Friday, April 29, 2011

1. Close games have not been friendly to the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team this season. Coming into Friday afternoon’s BIG EAST game at the U of L Lacrosse Stadium, the Irish were just 1-4 in games decided by two goals or less with two losses coming in overtime. Sophomore midfielder Jenny Granger put those bad memories all in the past when she converted a pass from junior Maggie Tamasitis with 0.8 seconds left on the clock to give Notre Dame a wild, 16-15 win over the Cardinals. The win clinched a spot for the Irish in next week’s BIG EAST Tournament that will be held in Washington, D.C. Granger, who hadn’t scored a goal since April 8, led the Notre Dame offense with four goals in the game. Kaitlyn Brosco, Shaylyn Blaney and Kailene Abt each added three goals while Jaimie Morrison scored twice and Megan Sullivan once in the win. The win evened Notre Dame’s overall record to 8-8 on the season and improved the Irish to 5-2 in the BIG EAST, clinching fourth place in the conference standings. The loss dropped Louisville to 10-7 overall and 3-5 in conference play. The Irish trailed 5-2 with 13 minutes left in the first half but rallied to make it 8-6 at halftime. From there, the score was tied four times with the Cards tying the game with 4:32 left in the contest at 15-15. Irish head coach Tracy Coyne took a timeout at that point and the Irish won the ensuing draw with Blaney grabbing her second of the day. From there the Irish tried to run out the clock. They were able to work the clock down to under one minute. Following a loose ball in the waning moments Abt broke down the middle but fired a shot wide that went out of bounds with one second on the clock. Tamasitis was on the end line and found Granger all alone on the extended goal line and the sophomore from East Setauket, N.Y., fired it into an open goal past goalkeeper Katie Zoeller as time expired. The assist was Tamasitis’ fifth of the game. The game officials conferred following the goal and ruled that Granger’s shot crossed the goal line before time expired to give the Irish the win.

2. Former Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph Friday night was selected with the 43rd overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft and was the first Fighting Irish player taken in this year’s draft. Rudolph becomes the third Notre Dame tight end drafted in the first two rounds in the last six years (Anthony Fasano, Dallas, 2006, second round; John Carlson, Seattle, 2008, second round) and the seventh Fighting Irish tight end selected since 2001. Rudolph becomes the first Notre Dame player drafted by the Vikings since center John Sullivan in 2008 (sixth round, 187th selection). One of the most talented tight ends in school history, Rudolphtotaled 90 receptions for 1,032 yards with eight touchdowns and started 28 of 29 career games played in his three seasons at Notre Dame. Rudolph totaled the fourth-most receptions and receiving yards by a tight end in school history. Despite missing nine games as asophomore and junior due to injury, Rudolph was named a semifinalist in 2009 and 2010 for the John Mackey Award (college football’s top tight end). Prior to the 2010 season, he was named first-team preseason All-America by Sporting News, Lindy’s and Yahoo! Sports. As a junior, Rudolph tallied 28 receptions for 328 receiving yards and three TDs while starting each of the first six games. He was on pace to break Notre Dame’s single-season record of receptions by a tight end and record the second-most receiving yards in a season by an Irish tight end prior to sustaining a season-ending hamstring injury. The highlight of Rudolph’s 2010 season occurred in the second game as he tallied a career-best 164 receiving yards on eight receptions and one TD against Michigan. Included in that game was a 95-yard touchdown reception, the second-longest pass play in Notre Dame history. In 2009, Rudolph was the only sophomore named a semifinalist for the Mackey Award. He started nine of 10 games played and ranked third on the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns with 33 catches for 364 yards and three TDs. Rudolph became the first freshman to start a season opener at tight end for the Irish in 2008 and he started every game in his rookie season. Rudolph caught 29 passes for 340 yards and two TDs and established freshman tight end receiving records.

3. The second-seeded Notre Dame men’s tennis team handled the seventh-seeded Georgetown in a 4-0 decision Friday during the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship at the Courtney Tennis Center on the Notre Dame campus. Freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) claimed the match point that advances Notre Dame to the semifinals Saturday. After being delayed due to a lengthy Marquette and USF match, juniorNiall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and sophomore SpencerTalmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) defeated Michael Clarke and Andrew Bruhn, 8-2 at first doubles. The tandem’s record improves to 15-10 on the season. Senior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) clinched the doubles point for the Irish in their first match on the Courtney Tennis Center this season. The duo downed Charlie Caris and Bryan Miller, 8-3 to earn the point. Andrews and senior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) were at a 7-2 score versus Casey Distaso and Brian Ward at third doubles before the match went unfinished and singles action began. With the doubles point in hand, Havens handled Andrew Bruhn inconsecutive 6-0 sets at second singles to improve to a 9-12 dual season record. Sophomore Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine-Crest) defeated Alex Friedlich, 6-0, 6-3 at fifth singles. Moros has now won eight consecutive matches as he enters the semifinals of the tournament. Andrews clinched thematch, 6-3, 6-0 at fourth doubles and defeated Distaso to conclude the contest at 4-0 versus the Hoyas. The Irish are ranked 30th nationally and face 48th-ranked USF Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Courtney Tennis Center with the weather permitting in the semifinal round of the 2011 BIG EAST Championship.4. The 23rd-ranked and top-seeded Notre Dame women’s tennis team advanced to the BIG EAST semifinals Friday at the Leeper Park Tennis Center in South Bend with a convincing 4-0 victory over eighth-seeded Georgetown. The Irish did not drop a set in any of the matches that finished. The team got off to a quickstart in doubles, winning handily at both No. 3 and 2 doubles, respectively. The freshman duo of Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) concluded first, taking down Madeline Jaeger and Alex Sebia at No. 3, 8-1. The victory is the second straight for the pairing and is their seventh victory of the dual campaign. Senior Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) then closed out the doubles play with an 8-1 decision over Lauren Greco and Victoria Sekely at No. 2 doubles. The victory improves the Irish tandem to 8-7 in dual competition. Leading 7-2 and up 40-15 in the deciding game, Notre Dame juniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) did not finish their match at No. 1 doubles against Stephanie Wetmore and Tina Tehrani as the doubles point had already been clinched. In singles action, Sabacinski wasted little time pushing the margin to 2-0, taking down Alexandra Landers at No. 6, 6-1, 6-1. The freshman has now won three consecutive matches and is 15-14 overall on the season. McGaffigan then moved the contest to match point, defeating Jaeger at No. 5 singles, 6-1, 6-2. She has also won three consecutive dual matches and is now 7-4 since making the move to the No. 5 court. Mathews, ranked 58th in the most recent ITA polls, clinched the victory for the Irish with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Greco at No. 2 singles. The win improves Mathews to 17-3 at No. 2 and 20-7 overall on the season. The remaining three matches went unfinished with Frilling leading Wetmore 6-3, 3-4 at No. 1 singles, Kellner leading Sekely 6-0, 4-2 at No. 3 and Rafael leading Tehrani 6-2, 3-1 at No. 4. The victory moves Notre Dame into the semifinal round for a noon (ET) showdown on Saturday with the winner of fourth seeded Louisville and fifth seeded Marquette. The Irish have not played Louisville this season, while they defeated Marquette on April 23, 6-1.

5. Notre Dame women’s golf head coach Susan Holt was named the BIG EAST Women’s Golf Coach of the Year, while senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy), junior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) and freshmen Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) and Kristina Nhim have been named to the 2011 All-BIG EAST Women’s Golf Team, it was announced by the league office Friday afternoon. Head coach Susan Holt led the team to their fourth BIG EAST Championship. During the regular season she assisted the squad to fourfirst-place finishes and managed to finish in the top 10 in each tournamentduring the 2010-11 season with seven of those finishes being in the top five. This marks Park’s third selection to the All-BIG EAST team, while Huffer earned the honor for the third consecutive time during her career. If Huffer wins the honor again next year she will join 2010 graduate Annie Brophy and 2007 graduate Noriko Nakazaki as being the only women’s golfers in program history to boast that honor.

6. The honors continue to flow in for the 2010 NCAA national champion Notre Dame women’s soccer team, as the Fighting Irish will be recognized for their latest title victory on Sunday at 4 p.m. (ET) prior to the South Bend Silverhawks’baseball game against the Great Lakes (Mich.) Loons at Coveleski Stadium inSouth Bend. Members of the Notre Dame squad will be on hand for the ceremony, which will feature a video highlight tribute, and will see assistant coach Ken Nuber throw out the first pitch (head coach Randy Waldrum currently is in southern California, assisting at the United States Under-20 National Team camp). Tickets for this game are on sale at the Coveleski Stadium box office, calling (574) 235-9988, or by going on-line to the Silverhawks’ web site at www.silverhawks.com. The South Bend Silverhawks are the Midwest League (Class A) affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, while the Great Lakes Loons are affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

7. Notre Dame men’s tennis captain Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn.) has been chosen as the first-ever male recipient of the American Eagle Outfitters Michael Tranghese Postgraduate Leadership Award, as selected by the BIG EAST Conference Academic Affairs Committee. In its inaugural year, the award is named for Michael Tranghese, the BIG EAST’s first full-time employee who served as commissioner of the conference from 1990 to 2009. Annually, the Conference will honor one male and one female student-athlete from a BIG EAST-sponsored sport who have been admitted to a degree-granting or professional program for the following year and who have demonstrated leadership through excellence in academic credentials, athletic performance and depth of commitment to service within the institution or the community. Tennis player Amy Zhang of Rutgers University has been designated as the female recipient. Both Davis and Zhang will receive a $5,000 scholarship totheir postgraduate studies. Davis, the first-ever two-time captain in the history of the Notre Dame men’s tennis program, will graduate in May 2011 from the University’s College of Sciencewith a degree in science business and plans to attend medical school in thefall at Vanderbilt University. He owns a 3.933 grade point average and has been a Dean’s List member in all seven of his semesters at Notre Dame. A three-time member of the BIG EAST Academic All-Star Team, he was the 2010 recipient of the league’s Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence award and also was Notre Dame’s institutional male recipient of the BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete award this past January. A four-year starter who has played in every match throughout his collegiate career and has been part of teams that have played in the NCAA tournament on three occasions, Davis has helped lead the Irish to a 15-10 mark this season and a No. 30 ranking in the most recent Campbell/ITA poll. He currently owns a 17-4 overall record in singles play and is 20-13 overall in doubles matches during the 2010-11 campaign. Davis and his then doubles partner, Stephen Havens, were ranked as high as No. 28 this season.

8. The Notre Dame men’s golf team, for the first time since the conference established awards three years ago, swept each of the three major accolades, it was announced by the conference on Thursday. Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) was named Player of the Year, Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) won Freshman of the Year and head coach Jim Kubinski was named Coach of the Year. Scodro, the 2011 BIG EAST individual tournament champion, was named BIG EAST Player of the Year on the heels of finishing in the top 10 in seven of his 10 tournamentsthis season. Along with that, he also led the conference with an overall 73.11 scoring average. Platt, identical to Scodro, became the first Irish player to win his respective award of Freshman of the Year. He concluded the 2011 BIG EAST Championship as the highest freshman finisher, shooting a three-round score of 218 (+5) to tie for sixth place. Kubinski led Notre Dame to the 2011 men’s BIG EAST title, his third at the helm of the Irish. Overall, he helped navigate the Irish to seven top-five finishes on the year, including winning the title at the St. Mary’s Invitational, The Battle at the Warren and the BIG EAST Championship. Alongwith Scodro and Platt being named to the all-BIG EAST team, junior Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) also was named to the squad. The three selections mark the most among any team in the conference with Louisville placing two players on the list.

9. Darius Oliver, author and publisher of Planet Golf and Planet Golf USA, is coming to Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course. Oliver is a respected writer, course rater and international golf consultant who visited the best 1,000 golf courses in the world while undertaking his Planet Golf projects, including every single Top 100 ranked course in America. Planet Golf was described by Greg Norman as “the finest and most comprehensive directory on golf courses I’ve ever seen”. Named the #1 Golf Book for 2009 by GOLF Magazine, Planet Golf USA was described by Joe Passov (course & rankings editor) as “a superb sequel to Oliver’s original compendium of the world’s best courses.” The foreword was written by Ben Crenshaw, designer of the Warren Course. The Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame has the great pleasure of hosting Oliver for a special event on Wednesday, May 11. Oliver will provide a brief overview of his work, a Q&A session and a book signing. Drinks and light hors’ oeuvres will be served during the event. The book(s) are not only a must for your golf collection, but having a copy personalized to friends and colleagues will make a great gift. The books retail at $60 but can be obtained at the event for $30 each. A discount coupon good for merchandise in the pro shop the day of the event is attached to the registration form. The schedule for the event is as follows:

1:00-5:30         Golf at the Warren Golf Course(optional)*
5:30               Cocktails and light hors’ oeuvres (Warren Clubhouse)
6:00-7:30       Darius Oliver, lecture, Q&A, and book signing

We are offering a special rate of $40 for golf with a cart to attendees
Call 574-631-4116 to register or for more information.

10. Notre Dame wasted another stellar pitching performance from senior RHP Brian Dupra. The Irish stranded 10, including seven in scoring position and four at third base, as Seton Hall took the BIG EAST baseball series opener, 2-1, Friday night at Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame dropped to 14-21-1 overall and 5-10 in the league, while the Pirates improved to 20-19 and 7-9. On a night where the Irish missed out on a handful of scoring chances, Notre Dame’s final attempt to tie the game was erased following a rarely-seen runners’ interference in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the Irish trailing,2-1,senior David Casey led off the inning with a single to right field. Sophomore DH Adam Norton then laid down a sacrifice bunt attempt. Seton Hall closer Ryan Harvey stumbled as he attempted to field the ball and appeared to throw wide of the first base bag as the ball caromed off Norton’s back, but the Irish sophomore was ruled out of the baseline. Sophomore Charlie Markson, who pinch ran for Casey, and raced all the way to third base, was ordered to return to first. Harvey proceeded to punch out the next two Notre Dame batters to end the game and register his fourth save of the year. He tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief and yielded just one hit. Harvey struck out five and walked one. Senior Joe DiRocco, one of only two BIG EAST weekend starters without a loss, improved to 6-0 on the year. He scattered nine hits in 6.1 innings of work. DiRocco fanned four and walked two, but danced out of trouble all game long. Despite Notre Dame going 4-for-18 with runners on base and just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, Dupra did everything that could have been asked to keep the Irish in the game. The right-handed hurler tossed Notre Dame’s first complete game of the season. He limited the Pirates to a pair of earned runs on seven hits and punched out 10. Dupra retired 11 of the last 12 Seton Hall hitters, including the final nine of the contest, but was charged with the loss. Fifth-year senior RF Herman Petzold paced the Irish 10-hit attack. He went 3-for-4. Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico and freshman LF Eric Jagielo each went 2-for-4. Jagielo scored Notre Dame’s only run. Junior CF Alex Robinson went 1-for-4 with an RBI single. Notre Dame honored former baseball monogram winner Chuck Lennon prior to and throughout Friday’s game. A member of the Notre Dame community for 51 years, Lennon has served as the executive director of the University’s Alumni Association since 1981. He will retire on June 30, 2011, after 30 years of service to the more than 128,000 members of the Notre Dame global alumni community. Notre Dame and Seton Hall return to action at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

1. The University of Notre Dame can claim the 2010 national championship for graduating its student-athletes. Whether measured by the federal government in its Department of Education report or by the NCAA through its Graduation Success Rate (GSR) numbers, graduation rates for Notre Dame student-athletes rank either number one or among the handful of national leaders in all major categories among all major football-playing colleges and universities.

Notre Dame’s institutional research found that Irish student-athletes rank number one in eight of 10 major categories – ranking second in one and fourth in the other. Those match the best results for Notre Dame in the six years the NCAA has published both the GSR and federal numbers. The eight number-one rankings equal the same number of top rankings that came a year ago in 2009 figures.

For the second year in a row Notre Dame leads the nation in all five GSR categories — for all student-athletes (at 99), male student-athletes (98), female student-athletes (100), black student-athletes (98) and football student-athletes (96). Notre Dame also ranks number one in the federal numbers for all student-athletes (91), male student-athletes (87) and female student-athletes (97).

Both the federal graduation-rate figures and the GSR numbers for Notre Dame student-athletes rated the Irish in five major categories among the 120 football-playing institutions in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A).

The federally mandated NCAA Graduation-Rates Report, the 20th such survey issued by the association, covers students whoenrolled between 2000 and 2003 at all Division I institutions. The federal graduation rates are based on the raw percentage of student-athletes who entered an institution and graduated within six years. Students who leave or transfer, regardless of academic standing, are considered non-graduates. All those receiving athletics aid are included in the statistics. All military academies are exempt from the federal survey because they do not offer grants-in-aid to student-athletes. The GSR was created to more accurately reflect actual graduation rates by including transfer data in the calculation. College anduniversity presidents asked the NCAA to develop a new methodology that takes into account the mobility among students in today’s higher education environment. Research indicates that approximately 60 percent of all new bachelor’s degree recipients are attending more than one undergraduate institution during their collegiate careers.

In calculations that include all student-athletes in all sports, Notre Dame ranks first among the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools in the GSR figures, which were initiated in 2005 by the NCAA. The University’s 99 percent GSR for all its student-athletes ranks ahead of the 97 figures for Duke and Northwestern. Using the federal formula, Notre Dame graduated a four-year average of 91 percent of its student-athletes, tying with Stanford for the top spot.

Notre Dame graduated 97 percent of all women competing in varsity athletics (up three points from a year ago), to rank first among its peer institutions based on the federal calculations (ahead of Stanford at 95). Among men, Notre Dame’s 87 percent federal rate also was first, tied with Stanford. Notre Dame graduated 86 percent of its black student-athletes, ranking second nationally (behind Rice) based on the federal rate, and Irish football players graduated at an 85 percent rate, to rank fourth.

In the GSR standings, the Irish scored a clean sweep in all five categories. In addition to its number-one ranking for allstudent-athletes, Notre Dame finished by itself in first among female student athletes at 100, first among male student-athletes at 98 percent (ahead of Northwestern and Duke at 96), first among football players at 96 percent, and first among black student-athletes at 98 percent (ahead of runner-up Northwestern at 96).

2010 NCAA Graduation Rates All data for student-athletes who enrolled between 2000 and 2003 (numbers are percentages)

All Student-Athletes

Federal Rate
1. (tie) Notre Dame, Stanford, 91

3. Northwestern, 88

4. Duke 87

5. Boston College, 85

6. Rice, 83

7. Penn State, 80

8. Wake Forest, 79

9. (tie) Miami (Ohio), Virginia, 77

1. Notre Dame, 99

2. (tie) Duke, Northwestern, 97

4. (tie) Boston College, U.S. Naval Academy, 96

6. Rice, 95

7. Stanford, 94

8. (tie) Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, 93

10. (tie) Penn State, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy, 90

Male Student-Athletes

Federal Rate
1. (tie) Notre Dame, Stanford, 87

3. Northwestern, 86

4. Duke, 84

5. Boston College, 80

6. Rice, 77

7. (tie) Penn State, Vanderbilt, 74

9. Miami (Ohio), 73

10. (tie) Southern Mississippi, Wake Forest, 71

1. Notre Dame, 98

2. (tie) Duke, Northwestern, 96

4. U.S. Naval Academy, 95

5. Boston College, 94

6. Rice, 93

7. Vanderbilt, 92

8. Stanford, 91

9 (tie) U.S. Air Force Academy, Wake Forest, 90

Female Student-Athletes

Federal Rate
1. Notre Dame, 97

2. Stanford, 95

3. Wake Forest, 94

4. (tie) Northwestern, Rice, 92

6. Duke, 91

7. Tulane, 90

8. Boston College, 89

9. Penn State, 88

10. North Carolina, 87

1. Notre Dame, 100

2. (tie) Boston College, Duke, U.S. Naval Academy, Wake Forest, 99

6. (tie) Northwestern, Rice, 98

8. (tie) Clemson, Miami (Ohio), Pittsburgh, Stanford, 97

Black Student-Athletes

Federal Rate

1. Rice, 89
2. Notre Dame, 86

3. Northwestern, 83

4. Vanderbilt, 79

5. (tie) Duke, Penn State, Stanford, Wake Forest, 75

9. Boston College, 74

10. Rutgers, 71

1. Notre Dame, 98

2. Northwestern, 96

3. Rice, 94

4. Vanderbilt, 92

5. Duke, 91

6. Boston College, 88

7. (tie) Penn State, U.S. Naval Academy, 87

9. Wake Forest, 86

10. Rutgers, 85

Football Student-Athletes

Federal Rate

1. Boston College, 87

2. (tie) Duke, Northwestern, 86
4. Notre Dame, 85

5. Rice, 84

6. Stanford, 82

7. Penn State, 77

8. Southern Mississippi, 73

9. (tie) Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio), 72

1. Notre Dame, 96

2. (tie) Duke, Northwestern, 95

4. Rice, 93

5. U.S. Naval Academy, 92

6. Boston College, 90

7. Vanderbilt, 89

8. Rutgers, 88

9. (tie) Stanford, U.S. Air Force Academy, 86

Since the NCAA first published GSR numbers in 2005, here are the trends for Notre Dame in all 10 categories over the six years of graduation rates (includes ranking and raw graduation percentage; SA stands for student-athletes):

Category   2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
All SAs Fed. 1st at 90 2nd at 89 3rd at 89 2nd at 89 2nd at 90 1st at 91
  GSR 2nd at 98 2nd at 98 1st at 98 1st at 98 1st at 99 1st at 99
Male SAs Fed. 1st at 87 1st at 87 3rd at 85 2nd at 87 1st at 88 1st at 87
  GSR 2nd at 98 2nd at 97 2nd at 97 2nd at 97 1st at 98 1st at 98
Female SAs Fed. 1st at 96 2nd at 94 1st at 94 1st at 93 1st at 94 1st at 97
  GSR 5th at 99 2nd at 99 1st at 100 1st at 100 1st at 100 1st at 100
Black SAs Fed. 6th at 78 6th at 84 8th at 75 1st at 84 1st at 85 2nd at 86
  GSR 6th at 93 3rd at 95 4th at 91 2nd at 96 1st at 97 1st at 98
Football SAs Fed. 4th at 85 6th at 84 6th at 79 4th at 85 3rd at 85 4th at 85
  GSR 2nd at 96 3rd at 95 3rd at 93 2nd at 94 1st at 96 1st at 96

Over the six years worth of numbers of both the federal rates and the GSR, Notre Dame had 60 possible rankings in the six categories (among the FBS institutions) and 27 times ranked first, 16 timesranked second and six times ranked third.

The 2010 rankings mark:

— The fourth straight year Notre Dame’s GSR for all-student-athletes has ranked number one.

— The fourth straight year Notre Dame has ranked number one in female student-athlete graduation in both the GSR and federal categories.

— The second consecutive year that Notre Dame’s GSR numbers for male student-athletes, black student-athletes and football players all have ranked first.

— Improved graduation numbers for Notre Dame in four categories compared to 2009 numbers – from 90 to 91 in the federal rate for all student-athletes, from 94 to 97 in the federal rate for female student-athletes, from 85 to 86 in the federal rate for black student-athletes and from 97 to 98 in the GSR figure for black student-athletes.

