Monday, February 28, 2011

1. As the final week of the regular season begins, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team rates a projected #2 NCAA seed in three versions of Bracketology posted today. The ESPN version has the Irish opening in Chicago against #15 Milwaukee, with #7 George Mason and #10 Michigan State facing off in the other game. The Sports Illustrated web version also has the Irish in Chicago, facing #15 Long Island, with #7 UCLA meeting #10 Virginia Tech in the other game. The FOX Sports version has Notre Dame in Chicago facing #15 Coastal Carolina – with #7 UNLV and #10 Michigan State the projected teams in the other game.

2. Kevin Ridgway, a senior defenseman on the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team, today was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week. Ridgway and the Fighting Irish defense were key in Sunday’s 6-2 win at Penn State. The two goals allowed by the Notre Dame defense were the fewest since a 12-2 win over St. John’s during the 2009 season. The Irish defense surrendered just 19 shots, including only 10 on goal, to the Nittany Lions. Ridgway forced a game-highthree turnovers. This was the first career BIG EAST player-of-the-week award for Ridgway. The senior captain was named a first-team preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse and was selected to the 2011 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team. The Hamilton Nationals selected Ridgway in the third round (18th overall selection) of January’s Major League Lacrosse draft.

3. The Notre Dame men’s foil and women’s sabre fencing squads claimed gold at the inaugural U.S. Collegiate Squad Championships at the Jerome S. Coles Sports Center on Sunday in New York City. Foilist Ariel DeSmet (Troutdale, Ore.) led the men with a 7-1 overallbout record, while Eileen Hassett (Beaverton, Ore.) paced the women’s sabrewith a perfect 9-0 ledger. The men’s foil squad entered the bracket as the No. 1 seed and advanced to the championship bout with wins over Hunter College (45-20) and NYU (45-21). In the championship bout, the Irish held off second-seeded Yale for a 45-33 victory and the gold medal. The women’s route to the sabre finals was handled with relative ease, as the second-seeded unit knocked off Haverford College (45-17) and NYU (45-15) to earn their spot in the weapon finals. Once there, the Irish trio held off top-seeded Columbia, 45-42, to claim the gold medal. Individually for the men’s foil, DeSmet earned seven wins, including a critical 7-5 decision over Yale’s Jonathan Holbrook in the championship bout. The rest of the rotation saw Zach Schirtz (Rochester, N.Y.) and Enzo Castellani (Keller, Texas) finish unbeaten at 6-0 and 5-0, respectively. Reggie Bentley (Little Rock, Ark.) finished the draw with a bout record of 4-1. Only three competitors took to the strip for the women’s sabre unit, paced by Hassett’s nine wins. Sarah Borrmann (Beaverton, Ore.) concluded the tournament at 7-1, while Abigail Nichols (Concord, Mass.) ended 6-3 over the three matches. The full Irish team returns to competition this weekend as they welcome in the 19 other Midwest Fencing Conference (MFC) teams for the MFC Championships on Saturday and Sunday at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.

4. The women’s version of Bracketology today on ESPN.com has the Irish projected as a #3 NCAA seed playing in Charlottesville versus #14 Liberty – with #6 North Carolina and #11 LSU squaring off in the other projected contest.

5. Seniors Emily Crosby (Middletown, N.J.), Stephanie Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.) and Carol Ann Michel (Princeton, N.J.) have been named women’s rowing team tri-captains for the 2010-11 campaign, it was announced today by head rowing coach Martin Stone. Crosby enters her senior year after spending each of her first three seasons as a member of either the second varsity eight or varsity eight boat. This past season she served as one of the mainstays in the varsity eight boat, helping it capture the gold medal at the BIG EAST Championships along with claiming fourth in the Petite Finals at the Central/South Sprints. The three-time monogram winner also has been named atwo-time BIG EAST Academic All Star selection in her time within the program. Gretsch enters her senior season having risen through the ranks within the team. During her freshman year she competed with the novice eight before moving up to the varsity four during sophomore year and the varsity eight last season. A two-time monogram winner and BIG EAST Academic All Star, Gretsch also was named to the 2010 College Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) All-Central Region team and also named a CRCA National Scholar Athlete. Michel competed with the second varsity eight boat for a majority of the past three seasons before rowing with the main varsity eight boat during the fall races in 2010. Along with helping the second varsity eight boat to three straight gold medals at the BIG EASTChampionships, Michel also is a two-time monogram winner. The Irish are approaching their spring season opener as they take on both Alabama and Minnesota on March 13 in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

1. The third-ranked Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 6-2 triumph of Penn State on Sunday afternoon at Bigler Field on the Penn State campus. The Fighting Irish used six different goal scorers to claim their ninth straight victory over the Nittany Lions. The two goals allowed by the Fighting Irishdefense were the fewest since a 12-2 win over St. John’s during the 2009 season. Notre Dame sophomore goalie John Kemp made eight saves in goal, while his counterpart Austin Kaut had 15 stops for Penn State (1-1). Notre Dame led 3-2 after three quarters of play and the Irish out scored Penn State 3-0 in the final period to secure the victory. Junior midfielder Max Pfeifer netted a man-up goal at the 11:15 mark of the fourth quarter to give the Irish a 4-2edge. That was Pfeifer’s second goal of the season. Freshman attackman Westy Hopkins scored less than a minute later to give Notre Dame its first three-goal advantage (5-2) of thecontest. Hopkins has three goals this season. Junior midfielder Eric Keppeler deposited the game’sfinal tally, on an assist from SeanRogers, with 3:50 remaining. It was Keppeler’s first goal of the season.

Notre Dame grabbed a 1-0 lead just over two minutes into the contest on junior attackman Nicholas Beattie’s first goal of the season. Penn State answered back at the 6:06 mark of the first quarter on a Matt Mackrides man-up tally. Senior midfielder Zach Brenneman put the Fighting Irish up 2-1 with nine seconds left in the opening quarter. Brenneman has a team-high four goals this season. Fighting Irish sophomore attackman Ryan Foley registered the game’s only goal of the second quarter as he deposited his first score of the season with 13:29 left in the opening half. The Nittany Lions scored the only third-quarter goal as Tom Lacrosse made it a one-goal affair (3-2) with just over seven elapsed in the stanza.Notre Dame outshot Penn State 42-19 and the Irish forced 16 turnovers. Fighting Irish senior defenseman Kevin Ridgway forced a game-high three turnovers. Senior long-stick midfielder Andrew Irving and junior midfielder Devon Dobson both had a team-high three ground balls for the Irish. The Nittany Lions held a slim 7-5 edge in the faceoff circle. Irish freshman LiamO’Connor was 4-for-8 in face-offs and senior Jake Marmul was 1-for-4. The two scores were the fewest-ever for Penn State in the 18 all-time meetings against Notre Dame. The Irish lead the series versus the Nittany Lions, 14-4. The Fighting Irish will open the home portion of their 2011 slate next Sunday versus No. 19 Drexel. Game time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET).

2. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team snapped its two-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon as the Irish rallied from a 7-4 halftime deficit to defeat Duquesne, 12-10, at Rooney Field in Pittsburgh. Senior midfielder Shaylyn Blaney paced the Notre Dame attack with three goals and three assists to equal a career high with six points in the game. Fellow senior Ansley Stewart added three goals while Jenny Granger and Kaitlyn Brosco scored twice and Kailene Abt and Kaitlin Keena added one in the win. Duquesne was led offensively by Katie Rekart with three goals. Caitlin Prince chipped in twowith Meredith Dunn, Haley Marafioti, Casey Denk, Elise Caldwell and Cailin Colegrove adding single markers. The victory improves the 10th-ranked Irish to 2-2 on the season while the Dukes fall to 1-2 this year. Notre Dame now owns a 7-0 all-time record against Duquesne, including a 3-0 mark in Pittsburgh. In a game that was postponed from Saturday to Sunday afternoon due to bad weather in Pittsburgh, Notre Dame started fast, but then fell victim to a four-goal run in the first half by Duquesne that put the Irish behind on the scoreboard for most of the game. Duquesne took control of the opening half as the Dukes went on a four-goal run in just over eight minutes on goals by Rekart, Marafioti, Colegrove and Dunn for a 5-2 lead with 13:31 left in the half. Notre Dame outshot Duquesne, 29-21, in the second half. The Irish are now off for 11 days and return to action on Thursday, March 10, when they play host to Ohio State in a 4:00 p.m. game at Arlotta Stadium.

3. The 19th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennisteam upset ninth-ranked and No. 1 seeded Virginia, 4-0, Sunday at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center in Montgomery, Ala., to claim the inaugural women’s BlueGray Classic title. The win gives the Irish their first win against Virginia in program history.

For the fourth consecutive match, and seventh time overall on the season, the Irish jumped out to a 1-0 lead after securing the doubles point. The freshman pairing of Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Julie Sabacinski(Plantation, Fla.) earned their most impressive win to-date as members of the Irish, knocking off the 51st-ranked pairing of Maria Fuccillo and Rashmi Teltumbde, 8-4, at No. 3 doubles. The win also improves the duo to 2-3 since joining forces against Michigan. Juniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) andShannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.), ranked 57th, clinched the point at No. 1 doubles. The duo took down the Cavaliers’ 10th-ranked duo of Emily Fraser and Hana Tomljanovic, 8-6, also marking their most impressive victory as a tandem. Frilling and Mathews’ win streak now stands at five matches. Senior KristenRafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport,Iowa) were all square with 67th-ranked Lindsey Hardenbergh and Erin Vierra atNo. 2 doubles, 7-7, when the match was abandoned.

McGaffigan got the Irish rolling in singles, earning her second consecutive win at the No. 5 position. She took down Fuccillo in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0, to push the Notre Dame advantage to 2-0. The Irish sophomore is now 2-0 at No. 5 and 3-6 overall on the dual season. Rafael then earned her first win of the weekend after her first two matches went unfinished. She took care of #54 Vierra at No. 3 singles in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. The victory is her second consecutive at No. 3 and improves her dual record to 5-4. It also represents the first ranked opponent she has defeated on the campaign. With the Irish sitting on match point, Mathews closed out the Cavaliers by knocking off #67 Hardenbergh at No. 2 singles, 6-4, 6-4, to improve her singles record to 10-0 on the year. She also now owns a 27-11 record over her career at No. 2singles. The remaining three matches went unfinished with Frilling tied withFraser at No. 1 singles (6-7, 6-4), Kellner leading Tomljanovic at No. 5 singles (6-1, 2-6, 4-3) and Sabacinski leading Caryssa Peretz at No. 6 singles (7-5, 5-5).

Frilling was named the Blue Gray Classic Most Valuable Player in thewomen’s draw, posting a 2-0 singles record over the three days while also going 3-0 with Mathews in doubles play. The Irish have now won four consecutive matches to run their record to 7-4 and enjoy a brief break before returning to action against Indiana on Friday at 3:00 p.m. (ET) at the Varsity Tennis Courts in Bloomington, Ind.

4. Ten years ago, the Notre Dame softball team started the 2001 campaign with eight straight wins. One decade later, the Irish bettered that school-record streak with nine straight wins after earning a pair of wins Sunday at the College of Charleston’s Cougar Classic in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Notre Dame began the day at Patriots Point with a five-inning, 10-1 victory over Marist. The team then went to work for a 6-4 win over Liberty for the program’s 900th win in 23 seasons. A perfect 4-0 record at the Cougar Classic was made largely possible by a pitching corps which posted a 0.54 ERA in 26.0 innings. Jody Valdivia, Laura Winter, Jackie Bowe and Brittany O’Donnell each recorded a win with Valdivia also posting a save. The Irish hit .316 as a team in the four-game invite while out-scoring the opposition, 19-5. Alexa Maldonado hit .545 with six hits and six runs to pace the offensive unit. Notre Dame willnext be in action March 4-6 at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Kissimmee, Fla.

5. Tim Abromaitis’ hustle plays were the difference in helping the No. 9 Notre Dame men’s basketball team move closer to securing a double-bye in the Big East tournament. Abromaitis scored 22 points, Ben Hansbrough had 21 and the Irish beat Seton Hall 60-48 Saturday night at Purcell Pavilion to remain insecond place in the conference. Notre Dame (23-5, 12-4) can lock up a bye inthe first two rounds of the league tournament when it faces Villanova on Monday night. Abromaitis came up big at the end of the first half as he gathered in a loose rebound and made an off-balance 3-pointer as time expired to pull theIrish to 27-24 after a half in which they shot only 32 percent and committedseven turnovers. The teams played close early in the second half, with the Irish taking a 31-30 lead. Then, Abromaitis made another key play in the middle of Notre Dame’s 13-0 run. After several near misses by Notre Dame, the ballbounced toward a couple of Seton Hall players but Abromaitis dove on it andpassed it to Hansbrough, who converted a three-point play. Seton Hall pulled to 44-43 on a rebound by Fuquan Edwin with 6 minutes remaining but consecutive3-pointers by Abromaitis and Scott Martin sealed the Irish’s win. Notre Damewarmed up to shoot 40 percent from the field, while the Pirates shot 30 percent. Jeff Robinson had 16 points for Seton Hall (11-17, 5-11), and Jeremy Hazell added 14.

Seton Hall jumped out to an early 6-0 lead as Hazell and Robinson hit quick 3-pointers, before both teams struggled from the field. Seton Hall still led 11-8 after nearly 8 minutes were gone in the first half. Notre Dame started 3-for-14 shooting and Seton Hall was 4 for 17 from the field. Robinson converted a 3-point play by Robinson that gave Seton Hall a 20-11 advantagewith 5:51 to go in the first half. The Pirates stretched the lead to 11 before Notre Dame staged a late rally to pull within three at halftime.

6. Becca Bruszewski made sure it was a sweet Senior Day in South Bend. Bruszewski scored 12 points in her final home game, and No. 8 Notre Dame cruised past Cincinnati 66-48 in women’s basketball before a sellout crowd on Saturday at Purcell Pavilion. Skylar Diggins scored 12 points for Notre Dame (24-5, 13-2 BIG EAST), which jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 2 1/2 minutes, pushed it to 15-6 with 8:24 remaining in the first half and then started the second half with a 21-0 run that put the game away. Kayla Cook had 18 points for Bearcats (8-19, 1-14). Shareese Ulis added 14 points. Devereaux Peters also had 12 points and Natalie Novosel finished with 11 for Notre Dame on Senior Day atPurcell Pavilion. The Irish wrap up the regular-season Monday at No. 7 DePaul.

Cincinnati trailed only 28-20 at halftime before the Irish went on their big run. The Bearcats’ bench was hit with a technical foul with 17:19 remaining, and Kaila Turner hit back-to-back 3-pointers that made it 61-30 with about 9 minutes left as the rout was on. An injury-riddled roster limited Cincinnati to just seven dressed players, making it an uphill battle against a team that has never lost to the Bearcats in seven previous matchups. Cincinnati has lost 13 straight games and wraps up its regular season against No. 24 Marquette on Monday night. The Bearcats’ last win was against South Florida, 57-56 on Jan. 5.

Notre Dame logged its 13th conference win of the season, the most for the Fighting Irish in a BIG EAST campaign since 2004-05, when they went 13-3 during conference play. The Fighting Irish senior class earned its 100th victory (now 100-29, .775), becoming the sixth senior class in school history — and first since 2002-03 (Alicia Ratay and Karen Swanson) — to reach the century mark in career wins. The Fighting Irish finished with a 15-2 home record, the second consecutive season and fifth time in program history that Notre Dame has registered 15 home wins in a season. Notre Dame attracted its fifth selloutcrowd of the season, one shy of last year’s school record. The Fighting Irish set a single-season home attendance average record, welcoming 8,553 fans per game to Purcell Pavilion this season to break last year’s average attendance mark of 8,377 …

7. Western Michigan senior goaltender Jerry Kuhn stopped all 35 shots he faced and the Broncos scored twice in the first period and held on for a 2-0 hockey win over Notre Dame in front of a sold-out Joyce Center on Saturday night on the Notre Dame campus. Ian Slater and Trevor Elias had first-period goals for Western Michigan while the Irish were shut out for the first time this season and the first time in just over a year (Feb. 25, 2010) — although the Irish did have two goals waved off and T.J. Tynan was stopped on a penalty shot with 29 seconds left in the game. The loss, coupled with Michigan’s 5-0 win at Northern Michigan, dropped the Irish into second place in the final regularseason CCHA standings. Notre Dame finished the regular season with a 21-10-5overall record and an 18-7-3-2 mark in the CCHA, good for 59 points. The Wolverine victory moved them into the top spot with 61 points for the year. The loss also snapped Notre Dame’s five-game winning streak and eight-game unbeaten streak (6-0-2) that started on Jan. 22.

The win was big for Western Michigan as it moved the Broncos back into fourth place in the CCHA with a 10-9-9-5 record, just one point ahead of Ferris State. Overall, Western Michigan finished the regular campaign with a 16-10-10 record. Both the Broncos and the Bulldogs will get first-round byes in the opening round of the CCHA playoffs but in the second round, the fourth-place team will host the fifth, meaning Ferris State will be at Western Michigan, the weekend of March 11-13. The Irish also will have a first-round bye and willhost a second round series against an opponent to be determined next weekend.

8. Former Notre Dame greats Brian Walsh, Dave Poulin, Bill Nyrop andJack Brownschidle team up with recent Irish hockey standouts David Brown andErik Condra as the six players selected to the All-Joyce Center first team. The first-team selections along with the previously announced second- and third-team members were honored at the Joyce Center Saturday at the final regular-season home game versus Western Michigan. As part of the celebration of the final full season of hockey at the Joyce Center, former coaches, players, administrators and fans selected an 18-man All-Joyce Center team that covers the 43-year history (1968-2011) of the home of Irish hockey.

Earlier this winter, all-decade teams were selected, covering four eras of Irish hockey – 1968-1980, 1980-1990, 1990-2000 and 2000 through 2010. The first and second teams that were selected then went to a ballot that Irish hockey fans were able to vote on from Jan. 24 through Feb. 20 and now the final totals are in. With the assistance of over 7,000 fan votes that provided full ballots, selecting three goaltenders, six defensemen and nine forwards, thethree All-Joyce Center teams were selected. The second team was announced Thursday and those six players named were goaltender Jordan Pearce (2005-09), defensemen Ian Cole (2007-10) and Benoit Cotnoir (1995-99), along with forwards Greg Meredith (1976-80), Eddie Bumbacco (1970-74) and Mike McNeill (1984-88). On hand at the Joyce Center Saturday night were Brian Walsh, Greg Meredith and Mike McNeill.

9. The 26th-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team fell to No. 17 Texas Tech in a 4-0 decision Sunday at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center in Montgomery, Ala. Junior Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) grabbed a win at third doubles. The duo downed Raphael Pfister and Gabriel Wanderley, 8-6. The 28th-ranked Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) and Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) dropped 8-6 to No. 76 Raony Carvalho and Rafael Garcia at first doubles. Watt and Andrews were able to keep the doubles match going, pulling away to an 8-6 win over Pfister and Wanderley at third doubles. The win wasn’t enough to gain the point, as 51st-ranked junior Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and sophomore Spencer Talamdge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) were edged 9-7 by No. 59 Gonzalo Escobar and Vitor Manzini at second doubles to give the Red Raiders a 1-0 lead. No. 77 Watt was downed by No. 18 Escobar in identical 6-2 sets at the No. 1 position. The junior concluded the weekend tournament with a 1-2 singles record. Havens fell to 22nd-ranked Carvalho in straight sets, 6-1, 2-0. Senior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) was defeated by No. 116 Garcia in a two-set match (6-1, 6-1). The Irish have the week off before they have a three-match homestand, beginning with No. 14 Texas A&M on Friday, March 4, followed by No. 67 Northwestern Sunday, March 6, and No. 7 Illinois on Tuesday, March 8. All three matches will be played at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind.

10. Notre Dame got back-to-back quality starts from senior RHP Cole Johnson and senior RHP Todd Miller in its baseball doubleheader with Seattle, but each went in defeat as the Irish offense managed just two runs on sevenhits in 1-0 and 7-2 losses Saturday afternoon at a frigid Husky Ballpark inSeattle. Notre Dame evened its record at 3-3, while the Redhawks improved to 4-3. Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) was nearly flawless in the opener of the twin bill. The righty blanked Seattle over the first six innings. Johnson settled into a nice grove over the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh inning. He sent down 15 of the next 17 Seattle batters, but Notre Dame was not able to mount anything against Redhawk starting pitcher Brandon Kizer. Kizer tossed 8.0 scoreless innings and limited the Irish to five hits. He struck out a pair and did not issue a walk. Notre Dame did tag Kizer with hits in each of the first three innings, but two of those hits were followed by double plays and the other, a one-out double from sophomore 2B Frank DeSico (Cleveland, Ohio) in the third inning, went for naught. The game remained scoreless into the eighth inning. Johnson surrendered back-to-back singles with one out before leaving the game. Freshman RHP Dan Slania (Tucson, Ariz.) replaced Johnson, but was unable to keep thegame scoreless.

After being shut out in the opener, the Irish wasted no time in the nightcap of the doubleheader. Petzold and freshman 1B Trey Mancini recorded RBI singles in the top of the first inning off Seafth Howe to give Notre Dame a 2-0 advantage. Miller allowed a run in the bottom of the first, but settled down and retired 10 straight at one point before Doug Kincaid’s solo home run tied the game, 2-2. Howe sent down the final 16 batters he faced in the game. Infact, the final 19 Irish batters overall were retired. Notre Dame did not have a base hit after the first inning and did not have a base runner of any kind after the third. Notre Dame returns to action next weekend at the Coca ColaClassic on the campus of Winthrop University. The Irish opened the tournament at noon on Friday against Manhattan. Notre Dame then plays the host Eagles at 4:00 p.m.

11. SLAM published a special issue featuring its selection of “The 500 Greatest NBA Players of All Time.” Former Irish on the list were #83 Adrian Dantley, #202 Kelly Tripucka, #232 Orlando Woolridge, #233 Austin Carr, #235 Bill Laimbeer, #369 John Shumate, #428 Troy Murphy and #464 LaPhonso Ellis.

12. Notre Dame was well represented at the two-hour funeral for former Irish football great Dave Duerson Saturday at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on thesouth side of Chicago. Former Irish players in attendance included Rod Bone,Joe Johnson, John Mosley, Jon Autry, Luther Bradley (he and Duerson were both Muncie, Ind., products), Jerome Heavens, Jim Stone, Mark Green, Mike Larkin, Phil Carter, Greg Bell and Kris Haines. Former Notre Dame Monogram Club president Julie Doyle, an Irish volleyball player at the same time Duerson was playing football on campus, offered some remembrances and a prayer. Also representing the Monogram Club were Reggie Brooks, former executive director Bill Scholl, former president Mike Heaton and current vice president Dick Nussbaum. Among the many Chicago Bears present were Richard Dent, Otis Wilson, (former San Francisco 49er coach) Mike Singletary and (current Minnesota Viking head coach) Leslie Frazier. Also present was former Irish and Bear assistant Johnny Roland. Among the speakers were Wilson and the Rev. Jesse Jackson (he said he talked to Duerson about once a week). Said Jackson, “Looking at the box score, Dave was a winner. You’ve lost a lot, but you’ve got a lot left. Dave left more than he found. He ran as far as he could.” Said Wilson, “He couldn’t do anything halfway. When he got his teeth into something, he got it done. We shared a lot. We accomplished a lot.” Duerson’s son Brock spoke for the family and said the Duerson children will start a foundation to deal with certain mental illnesses in conjunction with sports. Said Brock Duerson, “Who would have thought a small-town guy from Muncie, Ind., would become such a success?” Members of Duerson’s immediate family returned to campus today for a private ceremony with Dave’s former Irish teammates in the Notre Dame Stadium locker room.

13. On the same evening when Austin Carr was inducted into Notre Dame’s Ring of Honor inside Purcell Pavilion Saturday, a second honor was bestowedupon the program’s career scoring leader. Carr, who nearly 40 years after playing his final collegiate game in an Irish uniform still holds the school career scoring marks for points (2,560) and average (34.6), will have the lower concourse of the Joyce Center bear his name as it will now be called AustinCarr Concourse. The Purcell Pavilion upper concourse area was part of the overall renovation of the Joyce Center that was completed in October of 2009. The concourse area features a variety of theming elements that highlight the history of the venue and the various programs and events that have occurredwithin the building over the past 42 seasons. The building opened in the fall of 1968 and was originally named the Athletic and Convocation Center. The lower concourse area soon will recognize former Irish men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball student-athletes and their accomplishments.

During his three seasons (1968-71) at Notre Dame, Carr led his Irishteams to a 34-6 (.850) mark at home and helped begin a list of upsets for which the building has become famous throughout the years. The first, and one of the most celebrated upsets to occur inside the building, took place on Jan. 23,1971, when Carr scored 46 points in an 89-82 win over top-ranked UCLA. The Bruins entered the contest that day riding a 19-game win streak and had defeated 48 straight non-conference opponents. UCLA went on to finish the season 29-1 and won its fifth consecutive national crown.

An emotional Carr learned of the concourse honor just a few moments before meeting with the media two hours before tipoff – and he required a box of tissues to get through his press conference. A packed house at Purcell Pavilion gave Carr a rousing, prolonged standing ovation after Notre Dame’s all-time great was introduced by athletics director Jack Swarbrick. President John Jenkins also made remarks and directed the unveiling of the Carr banner in the rafters. About a dozen of Carr’s former teammates came back for the ceremonies and they stood on the Purcell Pavilion floor as Carr was honored – and Carr greeted each of them individually after the formal event was over.Meanwhile, Notre Dame students honored Carr by wearing white t-shirts resembling the Irish script jerseys of the Carr era – with Carr’s name and #34 on them. Carr received a shadow box with a replica of the raised banner, aswell as a ring commemorating his selection to the Ring of Honor.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

1. Notre Dame appeared to be in total control, then all of a sudden the Fighting Irish were lucky time ran out on Marshon Brooks. Ben Hansbrough scored a career-high 32 points and Tim Abromaitis had a season-high 28 as No. 9 Notre Dame hung on for a 94-93 win over struggling Providence on Wednesday night despite a Big East-record 52 points by Brooks. The Irish (22-5, 11-4 Big East) are off to their best start ever in 11 seasons under coach Mike Brey. NotreDame, in second place in the conference, has won eight of nine. Brooks’ 52 points was the most ever scored against Notre Dame, which hadn’t allowed a 40-point scorer since Danny Manning in 1987. Brooks, only the third player in Providence history to score 40 points or more twice in a season, surpassed the previous high of 45 by Michigan State’s Julius McCoy on Dec. 21, 1955. The Irish hadopened an 81-70 lead on Tyrone’s Nash’s layup with just under 6 minutes to play. Then, Brooks started an incredible run to cap his 35-point second half. He scored 15 of his points in the closing 2:57, narrowing the deficit to two points on three occasions and to the final margin with a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left. Providence (14-14, 3-12) has lost six of seven after beating then-No. 19 Louisville and No. 8 Villanova four days apart in late January.

The Irish, who led by 10 at halftime, pushed it to 55-39 on Abromaitis’ fourth 3-pointer 2 1/2 minutes into the second half. They maintained a double-digit advantage until the Friars closed to 72-64 on Duke Mondy’s 3 from the left corner with 9:22 to play. Notre Dame, which lost 72-58 at West Virginia on Saturday, shot 58.2 percent, including 9 of 21 on 3-point attempts. The Irish won their eighth straight against the Friars. Providence cut it to 74-67 on Brooks’ baseline jumper, but Hansbrough’s three-point play made it79-68 with just over 7 minutes to go. Brooks hit a spinning jumper from theright wing, making it 83-79 with just under 3 minutes left, but the Irish hitjust enough from the line to hang. Brooks’ two free throws cut it to 88-86, but Hansbrough hit two on the other end with 29 seconds to play. He made two more with 13 seconds left. After the Friars had the initial two baskets of the game, the Irish – mainly behind Abromaitis’ quick start – made things look easy offensively. Notre Dame went on a 14-2 run over the next 3:21 with Abromaitis scoring 12 points.

2. Fighting Irish football legend Paul Hornung will return to the Notre Dame campus this summer as he will be a featured guest for one day at the 2011 Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp. Hornung will speak to the campers as well as bearound for an entire day interacting with this year’s group including signing autographs and snapping photos with camp participants. Other Notre Dame legends already announced to attend include Joe Theismann and Jerome Bettis. The Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp will be directed by Irish head coach Brian Kelly, as well as his entire Notre Dame coaching staff, current Irish players and plenty of other former Notre Damelegends. They will provide daily hands-on instruction and interaction. They also will share priceless personal experiences from their time under the Golden Dome and in the NFL. Camp dates are Tuesday, May 31, through Saturday, June 4, 2011. Participants will stay at the Fairfield Inn & Suites located across thestreet from campus and adjacent to the new Eddy Street Commons, and mere steps from the shadow of Notre Dame Stadium. In order to maximize the experience of each participant, there is a limited number of spaces available for the 2011 Notre Dame Fantasy Football Camp and the camp is expected to sell out in the near future. An outstanding all-around athlete who played quarterback, lefthalfback, fullback and safety, Hornung remains the only player from a losingteam (Notre Dame finished 2-8 in ’56) ever to win the Heisman Trophy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

1. Zach Brenneman, a senior midfielder on the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team, has been named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week for his career-high five-point performance in a 12-7 season-opening victory over No. 5 Duke on Sunday. Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton) tallied three goals and two assists versus the Blue Devils. This is Brenneman’s first-ever BIG EAST player-of-the-week accolade. Brenneman’s first goal gave Notre Dame a 7-4 lead late in the third quarter. He ignited a 4-0 Irish run in the fourth quarter by scoring the first two goals of the surge and assisting on the third. He also assisted on the final goal of the game. The senior captain has registered a hat trick in three straight games dating back to last season. Brenneman has nine career hat tricks, including three versus Duke over the course of the past two seasons. Brenneman was tabbed as the 2011 BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year in addition to being a preseason All-American. He was selected fifth overall by the Long Island Lizards in January’s Major League Lacrosse draft.

2. Bracketology from CBS Sports this week projects the Irish men’s basketball team to Chicago as a #3 NCAA seed to play #14 Bucknell, with #6 Missouri and #11 Harvard in the other game.

3. Former Irish football defensive back Ray Herring is now a graduate assistant and recruiting coordinator at Florida Tech while he pursues an MBA at the Melbourne, Fla., school. Herring is a 2010 Notre Dame graduate.

4. As part of the celebration of the final full season of Notre Dame hockey at the Joyce Center, former coaches, players, administrators and fans have gotten together to select an 18-man All-Joyce Center team that covers the 43-year history (1968-2011) of the home of Irish hockey. Earlier this winter, all-decade teams were selected, covering four eras of Irish hockey – 1968-1980, 1980-1990, 1990-2000 and 2000 through 2010. The first and second teams that were selected then went to a ballot that Irish hockey fans were able to vote on from Jan. 24 through Feb. 20 and now the final totals are in. With the assistance of over 7,000 fan votes that provided full ballots, selecting three goaltenders, six defensemen and nine forwards, the three All-Joyce Center teams were selected.

Yesterday, the third team was announced, followed by the second team on Thursday, with the first team announcement coming on Saturday, Feb. 26, at the final regular-season home game at the Joyce Center. All three teams will be honored at the game versus Western Michigan. Selected to the All-Joyce Center third team are: goaltender Lance Madson (1986-90), defensemen Jeff Brownschidle (1977-81) and Brett Lebda (2000-04), along with forwards Kirt Bjork (1979-83), Jamie Ling (1992-96) and Dan Carlson (1997-01).

Lance Madson ’90, from Minnetonka, Minn., was a first team choice on the 1980-90 all-Decade team announced in January and played four seasons for the Irish from 1986-90, seeing action in 117 games. A two-time Monogram Club team most valuable player (’78-’79 and ’79-’80), he is Notre Dame’s all-time leader in minutes played (6,900:19) and saves (3,519). During his Irish playing career, he was 56-57-4 with a 4.39 goals-against average and a .875 winning percentage. Selected as the team’s rookie of the year in 1986-87, Madson was 24-2-2 (.893) for the best single-season winning percentage in the program’s history. His 56 career wins were a Notre Dame record that stood until 2009.

