for spring workout number five.

2. Seven runs in the third and fourth innings, as well as five in the seventh, propelled the Irish to a 13-6 victory over the Oakland Grizzlies in Tuesday baseball action from Frank Eck Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. Freshman Adam Norton picked his first career victory in his first start, punching out six in 4.0 innings. Oakland held a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the third, but freshman Frank Desico (Cleveland, Ohio) and senior Brayden Ashdown (Tucson, Ariz.) both homered in the inning, the first of the season for each player (and the first of Desico ¹s career), to put the Irish (10-17) up for good. Desico collected a career-high four hits in the game, scored twice, and drove in a pair of runs. The second baseman continues to feast on left-handed pitching; he is now batting .591 (13-for-22) on the season with a southpaw delivering the pitches.

Senior David Mills (Battle Creek, Mich.) tripled twice, walked, scored a run, and drove in four with the help of two sacrifice flies, which moved him into fifth place in Notre Dame history for total sacrifices in a career with 39 (28 sacrifice flies, 11 sacrifice bunts). The Irish finished with four sac flies in the game, bringing their BIG EAST-leading total to 21 (school record is 41, in 2002). Senior Ryan Connolly (Binghamton, N.Y.) doubled in the first inning to extend his on-base streak to 39 games and also scored three times, walked, and reached via hit-by-pitch. He continued the streak in his first plate appearance of the game (excludes sacrifice bunts) for the eighth time in the last nine games; in fact, Connolly is 11-for-14 (.786) in his first plate appearance over the last 17 games and has a .731 on-base percentage in his first plate appearance of the game on the season.

3. The Notre Dame hockey team will hold its 2009-10 awards program Sunday at the Mendoza College of Business Atrium and Auditorium on the Notre Dame campus. The awards program will honor the graduating Irish senior class and individual team award winners from the past season. Hors d’oeuvres will be served at 3:00 p.m. with the awards program set to begin at 4:00 p.m. The event will include video highlights from the 2009-10 season, award presentations and remarks from head coach Jeff Jackson along with senior players Kevin Deeth, Dan Kissel, Kyle Lawson, Christiaan Minella, Tom O’Brien and Ryan Thang along with the team’s other players and coaches. Tickets for the awards program are available through the Notre Dame Athletics Business Office and are $15.00 for adults and $7.00 for children 12 and under. Reservations for the awards program should be made by Monday, April 12, 2010. Mail reservations with ticket payment to the University of Notre Dame Athletic Business Office; Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN 46556. No tickets will be issued; guests may check in at the entrance on the day of the event. For more information, contact the Notre Dame hockey office at 574-631-3630.

4. Notre Dame sophomore left-handed hurler Dustin Ispas tossed 3.0 solid innings in defeat as the South Bend Silver Hawks bested the Irish baseball squad, 4-0, in the third annual Battle of the Bend Monday night. A crowd of 1,735 fans at Coveleski Stadium in downtown South Bend came out to not only watch the two teams, but also donate all the proceeds to support Niemann-Pick Type C disease and Cancer research. Ispas, making just his second appearance since offseason surgery, struck out Silver Hawks leadoff hitter and 2009 supplemental first round draft pick Chris Owings to open the game. He did allow a two-out single to Bobby Bochering, a first-round pick, 16th overall, by the Arizona Diamondbacks last year, but retired the next three South Bend hitters to keep the Silver Hawks off the scoreboard. Ispas fanned Bobby Stone for the second out of the second inning and quickly got ahead of Alberto Diaz 0-2, but Diaz gave South Bend a 1-0 lead with a solo home run just clearly the left field wall. Ispas was victimized by an Irish error to open the third inning, which led to an unearned run, but he fanned his third batter of the game. Ispas allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits in 3.0 innings of work. He did not issue a walk and struck out three. Senior outfielder Ryan Connolly led off the game with a single. Notre Dame got two other hits from senior outfielder Billy Boockford and senior outfielder Matt Grosso. The Irish played a total of 21 different position players. In fact, most of the Notre Dame everyday lineup was out of the game by the fifth inning, which gave a number of people an opportunity to play.