Only five schools ranked in the top 10 in all 10 categories, and here are their average figures:
1. Notre Dame, 93.7

2. Northwestern, 91.7

3. Duke, 90.1

4. Rice, 89.8

5. Boston College, 88.2

2. The temperature hit 92 degrees at the USF Softball Stadium but #22 Notre Dame stormed Tampa with a cold front as freshman pitcher Laura Winter notched the first no-hitter of her career during a 1-0 BIG EAST Conference softball win Wednesday over USF in Tampa. Winter punched out nine Bulls as 51 of her 77 offerings went for strikes while recording the 37th no-hitter in program history. Jody Valdivia pitched the last Irish no-hitter in 2010, and Winter became the first freshman to accomplish the feat since Kristin Schmidt did so in 2001. USF (32-17 overall, 12-3 BIG EAST), winnerof five straight entering the doubleheader, was also blanked in the closinggame by a 5-0 count. Notre Dame (35-8, 11-1) entered the day with the BIG EAST’s best batting average (.375) and the Bulls boasted the league’s lowest ERA (0.67). USF displayed its ownfreshman standout pitcher in Sara Nevins, the league leader with a 7-0 BIG EAST record and a conference ERA of 0.31. In the end, it was Notre Dame’s pitching that stole the show in the opener and again in game two. Sharing the spotlight with Winter was Brittany O’Donnell, who took a no-hitter into the sixth in the back end of the twin bill. USF ended its 10.0 inning hitless drought with a single but left three runners on the pond in the inning. O’Donnell earned her seventh win in just her fourth start behind a one-hit effort in 6.0 frames. The sweep marked the second time this season Notre Dame posted back-to-back shutout wins. Notre Dame returns home for a three-game league series with St. John’s (a doubleheader Saturday and single game Sunday).

3. Wednesday night’s Notre Dame baseball game against Butler has been postponed due to inclement weather. A make-up game will be considered for a yet-to-be determined date. Notre Dame and Seton Hall open a three-game BIG EAST series with at 6:35 p.m. ET Friday at Frank Eck Stadium. Saturday and Sunday’s games will begin at 2:05 p.m. and 11:05 a.m.

4. Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas), a senior on the Notre Dame women’s tennis team, has been named BIG EAST Player of the Week, it was announced by the league on Wednesday. The senior earns the distinction for the first time in her Irish career in what is the final week that the award is bestowed for the 2010-11 season. Rafael helped the Irish to a Senior Day victory over DePaul (6-1) on April 23, claiming both a doublesvictory as well as locking up the match-clinching point in singles. She got her day started teaming with Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) to take downKelsey Lawson and Gia McKnight at No. 2 doubles, 8-2, to secure an Irish doubles sweep over the Blue Demons. In singles, Rafael clinched the match for Notre Dame after defeating Christiana Raymond at No. 4, 6-0, 6-1. The senior has won five consecutive matches since moving to the No. 4 court and has not dropped a set in the process. She finished the dual season with a record of 10-9.

5. The BIG EAST Tennis Championships are beginning today on the Notre Dame campus – but neither the Irish men’s or women’s team begins play until Friday. In the women’s bracket, Notre Dame is the #1 seed and will play in the quarterfinals at 9 a.m. Friday against the winner of today’s match between #8 Georgetown and #9 Cincinnati. Women’s semifinals are at noon Saturday -and the women’s title match is set for 9 a.m. Sunday. On the men’s side, the Irish are the #2 seed (Louisville is #1) and they will play in the quarterfinals at 9 a.m. Friday against #7 Georgetown. Men’s semifinals are at 9 a.m. Saturday and the men’s final match is set for 9 a.m. Sunday.

6. The NCAA this week released its first RPI numbers for men’s lacrosse – and Syracuse is #1 followed by Notre Dame. Those two teams meet in Syracuse at 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU. The RPI list included #3 Cornell, #4 Villanova and #5 Duke. Notre Dame’s final regular-season opponent, North Carolina, was #13.

7. Former all-star Notre Dame men’s lacrosse goalie Scott Rodgers has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with lacrosse equipment company Brine. Rodgers competes with the outdoor MLL Toronto Nationals, the indoor NLL Minnesota Swarm and also has played with the U.S. national team.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

1. You can help Notre Dame baseball pitcher Cole Johnson win the prestigious Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award by voting here (you can vote once per day through May 4): http://www.seniorclassaward.com/vote/baseball_2011/

2. No fewer than 17 of the nation’s top 50 collegiate women’s golf programs, including #25 Notre Dame, headline a high-powered 24-team field at the 2011 NCAA Central Regional, which will be played May 5-7 at the Warren Golf Course (par 72/6,208 yards) on the Notre Dame campus. On Monday evening, the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Committee unveiled the fields for the three regional sites, along with the qualifying individuals for each site who were not on one of the selected squads. The top eight teams and top two individual competitors (not on an advancing team) from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championships May 18-21 at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas.

UCLA, the #2 team in the nation according to the latest Golfstat ratings, is the top seed in the Central Regional after earning an at-large bid out of the Pacific-10 Conference. The Bruins are one of 17 teams in the Central Regional field that appear in the top 50 of the current published Golfstat ratings, with the others (listed in order of their seed) as follows: #5 Duke, #8 LSU, #11 Arkansas, #16 Wake Forest, #20 Texas, #14 Tulane, #24 Stanford, #25 Notre Dame (making its sixth regional appearance and aiming to advance to the NCAA finals for the first time in school history), #30 Ohio State, #32 KentState, #35 Chattanooga, #40 Northwestern, #39 Minnesota, #43 UNLV, #48 Oklahoma State and #45 North Texas. Of these 17 top-50 squads, four earned automaticbids from their respective conferences (Texas – Big 12; Notre Dame – BIG EAST; Kent State – MAC; Chattanooga – Southern), while the other 13 teams collected at-large bids to the regional.

Rounding out this year’s Central Regional field (and listed in seeding order) are: Wisconsin, East Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio Valley Conference champion Morehead State, Missouri Valley Conference champion Illinois State and Horizon League champion Butler. North Texas, Morehead State and Butler have advanced to regional play for the first time in their respective histories (MSU’s program is in just its third year of existence), while three Big Ten participants will be competing for the first time in atleast eight years (Illinois and Wisconsin last played in 2003, while Minnesota most recently tasted regional competition in 2001).

Among the notable individuals scheduled to join their teams at the 2011 NCAA Central Regional are LSU’s Megan McChrystal (ranked fifth in the nation by Golfweek and seventh in the Golfstat Cup), and Wake Forest’s Cheyenne Woods (the ACC medalist and niece of 14-time PGA Tour major champion Tiger Woods). They will be joined by six individual qualifiers — Harin Lee (St. John’s), Lindsay Gahm (Indiana), Bonnie Hu (Harvard), Nina Muehl (East Tennessee State), Brittany Kelly (Ball State) and Britney Hamilton (Western Michigan).

The NCAA regionals are contested in a three-day, 54-hole format, with 18 holes played each day. Teams will compete in a practice round beginning at 7:30 a.m. (EDT) on May 4 (Wednesday), before taking part in three rounds of competition May 5-7 (Thursday-Saturday), with the first tee times set for 8:00 a.m. (EDT) each day from the No. 1 and No. 10 tees. Admission to the WarrenGolf Course for the NCAA Central Regional is free.

3. Notre Dame baseball has made a couple of slight adjustments to this weekend’s BIG EAST matchup against Seton Hall at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish and Pirates will open the weekend series at 6:35 p.m. on Friday. The series will then conclude at 11:05 a.m. Sunday,following a 2:05 p.m. Saturday game. Notre Dame will honor former baseball monogram winner Chuck Lennon during Friday’s game. A member of the Notre Dame community for 51 years, Lennon has served as the executive director of the University’s Alumni Association since 1981. He will retire on June 30, 2011, after 30 years of service to the more than 128,000 members of the Notre Dame global alumni community. Notre Dame will not only showcase a fireworks showfollowing Friday night’s game, but will also give away the 2011 Irish baseball trading cards.

4. Notre Dame junior Maddie Buttinger (Waterloo, Ontario/Resurrection C.S.S.) claimed the heptathlon crown at the Polytan Invitational Saturday at the Robert C. Haugh Track andField Complex in Bloomington, Ind. The junior scored 5,255 points to win the eventhandily, in her best finish this season. Malaikah Love of Southern Illinois was the second-place finisher with 5,098 points. Buttinger began with a fifth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles in 14.80, followed by finishing first in the high jump (1.70m). In the shotput, the junior threw 12.32m to finish first, while she claimed third place in the 200-meter dash in 25.69. To conclude the event, Buttinger placed first in the long jump (5.75m), fifth place (30.12m) in the javelin throw and first place in the 800-meter run in 2:23.77. Buttinger and the rest of the women’s track and field team, along with the men’s team, continues their seasons at the Drake Relays, which begin Thursday, and at the Hillsdale Relays on Friday.

5. Look for a busy weekend on campus for Notre Dame athletic teams:

– The Irish baseball team plays host to Butler tomorrow, then Seton Hall Friday, Saturday and Sunday in single games.

– The softball team plays host to St. John’s in a Saturday twin bill and a Sunday single game.

– The BIG EAST Conference comes to campus for its men’s and women’s tennis championships Thursday through Sunday.

Maybe the most noteworthy single game of the weekend will take place Saturday night in Syracuse, N.Y., where the #1-ranked and unbeaten Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team will take on #4-ranked and once-beaten Syracuse. The Orange had ranked atop the polls until its home loss to Cornell on April 12. ESPNU will televise the game at 7 p.m.

6. With the NFL Draft on the horizon, here’s a little history on the event that began in 1936:

All-Time PicksNotre Dame 465, USC 463, Ohio State 393, Oklahoma 344, Michigan 335, Nebraska 331, Tennessee 329, Penn State 323, Texas 321, Miami 295

Picks Since 1994 (when draft was reduced to seven rounds) – Ohio State 105, Tennessee 96, USC 94, Miami 91, Florida 90, Georgia 84, Nebraska 83, Notre Dame 78, Michigan 72, Penn State 71, LSU 71

First-Round Picks – USC 74, Ohio State 66, Notre Dame 61, Miami 59, Michigan 42, Tennessee 42, Texas 42, Florida 42, Oklahoma 41, Penn State 36, Alabama 36

Monday, April 25, 2011

1. The No. 1 Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team used a season-high 14 goals en route to a 14-3 victory over Providence on Saturday afternoon at the Lennon Family Field in Providence. The Fighting Irish notched seven unanswered second-quarter goals to break open the contest and another 7-0 spurt to finish the game and remain undefeated this season. Notre Dame (10-0, 5-0) was led offensively by junior midfielder Max Pfeifer, who had a season-high three goals. Midfielder Zach Brenneman along with attackmen Nicholas Beattie, Edison Parzanese and Colin Igoe all had two goals. Sean Rogers, David Earl and Steve Murphy each had one tally for the Irish. Providence (3-10, 0-4) scored first asAndrew Barton found the back of the net with 6:07 left in the first quarter.The Friars led 1-0 after the first period.Notre Dame’s first 7-0 run was ignited by a Brenneman goal just 32 seconds into the second quarter. Pfeifer scored less than a minute later to give the Irish the lead for good. A man-up goal from Parzanese off an assist from Ryan Foley, who had a team-high two assists on the day, gave Notre Dame a 3-1 lead with 13 minutes remaining in the first half. Tallies from Brenneman and Murphy gave the Irish a four-goal cushion (5-1) by the 4:17 mark of the second quarter. Notre Dame kept the pressure on with scores from Igoe and Pfeifer to claim a six-goal lead (7-1) with just over two minutes left in the stanza. Notre Dame’s final 7-0 run began with a goal from Rogers at the 12:17 mark of the third quarter. Pfeifer completed the second hat trick of his career with 10:39 remaining in the third quarter. Earl gave Notre Dame a seven-goal lead (10-3) with 8:34 on the clock in the period. Igoe’s second goal of the game put the Irish on top by eight (11-3) by the end of the third quarter. Parzanese pushed the Notre Dame lead to nine (12-3) in the early stages of the fourth quarter, while two goals from Beattie produced the final result. The two goals from both Parzanese and Beattie were season-high totals. Notre Dame outshot Providence 46-23. Sophomore goalie John Kemp picked up his 10th win of the season by making eight saves in 54:45 of action for the Irish. Notre Dame senior Brendan Moore played the final 5:15 in goal and made one save. Irish freshman Liam O’Connor won 13 of 21 faceoff attempts. The 14 goals from Notre Dame were the most for the Irish since a 14-7 victory over Denver last season. The 11-goal margin of victory was the largest for the Irish since a 12-point win over Dartmouth (19-7) during the 2009 campaign. The Fighting Irish will return to action Saturday at No. 4 Syracuse. Opening faceoff against the Orange is slated for 7 p.m. (ET). The game will be aired live on ESPNU.

2. Freshman midfielder Kaitlyn Brosco continued her red-hot scoring, notching four goals on Saturday afternoon to help lead Notre Dame to a 13-10 upset women’s lacrosse win over No. 16 Georgetown on Senior Day at Arlotta Stadium. Brosco, who now has eight goals in her last two games, got plenty of help from her upperclassmen teammates as junior Maggie Tamasitis scored three times while seniors Kaitlin Keena, Shaylyn Blaney and Ansley Stewart produced a pair of goals each in their final game at the home of Irish lacrosse in the big win. The Hoyas, who were coming off wins over BIG EAST league leaders Loyola and Syracuse prior to Saturday’s game, were led by sophomore Sophia Thomas who scored three times. Kelyn Freedman and Kelsi Bozel added a pair and Georgetown got single goals from Jordy Kirr, Dina Jackson and Hannah Franklin on the afternoon. The win, NotreDame’s first of the season over a ranked team (1-5), improves the Irish to 7-8 overall but 4-2 in BIG EAST play. That gives them sole possession of fourthplace in the conference and the final spot for the BIG EAST Tournament. Notre Dame leads fifth-place Louisville (3-4) for that final spot and will close the regular season Friday against the Cardinals in Louisville and Sunday at Cincinnati. Georgetown is now 8-6 overall and 6-1 in the BIG EAST and owns a share of first in conference play with tiebreakers against Loyola and Syracuse who each have one loss in the league. The Hoyas finish the regular season at Rutgers on May 1. Georgetown out shot the Irish, 34-27, in the game. Ellie Hilling had another strong game in the Notre Dame goal as she made 14 saves, including 10 in the second half to preserve the win.

3. The 24th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team ended its season on a high note, dispatching DePaul 6-1 on Saturday at the Courtney Tennis Center on Senior Day. The Irish finish the season with a record of 13-9. Senior Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) earned the match-clinching point for the Irish, defeating Christiana Raymond at No. 4 singles, 6-0, 6-1. She has now won five straight matches since moving to the No. 4 court and finishes the regular season 10-9. The Irish built the early lead in doubles, claiming each of the doubles matches. The 11th-ranked duo of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) won their 15th consecutive match at No. 1, knocking off Katarina Milinkovic and Selma Salkovic, 8-2. The Irish pairingfinishes the regular season 18-3. Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) clinched the point at No. 3, taking down Cali Gustafson and Christiana Raymond, 8-4. Thevictory brings an end to the pairing’s three-match losing streak. Rafael and Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) completed the sweep, as they defeated Kelsey Lawson and Gia McKnight at No. 2, 8-2, to finish the season with a 7-6 record as a team at the No. 2 spot. McGaffigan and Sabacinski then quickly pushed the margin to 3-0 with straight-set victories at No. 5 and 6, respectively. McGaffigan did not drop a game in defeating Gustafson, 6-0, 6-0, while Sabacinski only dropped one in a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Samantha Kaneta. Rafael then clinched the match just before #4 Frilling and #61 Mathews wrapped up theirmatches at No. 1 and 2 singles to bump the margin to 6-0. Frilling took downMilinkovic, 6-0, 6-2, and Mathews defeated McKnight, 6-3, 6-1. DePaul got on the board in the last match on court, as Kellner was unable to defeat Lawson at No. 3 singles, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 1-0 (10-4) to bring an end to the Irish freshman’s six-match winning streak. The Irish now turn their attention to postseason play, as the BIG EAST Championship gets underway Thursday. Notre Dame will play host to the tournament for the second consecutive year, hoping to win its fourth consecutive conference crown.

4. The 28th-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team battled No. 29 Louisville, but dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker Saturday at the Bass Rudd Tennis Center in Louisville, Ky. TheIrish were strong at the bottom of their singles lineup, winning at the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 positions. At second doubles, senior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) and junior Casey Watt(Gibsonia, Pa./Pine Richland) dropped to Robert Hall and Alejandro Calligari in an 8-4 decision. Junior Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and sophomore Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) were unable to handle Viktor Maksimcuk and Simon Childs and the Cardinals gained the doubles point after defeating the Irish duo 8-6. Freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) and senior captain Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) rounded out the doubles play as the tandem fell to Austen Childs and Adam Donaldson, 8-6. Moving into singles play, at the No. 1 position 58th-ranked Watt was defeated by No. 15 A. Childs in a two-set match, 6-3, 6-4, while Andrews defeated Hall, 6-2, 6-1 at fourth singles. Havens was downed at the No. 2 position, 6-2, 6-4 by 103rd-ranked Maksimcuk. The Cardinals clinched the match at third singles with senior No. 109 Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) dropping 6-3, 6-4 to S. Childs. Rounding out the Irish lineup with two victories, sophomore Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest) downed Dante Terenzio, 7-6, 6-3 at sixth singles and junior Sam Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) returned to the Irish with a win over Calligari, 7-6, 6-3.Notre Dame now looks to the BIG EAST Conference Championship, which begins Thursday and the Irish will play host to the event for the second straight season.

5. Game one was a pitcher’s duel. Game two was an offensive showcase. No. 23 Notre Dame did alittle bit of everything at Villanova on Thursday to sweep a BIG EAST Conference softball doubleheader, 2-1 and 10-8. Last week against Louisville, Laura Winter (18-3) saw her nine-game winning streak from the circle come to end. But she was near flawless in today’s opener with nine strikeouts while taking a one-hit shutout into the seventh inning. Winter permitted a pair of Villanova (15-18 overall, 2-14 BIG EAST Conference) singles and one earned run in the final frame as Notre Dame held on for the win. She would go on to collect her fourth save of the season in game two. Heather Johnson’s 21-game hitting streak – tying the second-best jaunt in school history – went to the wayside in game one, but she more than made up for it in the latter contest with her second five-RBI output of the season. Johnson’s streak was the nation’s second longest this season entering the doubleheader and was nothing short of remarkable. Prior to the start of the streak, which also included at least one RBI in 17 straight games, Johnson had a .204 batting average and four of her 11 hits went for extra bases. The slugger is now batting .385 with 50 hits, 50 RBI, seven doubles and 11 home runs for a .692 slugging pct. Notre Dame (33-8, 9-1) combined with Villanova to tally 25 hits which produced 18 runs in game two. The final game of the series Saturday was rained out.

6. Notre Dame simply could not muster anything off St. John’s southpaw Kevin Kilpatrick as the Red Storm secured a baseball doubleheader sweep with a 4-1 victory fromJack Kaiser Stadium Thursday afternoon in Queens, N.Y. St. John’s improved to 21-13 overall and 10-4 in the BIG EAST, while the Irish dropped to 14-20-1 and 5-9. Kilpatrick, who improved to 3-2 on the season, used a variety of off-speed pitches to keep Notre Dame off-balance for most of the afternoon. He limited the Irish to one earned run on six hits in 7.1 innings of work. Fitzpatrick struck out five and walked one. Matt Carasiti tossed the final 1.2 scoreless innings of relief to register his third save of the season. Notre Dame, again, made it interesting in the ninth inning. Freshman 1B Trey Mancini led off the frame with a triple off the right field wall. After fifth-year senior RF Herman Petzold and sophomore PH Ricky Palmer struck out, senior SS Mick Doyle drew a walk to bring the tying runner to the plate in senior C Cameron McConnell. The catcher eventually drew a walk to load the bases and bring the go-ahead run to the plate for the second straight inning, but Carasiti struck out freshman PH Chris Reinhart looking to end the game. Senior RHP Cole Johnson picked up the loss and dropped to 3-6 on the season. He went 5.0 innings and was charged with four earned runs on eight hits. Johnson struck out five and walked two. Run support continues to be an issue. Notre Dame has scored a grand total of 18 runs over Johnson’s last nine starts. The Irish have scored one run or less in four of his 10 starts. Mancini was the lone Irish player with more than one hit. Hewent 2-for-4 with a run scored. Senior DH Ty Adams went 1-for-3 with an RBI single. St. John’s sophomore RHP Kyle Hansen struck out a career-high and BIG EAST season-high 15 in a complete game shutout of Notre Dame, 6-0, in the opener of the BIG EAST series. Hansen was almost unhittable and improved to 6-3 on the year. The hard-throwing rightyallowed just four hits, including just one after the fourth inning. Hansen struck out the side in the sixth and posted five other innings with two strikeouts. He retired 11 straight at one point and 16 of the final 17 Notre Dame hitters of the game. Dupra was charged with the loss and dropped to 2-4 on the season. He allowed six runs, five earned, on 11 hits in 7.0 innings of work. Dupra struck out four and walked two. The final game of the series Saturday was rained out.

7. Former Notre Dame men’s basketball assistant coach Lewis Preston is the new head coach at Kennesaw State (Ga.). Preston coached at both Florida (two years) and Penn State (the last three years) after leaving the Irish staff. Preston will be introduced at an 11 a.m. press conference Tuesday. He joins a new athletics director in Vaughn Williams who was announced last week and begins May 2. Preston spent six years on Mike Brey’s staff in South Bend. He replaces Tony Ingle whose contract was not renewed.

8. ESPN.com’s Charlie Creme (the women’s version of Joe Lunardi) has come out with his super-early preseason Top 25 for next year and has Notre Dame slotted at #3 behind Baylor and Tennessee. Texas A&M and Stanford round out the top five, with Connecticut at #6.

9. After receiving rave reviews by attendees in 2010, Kelly Cares Foundation, a charity founded by Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly and his wife Paqui, will co-host the second edition of Football 101 from 5-10 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, on Notre Dame’s campus. Title sponsors of Football 101 are adidas, Meijer and St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. Similar to last year’s sold-out affair, Football 101 gives women at least 21 years old a tutorial session on football basics, an opportunity to meet the Notre Dame football coaching staff, learn fun facts about Fighting Irish football and enjoy an upscale taste of South Bend. Participants also get a behind-the-scenes look at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex (football headquarters) and LaBar Practice Complex (football practice fields). Following check-in near the Guglielmino Athletics Complex (affectionately known as The Gug – pronounced GOOG), a reception will occur on the grounds of The Gug. Drinks and appetizers will be provided by some of Michiana’s top restaurants plus patrons will be able to meet Notre Dame’s coaching staff and browse through items for the evening’s raffle. After the reception, participants will be split into groups and travel from station to station outside at LaBar Practice Complex and inside the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. On the practice fields, the Fighting Irish coaching staff will teach the basics of football form and technique, including passing, catching and kicking footballs. Inside the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, other members of the coaching staff will teach the basic Xs and Os in the football team meeting rooms to participants where they’ll learn more about how missed blocks and route-running can make the difference between a sack and a touchdown. The evening concludes with the entertaining fashion show of athletic gear and football equipment with a special guest serving as Master of Ceremonies. Registration for Football 101 can be found at www.KellyCaresFoundation.org and admission to the event is $108 per person to signify the fact that one out of eight women will develop breast cancer in their life. Paid registration includes admission to all evening activities and a souvenir white adidas Notre Dame football jersey with pink numbers. Following the successful first year of Football 101, this year’s event capacity has been doubled to 600 participants, but walk-up registrations will NOT be accepted. The 2011 Football 101 is expected to sell out so women interested in attending are encouraged to sign up soon. Proceeds will benefit breast cancer prevention, awareness and early detection initiatives chosen by Kelly Cares Foundation. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and workout attire as they will participate in a series of light on-the-field drills and instruction provided by the Notre Dame football coaching staff.