Two outstanding blue liners who played the game well at both ends of the ice represent the third-team defense. Jeff Brownschidle ’81, from East Amherst, N.Y., was a first team selection on the 1980-90 all-Decade Team and followed in his brother Jack’s footsteps to play in 146 games at Notre Dame, beginning in 1977. The team’s rookie of the year for the ’77-’78 season, Brownschidle set a single-season scoring mark for Irish defensemen in 1979-80 when he had 14 goals and 37 assists for 51 points. A three-time honorable mention all-WCHA pick (1978-81), Jeff Brownschidle is 33rd on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list with 122 career points with 30 goals and 92 assists for 122 points. That puts him second on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list for defensemen. He went on to play three years in the Hartford Whalers organization 1981-84, seeing action in seven NHL games with the Whalers. Brownschidle passed away in December of 1996.

Joining Brownschidle on the third team defense is Brett Lebda ’04. From Buffalo Grove, Ill., Lebda was a first team 2000-2010 all-Decade Team choice and four-year regular for the Irish between 2000-04, playing in 152 career games. A product of the U.S. National Developmental Program, Lebda was selected to the CCHA all-rookie team in 2001 and was a second team all-CCHAchoice following the 2003-04 season. The 2001 winner of the William Donald Nyrop Award as the team’s top defenseman, Lebda finished 11th on the all-time Notre Dame scoring list among defensemen with 26 goals and 59 assists for 85 career points. He was a key member of the 2003-04 Notre Dame team that became the first Irish hockey team to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Following his Irish career, Lebda signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings and has played six seasons in the National Hockey League – the first five with Detroit and this season as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Leading the group of three forwards is Kirt Bjork ’83 who was a first team pick on the 1980-90 all-Decade Team. A native of Trenton, Mich., Bjork played in 141 games for the Irish between 1979-83. The team’s rookie of the year in 1980, he is 12th on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list with 161 points on 76 goals and 85 assists. His 76 goals are ninth all-time and he is seventh on the all-time list with 25 power-play goals. As a senior, he led the Irish in scoring with 29 goals and 34 assists for 63 points to be the team’s most valuable player and a second team All-American.

Jamie Ling ’96, came to Notre Dame fromCharlottetown, P.E.I., and played 142 games during his Irish hockey career. A first team choice on the 1990-2000 all-Decade Team, Ling was a freshman in Notre Dame’s first season returning to the CCHA. A member of the 1993 CCHA all-rookie team, he was also the team’s rookie of the year in ’92-’93, leading the team in scoring with 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points. His 42-point season in 1994-95 earned him special mention all-CCHA honors. Ling was a two-time team most valuable player (’93 and ’96), Ling is just one of two players in the 43-year history of the program to lead the team in scoring all four seasons (Erik Condra ’09 is the other). He is 14th on the all-time scoring list with 51 goals and 102 assists for 153 points. His 102 assists rank him 10th on the all-time assist list. Ling went on to play six seasons of pro hockey, mostly in the East Coast Hockey League and finished his career as a coach with the Dayton Bombers from 2003-05.

Dan Carlson ’01 rounds out the third team all-Joyce Center team forwards. A native of Edina, Minn., Carlson was a first team selection on the 1990-2000 all-Decade Team and played at Notre Dame from 1997-2001. During his career, he played in 158 career games and was outstanding on the ice and in the classroom. A two-time Monogram Clubteam most valuable player (2000 and 2001), he was a special mention all-CCHA(2000) and an honorable mention all-CCHA choice (2001). He finished his Irish hockey career 22nd on the all-time point list with 132 career points on 52 goals and 80 assists. In the classroom, Carlson was selected as to the CCHA all-academic team in his senior year and was the winner of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award. He capped that season as a third team CoSIDA third team Academic All-American on the At-Large team. Carlson is in his 10th year of professional hockey, having played in the American Hockey League, the East Coast Hockey League, the German Bundesliga and the last five seasons in the English Elite Ice Hockey Leaguewith the Coventry Blaze.

5. Four Notre Dame fencers concluded competition at the 2011United States Fencing Association (USFA) Junior Olympics Monday at the Dallas Convention Center. Michael Rossi (men’s epee) and Abigail Nichols (women’s sabre) both placed in the top 10 of their respective weapons. Rossi ended the four-day event in seventh place overall in men’s epee. He advanced first out of his pool with a perfect 6-0 record and a +17 indicator, seeding him 13th in the direct elimination rounds. The freshman advanced into the table of eight with a convincing 15-7 victory over Alen Hadzic, before falling to Logan Cros Koester in the quarterfinals, 15-11. James Kaull also competed with Rossi in men’s epee competition, finishing 12th overall and just missing out on the table of eight after a 15-8 loss to Edward Kelly. Nichols also just missed the table of eight, finishing ninth overall in the women’ssabre. The sophomore posted a 6-0 pool play record with a +25 indicator to earn the top spot entering direct elimination and advanced to the round of 16 with ease before dropping a 15-8 bout to Alisha Gomez for a spot in the quarterfinals. Nickolas Kubik represented the final Irish participant, competing in men’sfoil. The freshman finished with a 5-1 pool play record with a +12 indicatorbefore falling to Dillon Lew in his first direct elimination match, 15-5. The four Irish combatants and their fellow teammates return to the strip March 5-6 at the Midwest Fencing Championships, which the team plays host to at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.

6. Notre Dame’s constant layup drill and upsized shooting percentage paid big dividends against West Virginia. Natalie Novosel scored 22 points and the No. 8/7 Irish overcame 30 turnovers to beat the No. 19/18 Mountaineers 72-60 Tuesday night in women’s basketball in Morgantown, W.Va. The Irish (23-5, 12-2 BIG EAST) saw their nine-game winning streak end in a 78-57 loss at No. 2 Connecticut on Saturday in which they shot just 36 percent from the floor. Notre Dame bounced back against West Virginia, hitting 58 percent of its field goals to make those turnovers seem less painful. Twenty-two of Notre Dame’s 30 baskets came on layups and the nation’s sixth-best offense more than handled the fifth-best scoring defense. Devereaux Peters added 16 points and Skylar Diggins and Becca Bruszewski each scored 10 for the Irish (23-5, 12-2 Big East). Sarah Miles scored 16 points and Madina Ali added 12 for West Virginia (21-7, 7-7). The Mountaineers trailed by double digits for most of the second half and fell for the fourth time in five games. The Irish didn’t need any help from their bench. The starters scored all but five points and Notre Dame outrebounded West Virginia 40-31. West Virginia had 16 steals but committed 23 turnovers, shot just 35 percent (24 of 68) from the floor and made only 10 of 18 free throws. Notre Dame kept its attack-the-basket mantra going after building a 13-point halftime lead. Ali, who’s been bothered by a stress fracture in her lower leg most of the season, played just 4 minutes in the first half but answered after the break with hit a 3-pointer and a layup 27 seconds apart to bring West Virginia within 53-44 with 11 minutes left. Peters then made a layup, Brittany Mallory followed with a 3-pointer and Notre Dame kept its lead in double digits therest of the game. Peters scored the final six points of a 13-1 run that put the Irish ahead 28-14 with 5:54 left in the half. West Virginia went 6 minutes between field goals before Miles hit the Mountaineers’ final three baskets and they trailed 38-25 at halftime. Notre Dame shot 65 percent (15 of 23) from the floor in the first half and beat West Virginia for the 18th time in 20 all-time meetings.

Notre Dame picked up its fourth win over a ranked opponent this season. The Fighting Irish collected their first road win at a Top 25 opponent since Nov. 19, 2009, when they edged No. 21 Michigan State, 68-67 in East Lansing, Mich. This marked the largest margin of victory for Notre Dame on the road at a ranked opponent since Feb. 16, 2008, when it posted a 79-67 win at No. 21/23 Syracuse. The Fighting Irish reached a program milestone on Tuesday, becoming just the third BIG EAST Conference school to record 200 BIG EAST regular-season victories, improving to 200-62 (.763) in less than 16 seasons as a conference member (1995-96 to present); BIG EAST charter members Connecticut (377) andVillanova (250) are the only other BIG EAST schools with at least 200 regular-season conference wins. The Notre Dame senior class collectively recorded its 99thcareer win (now 99-29, .773), with an opportunity to reach the century mark Saturday on Senior Day vs. Cincinnati at Purcell Pavilion. How uncharacteristic was Notre Dame’s 30-turnover night? It was the most by the Fighting Irish in a single game since Nov. 15, 2003, when they had a similar 30 giveaways in a 67-63 overtime loss at 20th-ranked Colorado in the title game of the WBCA Classic.

7. Due to current conditions at Everett Memorial Stadium, as well as the forecast of continued precipitation over the next 48 hours, the baseball coaches for Seattle University and the University of Notre Dame have agreed to adjust the schedule for this weekend’s series. The teams will no longer play a game Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium. The series will begin with adoubleheader at noon PT on Saturday, Feb. 26, at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. The three-game series will still conclude with a single game at noon PT on Sunday, Feb. 27, also at Bannerwood Park. All three games can still be heard live in South Bend on WHME / Harvest 103.1 FM and worldwide on UND.com.

8. The 15th-ranked Notre Dame women’s golf team Tuesday concluded the Central District Invitational in 10th place (904/+40) after two days of competition at the River Wilderness Golf Club in Parrish, Fla. Freshman Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) finished tied for 10th place by registering a three-under par 69 in the final round of the tournament which brought her three-round total 219 (+3). Zhang logged five birdies in her final 18-holes and bested her first-round score by seven strokes and her second-round total by five strokes. The overall finish marked Zhang’s fifth top-10 showing in less than one full season at Notre Dame. Senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy) continued to improve her score in each round. Beginning the invite with a 77 (+5), Park carded a 76 (+4) in the second round before concluding the tournament with a 75 (+3). Park’s 12-over total of 228 placed her in a tie for 41st. Junior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) registered a 229 (+13) and finished tied for 45th. Huffer carded two birdies in the final round, one on the par-four fourth hole and another on the par-five 15th hole. Freshman Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) rounded out the Irish effort by carding a 73 (+1) in the final 18-holes of the 54-hole tournament. Each member of the Irish lineup improved her score in the final round of the tournament. No. 16 Iowa State claimed the tournament crown. The Cyclones registered a five-under par 283 on the day and a three-round total of 868 (+4). No. 4 LSU dropped one spot to second place (877/+13) and No. 16 Texas A&M registered a three-round total of 881 (+17) for third place. The Irish return to action March 14 at the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational. The two-day tournament will be held at the Kaneohe Klipper inKaneohe, Hawaii.

9. With Austin Carr headed to the Joyce Center Saturday to be added to the Purcell Pavilion Ring of Honor, the Dish remembers watching the Notre Dame freshman men’s team defeat Michigan State 136-88 back in 1967-68 as Carr scored 52 points and Collis Jones added 25. Carr’s effort qualified as the most points ever scored in any basketball game ever played at the old Notre Dame Fieldhouse. Carr actually set all his varsity scoring records, amazingly, in two and a half seasons (freshmen were not eligible then, plus he missed half his sophomore campaign with a broken foot) and with no three-point field goal in play.

10. With the NFL Combine happening this week in Indianapolis, here’s how some of the former Irish players stand. Lindy’s has tight end Kyle Rudolph as the 30th best player overall – and predicts in its mock draft that Rudolph will go to Buffalo as the second pick in the second round. The magazine has Rudolph rated as the #1 tight end, Robert Hughes #8 among fullbacks and Ian Williams #14 among defensive tackles. Williams is predicted as a fourth-rounder, while Hughes is listed as a likely free agent. The Pro Football Weekly 2011 Draft Guide has Hughes #6 among fullbacks, Rudolph the #1 tight end, Chris Stewart #22 among offensive guards and Williams #17 among defensive tackles.

11. The Kickoff puts NotreDame’s 2011 football recruiting class 10th nationally, with Irish signees averaging 3.66 stars.

12. The 53rd annual Rockne Athletic Banquet benefitting the Notre Dame Club of Chicago Scholarship Foundation will be held Friday, April 8, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. Irish head coach Brian Kelly will be the featured speaker — and former Irish all-star running back and NotreDame radio network analyst Allen Pinkett will be the master of ceremonies. Check out www.events.org/Rockne2011 for ticket info.

13. Today’s version of Bracketology on the USCHO college hockey site projects the Irish as the #10 overall seed, playing #7 Minnesota-Duluth in Green Bay. The other side of the Green Bay bracket projects #2 North Dakotaversus #15 Western Michigan. Other projected CCHA entrants are #6 Michigan to Manchester (N.H.) and #12 Miami to St. Louis.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

1. Freshman goaltender Steven Summerhays (Anchorage, Alaska) has been named the CCHA rookie of the week for his play in Notre Dame’s weekend sweep at Ferris State on Feb. 18-19. This marks the ninth week this season that a Notre Dame player has been named the conference rookie of the week. Summerhays, who has a personal three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) dating back to Jan. 29, stopped a career-best 29 shots in the 5-2 Irish win at Ferris State on Feb. 19. Both goals that the freshman goaltender surrendered came on Bulldog power-play chances. The win improved Summerhays to 5-2-1 on the season with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .858 save percentage. In his three-game unbeaten streak that covers his last three starts, the 6-0, 193-pound goaltender has surrendered just five goals for a1.62 goals-against average and has stopped 55-of-60 shots for a .917 save percentage.

2. Here is ticket information for the 2011 Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival:

82nd annual Blue-Gold game set for Saturday, April 16 at 2:00 pm


  • Blue-Gold Tickets go on sale beginning Tuesday, March 1st at 8:30 a.m. EST
  • Tickets may be purchased online at www.und.com/tickets, in person at the Murnane Family Ticket Office Window located at the main entrance to Purcell Pavilion, by telephone at (574) 631-7356 or by mailing the ticket form from the brochure to:

    University of Notre Dame
    Murnane Ticket Office
    113 Joyce Center-Purcell Pavilion
    Notre Dame, IN 46556

  • Press Box, VIP Brunch and Reserved Gold tickets are available for sale ONLY via telephone at (574) 631-7356 or in person at the Murnane Family Ticket Office, located between Gate 8 and Gate 10 of Purcell Pavilion
  • General Admission Adult Tickets – $12 each ($15 on game day)
  • General Admission Youth Tickets (18 years and under) – $8 each ($10 on game day)
  • Group Sales of 20 or more General Admission Tickets (Adults and/orYouth) – $8 each
  • In late March, participating area Meijer stores will also sell general admission tickets at a discounted price
  • Children 3 and under do not require a ticket for the general admission seating areas


  • Enjoy the same view as media covering Irish football; Also included are a game program and press box lunch
  • Special Press Box Seating – $100 each
  • Purchase limit of 4 total press box tickets
  • Due to limited quantities, the purchase of both Press Box and VIP Brunch Tickets is prohibited


  • Included with your brunch ticket is a pre-game meal with the football team, exclusive access to an autograph session with the current team and GENERAL ADMISSION seating at the game
  • Due to demand, not all tables will have a current football player
  • VIP Brunch Adult Tickets – $60 each
  • VIP Brunch Youth Tickets (18 years and under) – $40 each
  • Purchase limit of 8 total brunch tickets
  • Due to limited quantities, the purchase of both Press Box and VIP Brunch Tickets is prohibited
  • Brunch is held in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (North Dome), enter Gate 2
  • Doors open at 9:15 a.m. with brunch beginning at 10:00 a.m.
  • The Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley will conduct a silent auction of sports memorabilia in conjunction with the VIP Brunch
  • The VIP Brunch is sponsored by South Bend Orthopaedic Associates


  • All tickets are $30, regardless of age
  • SEATING IS LIMITED – Reserved Gold tickets sell out quickly
  • Purchase limit is 4 total Reserved Gold tickets



  • Unveiling of The Shirt 2011, the official student section T-shirt – Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore front lawn, 4:00 p.m.
  • Baseball vs. West Virginia – Frank Eck Stadium, 7:00 p.m. (Tickets Required)


  • Notre Dame Stadium Gates open at 11:30 a.m.
  • Football Alumni Flag Football Game – Notre Dame Stadium, Noon (Blue-Gold Game ticket is required to attend)
  • Softball vs. Louisville (DH) – Melissa Cook Stadium, Noon and 2:00 p.m. (Free Admission)
  • Women’s Lacrosse vs. Connecticut – Arlotta Family Stadium, Noon (Free Admission)
  • Baseball vs. West Virginia – Frank Eck Stadium, 4:05 p.m. (Free Admission)
  • Men’s Lacrosse vs. St. John’s – Arlotta Family Stadium, Noon (Free with Blue-Gold Game ticket stub)


  • Softball vs. Louisville – Melissa Cook Stadium, Noon (Free with Blue-Gold Game ticket stub)
  • Baseball vs. West Virginia – Frank Eck Stadium, 1:05 p.m. (Free with Blue-Gold Game ticket stub)

3. Notre Dame freshman 1B Trey Mancini and senior OF Herman Petzold were each honored on Monday following stellar weekends at the 2011 BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. Mancini was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll and earned honorable mention all-BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge, while Petzold was named first team all-BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge presented by CollegeBaseball360.com. Petzold(Saint Clair Shores, Mich.) entered last weekend with exactly three base hits and no RBI in 10 at-bats over 11 career games – all of the bench. He also had played exclusively as a middle infielder, but Petzold started the season opener against Michigan State in right field and performed as if he has played hisentire career there. He batted .417 (5-for-12) with a walk, hit by pitch, sacrifice bunt, two doubles, three runs scored and five RBI in three startsagainst Michigan State, Purdue and Penn State. Petzold also played a flawless right field. He recorded four put outs without an error. Without a doubt, Petzold’s biggest hit of the weekend came in the 19-2 rout of Purdue. With the Irish trailing 2-0 in the top of the third inning, Petzold drilled an 0-2 offering into the left centerfield gap for a one-out, three-run double to give Notre Dame a 3-2 lead. Notre Dame continued the momentum with an 11-run fourth inning and never looked back. He went 3-for-6 against the Boilermakers with two runs scored and four RBI – career-bests in hits, at-bats, runs scored and RBI. Mancini (Winter Haven, Fla.), who was plunked in a pinch-hit appearance in the season opener against Michigan State, started the final two games of the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. He proceeded to hit .500 (4-for-8) with a stolen base, sacrifice fly, triple, home run, three runs scored and three RBI over his first two career starts. Mancini went 1-for-3 with a run scored, stolen base and RBI sacrifice fly in the victory over Purdue. He backed up his debut performance with an even better one against Penn State. Mancini went 3-for-5 with a triple, solo home run, two runs scored and two RBI. His home run was the fifth of six over the 24 games in the challenge.

4. Notre Dame junior outfielder Alexa Maldonado was named the BIG EAST Conference Softball Player of the week, as announced by the league Monday afternoon. Maldonado played a key role in leading Notre Dame to a 5-0 record at last week’s UCF Invitational, as the program is off to its best start to open a season since 2001. The Millburn, N.J., native went 7-for-14 from the dish with three hits for extra bases (double, triple, home run) for a slugging pct. of .929 during the invitational. She also scored six times while driving in six more runs. An all-BIG EAST selection in 2010, Maldonado had two multi-hit contests, three multi-RBI contests and scored in four of six games on the week. Furthermore, her five flawless putouts extended her streak of games without an error to 106 (last error came during the third week of her 2009 freshman campaign). Also earning recognition from the league was freshman pitcher Laura Winter, who was a part of the conference’s weekly honor roll. On the first day of her collegiate career, Winter earned a win and a save without surrendering an earned run in just 3.1 innings of work in outings against Miami (Ohio) and UCF. She gave up five hits – only one for extra bases – and one run in 8.1 frames of work over three appearances for a 0.84 ERA and a 2-0 record. Winter had two games with more than five strikeouts, one of which came in 2.1 innings in the season-opener with Miami (Ohio).

5. The No. 15 Notre Dame women’s golf team concluded the first two rounds of the Central District Invitational in a tie for 11th place with a first round 303 and second round 308, making the Irish +35 Monday at the River Wilderness Course in Parrish, Fla. Freshman Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) was the top finisher for the Irish, carding a 76 (+4) in the first 18 holes and a 74 (+2) in the second round. Zhang enters the final round tied for 22nd place against a strong field that consists of six top-25 teams. Senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy) registered a 77 (+5) in the first round, before improving her second round total by one stroke (76) and ended the day in a tie with teammate, Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) for 40th place. Huffer carded a 75 (+1) in the first round and a 78 (+4) in the second round. Rounding out the Irish score, senior Katie Conway (Wading, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) registered a 75 (+3) in the first round, followed by an 81 (+9) for a 12-over par 156 and tied for 53rd place to conclude thefirst day of the tournament. No. 4 LSU is currently in first place with 583(+7), followed by No. 42 Texas A&M in second place (584/+8) and No. 16 Iowa State in third place, 585 (+9). TCU’s No. 99 Brooke Beeler leads the playerboard with a six-under par, 138, after registering a 65 (-9) in the first round and a 73 (-1) in the final 18 holes.

6. ESPN’s updated Bracketology for women’s basketball has the Irish playing in Shreveport, La., as a #3 seed against #14 St. Francis (Pa.), with the game opposite featuring #6 Iowa and #11 Louisiana Tech. 7. Irish standout Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) has been named to the Capital One Academic All-America Men’s Basketball first team for the second consecutive year. Abromaitis becomes the first Notre Dame men’s basketball player to earn first-team Academic All-America honors in back-to-back seasons since Pat Garrity in 1997 and 1998. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Currently, Abromaitis is enrolled in a one-year intensified MBA program within the Mendoza College of Business and has a 3.615 grade-point average. He graduated one full year ahead of his class in May 2010 from theMendoza College of Business with a degree in finance. A three-time member ofthe Dean’s List, he earned a 3.72 grade index over his eight semesters. Joining Abromaitis on the five-man first team were Devon Beitzel of Northern Colorado, Matt Howard of Butler, Tyrell Reed of Kansas and Tyler Zeller of North Carolina. In addition to earning first-team honors, Howard was selected as the men’s basketball Academic All-American of the Year.

Abromaitis becomes just the fourth player in program history to earnfirst team Academic All-America honors on multiple occasions. In addition toGarrity, Bob Arnzen and John Paxson were both multi-year first-team honorees. Arnzen ranks as Notre Dame’s only three-time Academic All-America honoree as he garnered first-team recognition in 1967, 1968 and 1969, while Paxson earnedfirst-team recognition in both 1982 and 1983. Notre Dame’s other men’s basketball Academic All-America honorees include: Gary Novak (second team in 1972 and first team in 1974); Kelly Tripucka (first team in 1979); Rich Branning (first team in 1980) and Chris Quinn (first team in 2006). In all,Notre Dame has had eight different players in the 106-year history of the men’s basketball program garner Academic All-America recognition on 14 occasions. Abromaitis is the third Notre Dame student-athlete during the 2010-11 school year to be named an Academic All-American. Irish kicker David Ruffer was a first-team football selection, while All-American Lauren Fowlkes earned a spot on the women’s soccer first team. Overall, Notre Dame ranks second all-time in thenumber of Academic All-Americans it has produced with 219.

Currently, Abromaitis is averaging 14.1 points as Notre Dame’s second-leading scorer, and a career-best 6.3 rebounds. Last season, he averaged 16.1 points and 4.7 rebounds. He is 50 points shy of becoming the 51st player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 career points. Abromaitis has played in 73 career outings in an Irish uniform and been in the starting lineup on 52 occasions. He has scored in double figures in 49 career outings, and in 17 of those contests, has registered 20-plus points. Abromaitis has scored 30 or more points on two occasions, grabbed 10-plus rebounds four times and recorded three career doubles. This season, he was named MVP in November at the 2010 Old Spice Classic as Notre Dame claimed the team title with wins over Georgia, California and Wisconsin. Abromaitis’ Irish are currently ranked ninth in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today rankings with a 21-5 record overall and 10-4 mark in BIG EAST play, good for second place in the regular-season standings. He also has been named to the BIG EAST’s Weekly Honor Roll on two occasions this season. In addition to being named a first team Academic All-America selection in 2010, Abromaitis was named the 2010 BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Scholar Athlete of the Year and was the recipient of the BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award for men’s basketball. He also earned an honorable mention spot on the all-league team.

8. Last week’s college hockey Bracketology (before Notre Dame’s sweep at Ferris State) on USCHO.com (U.S. College Hockey Online) had the Irish listed as the #9 overall seed and playing in Bridgeport (Conn.) against #7 Union. Also assigned to Bridgeport were #1 Yale and #16 RIT. Other CCHA teams projected into the event were #10 Michigan (playing in Green Bay) and #13 Miami (playing in St. Louis).

9. The funeral ceremonies for Dave Duerson – former Notre Dame football captain and All-American, former Notre Dame Monogram Club president and former member of the University’s Board of Trustees – will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church at 6248 South Stewart Avenue in Chicago.

Monday, February 21, 2011

1. This Notre Dame-Duke men’s lacrosse matchup wasn’t for the national championship like the one last May was. But this convincing Irish win was plenty satisfying for a season opener on a perfect 75-degree day in Jacksonville, Fla. Sixth-ranked Notre Dame began in fine fashion with a 12-7 win over No. 5 Duke on Sunday afternoon in front of 8,152 fans at Everbank Field. The contest was part of the inaugural Sunshine Classic and was televised nationally on ESPN.

Fighting Irish senior midfielder Zach Brenneman registered a career-high five points on three goals and two assists. Andrew Irving (Sr./LSM), Sean Rogers (Jr./A) and Westy Hopkins (Fr./A) all added two goals apiece for the Irish. Notre Dame goalie John Kemp, a sophomore, made 10 saves in his third career start. Following a scoreless first quarter from both teams, Duke claimed a 2-0 advantage by the 7:34 mark of the second quarter. The Fighting Irish responded with four unanswered goals to take a 4-2 lead into halftime. Notre Dame cracked the scoreboard with 5:53 left in the first half as Rogers came from behind the net to deposit the Irish goal. The junior attackman evened the contest 20 seconds later. Irving gave the Irish a 3-2 advantage with 5:17 showing on the clock in the secondquarter. Junior midfielder Max Pfeifer put the Irish up by two (4-2) with just under four minutes left in the first half. The Irish out-shot the Blue Devils 18-13 in the opening half.

Duke put a halt to theIrish run with a Zach Howellgoal at the 10:32 mark of the third quarter. Notre Dame responded with a man-up goal from senior midfielder David Earl, which made it a 5-3 contest with 8:24 left in the third period. Sophomore midfielder Pat Cotter assisted on the score. Cotter deposited a goal of his own less than two minutes later to put the Irish up by three (6-3). Turri got the Blue Devils back to within two (6-4) with just over five minutes left in the third quarter. Brenneman pushed theIrish lead back to three (7-4) with 2:41 remaining in the third stanza. Notre Dame led 7-4 after three quarters of play. The back-and-forth affair continued as Howell scored just over three minutes into the fourth quarter to make it a two-goal contest (7-5). Notre Dame would score the game’s next four goals. Brenneman responded 34 seconds after the Howell tally to put Notre Dame up by three (8-5). Hopkins gave Notre Dame a four-goal lead (9-5) with 11:04 left in regulation as he took a pass from Brenneman and deposited the first goal of his career. Brenneman completed his hat trick at the 10:06 mark of the final quarter. Hopkins scored again with 7:13 left in the contest. Turri got the Blue Devils back to within five (11-6) at the 6:14 mark of the fourth period. Duke’s Robert Rotanz made it 11-7 with 1:35 remaining. Irving scored the final goal of the contest.

The Notre Dame defensestymied a Duke offense that posted 20 goals in its season opener against Siena. The Irish held a 38-32 lead in shots. Notre Dame also was 13 of 22 in faceoff attempts. Freshman Liam O’Connor was 7-for-10 in the faceoff circle, while senior Jake Marmul was 6-for-11. The game’s first goal came with 9:40 left in the second quarter as Duke’s Tom Rynn scored a man-up tally with the assist from Justin Turri. The Blue Devils took a 2-0 lead just over two minutes later on a Justin Offitgoal. Notre Dame has won a program-record nine straight season openers. TheIrish defeated Duke 11-7 in last season’s lid-lifter. Sunday marked the first time Notre Dame had ever defeated a defending national champion. The Irish had been 0-3 versus defending national champs. The Irish return to action next Sunday at Penn State. Game time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET) in University Park, Pa.

2. The No. 23 Notre Dame men’s tennis team rebounded Sunday to beat No. 24 North Carolina, 5-2 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind. Senior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) downed North Carolina’s No. 101 Brennan Boyajian in a three-set match (4-6,6-2, 6-1) at third singles. Team captain No. 28 Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) and senior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) were downed by No. 20 Brennan Boyajian and Jose Hernandez at first doubles, 8-4. Junior Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) handled William Parker and Cameron Ahari, 8-3 at third doubles. No. 51 junior Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and sophomore Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) clinched the doubles point, defeating No. 44 Stefan Hardy and Zach Hunter at second doubles. The duo came out to an early lead of 2-1 and continued to improve the score, moving to 5-1 and eventually winning the match 8-3.

Andrews handled Ahari in a two-set match (6-2, 6-4) at the No. 4 position. In the first set, the freshman gained an early 4-1 lead andcontinued to improve to his 6-2 score, followed by a 6-4 second set to win the match and the first singles point of the match for the Irish. No. 77 Watt was downed (6-2, 6-4) by No. 30 Hernandez at first singles, moving the score to 2-1 in favor of Notre Dame. At the No. 6 position, Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine-Crest) downed Kyle Baker to clinch the match for Notre Dame. The sophomore battledback in the second (6-2) and third sets (6-0), after being defeated 2-6 in the first set. Havens defeated No. 107 Hardy. The pair split the first two sets, before Havens defeated Hardy 1-0 (11-9) in the final set at second singles. Fitzgerald battled Parker, winning the first set, 7-6 (7-5), before dropping the second and final sets, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8). The Irish return to action Friday in the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. The three-day tournament is set to be played in Montgomery, Ala.

3. The Notre Dame men’s track and field team finished in second place with 132 points, while the women’s team finished eighth, scoring 56 points, in the BIG EAST track and field championships that ended Sunday in Akron, Ohio. The Connecticut men’s team claimed the BIG EAST crown, tallying 136.75 points. Notre Dame was trailed by Villanova in third place with 92 points. Louisville (87 points) and South Florida (63.75 points) rounded out the top-five team scores. On the women’s side, Louisville won the BIG EAST Championship, scoring 110 points, followed by Connecticut with 108.5 points and Villanova was third with 86 points. Georgetown and West Virginia finished in fourth place (80 points) and fifth place (66 points), respectively. Cincinnati and South Florida tied for sixth place (58 points) and Notre Dame was the eighth-place finisher (56 points).

The men’s 4×800-meter relay, composed of Kevin Labus (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit), Johnathan Shawel (Placentia, Calif./Troy), Jeremy Rae(Fort Erie, Ontario/Lakeshore Catholic) and Jack Howard (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) dominated as they claimed the crown, setting the Stile Athletics Field House record, the BIG EAST record and finishing with the fastest time in the nation this year at 7:25.31. The first-place finish moved the Irish score to 127 points, just behind Connecticut at 133 with only the 4×400-meter relay remaining in the 2011 BIG EAST Indoor Championship. Unfortunately, the men were unable to re-claim the indoor BIG EAST title, but concluded the meet with several BIG EAST titles and all-BIG EAST honors.

Shawel earned a first-place finish in the 1,000-meter run and added 10 points to the Irish score as he finished the race in 2:26.94. Following close behind, Jordan Carlson (Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Rosemount) also earned all-BIG EAST honors, finishing in 2:27.47 for second place. Justin Schneider (Atlanta, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) finished third in the heptathlon with 5,227 points. The senior had much of the Stiles Athletics Field House clapping with him during his final stretch at the pole vault. Schneider dominated as he vaulted 4.90m and the second-place finisher in the event was Jesse Chapman of Connecticut was only at 4.40m. The third-place finish was Schneider’s thirdall-BIG EAST honor.