5. For the second game in a row, the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team fell behind in the first half, put together a strong rally in the second half and then took the lead. This time, though, there was a happy ending as the Irish rallied from a four-goal deficit to defeat 13th-ranked Loyola (Md.), 11-10, Monday afternoon at the Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore. In seven of their first 10 games this season, the 14th-ranked Irish have gone to overtime in two of them and have had five others decided by one or two goals. Notre Dame is 2-0 in overtime and now is 3-1 in games decided by one goal and 5-2 in games decided by two or less. Junior attack Ansley Stewart scored with six seconds left on the clock to snap a 10-10 tie to break a two-game Irish losing streak and give Notre Dame a crucial BIG EAST victory. On Monday, the Irish fell behind 6-2 in the opening half, rallied to tie, and then lost the lead before Stewart’s late-game heroics. Senior attack Gina Scioscia led the Notre Dame rally with a five-point game, scoring a pair and adding three assists. Sophomore Maggie Tamasitis added four points with three goals and an assist while junior Shaylyn Blaney scored three second half goals to help put the Irish in front. Megan Sullivan, Betsy Mastropieri joined Stewart with single goals, while Kailene Abt assisted on three goals in the opening half. The win improved the Irish to 6-4 overall and 2-1 in BIG EAST play, while the Greyhounds fell to 8-4 on the year and 2-1 in conference action. The Irish return home to start a three-game homestand. On Friday Notre Dame will play host to Villanova in a 4:30 p.m. game at Arlotta Stadium. On Sunday, the Syracuse Orange will visit Notre Dame for a 1:00 p.m. contest.

6. Weather called a halt to two scheduled Notre Dame athletic events today: — The Notre Dame softball team’s doubleheader against Bowling Green, originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed to April 28 due to rain in the South Bend area. The first of the two April 28 contests will begin at 4 p.m. (ET). So, #23 Notre Dame now will play USF in a three-game BIG EAST Conference series this weekend at Melissa Cook Stadium. The series opener (April 10) will be televised live on CBS College Sports, with first pitch scheduled for 12 p.m. — The threat of additional heavy rain, cold temperatures and travel considerations have forced the cancellation of tonight’s baseball game between Notre Dame and Western Michigan. No official makeup has been scheduled. Notre Dame plays host to BIG EAST rival Rutgers in a three-game series this weekend at Frank Eck Stadium. Game times are set for 5:05 p.m. on Friday, 1:05 p.m. on Saturday and 12:05 p.m. on Sunday.

7. The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team was defeated by 12th-ranked Texas A&M at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, Monday night, 6-1, dropping its record to 11-9. Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla.) earned the lone Irish point. The Irish had a quick turnaround as they return home to play host to the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes today.

8. The sixth-ranked Irish women’s tennis team bounced back from Saturday’s tough loss by overcoming Texas A&M in a 4-3 win Monday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas. Notre Dame improved to 16-3, while the Aggies fell to 8-5. The Irish return home for their first home match in over a month to take on South Florida Friday at 3:00 p.m.

9. Check out espn.com today (the college football front page) for a Mark Schlabach feature on Notre Dame football.

Monday, April 5, 2010

1. The Michigan-made portable maple court made for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four headed to Indianapolis via Wisconsin and Illinois. The floor made at Connor Sport Court International’s plant in the Upper Peninsula community of Amasa was in the Milwaukee area, where Jason Thomas Flooring Inc. was putting the final touches on the surface. After a stop March 22 at Marquette University in Milwaukee, a truck carrying the floor headed the next day to the Chicago area, then March 24 for a stop at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and March 25 to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The court was set up March 26 at the stadium, which is home to the NFL’s Colts.

2. Notre Dame senior goalie Scott Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y.) has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the men’s lacrosse division. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence — classroom, character, community and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The 10 finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 20 candidates who were announced in February.

Rodgers is 5-3 this season and boasts a 7.84 goals-against average and a .582 save percentage. He has played 451:46 of a possible 485:57 between the pipes for the Fighting Irish, who boast the nation’s 10th-best defense. Last season, Rodgers earned third-team All-America honors as he led all Division I goalies in goals-against average (6.14) and save percentage (.663). He started all 16 games in goal for the Fighting Irish in 2009 and led the squad to a 15-1 record, which established program records for wins and winning percentage in a single season. The Long Island native carries a 3.077 cumulative grade-point average as a sociology major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. Rodgers, a two-time team captain, was named a preseason first-team All-American by Inside Lacrosse. He also was the lone goalie selected to the All-BIG EAST Preseason Team.

The 10 finalists will be placed on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award lacrosse ballot for a nationwide vote beginning March 29 and concluding May 17. Fan balloting is available on the award’s official Web site, http://www.seniorCLASSaward.com, as well as through text messaging. Fans can text LAX to 74567 to vote for the finalists. These votes will be combined with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award. This is the second straight season that Notre Dame has had a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Last season, attackman Ryan Hoff garnered the honor.

3. After leading the Fighting Irish men’s tennis team to a 5-2 win over Northwestern, junior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio) last week was named the BIG EAST Men’s Tennis Player of the Week. It marked Havens’ second BIG EAST Player of the Week honor this season. Havens led the Irish to a 5-2 win over 45th-ranked Northwestern on March 27, posting wins in doubles and singles play. Havens teamed with sophomore Casey Watt (Gibsonia. Pa.) to clinch the doubles point for the Irish after battling Tobias Reitz and Andrew McCarthy to a 9-8 (8-6) tiebreak win at #1 doubles. At #2 singles, Havens put the Irish up 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-4 win over McCarthy.