10. The University of Notre Dame will play host to a couple of major events the next two weekends. First, it’s the BIG EAST Conference Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships that begin Thursday and run through Sunday on campus. Then, the following week, Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course will be the site of the 54-hole NCAA Women’s Golf Central Regional that begins May 5 and runs through Saturday, May 7.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

1. With the ascension of the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team to the top of the polls this week in that sport, Irish teams in nine sports have been ranked number one at some point in history:

  1. 1. football

2. men’s basketball

3. women’s basketball

4. hockey

5. women’s soccer

6. baseball

7. men’s lacrosse

8. men’s fencing

9. women’s fencing

That list does not include men’s cross country, men’s golf and men’s tennis – three programs that won national championships (all at least 50 years ago)and essentially finished their seasons as the best team in thecountry in the absence of formal polls.

2. Former Notre Dame men’s basketball assistant David Cason has left Tulsa (where he worked under head coach Doug Wojcik, another former Irish assistant under Matt Doherty) for a position at Vanderbilt. Cason played for current Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings from 1993-95 when Stallings was head coach at Illinois State.

3. The memorial service for former Irish football All-American Jim Seymour will be held at 3:30 p.m., Friday, May 6, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus.

4. Notre Dame senior captains Zach Brenneman (M), David Earl (M) and Kevin Ridgway (D) are among the 25 nominees for the 2011 Tewaaraton Trophy. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate lacrosse player. All three were on the initial 58-man Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List. Five finalists will be selected from the list of nominees. The 11th annual Tewaaraton Award will be presented on June 2, 2011, at the historic Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton) has nine goals and four assists in seven games played this season. He missed two contests due to injury. Brenneman was tabbed as the 2011 BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year in addition to garnering preseason All-America honors from Inside Lacrosse. He was selected fifth overall by the Long Island Lizards in January’s Major League Lacrosse (MLL) draft. Earl (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School) has compiled 10 goals and a team-high seven assists this season. He has registered seven points on five goals and two assists over the past two games. Earl was named a preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse and he was a unanimous selection to the all-BIG EAST preseason team. The Hamilton Nationals selected him in the third round of the 2011 MLL draft. Ridgway (Kensington, Md./Georgetown Prep) has been a key reason why the Notre Dame defense ranks second nationally by surrendering just 6.22 goals per game. He missed two games earlier in the season with an injury, yet has been a starter in the other seven contests. Ridgway’s preseason accolades include All-America and all-BIG EAST honors. Ridgway joined Earl as a third-round pick of the Hamilton Nationals. The trio has helped the Fighting Irish to a 9-0 record thisseason and the first No. 1 ranking in program history. Notre Dame is the only undefeated team in NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse. The Irish return to action on Saturday at Providence. The BIG EAST tilt is slated to begin at noon (ET). The Tewaaraton Award was formally established in August of 2000 by The University Club of Washington, DC and is the pre-eminent lacrosse award, which is awarded annually to the NCAA male and female lacrosse players of the year. Tradition dictates that each year the Tewaaraton Award celebrates one of the six tribal nations of the Iroquois Confederacy: the Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and the Tuscarora. The 11th annual Tewaaraton Award event is set to recognize the Year of the Tuscarora.

5. The latest issue of Sporting News includes a listing of “15 things we learned from spring practices” – with this one appearing as #5 on the list: Finally, Notre Dame can lean on its defense. “There’s a compete different energy on that side of the ball,” said senior center Braxston Cave.

6. Vanderbilt senior Katherine Denkler scored just 1:27 into overtime and sophomore Paige Cahilladded the insurance goal with 23 seconds left to lead the 17th-ranked Commodores to a 12-10 women’s lacrosse win over Notre Dame Wednesday afternoon at the Vanderbilt Lacrosse Complex in Nashville, Tenn. Notre Dame rallied from a pair of four-goal deficits in the first half and tied the game with 10:02 left but could not dent the Vandy goal the rest of the way in the final non-conference game of the year for the Irish. Freshman midfielder Kaitlyn Brosco paced the Notre Dame attackwith a career-high five-point game, getting four goals and one assist on theafternoon. Her four goals came in a span of 2:31 in the first half and took the Irish from a 6-3 deficit to a 7-6 lead. Senior Shaylyn Blaney and sophomore Jaimie Morrison added a pair of goals, while Maggie Tamasitis and Betsy Mastropieri scored single markers in the contest. The loss drops Notre Dame to 6-8 overall on the season and to 0-5 this year against ranked teams. The Commodores improve to 8-7 for the year. Notre Dame returns to action Saturday when the Irish play host to No. 16 Georgetown in a 1 p.m. game at Arlotta Stadium. Notre Dame will honor its 2011 senior class prior to the game on Senior Day.

7. There’s a very limited slate of home events on campus during the Easter holiday break (no classes at Notre Dame Friday or Monday): women’s tennis at 1 p.m. Saturday against DePaul and women’s lacrosse at 1 p.m. Saturday against #16 Georgetown.

8. Notre Dame senior RHP Cole Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) is one of 10 Division I college baseball players to be selected as a finalist for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The awardhonors student athletes who excel both on and off the diamond and has notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character 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. Joining Johnson on the list of baseball finalists are: P Chris Dennis (Portland), CF Brandon Eckerle (Michigan State), C Clint Ewing (Louisiana Tech), P Cole Green (Texas), FB/DH Frazier Hall (Southern), 1B Paul Hoilman (East Tennessee State), OF Chris Slater (Baylor), OF Cory Tilton (UNC Charlotte) and P Tyler Wilson(Virginia). The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates that were announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via Lowe’s Senior CLASS award website (www.seniorCLASSaward.com) or on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Facebook fanpage through June 5. Fan votes will be combined with media and coaches’ votes to determine the winner. Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the winner June 24 at the NCAA College World Series ® in Omaha. Johnson owns a 3.680 grade point average in the College of Science as a double major in pre-professional studies and Spanish language and literature. He completed the fall 2010 semester of 12 credit hours with a 3.750 GPA, which marked the second time in his career he was selected for Dean’s List. Johnson recently took the MCAT and placed in the 93rd percentile. He was one of 40 Notre Dame student-athletes in the University’s honors program. He has also been named a BIG EAST Conference Academic All-Star each of the last three years. In 2011, Johnson carries a 2.69 ERA into this weekend’sseries against St. John’s, which ranks eighth-best in the BIG EAST. Despitequality starts in eight of his nine outings, Johnson owns just a 3-5 record. The righty has been handcuffed by minimal run support. Notre Dame has scored a grand total of 17 runs over Johnson’s last eight starts. In fact, three of those runs did not cross the plate until after he left the contest at Pittsburgh on April 2 and versus Connecticut on April 10. The Irish have scored one run or less in three of his nine starts. Johnson has been the No. 1 or No. 2 starting pitcher for the Irish each of the last three years. He has made 46 career appearances in a Notre Dame uniform, including 30 starts. Johnson owns a 15-13 record with 161 strikeouts and 69 walks in 222.0 innings over his career.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1. The 25th-ranked Notre Dame women’s golf team won its fourth BIG EAST Championship Tuesday at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla. The team recorded a three-round score of 902 (295-297-310/+38) to win over the eight-team field. Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) stayed atop the Notre Dame finishers as the freshman completed the three-day tournament with a six-over par 222. “We came here to do what we wanted to do, which was win the championship,” head coach Susan Holt said. “Our first two days were solid and clean and fortunately we built up a nice lead because we certainly needed it. We have a lot we need to work on between now and regionals to get us to our next goal, which is NCAAfinals.

“Nhim entered the final hole of the tournament in a tie for third place, but dropped a stroke to fall into second place, while Louisville’s AnnaKarin Ljungstrom and St. John’s Harin Lee went into a four-hole playoff and Harinearned the individual top finish. Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) trailed Nhim with a fourth-place finish. The junior bested her second roundscore by one stroke as she carded a 75 (+3) in the final day and compiled a54-hole total of 223 (+7). Senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy) placed seventh among the 40-player field and completed her final BIG EAST Championship with a 229 (+13). The senior capped her BIG EAST career off well as she bested her 2010 performance by 17 strokes a finish in 25th place. Senior captain Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) completed the tournament with a 17-over par 233 and an 11th-place finish. Conway improved her 2010 BIG EAST Championship performance by 13 strokes as she recorded a 246 (+30) and a 25th-place finish. Freshman Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) rounded out the Irish lineup and tied for 12th place. She carded a 234 (+18) in the league tournament. The Irish completed the tournament in first place and were trailed by Louisville in second place with a 54-hole total of 915 (+51). South Florida moved from a fifth-place tie to third place to complete the contest. The Irish are now set for the NCAA Regional,which Notre Dame will host. Competing teams will battle for advancement to the national championship. There are three regional sites in addition to Notre Dame — Stetson University, the Central Florida Sports Commission and the University of Washington. The eight lowest scoring teams, as well as the two lowest scoring individuals that are not a member of the advancing team, from each of the three regional championships qualifies for the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship. The championship will be held May 18-21, at the Traditions Golf Club in Bryan-College Station, Texas.

2. The Notre Dame men’s golf team also sealed the deal at the 2011 BIG EAST Championship Tuesday at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla. The Irish fired a final round 293 (+9) to finish at 24 over par on the tournament (876). The Irish entered the day seven shots up on Louisville and by the time the 54th hole was played, the margin finished at six, as the Cardinals concluded at 882 (+30). Villanova finished in third with an 889 (+37), while Georgetown and South Florida tied for fourth at 895 (+43). The title for the Irish marks the seventhtime in program history that they have won the BIG EAST Championship, and the first time since winning in 2005-06. It also marks the third title under the direction of head coach Jim Kubinski, who took over in the spring of ’05, en route to winning the league crown that year.

Individually, junior Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) also added his name to the Irish record book, becoming the first Irish medalist at the BIG EAST Championship since Mark Baldwin did so in a rain-shortened tournament in ’04-’05 (only 18 holes were played, with Baldwin carding a 75). Scodro is the first Irish medalist ever to claim the title in the 54-hole format. Both Bill Moore and Todd Vernon earned medalist honors in ’95-’96 and ’97-’98, respectively, in a 36-hole format. Scodro’s round got off to a torrid start, as he played the front nine bogey free with four birdies to finish with a front side 32 (-4). On the back nine, Scodro recorded five pars, three bogeys and a birdie on hole number 15 to finish his final day with a two under par, 69. For the tournament, Scodro finished at one under par (212) for a two-shot victory over Louisville’s Karsten Clements (214, +1).

After getting off to a slow start in his final round that saw him four over par after eight holes, freshman Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) played the final 10 holes even par and notched his lone birdie of the day on the par-5, 14th hole. He concluded the day at four over par (75) and finished tied for sixth overall at 218 (+5). Sophomore Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) continued to play a consistent brand of golf, recording 12 more pars to go along with two birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey on the 13th hole tofinish his day three over par (74). He finished tied for 10th in the field with a three-day total of 222 (+9). Junior Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) rebounded nicely in his final round of play, despite posting an identical score on Monday of 75 (+4). Walker enjoyed much steadier ball striking in his final round, finishing with 13 pars, one birdie, three bogeys and one double bogey on the final hole of the tournament. He finished in a tie for 27th place with a 54-hole score of 226 (+13). Senior Connor Alan-Lee (Solana Beach, Calif.), in his second appearance at the BIG EAST Championship, rounded out the Irish team, finishing in a tie for 34th with a 229 (+16). Alan-Lee struggled a bit in his final round, carding an 80 (+9). The senior finished the day with nine pars, six bogeys, two double bogeys and a birdie on the par-3 eighth hole. The tie for 34th marks his best BIG EAST finish, after tying for 48th at the ’09 tournament. With the BIG EAST title in hand, the Irish earn an automatic bid into NCAA regional play. It will mark the first time since the ’05-’06 season that the Irish have reached the NCAA Championship.

3. There’s an interesting blog on the Forbes web site under its “SportsMoney” section:
The blog primarily discusses Notre Dame’s football finances, especially compared to Big Ten Conference institutions. It closes with this line: “For now, Notre Dame values its independence more than the extra millions that could be lining their pockets if they joined the Big Ten. We all chastise athletes, schools and leagues who put making money above all else. Why don’t we celebrate Notre Dame for honoring its history and own set of priorities?”

4. Tuesday night’s Notre Dame baseball home game against Toledo was cancelled due to inclement weather. A make-up date is not anticipated at this time. Notre Dame and St. John’s open a three-game BIG EAST baseball series with a doubleheader at noon tomorrow at Jack Kaiser Stadium. The third and final game of the series is scheduled for noon ET Saturday. Meanwhile, today’s only varsity event is a women’s lacrosse road game at #17 Vanderbilt.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

1. The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team is ranked No. 1 in this week’s Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll and United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) coaches’ poll. It marks the first time in program history that the Fighting Irish have been ranked No. 1 in either poll. Notre Dame downed St. John’s 10-7 on Saturday night to remain as the only undefeated team in all of NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse. The Irish, who have spent the past three weeks ranked second in both polls, are 9-0 overall and 4-0 in BIG EAST play. The Irish received 12 of the 16 first-place votes in the media poll, while theyclaimed 13 of the 14 first-place nods in the coaches’ rankings. Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Syracuse and Denver round out the top five, respectively, in both polls. Notre Dame will conclude the regular season with three straight games away from home beginning on Saturday at Providence. The Fighting Irish also will travel to No. 4 Syracuse (April 30) and No. 10/9 North Carolina (May 6). Notre Dame is 5-0 against ranked opponents this season, including wins over current No. 5 Denver (10-9), No. 7/6 Duke (12-7) and No. 11 Villanova (12-8). The Fighting Irish are off to a 9-0 start for the second time in program history (31 seasons). The other occurrence came in 2009 when the Irish began the season 15-0.

2. Notre Dame senior midfielder David Earl has been named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week for men’s lacrosse, while sophomore goalie John Kemp garnered the league’s defensive player of the week honor. The duo was instrumental in Saturday’s 10-7 win over St. John’s. Earl registered season-high totals in goals (3) and points (4) in the victory over the Red Storm. All four of his points came in the second half as the Irish held an 8-2 scoring advantage in the stanza. Earl’s first two goals of the night both gave Notre Dame a one-goal lead (7-6 & 8-7). He tallied the game’s final goal to complete the sixth hat trick of his career. Kemp made 11 saves in the win over the St. John’s to improve his record to 9-0 this season. The Fighting Irish defense kept the Red Storm off the scoreboard for the final 16:38 of the contest enroute to the victory. Kemp made five saves during that stretch. He also matched a single-game career-high total with four ground balls. The sophomore rankssecond nationally in both goals-against average (6.22) and save percentage (.624).

3. The Notre Dame men’s golf team earned a bit of separation at the top of the leaderboard at the 2011 BIG EAST Championship on Monday at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla. The Irish fired a second round 290 (+6) to claim a seven shot lead after the second round of play at 583 (+15). The Irish, who were tied with Louisville heading into play today, saw the Cardinals put up a second round 297 (+13) to drop into second place with a two-day total of 590 (+22). Villanova moved into third with a second round score of 293 (+9), for a tworound score of 594 (+26). South Florida and DePaul round out the top five at602 (+34) and 603 (+35), respectively. Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) paced the Irish individually on Monday, ending his second 18 holes at even par (71). The freshman put together 14 pars, along with two birdies and two bogeys on the day, playing the front nine at one over par (37) and the back nine at one under (34). After two days of play, Plattsits in a three-way tie for first place at one over par, 143. Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) also joins Platt atop the individual leaderboard with a two-day total of 143 (+1). On Monday, the Irish junior carded a score of 73 (+2) that saw him post 10 pars, three birdies and five bogeys. After playing the back nine at even par (36)with one birdie and one bogey, Scodro battled through an up-and-down back nine that saw him finish two over (37) with two birdies and four bogeys. Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) remained third amongst the Irish rotation, battling to a second round score of 73 (+2). The sophomore put together eight up-and-downsaves to keep his score intact and, after bogeying holes three and four, posted 14 consecutive pars. McNamara currently sits tied for 11th after 36 holes with a two-day score of 148 (+6). Connor Alan-Lee (Solana Beach, Calif.), much like McNamara, played a very consistent second round on Monday. After carding pars on each of the first nine holes, the lone senior in the rotation recorded three bogeys and a birdie on the back nine to finish his second round at two over par (73). After two days, Alan-Lee is tied for 16th at seven over par (149). Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) rounded out the Irish squad on day two, posting a second round 75 (+4). Despite recording seven bogeys in his second round, the Irish junior battled back on the back nine, posting three birdies, including a clutch three on the 18th hole to finish his back side at even par (35). After two days, Walker is tied for 24th at nine over par (151).

4. The 25th-ranked Notre Dame women’s golf team registered a 297 (+9) in the second day of the BIG EAST Championship Monday in Palm Harbor, Fla. Freshman Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) was the top finisher for the Irish as she remained even (72) on the day. Nhim improved her first round score by one stroke and is now in sole possession of second place. She remained even through nine holes, before carding bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes, but was able to recover with back-to-back birdies on holes 15 and 16. Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) has moved from her first-place spot after the first day to a third-place tie through 36 holes. The junior started the day even, but quickly moved to one-under par after carding a birdie on the second hole and remained one under until the 10th hole, before finishing the round with a four-over par 76. Senior So-HyunPark (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy) is tied for third after 36holes. Despite trouble on the sixth and seventh holes, the senior still carded four birdies and a 75 (+3) to move into the final day of competition. Freshman Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) and senior captain Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) rounded out the Irish lineup. Zhang is tied for12th on the player leaderboard after registering a 74 (+2), while Conway istied for 13th place and recorded her second consecutive 78 (+6) in the tournament. Overall, the Irish are 18 strokes ahead of Louisville. The Cardinals recorded a 302 (+14) in the second day of competition, while Georgetown has moved to third place after dropping nine strokes to 316 (+28) in the second round. South Florida, St. John’s and Rutgers round out the top-five score with 625 (+49) and 631 (+24), respectively. Harin Lee from St. John’s is atop the player leaderboard after registering a 36-hole total of 142 (-2).

5. Junior All-America forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) added yet another award to her already-overflowing trophy case on Sunday when she was selected by her teammates as this year’s recipient of the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award, it was announced during the 2010 Notre Dame Women’s Soccer Banquet on Sunday afternoon inside Club Naimoli at Purcell Pavilion. In addition, midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit) was chosen as the Notre DameFreshman of the Year, while senior co-captain Lauren Fowlkes (Lee’s Summit,Mo./St. Teresa’s Academy) earned the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award. A record-setting crowd joined in celebrating the 2010 Fighting Irish squad that captured the program’s third NCAA national championship with a 21-2-2 record, ignoring a No. 4 regional seed (No. 13-16 overall) in the NCAA Championship by reeling off six consecutive wins in the tournament, the last four against seeded squads and two against No. 1-seeded teams. Notre Dame ultimately hoisted the hardware on the back of consecutive 1-0 College Cup wins over Ohio State and Stanford in Cary, N.C., two of thefive shutout victories the Fighting Irish registered during their NCAA postseason run when they outscored the opposition by a staggering 15-1 margin. Besides Sunday’s award recipients, the Notre Dame players, coaches, and support staff were presented with their national championship rings by Beth Hunter, executive director of the Monogram Club, and the banquet’s keynote speaker, Kate Markgraf (’98), a three-time All-American and three-time Olympian (two-time gold medalist) and a member of Notre Dame’s 1995 NCAA national championship team. What’s more, the five departing Fighting Irish seniors received framed jerseys in honor of their memorable tenure under the Golden Dome. Several highlightvideos were played during the banquet, including the debut of “The Extra Mile: The Story of the 2010 Notre Dame National Champion Women’s Soccer Team,” an exclusive documentary with behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and stories about the Fighting Irish during their memorable 2010 season. Produced in conjunction with LeSea Broadcasting and WHME-TV in South Bend, DVD copies of the documentary will go on sale to the general public in the coming days, with an order form to be posted on-line through the women’s soccer page at the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com.

6. For the third straight week – and fifth time in her Notre Dame softball career – Irish third baseman Heather Johnson has been named BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week, as announced by the league Monday afternoon. The honor came one day after Johnson improved her current hitting streak to 21 consecutive games, aided by threemulti-hit efforts in six contests this past week. Since the league began handing out the weekly award in 1992, Johnson is the only player to earn the honor on three consecutive occasions. Notre Dame posted a 5-1 record during its recent six-game homestand with Johnson going 9-for-17 (.529) in addition to driving in nine RBI and slamming threehome runs. Each of the three home runs came during a three-game BIG EAST series with Louisville to end the week with a gaudy 1.059 slugging pct. Johnson has now homered six times in eight BIG EAST contests (tied for first among league players) while hitting.600 against league foes with a BIG EAST-leading 1.400 slugging pct. Johnsonhas recorded at least one RBI in the last 17 games with 15 RBI coming against conference opponents.

7. Coach Brian Kelly said Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold football game would be fun. He never said it would be decisive in determining the Irish quarterback. For the record, quarterbacksTommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix guided the Gold team to a 17-14 victory over the Blue team led by Dayne Crist and Everett Golson. All eyes were on the performance of the four quarterbacks, in particular returning starters Crist and Rees. Rees completed 7 of 14 passes for 64 yards, but also tossed on interception and had a touchdown pass dropped on the first series. Crist was 5 for 10 for 34 yards. With Rees and Crist wearing the bright red “do-not-touch” jerseys and playing only seven series between them, it became an opportunity for freshman Everett Golson and sophomore Andrew Hendrix to make their case for the third-string job. Hendrix had the best day overall, completing 10 of 16 passes for 139 yards and scoring twice, once on a 15-yard run late in the third quarter and later on a 10-yard scamper in the fourth. After a slow start, Golson got on track late in the game, completing 9 of 18 passes for 91 yards, including a15-yard touchdown pass to John Goodman. He also showed off his quickness in the open field, particularly on a 23-yard scramble that set up the TD pass to Goodman. Kelly said that when fall practice starts, he will cut down on the number of quarterbacks taking repsduring practice. The biggest head-turner during the game, however, belonged to freshman Aaron Lynch. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound defensive end joined Golson as an early enrollee this semester. Lynch was spectacular in the first half and ended the game with six tackles, 1 1/2 for a loss, and a quarterback rush. He also delivered several of the hardest hits in the game.

8. The 22nd-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team claimed a 6-1 victory over Marquette on Sunday at the Helfaer Tennis Stadium in Milwaukee. Despite losing the opening point in doubles, the Irish swept through singles to earn the decisive victory. For the first time all season, Notre Dame dropped the doubles point and still claimed the match when all courts had finished play. At No. 1 doubles, the 15th-ranked tandem Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) continued their torrid streak, defeating Rachael Hush and Christina Ruiz, 8-1, to move the Irish within one win of claiming the doubles point. The Irish duo is now 17-3 on the dual season, and has won 14 straight matches. However, Marquette rebounded from this loss to take the remaining two doubles matches. At No. 3, Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and JulieSabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) fell to Gillian Hush and Chelsea Utting, 8-5,just before Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Kristen Rafael (GrandPrairie, Texas) lost to Olga Fischer and Rocio Diaz at No. 2 doubles, 8-6. The Irish then turned to their threeranked singles players to take momentum back in the contest. Mathews, ranked 64th, was first to finish up her match, taking down Paola Calderon at No. 2singles, 6-1, 6-1. With the victory, she improves to 15-3 on the season at the No. 2 spot. Shortly after, #95 Kellner finished off R. Hush at No. 3 singles, 6-0, 6-1. The Irish freshman is now 17-3 on the dual season and is 6-1 at the No. 3 position. She also extended her current winning streak to six matches. Frilling was next to close out her opponent for the Irish, as the fourth ranked player in the nation defeated Fischer, 6-3, 6-0. The Irish junior is now 16-2 on the dual season and has claimed 82 wins in her career. Rafael clinched the match at No. 4 singles, defeating G. Hush (6-1, 6-3) for her fourth straight win since moving to that court. The senior has now won ninedual matches this season and is 65-41 for her career. The final two matches saw McGaffigan defeat Utting at No. 5 (6-0, 6-3) and Sabacinski knock off Ruiz at No. 6 (6-3, 6-1) to complete the singles sweep. Notre Dame now returns home for its final regular season matchup of the 2011 season. The Irish play host to DePaul at 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday on Senior Day.