The men’s and women’s teams both earned BIG EAST titles in the mile. On the men’s side, Rae ran 4:08.01 to defeat Villanova’s Matthew Gibney who finished in 4:08.37. Rae’s teammate, J.P. Malette (Windsor, Ontario/Assumption College Catholic) earned all-BIG EAST honors as he concluded the race in third place in 4:09.60. Rebecca Tracy (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) claimed the crown in the women’s mile, running the mile in 4:46.61. Howard tried to re-claim his 800-meter BIG EAST title, but barely missed, as he finished second in 1:50.54. Howard led much of the race, it wasn’t until the final stretch that senior Michael Rutt of Connecticut pulled away to beat Howard by less than half of a second (1:50.10). Howard gave a valiant effort as he dove head first across the finish line to earn all-BIG EAST honors.

Patrick Feeney (Indianapolis, Ind./New Palestine) earned his first BIG EAST title at his first conference meet, winning the 400-meter dash in 48.11. The freshman defeated Villanova’s Carlton Bowers who finished in 48.37. In the men’s 3,000-meter run, Carlson earned his second all-BIG EAST honor of the day after taking second place in 8:20.52. Senior Denes Veres (Ellwood City, Pa./Riverside) earned BIG EAST honors in the shot put. The senior had a throw of 17.33m to earn the honor, his sixth of his Notre Dame field career. The Irish return home for the Alex Wilson Invitational Fri. and Sat., March 4-5.

4. Meeting for the second time in three days, Notre Dame defeated Miami (Ohio), 4-1, Sunday at the UCF Softball Complex in Orlando, Fla. The victory wrapped up a 5-0 season-opening weekend for Notre Dame in claiming the UCF Invite title by rolling through the competition. The Irish allowed eight earned runs through five contests while out-scoring opponents, 27-8. Much of that offensive spark came behind the efforts of Alexa Maldonado, whose deep, deep, deep fourth-inning home run against the Redhawks not only plated a pair of Irish runs, but went down as her third hit for extra bases on the weekend. Maldonado’s junior season picked up right where the 2010 all-BIG EAST selection left off, as she hit .500 (7-for-14) and scored six times while driving in six runs. The lefty slapper also stole two bases while connecting for one double, triple and home run in the tournament. Six hits were recorded by Amy Buntin, Dani Miller and Alexia Clay, as Heather Johnson drove in five scores on four hits.

Jody Valdivia held the Redhawks (3-2) to six hits and one earned run in the complete-game effort for her second win of the season. The reigning BIGEAST Pitcher of the Year was matched at the tournament by first-year tosserLaura Winter, who logged a 0.84 ERA in 8.1 innings across three appearanceswhile earning two wins and a save. Brittany O’Donnell earned Notre Dame’s fifth win after tossing 5.0 innings of one-hit ball. The Irish made quick work of the Redhawks by scoring one run in each of the first two innings. Katie Fleury’s sacrifice moved Maldonado to second, and the speedster then scored on Miller’s single up the middle. Buntin’s second-inning single scored Brianna Jorgensborg, who led off the inning with a double, to make it a 2-0 contest. Notre Dame left two ducks on the pond in the third but cashed in a pair of scores in the fourth on Maldonado’s home run, the sixth of her career. Miami (Ohio) used consecutive hits to begin the fifth to score its only run. The Redhawks left seven runners stranded. Jessica Simpson (2-2) gave up eight Irish hits in 6.0 innings. Each of Notre Dame’s four runs were earned. Next up for Notre Dame will be four games Feb. 26-27 at the College of Charleston Invite. The Irish open the event Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (ET) against the host Cougars.

5. Senior RHP Todd Miller tossed a career-high 6.1 innings and struck out a career-best six to help Notre Dame knock off Penn State, 8-5, in its third and final game from the 2011 BIG EAST/Big Ten Baseball Challenge at the Walter Fuller Baseball Complex Sunday morning. After dropping their season opener to Michigan State (2-1), the Irish closed the weekend with back-to-back victories over Purdue and Penn State. Miller, who missed just over seven weeks last season with a shoulder injury, improved to 1-0 on the year. The right-handed hurler scattered seven hits and allowed three earned runs in his first start of 2011. Miller did not issue a walk alongside his six strikeouts. He tossed 93 pitches, 68 for strikes. Freshman LHP Anthony McIver and junior RHP Will Hudgins came out of the bullpen and slammed the door shut. McIver tossed 1.2 scoreless innings of relief with three strikeouts and Hudgins needed just 10 pitches to strikeout the side in the ninth. He picked up his first save of the season and fourth of his career.

Freshman 1B Trey Mancini paced Notre Dame at the plate. The rookie went 3-for-5 with a couple runs scored and two RBI, including a solo home run – the first of his career. Mancini added a double and finished just a double shy of the cycle. Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico was the only other Irish player with amulti-hit effort. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Freshman LF Eric Jagielo scored two runs, while senior RF Herman Petzold reached base three times and chipped in a run scored and RBI. Penn State, just as Michigan State and Purdue on Friday and Saturday, grabbed the first lead of the game. The Nittany Lions used a leadoff triple from Sean Deegan. After Miller picked up his first strikeout of the season, Jordan Steranka followed with an RBI single through the right side to give Penn State a 1-0 lead. Steranka moved into scoring position following Miller’s wild pitch, but the righty retired the final two batters of the inning to keep the deficit one run. Miller settled into a nice groove over the second and third innings. He sent down eight consecutive Penn State batters and allowed the Irish offense to grab the lead.

Notre Dame took advantage of a pair of Nittany Lions errors in a five-run third inning. Senior DH David Casey led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second base following junior CF Alex Robinson’s sacrifice bunt.Senior SS Mick Doyle followed with a routine fly ball to centerfield, but Deegan, the Penn State centerfielder, dropped the ball, which not only allowed Casey to score, but Doyle raced all the way to third base. Petzold followedwith another routine fly ball to center that Deegan lost in the sun for a double, which gave the Irish a 2-1 lead. Jagielo then reached base on an error, which allowed another run to score. After sophomore C Joe Hudson lined out,Mancini tripled in a run to give the Irish a 4-1 lead and DeSico made it 5-1with an RBI single.

Penn State clawed back with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Irish lead to 5-3, but Miller was able to evade any significant damage. He then retired the Nittany Lions in order in the fifth and sixth innings before maybe running out of gas in the seventh. With Notre Dame holding a 7-3 advantage, Penn State drew within two runs, 7-5, after seventh inning doubles from Ryan Clark and Deegan, but McIver got the final two outs of the inning and cruised in the eighth inning. Hudgins was almost perfect in the ninth inning. The sidewinder struck out the side on just 10 pitches. Hudgins nearly tossed an immaculate inning – an inning with three strikeouts on nine pitches.

Notre Dame returns to action next weekend with a three-game series in the Great Northwest against Seattle University. The Irish and Redhawks open the weekend set at 6:00 p.m. PT on Friday at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett, Wash. The final two games of the series will be played at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue, Wash.

6. Notre Dame sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) is among a group of 11 players who have been selected as semifinalists for the 2011 Nancy Lieberman Award, given to the nation’s top point guard, it was announced Saturday by the award’s organizer, the Rotary Club of Detroit. Diggins is the only underclass player among the 11 remaining nominees, joining eight seniors and two juniors in contention for this year’s award. Diggins is the first Notre Dame player to be chosen as a Nancy Lieberman Award semifinalist since All-American Megan Duffy in 2006, and the third since the award’s inception in 2001 (when another Notre Dame All-American and currentFighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey was a finalist). This year’s 11 nominees were selected by a panel of sportswriters from around the country,based on the criteria of floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame selection Nancy Lieberman during her career. That same sportswriter panel will choose the three finalists and this year’s award recipient during the weekend of the NCAA Women’s Final Four (April 3-5), with the recipient to attend an awards luncheon on April 27 at the Detroit Athletic Club.

7. You can’t ask for a better finish than this: The CCHA regular-season title comes down to the last weekend, with Notre Dame holding a one-point lead over Michigan, with both teams having two games left to play. The Irish play a home-and-home series with fourth-place Western Michigan – while Michigan plays both its games on the road at fifth-place Northern Michigan. Notre Dame already has guaranteed itself a bye in the first round of the CCHA playoffs (March 4-5-6) and will play host to a second-round series at the Joyce Center March 11-12-13.

8. Winner of five straight to open the season, the Notre Dame softball team is off to its best start since 2001… that season’s squad rattled off eight straight wins to start the season en route to earning a program-record 54 victories.

9. Andy Katz on ESPN.com today suggests that the national coach of the year in men’s college basketball should come from the BIG EAST – and he mentions UConn’s Jim Calhoun, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Steve Lavin of St. John’s as names that should be finalists.

10. Jay Bilas on ESPN.com lists Notre Dame’s Ben Hansbrough as one of his”most-respected players” for this season, saying, “A worker who keeps his head down and keeps coming at you, Hansbrough has quietly joined the front-runners for Big East Player of the Year. He is skilled, strong willed, tenacious and never gives in to fatigue. He just keeps running and keeps competing. He scores and takes big shots, but he is also willing to trail Connecticut’s Kemba Walker around for 40 minutes. Hansbrough does the tough stuff, prepares like a pro and does it all without complaining.”

11. The SI.com ranking of top 50 NFL draft prospects has Notre Dame’s Kyle Rudolph 50th overall.

12. Former Irish #1 men’s tennis player Mike Sprouse has written the just-released book “The Greatness Gap” – with a subtitle of “Personal Strategies to Boost Your Professional Potential.” The foreword is by former Irish football coach Lou Holtz, the afterword by current Irish men’s tennis coach Bobby Bayliss. Sprouse played for Notre Dame from 1993-96, qualified for the NCAA singles bracket in ’95 and ’96 and for NCAA doubles in ’95.

13. Today’s ESPN Bracketology from Joe Lunardi has the Notre Dame men a #3 seed in Denver against #14 Bucknell, with #6 Texas A&M and #11 Michigan State facing off opposite. Today’s SI.com projected bracket has the Irish a #3 seed in Chicago playing #14 Kent State, with #6 Texas A&M and #11 Butler/Memphis opposite.

14. The Notre Dame’s men’s basketball game Saturday against Seton Hall – at which Austin Carr will be added to the Purcell Pavilion Ring of Honor – is sold out.

15. Alumni, students, staff, friends, family and fans of Notre Dame are invited to the majestic Flint Hills of Kansas to pay tribute to the late great Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne on Saturday, April 2, 2011, recognizing the 80th anniversary of the tragic plane crash that took the lives of Rockne and seven others on March 31, 1931. There will be a program at the memorial marker and crash site starting at 10:30 a.m. Complimentary shuttle rides will be provided to all guests beginning at 9 a.m. departing from the Bazaar (Kan.) Schoolhouse (on Highway 177). Lunch will be served at the Schoolhouse after at noon. There will also be a presentation led by Bernie Kish, including a showing of the ESPN Classic program, “SportsCenter Flashback: The Death of Knute Rockne,” following lunch at the Schoolhouse. The 80th Rockne Memorial ceremonies are dedicated to the late Easter Heathman – witness, caretaker, guide and historian of the Rockne Crash Site for more than 75 years. If you are planning to make the journey to Kansas or if you have any questions, email RockneMemorial@gmail.com or call Pat Reis at 612-636-3905.

16. The Notre Dame men’s basketball team is 7-1 in its last eight games. The only other BIG EAST team that can say that is Georgetown.

17. Notre Dame men’s tennis head coach Bobby Bayliss is set to be inducted into the Blue Gray Hall of Fame on Friday, Feb. 25, in Montgomery,Ala., as decided by the Blue Gray committee members. The Blue Gray Tournament is 62 years old, making it the second-oldest college tennis tournament after the NCAA Championship. Bayliss’ teams have brought home three championships (1993, 2001 and 2007) from the Montgomery, Ala. event. Bayliss, who is in his 24th season as the head coach at Notre Dame and his 41st season overall, spending 15 seasons at Navy and three seasons at Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology, has a reputation of being a top-tier collegiate tennis coach. His testament to collegiate tennis is obvious as there have been few others whohave turned out as many standout student-athletes, have had as much team success and have earned as many honors as Bayliss. The veteran coach has led the Irish to 19 NCAA Championship appearances in the past 20 seasons, including 10 top-20 finishes. In 1992 he led his team to the NCAA title match. His teams have won 14 BIG EAST titles in 22 seasons, he has been named the national coach of the year on two occasions and is a five-time Midwest Regional coach of the year. Bayliss is fourth among active coaches in career victories, tallying over 700 wins during his coaching career. Although his tennis accomplishments are impressive, chairman of the Blue Gray committee Paul Winn says it is Bayliss’ character that sets him apart. “There has been no one else as loyal to the Blue Gray Tournament as Coach Bayliss,” says Winn. “Notre Dame has been coming to the Tournament the past 20 years and Bob is always so easy to work with. He and his team are so respectful, polite and appreciative of all we do for them. They have become such a hit in Montgomery that we have families fighting over who gets to keep Notre Dame.”

Sunday, February 20, 2011

1. Notre Dame freshman hockey goaltender Steven Summerhays had a career-high 29 saves and the Irish got goals from five different players on the way to a 5-2 win over Ferris State Saturday night at a sold-out Ewigleben Arena on Senior Night for the Bulldogs in Big Rapids, Mich. Ben Ryan, Joe Lavin, David Gerths, Nick Larson and Calle Ridderwall scored for Notre Dame while Scott Czarnowczan and Aaron Schmit lit the lamp for Ferris State. The win gives the Irish a four-game winning streak and a seven-game (5-0-2) unbeaten streak that started Jan. 22 at Ohio State. The CCHA road sweep was the second of the season for Notre Dame (also Northern Michigan, Jan. 7-8) and the second consecutive weekend that the Irish have won both games of a series (Bowling Green). Notre Dame improves to 20-9-5 overall and is now 17-6-3-2 in the CCHA, good for 56 points. The win means that the worst the Irish can finish in the CCHA is second place as it eliminates Miami from a shot at the top spot. The Redhawks have 49 points with two games left to play. The Irish go into the final week of the season with a one-point lead on second place Michigan (55) as the Wolverines rallied from a 4-3 deficit, to tie the game with 20 seconds left and then win it with three seconds remaining in overtime Saturday night for a 5-4 win over Western Michigan.

2. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team dropped its second consecutive game to a nationally ranked foe on Saturday evening as the Irish fell to second-ranked Northwestern, 14-11, in front of 703 fans indoors at the Loftus Center on the Notre Dame campus. Junior attack Maggie Tamasitis equaled career highs withfive points and four assists to pace the Notre Dame offense. Jenny Granger, Shaylyn Blaney, Kaitlin Keena and Kaitlyn Brosco each had two goals while Kailene Abt and Megan Sullivan joined Tamasitis with one goal each. Erin Fitzgerald led Northwestern with three goals while Jessica Russo, Brooke Matthews, Ali Cassera and Alex Frank had two goals each. Shannon Smith, Alyssa Leonard and Taylor Thornton each added a single goal for the Wildcats. The loss dropped 10th-ranked Notre Dame to 1-2 on the season while Northwestern won its season opener to go to 1-0 on the year. The Wildcats now lead theall-time series versus the Irish, 11-2, with Saturday’s game being the 11th consecutive win, dating back to the 2004 season. While the score was close,Northwestern dominated in the area of possession as they won the battle of the draws, 22-5, versus Notre Dame. This was also a game of runs where each team would take control for periods of time.

3. Notre Dame failed to take advantage of numerous scoring opportunities in a one-run baseball loss to Michigan State on Friday. Safe to say, the Irish more than made up on Saturday. Notre Dame set BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge single-game records for hits and runs as the Irish routed Purdue,19-2, at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The victory was the first for new Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki. Notre Dame totaled 19 runs on 25 hits. The 19 runs bested the previous tournament record of 18 set by St. John’s in 2009. The 25 hits bested the previous mark of 24 set by Louisville against Michigan State in 2010. The 17-run margin of victory also established a newchallenge record. The 19 runs, 25 hits and 17-run margin of victory were all the best for the Irish since Mar. 20, 2008, against Georgetown. Notre Dame routed the Hoyas, 25-1, that afternoon and recorded 28 hits. Junior CF Alex Robinson paced the Irish attack with a career-high five hits. He went 5-for-5 with three runs scored and one RBI. Senior RF Herman Petzold went 3-for-6 with two runs scored and four RBI, including a three-run double. Freshman RF Eric Jagielo went 4-for-6 with two runs scored and four RBI, including a three-run triple. Sophomore C Joe Hudson went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI. Senior DH Matt Scioscia also chipped in with three hits. He went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI. Senior RHP Cole Johnson picked up the victory. He allowed two earned runs on six hits in 6.0 innings of work. Johnson struck out four and walked two. Freshmen RHP Sean Fitzgerald and RHP Donnie Hissa combined for 3.0 scoreless innings of relief. Fitzgerald tossed a perfect inning of relief, while Hissa went 2.0 scoreless innings. He struck out one and walked one. Notre Dame spotted the Boilermakers a 2-0 lead, but the Irish scored the final 19 runs of the game, including 11 in a record-setting fourth inning. The 11 runs are the most in a single inning in BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge history. Notre Dame sent 16 to the plate and registered 10 hits. The Irish have not eclipsed 10 runs in an inning since May 10, 2004, at Connecticut when Notre Dame plated 10 runs in the first inning. Notre Dame returned to action at 10 ET this morning at the Walter Fuller Baseball Complex against Penn State. Senior RHP Todd Miller was slated to take the mound for the Irish.

4. Brittany O’Donnell and Shannon Kelly combined to toss a one-hitter during a five-inning, 11-1 win over Delaware on day two of the UCF Invitational for the Notre Dame softball team. Their efforts followed Saturday’s 4-1 non-conference win over Illinois-Chicago at the UCF Softball Complex in Orlando. Fla. The Irish (4-0) now play Miami (Ohio) at 11:00 a.m. (ET) on Sunday in the final game of the invite. Alexa Maldonado and Dani Miller each totaled three hits on the day as Amy Buntin, Heather Johnson and Alexia Clay chipped in a pair apiece. Miller drove in four runs, one of four Irish players with multiple RBI across the two games. Buntin homered and Maldonado crushed a triple, both of which were season-firsts for Notre Dame.

5. One of the most dominant streaks in BIG EAST Conference history came to an end Saturday evening at Wright Natatorium in Louisville. After winning 14 straight league titles – the most of any team in any league-sponsored sport – the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team surrendered the top of the podium to host Louisville, who totaled 820.5 points to earn its first-ever conference crown. But the Irish did not go down without a fight. First-yearstandout Kelly Ryan continued her stellar league debut by having a hand in two more titles as Kim Holden won the 200 back, giving her a clean sweep of the 100 and 200 versions of the race for the second consecutive season. Ryan was victorious in the 100 free and had a hand in the 400 free relay quartet that ended the evening with a golden effort for another league title. Notre Damefinished second with 655.5 points. West Virginia (396) was third and Villanova (395.5) took fourth among the 11-team field.

6. Louisville won its second straight team title Saturday evening at the BIG EAST Swimming and Diving Championships, earning 917 points in the winning effort. Notre Dame (713.5) finished in front of Pittsburgh (503) and West Virginia (470) among the 11-team field at Wright Natatorium in Louisville. Frank Dyer put the finishing touches on his outstanding league meet with a third-place finish in the 100 free. Throughout his first BIG EAST appearance, Dyer shelved four all-BIG EAST citations and an individual title. In all, Notre Dame set six school records throughout the four-day event.

7. The Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams concluded the first day of the BIG EAST Indoor Championships Saturday at the Stile Athletics Field House in Akron, Ohio. The men currently sit in second place with 30 points, while the women are in 10th place (8 points). Junior Kevin Schipper (Leo, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) won the pole vault (5.25m), making it his third-straight BIG EAST pole vault title. A Schipper has won the pole vault at the last five BIG EAST Championships. In addition to Kevin’s title Saturday, he also won both the 2010 indoor and outdoor BIG EAST pole vault titles. Kevin and his brother, Matt, a 2010 Notre Dame graduate combine for five BIG EAST pole vault titles. Greg Davis (Peachtree, Ga./Starr’s Mill) picked up eight points and a second-place finish for the Irish in theweight throw and with a throw of 19.68m the senior earned his fourth all-BIG EAST honor. The Irish will begin action Sunday with the men’s heptathlon at 8:30 a.m. at the Stile Athletic Field House in Akron, Ohio.

8. Check out ESPN at 3 p.m. today for a men’s lacrosse rematch of the 2010 NCAA championship game between Notre Dame and Duke. Thegame is being played in Jacksonville, Fla., at the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars’ stadium. It’s the regular-season opener for the Irish.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

1. Freshman Bria Hartley had been struggling on offense so she changed her approach and just took what she was given. The move worked as she scored a career-high 29 points to help No. 2 Connecticut to a 78-57 win over eighth-ranked Notre Dame in women’s basketball on Saturday in Storrs, Conn. Hartley had been in a little bit of an offensive slump lately, scoring in double figures just once in the last six contests. Maya Moore added 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Huskies (26-1, 13-0 Big East), who have won 14 straight since their 90-game winning streak ended at Stanford on Dec. 30. The Huskies, who spent a record 51 weeks atop the poll before that loss, will likely move back to No. 1 on Monday because top-ranked Baylor lost 56-45 toTexas Tech on Saturday. Skylar Diggins scored 22 points and Natalie Novoseladded 18 to lead Notre Dame (22-5, 11-2), which had its nine-game winning streak end. On Jan. 8, UConn rallied for a 79-76 victory over the Irish. Notre Dame had won every game since by at least 15 points and had a week to prepare for this game. One thing that Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw might have noticed during the week was that so many teams get blown out at UConn before the first media timeout. Duke and Oklahoma were already out of their games by the 16-minute mark. McGraw decided to take her team off the court while the Huskies were being introduced. The move paid off as the Irish scored the first seven points before freshman center Stefanie Dolson got the Huskies on the board nearly 2 1/2 minutes in with a hook shot. Notre Dame – wearing its alternate road green uniforms for the first time this season – couldn’t sustain the early wave of momentum as UConn rallied behind the freshmen. Dolson and Hartley combined for 18 of the team’s first 24 points. Hartley’s 3-pointer gave UConn its first lead at 17-16. That started a 10-1 spurt in which Hartley scored the first eight points. Dolson capped it with another hook shot. The Huskies led 37-29 at the half as Diggins kept the Irish in the game with 17 points by the break. That’s the most an opposing player has scored in the first half against the Huskies this season – and more than Providence (12) and Duke (15) put up as a team. Tiffany Hayes and Moore hit back-to-back 3s to start the second half and UConn extended its lead to 23. The Irish couldn’t get within 14 the rest of the game. UConn has won 63 straight Big East games and 76 consecutive overall at home. Devereaux Peters, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the earliermeeting, was held scoreless. She picked up two quick fouls and sat out the final 14-plus minutes of the first half.

2. One of Truck Bryant’s best games of the year gave West Virginia the start it needed to a difficult five-game stretch run. Bryant broke out of a slump by scoring 24, West Virginia took command early in the second half and beat No. 8 Notre Dame 72-58 on Saturday, ending the Irish’s seven-game men’s basketball winning streak in Morgantown, W.Va. The Mountaineers (17-9, 8-6 Big East) got a badly needed win against a ranked opponent to prop up their NCAA tournament hopes. West Virginia had been struggling since a 68-64 win over No. 11 Purdue on Jan. 16 that pushed its record to 12-4. The Mountaineers had lost five of nine entering Saturday. None more than Bryant, who single-handedly turned things around after West Virginia shot 29 percent (8 of 28) before halftime. Bryant had shot 24 percent from the floor and averaged six points over his last five games, but went 5 of 11 against Notre Dame – and 10 of 2 from the foul line – as the Mountaineers outscored the Irish 20-8 on free throws. Ben Hansbrough led Notre Dame (21-5, 10-4) with 19 points before fouling out. Carleton Scott added 11 points and Tyrone Nash scored 10. West Virginia shot 14 of 26 (54 percent) after halftime and scored 46 points after halftime. The Mountaineers committed a season-low five turnovers. The Irish were trying to match their best conference record through 14 conference games, set in 2000-01. They had beaten their three previous road opponents but shot just 35 percent (21 of 60) for the game. Second-place Notre Dame, trying to secure a double-bye in the conference tournament, returns to action Wednesday at Providence, then finishes the regular season at home again Seton Hall and No. 15 Villanova and on the road at No. 13 Connecticut. Notre Dame led 27-26 at halftime but went through a couple scoring droughts early in the second half. Hansbrough was held without a field goal for the first 12 minutes of the second half. By then, West Virginia had taken command. After Tim Abromaitis hit a 3-pointer for Notre Dame and Tyrone Nash made a layup, West Virginia got going again. Bryant scored six points during a 12-4 run that gave the Mountaineers a 57-42 lead with 9:35 remaining. Notre Dame got no closer than 10 points the rest of the game.

3. The No. 23 Notre Dame men’s tennis team fought hard against No. 27 Michigan, but the Wolverines grabbed a 4-3 victory Saturday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind. Junior Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) earned wins at second doubles and the No. 6 position in singles. The Irish again started off to an early lead, claiming the doubles point for the ninth time in 10 matches. Freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) and junior Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) earned the first doubles win at the third position. The duo battled Shaun Bernstein and Chris Cha back and forth before winning the match, 8-6. Junior Fitzgerald and sophomore Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) came out to an early 4-1 lead at the second position. The pair was able to maintain their lead and defeated Barrett Franks and Chris Madden, 8-5 to clinch the doubles point. Seniors No. 28 Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) and Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) fell to No. 39 Evan King and Jason Jung. The match was at 3-3, before Jung and King pulled away for an 8-3 victory. No. 77 Watt fell to No. 48 King at the No. 1 position in a two-set match (6-2, 6-1) to start off the singles action for the day. Havens was downed by No. 54 Jung, 6-3, 6-1,moving the score to 2-1 in Michigan’s favor. The No. 5 position finished next, Davis was downed by Madden. The left-handed Irish captain battled in both sets, but ultimately, Madden was able to pull away in each set. Andrews picked up the first singles win for the Irish. At the No. 4 position, the freshman defeated Justin Rossi in a two-set match (6-4, 7-5). In the first set, Andrews was able to stay out front through the entire match to reach his 6-4 victory, but in the second set, it wasn’t until the score reached 5-5 that he was able to pull away to earn a 7-5 win to move the score to 3-2 (Michigan). Fitzgerald started at the No. 6 position and produced a win for the Irish, topping Barrett Franks in a 6-4, 7-5 decision. Fitzgerald, who has been a key doubles player this season, moved into the singles line up after junior Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) was unable to compete. Fitzgerald’s win, moved the score to 3-3. The match concluded with the No. 3 position, senior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) fought hard against Shaun Bernstein, but dropped 7-6 (10-8), 6-4. After battling through the first set, Stahl came out to an early 3-1 lead, but it wasn’t enough as he lost the set 6-4 and No. 27 Michigan defeated No. 23 Notre Dame. The Irish have a quick turnaround as they face No. 24 North Carolina Sunday at Noon at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind.

4. Irish hockey goaltender Mike Johnson picked a great time to stand on his head. The sophomore netminder kicked out 37-of-39 Ferris State shots toback stop Notre Dame to a 3-2 win in front of 2,093 at Ewigleben Arena on Friday night in Big Rapids, Mich. Nick Larson, Sam Calabrese and Riley Sheahan provided the offense with Calabrese and Sheahan adding assists for two-point nights in the win. Mike Embach and Matthew Kirzinger scored the Bulldog goals in the contest. The Irish win clinches home ice for Notre Dame in the second round of the CCHA playoffs the weekend of March 11-13 at the Joyce Center. The victory improved the Irish to 19-9-5 overall and 16-6-3-2 in conference play, good for 53 points in the league standings. They remain one point ahead of second-place Michigan, as the Wolverines defeated Western Michigan, 6-3, and now have 52 points. Both teams have three games remaining on the schedule. Miami, idle on Friday night, is third with 49 points and two games left in the regular season.

5. In two pitching appearances on the opening day of the 2011 softball season, freshman Laura Winter earned a win and a save to boost Notre Dame to a 2-0 record Friday at the UCF Invitational in Orlando, Fla. Head coach Deanna Gumpf put the ball in Winter’s hand with the Irish trailing Miami (Ohio), 2-1, in the fifth inning of the day’sfirst bout. Winter responded with 2.1 frames of one-hit ball and five strikeouts, and was aided by a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to give Notre Dame a 3-2 win at the UCF Softball Complex. Winter also added an early RBI to help her own cause. Owning a 5-3 lead heading into the seventh inning of the nightcap with UCF, Winter made quick work in the circle by earning the save after tossing 1.0 inning of scoreless ball.

6. A quartet of Notre Dame student-athletes set schoolrecords Friday evening during day three of men’s swimming and diving competition at the BIG EAST Conference Championships in Louisville. Team captain Michael Sullivan (400 individual medley), Christopher Johnson (100 breast) and Petar Petrovic (100 back) each cemented their name into the Notre Dame annals with remarkable performances in front of a packed house at Wright Natatorium. The evening was capped off with a program-best benchmark of 3:15.10 in the 400 medley relay. Johnson and Petrovic had a hand in that effort as well. The Irish (570.5 pts.) have a bit of ground to gain on the final day of competition with Louisville (591) leading the field.

7. Coming from behind to defend her 100 backstroke title on the third day of women’s swimming and diving action at the BIG EAST Conference Championships in Louisville was sophomore Kim Holden, who bolted ahead of the field to set a league and school record Friday evening at Wright Natatorium. Holden’s 52.99 made her the first swimmer in league history to crack the 53-second barrier in the event. Holden also added a third-place finish while securing an NCAA B-cut in the 100 butterfly. But stealing the blue and gold spotlight was Kelly Ryan. The first-year swimmer began to pen her BIG EAST resume by never trailing in the 200 free. After earning her first individual title in that event, she capped off the evening by anchoring a record-breaking 400 medley relay tandem. Ryan sealed the deal after coming off the final wall to take a half-body length lead. Her foursome finished in 3:35.89, besting the previous school and league record of 3:36.20 set in 2009. The Irish are currently second in the standings with 430.5 points.

8. Notre Dame got solid pitching from senior starting RHP Brian Dupra and the freshmen reliever tandem of LHP Anthony McIver and RHP Dan Slania, but the Irish were unable to take advantage of a trio of golden scoring opportunities en route to a 2-1 season-opening loss to Michigan State Friday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Park in Dunedin, Fla. The game marked the debut of first-year Notre Dame coach Mik Aoki. Michigan State (1-0) opened the scoring in the top of the third inning off Dupra. Torsten Boss laced a one-out triple into the right centerfield gap and cruised home on Ryan Jones’ RBI single with the Irish infield drawn in to try and cut off the run. The Irish (0-1) drew even, 1-1, in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior 3B Greg Sherry singled with two outs to put runners on first and second. Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico followed with an RBI single to tie the game. An error allowed Sherry to advance to third and DeSico to second, but sophomore CF Charlie Markson struck out to end the threat. After the Spartans grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning, Sherry singled and DeSico followed with a perfect sacrifice bunt in the bottom half of theinning, but senior pinch hitter Matt Grosso flied out and senior shortstop Mick Doyle grounded out to end the inning. The Irish had another great scoring chance in both the eighth and ninth inning.Sophomore C Joe Hudson‘s two-out double went for naught in the eighth. In the ninth, DeSico laced a one-out single and moved into scoring position following a balk. With junior CF Alex Robinson at the plate, DeSico took off on a steal attempt. Robinson laced a ball to centerfield, but DeSico never stopped running and was tagged up at second base to end the game. Notre Dame also stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning. In all, the Irish left eight on the base paths, including seven in scoring position. Dupra did his part, but was charged with the loss and dropped to 0-1 on the season. The senior allowed two earned runs on seven hits in 7.0 innings of work. He fanned five and did not issue a walk. In fact, 72 of his 92 pitches on the day were strikes. McIver and Slania worked out of a jam in the top of the eighth inning to give the Irish a chance in the late innings. McIver surrendered a single and double to the first two batters he faced, but rebounded with a ground out and strikeout. Slania replaced McIver and induced a fly out to end the inning. Slania tossed a perfect ninth inning. He needed just 11 pitches, 10 of which were for strikes, in his 1.1 innings of scoreless and hitless relief. Sherry and DeSico paced the Notre Dame offense. Sherry went 3-for-4, while DeSico went 2-for-2 with an RBI and two sacrifice bunts.