4. Former Notre Dame football quarterback Jimmy Clausen will work out for NFL teams Friday (April 9) in the Loftus Sports Center on Notre Dame’s campus. Clausen will be throwing to former Irish players James Aldridge, David Grimes, Robby Parris and Golden Tate.

5. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team returned to BIG EAST play Saturday at Georgetown where the Irish rallied from a five-goal deficit, took the lead in the second half but then finished on the losing end of the 12-10 score. Notre Dame got five-point games from junior Kailene Abt (4g, 1a) and senior Gina Scioscia (2g, 3a) to lead the Irish offensive attack. Sophomore Megan Sullivan and freshman Betsy Mastropieri each scored twice for Notre Dame. For Notre Dame, the loss was the third in the last four contests and dropped the Irish to 5-4 overall and 1-1 in BIG EAST play. Georgetown improved to 4-5 overall and the Hoyas are now 2-0 in BIG EAST action. The Irish look to change their fortunes in the third game of the road trip today when they visit Baltimore, Md., to face the Loyola Greyhounds in a noon game.

6. A goal from Paul Webber with 2:10 left in regulation was the difference as #13 Villanova topped #15 Notre Dame 9-8 in BIG EAST men’s lacrosse action Saturday at Villanova Stadium. The Fighting Irish received two goals and two assists from junior midfielder Zach Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y.). Villanova (6-3, 1-1) held a 5-3 advantage entering what would be a furious fourth quarter for both teams. Notre Dame (5-4, 0-2) opened the final quarter with five unanswered goals to claim a three-goal lead (8-5) with 7:30 remaining in regulation. Junior midfielder David Earl (Simsbury, Conn.) gave Notre Dame its largest lead of the day (8-5) midway through the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats responded with four straight goals to capture the victory. The Irish outshot the Wildcats 32-25. Freshman goalie John Kemp (Potomac, Md.) made his first career start for the Fighting Irish. Kemp made 10 saves, while his counterpart Billy Hurley had nine stops. Notre Dame senior midfielder Trever Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y.) went 12-7 in faceoffs. The Fighting Irish return to action Sunday (April 11) at BIG EAST foe Georgetown. Game time is slated for noon (ET). The contest will be broadcast by ESPNU.

7. Notre Dame battled back from an early 7-0 deficit, drew within two runs, 9-7, and brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning, but four errors and three unearned runs proved to be too much to overcome as Georgetown held on for a 11-7 victory in BIG EAST Conference baseball action from Shirley Povich Field Saturday in Bethesda, Md. Notre Dame dropped to 9-17, 1-5 in the conference, while the Hoyas improved to 14-12 and 2-4. Senior Eric Maust took the loss and dropped to 0-3 on the season. He lasted just 1.1 innings and was roughed up for six runs, four earned, on four hits. The start was the shortest of his career. Senior left fielder Ryan Connolly, freshman third baseman Adam Norton and senior right fielder Brayden Ashdown all had multi-hit games. Connolly went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and two runs scored. Norton went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored, while Ashdown went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a run scored. Junior shortstop Mick Doyle belted a three-run home run for the second straight game. On Friday, The Irish prevailed 12-8 over Georgetown, after Connolly led off the game with a solo home run (he was 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored) and Notre Dame scored three runs before recording an out. On Thursday, the Hoyas won 10-9 on a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning. That came after a furious top-of-the-ninth Irish rally plated five runs, capped by a three-run homer by freshman Adam Norton.

Notre Dame returns to action tonight with the Third Annual Silver vs. Gold exhibition game against the South Bend Silver Hawks. First pitch at Coveleski Stadium is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Notre Dame faculty and staff can purchase tickets for $4. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation’s Fight Against Niemann-Pick Type C.

8. The Irish track and field squads wrapped up this past weekend’s competition on a strong note Saturday as Notre Dame earned 23 top-five finishes at Purdue’s Mike Poehlein Invitational. The Irish also brought home four first-place performances as Eric Quick took top honors in the men’s triple jump, Theresa Cattuna won the women’s 5,000 meters, Joanna Schultz claimed the top prize in the women’s 400 meters and Johnathan Shawel won the men’s 800-meter run. Next up for Notre Dame is the Louisville Invitational Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

9. The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team earned a 5-2 win over SMU Saturday in Dallas. With the win, Notre Dame improves to 11-8 on the year and has now recorded five wins in its last six matches. The Irish used the momentum gained from claiming the doubles point to snap SMU’s three-match unbeaten streak and evened the Mustangs’ record at 10-10. The Irish, who are currently ranked 36th, have now won the last three meetings between the two teams. The Irish wrap up their current nine-match road trip on today when they square off against 12th-ranked Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.