9. The Notre Dame men’s soccer team recently held its annual awards banquet and alumni weekend to celebrate yet another successful season. Several former players returned tocampus and took part in the festivities. Senior forward Steven Perry received the Monogram Club Team MVP award, which was chosen by the team. Perry posted team-high and career-high numbers in goals (12) and points (28) during the 2010 season. His four assists also were a career-high total. Perry started all 20 matches for the Irish and was a unanimous all-BIG EAST first-team pick. He also was named to the All-Great Lakes Region second team. Perry registered threetwo-goal games and had five game-winning tallies during his senior campaign.The New England Revolution selected Perry in the third round of January’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft. Juniormidfielder Adam Mena earned the Knute Rockne Scholar-Athlete Award, which ispresented annually to the top student on the Fighting Irish squad. Seniors Craig Krzyskowski and Andrew Luttrell both received the Spirit Award. The award is presented to inspirational members of the team. Ryan Miller, who played for the Irish from 2003-07, garnered the Mike Berticelli “Bert” Award. The award is named in honor of former Fighting Irish head coach Mike Berticelli, who suddenly passed away in 2000. Miller copped the honor for becoming the first current or former player in programhistory selected to the United States senior national team. He was in the U.S. camp prior to January’s exhibition match versus Chile. Miller plays professionally for Halmstads BK in the top division in Sweden.

10. Brittany O’Donnell was prompted from the bullpen in the third inning during game one of the Sundaysoftball doubleheader between No. 24 Notre Dame and Louisville, and answeredwith 5.0 innings of shutout ball to help the Irish secure a 4-3 comeback win at Melissa Cook Stadium. O’Donnell (5-0) fanned seven batters around five hits after starter Jody Valdivia gave up three runs and four hits in 2.0 innings. Notre Dame (31-8) suffered its first BIG EAST Conference softball loss of the season in game two, 9-6, after scoring six straight runs to begin the contest. The Irish are now 7-1 in league play. The Cardinals (32-13, 10-4) used a nine-hit, nine-run sixth inning to post the win to close the day. Heather Johnson homered in both ends of the doubleheader to bring her season total to 10. Johnson’s hitting streak improved to 21 games, tying Dani Miller for second on the school’s all-time list. Sunday’s doubleheader coincided with the program’s Strike Out Cancer game, benefiting South Bend Memorial Hospital’s oncology clinic. Head coach Deanna Gumpf’s five-year old daughter, Tatum, threw out the first pitch. Tatum was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (A.L.L.) last summer and is currently undergoing treatment. The Irish hit the road for three league games at Villanova. The two teams will square offtwice Thursday and will play a single game Saturday.

11. West Virginia’s Andy Berry handcuffed Notre Dame to just three hits en route to a complete game baseball victory as the Mountaineers took the rubber match of a three-game series, 8-1, Sunday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish dropped to 14-18-1 and 5-7 in the BIG EAST, while West Virginia improved to 22-15 and 8-4. Berry improved to 5-2 on the year with his first career 9.0-inning complete game. The right-handed hurler did surrender a solo home run to Notre Dame rookie Trey Mancini in the bottom of the sixth inning, but retired the final 11 Irish batters. Berry even struck out the side in the ninth inning. Notre Dame senior RHP Todd Miller was charged with the loss and evened his record at 3-3 on the season. He was charged with eight runs on eight hits, but only three were earned. Miller struck out two and walked one. With West Virginia holding a slim, 2-0, leadheading to the fifth inning, Miller was let down by the Irish defense as twocrucial errors, both with two outs, led to five unearned runs. The latter error came with the bases loaded and allowed three runs to cross the plate. In all, the Mountaineers plated six in the inning, but only the first was earned. The eight-run cushion was more than enough for Berry. Mancini provided the onlyoffense on the afternoon for Notre Dame. The first baseman stroked his team-leading sixth home run of the season off the batter’s eye in left centerfield. Fellow freshman CF Eric Jagielo and sophomore DH Adam Norton were the only other Irish players with a hit. The quartet of freshman LHP Anthony McIver, freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald, Norton and freshman RHP Dan Slania combined to blank the Mountaineers over the final four innings. Each tossed one scoreless inning. Norton struck out a pair, while Slania managed to work out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the ninth. Notre Dame returns to action against Toledo at 5:35 p.m. today at Frank Eck Stadium.

12. No. 2 Notre Dame remained the only undefeated team in NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse with a 10-7 BIG EAST victory over St. John’s on Saturday night at Arlotta Stadium. Senior midfielder David Earl led the Irish with three goals and an assist. Notre Dame (9-0, 4-0) overturned a 5-2 halftime deficit by outscoring St. John’s 8-2 in the second half, including 3-0 in the fourth quarter. The Fighting Irish defense kept the Red Storm off the scoreboard for the final 16:38 of the contest. Notre Dame’s second-half surge began on a goal from sophomore attackman Ryan Foley with 1:30 elapsed in the period. Senior midfielder Zach Brenneman sliced the Red Storm lead to one (5-4) with 10:35 left in the third quarter on his second goal of the game. St. John’s (4-7, 2-2) increased its advantage back to two (6-4) on an Alex Lagodich score with 8:26 remaining in the third period. The Fighting Irish responded with three straight goals beginning with a score from junior attackman Sean Rogers midway through the third quarter. Junior midfielder Max Pfeifer knotted the game (6-6) with just under six minutes left in the stanza. Earl put the Irish on top (7-6) at the 3:07 mark of the third quarter with a man-up tally off a feed from Brenneman. Notre Dame went ahead for good less than two minutes into the fourth quarter on Earl’s second goal of the night. Sophomore midfielder Steve Murphy gave theIrish a two-goal cushion (9-7) less than a minute later. Earl completed hisfirst hat trick of the season with 1:55 left in the game. Sophomore goalie John Kemp made 11 saves to earn his ninth win of the season, while Jeff Lowman had 13 stops for the Red Storm. Notre Dame outshot St. John’s 39-29. Notre Dame is off to a 9-0 start for just the second time in program history (31 seasons). The other occurrence came in 2009 when the Irish began the season 15-0. The Fighting Irish return to action next Saturday at Providence. The BIG EAST showdown will begin at noon (ET).

13. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team battled Connecticut, the wind and the rain on Saturday afternoon and with the help of a nine-goal second half the Irish handed the Huskies a15-5 loss at Arlotta Stadium. Senior Shaylyn Blaney paced the Irish with fourgoals and one assist for a five-point afternoon while fellow seniors AnsleyStewart and Kailene Abt added three goals each. Freshman Kaitlyn Brosco andsophomore Betsy Mastropieri added two with sophomore Jaimie Morrison scoring once in the win. While Blaney was scoring off a exciting one-on-one dashes through the Connecticut defense, junior attack Maggie Tamasitis was working her magic behind the UConn goal as she equaled Notre Dame records for assists in a half (4) and assists in a game as she dished out a career-high six assists in the victory. The six assists equal marks set by Gina Scioscia in 2009 versus Rutgers and Kerry Callahan against Gannon in 1999. The four assists in one half tied marks set by Jill Byers in 2009 against Connecticut and Callahan versus Gannon. The win improves the Irish to 6-7 overall and 3-2 in BIG EAST play while the loss drops the Huskies to 6-6 overall and 0-4 in BIG EAST play. Notre Dame out shot Connecticut by a 37-19 margin. Ellie Hilling finished with seven saves in the game. The Irish willtake a break from BIG EAST play as they travel to Nashville, Tenn., today, April 20 to face Vanderbilt in a 1 p.m. (CT) game at the Vanderbilt Lacrosse Facility. Notre Dame returns home next Saturday for the regular-season finale versus Georgetown at 1 p.m.

14. The Notre Dame women’s rowing team finished in second place of group B on Sunday at the Lake Natoma Invitational on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif. All three Irish boats – varsity eight, varsity four, second varsity eight – finished second in their respective races. The Irish battled against Wisconsin and Tennessee on Sunday, after the three boats were seeded into group B based on performances on Saturday. Each of the three group B races awarded points based on finish, with first place of the varsity eight earning nine points, second varsity eight earning six and varsity four getting three.In the varsity eight race, a close race broke out, with Tennessee holding on for the victory after crossing the line at 6:31.10. The Irish crew of coxswain Abby Meyers, Stephanie Gretsch, Katherine Linnemanstons, Genevieve Malone, Stephanie O’Neill, Olivia Kacsits, Molly Bruggeman, Emily Crosby and Carol Ann Michel crossed shortly thereafter at 6:33.00, with Wisconsin crossing exactly a second after that at 6:34.00. For the result, Notre Dame earned six points toward the team score. In second varsity eight action, the Irish crew of coxswain Rachael Louie, Katie Suyo, Teresa Blumenstein, Paige Aiello, Kelsey Haddad, Erin McConnell, Megan Keegan, Morgan Kelley and Joanna Poinsatte put forth a valiant effort but fell just short in the end, finishing at 6:45.20. Wisconsin pulled away for the win in 6:35.30, while Tennessee crossed third at 6:45.57. Notre Dame earned four points toward the team total as a result. Coxswain Christina Dines and the crew of Kiersten DeHaven, Teresa Rubinger, Courtney Gaberino and Ching-Ting Hwang also finished second in the varsity four race, crossing at 7:23.13. Wisconsin claimed first in 7:17.05 and Tennessee finished third at 7:30.89. The second-place result earned the Irish two additional points toward the team total. At the end of all three races, each of the three teams in group B sat tied with 12 total points. In the case of such a tiebreaker, the winner is determined based on best finisher in the varsity eight race, giving Tennessee the victory. Notre Dame earned second, while Wisconsin finished third. Next on the schedule for the Irish isa bid at the team’s eighth consecutive BIG EAST title, as the team heads toWest Windsor, N.J., May 1 for the conference championships.

15. Members of the Notre Dame track and field teams held competition in three different meets in the span of three days over the weekend. Senior Daniel Jackson (Dexter, Mich./Dexter) ran the 10,000 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays on Thursday in Walnut, Calif., while members of the thrower squad competed at the Azusa Pacific Invitational Friday, before concluding weekend competition at the Mt. SAC Relays and the Long Beach State Invitational Saturday. Here are some of the highlights:

           — 1,500 Meters: Rebecca Tracy ran to a second-place finish in 4:20.38 and Kelly Curran placed 21st in 4:27.92 at the Mt. SAC Relays. Jeremy Rae claimed second place in 3:41.11 in the men’s elite race.

           — Hammer Throw: Denes Veres placed first (54.08m) in thesecond flight at the Azusa Pacific meet.

             — Shot Put: Rudy Atang claimed a third-place finish (15.10m) at Long Beach State.

             — 800 Meters: Rebecca Tracy finished in second place in 2:07.21 at Long Beach.

The Irish track and field teams return to action Thursday at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa and Friday at the Hillsdale Relays in Hillsdale,Mich.

16. For his years of distinguished service to the Notre Dame community, Irish associate athletics director Michael (Mike) Danch Friday was recognized with the James E. Armstrong Award by the Notre Dame Alumni Association. Danch has been employed at the Universitysince 1972, when he was hired as the events manager for the Joyce Center. Over the years, he has taken on greater responsibility, working as the Joyce Center’s general manager from 1982 to 1998. Then, in 2000, he was appointed assistant athletic director for facilities, and game manager for Notre Dame football. In 2009, Danch was promoted to associate athletics director. In his current role, he oversees several varsity athletics facilities, including Notre Dame Stadium and the Joyce Center. Healso served on the athletic department master plan committee and is the primary administrator for the men’s swimming and diving program. In 1994, Danch completed the Sports Management & Institute for Executives program, in an effort to continually expand his job skills on behalf of the University. In addition to his distinguished work on campus, Danch has been actively involved in the community at large, having served numerous organizations as a board member and event organizer. He is a past president and board member of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley. He currently serves on the South Bend Hall of Fame Selection Committee, the board of directors for the YMCA of Michiana, and the board of directors for the South Bend Alumni Association. He also is on the board of Saint Joseph’s High School in South Bend, his alma mater. His community connections have also helped pave the way to bring events to the Notre Dame campus. In 1983, Danch co-directed the AAU Junior Olympics held here. This experience served him well as he later helped to prepare a bid–and then served on the steering committee–for the 1987 International Summer Special Olympics which were also hosted at the University. Over the years, Danch has earned much recognition for his efforts. In 1997, he was awarded an honorary monogram by the Notre Dame Monogram Club, and he received the 2002 Award of the Year from the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley. He also has been honored with special awards from the Student Government, the Convention and Tourism Division of the South Bend Mishawaka Chamber of Commerce, and the Special Olympics of St. Joseph County, among others. Established in 1978, the James E. Armstrong Award is conferred on an alumnus/alumna who is a current employee of Notre Dame and has rendered distinguished service to the University. Previous athletics winners have included Missy Conboy, Brian Boulac, Joe O’Brien, Roger Valdiserri, Mike DeCicco, Rev. Edmund. P. Joyce, C.S.C., Edward “Moose” Krause and Dominick Napolitano.

17. The Notre Dame Monogram Club awarded Alumni Association executive director Chuck Lennon with the 2011 Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award at the organization’s annual dinner Saturday night in the Joyce Center’s Sports Heritage Hall. Lennon accepted his award before more than 550 dinner attendees, including a large number of former Alumni Association board and Alumni Senate officials who worked with the Joliet, Ill., native during his extraordinary career. “I have watched Chuck all across this country, and whether he’s serving as president of something or serving a meal, he’s going to treat you exactly the same,” Monogram Club incoming president Dick Nussbaum ’74, ’77 (baseball) said. “He’s going to remember your name, he’s going to look you in the eye, and he’s going to really care about you and what you say, and there aren’t enough people like that in the world.” A member of the Notre Dame community for 51 years, Lennon has served as the executive director of the University’s Alumni Association since 1981. He will retire on June 30, 2011, after 30 years of service to the more than 128,000 members of the Notre Dame global alumni community. Under Lennon’s leadership, the Alumni Association has earned a national reputation for innovation in programming. It was among the first to offer continuing education programming–including the Hesburgh Lecture Series and Excellence in Teaching Conference–and to initiate community service programs that have been emulated throughout American higher education. Yale and Stanford Universities are among those with community service programs modeled on Notre Dame’s. Lennon also led in the creation of the Black, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific, and Native American alumni groups and expanded the roles for women, senior and Young Alumni, and international graduates within the Alumni Association. A number of Lennon’s family members were on hand for the ceremony – including daughter and Monogram Club board member Molly Lennon-Anderson – who followed her father’s acceptance speech with a special presentation of her own. Lennon-Anderson announced that Notre Dame head Olympic sports equipment manager Kathy Speybroeck would become the first honorary monogram recipient of 2011. In addition to serving as the director of the University’s renowned student manager organization, Speybroeck is responsible for awarding monograms to managers and ordering letter jackets for more than 200 annual recipients. In addition to these award ceremonies, the evening included a number of other speakers and presentations. The dinner kicked off with a surprise announcement from All-America hockey monogram winner Greg Meredith, who told the crowd that the student section of the Compton FamilyCenter will be named after former Monogram Club executive director Rev. James Riehle, C.S.C. “We were looking for something that would reflect Fr. Riehle’s love of the Notre Dame family, of Notre Dame athletics, and of the students of Notre Dame,” Meredith said. “It is our hope that each of the 1,000 student section seats will have a name of a friend of Fr. Riehle attached to it.” Following the dinner portion of the evening, outgoing Monogram Club president Joe Restic ’79 (football) took to the stage to thank the outgoing members of the organization’s board of directors, including Brian Short ’72, ’75 (swimming), Chuck Aragon ’81 (track), Jim Dee ’84 (baseball), Greg Dingens ’86 (football) and Kerrie Wagner ’89 (golf). Restic proceeded to thank the Club’s membership for its support during his tenure and reflected on his two-year term before officially passing the title of president to Nussbaum. Nussbaum – a practicing attorney in South Bend – has served as a region eight director of the Alumni Association and recently completed a term as the organization’s president. He was named to the University’s Board of Trustees in 2009. After Nussbaum officially accepted the Monogram Club presidency, he introduced the five incoming directors of the Monogram Club board. The group includes Chris Stevens ’74 (basketball), Bryan Fenton ’87 (manager), Byron Spruell ’87, ’89 (football), Tom Arkell ’94, ’97 (hockey) and Carolyn Cooper ’06 (volleyball). From there, Nussbaum welcomed Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick ’76 to the stage for remarks. Swarbrick thanked the monogram winners in attendance for their service to the institution, and explained how their careers serve as living examples of the Notre Dame model that the athletics department preaches to current student-athletes. “It was important for me to be here because this organization is so important to us,” Swarbrick said. “You are our proof of concept. The representation we make to our student-athletes about what we can achieve together and what we will do is manifest in your success.” The dinner’s keynote speaker was men’s basketball head coach Mike Brey, who followed Swarbrick and thanked the Monogram Club for its support during the men’s basketball team’s historic season. The team’s 27 wins this season were the second most in school history, and the Irish tied a program record with 14 BIG EAST victories. Brey also commented about how thankful he was for having the opportunity to coach theplayers who made up his 2010-11 team. “This group was very mature, very focused, and really believed in each other,” Brey said. “I was like a proud father, walking around Houston at the Final Four, hearing from other coaches about how we played the right way and played so unselfishly.” Tim McCarthy closed the evening with one of his trademark quips: “Don’t let what strikes you most about Notre Dame be someone’s car.”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

1. Senior RHP Cole Johnson allowed just one earned run on 6.1 innings of work and junior RHP Will Hudgins tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief to lead Notre Dame past West Virginia, 5-2, in the second game of a day-night baseball doubleheader on Friday at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish improved to14-17-1 overall and 5-6 in the BIG EAST, while West Virginia dropped to 21-15 and 7-4. The game was halted by rain for a total of two hours and twominutes over three separate rain delays.Johnson improved to 3-5 on the year with the victory. He limited the Mountaineers to just two runs, one earned, on four hits in 6.1 innings. Johnson struck out six and walked two. He collected his seventh quality start of 2011. Fifth-year senior RF Herman Petzold went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Alex Robinson went 2-for-3 with an RBI double.

2. Rain fell. The wind topped out at 50 miles per hour, causing routine flyballs toturn infielders into jesters at a three-ring circus. Even the pressbox ceiling collapsed. The somewhat odd happenings around Frank Eck Stadium Friday afternoon seemed to have carried over onto the field as the BIG EAST Conference baseball series opener between Notre Dame and West Virginia was decided by a pair of unearned Mountaineer runs in the 10th inning for the 6-4 WVU win. Trey Mancini nearly ended the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-out screamer to left-center, but the ball caromed off the top of the fence for a stand-up double. Herman Petzold was intentionally walked and WVU’s Ryan Tezak (2-0) induced a Matt Grosso grounder to extinguish the Irish (13-17-1 overall, 4-6 BIG EAST) threat. Notre Dame stifled the league’s best scoring team to a 4-4 stalemate through regulation, though WVU (21-14, 7-3) saved two of its 10 hits on the day for a pair of runs in the 10th inning. That stalemate was made possible when the Irish rallied from a 3-0 first-inning deficit. Brian Dupra went 7.0 innings for the Irish and was left without the decision. Dupra secured five strikeouts and allowed four earned runs oneight hits. Anthony McIver (1-4) shouldered the loss after tossing 2.2 frames of late relief during which West Virginia scored twice. Locked up in a 4-4 tie, the Irish left two runners stranded in the ninth, as Mancini’s two-out double went for naught. Three players for each team had multi-hit outings.

Friday, April 15, 2011

1. If you like trophies, then you should check out the entrance to the Notre Dame athletic offices on the second floor of the Joyce Center. On display and visible through the glass reception walls are Notre Dame’s 2010 NCAA championship trophy for women’s soccer, the 2011 NCAA championship trophy for fencing, the 2011 NCAA regional championship trophy for women’s basketball and the 2011 NCAA semifinalist trophy for hockey.

2. Throughout this annual Blue-Gold weekend, the Notre Dame athletics department, in partnership with Notre Dame coaches’ wives will be hosting a clothing and food drive as part of a community service initiative in order to benefit local charitable organizations. All participants will be entered to win fabulous prizes including a Notre Dame Football Weekend Experience Package, a “Play Like a Champion Today” sign autographed by the Notre Dame head coaches, an adidas Coaches’ Package, a personalized football autographed by head football coach Brian Kelly, and more!! Three of the grand prizes will be drawn at the conclusion of the noon softball game Sunday at Melissa Cook Stadium and the remaining prizes will be drawn at the conclusion of the 1 p.m. baseball game at Frank Eck Stadium. Multiple opportunities are available to be entered into the drawing. Fans are able to bring non-perishable food, clothing or monetary donations to any of the sporting events throughout theweekend:

7 p.m. Baseball vs. West Virginia (Frank Eck Stadium)

Noon Softball vs. Louisville (Melissa Cook Stadium)
Noon Women’s Lacrosse vs. Connecticut (Arlotta Stadium)
2 p.m. 82nd Annual Blue-Gold Football Game
4 p.m. Baseball vs. West Virginia (Frank Eck Stadium)
7 p.m. Men’s Lacrosse vs. St. John’s (Arlotta Stadium)

Noon Softball ‘Strike Out Cancer’ vs. Louisville
1p.m. Baseball vs. West Virginia

Your name will be entered with every sporting event you attend and donate. Every sporting event taking place throughout the weekend will also have a drawing during that specific game for those who donated at that game. Prizes for those drawings include this year’s official “The Shirt” autographed by head football coach Brian Kelly, as well as other autographed sports memorabilia. Thank you for your support and GO IRISH!

3. Former Notre Dame women’s basketball assistant coach Kevin McGuff, most recently head coach at Xavier, is now the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Washington. McGuff’s Xavier team this past season finished 29-3 and 11th in the final ESPN/USA Today poll.