Friday, February 18, 2011

1. The University of Notre Dame football team will return to the practice field Wednesday, March 23, for the first of 15 spring practices. The team will practice every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until the 82nd Annual Blue-Gold Spring Football Game on Saturday, April 16. Practices will occur in the mornings; specific times will be announced at a later date. Included within the spring practices is the 2011 Notre Dame Football Coaches Clinic, set for March 24- 26. Participants in the coaches clinic will watch the 2011 Fighting Irish practice Friday and Saturday as well as take part in a number of other activities. For more information on the Coaches Clinic, visit NotreDameCoachesClinic.com.

2011 Notre Dame Spring Football Practice Dates

Wed., March 23
Fri., March 25 – Notre Dame Football Coaches Clinic
Sat., March 26 – Notre Dame Football Coaches Clinic
Mon., March 28
Wed., March 30
Fri., April 1
Sat., April 2
Mon., April 4
Wed., April 6
Fri., April 8
Sat., April 9
Mon., April 11
Wed., April 13
Fri., April 15
Sat., April 16 – 82nd Annual Blue-Gold Spring Football Game

2. The following Notre Dame football players have changed numbers for spring practice: Bennett Jackson – 86 to 2, Louis Nix III – 67 to 9, Tommy Rees – 13 to 11, Robby Toma – 19 to 9. The five freshmen that enrolled in January will wear the following numbers thisspring: Kyle Brindza – 27, Brad Carrico – 56, Everett Golson – 5, Aaron Lynch – 19, Ishaq Williams – 1.

3. Junior football quarterback Nate Montana (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) has left the University of Notre Dame and enrolled at the University of Montana. The following is a quote from head coach Brian Kelly: “After much discussion with Nate regarding his future with our football program, Nate decided it was in his best interests to leave Notre Dame and pursue opportunities at a different school. I enjoyed working with Nate and he was a valuable member of our team this past season. I wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”

4. For just the third time in its history, the University of Notre Dame has given approval for the filming of a motion picture on campus. Tentatively titled “Two Miles From Home,” the film is the story of Haley Scott DeMaria, the Notre Dame swimmer who was paralyzed for a week after a tragic bus accident in 1992 that took the lives of two of her teammates. The movie is based on DeMaria’s book, “What Though the Odds: Haley Scott’s Journey of Faith and Triumph.”

“Though we receive many requests, the University has allowed just two movies to be filmed on our campus – `Knute Rockne, All America’ and `Rudy,’ ” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “The perseverance, courage and faith that Haley demonstrated in overcoming the critical injuries and medical setbacks she suffered can inspire many and so should be told to the widest audience possible.”

Robert C. Thompson, producer of the Academy Award-winning 1973 film “The Paper Chase,” is the executive producer for “Two Miles From Home.” Co-producers are Chris Jones and Dan Waterhouse, who wrote the script and is the director. DeMaria and the producers are working to raise funds and hope to begin filming this year in order to release the movie in 2012, the 20th anniversary of the accident.

The accident in which DeMaria and her teammates were involved occurred shortly after midnight Jan. 24, 1992, on the way back to campus from a meet at Northwestern University. In heavy snow, the bus slid off the Indiana Toll Road near exit 75 – two miles from home. Meghan Beeler andColleen Hipp, both freshman, died in the crash, and DeMaria, also a freshman, was paralyzed. After two operations at Memorial Hospital in South Bend and several days without sensation in her legs, DeMaria and her family were told she likely was facing life in a wheelchair. But a week after the accident, she began to regain feeling and within a month she was standing and walking with a cane. She returned to classes at Notre Dame that spring, but there were many more challenges ahead.

In the summer of 1992, rods that had been inserted to keep her spine straight came loose and popped through the skin. She was rushed to San Diego where she endured three more complex and risky surgical procedures – and once nearly died on the operating table. Once again defying all odds, DeMaria returned to Notre Dame in the fall of ’92 to take classes and continue her rehabilitation. She gradually began to swim and a year later, on Oct. 29, 1993, she completed one of the most stirring comebacks in Notre Dame’s history byswimming in – and winning – her heat in a 50-yard race.

When asked at his retirement about the most memorable moment of his tenure as athletic director, Dick Rosenthal said simply: “Haley Scott.” Former Irish football coach Lou Holtz has said: “I don’t know of any story more heartwarming, encouraging or motivating than Haley’s story. She is a very special young lady and has had a positive influence on my life as well as many others.”

DeMaria and her husband, Jamie, also a Notre Dame graduate, have two children and reside in Annapolis, Md. She serves on the board of the Notre Dame Monogram Club.

5. Freshman Frank Dyer cruised to set a Notre Dame and BIG EAST Conference record Thursday at Wright Natatorium in Louisville by going 4:19.08 in the 500 free. Dyer’s effort on the second day of the BIG EAST Swimming Championships brought home the meet’s first individual swimming title for the Irish, who are second overall with 326.5 points. Louisville (346) leads the10-team field and Pittsburgh (237) is third.

6. The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team punched in a plethora of season- and lifetime-bests Thursday on the second of the four-day BIG EAST Conference Championships at Wright Natatorium in Louisville. The Irish (217.5 pts.) are second in the standings behind host Louisville (328.5). Pittsburgh (192.5) and West Virginia (165) round out the top four. Amy Prestinario went 23.03 in the 50 free as Lauren Parisi (10th – 23.35) and Delia Cronin (14th – 23.85) also earned points in the event. To finish the evening, the 200 freerelay tandem posted a second-place showing in 1:31.95.

7. Senior guard Ben Hansbrough (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) is one of 30 players on the 2010-11 Naismith midseason list, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff. The Naismith Trophy, presented by AT&T, will be awarded at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston. Hansbrough, who was not on the initial Naismith listwhen the top 50 candidates were announced at the beginning of the season, is one of five BIG EAST players on the 30-player list. League counterparts Austin Freeman of Georgetown, Rick Jackson of Syracuse, Kemba Walker of Connecticut and Brad Wanamaker of Pittsburgh join Hansbrough on the list.

8. Temple University announced Thursday that it will play three football games against Notre Dame – Oct. 11, 2014, in Philadelphia; Sept. 26, 2015, at Notre Dame, and a third game in a future season (to be determined) at NotreDame.

9. At a luncheon today in Baltimore, a new trophy symbolizing the Notre Dame-Navy football rivalry was unveiled. It’s named after Rip Miller, who has ties to both programs.

10. In case you missed it, the Notre Dame men’s basketball squad was the focus of the USA Today sports cover story Thursday, while senior guard Ben Hansbrough was profiled today in the New York Times.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

1. Freshman left wing Anders Lee (Edina, Minn.) has been named the CCHA rookie of the week for his play in Notre Dame’s weekend hockey sweep of Bowling Green on Feb. 11-12. This marks the third time this season that Lee has been honored by the conference. Lee turned in a four-point weekend, scoring a game-winning goal to go with three assists in 2-1 and 5-1 wins versus the Falcons. He led the Irish with 13 shots on goal in the two games and was +3 for the weekend. With two points in each contest, the 6-3, 218-pound forward has now scored at least two points in each of his last five games, dating back to Jan. 22. In his five-game point streak, Lee has five goals and six assists for 11 points.

2. Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio), a junior on the Notre Dame women’s tennis team, jumped to No. 3 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, it was announced on Monday. Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) climbed up to 43rd in the rankings. Frilling started the season ranked ninth in the ITA polls, but thanks to an 8-0 start on the dual season jumped six spots in the first poll since the preseason rankings. TheSidney, Ohio native has claimed all eight wins at the No. 1 singles positionand has knocked off six nationally-ranked opponents, while at the same timeonly dropping one set during the winning streak. The ranking marks the second highest singles ranking in program history, trailing only Michelle Dasso who climbed to second in the ’00-01 season, and is the personal best ranking of Frilling’s Irish career.

3. More projected NCAA men’s brackets, today from CBS Sports. Jerry Palm this week has the Irish in Chicago as a #2 seed, playing #15 Vermont – with the game opposite featuring #7 UNLV versus #10 Washington.

4. Senior Notre Dame men’s basketball forward Carleton Scott (San Antonio, Tex.) has been named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the second time this season. Scott averaged 14.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 blocks in wins over Louisville and USF last week as the No.7/No. 8-ranked Irish extended their win streak to seven games, one game shy of its season best. Scott, Notre Dame’s second-leading scorer at 11.8 ppg., and the team’s leading rebounderwith a 6.9 rebounding average, scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds inNotre Dame’s 89-79 overtime win against No. 16/15 Louisville on Feb. 9. Scott tallied nine of the Irish’s 15 points in the overtime session as he connected on five of 11 from the field. He also had two blocked shots in the contest. In the 78-55 win on the road at USF on Saturday, Scott registered his sixth double-double of the season by netting 13 points and matching a season-bestwith 11 rebounds. It marked the ninth double-double of Scott’s career and the 19th time in 75 career outings that he has scored in double figures.

5. Look for Mike Brey at 4:38 p.m. today live on the Jim Rome Show on ESPN. Watch USA Today, the New York Times and Sports Illustrated for upcoming feature material surrounding the current Irish men’s team.

6. Read a new profile each day now on UND.com from Strong Of Heart, the Notre Dame athletics department holiday book of 20 profiles of individuals connected with Irish athletics.

Monday, February 14, 2011

1. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team suffered a tough, one-goal loss to close out the two-game road trip to California as the Irish fell to Stanford 13-12 Sunday afternoon at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium in Palo Alto. The Cardinal scored the final two goals of the game with 6:53 and 4:36 left on the clock to wipe out an 11-10 Irish lead on the way to the win. Tenth-ranked Notre Dame had four players score two goals each – Kaitlin Keena, Jenny Granger, Kaitlyn Brosco and Betsy Mastropieri – while Maggie Tamasitis, Ansley Stewart, Shaylyn Blaney and Emily Conner had one goal each. Keena also had two assists with Tamasitis adding three assists for a pair of four-point afternoons. The loss drops Notre Dame to 1-1 on the season while Stanford is 1-0 with the season-opening win. The Irish got off to a slow start in this game as Stanford scored the first four goals of the game to build a 4-0 lead with 16:41 left in the first half. Stanford outshot the Irish in the game 32-30. Ellie Hilling made eight saves in the Notre Dame goal, while the Cardinal got 10 saves from Annie Read in thewin. The Irish return to action Saturday when they open their home schedulewith a visit from #2 Northwestern. Game time on Saturday is 5:00 p.m. indoorsat the Loftus Sports Center on the Notre Dame campus.

2. The latest version of ESPN Bracketology today from Joe Lunardi has the Notre Dame men’s hoops squad a #2 seed playing in Chicago against #15 Long Island. The projected game opposite pits #7 Tennessee against #11 Virginia Tech. Then, over on SI.com, the Irish are #2 today, facing #15 Bucknell (with #7 Temple and #10 Utah State opposite).

3. Boston College has hired former Irish football assistant Kevin Rogers as its offensive coordinator. Rogers coached with the Irish under Bob Daviefrom 1999-2001.

4. Former Notre Dame football safety and current Cincinnati Bengal Chinedum Ndukwe received the City of Cincinnati Proclamation from The Honorable Mayor Mark Mallory, declaring Feb. 10 as Chinedum Ndukwe Day. The proclamation was presented last Thursday at Cincinnati City Hall. The proclamation was bestowed on Ndukwe for the positive impact that he and the Ndukwe Foundation have made with the youth of Greater Cincinnati over the past two years. For more information, please visit www.ndukwe.org.

5. Check out the latest ESPN men’s basketball poll – and you’ll see that the Irish men already own victories over teams this week rated 4th (Pittsburgh), 9th (Georgetown), 10th (Wisconsin), 12th (Connecticut) and 16th (Louisville). Plus, two of the Irish losses are to rated teams — #20 Syracuse and #22 Kentucky. Still to come are games against a pair of ranked opponents – at home against #14 Villanova on Feb. 28 and on the road at #12 Connecticut on March 5.

6. Notre Dame sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) received two significant honors on Monday afternoon, beingnamed the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week in addition to earning a place on the Naismith Trophy Midseason Top 30 List. Diggins is the first FightingIrish player in four seasons to be named the conference’s Player of the Week, with Charel Allen the last Notre Dame cager to collect the honor on Feb. 12, 2007. With the selection, Notre Dame ties Providence for the second-most weekly player awards in BIG EAST history with 69 honors (39 Players of the Week, 30 Freshmen of the Week). Diggins also is one of 30 women’s basketball playerschosen as midseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy, according to Monday’s announcement by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The Naismith Trophy, which is presented annually to the nation’s top player, compiled its midseason candidates based upon individual performance and team results during the 2010-11 season to date. It’s the second midseason national award candidate list that Diggins has made, following her place on the John R. Wooden Award chart last month, and like that rundown, she is one of only three sophomores to be tapped for the designation along with Baylor’s Brittney Griner and Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers.

A two-time BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll selection in addition to this week’s Player of the Week citation, Diggins averaged 17.0 points, 6.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game last week, as Notre Dame stretched itswinning streak to a season-high nine games with home victories over Seton Hall (89-38) and Rutgers (71-49). Diggins shot 52.4 percent from the floor (60 percent from three-point range) in those two contests while also recording at least five points, five rebounds and five assists. Last Tuesday against Seton Hall, she packed the stat sheet with 14 points, seven assists, a game-high six rebounds and a season-high five steals with a near-perfect shooting night (4-4 FG, 6-7 FT). This past Saturday against Rutgers, Diggins tallied 20 points (including 3-of-5 three-pointers), five assists and five rebounds, and had a hand in 13 of Notre Dame’s points (eight points, two assists) during a 16-4second-half run that clinched the victory.

7. As part of the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s 2010-11 regional outreach initiative, the organization hosted a pre-game reception for monogram winners prior to the Notre Dame-USF men’s basketball game Feb. 12 in Tampa, Fla. More than 70 monogram winners and their families made the trip from their sunny Florida homes to join former teammates and meet some new faces spanning five decades of Notre Dame athletics at the USF Gibbons Alumni Center. The Monogram Club provided a French toast brunch reception for the monogram winners, many of whom took in Notre Dame’s 78-55 victory over South Florida at the nearby Sun Dome. The Tampa pre-game reception is part of the Monogram Club’s regional outreach program intended to help monogram winners bridge the gap between legend and legacy outside of the confines of Notre Dame. The initiative began with tailgates in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area last spring for basketball and lacrosse events and the year was capped off in November with a reception in New York City for 300 monogram winners and their families prior to the football game versus Army. The Monogram Club will continue the successful program in2011 to reach out to its membership in other regions of the country.

8. Collegebaseball360.com will provide live webcasts for 13 of the 24 games, including all three appearances by Notre Dame, at this weekend’s third annual BIG EAST/Big Ten Baseball Challenge, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission. The Irish play at 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 18, against Michigan State at Florida Auto Exchange (Dunedin) Stadium, 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 19, against Purdue at Al Lang Stadium and 10:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 20, against Penn State at the Walter Fuller Baseball Complex. Notre Dame’s three games can be viewed at http://collegebaseball360.com/category/challenge-webcast-2/.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

1. Notre Dame is off to its best start in 30 years in men”s basketball and gaining confidence with every victory. The eighth-ranked Fighting Irish wontheir seventh straight game on Saturday, routing struggling South Florida 78-55 with a balanced scoring attack led by Jack Cooley’s career-high 18 points. Overmatched opponent or not, coach Mike Brey was impressed with his team’s effort coming off an overtime win over No. 16 Louisville that kept Notre Dame (21-4, 10-3) alone in second place in the Big East behind No. 4 Pittsburgh. The strong start is the program’s best since the 1980-81 season. The Irish can match their best-ever record through 14 conference games (11-3 in 2000-01) by winning at No. 25 West Virginia next Saturday.

Cooley came off the bench during an early 22-0 run and made his first nine shots – giving him a stretch of 14 consecutive field goals over two games – before missing a 15-footer in the closing minutes. The 6-foot-9 sophomore entered averaging 3.8 points per game for a veteran-laden team that starts four seniors and a graduate student. But he was 5 for 5 for 10 points in 13 minutes against Louisville and took up where he left off in that performance. Carleton Scott scored 13 points and Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis had 12 apiece for Notre Dame, which had six players score in double figures. Shaun Noriega led South Florida (8-18, 2-11) with a career-best 23 points.

Notre Dame’s seven-game conference winning streak is its longest in Big East regular-season play since the Irish won their last five of 2006-07 and the first two league games the following season. It’s the team’s best stretch within the same season since 2000-01, when the Irish won eight straight BigEast games. The loss was the 13th in 15 games for the Bulls, who blew a 16-point second-half lead in falling 59-58 to Marquette last Wednesday. They really were never in this one, missing 11 of their first 12 shots and shooting 20 percent in the opening half – 30.4 percent for the game.

Scott, Abromaitis and Scott Martin hit 3-pointers during the first-half surge that carried Notre Dame to a 24-3 lead. Much of the damage was inflicted after Hansbrough went to the bench with two fouls, with Cooley making threelayups to help take up the slack for the absence of the Big East’s third-leading scorer. The Irish led 41-17 at halftime, with Hansbrough onlyhaving two points on 1-for-2 shooting. The senior averaged 24.2 points over the previous five games and played long enough in the second half to finish 5 of 10 from the field with eight assists and two steals. Martin and Tyrone Nash each scored 10 points for Notre Dame. Since consecutive lopsided road losses to Marquette and St. John’s in early January, the Fighting Irish have put together their first three-game conference road winning streak since 2000-01.

2. The Rutgers women’s basketball team could only withstand No. 8 Notre Dame’s pressure for so long. Rutgers remained within striking distance for the first 30 minutes, but Notre Dame’s press finally cracked the Scarlet Knights and the Fighting Irish went on a 16-3 run midway through the second half for a 71-49 victory Saturday at Purcell Pavilion. Devereaux Peters scored 21 points and sophomore guard Skylar Diggins sparked the run that put the Scarlet Knights away, finishing with 20 points and five assists for the Irish (22-4, 11-1 BIG EAST) in the Pink Zone game before a sellout crowd in Purcell Pavilion. Theslow pace of the game didn’t favor either team and both tried to apply pressure to increase the tempo, but only Notre Dame succeeded. Diggins sent the Irish on their spurt with a few key steals, layups and passes that her teammates converted into buckets. Notre Dame’s run also featured 3-pointers from Diggins and Brittany Mallory, a senior who recorded her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. Usually Notre Dame’s lockdown defender, Mallory is the first Irish player to earn a double-double with points and assists since 2005.

Notre Dame has four BIG EAST games remaining and can clinch a double bye in the BIG EAST tournament. The Irish face No. 2 Connecticut next Saturday in a game that will have BIG EAST and NCAA tournament seeding implications. Notre Dame stretched its current winning streak to nine games, all during BIG EAST Conference play. This marks the longest BIG EAST regular-season winning streak for the Fighting Irish since the 2004-05 season, when they put together a similar nine-game conference success string from Jan. 19-Feb. 15, 2005.

The Fighting Irish registered their fourth sellout of the season, and 10th in the past two years. Notre Dame held its annual WBCA Pink Zone game on Saturday, with the Fighting Irish players and staff wearing pink in support of the fight against breast cancer — Notre Dame raised $116,405 this season, topping last year’s total of nearly $104,000 (as well as this year’s goal of $110,000) and boosting the program’s combined Pink Zone fundraising total in the last three years to more than a quarter of a million dollars (approximately $260,000), with proceeds going locally to the Foundation for St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, and nationally to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

3. Sophomore right wing Billy Maday scored a pair of goals with Jeff Costello, T.J. Tynan and Jared Beers scored single goals as Notre Dame handed Bowling Green a 5-1 hockey loss in front of a sell-out crowd at the Joyce Center on Saturday night. Freshman goaltender Steven Summerhays stopped 13 of 14 shots he faced with only Falcon forward Cameron Sinclair getting the puck past him in the second period. The Irish used a pair of power-play goals by Maday and Costello to build an early lead with Maday’s second goal coming on a breakaway following a penalty kill as he picked up the puck coming out of the penalty box.

The win gives the Irish a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2) since Jan. 22 and improves their record to 18-9-5 overall and 15-6-3-2 in the CCHA. Notre Dame is in first place in the league with 50 points and is one point ahead of second-place Miami (49) and Michigan (49) in the standings. The Irish and the Wolverines have four regular-season games left while the RedHawks have two games remaining. The loss dropped Bowling Green to 8-21-3overall and 3-19-3-1 in the CCHA. With the sweep this weekend, Notre Dame has clinched a bye in the first round of the playoffs. With 11 teams in the league this season, five teams will sit out the first weekend of play (Mar. 4-6). The Irish need any combination of one point versus Ferris State next weekend toclinch home ice for the second round (Mar. 11-13) as the fifth-place team will play on the road in that second round against the fourth-place finisher. For Notre Dame, the learning process will continue next weekend on the road as the Irish travel to Ferris State for a pair with the Bulldogs on Feb. 18-19. Game time both nights is 7:05 p.m.

4. Notre Dame senior Nathan Geary rallied back from a fourth-place preliminary showing to earn the 3-meter diving title Saturday at Wright Natatorium in Louisville to end the BIG EAST Conference Diving Championships. Geary totaled 321.25 points to start the day and ended with a brilliant 369.10 in the finals for his first league crown. One day after winning the 1-meter title, Irish senior Eric Lex led the pack with a preliminary score of 359.00 off the high board. He dropped to fourth in thefinals with a 338.10, but still managed to earn the honor of Most Outstanding Diver. Wes Villaflor, who was named Most Outstanding Diver in 2010, finished third with 343.60 points. Caiming Xie was named the BIG EAST Men’s Diving Coach of the Year for the eighth time overall. He has won the award on six occasions since 2005. The Irish resume the league meet as the swimming portion of theevent begins Feb. 16.

Lex secured his first ever league title by winning the 1-meter crownFriday evening at Wright Natatorium. Lex’s score of 355.70 put him well in front of second-place finisher Colin Forner (336.15) from Pittsburgh to open the 2010-11 BIG EAST Conference Diving Championships. Villaflor led the pack with 331.60 points after the prelims, just ahead of Lex (331.05). However, Villaflor finished fourth in the finals with a 328.20. Ryan Koter (294.75) was sixth overall. Geary (318.55) was ninth in the consoles as Sean Rademaker (258.85) was 12th.

5. Notre Dame sophomore diver Jenny Chiang finished first off the 3-meter board Friday at Wright Natatorium to open the 2011 BIG EAST Conference Diving Championships. Chiang totaled 337.40 points in the final round to earn the title for the second time in as many seasons. Chiang (330.95) held off Louisville’s Hannah Gadd (320.00) in the prelims as Heidi Grossman (298.60)held steady in third place. Gadd improved her score to 334.80 in the finals to finish second as Grossman (313.95) dropped to fourth to end the day. KimmieLisiak (204.45) also worked her way into the top 25 for Notre Dame.

Gadd won the women’s 1-meter event Saturday at Wright Natatorium to close out the BIG EAST Conference Diving Championships. Gadd, who was also named the league’s Most Outstanding Diver, tallied 329.95 points to distance herself from Chiang (301.60) and Grossman who were second and third, respectively.

6. The top-ranked Notre Dame men’s fencing team posted a perfect 3-0record Saturday at the Duke Duals. The Irish knocked off North Carolina, Duke and Johns Hopkins, en route to winning the trophy in each weapon. The Irish got off to a quick start, downing North Carolina in the opening match 18-9. Thefoil squad turned in the most impressive showing, winning 7-2 over the Tar Heels. Epee ended with a 6-3 advantage while sabre edged out a 5-4 decision.

Against Duke, both the foil and epee squads turned in 7-2 victories,while the sabre again edged out a 5-4 result to capture the team victory, 19-8. The most impressive showing of the day for the Irish, however, came in the final match against Johns Hopkins. The team posted a 23-4 victory that saw both the foil and epee post 8-1 victories and sabre notch a 7-2 win.

Greg Schoolcraft led the epee squad with a final mark of 6-2 on the day, but was closely followed by Jacob Osborne (5-0), Brent Kelly (5-2) and Andrew Seroff (5-2). Reggie Bentley and Steve Kubik, who finished the day with identical 8-1 records, paced the foil. Grant Hodges rounded out the rotation with a record of 6-3. Four sabreists took to the strip for the Irish, led by Kevin Hassett, who finished the day with a 6-3 record. Avery Zuck ended the day with a record of 5-1, and Alex Coccia and Carl Ianiro both ended with threewins.

While the men sent a small contingent to the Duke Duals, the team also played host to three club teams, facing Chicago, Illinois and Michigan State. The remaining fencers on the men’s team took down Chicago (23-4), Illinois (23-4) and Michigan State (25-2) in easy fashion to conclude a 6-0 day combined. Jack Piasio and Michael Rossi led epee, as each finished the day with 8-1 records. Chris Pinkowski also impressed, posting a 7-1 record, while James Kaull ended the day with a 1-0 mark. Nicholas Kubik paced the foilists, ending the day with a 6-0 record. Ariel DeSmet notched four wins, while four otherfoilists – Enzo Castellani, Nicholas Crebs, Ted Hodges, Zach Schirtz – posted three wins on the day. Eight sabreists took to the strip, led by Barron Nydam with a 5-0 record. Jason Choy finished just behind with a 4-0 mark, while Alex Buell, Marcel Frenkel, William McGough and Anthony Schlehuber ended with three wins. Keith Feldman and John Plunkett earned two victories apiece.

The top-ranked women, meanwhile, also posted a three-match sweep with a 22-5 victory over Chicago, a 26-1 win over Illinois and a 24-3 win over Michigan State. Diane Zielinski led the way for the epeeists, finishing the day with a 7-2 record. Phenix Messersmith ended with a 6-3 record, with Caroline Dikibo finishing 5-0 and Stephanie Myers going 2-2. Adriana Camacho (8-1) and Katie Heinzen (8-1) paced the women’s foilists. Radmila Sarkisova (3-0), Rachel Beck (2-0), Darsie Malynn (2-0), Grace Hartman (1-0) and Hayley Reese (1-0)rounded out the rotation. Danielle Guilfoyle led the sabreists with a perfect 5-0 record on the day. Four different sabreists reached four wins, as Beatriz Almeida, Abigail Nichols, Kathryn Palazzoto and Marta Stepien each finishedwith 4-0 ledgers. Julia Kohn (3-0), Sarah Borrmann (1-0), Eileen Hassett (1-0) and Lian Osier (1-0) closed out the sabre rotation.

The men’s team finishes the regular season with an overall record of29-1, while the women keep their undefeated streak in tact, concluding the season 29-0 and taking their streak to 88 consecutive wins. The Irish now turn their attention to postseason play, taking to the strip March 5-6 at the Midwest Fencing Championships before beginning NCAA Regional play March 12-13.

7. The 26th-ranked Notre Dame men’s golf team defeated Campbell at The Match Play Saturday at the TPC of Tampa Bay to earn a share of fifth-place. The Irish tied Campbell, 2.5-2.5, but advanced via tiebreak after winning by a total of six holes to Campbell’s five. Notre Dame ended the tournament with an overall record of 2-1. The bottom of the Irish lineup led the charge, as the third through fifth positions notched two wins and one halve. Sophomore Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) made quick work of Ben Polland to give the Irish their first point, posting a 4-and-3 decision as the team’s No. 5 golfer. Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.), golfing as the team’s No. 4,earned a 2-and-1 victory over Mitch Gray, while Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.), for the second consecutive match, battled his opponent, Amanjyot Singh, to a halve from the No. 3 position. Tom Usher (Bradford, England), golfing again as the team’s No. 1, struggled in his final round, dropping a 4-and-2 decision to Campbell’s Matt Moot. Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) also fell at the No. 2 position to Vaita Guillaume. The two golfers entered the 18th hole all square, but the Irish junior dropped the hole to lose the match, one down. Notre Dame and St. John’s did not play in the fifth-place match with daylight becoming an issue and instead shared fifth in the tournament. Kennesaw State went on to win the overall title, defeating Ball State in the championship match, 3-2. The Irish now enjoy nearly a month off before returning to the course March 5 at the Alumni Matches at Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

8. The 13th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team dropped another close decision on Saturday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion, falling to 18th-ranked Vanderbilt, 4-3. The Irish now sit at 3-4 on the season after suffering back-to-back one-point losses to open the weekend. In doubles, Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) turned in their mostimpressive match of the season, dispatching the 20th-ranked tandem of Alex Leatu and Rachael Dillon, 8-0, at the No. 1 position. The Irish, however, could not find the rhythm at either of the remaining two doubles courts, as Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) fell to the 53rd-ranked team of Chelsea Preeg and Jackie Wu at No. 2, 8-4, while the freshmen team of Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) fell to Lauren Mira and Kelly Ulery at No. 3, 8-3, to give Vanderbilt the early 1-0 advantage.

Frilling and Mathews continued their torrid start to their dual season in singles at the No. 1 and 2 positions, respectively. Mathews, the 104th-ranked singles player, made short work of 50th-ranked Leatu, 6-3, 6-1, to tie the match at 1-1. Frilling, ranked ninth overall, followed shortly after with another straight-sets win, taking down 83rd-ranked Wu, 7-5, 6-1. Both Irish juniors now stand at 7-0 on the dual campaign, with Frilling notching her fifth straight win against a nationally ranked foe. Vanderbilt then squared the match at 2-2, as #119 Mira captured No. 4 singles over #78 McGaffigan, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4. The tie was short lived, as Kellner, ranked 106th, took down Dillon at No. 5 singles in a hard-fought, three-set match, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3. The freshman now owns a three game winning streak and has an overall dual record of 5-2 on the season. Notre Dame could not close the door on the Commodores, however, falling at both No. 3 and No. 6 singles to close out the match. After Rafael took down the first set from Preeg at No. 4, 7-5, the Irish senior fell in the final two sets, 4-6, 5-7, to knot the match at 3-3. Sabacinski suffered much the same fate at No. 6 singles, winning the first set 6-4 before dropping the closing two sets, 4-6, 6-7 4-7). The Irish freshman battled hard, taking a 4-1 lead in the third set tiebreak, but ran out of steam, losing the final six points and the tiebreak, 4-7.

Then the Notre Dame women ended their two-game skid, defeating the Wisconsin Badgers, 6-1, Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish now own a 4-4 record on the dual season. In what has been a key this season, Notre Dame claimed the doubles point to get out to an early 1-0 lead. In matches that the Irish have won the doubles point, the team is 4-0 while they are 0-4 when dropping the point. Juniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) wrapped up first with a convincing 8-2 win over Wisconsin’s Nicky Stracar and Alaina Trgovich at No. 1 doubles. The Irish pairing has now won three of their last four dual matches. Freshmen Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) and Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) moved to No. 2 doubles for the first time on the season and responded with a critical 8-5 win over Jenny Hois and Angela Chupa to clinch the point. At No. 3 doubles, senior Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) teamed with freshman JoHanna Manningham (Mishawaka, Ind.) in the Penn High School products first match of the dual season, but the Irish duo fell to the Badger tandem of Jessica Seyferth andHannah Berner, 8-5.

In singles action, every match was decided in straight sets, with Kellner claiming the team’s second point with a win over Trgovich (6-1, 6-0) at the No. 4 position. For Kellner, it marks her first win at No. 4 and pushes her overall record to 6-2 in dual competition. Frilling pushed the margin to three points, taking down Stracar at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-1, and Mathews locked up the match victory shortly after, dispensing of Hois at No. 2 singles by an identical 6-2, 6-1 count. Both Frilling and Mathews now have 8-0 records at No. 1 and 2, respectively, and have dropped a mere two sets in their 16 matchesplayed. The Badgers got their lone point of the match at No. 6 singles, as Manningham fell in her first dual season singles match to Seyferth, 6-4, 6-3. The Irish, however, closed out the final two matches at No. 5 and No. 3 singles to close out the 6-1 win. Sabacinski, in her first match at No. 5, defeated Chupa, 6-1, 6-4, while Rafael pushed her record to 4-4 at No. 3 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Berner. After a busy weekend of matches, the Irish now have a 12-day break from matches before returning to action at the Blue-Gray Tournament (Feb. 25-27).