10. Despite winning the doubles point, second-ranked Baylor proved too strong for the #6 Fighting Irish women’s tennis team as the Bears topped Notre Dame, 6-1, Saturday in Waco, Texas. The Irish fell to 15-3 on the season, while Baylor improved to 16-2. The Irish will wrap up their seven-match road swing today when they head to Texas A&M for a 6:00 p.m. matchup.

11. For the third straight year, Irish forward Luke Harangody (Schererville, Ind.) has earned a spot on one of the three National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC)/State Farm All-America teams as a third team selection in 2010. He also was a third team selection in 2009 after earning first-team honors in 2008. Harangody’s selection to the NABC/State Farm third team marked the fourth All-America squad that he has been named to this season. He also was a third-team honoree on the Associated Press and Sporting News teams and received second-team honors from the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). Harangody’s selection to each of the four different All-America teams earned him as spot as a second-team consensus All-American by the NCAA for the second time in his career. He also was named a second-team consensus All-American following his sophomore year in 2008.

The State Farm first team consisted of Sherron Collins of Kansas, Wesley Johnson of Syracuse, Scott Reynolds of Villanova, Evan Turner of Ohio State and John Wall of Kentucky. The State Farm second team was made of Cole Aldrich (Kansas), DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky), Robbie Hummel (Purdue), Jon Scheyer (Duke) and Greivis Vasquez (Maryland). Joining Harangody on the third team were James Anderson (Oklahoma State), Da’Sean Butler (West Virginia), Jimmer Fredette (BYU) and Greg Monroe (Georgetown). Those named as consensus first team All-Americans were Collins and Reynolds while Reynolds, Turner and Wall were unanimous selections to this team. In addition to Harangody, the second team was made up of Aldrich, Anderson, Cousins, Scheyer and Vasquez.

12. Notre Dame entered Saturday’s BIG EAST Conference softball game with Rutgers leading the nation in batting average at .351, but it was timely hitting, small ball and the usual stellar defense – not to mention another solid outing from junior Jody Valdivia – that paced the Irish to an 8-0 victory over the Scarlet Knights at Melissa Cook Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. A doubleheader was originally scheduled, but rain delays totaling just under four hours and travel restrictions forced the teams to play just one. The Fighting Irish (26-6 overall, 5-0 BIG EAST) collected only five hits in the game but four were of the four-bag variety, three of which came with a runner on base: junior Brianna Jorgensborg senior Christine Lux and sophomore Dani Miller each smacked two-run home runs, while senior Alexia Clay made it back-to-back with Miller in the fifth inning to end the game in unconventional walk-off fashion. Notre Dame also made good use of three walks, two hit batters, three stolen bases, two sacrifice bunts and a sacrifice fly in the victory, stranding just two runners on the day. The Irish also went errorless for the sixth consecutive game, extending their streak of errorless chances as a team to 137. Valdivia (20-3) ran her BIG EAST regular-season winning streak to 14 in her 10th complete-game shutout of the year, working around six hits and punching out five without a walk. Since the beginning of the 2009 season, Valdivia is now 15-0 with a 1.34 ERA in BIG EAST play (including tournament games). She is on pace to shatter the Notre Dame single-season records for both shutouts (15 by Terri Kobata in 1994) and wins (30 by Brittney Bargar in 2008). Notre Dame returns to the field Wednesday (April 7) for a doubleheader with Bowling Green at Melissa Cook Stadium. First pitch of game one is set for 4:00 p.m. (ET).

13. Seen around town at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis:
— Lots of former Notre Dame coaches, administrative staffers and athletes.
— Former Irish star Troy Murphy (now with the Indiana Pacers) at a Friday night NCAA reception, not long after he had scored 29 points (14 of 17 shooting) and grabbed 15 rebounds that night in a home OT loss to Miami.
— Former Irish basketball assistants Parker Laketa (now in Charlotte), Scott Thompson (he now works for the University of Arizona Cancer Center in development), Fred Quartlebaum (formerly at St. John’s), Peter Gillen (he does radio during NCAA Tournament).
— Bubba Cunningham (AD at Tulsa), plus a number of Duke staffers (Boo Corrigan, Stan Wilcox, Nina King) now part of Kevin White’s operation in Durham.
— Former Irish women’s basketball player Krissi Davis.

Three individuals with Notre Dame connections are part of the Final Four on an official basis:
Notre Dame sports information director Bernie Cafarelli is part of the staff that runs all the Final Four media operations each year.
Former Notre Dame student-athletes Gene Smith (played and coaches football at Notre Dame, now AD at Ohio State) and Mike Bobinski (former baseball pitcher at Notre Dame, now AD at Xavier) are members of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.