4. At the Friday night dinner on the floor of Purcell Pavilion that included the current Irish football squad plus former Notre Dame players and their families, Notre Dame Monogram Club president Joe Restic served asmaster of ceremonies. He introduced athletics director Jack Swarbrick who noted that one of his initiatives with his staff has been to find more ways to re-engage with former Irish student-athletes. Swarbrick also noted a number of lengthy tenures of the more successful Irish coaches – 24 years by Muffet McGraw (women’s basketball) and Jay Louderback (women’s tennis) and 23 for Kevin Corrigan (men’s lacrosse). “You can’t have great programs without continuity in leadership,” said Swarbrick, and in introducing Brian Kelly suggested that he expects that to happen with the current football head coach and staff. Added Swarbrick, “Some of my colleagues and Brian Kelly’s colleagues think we have an old model, that you can’t be number one in the GSR and also win the national championship. Yes we can and yes we will.” Kelly welcomed the former players and noted the importance of his current players understanding those who had gone before them. Kelly also modeled the new version of “The Shirt” and then introduced defensive back Robert Blanton who represented the current squad. Blanton noted that the very first comment he heard from Brian Kelly has stayed with him: “The pride and tradition of Notre Dame football will not be left to the week and timid and uncommitted.” Restic, who this weekend is handing over the presidency of the Monogram Club to Dick Nussbaum after a two-year term, was surprised as his family flew in from Portland to join him for the weekend. And lunch today featured a 75th birthday cake for former Monogram Club president Marty Allen who actually celebrates on Saturday.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

1. The Notre Dame men’s basketball celebrated one of the most successful seasons in recent memory Wednesday evening as the annual basketball banquet was held at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Ben Hansbrough (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) and Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) were the recipients of the evening’s two major honors. Hansbrough took home the Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP award — while Abromaitis copped the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete honor for the second consecutive year. Notre Dame, under the direction of 11th-year head coach Mike Brey finished the 2010-11 campaign with a 27-7 record overall, its fifth straight 20-win campaign, and produced a 14-4 ledger in BIG EAST play as the Irish finished second in the final conference regular-season standings. Notre Dame’s 27 wins were the most ever under Brey and the most in the modern era for an Irish basketball team. Notre Dame’s 14-4 mark in league play matched thebest record in program history since becoming a member of the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96. The Irish also reached the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship for the second consecutive year and fourth time overall. NotreDame finished fifth in the final Associated Press ranking and was 14th in the season-ending ESPN/USA Today poll after the Irish spent the majority of theseason in the top-25 poll. Notre Dame made its seventh NCAA tournament appearance under Brey and 31st overall in school history as the Irish earned the No. 2 seed in the Southwest Region. The No. 2 seed was the highest for Notre Dame since the Irish received a No. 2 seed in 1981. Brey’s squad won its second-round game 69-56 against Akron, but then fell to Florida State (71-57) in its third-round contest. The Irish finished 8-3 versus ranked opponents during the season, including seven wins during the regular season. Both theseven regular-season victories and the eight wins overall are school records. Notre Dame finished a perfect 17-0 at home this season at Purcell Pavilion. It marked the third time in five seasons that the Irish–the only BIG EAST team not to lose at home–went undefeated on their home court. This was the fifth season overall since the building opened in 1968-69 that the Irish completed the season undefeated at home. Riding a 19-game home court win streak, Notre Dame is 84-6 (.933) over the last five seasons and 40-5 (.889) in BIG EAST play. The last four-year run, from 2007-11, produced the most successful stretch in program history as Notre Dame posted a 96-42 (.696) overall record and a 46-26 (.639) mark in BIG EAST play. The 96 wins overall and 46 league victories marked the most in a four-year period in school history. In addition, five other awards were presented as part of the evening’s festivities. Four-yearwalk-on Tom Kopko (Chicago, Ill.) was awarded the Team Irish Award; freshmanEric Atkins (Columbia, Md.) was the recipient of the Outstanding Playmaker Award; senior Scott Martin (Valparaiso, Ind.) was tabbed with the Most Improved Player Award; senior Carleton Scott (San Antonio, Texas) was honored with Best Defensive Player Award and senior Tyrone Nash (Queens, N.Y.) received the Captains’ Award.

2. Here are a few choice notes and quotes from the Irish men’s basketball banquet last night:

— While Notre Dame radio voice Jack Nolan normally introduces the players one at a time to begin the banquet – this time Ben Hansbrough borrowed the microphone and provided his own rendition.

— Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick called the Irish road win at #1 Pittsburgh “as exciting as any I’ve attended” and also noted that the last team to defeat national champion Connecticut was Notre Dame.

— Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., on Ben Hansbrough: “He embodied this team with his competitiveness and his fight.”

— Father Jenkins on Ty Nash: “He played so steady and so smart and so appropriately for a player at Notre Dame.”

— Dick Nussbaum presented the Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award toHansbrough and made the comparison to Austin Carr – something he could do since he went to school with Carr – noting about both players, “You knew he was going to get the ball, but there was very little you could do about it.”

— Mike Brey kidded about some of the complimentary remarks he heard at the Final Four in Houston on this year’s team, with one of the questions being, “What does Hansbrough eat every day?”

— Brey noted that first-year Harvard coach Tommy Amaker (a former Duke assistant like Brey) wanted Tom Kopko to come to Harvard to play, but Kopkoquickly assured Brey, “I’m a Notre Dame man, I’m coming to Notre Dame.”

— Said Kopko, “I pushed these guys to a record 96 wins and I’m extremely proud of that.”

— Said senior Ty Nash, in paying tribute to former teammates, “I had a lot of guys teach me how to be a Notre Dame guy.”

— Said Nash to Hansbrough, “You really changed things around here. You were the loud one, I was the quiet one.”

— Said Brey about Hansbrough, “He was machine-like. He had one of the great senior years in the history of our program.

— Hansbrough talked about combining with Joey Brooks to come up with the slogan “13 deep” to define this year’s team: “It represented that we believed in ourselves.”

— The tagline on all the video pieces during the evening was Brey’s favorite phrase on this team: “We do what we do.”

— Brey said he went home after the first Irish exhibition game back in November and asked his wife what she thought. “Tish said I think it’s the best team you’ve ever had and she was right on with that.”

3. The 28th-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team battled No. 2 Ohio State, but dropped a 5-2 decisionWednesday at the Stickney Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio. The Irish picked up wins at third and sixth doubles and senior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) improved his winning streak to eight consecutive matches. Freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) and senior captain Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) were the first to complete their doubles match and fell to Balazs Novak and Blaz Rola in an 8-2 decision at third doubles. The tandem was leading 2-1 in the match before the Buckeye pair pulled away to win. At second doubles, senior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills ChristianAcademy) and junior Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine Richland) were unable todefeat No. 66 Shuhei Uzawa and Chase Buchanan. The Irish pair was down 2-7 atone point in the match and managed to make a run, but still fell 8-6 and the Buckeyes clinched the doubles point for a 1-0 lead. Junior Niall Fitzgerald(Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and sophomore Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) upset No. 12 Matt Allare and Peter Kobelt as the duo recorded an 8-6 victory at first doubles. The 12th-ranked Buckeye tandem is the highest-rated opponent that Fitzgerald and Talmadge have defeated together. At the No. 1 position, 54th-ranked Watt was defeated by No. 5 Rola in a two-set match, 6-3, 6-0, while Andrews fell to No. 65 Devin McCarthy, 6-3, 6-4 at fourth singles. Stahl improved his winning streak to eight consecutive matches with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 112 Ille Van Engelen at third singles. Fitzgerald dropped to 65th-ranked Devin McCarthy in consecutive sets, 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 5 position. McCarthy’s victory Fitzgerald clinched the match for Ohio State. Rounding out the Irish lineup, Havens was defeated by No. 12 Chase Buchanan at the No. 2 position and sophomore Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest) downed 67th-ranked Novak in a three-set match at sixth singles. Havens was downed 6-1, 6-3, while Morosupset Novak 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-7) to conclude the match in a 5-2 score. The Irish return to action April 23 to battle 2010 BIG EAST Champion Louisville in Louisville, Ky.

4. Heather Johnson extended her hitting streak to 18 games Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium while pacing No. 24 Notre Dame to an 8-0 non-conference softball win over visiting Loyola-Chicago in six innings. Johnson’s lone hit came during a three-run first inning for the Irish (29-7) to also extend her streak of consecutive games with at least one RBI to 14. In fact, Johnson has produced multiple RBI in half of those games. Loyola-Chicago (15-16) had Notre Dame’s number in the last twomatchups, defeating (then) No. 24 Notre Dame in just five innings with an 8-0 shutout in 2010. Notre Dame needed eight innings to post a 4-3 win over theRamblers in 2008 prior to a 2-2 draw in the latter game of that season’s doubleheader. Today was a different story. Notre Dame batted through the lineup and registered six hits in the opening inning and even left the bases loaded. Alexa Maldonado roped a double to left-center on the first pitch of the game, followed by singles from Alexia Clay, Johnson, Dani Miller and Katie Fleury. Amy Buntin reached on a fielder’s choice and Erin Marrone drove in a run with a single through the left side. Rambler starter Seana Stillson (2-7) failed to record a single out and tossed only nine pitches resulting in three earned runs. Stillson faced five batters, each of whom registered a hit. Keali Engelkens, who produced 5.2 innings of eight-hit ball, relieved Stillson in the first. Engelkens gave up five runs – three earned – and fanned three. For the Irish, Laura Winter (16-2) punched in her eighth straight win in as many decisions. Winter turned away nine batters on strikes. Brooke Andresen and Engelkens each singled off of Winter. With 13 hits on the day, Notre Dame has reached double-digits in that category in eight of the last 12 contests. While pinch running for Miller after a single in the third, Kelsey Thornton made her way around the horn to score on Brianna Jorgensborg’s two-out single through the left side of the infield. Riding a 4-0 lead, Fleury drove in a pair of scores in the fourth with a scorching double down the leftfield line. ChloeSaganowich scored an unearned run in the fifth. Notre Dame’s final run was aided by another Rambler error when right fielder Lauren Zaworski’s relay of Marrone’s outfield single landed in no-man’s land. Kristina Wright scored from second on the final play of the game. The Ramblers had more errors (4) thanhits (3) on the day. Miller drove in four runs during a perfect 4-for-4 performance in the batter’s box. Fleury accounted for three RBI for the second time this season. Jody Valdivia mopped up the Ramblers in the sixth with a one-hit effort from the circle. The Irish resume their six-game homestand by playing host to Louisville (April 16-17) this weekend for a three-game BIG EAST Conference series.

5. Northwestern and Notre Dame, two institutions that first battled on the gridiron in 1889, are renewing their rivalry in 2014. The Wildcats, who last played the Fighting Irish in football in 1995, will travel to South Bend on Nov. 15, 2014, and then the Fighting Irish will visit Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill., during the 2018 season (Nov. 3). Northwestern and Notre Dame have played one another 47 times in the last 121 years, making the Fighting Irish the Wildcats’ most popular nonconference opponent in program history.

6. The planned Saturday morning flag football game in Notre Dame Stadium for Irish football alumni has been cancelled.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

1. Senior forward/co-captain Becca Bruszewski (Valparaiso, Ind./Wheeler) was selected as the recipient of the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award, it was announced during the 2010-11 Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Banquet on Tuesday evening at Purcell Pavilion. In addition, sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) was chosen by members of the media to receive the Woody Miller Player of the Year award, while four other Fighting Irish players received individual honors as part of the year-end celebration. An overflowcrowd of approximately 700 people was in attendance (the second-largest gathering in banquet history), as Notre Dame capped off a memorable ’10-11 season that culminated with a 31-8 record (matching the second-highest win total in program history) and a second trip to the NCAA national championship game, not to mention the school’s third NCAA Women’s Final Four appearance. The Fighting Irish also were ranked in the top 10 in both major national polls at season’s end, finishing No. 9 in the final Associated Press poll (taken before the NCAA Championship) and No. 2 in the final ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll (taken after the completion of this year’s Women’s Final Four), registering the program’s highest finish in those surveys since its 2000-01national championship season, when it was No. 2 in the AP poll and No. 1 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. In addition, the Fighting Irish recorded their ninth NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, third 30-win campaign and eighth 25-win season, all in the past 15 years, and their 17th 20-win season in the past 18 years, not to mention their 19th consecutive winning season, 23rd in the 24-year Muffet McGraw era and 30th in the 34-year history of Notre Dame women’s basketball.

The Fighting Irish also ranked among the top 11 teams in the nation in seven NCAA statistical categories — field goal percentage (4th – .480), scoring margin (7th – +20.8 ppg.), steals (7th – 12.7 spg.), assists (9th – 17.2 apg.), three-point field goal percentage defense (10th – .269), rebounding margin (10th – +8.2 rpg.) and scoring offense (11th – 77.0 ppg.). What’s more, theFighting Irish set no fewer than 10 single-season school records — games played (39), total points (3,004), total rebounds (1,582), free throws made(667), free throws attempted (930), steals (495), opponent turnovers (864),90-point games (8), 35-point victories (9) and 30-point wins (12). Those marks don’t even include yet another single-season attendance record, as Notre Dame finished fifth in the country in attendance this season with an average of 8,553 fans per game (surpassing the freshly-minted record of 8,377 set justlast season). That represents Notre Dame’s 11th consecutive NCAA top-20 attendance ranking, and the Fighting Irish had five more sellout crowds this year (plus five others within approximately 500 fans of a sellout), giving Notre Dame 11 capacity crowds in the past two seasons alone, after having attracted a total of six sellouts in its first 32 seasons of competition. As if that weren’t enough, the Fighting Irish stretched their active streak of consecutive appearances in the Associated Press poll to a school-record 77 weeks, and defeated eight ranked opponents, including No. 1 Connecticut (72-63 in the NCAA national semifinals on April 3 in Indianapolis), the third win over a top-ranked opponent in program history, and No. 4 Tennessee (73-59 in theNCAA Dayton Regional final on March 28 in Dayton, Ohio), becoming the firstschool ever to defeat those two programs in consecutive games, as well as thefirst to do so in the same NCAA Championship. Other honorees at Tuesday night’s banquet (as chosen by a vote of their teammates) included: senior guard/co-captain Brittany Mallory (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh School), who garnered the team’s Defensive Player of the Year honor; junior guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic), who was tapped as the team’s Most Improved Player for the second consecutive year; and senior forward Mary Forr (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle), who took home the Spirit Award. In addition, junior guard Veronica Badway (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel Area) was honored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley with this year’s Rockne Student-Athlete Award. Each departing member of the senior class, includingstudent managers Stephen Lauria and Brian Monson, also delivered moving speeches about their careers at Notre Dame, while a senior video tribute and the always-popular season highlight and behind-the-scenes videos capped off the evening’s festivities. Notre Dame is expected to have four starters and 10 total players returning next season, along with a three-player freshman class that was ranked as high as seventh in the nation by Blue Star Basketball. It’s the 15th 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.

2. Notre Dame junior football linebacker Manti Te’o was named to the 2011 Lott Trophy Watch List, Ronnie Lott and the Pacific IMPACT Foundation announced Tuesday. Te’o paced the Irish last year with 133 tackles and his nine and a half tackles for loss ranked second on the team. He was named a second-team All-American by SI.com after the season and Te’o was also a semifinalist in 2010 for both the Bednarik Award (top collegiate defender) and Butkus Trophy (top collegiate linebacker). Off the gridiron, Te’o has excelled in the classroom and in the community. He has earned a 3.487 cumulative grade-point average at Notre Dame and has volunteered dozens of hours at a local youth center. While he was in high school, the former Eagle Scout volunteered his time at Hawaii Special Olympics and with the Head Start preschool program. In its eighthyear, the IMPACT Foundation recognizes student-athletes throughout the nation who have had the biggest IMPACT on their teams both on and off the field. IMPACT is an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. The 2011 list of 42 defensive players includes 19 defensive backs, 14 linebackers and nine defensive linemen.

3. The #24 Notre Dame softball squad swept Bowling Green in commanding fashion Tuesday at Melissa Cook Stadium to improve its winning streak to 11 games. The softball sluggers previously won nine straight to open the season. Notre Dame bumped its overall record to 28-7 with a 10-2 six-inning victory to begin the doubleheader and closed the door with an 8-5 non-conference win. The Irish, who have won 28 of their last 29 home games, now look forward to a contest against Loyola-Chicago on Wednesday (April 13). The home matchup will begin at 5:00 p.m. (ET) with live coverage available at UND.com. Heather Johnson extended her hitting streak to 17 games and has now recorded at least one RBI in each of the last 13 affairs.

4. The Notre Dame men’s golf team carded a 281 (-3) to capture the second-annual Battle at the Warren on Tuesday at the Warren Golf Course. The Irish held off the likes of Oakland (292, +8), Detroit Mercy (297, +13), Bradley (300, +16) and Jackson State (302, +18), who finished second through fifth respectively, to claim the victory. Oakland’sMichael Coriasso claimed the individual title, firing a bogey-free round of 67 (-4). Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) and Jeff Chen (Walnut, Calif.) shared top honors amongst Irish golfers, carding a pair of two-under par, 69 scores with Scodro counting toward the team score, while Chen competed as an individual. The tally earned each a share of second place (out of 31 entrants). Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) finished second in the Irish rotation, carding a one-under par (70) on his round. He finished alone in fourth place. Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) tied for fifth in the field and shared third amongst the Irish rotation, posting identical scores of 71 (E). Connor Alan-Lee (Solana Beach, Calif.) rounded out the Irish starting five with a two-over par mark of 73 (+2), which was not carded toward the team score. Individually, Andrew Lane (Fairport, N.Y.), Dustin Zhang (Calgary, Alberta) and Andrew Carreon (San Antonio, Texas) finished at 76 (+5), 77 (+6) and 82 (+11), respectively. The Irish return to the course this weekend when they begin their quest to capture the 2011 BIG EAST Championship on Sunday-Tuesday (April 17-19) at the Innisbrook Resort and Country Club in Palm Harbor, Fla. They enter the competition with an overall record of 70-24 in the head-to-head rankings.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

1. On Friday the Notre Dame Monogram Club board of directors will be meeting all day. Friday nightkicks off the 12th annual Blue-Gold football alumni weekend sponsored by theMonogram Club. The football alumni dinner is sponsored by Ruth’s Chris Steak House – and features football alumni and families eating with the current team and coaching staff (more than 600 will be in attendance). Speakers include coach Brian Kelly, athletics director Jack Swarbrick and Monogram Club president Joe Restic. A number of football alumni have signed up for a flag football game, which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. in Notre Dame Stadium (weather permitting).

2. The Notre DameMonogram Club is sponsoring the 90th anniversary of the student manager program at Notre Dame during the Blue-Gold weekend. More than 100 former student managers will be back on campus for a Friday night reception in Club Naimoli and tour of the Gug.

3. All dues-paying Notre Dame Monogram Club members will take part in a number of weekend festivities — including a Blue-Gold pre-game lunch tent on the Jordan Hall of Science lawn. Then the Monogram Club annual Mass and dinner Saturday night features the Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award presentation to longtime Notre Dame Alumni Association executive director Chuck Lennon — and the Monogram Club presidency transition from Joe Restic to Dick Nussbaum. More than 500 individuals will be in attendance at the dinner – and speakers include Monogram Club executive director Beth Hunter, Irish men’s basketball coach Mike Brey, and athletics director Jack Swarbrick.

4. Notre Dame Monogram Club members have ordered almost 1,000 Blue-Gold game tickets for Saturday.

5. The current issue of Sporting News features an NFL Draft preview and has Notre Dame’s Kyle Rudolph listed as the number-one-rated tight end – and also rates Rudolph as the top receiver among the tight end group.

6. Former Irish hockey player Victor Oreskovich has been recalled from the minors by the NHL Vancouver Canucks – just in time for the first-round playoff series that begins tomorrow against the Chicago Blackhawks.

7. Has Notre Dame ever enjoyed a more spectacular winter sports season? Here’s what Irish teams accomplished during the winter of 2010-11:
— An NCAA championship in fencing (combined men and women)
— An NCAA Final Four and national title game appearance, plus a final #2 ranking in women’s basketball
— An NCAA Frozen Four appearance and final #4 ranking in hockey
— A modern record 27 wins and #2 NCAA seed in men’s basketball
— All-America honors and a fourth-place NCAA indoor finish for the men’s distance medley relay team
— Frank Dyer is second Irish men’s swimmer ever – and first freshman – to compete in NCAA meet
— Samantha Maxwell and Kim Holden compete in NCAAs for Irish women’s swimming

8. Notre Dame freshman 1B Trey Mancini was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Baseball Honor Roll for the second time this season on Monday. He batted .533 (8-for-15) with six runs scored, two doubles, one home run and seven RBI in four gameslast week. Mancini, the only rookie to earn the nomination twice this season, registered a .867 slugging percentage and .588 on-base percentage. He posted three multi-hit games in four outings, including a three-hit effort againstUConn on April 9. Mancini closed the week going 2-for-4 with a home run andcareer-best four RBI in the series finale against the Huskies. He also playedflawless defense at first base (did not make an error in 39 fielding chances). Mancini leads the Irish in all three triple-crown categories: batting average (.350), home runs (five) and RBI (22). He would become the first Notre Dame player to accomplish the feat since Brant Ust in 1998.

9. The BIG EAST Conference honored a pair of Notre Dame softball players Monday as the Irish made it aclean sweep of the league’s weekly awards. Senior Heather Johnson was named Player of the Week for the second time in as many weeks as freshman Laura Winter copped Pitcher of the Week accolades for the first time in her career. Johnson, a third baseman from Los Alamitos, Calif., improved her current hitting streak to 15 games after four multi-hit efforts in five contests this past week. The 2010 all-BIG EAST selection went 10-for-19 (.526) with eight RBI and two homers for a .895 slugging pct. Both home runs came during Notre Dame’s league doubleheader at Syracuse. She did not strike out in 19 at-bats, and has been fanned only seven times in 106 at-bats this season. Just as impressive this past week was Winter, a right-handed hurler from San Diego, Calif. Winter earned three wins and one save in four appearances on the week. The 6-foot-1 hurler gave up 13 hits in 18.0 innings with 24 strikeouts. Eleven of those strikeouts came during 10.0 innings of work in two appearances at Syracuse. After picking up a game-one win over the Orange, she also blankedSyracuse in 3.0 innings of scoreless relief to earn her team-best third save in the latter contest of the road doubleheader. Winter permitted three earned runs on the week for a 1.17 ERA. The Irish (26-7) won five games this past week to bump their current winning streak to nine games, matching the team’s longest jaunt of the season. With a perfect 5-0 league mark, Notre Dame has now won each of its last 11 BIG EAST regular season contests dating back to 2010. The Irish batted .338 as a team this past week with a .633 slugging pct.

10. Notre Dame sophomore goalie John Kemp has been named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week for men’s lacrosse, while senior midfielder David Earl was selected to the conference’s weekly honor roll. The duo helped the Fighting Irish to a 7-6 win over Georgetown on Sunday. Kemp made 12 saves against the Hoyas to improve his record to 8-0 this season. Kemp and the Irish defense held the Georgetown offense, which entered the contest averaging 11.85 goals per game, to just six goals. That was the lowest scoring output of the season for the Hoyas. Kemp ranks second nationally in save percentage (.626) and he is third in goals-against average (6.13). Earl had a hand in three of Notre Dame’s seven goals in the win over Georgetown as he tallied two goals and an assist. Earl tied the game (3-3) with his first goal of the day and he thenassisted on the score that put the Irish up 4-3. He gave Notre Dame a 6-5 lead in the early stages of the fourth quarter with his second goal. The second-ranked Fighting Irish (8-0) will return to action Saturday when theyplay host to St. John’s (4-6) in BIG EAST play. Opening faceoff against the Red Storm is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) at Arlotta Stadium.