9. The 25th-ranked Irish men”s tennis team picked up two wins on the road, defeating Marquette, 7-0 and giving Michigan State its first loss of the season at the Michigan State Indoor Tennis Facility in East Lansing, Mich. Junior Casey Watt (Gibsonia,Pa./Pine-Richland) picked up two singles wins at the No. 1 position, as well as two doubles wins at the third position.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

1. Former Notre Dame football graduate assistant Todd Monken (he held that role in 1991-92 under Lou Holtz) is Oklahoma State’s new offensive coordinator. Monken was a part-time assistant at Grand Valley State in 1989 and 1990 at the same time current Irish head coach Brian Kelly was the Lakers’ defensive coordinator. Monken has been the Jacksonville Jaguars receivers coach the last four years. He previously coached as an assistant at LSU, Oklahoma State, Louisiana Tech and Eastern Michigan.

2. Freshman left wing Anders Lee did what he does best – score a goal – getting the game winner with 3:14 left in the game as Notre Dame handed Bowling Green a 2-1 hockey loss at a sold-out Joyce Center on Friday night. Lee, at the end of a shift took a pass from Bryan Rust inside the Bowling Green blue line near the right boards before carrying it across the blue line to the center point where he sailed a wrist shot over Falcons’ goaltender Andrew Hammond’s shoulder to give the Irish the 2-1 win. Rust scored the first goal of the game for the Irish in the first period and along with Lee had a two-point night in the win. Bowling Green got the equalizer in the second period on a power-play tally by Michael Fink. Hammond made 36 saves in the game while Notre Dame’s Mike Johnson stopped 21 for the victory. The Irish win, coupled with Miami’s tie with Western Michigan and 1-0 shootout loss, moved Notre Dame back intofirst place in the CCHA. The 10th-ranked Irish are now 17-9-5 on the season and 14-6-3-2 in conference play, good for 47 points in the standingswith two games in hand on Miami. The RedHawks now have 46 points in the CCHA and are tied for second with Michigan with the Wolverines also having two games in hand. The loss dropped Bowling Green to 8-20-3 overall and 3-17-3-1 in league action.

3. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team got the 2011 season off to a fast start as the Irish handed the University of California a 20-6 loss in the opener forboth teams at Cal’s Witter Rugby Field in Berkeley, Calif. Twelve different Irish players scored goals in the game with sophomore midfielder Jenny Granger leading the way with a career-high six-point game on four goals and two assists. Five of her teammates – Maggie Tamasitis, Ansley Stewart, Kaitlin Keena, Kailene Abt and Kaitlyn Brosco – had two goals in the game while Megan Sullivan, Shaylyn Blaney, Betsy Mastropieri, Jaime Morrison, McKenzieBrown and Emily Conner had one goal each in the win. The win makes the 10th-ranked Irish 1-0 on the young season while Cal falls to 0-1. Notre Dame continues its season-opening west coast trip Sunday when the Irish visit 13th-ranked Stanford at 11:00 a.m. (PT). Notre Dame proved to be a rude guest on a very happy day for the California women’s lacrosse program. Prior to the start of the game, it was announced that the program would be continuedafter the University got enough pledges to keep it alive in future years. Earlier this year it had been announced that the program would be dropped for financial reasons and this would be its final season.

4. Season tickets for Notre Dame’s 2011 men’s and women’s lacrosse home schedules are currently on sale through the Notre Dame ticket office. Season passes are $15 for youth (21 and under) and seniors (55 and older) and $20 for adults. A fan pack that includes four season passes is available for $50. Season passes include tickets to all men and women’s lacrosse games played at Arlotta Stadium. Fans can purchase tickets at und.com/tickets, by calling 574-631-7356 or visit the Murnane Ticket Office, located at Gate 9 of the Joyce Center. The women’s lacrosse team will open their home slate versus Northwestern on Feb. 19, while the men’s team will begin home play March 6 against Drexel. Both contests are scheduled to take place inside the LoftusSports Center. Tickets will be required starting March 15 with the women’s game against Boston University in Arlotta Stadium. In the event of inclement weather, games held inside the Lofuts Sports Center will not be ticketed. Season passes feature tickets to all games played at Arlotta Stadium, including the men’s games against Ohio State (3/23), Villanova (4/2), Georgetown (4/10) and St. John’s (4/16). The women’s games versus Boston University (3/15), Rutgers (4/1), Loyola (4/3), Connecticut (4/16) and Georgetown (4/23) are included in the season pass. Both Notre Dame squads are ranked in the preseason top-10 nationally. The Irish men made their fifth straight NCAA Championship appearance last season and were the tournament’s runner-up. The Fighting Irish women’s squad has qualified for the past three NCAA Championships.

5. Dr. David Bankoff and Dr. Willard Yergler, who have combined for 66 years of service to the University of Notre Dame athletics department and most notably to the football program, are retiring as team physicians for the Irish athletics program. South Bend Orthopaedics made the announcement Friday. Dr. Bankoff started working with Notre Dame athletics in 1981 and with the 2010 football season concluded his 30th year of service to the University’s sports programs. Since 1983, he has served as Associate Director of Sports Medicine and also as a football team physician. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary membership in the Notre Dame Monogram Club, which is comprised of individuals who have earned the University’s varsity athletic insignia for their athletic or team support endeavors. Originally from Chicago, Ill., Dr. Bankoff attended Northwestern University. He graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1974 and joined South Bend Orthopaedics in 1978. He is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, a fellow of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, current member of the National Board of Counselors for the American Society of Sports Medicine — and a past president of the Indiana Orthopaedic Society. In the fall of 2010, Dr. Yergler quietly announced his retirement after 36 years – working with seven different Irish head coaches – as a Notre Dame football team physician. In 1974, Dr. Yergler started with the football program and also has treated athletes from all the sports. Besides a legacy of treating injured athletes, Dr. Yergler also personally sponsors a senior student athletic trainer award each year. In 2001 he was inducted into the Notre Dame Monogram Club as an honorary member. Dr. Yergler grew up in Valparaiso, Ind., and attended Purdue University. He graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1967 and joinedSouth Bend Orthopaedics in 1971. He is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, a fellow of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, a fellow of the American Society of Sports Medicine, and a past Director of Sports Medicine at the University of Notre Dame. South Bend Orthopaedics has a long tradition of providing orthopedic care to Notre Dame athletes, beginning in 1949 when Dr. Leslie Bodnar joined the sports medicine program for Notre Dame athletics. There are currently six SBO surgeons working as team physicians with Notre Dame. South Bend Orthopaedics is led by a team of board-certified surgeons and physicians offering excellence in comprehensive orthopedic and sports medicine care. SBO provides specialties in joint replacement, hand, spine, podiatry,sports medicine, and rehabilitation therapy to patients in the Michiana areawith offices in South Bend, Mishawaka, Plymouth and La Porte. Visit www.sbortho.com for more information.

6. The 26th-ranked Notre Dame men’s golf teamfinished the opening day of The Match Play with a record of 1-1 on Friday at the TPC of Tampa Bay. The Irish claimed an opening round victory over Morehead State (4.5-0.5) before losing to Marquette (2.5-2.5) via tiebreaker rules. The Match Play format sends five golfers on to the course for each squad with one point being played for in each individual match, for a total of five pointspossible. In the instance that a match is tied, such as Notre Dame’s match with Marquette, the tiebreaker states the team that wins by the most combined holes is named the winner. In the morning match for the Irish against Morehead State, junior Chris Walker (San Antonio, Texas) and freshman Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) staked the team to an early 2-0 advantage after each carded 6-and-5 victories. Walker, playing as the No. 2, defeated Matthew Logan, while Platt, playing as the No. 4, took down Jared Flanery. Junior Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) and sophomore Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) were next in the clubhouse for the Irish as each posted 4-and-3 victories in their respective matches. Playing as the No. 3 in the rotation, Scodro defeated Michael Brown, while McNamara played out of the No. 5 position in his victory over Alex Wright. Junior Tom Usher (Bradford, England) halved his match with Alex Misback, playing as the No. 1, giving each player a half of a point and running the final tally to 4.5-0.5 in favor of the Irish. In the afternoon match, the Irish faced off against Marquette, who advanced in their openinground match with a tiebreak victory over Villanova, 2.5-2.5, after winning by a total of five holes to the Wildcats four holes. Usher and Walker anchored the top of the Irish rotation with each earning victory in their matches, 2 up,beating Kelly Kretz and Ben Sieg, respectively. The third position saw Scodro battle Corey Konieczki to an all-square finish, earning both teams a half apoint. The Irish, however, were unable to win either of the final two matches in the rotation as Platt was defeated by Matt Haase 4-and-3, while McNamara III fell to Ryan Prickette 1 up. With the match square at 2.5-2.5, the tiebreaker was credited to the team with the larger winning margin (by holes won), which fell the way of the Golden Eagles, 5-4. The Irish now move into the fifth-place bracket, where they await the loser of the Campbell versus Kennesaw State matchup, which went unfinished due to darkness. Action was slated to resume at 7:30 a.m. (ET) Saturday to finish the remaining second round matches, with third-round matches commencing at approximately 8:30 a.m.

7. Seniors Lauren Fowlkes (women’s soccer) and Tyler Davis (men’s tennis) each earned the BIG EAST Conference Scholar-Athlete Award as the institutional representatives for the University of Notre Dame, announced this week by the conference. As the recipients of the league honor, both Fowlkes and Davis will receive a $2,000 scholarship towards graduate studies.

The BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Award is one of a number of scholarships presented by the BIG EAST Conference during the 2010-11 academic year. Thirty-two student-athletes (one male and one female from each of the BIG EAST’s 16 member institutions) receive postgraduate scholarships as the winners of their respective institutions’ Scholar-Athlete Awards. The conference also names male and female Basketball Scholar-Athletes of the Year and a Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Fowlkes (Lee’s Summit, Mo./St. Teresa’s Academy) was a co-captain on the 2010 Notre Dame NCAA national champion women’s soccer team, helping the Fighting Irish to a 21-2-2 record as Notre Dame became the lowest seed (No. 4) ever to win the national title (the third in program history). Playing as both a central defender and a forward, Fowlkes ranked fourth on the team in goals (4) and points (13) and third in assists (5) this past season, while also serving as a major cog for a Fighting Irish defense that finished with a 0.51 goals-against average and 15 shutouts.

Fowlkes was a two-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America selection in her career (third team in 2009 and second team in 2010), in addition to twice garnering Capital One Academic All-America honors (second team in 2009 and first team in 2010). She is one of only 13 student-athletes in Notre Dame athletics history (and the third Fighting Irish women’s soccer player) to couple athletic and academic All-America status in the same season on two different occasions.

A first-round draft pick (No. 5 overall) by the Philadelphia Independence in the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer College Draft, Fowlkes is completing work on her bachelor’s degree in science-business from Notre Dame’s College of Science. She currently maintains a 3.619 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) and is a three-year member of the BIG EAST Academic All-Star Team (2008-10), in addition to having been a finalist for this year’s Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award (given annually to the nation’s top senior who blends academic and athletic excellence with distinction in the community).

Fowlkes has been a leader in service to others throughout her college career, participating with Habitat for Humanity and Christmas in April, as well a the LifeWorks Dream Teams. She also has made visits to various pediatric cancer units in the South Bend area, as well as taking part in soccer clinics for young children, and she has helped the Notre Dame women’s soccer program (and the athletics department) achieve 100-percent participation from all student-athletes.

Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) is currently in his second season as the men’s tennis captain, the first two-year captain in the tenure of veteran head coach Bob Bayliss. Davis’ leadership both on and off the court has been evident as he was named a Notre Dame Leader of Distinction, an award presented to individuals deemed exceptional leaders by their coaches and teammates, being one of only six student-athletes to receive this award in 2010. What’s more, the four-year starter has received the team’s Dick Bowman Award the past two years, with the award given to the player who goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Davis carries a 3.933 cumulative GPA, also as a science-business major, while being a key member of the men’s tennis team and devoting numerous hours of service to his community.

In addition to his near perfect GPA, Davis has been named to the BIGEAST Academic All-Star Team during each of his first three years at Notre Dame (2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10), as well as receiving the BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award.

Davis is also Notre Dame’s representative on BIG EAST Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and volunteers at various medical establishments, while currently applying to medical school.

8. The 13th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team dropped a close 4-3 decision to eighth-ranked Michigan Thursday evening at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish captured three singles matches but dropped the remaining three and were defeated in doubles to give the Wolverines the victory. In doubles, Michigan jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the contest, taking each of the three matches. The Irish pairing of Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) was first to conclude, falling to Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno at No. 2 doubles, 8-3. It was the first time on the dual season that the Irish have sent that pairing to the courts. Another first time pairing saw the freshmen Irish duo of Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) fall at No. 3 doubles, 8-2, to the Wolverine tandem of Sam Critser and Mimi Nguyen. With the doubles point clinched and the No. 1 doubles match squared at 7-7, Notre Dame juniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) went to a tiebreak against Brooke Bolender and Denise Muresan, eventually succumbing to the Wolverine pair, 8-7 (7-2). The Irish squared the match at 1-1 as ninth-ranked Frilling rebounded to make quick work 11th-ranked Muresan at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-0. With the win Frilling improves her dual record to a perfect 6-0, with five of those wins coming against ranked foes. Her overall recordagainst ranked opponents now stands at 10-2 on the season. Michigan regainedthe lead as McGaffigan, ranked 78th, was upended by 61st ranked Taney at No. 4 singles, 6-1, 6-0. The Wolverines then pushed the margin to 3-1 as Tatsuno knocked off Sabacinski at No. 6 singles, 6-2, 6-2. The match was then clinched at No. 4 singles as 79th ranked Rafael fell in straight sets to Bolender, 6-1, 6-4. The Irish senior battled in the second set, earning several break chances with the score sitting at 5-4, but was unable to secure the break. Notre Dame went on to win the final two matches being played, capturing No. 5 singles behind a straight-sets victory by Kellner, ranked 106, over Nguyen, 6-2, 6-4. No. 104 Mathews then captured a three-set decision over 105th ranked Critser, 6-3, 2-6, 1-0 (10-6), to improve her dual record to 6-0, all at the No. 2 position. The Irish now stand at 3-3 on the dual season with each of their three defeats coming at the hands of top-25 teams. The team returns to action this weekend for two more matches, taking on 18th ranked Vanderbilt at 11:00 a.m. Saturday and Wisconsin at 11:00 a.m. Sunday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

1. On Tuesday, Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner announced that former Notre Dame baseball captain Matt Nussbaum has been hired by the MLBPA as an assistant general counsel. Nussbaum, 32, joins the MLBPA after spending the past three years as an associate general counsel for the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA). Prior to joining the NHLPA, Nussbaum spent two and a half years as an associate in the litigation and corporate criminal investigations department in the Chicago office of international law firm Jones Day and one year as a law clerk to federal district court Judge Edward F. Harrington in Boston. A South Bend, Ind., native, and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (2000) and Notre Dame Law School (2004), Nussbaum and his wife, Lauren, have one daughter.

2. CBS Interactive rated its Football Bowl Subdivision schools (the ones for which it produces web sites) based on their football signing day live events (show, press conference, fax cam, etc.) – and Notre Dame with its 76,678 hits saw twice the traffic of the number-two institution. Finishing behind the Irish in the live-stream URL race were Alabama, Georgia, Michigan and Miami.

3. Irish junior Kristy Frilling has been named the BIG EAST Women’s Tennis Player of the Week, it was announced on Wednesday. It marks the first time Frilling has received the honor this season and fourth time of her career. On the week, Frilling posted a 2-0 mark in singles play and 1-1 record in doubles, all at the No. 1 position and all against ranked foes. The Sidney,Ohio native continued her dominance against ranked single opponents as she topped 13th-ranked Zoe De Bruycker of North Carolina, (6-3, 6-2) before defeating 62nd-ranked Martina Pavelec of Wake Forest (4-6, 6-3, 1-0). The first set loss to Pavelec also marked the first set that Frilling has dropped on the dual season. In doubles action, Frilling teamed up with fellow junior Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) to take down the 83rd-ranked Demon Deacons team of Pavelec and Kayla Duncan 9-8 (7-5). The lone loss on the week for Frilling came as the Irish pair dropped an 8-3 decision to the Tar Heels’ eighth-ranked duo of Shinann Featherstone and Lauren McHale. Frilling is currently ranked ninth in the ITA singles poll with a 13-2 overall singles mark – 5-0 on the dual season – and a 9-2 ledger against nationally-ranked opponents this season.

4. Carleton Scott had an uneven, uneventful game for Notre Dame before overtime. In those extra five minutes, Scott took over. Ben Hansbrough scored 25 points and Scott had nine of his 16 points in overtime Wednesday night to lead #8 Notre Dame to an 89-79 men’s basketball win over #16 Louisville at Purcell Pavilion. Tim Abromaitis added 23 points for the Fighting Irish (20-4, 9-3 Big East), who extended their overall win streak to six games and their home streak to 17. This was the fifth overtime game in the last nine meetings between the two teams. Louisville beat the Irish at homelast year in double-overtime. Kyle Kuric scored a career-high 28 points andTerrence Jennings added 14 for Louisville (18-6, 7-4) before fouling out inovertime. Preston Knowles, the Cardinals’ leading scorer at 14.9 points a game, returned to the starting lineup after missing a home win over DePaul on Feb. 5. and finished with 13 points.

Notre Dame scored the first 14 points of overtime after Scott hit a 3-pointer to start the extra period. Scott added a three-point play to put the Irish up by eight with 3:12 left. Scott then grabbed an offensive rebound and dunked the putback, and Ben Hansbrough drove the lane for a layup with 1:06 left to push the Irish lead to 14.

In the final minute of regulation, Knowles missed a 3-point attempt and Hansbrough knocked the rebound out of bounds with 25.6 seconds left. Louisville had a chance to win it, but Knowles missed again from long range to send the game to overtime.

Kuric vaulted over Scott Martin near the end of the first half and dunked with eight-tenths of a second to play. Martin was whistled for afoul, but Kuric picked up a technical on the play. Abromaitis hit both freethrows and Kuric hit his as well to give the Cardinals a 44-40 halftime lead. “We felt like we should have been down 12,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “We were counting our blessings.”

5. Among spectators at the Notre Dame-Louisville men’s basketball game Wednesday night were University president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., and Irish head football coach Brian Kelly.

6. From the current issue of Sports Illustrated: “It has been 14 years since a Notre Dame defensive lineman was picked in the first round of the NFL draft. It’s no coincidence that the Irish have not won a national title during those years–or the nine before that. Second-year coach Brian Kelly knew Notre Dame had to upgrade its defensive-line talent if the team hoped to end that 23-year championship drought. So last week he signed a 2011 recruiting class with three of the nation’s top 10 defensive-line prospects, according to Scout.com. All are ends: Aaron Lynch of Cape Coral, Fla.; Ishaq Williams of Brooklyn; and Stephon Tuitt of Monroe, Ga. (Williams has the versatility to play outside linebacker in the team’s 3–4 scheme.) “The excuse has been out there that Notre Dame couldn’t return to prominence because we could never recruit those athletic defensive linemen,’ Kelly said. “We’ve taken that excuse off the book.’

“Indeed, by landing the kind of five-star pass rushers who barely sniffed around South Bend during the tenures of his predecessors Charlie Weis, Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie, Kelly filled what had been the program’s biggest recruiting hole. Combine that with the other 20 members of the class (ranked No. 8 overall by Scout.com) and a four-game winning streak to end the 2010 season (including a win over Miami in the Sun Bowl), and the Irish (8–5 last year) have a lot of momentum entering next season.

“Kelly logged more than 15,000 air miles in December and January visiting prospects, including quarterback Everett Golson of Myrtle Beach, S.C. A skilled passer and runner who has drawn comparisons with Notre Dame’s last national-title-winning quarterback, Tony Rice (also from South Carolina), Golson could be an ideal fit for the Irish’s spread-option offense. Kelly said Golson, who is already enrolled in school, will be given first-team reps inspring practices with a chance to compete against 2010 starters Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees. “Notre Dame showed resilience on the recruiting trail,’ said Scout.com analyst Allen Wallace. “The class stands out for Brian Kelly’s ability to identify his team’s needs.'”

7. A small portion of tickets remain for the Notre Dame baseball team’s Meet The Team Dinner tonight. Fans can still purchase tickets through the Notre Dame Ticket Office from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (ET) by phone at (574) 631-7356 or in person at Gate 9 inside the Rosenthal Atrium of the Murnane Family Ticket Office in Purcell Pavilion. Tickets can be purchased online as well 24 hours a day at www.und.com/tickets. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets prior to arrival for the event to ensure their spot at the special night, which provides attendees the opportunity to visit with members of the Notre Dame baseball team. C.J.’s Pub will cater the dinner, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. The night’s festivities include the opportunity to win a variety of baseball and sports-related door prizes and introduction of the Notre Dame team members. The players will beseated at tables with attendees and will be available for autographs following the dinner. The dinner also will include video highlights and game tapes from previous Notre Dame seasons, plus a musical selection of traditional and contemporary baseball songs. Tickets are $10 per person for adults, $8 per person for youth/senior and free for kids three years and younger. All seats are general admission. Season tickets will also be available. Full season packages are $50 per person for adults and $30 per person for youth/senior,while four-ticket “Fan Packs” are $120 for individuals. Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students, faculty and staff are admitted free for all regular-season home games with valid ID at Eck Stadium.

8. University of Notre Dame football intern Scott Booker has been selected to attend the NCAA Football Coaches Academy Feb. 13-16 inOrlando. Booker is one of 30 coaches invited to the workshop. The mission ofthe NCAA Football Coaches Academy is to assist ethnic minority football coaches with career advancement through skills enhancement, networking and exposureopportunities while raising awareness regarding the substantial pool of talented ethnic minority coaches. The objectives of the program are to: increase the understanding and application of skills necessary to secure head coaching positions, increase the understanding and awareness of competencies necessary for success in head coaching at the intercollegiate level, motivate assistant coaches and coordinators to pursue careers as head coaches at theFootball Bowl Subdivision level, introduce ethnic minority coaches to senior-level coaches and administrators, raise public awareness of the existing talent pool of ethnic minority coaches and promote the coaching profession to student-athletes, graduate assistants and others. The Football Coaches Academy is designed to improve and reinforce various aspects of securing, managing and excelling in head football coaching positions at the intercollegiate level.Recognized football coaches, leaders in athletics and higher education willserve as faculty for the three-day workshop. Coaches must apply to attend theworkshop and are required to have at least three years college football coaching experience. The NCAA also offers a Future Football Coaches Academy for recent graduates interested in the coaching profession as well as an ExpertCoaches Academy that requires at least eight years of college football coaching experience. Notre Dame assistant director of strength and conditioning Lorenzo Guess attended last year’s program and head coach Brian Kelly was a featured speaker at the 2009 NCAA Football Coaches Academy. The Daily Dish items are posted here each time they are published. If you’d like to receive them via e-mail immediately when they are published, send your request to gweaver@nd.edu.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

1. Former Notre Dame women’s lacrosse player and assistant coach Meredith Simon Black is the new head women’s lacrosse coach at Marquette. Simon became Notre Dame’s initial first-team All-American in 2004 and led the Irish to their first two NCAA appearances in 2002 and 2004. She has spent the last six years as an assistant at Towson, Notre Dame (2008-2010, with all three season highlighted by NCAA bids) and California – beginning her first season at Cal in 2011. She will take over the Marquette program after the 2011 season – with Marquette beginning varsity competition in both men’s and women’s lacrosse starting with the 2013 season (and beginning BIG EAST play in 2014).

2. Yet another new addition in Notre Dame athletics is Cal Leon Boudway, born Jan. 27 to assistant ticket manager Ryan and his wife Jeannette (she’s a volunteer assistant coach with the Irish women’s soccer squad).

3. Former Irish assistant football coach Peter Vaas, now the quarterback coach at South Florida, is a candidate for the vacant offensive coordinatorslot at Boston College, according to the St. Petersburg Times. According to the Boston Globe, the leading candidate for the job is another former Irish assistant, Kevin Rogers, former Minnesota Vikings quarterback coach.

4. Even against a team winless in the BIG EAST, Skylar Diggins was impressive. Diggins had 14 points, six assists, seven rebounds, and five steals to help #8 Notre Dame beat Seton Hall 89-38 Tuesday night in a women’s basketball game at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame’s defense suffocated Seton Hall the entire night, limiting the Pirates to 24.6 percent shooting from the floor and forcing 24 turnovers. Jasmine Crew led the Pirates with 10 points despite fouling out with 10:18 remaining in the game. Seton Hall (7-16, 0-10 BIG EAST) has yet to win a BIG EAST matchup this season. Notre Dame (21-4, 10-1) made its first nine field-goal attempts. Kandice Green, Seton Hall’s leading scorer and rebounder on the season, went down with a left ankle injury with 16:26 remaining in the first half and didn’t return. Natalie Novosel scored 16 points and Brittany Mallory had 12 points and five steals for Notre Dame, which got out to an early 19-4 lead. Seton Hall’s Brittany Morris stole the ball fromNatalie Achonwa and Turner on consecutive possessions to cut the score to 26-13 with 9:55 to go. The Irish stretched the lead back to 44-23 at halftime, and went on another run in the second half, leading 63-25 with 13:06 to play.

Notre Dame picked up its 10th BIG EAST Conference win of the season,marking the 15th time in the program’s 16-year BIG EAST membership (1995-96 to present) that the Fighting Irish have recorded double-digit conference wins. It’s also the 21st time in the 24-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw that Notre Dame has posted at least 10 league wins — the lone exceptions have come in1987-88 (7-3 in the North Star Conference), 1991-92 (8-4 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference/Horizon League) and 2005-06 (8-8 in the BIG EAST). Tuesday’s 51-point margin of victory is the second-largest spread ever for Notre Dame in a BIG EAST Conference regular season game, topped only by a 91-35 win over Seton Hall on Jan. 31, 1998 at Purcell Pavilion; the Fighting Irish also posted an 89-33 win over Georgetown in the quarterfinals of the 2001 BIG EAST Championship (March 4, 2001 in Storrs, Conn.). Notre Dame held Seton Hall to a .246 field goal percentage, the lowest by a Fighting Irish BIG EAST opponent since Jan. 2, 2005, when Seton Hall shot .222 from the field in a 54-33 Notre Dame win atPurcell Pavilion. Conversely, the Fighting Irish shot a season-high .640 from the field, tying for the 10th-best field goal percentage in school history, and best since Nov. 23, 2008 (.646 in a 102-54 win at Boston College), and Notre Dame’s third-best field goal percentage ever against a BIG EAST opponent (best since Feb. 13, 2008, when it shot .643 in a 99-76 win over Marquette at Purcell Pavilion). The Fighting Irish tied their season high with six double-figurescorers, having first achieved that against Louisville on Jan. 12 (80-60 win at Purcell Pavilion).

5. Notre Dame track and field sophomore middle-distance runner, Jeremy Rae (Fort Erie, Ontario/Lakeshore Catholic) was named the BIG EAST Male Track Athlete of the Week for the second consecutive week, as announced by the league Tuesday afternoon. Rae earned the honor after his 3:59.62 Meyo Mile showing at the Meyo Invitational Saturday. The meet was held in the Loftus Sports Center at Notre Dame, Ind. His sub-four minute mile time is currently the nation’s fourth fastest mile time.

6. The 25th-ranked Notre Dame men’s tennis team downed #39 Wisconsin, 6-1 Tuesday in the Nielsen Tennis Center at Madison, Wis. Senior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) clinched the match for the Fighting Irish, downing Billy Bertha, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. For the sixth time this season, Notre Dame claimed the doubles point to start off to an early 1-0 lead. At first doubles, Notre Dame’s senior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) and senior Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) were downed by Marek Michalicka and Billy Bertha, 8-5. Junior Niall Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Wicklow, Ireland) and sophomore Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) grabbed a win at second doubles over Fredrik Ask andPetr Satral of Wisconsin, winning 8-3. The victory moved the duo’s record at No. 2 doubles to 5-1. Junior Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) clinched the doubles point for the Irish, defeating Ricardo Martin and Rodney Carey 8-6. Davis started at the No. 6 position for the Irish where he handled Carey in the first set, 6-3, followed by a 7-5 victory to move the score to 2-0. At the No. 1 position, Watt was downed by Marek Michalicka, dropping the match 6-1, 7-5. Andrews started at the No. 4 position where he battled Satral to a close two-set match, winning the first set 6-2 and the second set 7-6 (7-3). Stahl clinched the match for Notre Dame, defeating Billy Bertha, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 and moving the score to 4-1. Rounding out the Irish line-up, Havens defeated Ricardo Martin in a three-set match (6-3, 5-7, 6-2), while Sam Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) tallied the sixth point for the Irish, defeating Fredrik Ask.

7. Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick served as host last night for a dinner in the Notre Dame Stadium press box for all the freshmanstudent-athletes from Irish fall sports teams. Speakers, in addition to Swarbrick, included University vice president for student affairs Father Tom Doyle and former Notre Dame women’s soccer All-American and Olympic gold medalist Kate Sobrero Markgraf (on behalf of the Notre Dame Monogram Club).

8. Speaking of Kate Sobrero Markgraf, she retired from soccer last fall, interviewed with ESPN in December and will be providing color commentary for ESPN summer telecasts (June 26-July 17) of the FIFA Women’s World Cup from Germany. She now lives in Whitefish Bay, Wis.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

1. Ben Hansbrough (Poplar Bluff, Mo.), Notre Dame’s leading scorer at 17.2 points per game, has been named for the third straight week and fourthtime this season to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll. Hansbrough, whose Irishteam is 19-4 overall and stands second in the BIG EAST regular-season standings with an 8-3 record, averaged 24.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in leading Notre Dame to victories over DePaul and Rutgers. In the two contests, he scored 24 and 25 points, respectively, with his second and third 20-plus performances in the last four games. The senior guard netted 24 points in Notre Dame’s win at DePaul as he connected on seven-of-12 shots from the field, including hitting five-of-eight from three-point range. In playing 34 minutes, he also grabbed three rebounds and dished off three assists. Hansbrough followed that up with a 25-point effort against Rutgers. In 39 minutes of action, he alsofinished with six rebounds and five assists as he netted 13 points in the final seven minutes of the contest in leading the Irish to the 76-69 victory.

2. For the second time this season, junior guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) has been named to the BIG EAST Conference Women’s Basketball Weekly Honor Roll, the league office announced Monday. Novosel, who previously garnered an Honor Roll citation on Nov. 29, was one of five players chosen for this week’s honor (also the second of her career), which recognizes outstanding weekly achievements by conference players who are not chosen as the BIG EAST Player of the Week. In two games last week, Novosel averaged 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game as Notre Dame stretched its current winning streak to seven games with BIG EAST victories over No. RV/25 Syracuse (71-48) and at South Florida (76-68).

3. New additions to the Notre Dame athletics family include Elena Marie Swanagan, born Sunday to Irish men’s basketball operations director Harold and his wife Andrea; Easton Jason Grooms, also born Sunday to Notre Dame football equipment manager Ryan and his wife Lynzee – and Noah Robert Hardin, born Jan. 17 to Notre Dame football media relations director Brian and his wife Cara.

4. On the SI.com site, Barton Simmons of 247Sports.com lists the 10 prep football signees with the best chances to make an early impact in 2011 and includes Irish tight end Ben Koyack, with these comments: “In his first full year recruiting for the Fighting Irish, Brian Kelly did an outstanding job of addressing needs with elite prospects. He may also be changing the style ofplayer that Notre Dame recruits, because Kelly placed an emphasis on toughness in this class. Because of that success addressing needs, Notre Dame has a number of potential impact players from the 2011 class. Defensive linemen Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt and outside linebacker Ishaq Williams could play early. But while defense was a major priority in this class, Kelly is an offensivemind. Additionally, one of Notre Dame’s biggest offensive weapons is gone intight end Kyle Rudolph. With Rudolph departing for the NFL and very little behind him as far as proven options, Koyack will have a terrific opportunity to get in the mix early and often for what should be a high-powered Notre Dameoffense. At 6-5, 230 pounds, the Under Armour All-American is physically ready — and he will need to be.”

5. Jerry Palm’s version of Bracketology on CBSSports.com has the Irish men playing in Chicago as a #2 seed against #15 Bucknell, with the oppositegame #7 Temple against #11 Washington.

6. Check out the SI.com web site. One of the two lead stories today is about Notre Dame football, with a photo of incoming freshman Aaron Lynch, and a piece by Stewart Mandel billed as “The Irish Are Back – Seriously.” Go to http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/

Monday, February 7, 2011

1. Ben Hansbrough for Big East player of the year? How about national player of the year, an award his brother won two seasons ago? Notre Dame coach Mike Brey started the drums beating for his team’s emotional leader after Hansbrough scored 25 points despite a tough start to lead No. 9 Notre Dame to a 76-69 win over Rutgers on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.

“When you step back a bit, look at this, and get away from the preseason hype machine, certainly he is a Big East player of the year candidate as well as national player of the year,” Brey said. “Flat out. I mean, we are in the Top Ten and he has driven us into that position and we are in the hunt for the league title. It is starting to be really evaluated. Some people say ‘Let’s see what he does next game.’ Well, he did it again.”

After a slow start, Hansbrough took the game over. At one point he was 2 of 8 from the field, including 1 of 7 from beyond the 3-point line, but he used his drive-the-paint style to draw fouls and ended up making 11 of 13 free throws in a game that saw Notre Dame score only twice from the field in thelast 8 minutes.

Rutgers coach Mike Rice didn’t put up much of an argument with Hansbrough receiving some honors. “Hansbrough?” he questioned. “He just took the ball and manhandled us. He does a great job of using his body and using your weight against you to create fouls. Notre Dame did a great job of attacking us.”

The Irish (19-4, 8-3) reclaimed sole possession of second place in the Big East behind No. 4 Pittsburgh and will host No. 15 Louisville on Wednesday. Scott Martin had 14 points for Notre Dame and Tim Abromaitis added 10. Rice wasn’t about to argue about a big discrepancy between teams at the free throw line. Notre Dame was 27 of 34 the Scarlet Knights were only 8 of 12.

Notre Dame pulled away from a 7-7 tie with a 17-6 run that included five straight points and a nice assist by Hansbrough. The Irish stretched the lead to 25-15 before a 3-pointer by the Scarlet Knights’ James Beatty started a 7-0 run and got Rutgers within 25-22. Notre Dame led 37-33 at halftime with Hansbrough scoring 10 points. The teams battled evenly in the second half before two free throws by Martin started an 8-2 run that made it 51-43 with12:36 to play. Consecutive 3-pointers by Rutgers made it a two-point game before a layup by Hansbrough sparked an 11-2 run that gave the Irish a 62-51 lead.

2. Muffet McGraw was not impressed with Notre Dame’s latest victory. Natalie Novosel scored 12 of her 19 points in the second half to lead the eighth-ranked Irish past South Florida 76-68 on Saturday night in Tampa, Fla.

“It was a good scare for us,” McGraw said. “I think it showed us that we’ve got to come out and play our game, and that’s defense. We didn’t do that, so I think we learned a really good lesson and won at the same time.”

Skylar Diggins added 17 points for Notre Dame (20-4, 9-1 BIG EAST), which has won seven in a row since losing 79-76 to No. 2 Connecticut on Jan. 8. South Florida (10-13, 1-8) got 20 points from Andrea Smith. The Bulls have lost nine of 10. The Fighting Irish have now won 20 or more games in 21 of McGraw’s 24 years at the school. After South Florida got within nine points with nine minutes left, Novosel had a basket and made a free throw during an 8-0 run that put Notre Dame up 70-53 four minutes later. Notre Dame withstood a late surge after Smith hit a 3 to make it 73-66 with 44 seconds to go. The Fighting Irish, who connected on 28 of 41 free throws overall, made three to secure the winover the final 35 seconds. Becca Bruszewski had 11 of her 16 points to helpNotre Dame, which led by as many as 17, go up 42-30 at halftime. Notre Damewent 12 of 21 from the free-throw line during the opening 20 minutes.

3. Irish men’s basketball forward Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) has been named to the Capital One/CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-District V Men’s Basketball First Team. A first team Academic All-American a year ago, Abromaitis earns all-district honors for the second consecutive year and is now among 40 individuals whose names will now appear on the national ballot. Voting will commence on Feb. 8 and the three national teams (five on each team) will be announced on Feb. 24, 2010. Abromaitis became the eighth different NotreDame men’s basketball player to earn Academic All-America honors a year agowhen he garnered first team honors. Currently enrolled in an intensified one-year MBA program in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business with a grade point average of 3.615, Abromaitis graduated in May 2010 with a degree in finance (one full year ahead of schedule) and finished with a final grade index of 3.72. He also was named the 2010 BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Scholar Athlete of the Year and was the recipient of the 2010-11 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award for men’s basketball.

4. The #26 Notre Dame men’s tennis team was downed by 14th-ranked Duke in a 5-2 decision Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion, then followed that up with a 7-0 victory over Toledo.

The Irish won the doubles point against Duke and junior Sam Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) won 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 at the No. 4 position. At first doubles, Notre Dame’s Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) and Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) fell to Reid Carleton and Henrique Cunha in an 8-4 decision. Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./GullLake) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) downed Duke’s David Holland and Chris Mengel 8-6 in the third doubles position. At the second doubles position, Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) improved their Irish doubles record to 4-1, battlingJared Pinsky and Fred Saba 9-8 (5). The victory earned the Irish an early 1-0 lead.

In singles action, Andrews played at the No. 3 spot, battling No. 118 Mengel. The freshman fell in a two-set match (6-4, 6-3), and Duke evened the score to 1-1. At the No. 6 position, Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest School) came out to anearly 4-1 lead in the first set, before Duke’s Luke Marchese made a comeback to win the first set 6-4. The sophomore was unable to battle back in the second set and fell 7-5 to make the score 2-1. Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) defeated Fred Saba in a three-set match. The junior handled Saba 6-2 in the first set, followed by a 3-6 loss in the second set. Keeton closed out the final set 6-2 to win the match at the No. 4 position. With the score 2-2, Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) began the match with a 6-1 win in the first set over No. 5 Reid Carleton at the No. 2 position. The senior then fell 6-3, 6-3 in the final two sets to the No. 1 seed from the 2010 NCAA Championship, moving the score to 3-2 in Duke’s favor. At the No. 1 position, No. 9 Henrique Cunha downed Watt. The junior played to a nail-biting 7-6 (6) in the first set, before concluding the match with a 6-1 defeat. Cunha clinched the match for Duke. Davis played at the No. 6 position and dropped a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 decision to Luke Marchese, moving the final score to 5-2.

Against Toledo, the Irish remained strong at doubles, claiming the point for another early 1-0 lead. At third doubles, Ryan Bandy (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) and Matt Johnson (Portage, Mich./Portage Central) downed the Rockets’ Mircea Dimofte and Bryant Dudzik in an 8-5 decision. Fitzgerald and Talmadge paired up against Aleksander Elezovic andSven Burus. The Irish duo battled at first doubles, before ultimately falling 8-6 in the match. Davis and Andrews clinched the doubles point for the Irish, handling Leo Sarria and Terence Weigand 8-6.

Stahl handled Sven Burus at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-2 for the first singles win of the match. Senior David Anderson (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) topped Mircea Dimofte 6-1, 6-1, while Keeton defeated Bryant Dudzik in a 6-1, 6-4 decision to secure the match. Andrews downed Leo Sarria 6-0, 6-4 in the No. 3 position, moving the score to 5-0, Irish. Moros and Watt closed-out the match against the Rockets, both earning wins. Moros won 6-2, 6-4 and Watt won 5-7, 6-1 and 10-8 to sweep Toledo. The Irish return to action Tuesday at 3:00 (ET) to face #39 Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.

5. The Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams saw some of the nation’s best performances at the Meyo Invitational Saturday at the Loftus Sports Center. Notre Dame sophomore Jeremy Rae (Fort Erie, Ontario/Lakeshore Catholic) ran the ever-popular Meyo Mile in 3:59.62, the fourth fastest time in the nation this year. The Meyo Invitational welcomed 36 men’s teams and 47 women’s team to the Loftus Sports Center, many waiting for arguably the best mile race in the country, the Meyo Mile. The men’s mile hit the halfway point at approximately 2:01, making the sub-4:00 minute mile goal slightly more difficult, having to make up time in the second half of the race. Rae did just that. The sophomore BIG EAST Track Athlete of the Week ran approximately 58.9 in his final 400 meters to finish the Meyo Mile in 3:59.62. The women’s Meyo Mile didn’t disappoint as Rebecca Addison of Michigan ran 4:40.62 to log the second-fastest women’s mile time in the nation. The Meyo Invitational saw a field house record fall as Alabama’s Kirani James ran the 400-meter dash in 45.47 to automatically qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. That time is also the fastest time in the world to date this season. In the men’s high jump, Ricky Robertson of Mississippi automatically qualified for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Robertson jumped 2.24m to win the event. The Irish return toaction Friday, Feb. 19 and Saturday, Feb. 20 at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships in Akron, Ohio.

6. The 12th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team dropped a 5-2 decision to fifth-ranked North Carolina Saturday at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill. The loss moved Notre Dame to 2-2 on the dual season. North Carolina jumped out early with the doubles point, taking each of the three matches played. Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) were the first to finish up at No. 3 doubles, falling to the Tar Heel duo of Gina Suarez-Malaguti and Zoe De Bruycker, 8-1. North Carolina clinched the point with a victory at No. 1 doubles, as the Irish pairing ofKristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) fell to the eighth-ranked duo of Shinann Featherstone and Lauren McHale, 8-3. Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) were last to finish up for the Irish, dropping an 8-7 (8-6) decision at No. 2 doubles to Jelena Durisic and Tessa Lyons.

Trailing 1-0 heading into singles, the Irish made an initial surge, capturing the first two points contested at No. 1 and 2 singles. Frilling continued her early season roll as the ninth-ranked Irish junior downed 13th-ranked De Bruycker in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. Fellow junior and 104th-ranked Mathews made it 2-1 in favor of the Irish when she knocked off54th-ranked Featherstone, 6-3, 6-3 for her third straight win over a nationally-ranked foe. Each team battled in the remaining four matches, as all four went the full three sets. However, North Carolina came out on top of each of the matches. At No. 4 singles, 78th-ranked McGaffigan secured the first set 6-2, but came up short in the final two sets against 92nd-ranked Durisic (2-6, 6-3, 6-4). Rafael, ranked 79th, followed much the similar result, taking the first set from Suarez-Malaguti before faltering in the final two sets, 2-6,6-4, 6-4. The match was then clinched at No. 5 singles as 106th-ranked Kellner lost to 86th-ranked McHale, 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2. Sabacinski rounded out the match for the Irish, losing to Haley Hemm at No. 6 singles, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7),6-3.

Notre Dame next earned its third win of the dual season, capturing a 6-1 victory over Wake Forest Sunday at the Indoor Tennis Center in Winston-Salem. Freshman Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) earned her first career match-clinching victory at No. 6 singles. Sabacinski earned the clincher with a victory over Brigita Bercyte, 6-3, 6-2. Overall on the dual season, Sabacinski now sits with a 3-2 record, all at No. 6 singles, and is 9-6 overall on theyear. The Irish got on the board first with the doubles point, winning each of the three matches. Sabacinski and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) were first to finish, knocking off the Demon Deacon pairing of Anna Mydlowska and Bercyte at No. 3 doubles, 8-3. The Irish pairing of Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) then clinched the doubles point, holding off Ryann Cutillo and Emilee Malvehy for an 8-6 victory. Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) were the last Irish group to secure victory, defeating the 83rd-ranked tandem of Martina Pavelec and Kayla Duncan, 9-8 (7-5).

In singles action, Kellner, ranked 106th, earned the first point for the Irish, knocking off Mydlowska at No. 5 singles in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3. The win improves Kellner to 3-2 at No. 5. Mathews, ranked 104th in singles, made it a 3-0 Irish lead with a win over Duncan at No. 2 singles, 6-3, 6-2. Mathewsimproves to 5-0 on the dual season, all coming at the No. 2 court, and has not dropped a set in those matches. With the match clinched at 4-0 after the Sabacinski victory, Frilling extended the lead with her fifth straight win at No. 1 singles. The Irish junior defeated 62nd-ranked Pavelec in a three-setter, 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (11-9). Overall, Frilling now owns a 27-7 mark at the No. 1 position. Rafael continued the Irish roll at No. 3 singles, taking down Malvehy in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4, for her third win of the dual season. Wake Forest claimed its lone point of the match with a victory at No. 4 singles, as Cutillo took down McGaffigan in three sets, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4. Notre Dame now sits at 3-2 on the early season and prepares to play host to a trio of matches next weekend, facing Michigan on Thursday (Feb. 10) before taking on Vanderbilt on Saturday (Feb. 12) and Wisconsin on Sunday (Feb. 13).

7. In dominating fashion, the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team pounded visiting Ball State 175-65 Saturday afternoon at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. The win improved Notre Dame’s dual meet record to 5-7 on the season as the Irish now look ahead to the BIG EAST Conference Championships, which are two weeks away. The meet will be held in Louisville, Ky., and Notre Dame seeks an unprecedented 15th straight team title. A victorious rout of each of the 13 events helped Notre Dame maintain its wire-to-wire lead. Both Samantha Maxwell (100 breast, 200 breast) and Lauren Sylvester (200 free, 500 free) finishedfirst in two races as Notre Dame’s senior class competed in its last home meet. The Irish also started and ended the meet with two convincing relay performances. Jenny Chiang posted a win off the 1-meter board with a 297.75, just one day after competing in the USA Winter National Championships. It was there that Chiang competed in the 3-meter, finishing with a 232.30. The BIGEAST Championships begin Feb. 11 with the diving portion of the meet. The first day of the swimming competition at the University of Louisville’s Wright Natatorium is Feb. 16.

8. The top-ranked Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams went a perfect 12-0 Saturday at the Northwestern Duals in Evanston, Ill., as the men posted a 5-0 mark and the women went 7-0. Sophomore epeeist James Kaull also earned a silver medal at an FIE Junior World Cup event on Sunday in Goteborg, Sweden. On the men’s side of the Northwestern Duals, the Irish secured victories over Princeton (20-7), Stanford (16-11), California Institute of Technology (27-0), UC San Diego (21-6) and North Carolina (20-7). The womenearned decisions over Fairleigh Dickinson (25-2), North Carolina (24-3), UC San Diego (25-2), California Institute of Technology (24-3), Princeton (14-13),Temple (18-9) and Stanford (22-5).

A pair of sabreists led the Irish men at the Duals, as Barron Nydam and Avery Zuck finished with bout records of 8-2 and 7-0, respectively. Epeeists Jacob Osborne (6-2) and Jack Piasio (6-2) along with foilist Reggie Bentley(6-0) and sabreist Jason Choy (6-4) finished just behind them, reaching thesix-win plateau. The men’s epee squad was rounded out by Brent Kelly (5-2),Michael Rossi (4-2), Greg Schoolcraft (4-3), Andrew Seroff (3-1) and Chris Pinkowski (1-4). The foil squad saw Enzo Castellani (5-1), Grant Hodges (4-1), Ted Hodges (4-1), Steve Kubik (4-0), Nicholas Crebs (3-2), Zach Schirtz (3-2) and Nicholas Kubik (2-1) take to the strip along with Bentley. In sabre, Keith Feldman (4-0), Marcel Frenkel (4-0), Kevin Hassett (4-0), Carl Ianiro (3-0) and Alexander Coccia (2-1) rounded out the rotation.

On the women’s side, nine Irish fencers reached the 10-win mark, led by Ewa Nelip who finished the day 11-1. The remaining eight fencers who reached 10 wins were epeeists Courtney Hurley (10-0), Phenix Messersmith (10-3) and Diane Zielinski (10-3), foilists Adriana Camacho (10-1), Darsie Malynn (10-1) andRadmila Sarkisova (10-1) and sabreists Beatriz Almeida (10-2) and Abigail Nichols (10-1). The epee squad also saw Caroline Dikibo (4-4) and StephanieMyers (3-4) take to the strip on the day, while the foil also sent Grace Hartman (9-1), Hayley Reese (8-1) and Rachel Beck (7-4) to the strip. MartaStepien (8-0), Sarah Borrmann (8-3), Kathryn Palazzoto (6-1), Eileen Hassett(5-2) and Lian Osier (3-4) rounded out the women’s sabre squad. In the toughest match of the day for either the men’s and women’s team, Reese earned one of her most important wins of the season, defeating Hyun-Kyung Yuh of Princeton 5-0 to clinch the match for the Irish against the Tigers, 14-12 – a match that theIrish ended up winning 14-13. The women’s unbeaten streak now extends to 85consecutive matches.

Meanwhile, as the Irish were competing at the Northwestern Duals, sophomore epeeist James Kaull went to compete at an FIE Junior World Cup event in Goteborg, Sweden. Kaull ended the competition with a silver medal finish and stands to earn 26 points to his junior international ranking to go along with the 14 points he earned in Helsinki earlier in the season. Kaull and the Irish now turn their attention to the regular-season finale at the Duke Duals next Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 12-13).

9. The National Polish-American Spots Hall of Fame includes three nominees for 2011 with Notre Dame connections – former Irish football players Mike McCoy and Walt Patulski and current Irish fencing coach Janusz Bednarski. There are 18 nominees on the ballot. One individual will be selected in voting among the nine candidates from high visibility sports and a second individual will beselected from among nine nominees from other sports.

10. ESPN.com’s latest men’s basketball Bracketology version has the Irish a #2 seed and playing in Chicago against #15 Long Island – with #7 UNLV and #10 Xavier opposite. The SI.com version has the Irish #3 versus #14 Kent State (opposite #6 Missouri versus #11 Richmond).

11. Former Irish football star Tim Brown was one of the former NFL greats who took part in the taped recitation of the Declaration of Independence that FOX showed prior to the Super Bowl Sunday night.

12. If Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team can defeat Louisville Wednesday night at Purcell Pavilion, it will be the fastest (by the calendar) that any Irish men’s hoops squad has ever reached the 20-win mark.

13. Here’s ESPN.com’s early preview of the Notre Dame-Louisville men’s basketball matchup on Wednesday: “Louisville barely survived a trip to DePaul Saturday, but survive it did. There will be no squeaking by NotreDame. The Fighting Irish are riding a five-game winning streak — which included a win-of-the-season-type effort at Pittsburgh Jan. 24 — and have been as tough at home as any team in the country this season. In other words, the Cardinals will have to look more like the team that won in double overtime at Connecticut than the one that sleepwalked its way through Saturday’s affair. Pace will play a major role in this game; Notre Dame prefers to grind it out, and Louisville is most comfortable playing as quickly as possible. It’ll beinteresting to see if the Cards’ pressing style can unnerve the Irish in South Bend. That’s something no team has done this season.”

14. The Irish men are on a current five-game win streak in BIG EAST basketball games. In all their years in the league, the only time they’ve done better was an eight-game streak from mid-January to mid-February in 2000-01, Mike Brey’s first year in South Bend.

15. Former Irish men’s lacrosse standout D.J. Driscoll says he’s retiring from Major League Lacrosse. Driscoll, who now lives in Portland, Ore., played in 49 career games for Los Angeles and Chicago. He also played for the USA national squad and helped win a gold medal at the World Games.

Friday, February 4, 2011

1. Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team was more eager than rusty following a nine-day layoff. Coming off an impressive win at Pittsburgh in their previous outing, the Fighting Irish couldn’t wait to get back on the court and it showed against struggling DePaul.

“They all count the same. You got to treat them the same and we did a good job of doing that,” Irish guard Ben Hansbrough said after scoring 24 to lead an 83-58 win Thursday night. “One of the things we wanted to do was come out and set the tone.” Hansbrough did that, leading the ninth-ranked Irish on big runs at the end of the first half and beginning of the second as Notre Dame (18-4, 7-3) coasted to its fourth straight victory.

“I thought the layoff helped us. We got energized,” coach Mike Brey said. Brey’s planning also helped. He brought the Irish to the Chicagoarea on Tuesday to beat the worst of a winter blizzard. “We just wanted to get over here,” he said of the 3 1/2-hour trip that usually takes a little more than two hours. And despite two nights in a hotel waiting for one game, the Irish benefited. They were able to practice at All-State Arena on both Wednesday and before the game Thursday.

“By 6:15 when the bus left today we were all a little whacky,” Brey said. “It will be good to get back to South Bend.” Scott Martin added 15 points and Tim Abromaitis chipped in 13 for Notre Dame. Freshman Brandon Young paced DePaul (6-15, 0-9) with 16. DePaul lost its 22nd straight Big East game, counting one in the league tournament. The Blue Demons (6-15, 0-9) have also dropped 25 straight to ranked opponents. Blue Demons’ leading scorer Cleveland Melvin, another freshman averaging 14.5, managed only four.

Hansbrough, who was 5 for 8 on 3-pointers, hit a pair early in the second half as the Irish expanded a 37-24 halftime lead quickly into a 48-29 lead with less than four minutes in the half. At the end of the 15-5 run, Notre Dame was up 52-29 as the talent disparity between the two old rivals becameeven more apparent. Hansbrough, who sparked the win over Pitt with 19 points, had a flying highlight-reel, one-handed dunk after driving through the lane and finished the opening half with 11 points. He was the catalyst in the Irish’s closing run that gave them a 37-24 halftime lead.

“He (Hansbrough) is one of the elite guards in the Big East and he demonstrated that,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. “With five minutes to go in the half we had the wheels come off physically and mentally. … We got down double digits at the half and after getting off to a slow start in the second half, they’re in total control.”

After Hansbrough had his shot blocked from behind, he came up with the ball and fed Carleton Scott for a dunk. Moments later Hansbrough hit a freethrow and then found Eric Atkins, who was open for a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Irish a 30-20 lead late in the half. Tyrone Nash then tracked down a loose ball and sank a 3-pointer just as the shot clock was expiring to put the Irish up 33-22. Then it was Hansbrough hitting a 3-pointer to cap the 14-2 spurt and the Irish were rolling at 36-22 with just over two minutes remaining. Hansbrough momentarily hit his leg when he went down to retrieve a ball early in the second half, but shook that off quickly and hit a 3-pointer, putting the Irish up 40-24.

Abromaitis, in a scoring slump with only eight points in the previous two games, hit a 3-pointer and Scott, who missed two early dunks in the second half, had two free throws to make it 45-29. Hansbrough then found the rangeagain from beyond the 3-point line and the Irish were sailing by 18 before four minutes had expired in the second half. DePaul, one of the nation’s poorest3-point shooting teams (27 percent entering the game), made 3 of 12 in the first half and finished the game 9-for-25. The Blue Demons shot just 35 percent overall.

2. Look for a 7 p.m. EST announcement Saturday on the NFL Network for the new selections to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Among the 15 finalists are former Notre Dame stars Jerome Bettis and Tim Brown.

3. The Parade prep All-America football team has been released and it includes three players headed to Notre Dame – Kyle Brindza, Ishaq Williams and Ben Koyack.

4. Mike Brey is quoted this week in a Sports Illustrated Scorecard piece on the Coaches vs. Cancer program: “It’s a relief for all of us to be on the same team and to share ideas on how to beat something and not each other.”

5. Here’s ticket information for the Bengal Bouts (Notre Dame’s club boxing tournament) that begin a week from Sunday (Feb. 13), then conclude March 4:

Preliminaries – Sunday, February 13th @ 1 p.m. – Joyce Center Fieldhouse
Seating is General Admission.        Adults: $7.00        Youth: $5.00

Quarterfinals – Tuesday, February 22nd @ 5 p.m. – Joyce Center Fieldhouse
Seating is General Admission.        Adults: $7.00        Youth: $5.00

Semifinals – Tuesday, March 1st @ 5 p.m. – Joyce Center Fieldhouse
Reserved Ringside Seating:         $10.00
General Admission Seating:        Adults: $7.00        Youth: $5.00

Finals – Friday, March 4th @ 7 p.m. – Purcell Pavilion
Reserved Ringside Seating:        $25.00
General Admission Seating:        Adults: $10.00        Youth: $6.00

General Admission All-Session Passes: $15.00

6. The only former Notre Damer in the Super Bowl Sunday is Pittsburgh wide receiver Arnaz Battle. He played in 15 regular-season games, making nine tackles (seven solo) on special teams, then making three more tackles in the postseason. Green Bay running back Ryan Grant would have been on the list but he tore a knee ligament in the Packers’ 2010 season opener, underwent surgery and has missed the rest of the season.

7. Former University of Florida head coach and Notre Dame assistant coach Urban Meyer will be the featured presenter at the 2011 Notre Dame Football Coaches Clinic. In six seasons at Florida, Meyer led the Gators to two national championships, three SEC East crowns, and a 65-15 record. Florida won a school-record 22 consecutive games during his tenure ­ the fourth-longest streak by an SEC team and thelongest in 15 years ­ and re-established their dominance over traditional rivals Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State, going 16-2 against the trio. Meyer worked under the tutelage of Lou Holtz and Bob Davie at Notre Dame (1996-2000). The 1999 season saw Meyer ¹s receiving corps break the Irish single-season record for pass receptions with 192 and total receiving yards with 2,858. During 1998, Meyer coached split end Malcolm Johnson, who ended his career with 110 receptions, the 10th-most in school history.

In 1997, Meyer coached Johnson and fellow receiver Bobby Brown, as they became the first Irish pair of players to record 40 or more receptions individually in a season as Brown had 45 receptions and Johnson had 42. In addition, the Notre Dame receivers helped set a then single-season school record with 190 receptions. Meyer coached a youthful Irish receiving corps in 1996 and helped integrate those players with veteran quarterback Ron Powlus to contribute to a Notre Dame offense that produced the third-highest figures for total offense and scoring in Irish history.

In addition to Meyer, each member of the Notre Dame coaching staff and a pair of head coaches from two of the top high school programs in Ohio and South Carolina will make presentations. This year’s clinic will be held on Notre Dame’s campus March 24-26 and is

open to all football coaches. Fans interested in receiving an advanced football course taught by the Irish coaching staff and some of the top high school coaches in the country are welcome to attend. Mickey Wilson, head coach at Myrtle Beach High School in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Rick Finotti, head coach at Saint Edward High School in Cleveland, Ohio, will serve as guest speakers. Chalk-talk sessions will provide attendees with an excellent opportunity to become familiar with various coaching techniques and a chance to know the coaches and other participants. In addition to the various presentations, participants will get an exclusive look at the 2011 Fighting Irish football team as the squadpractices twice during the clinic. Coaches ¹ socials both Thursday and Friday evenings, a BBQ dinner on Friday and a tour of the Notre Dame Stadium locker room are all included. Local vendors and exhibitors will also be present during the weekend. Spots are filling up fast and this year’s attendance is expected to approach 1,000 participants. Reservations are currently being accepted. For more information or to download registration forms, check out NotreDameCoachesClinic.com or contact Chad Klunder in the Notre Dame football office at (574) 631-8643 or cklunder@nd.com.

8. Notre Dame finished 14th nationally in football attendance in 2010, with its 80,795 average per game, based on all seven home games qualifying as sellouts.

9. Notre Dame men’s soccer head coach Bobby Clark has announced the signing of five players to national letters of intent. The talented class will be eligible to play for the Fighting Irish beginning in the fall of 2011. The five student-athletes hail from five different states. Comprising the NotreDame men’s soccer 2011 signing class are: midfielder/defender Nick Besler (Overland Park, Kan.), forward Vince Cicciarelli (Peoria, Ill.), midfielder Robby Gallegos (Aptos, Calif.), midfielder/forward Max Lachowecki (Evansville, Ind.) and midfielder Brendan Lesch (Westport, Conn.). Besler, Cicciarelli, Lachowecki and Lesch all were named 2010 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Americans. Gallegos was not eligible to be an NSCAA All-American since he did not compete with his high school team.

“This is another very, very strong class for us,” states Clark. “It’s a group that we really wanted and a group that we know well. All five of them have attended our elite camp so we’ve been able to see them up close for a week. We feel this group covers a lot of the areas that we needreplacement. We also feel that they are good people. I always say that you recruit good people and if they’re good soccer players that’s even better. In this case we have five very good people and five very good soccer players.”

Nick Besler – M/D – 6-0 – 160 – Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West – KCFC Rangers 92-93′ — NSCAA All-American (2010) … NSCAA 2010 Kansas Player of the Year … ESPNRise.com 2010 fall All-America team … 2010 Kansas City Metro Player of the Year … two-time Eastern Kansas League Offensive Player of the Year(2009 & 2010) … four-year varsity letterwinner at Blue Valley West … as a senior, tallied a school-record 27 goals and also had nine assists … registered a school-record 47 career goals in addition to posting 24 assists … helped the 2010 team to a 20-1 record and the Kansas 6A state title … the 2010 team was ranked No. 12 nationally according to the NSCAA and ESPNRise.com Fab 50 … captained his high school squad during his senior campaign … four-time Kansas State Cup champion (2005-09) with his KCFC Rangers 92-93′ squad … five-time captain of his club team … U.S. Olympic Development Program Region II 93′ Regional Team in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and was the teamcaptain in `09 and `10 … U.S. Youth Soccer Region II regional qualifier (2005-10) … U.S. Youth Soccer Region II Finalist in 2008 and Midwest Region League champion that same season … attended the Notre Dame Elite Soccer Camp in 2008, 2009 and 2010 … selected to the Notre Dame Elite Soccer Camp All-Star Team in 2009 … older brother Matt played at Notre Dame from 2006-09 and was an All-American and an Academic All-American.

Vince Cicciarelli – F – 6-2 – 205 – Peoria, Ill./Peoria Notre Dame -SLSG Metro Academy — NSCAA All-American (2010) … first team ESPN Rise All-American (2010) … 2010 Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association (IHSSCA) Illinois Player of the Year … IHSSCA All-State (2009 & 2010) … ESPNRISE National Player of the Week (October 6, 2010) … Chicago Tribune FirstTeam All-State (2010) … two-time Peoria Journal Star Player of the Year (2009 & 2010) … three-time Peoria Journal Star First Team All-Area (2008-10) … four-time Mid-State 6 First Team All-Conference (2007-10) … member ofSLSG Metro Academy U-17/18 (U.S. Development Academy) … four-year varsitystarter at Peoria Notre Dame … tallied 96 goals and 51 assists during hisprep career … high school squad reached No. 4 in the 2010 NSCAA national rankings … two-time Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 2A state champion (2008 & 2010) … 2009 state runner-up.

Robby Gallegos – M – 5-9 – 140 – Aptos, Calif./Bellarmine – De Anza Force — Ranked as a top-20 regional player to watch in Northern California and Hawaii for the class of 2011 … started for the De Anza Force U18’s during his junior andsenior seasons … he was unable to play for his high school team during hisjunior and senior years due to conflicts with the U.S. Soccer Academy scheduling … played for his high school varsity squad (Bellarmine) as a sophomore … Bellarmine won the WCAL and CCS championships during his sophomore season … became a starter for the De Anza Force U16’s as a sophomore … as a freshman, he joined the Bellarmine freshman team in addition to playing with the De Anza Force U16’s.

Max Lachowecki – M/F – 5-10 – 155 – Evansville, Ind./Reitz Memorial – Indiana United Academy — NSCAA All-American (2010) … NSCAA/adidas High School All-Region IV (2009, 2010) … four-year starter … led high school team in scoring his final three seasons … tallied 79 goals and 37 assists … three-time first-teamall-state (2008-10) … ESPN Rise High School Top 40 Players to watch (2009& 2010) … ESPN Rise Player of the Week (2009) … three-time AcademicAll-State (2008-10) … two-time metro player of the year (2009 & 2010) … two-time state champion (2007 & 2008) … 2010 state finalist … invited to U15 Boys National Team training camp in 2007 … Region II ODP Boys 92 Team (2007, 2008, 2009) … the 2009 ODP squad played in Argentina … named to ODP Interregional Supergroup All-Star Teams in 2008 and 2009 … Indiana ODP 1992 state team (2006-09) … two-time ODP National Champions with Indiana ’92 (2008 & 2009) … Indiana State Cup champions in 2009 and 2010 with FC Evansville … current plays with the Indiana United Academy.