11. Current Irish fencer’s James Kaull (Washington, D.C.), Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Wash.) and Adriana Camacho (Puebla, Mexico), as well as incoming freshman Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), each represented the Irish at the recent Junior World Championships (April 1-7) in Amman, Jordan. Kaull, Osier and Imboden competed with the U.S. national team, while Camacho took to the strip for her native Mexico. Kaull, competing in epee, finished his individual tournament with a share of 24th place. In team epee competition,Kaull and the U.S. squad finished in 11th place overall. In women’s sabre, Osier put together an excellent pool-play record, going 5-1 with a +13 indicator to earn the eighth seed in direct elimination. Once there, however, the sophomore fell to Russia’s Alexandra Shatalova, 15-8, in the round of 32. Osier finished 19th individually. In team competition, Osier and the U.S. squad finished in sixth place after earning a round of 16 win over Canada, 45-17. The American unit then fell in the quarterfinals to Ukraine, 45-43, to finish their tournament. The final fencer representing Notre Dame on Team USA was Imboden, an incoming foilist for the Irish. Imboden put together a perfect 5-0 mark in pool play with a +17 to earn the eighth seed in direct elimination. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native then reached the round of 16 after defeating MohamedEssam of Egypt (15-10) and Brendan Francis Cusack of Ireland (15-6) in the round of 64 and 32, respectively. The American’s tournament came to an end in the next round, however, as Russia’s Kirill Lichagin held on for a 15-14 victory. Imboden and the U.S. men’s foil team then came back with a vengeance in team competition, defeating Italy (45-42) to capture the gold medal. Thegold medal win secured the U.S. men’s foil team as the only American men’s team to successfully defend a World title at either the junior or senior levels in Jordan. Camacho, competing for Team Mexico at the Worlds, ended her tournament with a 31st-place finish in women’s foil.

Monday, April 11, 2011

1. Junior midfielder Max Pfeifer deposited the game-winning goal with 2:33 left in the contest as the second-ranked Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team topped Georgetown 7-6 in BIG EAST action on Sunday afternoon in front of 2,336 fans at Arlotta Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. The Notre Dame defense stymied the Georgetown offense, which entered the afternoon averaging nearly 12 goals per game. Two-goal efforts from junior attackman Sean Rogers and senior midfielder David Earl, who also chipped in an assist, spearheaded the Irish offense. Neither team led by more than one goal during the entire game. “It was a great day to get a win,” said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. “I don’t know if we played as well as we were hoping to, but that credit goes to Georgetown. They are a very good and talented team. We knew it was going to be a game until the last second and it was.” Georgetown took its first and only lead of the game on a Max Seligmann goal with 10:37 left in the first half. Consecutive tallies from Earl and senior attackman Colin Igoe gave the Fighting Irish the lead once again(4-3) by the 3:48 mark of the second quarter. A Travis Comeau goal for the Hoyas with 1:19 left in the stanza made it a 4-4 game at the intermission. Pfeifer’s game winner was a man-up tally off a pass from Igoe. That was Notre Dame’s only man-up opportunity of the game. The Irish man-down defense negated both of Georgetown’s chances. Georgetownowned a 36-28 advantage in shots. Sophomore goalie John Kemp made 12 saves for the Irish to improve his record to 8-0 this season. Georgetown’s Jack Davis had 11 saves in the loss. “We’ve proven ourselves to be a pretty good defensive team,” added Corrigan. “We make it hard on people. We make them earn their goals. They (Georgetown) had to earn theirs today. We gave them a lot of extra chances today because of some mistakes. That was a little disappointing but it was good to know our defense and John Kemp were up to the challenge.” Both teams won eight faceoffs. Freshman Liam O’Connor was 6-11 for the Irish, while senior Jake Marmul was2-5. The Irish return to action Saturday when they play host to St. John’s in BIG EAST play. Opening faceoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. (ET) at Arlotta Stadium.

2. Notre Dame took advantage of three Connecticut errors in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 5-0 lead and never looked back. Freshman 1B Trey Mancini and fifth-year senior RF Herman Petzold each drove in four runs as the Irish routed the Huskies, 14-4, and salvaged the final game of a three-game baseball series at Frank Eck Stadium Sunday afternoon. Notre Dame improved to 13-16-1 and 4-5 in the BIG EAST, while Connecticut dropped to 17-11-1 and 7-2. Senior RHP Todd Miller picked up the win and improved to 3-2 on the season. He limited the potent Huskies’ lineup to just two earned runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings of work. Miller struck out two and walked one. He has collected his sixth quality start of 2011 (in eight outings). Miller did issue a walk to open the game, but did not issue another free pass the rest of the afternoon. He has now walked only seven batters in 53.0 innings this year. UConn southpaw Greg Nappo was charged with the loss and dropped to 3-2. He was victimized by an assortment of errors. Nappo allowed nine runs, only three earned, on five hits in 2.2 innings of work. He struck out two and walked two. Connecticut finished the game with six defensive miscues. Mancini and Petzold provided most of the Irish offense, but senior 3B Greg Sherry added three hits and sophomore C Joe Hudson and junior LF Alex Robinson chipped in with two hits apiece. The 14 runs and 13 hits for Notre Dame were the most since they registered season-highs of 19 and 25 in a rout of Purdue on Feb. 19. Mancini went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and his team-high fifth home run of the season. Petzold also went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a bases-clearing, three-run double. Sherry went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Hudson and Robinson each went 2-for-4. Hudson drove in a run and scored twice, while Robinson scored a run and drove in a run. The Irish raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning on just two hits, but used three Huskies errors. The five-run first inning was the largest first inning outburst for Notre Dame since they plated five in the opening frame on March 4, 2007, against Nebraska in Deland, Fla. The Irish went on to upset the #7 Cornhuskers, 16-6. Notre Dame put the game away with four more runs in the bottom of thethird inning to grab a 9-0 advantage. Freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald allowed two earned runs on three hits in 1.1 innings, while freshman RHP Dan Slania tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Notre Dame returns to action at 7:00 p.m. on Friday at Frank Eck Stadium for the opening tilt of a three-game series with BIG EAST rival West Virginia. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

3. Six of Notre Dame’s 21 hits were good for home runs as the Irish swept a BIG EAST Conference road softball doubleheader over Syracuse. The Irish won the first game, 9-2, while taking a 7-4 victory to end the twinbill Sunday afternoon at Syracuse Softball Stadium. The two teams played a doubleheader instead of the standard three-game league series due to travel complications incurred by Notre Dame Friday evening. Seven players recorded three hits on the day as the Irish relied on a relentless and consistent offensive attack to spoil the home-opening weekend for Syracuse (24-10 overall, 3-5 BIG EAST). The Irish have now won nine straight games to match their longest winning streak of the season. Notre Dame (26-7, 5-0) returns home to face Bowling Green for a doubleheader on Tuesday (April 12).

4. A lack of offensive firepower and several costly turnovers proved too much for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team Sunday afternoon as the Irish dropped a 12-7 decision to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. With the loss, Notre Dame falls to 5-7 overall and 2-2 in BIG EAST play, while the Orange improve to 5-6 and remain undefeated in league with a 3-0 mark. The Irish also fell to 0-7all-time against the Orange at Syracuse in the 16th meeting all-time againstthe two teams. For the game, Notre Dame finished with 14 turnovers that included 11 in the second half. The seven goals by the Irish were the second fewest scored this season. Earlier in the campaign, Notre Dame scored just five in a 6-5 double overtime loss to Cornell on March 20. Ansley Stewart led the Irish with one of her strongest offensive showings of the season as she scored three goals (all in the first half), while leading scorer Maggie Tamasitis finished with a goal and three assists. Kaitlyn Brosco also added a goal and an assist. Syracuse was led by Katie Webster’s three goals and Michelle Tumulo’s two goals and an assist as the Orange put together their first two-game win streak of the season and had their second-highest scoring output of the year.After trailing 8-5 at the break, Notre Dame was held to just two second-half scores as the Orange benefitted from strong goalkeeping and costly Irish turnovers.

5. The combined Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams along with Indiana were able to gain border bragging rights over Kentucky and Louisville Saturday at the Kentuckiana Border Battle in Louisville, Ky. TheHoosierland men’s team defeated the Commonwealth 103-96, while the women’s team won 104-96. Notre Dame men’s winners included Justin Schneider in the javelin (52.37m), Andrew Hills in the hammer throw (57.76m), Kevin Schipper in the pole vault (5.10m) and Jeremy Rae in the 800 meters (1:50.45). Irish women’s winners included Molly Hirt in the 5,000 meters (17:18.83), Rebecca Tracy in the 1,500 meters (4:24.43) and Nevada Sorenson in the 100 meters (:13.89).

6. It’ll be a hectic weekend on campus this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with lots of other Irish sports event built around the Blue-Gold football contest:

Friday, April 15
7:05 p.m. – Baseball vs. West Virginia

Saturday, April 16
Noon – Softball vs. Louisville (DH)
Noon – Women’s lacrosse vs. Connecticut
2 p.m. – Blue-Gold football game
4:05 p.m. – Baseball vs. West Virginia
7 p.m. – Men’s lacrosse vs. St. John’s

Sunday, April 17
Noon – Softball vs. Louisville
1:05 p.m. – Baseball vs. West Virginia

7. Notre Dame senior hockey defenseman Joe Lavin (Shrewsbury, Mass.) has signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks that will begin with the start of the 2011-12 campaign, the Blackhawks announced Monday afternoon. Lavin had signed an amateur tryout contract with the Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford Icehogs, on April 9 and played the final two regular season games. In those two contests, Lavin had one assist and four minutes in penalties. Rockford did not make the AHL playoffs, so the Icehogs’ season is now over. Joining Lavin in signing an amateur tryout last Saturday was teammate Ben Ryan (Sr., Brighton, Mich.) who signed to play with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, the top farm club of the Nashville Predators. In two games with the Admirals, Ryan had one assist while playing on a line with former Irish player Michael Bartlett. Milwaukee currently has four Notre Dame players on its roster – Ryan, Bartlett, Ryan Thang and Mark Van Guilder. The Admirals open the AHL playoffs Thursday at home against the Texas Stars andRyan is expected to be in the lineup. The Chicago Blackhawks drafted Lavin in the fifth round, 126th overall of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He played his first year and a half of college hockey at Providence College before transferring to Notre Dame. In between he played parts of two seasons with the Omaha Lancers in the United States Hockey League. In 48 games at Providence, Lavin had no goals and nine assists for nine points. In 57 games at Omaha, over the last half of 2008-09 and the first half of 2009-10, he had 12 goals and 28 assists for 40 points. The 6-3, 200-pound blueliner joined the Irish in January of 2010 and became a regular in the lineup, playing the final 18 games of that season with three goals and seven assists for 10 points. As a senior this season, Lavin served asNotre Dame’s captain, playing in all 44 games as the Irish advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four where they fell in the semifinals to Minnesota-Duluth. Lavin was second among Notre Dame defensemen in scoring with six goals and 11 assists for 17 points this season. Among his six goals were two power-play markers, two short-handed tallies and one game winner. In 62 career games with the Irish, Lavin had nine goals and 18 assists for 27 points. Ryan was a four-year regular at Notre Dame at center and served as an alternate captain for the Irish as a senior. TheNashville Predators selected him in the fourth round, 114th overall of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft while playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. As a senior this season, Ryan was sixth on the team in scoring with six goals and 19 assists for 25 points. He had two power-play goals and one game winnerwhile being +9 on the year. In four seasons, the 5-11, 197-pound centerplayed in 159 career games with 35 goals and 62 assists for 97 points. During those four years he scored 11 power-play goals and had eight game-winning goals. In those four seasons, Ryan was a member of one CCHA regular season championship team (2009), one CCHA playoff championship squad (2009), played in three NCAA tournament (2008, 2009 and 2011) and was a member of two NCAA Frozen Four teams (2008 and 2011).

8. Joe Heap, a three-year starter as a football halfback for the University of Notre Dame from 1952-54 and one of the most prolific past receivers ever among Irish running backs, died April 6 in New Orleans, La. He was 79. The only three-time Academic All-American in Notre Dame football history, Heap ranks as the only halfback in school history to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in a career. In addition to his school record of 1,137 receiving yards by a halfback, Heap’s 71 career catches rank fifth all-time among Notre Dame halfbacks. He led the Irish in receptions in three straight seasons – 1952, ’53 and ’54. Heap, along with quarterback Ralph Guglielmi, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lattner and fullback Neil Worden, helped the Irish to a 9-0-1 record and share of the 1953 national title. Heap’s explosiveness as a 5-11, 180-pound left halfback was evident throughout hiscareer. As a senior in 1954, Heap raced 89 yards for a touchdown against SMU, a play that ranks as the third longest run in school history. He also recorded 92- (vs. Pittsburgh in 1952) and 94-yard (vs. USC in 1953) punt returns for touchdowns. Those two returns rank as the fourth- and fifth-longest in school history. Heap helped the Irish to a 9-1 mark in ’54 while leading the team in scoring (48 points), kick returns and receiving (and finishing second in rushing with 594 yards). Heap, a Sugar Bowl/Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Famer, was a first-round draft selection (eighth overall) of the New York Giants in 1955, but he played professionally only one season before serving in the Air Force, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

1. Notre Dame freshman center T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) was named the Hockey Commissioners’ Association (HCA) National Division I Rookie of the Year on Friday afternoon. The talented rookie led all CCHA and the nation’s freshmen in scoring with 23 goals and 31 assists for 54 points, including 16 multi-point games en route to becoming the second Irish player named the CCHA rookie of the year. Tynan was selected as the CCHA rookie of the week four times during the 2010-11 season, was the CCHA rookie of the month for November, the RBC Financial Group CCHA player of the month in December and the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s team most valuable player. During the `10-’11 CCHA regular season, the Irish were 15-4-2 when Tynan’s name found the scoresheet. Included were four, two-goal games, and 10 multi-point efforts on the year. He was selected by the league’s coaches as a second team all-CCHA performer while also earning a unanimous spot on the CCHA’s all-rookie team. The 19-year old center finished the campaign with five power-play goals, two short-handed tallies and a pair of game winners as Notre Dame was 25-14-5 for the year and finished second in the CCHA with an 18-7-3-2 record. He helped the Irish to the NCAA Northeast Regional championship with a 4-3 overtime victory against Merrimack and a 2-1 win versus New Hampshire to send Notre Dame to its second Frozen Four appearance in the last four seasons. At the Frozen Four, Tynan scored his 23rd goal of the season in the 4-3 loss to Minnesota-Duluth. The former DesMoines Buccaneer (USHL) became just the third Notre Dame freshman to score 50 or more points in a season with his 54 being just five points off the school record set by John Noble `73 and Dave Poulin `82 in their freshmen seasons. The 54 points also are the most by an Irish player since the 1989-90 season. The 5-8, 156-pound center signed a national letter-of-intent with Notre Dame inNovember of 2009 while playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers in the 2009-10season. A first-round selection of the Bucs in the 2008 Futures Draft, Tynan posted big numbers in his rookie year in the league. He led Des Moines in scoring with 17 goals and 55 assists for 72 points in 60 games and was named to the 2010 USHL all-rookie team. His 55 assists led the league and his 72 points were fifth overall. The HCA Rookie of the Year is selected in a vote by the assistant coaching staffs of all 58 NCAA Division I hockey teams. Players on the ballot receive five points for a first-place vote, three points for second and one for third place. Each conference’s top rookie serves as their respective league’s nominee. Tynan is the first winner to come from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The WCHA and Hockey East have each had two winners in the last four years.

2. Betsy Mastropieri scored four goals and was joined by nine other teammates on the scoreboard as Notre Dame ran off a 15-4 win over Villanova at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, Pa., in a steady rain Friday afternoon. The sophomore attack from Richmond, Va., had a career-high, five-point game to pace all Irish scorers. Kaitlyn Brosco and Kaitlin Keena each had two goals in the victory while Maggie Tamasitis, Jenny Granger, Kailene Abt, Shaylyn Blaney, Ansley Stewart, Molly Shawhan and Grace Dooley each scored a goal for Notre Dame. Justine Donodeo led Villanova with two goals while Shawna Giust and Rachel Lasda had single goals for the Wildcats. The win gives Notre Dame a 5-6 overall record and a 2-1 mark in the BIGEAST as the Irish head to Syracuse for a Sunday match up with the Orange in the Carrier Dome. Villanova falls to 4-5 overall and 0-2 in BIG EAST play. Notre Dame scored early and often in this game, building a 10-0 lead with 5:18 left in the first half. The Wildcats broke through at 2:52 with a goal by Donodeo to snap an Irish shutout bid. Last season, Notre Dame blanked Villanova, 16-0, at Arlotta Stadium for the first shutout in the program and BIG EAST history. The Irish shutout streak against the Wildcats went to 87:08 before the first goal of the game. ?Seven different players scored for the Irish in the first-half run with Mastropieri gettingthree and Keena a pair while Brosco, Blaney, Stewart, Abt and Granger addedsingle goals.

3. The game featured a matchup between arguably the top two pitchers in the BIG EAST Conference –Notre Dame’s Brian Dupra and Connecticut’s Matt Barnes. Neither right-handed hurler disappointed, but Barnes was the benefactor of quality situational hitting as UConn slipped past the Irish, 3-1, in the BIG EAST series opener at Frank Eck Stadium Friday night. The Huskies improved to 16-10-1 overall and 6-1 in the conference, while Notre Dame dropped to 12-15-1 and 3-4. Barnes improved to 6-2 on the year. He allowed one earned run on four hits in 7.1 innings. Barnes, who will likely be a top-10 overall selection in this June’s MLB draft, struck out five and walked two. Kevin Vance collected his fourth save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning, but it was not without an Irish rally. Senior LF Matt Grosso drew a leadoff walk and senior 3B Greg Sherry singled to put two on and nobody out, but sophomore C Joe Hudson popped out to third on his sacrificebunt attempt, which would have moved the tying run into scoring position. Vance then got sophomore DH Adam Norton to pop out and sophomore 2B Frank DeSico to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the game. Dupra was charged with the loss and dropped to 2-3 on the year. He limited the Huskies to just two runs, one of which was unearned, on six hits in 7.1 innings. Dupra fanned four and walked three. He lowered his season ERA to a gaudy 1.64. Dupra has allowed exactly one earned run in 21.0 innings of work over his three BIG EAST starts. Yet, he is 0-1 over that stretch. Notre Dame stranded nine on the base paths, while UConn plated two of its three runs on sacrifice flies. Fifth-year senior Herman Petzold and senior 3B Greg Sherry were the only two Irish players to collect multiple hits. Petzold went 2-for-3, while Sherry went 2-for-4 with an RBI single. George Springer, the second certain first round pick on the Huskies, went 2-for-3 with a run scored and stolen base. John Andreoli went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Ryan Fuller and Tim Martin added critical sacrifice flies as well. Barnes and Dupra were untouchable over the first 6.0 innings of the contest. The two matched scoreless inning after scoreless inning.

Friday, April 8, 2011

1. Special teams were the name of the game Thursday afternoon in the opening hockey game of the NCAA Frozen Four at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., as Minnesota-Duluth used three power-play goals to end Notre Dame’s season with a 4-3 defeat. J.T. Brown, Mike Connolly and Jack Connolly scored on the power play and Kyle Schmidt added the fourth goal as the Bulldogs built a 4-2 lead after two periods of play and held on for the 4-3 win. The Irish got goals from Jeff Costello, T.J. Tynan and Calle Ridderwall (shg) as they had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the game but could not hold on to either advantage. For fourth-ranked Notre Dame, the loss ends the season with a 25-14-5 mark and a trip to the second Frozen Four in the program’s history. The win sends third-ranked Minnesota-Duluth to Saturday’s championship game against Michigan as the Wolverines shutout North Dakota, 2-0, in the second semifinal game. “Obviously people can see that the game was dictated by one thing – special teams,” said head coach Jeff Jackson. “It was exactly what we saw on film. They have an exceptional power play and we couldn’t generate any offense on our power play. I thought we played a good game five-on-five. Other than that the game was completely determined by special teams.” The Irish got back in the game in the third, with Ridderwall scoring his 16th goal of the year, this one short-handed at 2:05 to cut the UMD to 4-3 with plenty of time left in the contest. Notre Dame carried the play in the third, out shootingMinnesota-Duluth, 15-2, in the period but could not score again in the game. For the night, the Irish had a 34-21 edge in shots. Reiter finished with 31 saves while Johnson had 17 for the night. The Bulldogs were 3-for-6 on the power play while Notre Dame was 0-for-5. Ridderwall’s short-handed goal was the 13th of the season for Notre Dame and ties the Irish for first in the nation in that category. Costello’s goal just 49 seconds into the game was the fastest goal in NCAA Tournament play for the Irish. In 2004, Cory McLean scored 54 seconds into an NCAA game versus Minnesota.

2. Here are notes from the 2011 Notre Dame Football Pro Day on campus Thursday:

  • – Nine former Notre Dame football players worked out at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex and Loftus Sports Center
    – Height and weight measurements, vertical jump, broad jump and bench press were all conducted at Haggar Fitness Complex within the Guglielmino Complex
    – The 40-yard dash, pro agility (20-yard shuttle), 60-yard shuttle, three-cone drill and position-specific drills all occurred on Meyo Field at Loftus Sports Center
    – Players worked out in front of representatives from 28 of 32 NFL teams
    – Robert Hughes, Duval Kamara, Kerry Neal, Kyle Rudolph, Brian Smith and Darrin Walls participated in every event at the Pro Day
    – Kyle Rudolph had an impressive performance in the position drills, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock told reporters after the workouts. “I think everyone came away from today with a buzz about how good his hands are,”Mayock said.
    – Darrin Walls ran the fastest 40-yard dash time of the day at 4.39 seconds. That time by Walls would have ranked as the third-fastest time by a cornerback at this year’s NFL Combine and tied for seventh fastest by any player at the Combine. Possibly even more impressive was Walls in the60-yard shuttle where his 10.82 time would have been the second-fastest time by any player at this year’s NFL Combine.
    – Robert Hughes posted an impressive mark of 26 repetitions in the bench press. That total would have ranked fifth among all running backs at last month’s NFL Combine.
    – Armando Allen’s 4.12 time in the pro agility drill (20-yard shuttle) was the fastest of the day and would have ranked fifth among running backs at this year’s NFL Combine.
    – The quarterback that threw passes to Rudolph and others during the positiondrills was Rob Florian, a former QB at Elder High School in Cincinnati (Rudolph’s alma mater) and the University of Dayton.

3. The 20th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team dropped a tough 4-3 decision to 16th-ranked Northwestern on Thursday evening at the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill. The Irish held a 3-0 lead in the match before the Wildcats stormed back for the victory. Notre Dame claimed the doubles point to take the early advantage despite JenniferKellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) falling toElena Chernyakova and Brittany Wowchuk at No. 3 doubles to get play underway, 8-3. The 22nd-ranked duo of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) evened it up shortly after, taking down the seventh-ranked Wildcat team of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton at No. 1, 8-3. The win is the 13th consecutive for Frilling and Mathews. Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) thenclinched the opening point, holding on for an 8-6 victory over Maria Mosolova and Belinda Niu at No. 2 doubles, 8-6, marking the third straight win for the Irish pairing. Kellner, ranked 105th in the ITA singles rankings, and Rafael then clinched the first two singlespoints at No. 3 and 4 singles, taking down 92nd-ranked Kate Turvy (6-3, 6-1)and 50th-ranked Wowchuk (6-3, 6-3), respectively. Kellner has now won five consecutive dual matches while Rafael has won three straight. However, Notre Dame was unable to close out the match, losing the final four singles matches up for grabs. At. No. 1, #3 Frilling fell for just the second time this dual season, losing in three sets to #16 Mosolova, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1. Mathews, ranked 63rd, then fell to #74 Niu at No. 2 singles, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, to bring an end to her two match winning streak. The final two matches still on court saw McGaffigan fall toStacey Lee at No. 5 (3-6, 6-2, 6-2) and Sabacinski drop to Abu Mushrefova atNo. 6 (3-6, 7-5, 6-2). Notre Dame concludes its regular season with a pair of BIG EAST tilts, taking on Marquette on April 17 in the team’s final road contest, before returning home for theseason finale against DePaul on April 23.