Brendan Lesch – M – 6-0 – 175 – Westport, Conn./Staples – Beachside SC — NSCAA All-American (2010) … 2010 Connecticut Junior Soccer Association (CJSA) Connecticut High School Player of the Year … two time All-State and all New-England selection … four-year varsity starter … state championship tournament MVP … league championship tournament MVP … captain of high school squad during his senior season.

10. There are 170 coaches signed up for the two-day Notre Dame men’s lacrosse clinic this weekend. The Irish scrimmage Denison and Robert Morris on Sunday as part of the clinic.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

1. Former Irish football defensive lineman Ian Williams will take part in the 2011 All-Star Football Challenge that will air from 7-9 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN2. The 13th annual event showcases 12 college football standouts competing in a live skills challenge. The ESPN broadcast team includes former Irish head coach Bob Davie, Mark Jones, Todd McShay and Wendi Nix. The 2011 All-Star Football Challenge competitors include:

Andy Dalton, TCU
Jake Locker, Washington
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas

Running Backs/Wide Receivers:
Austin Pettis, Boise State
Torrey Smith, Maryland
Jordan Todman, Connecticut

Ross Homan, Ohio State
Von Miller, Texas A&M
Kelvin Sheppard, LSU

Defensive Linemen:
Sam Acho, Texas
Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
Ian Williams, Notre Dame

The individual skills challenges are: SKECHERS Shape-Ups Quarterback Accuracy Competition, State Farm Wide Receiver Hands Competition, U.S. Marines Linebacker Obstacle Course and the U.S. Marines Lineman Strength Challenge. Participants will then be divided into SKECHERS Shape-Ups Offensive and State Farm Defensive Team Competitions. To conclude the program, the players will be divided into two teams for a final Full Team Competition. Of note, former Irish quarterback Joe Montana will be on site as part of SKECHERS Shape-Ups sponsorship. The broadcast will be re-aired three times: 11:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, on ESPN2; 4 p.m. ET, Sunday, on ESPN2; and 4:30 p.m. ET, Feb. 13, on ESPN.

2. The interactive live blog on UND.com yesterday that followed Irish football recruiting received 18,708 readers and 2,873 comments – with 216 of those comments posted.

3. Here are the published evaluations of Notre Dame’s football recruiting class for 2011:

MaxPreps.com/CBS College Sports

1. Notre Dame
Top recruits: Stephon Tuitt, Aaron Lynch, Ishaq Williams
Breakdown: Brian Kelly made defense a priority in this recruiting cycle, and he delivered in a big way for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame’s trio of Tuitt, Lynch and Williams is tops at the defensive end position in the country, while Ben Councell and Chase Hounshell add depth to the position. Quarterback Everett Golson was built for an offense like Brian Kelly’s and will fit in perfectly.

7. Notre Dame
Total commits: 23
Five stars: 1
Four stars: 12
Three stars: 10
Avg. star rating: 3.61
Headliners: DE Aaron Lynch, DE Stephon Tuitt, DE Ishaq Williams
The skinny: The Fighting Irish faithful have seen some very average football in recent years, but Notre Dame may finally be turning the corner from a talent perspective. Brian Kelly’s first full class represents a major upgrade in toughness and physicality, particularly on the line of scrimmage. Five-star Aaron Lynch and four-star Stephon Tuitt are ideal 3-4 defensive ends with great size, strength and athleticism. In Ishaq Williams, you can’t sculpt a better 3-4 outside linebacker to rush the edge. There is also a big-time tight end (Ben Koyack), an accurate athletic passer (Everett Golson) and a franchise offensive tackle (Matt Hegarty) among the list of new arrivals.

#8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Avg. Star Rating for Top 20 Commits – 3.65
Headliner: #2 DE Aaron Lynch – – Cape Coral, Fla.
Notre Dame finished 50th in total defense last year. If the class of 2011 lives up to its advanced billing, Head Coach Brian Kelly may be known more for defense in the near future than as the offensive specialist he earned a reputation for in previous seasons. The Irish are bringing in three of Scout’s top 10 defensive ends, each of which is rated 5-Stars. Aaron Lynch (6’6/255), Ishaq Williams (6’5/230), and Stephon Tuitt (6’5/250) are each difference makers in his own right. Together, they could be just plain scary. Getting all three of them on the field at once might not be a problem as Williams has discussed playing outside linebacker. The phrase “SEC Speed” gets thrown around loosely by the mainstream media, but it refers to defensive linemen like Notre Dame is bringing in. Quarterback Everett Golson (5’11/170) is a much different quarterback than who is currently on the roster at Notre Dame. Golson has a live arm and great mobility.

9. Notre Dame
Head of the class: DE Ishaq Williams, DE Stephon Tuitt
Buzz: Brian Kelly is bringing a great class to South Bend, especially along the defensive front seven. The class is led by five-star defensive ends Ishaq Williams and Stephon Tuitt, who are followed closely by defensive end Aaron Lynch. The Fighting Irish also landed the top player from New Mexico, offensive tackle Matthew Hegarty. A total of 10 Rivals250 prospects are taking their talents to South Bend.

9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Signings: 23
ESPNU150 Signings: 7
Top Prospect: Aaron Lynch
Five-star commits: 0
Four-star: 9
Three-star: 14
This class was built up front and Notre Dame arguably signed the best group of defensive linemen in the country. It wasn’t easy, but Brian Kelly and staff did a great job securing the signatures of ESPNU 150 DEs Aaron Lynch (Cape Coral, Fla./Island Coast) and Stephon Tuitt (Monroe, Ga./Monroe Area) on signing day. Defensive ends Ishaq Williams (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) and Anthony Rabasa (Miami, Fla./Christopher Columbus) are both athletic top-10 positional prospects and great fits at outside linebacker for ND’s 3-4 scheme. The Irish bolstered their offensive line as well with top-five tackle Matthew Hegarty (Aztec, N.M./Aztec). This class has some very good pass-catchers, highlighted by system-fitting tight end Ben Koyack (Oil City, Pa./Oil City) and athletic receiver DaVaris Daniels (Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills).

Sporting News
11. Notre Dame: Did a real good job snagging defensive linemen with this class.

4. Notre Dame track and field sophomore middle-distance runner Jeremy Rae (Fort Erie, Ontario/Lakeshore Catholic) was named BIG EAST Male Track Athlete of the Week, as announced by the league Tuesday afternoon. Rae earned the honor after winning the 800-meter run in 1:49.15 at the Indiana Relays this past weekend. Indiana University played host to the meet and was held at the Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse. That accomplishment makes him the No. 8 ranked 800-meter student-athlete in the nation according to tffrs.org. Additionally, Rae has the fastest 800-meter time in the BIG EAST.

5. Sophomore Jenny Chiang will compete at the USA Diving Winter National Championships held on the campus of the University Iowa on Friday. Chiang will compete in the 3-meter event, a height at which she claimed the BIG EAST Conference title as a freshman in 2010. Chiang (282.70) finished 4.5 points out of first place during last week’s preliminary round to secure a spot in the finals. The USA Diving Winter Nationals will be used to select teams for the following events: FINA World Championships, AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix, Canada Cup (FINA Grand Prix) and World University Games.

6. Notre Dame head women’s soccer coach Randy Waldrum announced Thursday that six student-athletes have chosen to continue their academic and athletic careers with the Fighting Irish, signing national letters of intent to enroll at Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2011.

Lauren Bohaboy, a 5-8 forward (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic HS/So Cal Blues), Jennifer Jasper, a 5-8 goalkeeper (Fort Worth, Texas/Trinity Valley School/Solar SC), Taylor Schneider, a 5-6 defender (Southlake, Texas/Carroll Senior HS/Dallas Texans), Sammy Scofield, a 5-7 defender (Geneva, Ill./Geneva HS/Eclipse Select), Karin Simonian, a 5-2 midfielder (Westbury, N.Y./W.T. Clarke HS/Albertson Fury) and Sarah Voigt, a 5-10 goalkeeper (Middleburg, Fla./St. Johns Country Day School/Ponte Vedra Storm), each made their official commitments to Notre Dame during the current signing period, which began Feb. 2.

Five of the six incoming Fighting Irish freshmen are ranked among the top 60 in the latest Top Drawer Soccer club soccer player ratings, with five-star selections Bohaboy (No. 5 in nation) and Simonian (No. 7) leading the way, followed by four-star choices Voigt (No. 45), Scofield (No. 47) and Schneider (No. 59).

“This entire class is very strong, and each of these players should come in right away and compete to play,” said Waldrum, the 2010 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Mondo National Coach of the Year. “It’s one of our best recruiting classes in recent years. I’m so excited to get started with this class, and to add them to a great cast of returning players to make another run at a national championship.”

Notre Dame won its third NCAA national championship in 2010, posting a 21-2-2 record and rolling to six consecutive wins in the NCAA Championship while outscoring its opponents, 15-1. The Fighting Irish will return seven starters (plus three others with previous starting experience) and 20 total players from their national championship team, led by 2010 Hermann Trophy runner-up/Honda Sports Award recipient/NSCAA first-team All-America forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner), 2010 Women’s College Cup Most Outstanding Defensive Player/co-captain Jessica Schuveiller (Plano, Texas/Plano West) and 2009 NSCAA first-team All-America midfielder/Hermann Trophy semifinalist Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West).

A capsule look at the newest additions to the Notre Dame women’s soccer program follows:

LAUREN BOHABOY, 5-8, Forward (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic High School/So Cal Blues)
Olympic Development Program (ODP)/Club Team Highlights: Ranked fifth in the February 2011 Top Drawer Soccer club soccer player ratings (five-star ranking; No. 2 forward in nation) … invited and attended the adidas Elite Soccer Program (ESP) … twice invited to attend the U.S. Club Soccer id2 National Identification Program … member of Cal South ODP team since 2006 … has enjoyed considerable success on club level with Costa Mesa, Calif.-based So Cal Blues, the nation’s top-ranked club program (according to February 2011 Top Drawer Soccer ranking), playing for head coach Randy Dodge … has helped her teams (U15 through current U18 squad) to combined 160-25-25 record (as of Jan. 21) … has recorded career club totals of 131 goals (including 49 game-winners) and 150 assists to date, accounting for 60 percent of her team’s offensive production … in first three full seasons (2007-08 through 2009-10), chalked up at least 30 goals and 40 assists each season … has helped So Cal Blues to three consecutive appearances in U.S. Youth Soccer (USYS) Nationals, finishing second in 2008 (U15) and third in 2009 (U16) before winning U17 national championship in 2010 … led 2010 USYS U17 Nationals in scoring with six goals in seven matches … also has helped club to 26 tournament and league titles in her career, including an unprecedented five consecutive Surf Cup championships, as well as four Blues Cup crowns, a USYS Region IV title, two Far West Regional League championships and a U.S. Club Soccer title.
Prep & Personal Data: On track to graduate from Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., this spring … plays for head coach Chuck Morales … midway through her senior season at SMCHS … as of Jan. 21, has career totals of 81 goals, 26 assists and 188 points … in the past two seasons (2009-10 and 2010-11 to date), has netted 25 game-winning goals and scored multiple goals in 18 matches, while accounting for approximately 60 percent of her team’s goal scoring production in that span … two-time NSCAA High School All-American (2009, 2010) … NSCAA Youth All-American (2010) … two-time ESPN RISE All-American (2009-10 – first team; 2008-09 – honorable mention) … two-time NSCAA All-Region VIII selection … NSCAA California High School Player of the Year (2010) … two-time first-team all-state selection (2009, 2010) … Orange County Register California Female Player of the Year … ESPN RISE Greater Los Angeles Girls Athlete of the Year … Trinity League Most Valuable Player (2009) … has recorded school-record 32 goals and eight assists thus far in 2010-11 season (22 matches played) … chalked up (then) school-record 28 goals (including five hat tricks) and nine assists in 2009-10 … helped Santa Margarita to 2009-10 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division I semifinals and Trinity League championship … born April 9, 1993, in Long Beach, Calif. … daughter of Cheri and Michael Bohaboy … has twin brother, Michael … will be one of three California natives on the 2011 Fighting Irish roster along with junior forward

JENNIFER JASPER, 5-8, Goalkeeper (Fort Worth, Texas/Trinity Valley School/Solar SC)
ODP/Club Team Highlights: Emerged as rising standout on club scene with Solar Soccer Club in Dallas, Texas, playing for head coach Adrian Solca … earned Golden Glove award as top goalkeeper at 2010 USYS U16 Nationals, allowing just one goal in four matches while leading Solar SC Red to the USYS U16 national title … helped Solar SC to Texas State Cup title in 2008, as well as runner-up finish in 2010 and semifinal berth in 2009 … team also was regional champion in 2010 and finalist in 2008, along with being a two-time Disney Showcase champion (2009, 2010) … Solar SC claimed four grand championships in Lake Highlands Girls Classic League Division I (2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2008-09), adding on runner-up finish in 2009-10.
Prep & Personal Data: Poised to graduate from Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas, this spring … plays for head coach Eric Rohani … helped Trinity Valley to state semifinals in 2009 and state quarterfinals in 2010 … earned team’s Newcomer of the Year award as freshman in 2007 … a three-sport standout in high school, who also played field hockey and golf … was goalie in field hockey, earning all-state honors in 2010 … posted shutouts in 10 consecutive games (seven by 1-0 scores), while leading state in fewest goals allowed in both 2009 and 2010 … helped pace team to state private school titles in 2009 and 2010 … named to field hockey futures (ODP) squad from 2007-10 … also played for two-time state championship golf team, which won both titles by more than 15 strokes apiece … born Sept. 1, 1993, in Arlington, Texas … daughter of Karen and Joe Jasper … has older sister, Elizabeth … one of two Texans (along with Taylor Schneider) in Notre Dame’s incoming Class of 2011, and will be one of eight Texas residents on the 2011 Fighting Irish roster along with senior midfielder Courtney Barg (Plano), junior defender Jazmin Hall (Highland Village), senior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland), senior defender Jessica Schuveiller (Plano), junior midfielder Jordan Snyder (Dallas) and sophomore midfielder/defender Rebecca Twining (Houston) … an accomplished artist, having been published for both literary works and photography.

TAYLOR SCHNEIDER, 5-6, Defender (Southlake, Texas/Carroll Senior High School/Dallas Texans) National/ODP/Club Team Highlights: Ranked 59th in the February 2011 Top Drawer Soccer club soccer player ratings (four-star ranking) … has been a member of U.S. National Team player pools at U15 and U17 levels … participated in U15 National Team camps in 2008 (January and April), as well as U17 National Team camp in June 2009 … attended the adidas Elite Soccer Program (ESP) in 2009, earning camp all-star honors … member of Region III ODP team since 2007, serving as team captain in that time … participated in ODP Thanksgiving Interregional from 2008-10, along with ODP foreign tours to Costa Rica (2008), Denmark/Sweden (2009) and Portugal (2010) … also played for North Texas ODP squad, helping team to national runner-up finish in 2009 and regional finalist berth in 2010 … another in a long line of Notre Dame players who also experienced club success with the Dallas Texans, currently the state’s No. 2-ranked club program (according to February 2011 Top Drawer Soccer ranking) and previously ranked first or second in nation for three consecutive years (2008-10), playing for head coach Ryan Higginbotham … member of Texans program since 2003 … has helped team to two appearance in USYS Nationals, winning 2008 USYS Nationals and finishing third in 2009 … team also earned three Texas State Cup championships (2004, 2009, 2010) … Texans nabbed four grand championships in Lake Highlands Girls Classic League (2004-08) and won 2005 Disney Showcase.
Prep & Personal Data: Set for spring 2011 graduation from Carroll Senior High School (also known as Southlake Carroll) in Southlake, Texas … plays for head coach Matt Colvin … in first three seasons, played in 63 matches, starting 59 times as both a center back and midfielder … registered 13 goals, including three game-winners, and 14 assists (40 points) with 108 shots … helped Southlake Carroll to 2008 University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 5-5A state championship (including school-record 24 shutouts), and area runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2010 … NSCAA High School All-American (2010) … two-time NSCAA Youth All-American (2009, 2010) … ESPN RISE first-team All-American (winter 2010) … two-time NSCAA All-Region VI selection … 2010 NSCAA/Texas High School Player of the Year … two-time all-state selection by Fort Worth Star-Telegram (first team – 2010; second team – 2009) … 2010 UIL District 6-5A Utility Player of the Year … 2010 TASCO first-team all-region … three-time UIL All-District 6-5A pick (first team – 2009, 2010; second team – 2008) … also ran track at Southlake Carroll for two years, primarily competing in distance events (1,600m and 2,400m) … earned 2010 Academic All-District 6-5A honors … born March 4, 1993, in Jacksonville, Fla. … daughter of Lori and Tony Schneider … has older sister, Caitlin … one of two Texans (along with Jennifer Jasper) in Notre Dame’s incoming Class of 2011, and will be one of eight Texas residents on the 2011 Fighting Irish roster along with senior midfielder Courtney Barg (Plano), junior defender Jazmin Hall (Highland Village), senior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland), senior defender Jessica Schuveiller (Plano), junior midfielder Jordan Snyder (Dallas) and sophomore midfielder/defender Rebecca Twining (Houston) … played the piano and took dance lessons for many of her formative years … also competed with Southlake Stingrays swim club for four years … volunteered at Baylor Medical Hospital for three years.

SAMMY SCOFIELD, 5-7, Defender (Geneva, Ill./Geneva High School/Eclipse Select)
National/ODP/Club Team Highlights: Ranked 47th in the February 2011 Top Drawer Soccer club soccer player ratings (four-star ranking; No. 3 in Midwest Region) … member of 2010 U.S. U18 National Team player pool … participated in U18 National Team camp in April 2010 … attended the adidas Elite Soccer Program (ESP) in 2009 … competed in 2010 ECNL Final Four Showcase in Raleigh, N.C., earning all-event team honors … spent two years in ODP Region II camps and with Illinois ODP program (2006-07) … latest in pipeline of Fighting Irish players from Chicago’s Eclipse Select club, currently the No. 6-ranked program in the nation (according to February 2011 Top Drawer Soccer ranking), playing for head coach Rory Dames … helped Eclipse to USYS Nationals, making final match all three years and winning U17 crown in 2009 while finishing second with U16s (2008) and U18s (2010) … shared tournament-high scoring honors with three goals in run to 2009 USYS U17 national championship, including two scores in title match victory … also won three consecutive USYS Region II championships (2008-10) and Illinois State Cups (2008-10).
Prep & Personal Data: On track to graduate this spring from Geneva High School in Geneva, Ill. … did not play high school soccer, competing full-time on club level … did compete on basketball team all four years of high school … team captain in 2010-11 … all-conference and academic all-conference selection in basketball … earned all-tournament honors at Benet/Naperville North Tournament (2009 and 2010) and Geneva Invitational (2010) … helped team to 2008 Illinois Class 4A semifinals and supersectional title, as well as two sectional championships, three regional crowns and three Upstate Eight Conference titles … 2011 Illinois State Scholar … 2010 recipient of Illinois Board of Education Prairie State Achievement Award in mathematics … member of high school honor roll and Acceleration and Enrichment Program … collected PTO Academic Letter and Academic Achievement awards … born Sept. 2, 1992, in Geneva, Ill. … daughter of Carol and Carter Scofield … has two older brothers, Nicholas and Tyler … will be one of three Illinois residents on the 2011 Fighting Irish roster along with senior defender Ellen Bartindale (St. Charles) and sophomore defender Kecia Morway (Lake Villa) … has sights set on becoming a college soccer coach after graduation.

KARIN SIMONIAN, 5-2, Midfielder (Westbury, N.Y./W.T. Clarke High School/Albertson Fury)
National/ODP/Club Team Highlights: Ranked seventh in the February 2011 Top Drawer Soccer club soccer player ratings (five-star ranking; No. 4 midfielder in nation) … has been a member of U.S. National Team player pools at U15 (2008) and U17 (2009-10) levels … participated in 2008 Nike Friendlies and ODP Thanksgiving Interregional with U15 National Team … also competed in U17 National Team camp in July 2009 and with U17 National Team on December 2009 trip to Argentina … attended the adidas Elite Soccer Program (ESP) in 2009 … member of Region I ODP team for four years (2006-09) … participated in ODP Thanksgiving Interregional in 2007 and 2009 (captain), along with ODP foreign tour to Costa Rica (2008) … also played for Eastern New York (ENY) ODP squad for six years … has been a mainstay with Albertson Fury club program since 2008, playing for head coach Paul Riley (also coach for Philadelphia Independence in Women’s Professional Soccer) … scored 37 goals during past two years (20 in 2008; 17 in 2009) … team captain … helped team to two Disney Showcase titles (2009, 2010) and consecutive berths in ENY State Cup finals (2009, 2010) … at age 14, made club debut with U18 club team, helping team to finals of ENY State Cup, Disney Showcase and Region I Premier League … most recently played for four seasons (2007-10) with Long Island Fury, an amateur team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) … amassed 10 goals and two assists for Long Island Fury, helping squad to 2008 WPSL East Conference/Mid-Atlantic Division title and berth in playoff semifinals … earned Big Apple Soccer Player of the Week honors on June 23, 2009, while playing for the Long Island Fury.
Prep & Personal Data: Set to graduate from W.T. Clarke High School in Westbury, N.Y., this spring … played for head coach Becky Wachsberger … played three seasons of varsity soccer (grades 8-10) before electing to play club soccer full-time … in her final prep season as sophomore in 2008-09, scored 25 goals and added three assists for 28 points, leading Nassau County in goals and points … helped team to New York Class A state semifinals as freshman in 2007-08 … three-time NSCAA Youth All-American (2008, 2009, 2010) … two-time NSCAA Youth All-Region I selection (2008, 2010) … all-state selection (2008) … two-time all-county choice (2007, 2008) … Newsday Player to Watch (2009) … East Meadow Herald Spotlight Athlete (2008) … high school honor roll selection … born May 10, 1993, in Mineola, N.Y. … daughter of Rehan and Alex Simonian … has younger sister, Dina … graduated from Holy Martyrs Armenian Language School in 2006 after attending the school on Saturdays since age 3 … also has begun serving as a referee at intramural matches.

SARAH VOIGT, 5-10, Goalkeeper (Middleburg, Fla./St. Johns Country Day School/Ponte Vedra Storm)
National/ODP/Club Team Highlights: Ranked 45th in the February 2011 Top Drawer Soccer club soccer player ratings (four-star ranking; No. 1 goalkeeper in nation; No. 2 overall player in Florida) … member of U.S. U18 National Team player pools for past two years (2009-10) … participated in U18 National Team camp in April 2009 … attended the adidas Elite Soccer Program (ESP) in 2009, earning camp all-star honors … important contributor for Ponte Vedra Storm club program, playing for head coach Luis Torres … paced team to USYS U16 national runner-up finish in 2009 (fellow signees Lauren Bohaboy and Taylor Schneider competed in same U16 Nationals with So Cal Blues and Dallas Texans, respectively) … also helped club to Florida State Cup and Southern Regional champions that year … club also won Region III Premier League in 2010 … invited to 2010 USYS U19 Winter Training Camp.
Prep & Personal Data: In line to graduate this spring from St. Johns Country Day School in Orange Park, Fla. … played for head coach Mike Pickett … set school records with 50 career shutouts and only nine goals allowed in 2008-09 … also scored two goals and added an assist during prep career … backstopped team to three consecutive berths in Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 2A state semifinals (2008-10), including state championship in 2009, when she was named the tournament’s most valuable player … also paced St. Johns to four consecutive district championships (2008-11, extending school’s current streak to eight in a row), and three consecutive region titles (2008-10) … two-time ESPN RISE All-American (2009, 2010) … two-time NSCAA All-Region III selection (2009, 2011) … born Sept. 1, 1993, in Alexandria, Va. … daughter of Kimberlee and Col. Karl Voigt … has older brother (Scot Miller-Bent) and sister (Alexandria), and younger sister, Danielle … will be one of two Florida natives on the 2011 Fighting Irish roster along with another northeast Florida/First Coast-area resident, sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville).

7. Notre Dame hockey senior left wing Calle Ridderwall (Stockholm, Sweden) is one of 10 Division I college hockey players to be selected as a finalist for the 2010-11 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The award honors student athletes who excel both on and off the ice 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 Ridderwall on the list of hockey finalists are: Stephane Boileau (Union College), Carter Camper (Miami), Cory Conacher (Canisius), Chay Genoway (North Dakota), Tanner House (Maine), Jacques Lamoureaux (Air Force), Bryant Molle (Alaska), Chase Polacek (Rensselaer) and Matt Read (Bemidji State). The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 20 candidates that were announced in October. 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 fan page through March 20. 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 April 7 at the NCAA Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minn.

Ridderwall has played a key role for the Irish since his freshman season in 2007-08 and currently serves as one of the team’s alternate captains. He is fifth on the Irish roster in scoring with 11 goals and eight assists for 19 points and has four power-play goals and one game winner while being +6 for the season. During his career, Ridderwall has scored 52 goals with 34 assists for 86 points in 142 career games. His 26 career power-play goals rank him sixth on Notre Dame’s all-time list. Off the ice, Ridderwall has a 3.38 grade-point average in finance in the Mendoza College of Business and he has been involved in all aspects of the team’s community service efforts throughout his career. The 22-year old finance major becomes the fifth Notre Dame hockey player to make the list of 10 finalists in the five-year history of the award. In 2006-07, goaltender David Brown `07, was a finalist and went on to win the honor. In 2007-08, Mark Van Guilder `08 advanced to the list of 10 finalists and in 2008-09, Erik Condra `09 and Jordan Pearce `09 were finalists. Last season, team captain Ryan Thang `10 was among the top 20 candidates for the award but was not a finalist.

8. ESPN.com’s Bruce Feldman yesterday wrote about his top 10 early football enrollees with the best chances to make major impacts in 2011. Number three on the list was Notre Dame’s Ishaq Williams, with these comments: “Brian Kelly’s program might deserve to have two guys on this list, because DE Aaron Lynch could be special too, but let’s focus on NYC product Williams for the time being. Kelly says this hybrid OLB/DE role is the hardest to fill, but man, does the 6-foot-6, 242-pound Williams have the tools. In a word, Kelly describes him as `unique’ thanks to his magnificent length, a term you tend to hear used to describe great basketball talents more often than football players, but that’s the kind of rare athleticism Williams will bring to the Fighting Irish defense. He could be a double-digit-sacks guy, a force in coverage, and basically the opposing QB’s worst nightmare.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Und.com Signing Day 2011

7:00 a.m.

The weather outside in many areas of the country may not be fit for man or beast. In fact, most local and area schools – including the University of Notre Dame – are closed today due to the snow. But football signing day moves on!

When Michael Berstch logs on a little before seven o’clock, there already are 208 people signed up for his live signing-day blog.

The Irish football staff starts the day with five individuals already officially in the fold. Five members of the 2011 recruiting class graduated from high school early and enrolled at the University of Notre Dame in January and began taking classes for the spring semester. Here’s who they are:

Kyle Brindza (BRIND-zuh), 6-1, 219, Specialist/K/P, Canton, Mich. (Plymouth) – Set Michigan state high school record with 19 made field goals as a senior in 2010, including six of nine from 50 yards or more . . . averaged 43.2 yards per punt and 60 of 63 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks in 2010 while handling kicking and punting duties for Plymouth High School in Canton, Mich. . . . played in Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Dec. 31 . . . rated ninth-best player in Michigan by Detroit Free Press . . . named 13th-best prospect in Michigan by Detroit News . . . selected to Detroit News Dream Team as junior and senior . . . named first-team all-state kicker by Associated Press following senior season . . . tabbed nation’s best kicker by Scout.com and was rated sixth best by Rivals.com . . . helped lead high school team to state championship game and 11-3 record in 2010 . . . lost to Lake Orion in state finals 21-13, but recorded 70-yard punt (longest in Michigan playoff history) and booted 43-yard field goal (second longest in title game history) in the championship game . . . booted 47-yard field goal into wind to secure playoff victory against archrival Canton and converted game-winning field goal with 38 seconds remaining to help Plymouth defeat Detroit Catholic Central and win the Michigan Division 1 regional championship . . . averaged 48.2 yards per punt as a junior in 2009 to earn first-team Associated Press all-state honors as punter . . . named all-area as sophomore in 2008 by Ann Arbor News . . . converted nine field goals, with a long of 45 yards, made 24 of 29 extra-point attempts and 25 of 43 kickoffs went for touchbacks in 2008 . . . in addition to football was starting goalkeeper for soccer team and threw shot put and discus for track and field team . . . born Jan. 13, 1993 in Valparaiso, Ind. . . . graduated from high school in December 2010 and enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2011 with Brad Carrico, Everett Golson, Aaron Lynch and Ishaq Williams . . . played for coach Mike Sawchuk at Plymouth High School.

Brad Carrico (CARE-uh-co), 6-5.5, 287, Power/DL, Dublin, Ohio (Coffman) – Starter at offensive tackle as senior in 2010 at Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio . . . helped Coffman to 8-3 campaign in 2010 including loss to Westerville South in first round of Ohio state playoffs . . . recorded 74 tackles, eight tackles for loss, nine sacks and five passes broken up as junior defensive end in 2009 . . . played quarterback through his sophomore season in 2008 before making switch to become lineman . . . stood 6-3 and 200 pounds as a freshman signal-caller . . . played defensive end in Dec. 31 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C., while playing along with future Irish classmates Jarrett Grace and Eilar Hardy . . . played basketball as freshman and participated in track and field (shot and discus) as sophomore . . . from same high school that produced former Irish football standouts Brady Quinn and Chinedum Ndukwe and basketball star Chris Quinn . . . father Doug played quarterback at Bowling Green, including on 1985 Falcon team that finished regular season unbeaten before losing in California Bowl to Fresno State . . . graduated high school in December 2010 and enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2011 with Kyle Brindza,Everett Golson, Aaron Lynch and Ishaq Williams . . . played for coach Mark Crabtree at Coffman High School . . . born Dec. 4, 1992.

Everett Golson, 6-0, 170, Skill/QB, Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Myrtle Beach) – Finalist for Mr. Football of South Carolina in 2010 . . . ranked sixth nationally among 2010 quarterbacks with 151 career touchdown passes . . . tabbed SCPrep.com co-player of year following senior season in 2010 . . . rated 79th-best player in nation for 2010 by MaxPreps . . . named SuperPrep All-American in 2010 . . . selected to all-Southern first-team offense in 2010 by Orlando Sentinel . . . named second-team all-state by SCVarsity.com in 2010 . . . led South Carolina to victory in Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas . . . ranked 16th on Rivals.com dual-threat quarterback list . . . rated 12th on Rivals.com South Carolina postseason top 30 list . . . finished 44-5 in hiscareer as starting quarterback at Myrtle Beach High School in Myrtle Beach,S.C. . . . threw for 11,634 yards and 151 TDs in his career . . . led Myrtle Beach to 14-1 record and South Carolina Class AAA state championship vs. South Pointe in 2010 . . . missed half of 2010 season due to injury, but still threw for 1,770 yards and 25 TDs as senior . . . led Myrtle Beach to South Carolina Class AAA state runner-up finish in junior season in 2009, completing 224 of 356 passes for 3,529 yards with 47 TDs and three interceptions . . . named MaxPreps junior All-American in 2009 . . . 2009 Associated Press South Carolina all-state selection . . . two-time recipient of WPDE Zoneman award as top player in Florence/Myrtle Beach area in 2008 and 2009 . . . as a sophomore in 2008 guided Myrtle Beach to 13-1 record and South Carolina Class AAA State Championship, throwing for 3,570 yards with 44 TDs and 10 interceptions . . . led Seahawks to 12-1 record as freshman in 2007 and completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 2,765 yards with 35 TDs and 11 interceptions . . . played point guard for Myrtle Beach basketball team and led team to 2008 South Carolina Class AAA state championship . . . named all-state in basketball by South Carolina basketball coaches association after averaging 19.6 points, 5.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game as junior in 2009-10 . . . could be candidate to join Notre Dame basketball team for 2011-12 season . . . plays piano and drums with his father at Mount Olive AME Church . . . graduated from high school in December 2010 and enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2011 with Kyle Brindza, Brad Carrico, Aaron Lynch and Ishaq Williams . . . played for coach Mickey Wilson at Myrtle Beach High School . . . born Jan. 2, 1993.