4. Notre Dame held Butler to one earned run during Thursday’s non-conference softball doubleheader at Melissa Cook Stadium while handing the Bulldogs a pair of losses, 5-0 and 6-1. Jody Valdivia (6-4) matched a career-best mark during her game-one shutout with 14 strikeouts. Valdivia went the distance and allowed two hits while issuing a pair of walks. The offense provided eight hits in each of the two games, five of which came from Heather Johnson. Johnson drove in four runs as Alexia Clay went 2-for-5 in the doubleheader with five RBI,including a three-run homer in the opening contest. Butler’s defense led to 19 stranded Irish runners on the day but also committed five errors. Seven of Notre Dame’s 11 runs were earned. The Irish (24-7) have now won seven straight games, their third streak of six or more wins this season. Next up is a three-game BIG EAST Conference series at Syracuse Saturday and Sunday.

5. The Notre Dame Monogram Club awarded letter jackets to 78 first-time monogram winners at the organization’s annual spring letter jacket ceremony Wednesday night in the Joyce Center. More than 150 individuals, including student-athletes, coaches, parents and administrators, gathered in Purcell Pavilion’s Club Naimoli to celebrate an important Notre Dame tradition, started by the Monogram Club two years ago. Speakers included Monogram Club executive director BethHunter, Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick and keynote speaker Jeff Burris, a ’94 graduate and former football consensus All-American and first-round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills (he went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL). “You talk about respect from others around the country or in any realm in which you go – being a student-athlete at Notre Dame means you persevered, you foughtthrough adversity, and you did so with integrity and the characteristics that really matter for you as a person,” Burris said. “You didn’t come to Notre Dame to be average. You came here because you wanted to be great.” Senior football student-athlete David Ruffer closed the ceremony by representing his fellow student-athletes with remarks about why earning a monogram serves asvalidation for the extraordinarily busy life student-athletes lead.

6. There’s a huge banner on the east side of the new Notre Dame hockey arena with a 2011 NCAA Frozen Four logo and the words “Go Irish”on it.

7. Home events on the Notre Dame campus this weekend include baseball versus Connecticut tonight (5:30 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.), allstreamed on und.com – and men’s lacrosse at noon Sunday against Georgetown (on ESPNU).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

1. Notre Dame’s bid for the NCAA women’s basketball title came up six points short tonight. Danielle Adams scored 22 of her 30 points in a dominating second half and Texas A&M beat Notre Dame 76-70 to win its first national championship in Indianapolis. Texas A&M(33-5) built an early 13-point lead with its aggressive defense, fell behind by seven in the second half, then rallied by pounding the ball inside to the 6-foot-1 Adams, who bulled her way to 9-for-11 shooting in the final 20 minutes. Tyra White added 18 points for the Aggies, including a huge 3-pointer as the shot clock buzzer sounded to put A&M up 73-68 with 1:07 left. That was enough to bring the title to a school that didn’t even admit women until 1963 and to deny a second championship to Notre Dame (31-8), which won 10 years ago in St. Louis. Skylar Diggins led the Irish in this improbable title game matchup of No. 2 seeds with 23 points. Devereaux Peters had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Notre Dame, which was burned by A&M’s 68 percent (15-for-22) second-half shooting.

2. Notre Dame collected 10 base hits and scored six runs, but it was not enough to overcome 11 walks that aided the South Bend Silver Hawks to a 13-6 victory in the fourth annual Battle of the Bend Tuesday night at Frank Eck Stadium. The game featured free admission and donations went toward the Niemann-Pick Type C disease research. Notre Dame totaled its most runs and hits in the four-year exhibition series, despite sitting most of its everyday players. Freshman OF Bret Basilone, junior SS Tommy Chase, freshman 3B Chris Reinhart and sophomore 2B Frank DeSico each registered a base hit and RBI. Senior DH Ty Adams also added an RBI. Reinhart laced an RBI triple in the second inning and DeSico followed with an RBI single to give the Irish a 2-1 lead. Senior C Cameron McConnell, who also pitched for the first time as a collegian, went 1-for-2. Sophomore C Ricky Palmer and freshman 2B John Rodgers also had base hits as did senior 1B Matt Scioscia and senior 1B David Casey. Sophomore OF Charlie Markson added a single.

3. The Notre Dame softball team scratched out nine straight runs – including five in the fifth inning – Tuesday at Goodman Diamond in Madison, Wis., to hand host Wisconsin an 9-1 non-conference defeat. The Irish (22-7) now look forward to a Thursday homedoubleheader with Butler before heading to Syracuse this weekend for a three-game BIG EAST Conference series. Heather Johnson, the reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week, extended her hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the third to drive in Notre Dame’s first run which tied the game at 1-1. She finished2-for-4 on the day. Alexa Maldonado paced the Irish with a 3-for-3 showing at the dish while scoring three times. Amanda Najdek (6-8) tossed the first 4.2 innings for Wisconsin (17-14) and gave up one earned run on six hits. Meghan McIntosh stepped in for relief and the Badgers allowed an unearned run in the fifth when Johnson’s two-out popup fell between the second baseman and right fielder. Dani Miller smashed a three-run homer later that inning, followed by consecutive triples from Katie Fleury and Amy Buntin to boost Notre Dame’s lead to 6-1. Alexia Clay made it a 7-1 game in the sixth with a one-out sacrifice fly to deep center which scored Erin Marrone from third, one of three runs in the final inning. Notre Dame totaled 10 hits as Wisconsin committed four errors while racking three hits. Laura Winter (12-2) was solid with six strikeouts and three hits allowed in 5.0 innings for the win.

4. All four teams in this year’s Frozen Four have been to the finals in recent years. Notre Dame, North Dakota and Michigan all participated in the 2008 Frozen Four inDenver, Colo., while Minnesota-Duluth’s last appearance was in 2004 in Boston, Mass. For the Irish, this is their second appearance in the Frozen Four and the fifth time that they have been in the NCAA Tournament. Minnesota-Duluth is making its fourth Frozen Four appearance and is in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in the program’s history. The Michigan Wolverines are in their 24th Frozen Four and have won the tournament nine times, the most of any team. Michigan is playing in the NCAA Tournament for the 34th time in its hockey history. North Dakota is playing in its 19th FrozenFour and owns seven NCAA titles. The Sioux are making their 26th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Three members of the current Notre Dame team played in the 2008 Frozen Four. Senior forwards Ryan Guentzel (Woodbury, Minn.), Calle Ridderwall (Stockholm, Sweden) and Ben Ryan (Brighton, Mich.) all played in 2008 when they were freshmen. Ridderwall scored a pair of goals, including the overtime game winner in a 5-4 victory in the semifinals against Michigan.

Monday, April 4, 2011

1. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball squad will take on Texas A&M in the 2011 NCAA National Championship game on Tuesday night in Indianapolis – with the Notre Dame athletics program seeking its third national championship during this school year (following women’s soccer and fencing). The Fighting Irish headed over to Conseco Fieldhouse in the early afternoon for the NCAAmedia sessions and a closed practice. The Irish hit the media circuit with press conferences, interviews with ESPN and Westwood One Radio before talking with local and national media in the Irish dressing room. Before the Irish headed over to practice one of the pioneers of hip-hop culture and founding members of the hip-hop group Run-D.M.C., Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, stopped by the Irish breakfast to congratulate the Irish on their victory over UConn and wish them the best of luck against A&M.

2. The Notre Dame football program will conduct its Pro Day Thursday at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex and Loftus Sports Center. There will be nine former Notre Dame footballplayers participating: Armando Allen, Robert Hughes, Duval Kamara, Kerry Neal, Kyle Rudolph, Brian Smith, Chris Stewart, Darrin Walls and Ian Williams.

3. The funeral Mass for former Notre Dame football All-American Jim Seymour took place this morning at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Deerfield, Ill., with a long list of former Irish football teammates in attendance. Pallbearers included former Notre Dame players Terry Hanratty, John Lattner, Chuck Landolfi, Frank Criniti, Chuck Nightingale, Mike Heaton, Dan O’Connor, Don Reid, Bob Jockisch and Tom Reynolds. Also present were ’66 captain Jim Lynch, Nick Rassas, Dan Harshman, Bob Gladieux, Coley O’Brien and Larry Conjar, among others. Current Monogram Club executive director Beth Hunter, former executive directors Bill Scholl and Jim Fraleigh and senior staffers Mike Danch and John Heisler represented the Notre Dame athletics department. One of Seymour’s sons delivered remembrance remarks and another read a letter from former coach Ara Parseghian, who is recovering from hip replacement surgery last Wednesday. A memorial service for Seymour will be held at 3:30 p.m. May 6 on the Notre Dame campus.

4. Notre Dame senior third baseman Heather Johnson was named the BIG EAST Softball Player of the Week, as announced by the league Monday afternoon. Johnson led the Irish to a 4-1 record last week, including a 3-0 mark in conference action. The Los Alamitos, Calif., native was 12-for-17 (.706) at the plate with three doubles, three home runs, 14 RBI and 24 total bases for a 1.412 slugging percentage in five games. Already the program’s single-season RBI leader, Johnson earned the career record with a five-RBI effort in the opening game of the series with Providence (April 2). She recorded eight RBI in the three-game series, bringing her career total to 176. Johnson also recorded a grand slam in a 7-5 win over Purdue on March 31.For the week, Johnson had four multi-hit and multi-RBI outings andcurrently rides a 10-game hitting streak.

5. Here are some other NCAA Women’s Final Four tidbits:

— Prior to this week, Notre Dame had played in Conseco Fieldhouse once before, dropping a 77-61 decision to Tennessee on Dec. 28, 2002.

— Sophomore guard Skylar Diggins should be intimately familiar with Indianapolis and ConsecoFieldhouse, having led her high school team (South Bend Washington) to fourconsecutive Indiana state championship game appearances from 2006-09, winningthe Class 4A crown in 2007 with a 84-64 win over Columbus East High School (Diggins had 27 points, a 4A title game-record 17 rebounds, six assists andfive steals).

— After playing at Conseco Fieldhouse from 2006-08, the 2009 title game was played at Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, as well as last year’s NCAA Men’s Final Four and next year’s Super Bowl), where more than 30,000 fans watched Diggins singlehandedly rally Washington from an eight-point deficit in the final 1:40 against Indianapolis Ben Davis High School, only to fall 71-69 on a last-second circus shot in what was later dubbed one of the greatest high school girls’ basketball games ever played.

— One of Diggins’ closest friends is former Stanford All-America guard (and current member of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx) CandiceWiggins, whom Diggins refers to as one of her mentors. The two crossed pathsafter Diggins mentioned her appreciation for Wiggins’ game during an interview at the 2009 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, and the Stanford star reached out to Diggins shortly thereafter, striking up a friendship that has existed ever since.

— Four of the core members from the 2009 USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team that struck gold in Thailand were on hand in Indianapolis this weekend. Diggins and Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike served as co-captains for that squad, which also featured Connecticut’s Kelly Faris and Texas A&M’s Kelsey Bone and was coached by current Notre Dame associatecoach Carol Owens. Team USA went 8-1 in the tournament, with two of those wins coming over a Canadian team that was led by current Fighting Irish freshman forward Natalie Achonwa.

6. Tuesday will mark just the second time Notre Dame and Texas A&M have met in thesport of women’s basketball. The Aggies won the only prior matchup between the schools, 88-84 in overtime on Dec. 3, 1995, in Kona, Hawaii. Lisa Branch scored Texas A&M’s last nine points in overtime, including four free throws in the final six seconds, to lead the Aggies past Notre Dame. 88-84 in the fifth-place game of the Kona Women’s Basketball Classic. Notre Dame is 7-7 all-time against Texas schools, most recently falling at No. 2/3 Baylor, 76-65 back on Dec. 1 in Waco. The Fighting Irish are 3-2 all-time against the Lone Star State in the NCAA Championship, having last faced a Texas school in the tournament on March 23, 2008, defeating SMU, 75-62 in an Oklahoma City Region first round game at West Lafayette, Ind. Notre Dame has had four players on its all-time roster from the state of Texas. Kelly Hicks (1977-80; Bandera) was the first Lone Star State product to suit up for the Fighting Irish, followed by Ellen Mauch (1987; Mineral Wells). More recently, two members of Notre Dame’s 2001 NCAA national championship teamscame from Texas — Imani Dunbar (1997-2001; San Angelo) and Amanda Barksdale (1999-2002; Friendswood). When Notre Dame and Texas A&Mplayed their only previous game, it was in the fifth-place contest at the 1995 Kona Women’s Basketball Classic in Kona, Hawaii. Tennessee won that tournament title with a 79-67 win over Penn State in the championship game, despite a game-high 24 points from Penn State’s Angie Potthoff (who now serves as Notre Dame’s associate director of operations & technology). Notre Dame sophomore guard Skylar Diggins is close with Texas A&M sophomore center Kelsey Bone, who is sitting out this season after transferring from South Carolina. Diggins and Bone were two of the nation’s top three prep players in the Class of 2009, according to all major recruiting services, and have been teammates on numerous USA Basketball and all-star teams through the years. Diggins and Texas A&M senior forward/center Danielle Adams were two of the 10 players named to this year’s State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team that was announced Saturday at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis.

7. Notre Dame will go in search of its third NCAA title in the 2010-11 academic yearwhen the Fighting Irish women’s basketball team squares off with Texas A&M Tuesday night in Indianapolis. Currently, Notre Dame is one of three schools in the country to have won multiple NCAA Division I championships this year (women’s soccer and fencing), joining Penn State (women’s volleyball and wrestling) and California (men’s and women’s swimming & diving) in thatelite group, while giving the school 29 titles overall. Only once in school history has Notre Dame won three national championships in the same academic year — in 1943-44, the Fighting Irish football team was the consensus national champion, while the men’s tennis and men’s golf teams took home NCAA titles (or their equivalent at the time).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

1. It’s not often Maya Moore meets her match. Skylar Diggins was up to the task and Notre Dame will play for a national championship because of it. The sensational sophomore guard scored 28 points and hot-shooting Notre Dame upset UConn 72-63 on Sunday night at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, ending the brilliant career of Moore and the Huskies’ quest for a third straight national championship. Ten years after their last title, the Irish will be playing for another one Tuesday night againstTexas A&M, which beat Stanford 63-62 in the first semifinal. Notre Dame was 0-3 against its Big East rival this season but the Irish had all the answers this time for the Huskies, who lost for just the second time in three seasons. Notre Dame had already beaten Tennessee in the NCAA tournament, ending a 20-game skid against the Volunteers. Now the Irish (31-7) have knocked out the two-time defending champions. Moore finished with 36 points, including 12 straight as she tried to rally the Huskies from a 12-point deficit in the final 6 minutes, but it wasn’t enough for UConn (36-2). The four-time All-American and AP player of the year was overshadowed by Diggins, the South Bend native who felt right at home in Conseco Fieldhouse, where she led her high school to three straight championships. Calmly directing her offense and fearlessly driving into the lane to create chances for herself and her teammates, Diggins now has a chance to add a NCAA championship to that list.

“We had to be poised, I mean, we had to try to make Maya take tough shots, and I think she did,” Diggins said. “And at the end we said, ‘We have to stay poised on defense and we have to execute on offense.’ We showed a lot more poise than we did in the first three games against Connecticut.” Trailing 34-26 early in the second half, Diggins’ three-point play started a 15-4 run by the Irish. Devereaux Peters’ added her own three-point play that gave Notre Dame a 38-37 advantage – its first lead since midway through the first half. Diggins capped the burst with another three-point play that made it 41-38 with 13:17 left and brought the pro-Irish crowd to its feet and left Geno Auriemma’s team reeling. The Irish extendedtheir lead to 47-40 a few minutes later before UConn cut the deficit to four on Bria Hartley’s 3-pointer. Brittany Mallory and Natalie Novosel hit consecutive 3-pointers to make it a 12-point game with just over 7 minutes left. Moore did her best to try to rally her young team, but the Huskies fell short. Moore started her flurry with a three-point play and then a hit a deep 3-pointer.After Novosel hit a layup Moore hit another 3-pointer that made it 63-60 with 2:26 left. That’s as close as the Huskies would get as Diggins and the Irish were too much for them down the stretch. As the clock ran out, Diggins and the Notre Dame players rushed the floor and danced, knowing they had pulled off the monumental victory. Notre Dame was making its first trip to the Final Four since winning a national title in 2001 after knocking out UConn in the semifinals that year. The Irish faced a 16-point first half deficit in that game but rallied to the victory. A half-dozen members of that team were among the 30 former Irish players at the game Sunday night. Irish coach Muffet McGraw had said leading up to the game that her team would try and draw inspiration from Texas A&M, which lost three games to Baylor in the regular season before beating the Lady Bears in the regional final. Now the two No. 2 seeds will play with a championship at stake. It’s the first time since 1994 that no top-seed made it to the championship game. The Irish were the second straight team to play in a Final Four game in their home state. Baylor reached the national semifinals last season in Texas, but also lost to UConn.

2. The 23rd-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team earned two wins Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind. The Irish defeated No. 64 Southern Methodist University 6-1 in an afternoon match, followed by a 7-0 victory over IUPUI in the evening.

Against SMU, at second doubles, senior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) were downed by Adham el-Effendi and Darren Walsh in an 8-6 decision, while junior Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and sophomore Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) fell to Tobias Flood and Joseph Hattrup, 8-3 at first doubles to give the Mustangs an early 1-0 lead. The third doubles tandem of senior-captain Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) and freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) grabbed an 8-6 win over Artem Baradach and Gaston Cuadranti. Moving into singles action, Notre Dame swept the singles lineup, beginning with a win at the No.2 position where No. 125 Havens defeated Gaston Cuadranti, 6-3, 6-2.Andrews finished next and downed el-Effendi in a three-set match, 6-0, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2. Sophomore Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine-Crest) defeated Tobias Flood in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4 at the No. 6 position. No. 84 Watt clinched the match for Notre Dame as the junior downed No. 39 Baradach, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), followed by a win at third singles by senior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) over Mischa Nowicki, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). The win improved Stahl’s winning streak to seven consecutive victories. Fitzgerald rounded out the Irish lineup and defeated Flood in straight sets (6-2, 6-4) to conclude the match in a 7-0 victory.

Against IUPUI, Havens and Matt Dooley (New Braunfels, Texas/New Braunfels) paired up at second doubles to defeat Joel Modesitt and Nick Volz in an 8-6 decision, followed by Fitzgerald and Taldmadge’s 8-1 victory over Joe Hammond and Bren Vasalakis at first doubles. The win secured the doubles point for Notre Dame. Senior Sean Tan (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood) and freshman Ryan Bandy (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) downed Armando Diaz and Ivan Mojsejev, 8-1 at third doubles. With the doubles point in hand, the Irish moved swiftly through the singles portion of the match. Sophomore Michael Moore (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) quickly defeated Diaz 6-1, 6-0 at the No. 6 position,followed by Davis who downed Vasalakis in consecutive 6-1 sets at fifth singles. Moros clinched the match for the Irish as the sophomore defeated Modesitt, 6-4, 6-1 at the No. 3 position, while Havens handled Mojsejev 6-3, 6-2 at the top of the lineup. Andrews played Volz to a three-set match (3-6, 6-2, 6-1) at No.2 and senior David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) concluded the doubleheader with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 victory at the No. 4 position over Chase Emerson. The Irish return to action April 13 to battle Louisville in Louisville, Ky.

3. The Notre Dame men’s golf team finished alone in eighth place after carding a final round 310 (+22) on Sunday at the LSU National Invitational. The Irish concluded the tournament with a 54-hole score of 917 (+53) while being led by Paul McNamara III‘s (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) tournament in which he carded a 227 (+11). The host LSU put together a final round 297 (+9) to claim the lead and the championship with an 886 (+22). Chattanooga (887, +23) and Iowa (893, +29) finished in second and third, respectively, while Michigan (898, +34) dropped to fourth after posting a third round score of 311 (+23). Chattanooga’s Stephan Jaeger ran away with the individual title, finishing at seven under par (209) for a seven shot victory. McNamara III struggled in closing out his tournament, carding a final round 82 (+10) that saw him post nine pars, eight bogies and a double bogey. The sophomore finished with a share of 19th with a 54-hole total of 227 (+11).Junior Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) made a move up the leaderboard after putting together a third round 77 (+5) to finish the tournament at 15-over par (231). Scodro played a consistent final round that saw him register 13 pars, one birdie, three bogies and a triple bogey. He earned a share of 31st overall. Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) finished the tournament third for the Irish with a 54-hole score of 233 (+17) but did not count toward the team score on Sunday with a final round tally of 83 (+11). The junior carded three birdies, but was plagued by three bogies, three double bogies and a sextuple bogey on the par-5, 11th hole. Walker finished in a tie for 35th. Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) also finished with a share of 35th, finishing with an identical three round score of 233 (+17). The freshman posted the best score of the day for the Irish, carding a one-over par, 73. He matched the most birdies on the day for Notre Dame, posting three to go along with four bogies and 11 pars. Tom Usher (Bradford, England) concluded his tournament in a tie for 60th after ending with a two-day total of 249 (+33). The junior put together his best round of the tournament, firing a final round 78 (+6). He finished the round with three birdies, two of which came on hisfirst two holes of his round, along with seven pars, seven bogies and a double bogey. The Irish now return home for the Battle at the Warren on April 12 at Warren Golf Course in one final tune-up before heading out to the BIG EAST Championships (April 17-19) in Palm Harbor, Fla., at the Innisbrook Resort.

4. The Notre Dame women’s golf team continued to improve each round at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Athens, Ga., as the Irish posted a 284 in the final 18 holes of the tournament Sunday. Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) improved her third round by four strokes as the freshman recorded a 71 (-1) for a three-round total of 222 (+8) and a 15th-place finish. Zhang was able to improve her score by carding three birdies in the third round, one on the seventh, ninth and 17th hole. Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) finished the tournament in a tie for 32nd place after posting a 77 (+5) in the final round for a combined 226 (+10) 54-hole total. That score is a season-best for Conway and was her best 54-hole since the Cardinal Cup in the fall of 2007, which was also a 226 (+10). So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Preparatory Academy) posted a two-over par 74 in the final round to finish in 35th place. The senior compiled a three-round score of 227 (+11). Rounding out the Irish score, are junior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) and Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress). Huffer registered a 78 in the third round for a three-day total of 232 (+16), while Nhim carded her best round of the tournament, posting a 74 (+2) to finish in 73rd place with a score of 233 (+17). The Irish return to action Sunday, April 17, for the BIG EAST Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla.

5. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team fell to fifth-ranked Loyola (Md.) 13-10 in BIG EAST action onSunday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium. Junior Maggie Tamasitis led the Irish with four points on two goals and two assists. Notre Dame (4-6, 1-1) also received two goals from seniors Kailene Abt and Shaylyn Blaney and sophomore Jenny Granger. The Fighting Irish trailed 6-4 at halftime, yet goals from Granger and senior Kaitlin Keena just 34 seconds apart knotted the game 6-6 in the early stages of the second half. Loyola (11-0, 2-0) grabbed the lead for good (7-6) with 24:27 left in regulation on a Grace Gavin free-position goal. Gavin had four goals and three assists on the day. The Greyhounds extended the lead to two (8-6) on a free-position tally from Mary Heneberry. Tamasitis sliced the Irish deficit to one (8-7) with 19:10 showing on the clock. Consecutive goals from Abby Rehfuss (free position) and Caroline Hager gave the Greyhounds a three-goals cushion (10-7). The Irish did not go away as junior Megan Sullivan scored with 14 minutes left to make it a 10-8 affair in favor of the Greyhounds. Rehfuss, who had three goals in the game, pushed the Loyola lead back to three (11-8) with 5:57 remaining yet Blaney scored 16 seconds later on a free-position attempt. Scores from Gavin and Hager gave the Greyhounds a four-goal edge (13-9), which was their largest of the day, with just under two minutes remaining. Granger deposited the game’s final tally for the Irish with 20 seconds left.

6. The Notre Dame hockey program announced its individual awards for the 2010-11 season at its annual Awards Program held Sunday afternoon at the Mendoza College of Business Atrium and Auditorium. The end-of-season program also honored the Irish graduatingsenior class of 2011. Leading the list of honorees was freshman center T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) who was chosen as the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s team most valuable player, won the team’s offensive player of the year award and was one of the squad’s two rookies of the year. Fellow freshman Anders Lee (Edina, Minn.) also wasselected as rookie of the year by his teammates. Senior alternate captain Calle Ridderwall (Stockholm, Sweden) 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. Ridderwall also received a new award – TheNotre Dame Hockey Trail Blazer Award – that will be presented when a significant “first” in program history has been achieved. In May, Ridderwall will become the first European graduate of the Irish hockey program and has been a major contributor in his four seasons at Notre Dame. He was presented with the framed Swedish flag that has flown in the Joyce Center during his four seasons with the Irish. A new flag of Sweden will hang from the rafters at the new Compton Family Center as will the flags of any other country represented by members of the Notre Dame hockey family in future seasons. Junior defenseman Sean Lorenz (Littleton, Colo.) was the winner of the 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. Senior right wing Ryan Guentzel (Woodbury, Minn.) 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 overcomeadversity and shows loyalty and commitment to his teammates, Notre Dame hockey and the University of Notre Dame. The winner of the team’s Most Improved Player Award was sophomore defenseman Sam Calabrese (Park Ridge, Ill.). Calabrese overcame a freshman season (2009-10) that saw him play just threegames due to a broken leg suffered early in the season and worked his way back to become one of the team’s top blue liners this season. The Irish also honored Dr. Michael Collins `70, who was a member of the first two Notre Dame hockey teams from 1968-70 with their Distinguished Alumni Award. The hockey program also presented its Honorary Alumni Awards to associate media relations director Tim Connor who has worked with the team directing the media relations efforts for the program since the 2000-01 season. The honorary alumni award winner receives a personalized team jersey to commemorate the honor. Also, the sixmembers of the hockey class of 2011 – senior manager Matt McManus (Stamford,Conn.), goaltender Brian Brooke (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Ryan Guentzel, defenseman Joe Lavin (Shrewsbury, Mass.), center Ben Ryan (Brighton, Mich.) and Calle Ridderwall – were honored as they received their game jerseys from the coaching staff and spoke at the event. Notre Dame will return to action this Thursday, April 7 at 4:00 p.m. (CT) when the Irish face Minnesota-Duluth in the first game of the Frozen Four at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. The winner of that game will face the winner of the North Dakota-Michigan game at 6:00 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, April 9 for the NCAA Championship.

7. Already the winningest coach in program history, softball skipper Deanna Gumpf notched her 400th career victory with a 9-0 five-inning win over Providence Sunday at MelissaCook Stadium. Now in her 10th season, Gumpf is 400-172-1 (.699) overall after sweeping the weekend’s three-game BIG EAST Conference series with the Friars. Gumpf’s milestone win came behind a combined shutout from the circle by pitchers Laura Winter (10-2) and Jody Valdivia. The Irish (21-7 overall, 3-0 BIG EAST) offense posted 12 hits and scored at least once in each of the five innings. Providence (13-20, 1-5) left a runner on second in the first inning as Winter (11-2) fanned three batters en route to an eight strikeout day from the circle. Winter struck out the side in the second and eight total batters on the day. Valdivia allowed one hit in the fifth frame. Heather Johnson punched in an RBI single up the middle in the first to score Alexia Clay from second. Clay was walked and moved to second on a wild pitch by Alicia Grosso (8-11). Clay returned the favor to her teammates with a three-RBI double that flashed down the leftfield line in the second. Grosso walked Brianna Jorgensborg and Lauren Sturh while loading the bases after giving up an infield bunt single to Alexa Maldonado. Katie Fleury padded her stats in the third with a hit, stolen base and run scored in the third. Clay and Johnson both went to opposite field with two-out singles in the fourth, and Dani Miller brought home a pair of runs with a double to left-center. Sitting on a 7-0 lead, Notre Dame used consecutive pinch-hit singles by Sadie Pitzenberger, Chloe Saganowich and Erin Marrone in the bottom of the fifth. Maldonado’s second hit of the game – a two-RBI double to the wall – permitted the Irish to win by the mercy rule in the abbreviated contest. Clay led all players with three RBI during her 2-for-2 effort at the dish. She also scored twice, as did Jorgensborg. Notre Dame travels to Wisconsin for a 4:00 p.m. (CT) game on Tuesday.

8. Notre Dame’s mettle was on clear display Sunday afternoon in its BIG EAST series finale at Pittsburgh. The Panthers had taken each of the first two games of the series by a single run and twice led the Irish by four runs (4-0 and 6-2), but Notre Dame battled back each time for an 8-6 victory at Charles L. Cost Field. The Irish improved to 11-14-1 overall and 3-3 in the BIG EAST, while Pittsburgh dropped to 15-10 and 3-3. Junior RHP Will Hudgins picked up the victory in relief and improved to 3-0 on theyear. The sidewinder tossed 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. Hudgins did notallow a hit, walked one and struck out one.Freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald picked up the first save of his career with 3.0 scoreless innings of work. He retired nine of the 10 batters he faced. Fitzgerald has not allowed an earned run over his last 9.2 innings of work. Alex Caravella was charged with the loss for Pittsburgh and evened his record at 2-2. The southpaw was knocked around for four runs, all earned, on three hits in 0.2 innings of work. Notre Dame collected 13 hits on the day, the most for the Irish since Feb. 19 when they had a season-high 25 against Purdue. Senior 3B Greg Sherry paced the attack with three hits, twodoubles, two RBI and a run scored. Senior SS Mick Doyle, freshman CF Eric Jagielo and freshman 1B Trey Mancini chipped in with two hits apiece. Doyledoubled twice, drove in one and scored a run. Jagielo singled twice and scored a run, while Mancini went 2-for-5 with a run scored and two-run home run. Sophomore DH Adam Norton went 1-for-4 with two RBI. Notre Dame found itself down 6-2 heading to the top of the seventh inning, but the Irish exploded for five runs on five hits in the frame to grab an 8-6 lead. Mancini belted his team-best fourth home run of the season offCaravella, a three-run shot to right field that tied the score, 6-6, but Notre Dame was not done. Grosso and Hudson then drew back-to-back two out walks, one off Caravella and one off Matt Wotherspoon. Sherry followed with an RBI single, his third hit of the afternoon, to give the Irish a 7-6 lead. Norton added another two-out RBI single to push the Notre Dame advantage to 8-6. The two-run cushion was more than enough for the Irish bullpen as Hudgins and Fitzgerald slammed the door with 4.1 scoreless innings of work.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

1. Notre Dame sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) has been selected to the2011 State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team, it was announced Saturday by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) in a press conference at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis, site of this year’s NCAA Women’s Final Four. Diggins is the third Fighting Irish women’s basketball player to be named to the prestigious 10-player squad, following in the footsteps of Ruth Riley in 2001 and Jacqueline Batteast in 2005. In an ironic twist, Diggins received her StateFarm Coaches’ All-America Team plaque in the same hotel ballroom that Batteast (also a South Bend Washington High School alum) earned her award six years earlier. Diggins’ teammates, junior guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) and senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) also were State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team finalists this season, with both receiving honorable mention All-America status. Notre Dame and fellow Final Four participant Stanford were the only two schools in the country to have three State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team finalists this year, with Diggins and Baylor’s Brittney Griner being the only two sophomores on the 2011 State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team.

2. No. 9/7 Notre Dame (30-7) will take the floor at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four for the third time at approximately 9:30 p.m.(ET) Sunday in the national semifinals against top-ranked Connecticut. All three Final Four games will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPNHD and via the Internet at ESPN3.com, with the live radio broadcast available nationally via Westwood One, as well as throughout the Michiana area on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and on the official Notre Dame athletics web site, UND.com, with veteran broadcaster Bob Nagle on the call.

3. Today, the Fighting Irish women’s basketball players went through a closed practice at a local college before making their way to the Conseco Fieldhouse around 2:00 p.m. for an autograph session. Following the autograph session, with a few thousand women’s basketball fans in attendance, the Fighting Irish worked out at Conseco. The Band of the Fighting Irish played music as the Irish practiced for one hour before attending NCAA media sessions following. Fans of Indiana Basketball will notice some flare on the playing surface of the Final Four. The court is painted similar to that of the Hollywood movie “HOOSIERS”. The Irish then returned to the team hotel before departing for dinner at the Indianapolis Zoo.

4. The second-ranked Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team used a furious midgame rally that netted five straight goals and made up a three-goal deficit as the Irish captured a 12-8 victoryover No. 8 Villanova Saturday afternoon in front of 2,655 fans at Arlotta Stadium. The win improved the Fighting Irish to 7-0, including 2-0 in BIG EAST play. Senior attackman Colin Igoe and freshman attackman Westy Hopkins both netted a career-high three goals for Notre Dame. Senior midfielder Zach Brenneman added two goals and an assist for the Irish. Villanova (7-3, 0-2) jumped out to a 5-2 lead by the 12:07 mark of the second quarter, but the Irish scored five straight goals to take a 7-5 advantage into halftime. The Fighting Irish second-quarter surge began with 11:05 on the clock on a goal from sophomore midfielder Steve Murphy. His classmate Ryan Foley assisted on the tally. Igoe then scored off a pass from David Earl with 7:14 left in the first half. Brenneman evened thecontest (5-5) with 6:16 remaining in the stanza. Notre Dame claimed its first lead of the day on a Sean Rogers goal with just less than two minutes left in the opening half. Another Earl-to-Igoe connection gave the Irish a two-goal advantage (7-5) with 23 seconds remaining in the period. “We didn’t make many adjustments (after the early deficit). Our guys recognized what they (Villanova) were doing and really moved the ball well today,” said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. “I thought they (Villanova) were having trouble recovering off of their slides because they were trying to slide really aggressively to a couple of our guys. Our guys did a great job at not holding the ball and putting the ball in play and letting the ball do the work. You’re tough to defend when you do that.” Villanova’s CJ Burke put a halt to the Irish uprising with just over four minutes elapsed in the second half with his third goal of the contest. The Wildcats knotted the game 56 seconds later on a Jack Rice tally. Hopkins put Notre Dame on top once again (8-7) with 1:43 left in the third quarter. Brenneman assisted on the goal. Notre Dame senior Jake Marmul won the ensuing faceoff and then fed Hopkins who scored to make it a 9-7 affair with 1:31 left to play in the period. A Michael Vigilante goal sliced the Irish lead to one (9-8) by the end of the third quarter. The Fighting Irish defense kept Villanova off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter. Brenneman’s second goal put Notre Dame up 10-8 with twominutes gone by in the final period. Hopkins completed his hat trick with 2:14 remaining, while Igoe did so with 1:52 left. Villanova held a slight 38-34 edge in shots. Both teams won 11 face-offs. Marmul went 7-12, while freshman Liam O’Connor was 4-10. Sophomore goalie John Kemp made 11 saves for Notre Dame, while Billy Hurley had eight stops for Villanova. The 12 goals matched Notre Dame’s largest offensive output of the season. The Fighting Irish also had 12 tallies against Duke in the season opener. The Irish return to action next Sunday when they play host to Georgetown in BIG EAST play. Opening faceoff is slated for noon (ET) at Arlotta Stadium. The game will be aired live on ESPNU.

5. Pittsburgh’s LF Casey Roche did it with his glove on Friday, making a pair of inning-ending, run-saving, diving catches in the Panthers come-from-behind 6-5 victory in the series opener. Roche used his bat to best Notre Dame on Saturday with a pair of RBI base hits, including a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 baseball victory at Charles L. Cost Field in Pittsburgh. The Panthers improved to 15-9 overall and 3-2 in the BIG EAST, while the Irish dropped to 10-14-1 and 2-3. Notre Dame dropped its second consecutive game to Pittsburgh by a single run. In fact, the Irish have played seven straight games decided by two or fewer runs, including five of the last six by just one run. Notre Dame is now 5-7 in one-run contests. With the game knotted, 2-2, in the bottom of the 11th, Anthony Defabio led off the inning with a single off ofNotre Dame freshman LHP Anthony McIver. After Phil Konieczny executed a sacrifice bunt to move the winning run into scoring position, Roche lined a 1-1 offering from McIver off the pitcher’s glove and into short centerfield. Irish freshman CF Eric Jagielo fielded the ball cleanly and threw a strike home, but Defabio slid safely underneath the tag of Irish sophomore C Joe Hudson. Matt Wotherspoon picked up the victory and improved to 3-0 on the season. The right-handed hurler tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief. Wotherspoon allowed just one hit. McIver took the loss and evened his record at 1-1. The southpaw surrendered one earned run on three hits in 3.0 innings of work. McIver struck out three and walked a pair. Hudson was the only Notre Dame player to register more than one hit. He went 2-for-4 with a couple singles. In addition to Roche’s game-winning RBI single, he added a clutch RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead. Roche fouled off six consecutive two-strike pitches from Irish senior RHP Cole Johnson before lacing a double to left centerfield. Kevan Smith and Konieczny also added a couplehits.

6. Senior Heather Johnson’s two RBI walk-off double in the opening game of Saturday’s BIG EAST Conference softball doubleheader against Providence not only gave Notre Dame a 12-4 five-inning win, but capped off a five-RBI effort in the contest whichbrought Johnson’s career total to 175. That magic number eclipsed the program-best mark (174) shared by Christine Lux and Jarrah Myers, as Johnson would add to that total by driving in two more runs during a 7-3 game-two victory at Melissa Cook Stadium. The performance placed another feather in the cap of Johnson, who also set the single-season RBI record in 2010 by driving in 68 runs. She finished 5-for-6 (.833) in the twinbill with two doubles and a home run. Johnson’s hitting has taken a tremendous turn for the better since Notre Dame started the home portion of its schedule, as she carried a .224 average with 12 hits, two home runs and 12 RBI while playing away from Melissa Cook Stadium. In five home games, Johnson is 12-for-17 (.706) with three doubles and 15 RBI while notching one home run in three of the last four affairs. Notre Dame goes for the three-game sweep of Providence at 11:00 a.m. (ET) on Sunday.

7. The 19th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team moved to 11-8 on the season after claiming a 6-1 victory over 32nd-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on the Notre Dame campus. The Irish won the doubles point to go along with five of the six singles matches on the day. For the second consecutive day, the Irish used a strong start in doubles to jump out to an early 1-0 advantage. The 22nd-ranked Irish tandem of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) was first to finish for the second straight day, defeating Jannelle Cuthbertson and Christi Liles at No. 1 doubles, 8-5. The win bumps improvesFrilling and Mathews’ win streak to 12 straight and moves their dual record to 15-3. Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) then clinched the point for the Irish after disposing of Morgan Frank and Nazari Urbina at No. 2 doubles, 8-6. After falling behind 6-5 to the Aggies’ duo, the Irish rebounded to hold, break and hold serve to earn the decision. The Irish pairing now has a 5-5 record at the No. 2 position and are 5-6 overall. The final doubles match saw Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) fall to Stephanie Davidson and Sheri Olivier, 9-8 (7-3), at No. 3 doubles. The Irish duo pulled ahead 7-4, but were unable to hold the lead as the Aggies won the next four games before Notre Dame forced the set into a tiebreak. Texas A&M used took back momentum, however, to win the tiebreak, 7-3. Singles got underway with McGaffigan winning at No. 5 over Cuthbertson. The Irish sophomore led 6-2, 3-0 in the match before her opponent was forced to retire due to injury. The victory bumps McGaffigan to 4-3 at the No. 5 position. The margin moved to 3-0 as Mathews, ranked 63rd in the nation in singles, earned another straight-sets decision as she defeated Frank, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1, at No. 2. Mathews improves to 14-2 on the year at that position and is 14-4 overall on the dual season. Kellner, ranked 105th, then made the match official as she took down Liles at No. 3 singles, 6-3, 6-3. The Irishfreshman continues to build upon her impressive first year with the program, improving to 15-3 in dual play and 4-1 at the No. 3 court. She also has gone 8-1 with an unfinished result in her last 10 matches. Rafael and Frilling continued the Irish momentum, notching the next two points at No. 4 and 1 singles, respectively. Rafael claimed a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Davidson to move to 2-0 on the dual season at No. 4, while the third-ranked Frilling took down 24th-ranked Urbina, 6-1, 6-2 to improve to 15-1 at No. 1. The lone Aggies point came in the final match still on court, as Lauren Santacroce defeated Sabacinski at No. 6 singles, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2. With the win the Irish improve to 11-8 on the season with three regular season contests remaining on the schedule. Notre Dame next returns to action on Thursday (Apr. 7) when it heads to Evanston, Ill., for a showdown with Northwestern.

8. Freshman midfielder Kaitlyn Brosco scored three goals and teammates Kaitlin Keena and Kailene Abt had three-point nights to lead Notre Dame to an 11-6 win over Rutgers on Friday night under the lights at Arlotta Stadium on the Notre Dame campus. Megan Sullivan, Ansley Stewart and Shaylyn Blaney scored one goal each as the Irish snapped a two-game losing track at the right time, picking up the win over the Scarlet Knights in the BIG EAST opener for the Irish. Kristen Anderson led Rutgers with three goals while Shawn Lopez scored twice with Lauren Sbrilli getting the Knights’ sixth goal of the game. The win improved Notre Dame to 4-5 overall and 1-0 in the BIG EAST while Rutgers falls to 6-4 overall and 1-2 in conference action. The Irish continue their two-game homestand Sunday at 1 p.m. when they host thefifth-ranked Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds who improved to 9-0 Friday afternoon with a 17-3 victory at Cincinnati. Loyola is now 1-0 in conference play. Notre Dame dominated the game by outshooting Rutgers, 37-17 in the game. Scarlet Knight goalkeeper Lily Kalata was busy all night and kept her team in most of the game and finished with nine saves in the game. Irish goalkeeper Ellie Hilling had five saves in the victory.

9. The 19th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team made easy work of 44th-ranked Long Beach State Friday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on the Notre Dame campus. The Irish claimed a 5-2 victory en route to improving to 10-8 on the dual campaign. Notre Dame got off to a quick start in the match when, for the first time since a 6-1 win over WakeForest on Feb. 6, the Irish took each of the three doubles matches up for grabs. The 22nd-ranked tandem of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and ShannonMathews (Birmingham, Mich.) concluded first as they knocked off Anais Dallara and Klaudia Malenovska at No. 1 doubles, 8-3. The Irish pairing has now won 11 consecutive matches and improves to 14-3 during the dual campaign. The point was then clinched as Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) pulled away from the 49ers duo of Jaklin Alawi and Rachel Manesse, 8-3, at No. 2 doubles. The victory improves the Irish pairing to 4-5 on the dual season at the No. 2 position. The freshman pairing of Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Julie Sabacinski completed the doubles sweep, holding on for an 8-5 win over Sarah Cantlay and Julie Luzar at No. 3 doubles, 8-5. The win ends a brief two-match skid and improves their record to 3-6 at No. 3 this dual season. Mathews, ranked 63rd, then moved the margin to 2-0, as she took down Malenovska at No. 2 singles, 6-0, 6-2. With the win, she improves to 13-2 at that position and 13-4 overall on the dual campaign. Instraight-set matches, Mathews also has an identical 13-2 ledger. Rafael then pushed the Irish within match point, as she took down Manesse at No. 4 singles, 6-4, 6-0. With the first set knotted up at 4-4, Rafael did not drop anothergame in the match en route to her sixth dual season win. It is her first win of the season at the No. 4 position. Shortly after Rafael’s win, Frilling made the match official as she knocked off Dallara at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-4. The Irish junior, ranked third in the nation, now owns a 14-1 record on the dual campaign and is 22-3 overall. With the match decided, Long Beach State did not go away without a fight, whittling away at the deficit with wins at No. 5 and 6 singles. Anna Jecmionka was first to earn a point for the 49ers, knocking off Sabacinski at No. 6 singles (6-3, 6-2) just before Cantlay came from behind to defeat McGaffigan at No. 5 (2-6, 6-2, 6-2). Kellner, ranked 105th, closed the match out on a positive note for the Irish, posting a win over Deborah Armstrong at No. 3 singles, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). The freshman improves to 3-1 at No. 3 singles and 14-3 overall on the dual season.

10. Pittsburgh rallied in the bottom of the eighth inning for five runs on six hits and one critical Notre Dame error to grab a 6-5 victory over the Irish on Friday afternoon at Charles L. Cost Field in Pittsburgh. Alex Caravella picked up the victory in relief for Pittsburgh and improved to 3-1 on the year. The lefty allowed one earned run on three hits in 2.1 innings of work. Caravella struck out one and walked two. Freshman RHP Dan Slania took the loss and dropped to 0-2 on the season. He allowed an unearned run on two hits in 0.2 innings of work. Ray Black picked up his third save of the season for the Panthers. Fifth-year senior RF Herman Petzold, freshman CF Eric Jagielo and sophomore 2B Frank DeSico all had two hits for the Irish. Petzold went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Jagielo went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and run scored, while DeSico went 2-for-4 with a run scored and three stolen bases. Notre Dame pushed its lead to 5-1 on Petzold’s RBI single in the top half of the eighth inning. With runners on second and third and two outs, Notre Dame nearly broke the game wide open, but Pittsburgh right fielder Casey Roche robbed senior 3B Greg Sherry of a base hit for the second time of the game. This stellar effort was a diving grab that not only ended the inning, but also prevented the Irish from pushing their lead to 7-1.

11. The New York Times story Friday that detailed former Connecticut basketball recruit Nate Miles’ relationship with the Connecticut men’s staff was co-authored by former Notre Dame basketball player Zach Hillesland.

12. Led by three top-five finishers in the men’s hammer throw, the Notre Dame men’s and women’s throws squad got the Irish track and field off to a successful start at the Mike Poehlein Invitational Friday in West Lafayette, Ind. Mason Bashaw (Houston, Texas/Kincaid) was the ninth-place finisher with a 44.48m, followed by Madeline Casanova (Simi Valley, Calif./Alemany) in 10th place (44.45m) and Vivien Devaney (San Luis Obispo, Calif./San Luis Obispo) concluded competition in 13th place (42.93m) to round out the Irish hammer throws squad. Greg Davis (Peachtree, Ga./Starr’s Mill) finished in second place (56.30m), followed by Andrew Hills (Toledo, Ohio/St. John’s Jesuit) in fourth place (54.25m) and Mitchell Gormley (Lawrenceville, Ga./Brookwood) in fifth place (52.44m). John Belcher (Cheyenne, Wyo./Cheyenne Central) claimed ninth place with a toss of 50.59m, while Anthony Thomas (Roosevelt, N.Y./Holy Trinity) was the 13th-place finisher (45.61m).