Aaron Lynch, 6-6, 240, Power/DL, Cape Coral, Fla. (Island Coast) – Rated sixth-best player nationally in 2010 by 24/7 Sports . . . ranked as third-best defensive end and 15th-best prospect overall in ESPN 150 ratings . . . listed 36th on SuperPrep Elite 50 squad . . . ranked 22nd on MaxPreps Top 100breakdown . . . rated 28th-best player overall and third-best strong-side defensive end in nation by Rivals.com . . . ranked 19th on Rivals Florida Postseason 100 list . . . rated 91st-best prospect nationally by Sporting News . . . listed 10th on Scout Top 100 breakdown . . . played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl and registered two and a half sacks . . . ranked sixth in sacks among Florida Division 2B players and 83rd in state in 2010 . . . selected Florida first-team all-state in 2010 at Island Coast High School in Cape Coral, Fla. . . . tabbed by Gainesville Sun as one of Florida’s top 50 seniors in 2010 . . . selected to Florida Times-Union Super 75 squad following senior season . . . named to the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Division 16 team in 2010 . . . Fort Myers News-Press all-area selection in 2010 . . . registered 31 solo stops and 10.5 sacks during senior campaign in 2010 . . . led team to 11-2 record and Florida 2B state semifinal playoff appearance as senior in 2010 . . . tallied seven tackles in 55-0 win over Clewiston in 2010 . . . recorded eight tackles and sack vs. Cape Coral in 2010 . . . led Island Coast to 28-0 win over Tampa Catholic in 2010 with three sacks . . . completed his junior season in 2009 with 52 total tackles, 35 assists, 16 sacks, and two fumble recoveries, one returned for a touchdown . . . graduated from high school in December 2010 and enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2011 with Kyle Brindza, Brad Carrico, Everett Golson and Ishaq Williams . . . played for coach Joe Bowen at Island Coast High School . . . born March 8, 1993.

Ishaq (EE-shaq) Williams, 6-5, 242, Big Skill/LB, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Lincoln) – Gatorade Player of the Year as top high school football player in state of New York for 2010 . . . ranked 45th nationally in 2010 by Sports Illustrated . . . ranked 16th nationally on Rivals 100 list . . . ranked second on Rivals weak-side defensive end listing . . . rated 42nd on ESPN 150 list . . . 84th among The Kickoff Top 150 high school prospects from 2010 . . . 17th on SuperPrep Elite 50 and was named SuperPrep Northeast Defensive Player of Year . . . fourth-ranked defensive lineman in country according to SuperPrep . . . 70th player nationally on MaxPreps Top 100 . . . U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection . . . first-team all-Borough pick in 2010 by New York Daily News . . . tabbed 2010 New York Daily News all-city selection . . . dubbed top player in New York state postseason rankings by Rivals . . . led Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., to 12-1 record and a Public School Athletic League playoff runner-up spot as senior in 2010 . . . had 22 tackles, six sacks and two fumble recoveries in 2010 senior season . . . recorded six tackles and fumble recovery in 28-7 victory over Port Richmond in 2010 . . . led Lincoln to 40-24 win over Boys & Girls in 2010 with five tackles and two sacks . . . 2009 first-team New York Post all-city and Daily News all-city selection as junior . . . tallied 43 tackles, 11 sacks and three forced fumbles during junior season in 2010 . . . graduated from high school in December 2010 and enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2011 with Kyle Brindza,Brad Carrico, Aaron Lynch and Everett Golson . . . played for coach Shawn O’Connor at Lincoln High School . . . born Feb. 22, 1993.

Jack Nolan taped interviews with all five of the early-enrolled players earlier in the week and you can find them on UND.com.

The FAX machine whirs for the first time a little after seven.

By 7:20 there are 1,050 followers of the live blog.

7:25 p.m.

The FAX machine produces letters of intent at 7:07 a.m. from Ben Councell, 7:09 from Matthias Farley, 7:11 from Conor Hanratty, 7:20 from Chase Hounshell, 7:21 from Eilar Hardy and 7:30 from Ben Koyack.

The Notre Dame compliance office needs to certify the signed letters and weather is an issue in the locale – so Brian Hardin heads off in a four-wheel-drive vehicle to pick up Jill Bodensteiner to bring her to the Gug.

Conor Hanratty calls to say he’s sent his signed letter and speaks with a handful of Irish assistants, including Mike Elston, Ed Warinner and Tim Hinton. Says Warinner, “This is an exciting day for you and your family. Tell your mom and dad we said hello.”

Ben Councell, 6-5, 220, Big Skill/LB, Asheville, N.C. (A.C. Reynolds) – Ranked 91st on Rivals.com list of top 100 players nationally for 2010 . . . also rated by Rivals.com as fifth-best weak-side defensive end nationally . . . rated ninth-best outside linebacker prospect in nation by Scout.com . . . tabbed 97th-best player in 2011 class and fourth-best prospect in North Carolina by Scout.com . . . listed 19th on Rivals.com North Carolina postseason top 30 chart . . . participated in Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, registered 13 tackles, one sack and one blocked punt – and was named a top 10 player of the game . . . totaled 141 solo stops, 47 assists and 25 tackles for loss as senior in 2010 for A.C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, N.C. . . . totaled 124 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and four interceptions as junior in 2009 . . . named 4A Defensive Player of the Year by ncprep.com following senior season in 2010 . . . also a North Carolina 4A all-state pick in 2010 . . . received 2010 All-Southern Team honorable mention accolades from Orlando Sentinel . . . was homeschooled until sophomore year in high school . . . named Mountain Athletic Conference defensive player of year following senior campaign in 2010 . . . selected to all-Western North Carolina football team by Asheville Citizen-Times . . . played for coach Shane Laws at A.C. Reynolds High School . . . born July 31, 1992.

Matthias Farley, 6-0, 194, Skill/DB, Charlotte, N.C. (Christian) – Led Christian High School to 2010 North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association state football title . . . selected to NCISAA Division I all-state team as wide receiver by Charlotte Observer following senior season in 2010 . . . did not start playing football until junior year in high school . . . played soccer first two years at Christian . . . helped North Carolina defeat South Carolina 31-24 in Oasis All-Star Shrine Classic . . .ranked 18th on MaxPrep Top 25 Safeties list . . . tabbed first-team all-conference wide receiver in 2010 by Charlotte Observer . . . named to 2010 all-Mecklenburg Team first team by Charlotte Observer as defensive back after totaling 39 tackles and two interceptions in 2010 at Christian High School in Charlotte, N.C. . . . registered 49 tackles and one interception during senior season . . . caught 37 passes for more than 600 yards and registered 10 touchdowns in 2010 . . . named one of top 25 players in North Carolina in 2010 by Charlotte Observer . . . recorded 37 receptions for more than 900 yards and 12 TDs as junior in 2009 . . . helped guide Christian to state runner-up spot in North Carolina playoffs as junior in 2009 . . . played for coach Jason Estep at Charlotte Christian High School . . . born July 15, 1993.

Conor Hanratty, 6-4, 295, Power/OL, New Canaan, Conn. (New Canaan) – Ranked third-best player in Connecticut by Rivals.com . . . named first-team all-state by Connecticut High School Coaches Association as senior in 2010 . . . selected all-Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference . . . landed on 2010 Walter Camp Foundation All-Connecticut Team . . . tabbed one of top 30 players in Connecticut for 2010 by New Haven Register . . . second-team offensive selection for MaxPreps Junior All-American Team in 2009 . . . named first-team all-state as junior by Connecticut High School Football Coaches Association and New Haven Register . . . aided New Canaan High School in New Canaan, Conn., to 11-2 record as senior in 2010 . . . assisted offense in rushing for 233 yards against Trinity Catholic in 48-8 victory in 2010 . . . helped open rushing lanes as New Canaan gained 292 rushing yards in 49-0 triumph over Seymour in 2010 . . . started as sophomore and junior in 2008 and 2009 and helped guide New Canaan to Connecticut state titles both years . . . threw discus for first time on track and field team as junior in 2010 . . . father Terry played as starting quarterback at Notre Dame from 1966-68 and was sophomore standout on 1966 Irish national championship squad . . . Terry earned consensus All-America honors as senior in 1968 and finished third in Heisman Trophy voting . . . Terry set Notre Dame career marks for pass completions,passing yards and passing TDs, completing 304 of 550 career passes for 4,152 yards and 27 TDs . . . Terry was second-round 1969 NFL Draft selection (30th overall pick) and went on to play for NFL Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969-75 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976 . . . played for coach Lou Marinelli at New Canaan High School . . . born Aug. 28, 1993.

Eilar (EYE-lar) Hardy, 6-0, 172, Skill/DB, Reynoldsburg, Ohio (Pickerington Central) – First-team Associated Press Ohio Division I all-state pick as defensive back for 2010 . . . first-team defensive back on Columbus Dispatch all-metro team . . . first-team defensive back on Associated Press Ohio Central All-District squad . . . rated 209th on Rivals.com list of top 250 players nationally . . . four-year starter atsafety for Central High School in Pickerington, Ohio . . . made 63 tackles as senior in 2010 to go with five tackles for loss and six passes broken up . . . intercepted four passes as senior and returned one for a score . . . also played at running back . . . helped Pickerington Central to 11-1 record mark as senior, with only loss coming 13-6 to Hilliard Davidson in Ohio state playoffs, with Hilliard Davidson becoming first team in nine games to score 10 or more points against Central defense . . . rushed for 60 yards vs. Grove City . . . scored on 70-yard punt return vs. Lancaster in win that also included 55 rushing yards and eight tackles . . . scored on 37-yard rushing play and ran an interception back for a TD in first round of Ohio playoffs vs. Troy . . . helped Central record six shutout wins in 2010 . . . ran opening kickoff back 98 yards and later scored on 26-yard run in playoff win over Westerville Souththat also included six tackles on defense . . . made 75 tackles, three interceptions and forced three fumbles as junior in 2009 . . . second-team defensive back on Associated Press Ohio All-Central District squad as junior in 2009 . . . played cornerback in Dec. 31 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C., playing along with future Irish classmates Brad Carrico and Jarrett Grace . . . brother Eisen finished sophomore football season in 2010 at Ohio Dominican . . . brother Terrance Brown played wide receiver at Michigan State in 1998-2001 . . . played for coach Jay Sharrett at Pickerington HighSchool . . . born Sept. 15, 1992.

Chase Hounshell, 6-5, 255, Power/DL, Kirtland, Ohio (Lake Catholic) – Associated Press Ohio Division II co-defensive player of the year for 2010 . . . standout two-way lineman at Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Ohio . . . helped Cougars reach Ohio Division II state semifinals in both 2009 and 2010, as Lake Catholic finished 12-2 both years . . . had 36 tackles, five sacks, nine tackles for loss and three forced fumbles as senior in 2010 . . . first-team defensive lineman on Associated Press Ohio Division II all-state squad as senior . . . Northeast Lakes District Division II Defensive player of the year for 2010 . . . named Willoughby News-Herald Ohio Division II player of the year . . . first-team defensive lineman on Cleveland Plain-Dealer prep all-star team for 2010 . . . one of five finalists for Tony Fisher Award (named after former Notre Dame running back) that goes to top high school player in area . . . first-team offensive lineman on News-Herald all-star team . . . Plain-Dealer made him North Coast League preseason defensive MVP for 2010 . . . had six sacks and 18 tackles for loss on defense as junior in 2009, helping offense rushing for 215 yards per game and allowing only three sacks . . . first-team offensive lineman on Associated Press Ohio Division II all-state squad as junior in 2009 . . . first-team offensive lineman on Cleveland Plain-Dealer prep all-star team as junior in 2009 . . . brother Chad was redshirt sophomore offensive guard in 2010 at Central Florida on 11-3 Liberty Bowl champion squad . . . . twin sister Colette will play basketball at St.Francis (N.Y.) beginning in 2011-12 . . . played for Mike Bell at Lake Catholic High School . . . born April 1, 1993.

Ben Koyack (koy-ack), 6-5, 242, Big Skill/TE, Oil City, Pa. (Oil City Senior) – Received first-team Pennsylvania all-state honors from Pennsylvania Sportswriters and Associated Press in 2010 . . . also Pennsylvania Football News/Coaches AAA first-team Pennsylvania all-state in 2010 . . . named SuperPrep Northeast Offensive Player of the Year . . . rated best tight end in country and 25th-best prospect overall by Scout.com . . . ranked 34th on Sporting News Top 100 list . . . named to ESPNU Top 150 and MaxPreps Top100 recruiting lists . . . named to Rivals100 list . . . chosen to play in Under Armour All-American Bowl . . . Pennsylvania Region 5 all-star in 2010 . . . selected top player in Pennsylvania by Pittsburgh Sports Report and second-best player in state by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette prior to 2010 season . . . guided Oil City Senior High School in Oil City, Pa., to 9-3 record as senior in 2010 . . . recorded 62 receptions for 1,031 yards and 11 TDs as senior . . . averaged 16.6 yards per catch . . . totaled 65.5 tackles and six and a half tackles for loss ondefense in 2010, adding one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and two passbreakups . . . set Pennsylvania District 10 records with 152 career receptions for 2,591 yards . . . caught eight passes for 135 yards and a TD in a 35-21 win over DuBois in 2010 . . . made 11 tackles in 49-28 victory vs. Girard in 2010 . . . had four receptions for 121 yards and two TDs while making nine tackles on defense vs. Franklin in 2010 . . . caught eight passes for 171 yards and two TDs in 42-26 win over Slippery Rock in 2010 . . . played in seven games as junior in 2009 and caught 43 passes for 748 yards and seven TDs . . . averaged 17.4 yards per catch in 2009 . . . registered nine receptions for 249 yards and two TDs in 2009 season opener vs. Meadville . . . won Pennsylvania state title in javelin with personal best throw of 192-11 in 2010 . . . caught 47 passes for 812 yards and 10 TDs as sophomore in 2008 . . . over final three game of 2008 season caught 22 passes for 434 yards and seven TDs . . . besides tight end, played quarterback, wide receiver, defensive end and linebacker . . . hails from family of musicians and is proficient playing trombone, piano and euphonium . . . mother is a music teacher . . . played for coach Matt LaVerde at Oil City High School . . . born April 9, 1993.

Former Irish lineman Mirko Jurkovic was supposed to be part of the UND.com live show today, but he underwent a round of chemotherapy yesterday in his colon cancer treatment and is unable to be here.

Next in at 7:45 a.m. was Tony Springmann.

Tony Springmann, 6-6, 275, Power/DL, Fort Wayne, Ind. (Bishop Dwenger) – First-team Indiana all-state pick on Associated Press Class 4A team as offensive tackle . . . also named to Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 all-state team as one of eight defensive linemen . . . helped Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., to Indiana Class 4A state title game before losing to Indianapolis Cathedral 31-20 . . . Dwenger in 2010 finished 13-1, won the Summit Athletic Conference title for fifth straight year and set an all-time record with 36consecutive league wins . . . first-team all-Northeast Indiana offensive tackle by Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette . ..returned an interception seven yards for a score in 42-0 win over Harding . . . recorded 11 tackles and a sack in 46-45 double overtime win over Snider . . . IFCA Junior All-State 4A defensive lineman as junior in 2009 when he made 73 tackles and 10 sacks . . . also an Associated Press first-team all-state selection on defensive line and SAC first-team offensive lineman in 2009 . . . had 89 tackles and nine sacks as sophomore defensive lineman in 2008 . . . from same high school as current Irish players John Goodman and Tyler Eifert . . . played football with Eifert and played basketball with Goodman when Goodman was a senior and Springmann a freshman . . . played for coach Chris Svarczkopf at Bishop Dwenger High School . . . born June 10, 1992.

8:05 a.m.

The next FAX to arrive comes from Cam McDaniel.

Cam McDaniel, 5-10, 192, Skill/RB, Coppell, Texas (Coppell) — Second-team all-state running back as senior on 2010 Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Class 5A team . . . MVP of District 7-5A by Fort Worth Star-Telegram . . . second-team running back pick on Dallas Morning News all-area squad . . . rushed 301 times for 1,906 yards and 32 TDs as senior in 2010 at Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas . . . also caught 40 passes for 492 yards and three TDs . . . . led Dallas area 5A players in scoring with 37 TDs and ranked third in rushing . . . helped Coppell to 13-1 record and #2 ranking in Texas Class 5A, losing only 41-40 to Euless Trinity in state quarterfinals . . . Coppell finished regular season 10-0 and ranked fifth in Texas Associated Press Class 5A poll . . . rated one of top 100 players in Dallas area (one of six running backs) coming into 2010 by Dallas Morning News . . . helped 2009 Cowboys team as junior to 11-2 record ending in 5A playoff loss to Arlington . . . prep teammate of fellow 2011 Irish freshmanBennett Okotcha . . . played for coach Joe McBride at Coppell High School . . . born Sept. 20, 1991.

Then at 8:09 a.m. Nick Martin’s documents arrive.

Jill Bodensteiner arrives at the Gug a little after eight (in her winter gear) and needs a little more than five minutes to bless the assembled stack of letters of intent.

Nick Martin, 6-4, 270, Power/OL, Indianapolis, Ind. (Bishop Chatard) — First-team Indiana all-state pick on Associated Press Class 3A team as offensive lineman . . . also named to Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50 all-state team as one of 10 offensive linemen . . . named to 2010 Super Team by Indianapolis Star . . . second-team offensive lineman on U.S. Air Force Medium Schools Prep All-America squad . . . helped fourth-ranked Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis, Ind., to 2010 Indiana Class 3A state title with 28-14 win over South Bend St. Joseph’s in state title contest that marked Chatard’s record 10th state title . . . Chatard ended season with 11-4 record and 10 straight wins after early three-game losing streak . . . helped team to number-three state ranking inIFCA final regular-season poll for 2010 . . . starter on both offensive anddefensive lines . . . rated second-best Class 3A defensive player in Indianapolis area in preseason listings by Indianapolis Star . . . . helped Chatard to 12-2 mark as junior in 2009 before losing to Evansville Memorial in Indiana state playoff semi-state round . . . brotherZack was Notre Dame offensive tackle starter as sophomore in 2010 . . . father Keith played football at Kentucky . . . played for coach Vincent Lorenzano at Bishop Chatard High School . . . born April 29, 1993.

8:21 a.m.

Jarrett Grace’s documents arrive and Bodensteiner approves them, saying “Welcome, Jarrett!”

Jarrett Grace, 6-3, 235, Big Skill/LB, Cincinnati, Ohio (Colerain) – First-team Associated Press Division I Ohio all-state linebacker as senior in 2010 . . . Greater Miami Conference defensive player of year for 2010 . . . helped Colerain High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, to 11-1 record and GMC co-championship in 2010,with only loss coming by 24-23 count to St. Xavier in second round of Ohio state playoffs . . . regional playoff win over Hamilton marked 59th straight Colerain victory at home . . . made 92 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and added four sacks and four passes broken up in 2010 . . . had 15 tackles in 48-6 win over Oak Hills to end the regular season . . . Cincinnati Enquirer first-team Division I All-Star at linebacker for both 2010 and 2009 . . . also an AP Ohio first-team all-Southwest district selection and an Enquirer all-GMCfirst-team linebacker . . . made team-leading 95 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, caused five fumbles and had four sacks and two interceptions as junior in 2009 . . . all-league middle linebacker in 2009 when he led team to eight straight wins to end season . . . second-team all-Ohio Central District as junior . . . . had 10 tackles and recovered a fumble as sophomore in 2008 . . . made five tackles, one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery in Dec. 31 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C., while playing with future Irish classmates Brad Carrico and Eilar Hardy . . . three-year starter in basketball and also is member of track and field team (discus and shot put) . . . uncle Eric Kattus played tight end at Michigan and was fourth-round pick of Cincinnati Bengals in 1986 NFL Draft . . . played for coach Tom Bolden at Colerain High School . . . born Oct. 8, 1992.

8:22 a.m.

DeVaris Daniels sends along his signed letter of intent, and he’s good to go.

DaVaris (duh-VAR-us) Daniels, 6-2, 175, Skill/WR, Vernon Hills, Ill. (Vernon Hills) – Named best prospect in Illinois and 63rd-best player in nation by 24/7 Sports . . . rated ninth-best wide receiver and 64th-ranked player in country by Sporting News . . . ranked 65th on ESPNU Top 150 list . . . named to Illinois High School Football Coaches Association 5A all-state team in 2010 . . . played in Under Armour All-American Bowl . . . tabbed area athlete of year by Pioneer Press . . . selected as senior in 2010 to Lake County all-area and all-North Suburban Conference teams . . . Chicago Tribune first-team all-state selection and Chicago Sun-Times all-area first team as senior in 2010 . . . named to Arlington Heights Daily Herald all-area team after senior season . . . helped lead Vernon Hills High School in Vernon Hills, Ill., to Illinois Class 5A quarterfinals in 2010 state playoffs . . . accounted for 19 total TDs during senior season in 2010: 10 rushing TDs, five receiving TDs, two punt returns, one interception return and one blocked field goal return . . . posted 23 catches for 513 yards (22.3 yards per reception) in 2010 . . . accounted for 888 all-purpose yards (221 receiving, 344 rushing, 323 passing) as junior in 2009 . . . led Vernon Hills to 8-3 record in 2009 . . . first varsity touch for Vernon Hills came in freshman season in 2007 and resulted in 93-yard kickoff return for TD . . . father Phillip was 15-year NFL veteran as defensive end and was drafted by Seattle Seahawks in fourth round of 1995 NFL Draft . . . Phillip played four years with Seahawks, for Chicago Bears from 2000-03, then has played last seven seasons for Washington Redskins . . . Phillip played college football at Georgia . . . member of Vernon Hills basketball and track and field teams . . . played for coach Tony Monken at Vernon Hills . . . born Dec. 18, 1992.

Meanwhile, the coffee and bagels are starting to make the rounds in the building.

8:33 a.m.

The papers for George Atkinson III are on hand, followed by those for Matt Hegarty at 8:34 p.m.

Those two are part of a group of incoming Irish players in Austin, Texas, today playing in the Team USA vs. The World all-star game. There are 45 players in that game using five FAX machines this morning to send in their documents to their respective schools

George Atkinson III, 6-2, 190, Skill/WR, Livermore, Calif. (Granada) – Rated 89th on Rivals.com list of top 100 players nationally . . . rushed 172 times for 1,669 yards and 17 TDs in 2010 as running back, wide receiver and defensive back for Granada High School in Livermore, Calif. . . . top games featured 206 rushing yards on five carries and three TDs vs. Castro Valley (and a 60-yard punt return for a TD), plus rushing games of 202 yards vs. Amador Valley (TD runs of 26, 68 and 71), 178 vs. Livermore and 177 vs. College Park (also 157 receiving yards in that second-round playoff game) . . . named Bay Area News Group athlete of the week after win over Amador Valley . . . 41-16 win over Castro Valley included a 79-yard TD run and three Atkinson TDs in the first 90 seconds of the game . . . also caught 27 passes for 678 yards and six TDs, including five for 167 and two TDs vs. Sierra . . . made 23 tackles and broke up 10 passes as free safety on defense, helping team to 8-5 record after loss to power De La Salle in California high school North Coast Section Division I playoff semifinals as Matadors reached playoffs for first time since 2005 . . . scored game-wining TD in second overtime in first playoff game vs. Freedom . . . scored on plays of 68, 55 and 65 yards in playoff game vs. College Park . . . first-team pick as utility player on San Francisco Chronicle all-metro squad . . . played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl and served as captain of West team . . . first-team all-East Bay Athletic League pick for 2010 at running back and a second-team all-league pick at defensive back . . . third-team all-East Bay in 2010 as utility player as selected by Bay Area News Group . . . played in Holiday Classic between Sacramento and Bay Area standouts . . . selected for Team USA vs. The World all-star game Feb. 2 in Austin, Texas . . . carried 106 times as junior in 2009 for 965 yards and 10 TDs, caught 13 passes for 260 yards and one TD and had 295 yards in kickoff returns . . . scored four TDs in 2009 opener vs. Antioch and later rushed 11 times for 200 yards (TD runs of 65, 80 and 20, plus a 95-yard kickoff return for a TD) vs. Foothill . . . second-team all-EBAL defensive back as junior . . . had TD runs of 51, 14 and 23 yards as sophomore in 2008 in 56-15 victory over Livermore . . . standout in track who medaled in California state track meet in 100 (third at 10.66) and 200 meters (fourth at 21.46) as sophomore in 2009 . . .father is former all-pro Oakland Raider defensive back George Atkinson Jr. who played professionally with Raiders from 1968-77, helped Oakland to Super Bowl XI title and now is part of Raider radio broadcast team . . . twin brother Josh also will be Irish freshman on 2011 roster . . . played for coach Tim Silva at Granada High School . . . born Nov. 29, 1992.

Matt Hegarty, 6-5, 280, Power/OL, Aztec, N.M. (Aztec) – Ranked 43rd nationally on Sporting News Top 100 list for 2010 . . . rated 36th on ESPNU Top 150 list and 40th in Rivals.com national prospect rankings . . . top-rated player out of New Mexico and sixth-best offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com . . . selected for U.S. Army All-American Bowl . . . selected for Team USA vs. The World all-star game Feb. 2 in Austin, Texas . . . RivalsHigh.com second-team All-American . . . finalist for Anthony Munoz Lineman of the Year Award at U.S. Army All-American Bowl . . . named first-team all-state as a junior and senior in 2009 and 2010 . . . Sports Illustrated High School Player of the Week for Dec. 18, 2010 . . . helped Aztec High School in Aztec, N.M., to 13-1 record and New Mexico state runner-up finish in 2010 . . . totaled 81 pancake blocks while not giving up a sack in senior season . . . also played on defensive line where he made 11 tackles and half a sack . . . helped Aztec rushing attack tally 2,340 yards and 36 TDs in 2010 . . . member of offense that generated 4,176 passing yards and 48 TDs overall in 2010 . . . helped pave way for 242 yards rushing and 521 yards passing in 35-28 win over Durango (Colo.) in 2010 . . . helped openedholes for Aztec running backs for 280 yards and three TDs vs. Kirtland in 2010 . . . played for coach Brad Hirsch at Aztec High School . . . born July 3, 1992.

9:00 a.m.

Brian Kelly stops by the UND.com set for a live interview. He kids about the soon-to-be Irish players at the all-star game in Austin, Texas, where power issues have put a temporary crimp in the FAX plans: “We know where they are. They’re locked in a room! No one needs to worry about this.”

Kelly talked about the three-pronged plan he and his staff used in recruiting:

“One, we talked abut the value of a Notre Dame education. Any time there was a question, we continued to fall back on that theme.

“Two, we talked about winning a championship at Notre Dame. That’s important to a lot of people at Notre Dame. You have to have that mindset.

“And, third, we talked about player development. We will develop you as a student-athlete. We will prepare you for the next step, whatever that may be.

“Those are the three things our coaches took out there on the road, and they resonated.”

9:25 a.m.

The power is back in Austin, so Anthony Rabasa’s papers are in.

Anthony Rabasa, 6-3.5, 233, Big Skill/LB, Miami, Fla. (Columbus) – Ranked 11th nationally on Rivals weak-side defensive end list . . . selected to Florida Times-Union Super 75 team of Florida’s top players . . . listed 123rd on ESPN 150 list of top players nationally for 2010 . . . selected to play in Team USA vs. The World game Feb. 2 in Austin, Texas . . . tabbed as bestdefensive lineman and fifth-best prospect in Miami-Dade County by Miami Herald . . . named to Orlando Sentinel Florida Top 100 list as fourth-best defensive end in state . . . led Columbus High School team in Miami, Fla., to 6A regional quarterfinals of 2010 Florida state playoffs . . . registered 80 tackles and 10 sacks for Columbus as junior defensive end in 2009 . . . named first-team all-county in 2010 by Miami Herald . . . 2009 first-team all-Dade County selection . . . named second team all-state defensive line by Florida sportswriters and first team all-county by the Miami Herald following junior campaign in 2009 . . . played forcoach Chris Merritt at Christopher Columbus High School . . . born April 9,1993.

9:26 a.m.

The second Atkinson set of documents arrive, this time from Josh, who also is in Austin.

Josh Atkinson, 6-0, 185, Skill/DB, Livermore, Calif. (Granada) – Played both running back and defensive back for Granada High School in Livermore, Calif. . . . carried 30 times for 218 rushing yards and three TDs in 2010 – including 73-yard touchdown run vs. Sierra . . . also made 20 tackles on defense and broke up 11 passes . . . second-team all-East Bay Athletic League as defensive back in 2010 . . . helped team to 8-5 record after loss to power De La Salle in California high school North Coast Section Division I playoff semifinal as Matadors reached playoffs for first time since 2005 . . . made 38 tackles and broke up 15 passes as honorable mention all-East Bay Athletic League defensive back as junior in 2009 . . . selected for Team USA vs. The World all-star game Feb. 2 in Austin, Texas . . . father is former all-pro Oakland Raider defensive back George Atkinson Jr. who played professionally with Raiders from 1968-77, helped Oakland to Super Bowl XI title and now is part of Raider radio broadcast team . . . twin brother George III also will be Irish freshman on 2011 roster . . . played for coach Tim Silva at Granada High School . . . born Nov. 29, 1992.

In between interviews, Brian Kelly already is making a few cell calls to junior prospects, setting the table for 2012.

9:43 p.m.

Stephon Tuitt is the last of the five players in Austin to send in his papers.

Stephon (stuh-FON) Tuitt (TWO-it), 6-5, 270, Power/DL, Monroe, Ga. (Monroe Area) – Rated 38th nationally on Sports Illustrated list of top players from 2010 . . . Georgia Class 3A all-state first-team defense selection for 2010 by Atlanta Journal-Constitution . . . one of four Georgia players to be named to all-Southern team by Orlando Sentinel . . . second on Rivals strong-side defensive end list . . . ranked 22nd overall on Rivals 100 lists . . . 23rd on Sporting News Top 100 list and 90th on ESPN 150 list . . . ranked 42nd nationally on MaxPrep Top 100 list . . . landed 13th spot on Atlanta Journal-Constitution Fab 50 breakdown and SuperPrep defensive line rankings . . . rated 35th on TheKickoff Top 150 Prospects list . . . played in U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio and Team USA vs. The World All-Star Game in Austin, Texas . . . led Monroe Area High School in Monroe, Ga., to 11-2 record and third-round appearance in the Georgia Class AAA state playoffs during senior season in 2010, after Monroe Area had finished a combined 0-20 the previous two seasons . . . also played as tight end . . . first-team all-Georgia Region 8-AAA for 2010 by vote of area coaches . . . recorded 56 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered as junior in 2009 . . . played for coach Matt Figg at Monroe Area High School . . . born May 23, 1993.

10:00 a.m.

Among the logged-in guests on the live blog are fans from as far away as Laos, Poland and India. Some 9,362 people have now logged on to the live blog, as of 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

Troy Niklas, early in the morning back in California, has sent along his documents.

Troy Niklas, 6-7, 240, Big Skill/TE/DL, Fullerton, Calif. (Servite) – Los Angeles Times lineman of the year as senior in 2010 . . . two-way standout as both offensive and defensive lineman at Servite High School in Anaheim, Calif., where he played offensive guard and defensive tackle in 2010 . . . helped Servite to 14-1 record in 2010, a second straight CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division title and runner-up in state playoffs . . . named co-lineman of the year as senior in Trinity League by Orange County Register . . . an offensive lineman on Los Angeles Times high school all-star football team for 2010 . . . first-team all-state offensive lineman by CalHiSports . . . rated 215th among all prospects nationally on Rivals.com 250 list . . . rated 11th by SuperPrep among all prospects in California, Nevada and Hawaii . . . all-CIF Southern Section Pac-5 as defensive lineman as senior by Orange County Register . . . first-team defensive lineman on Orange County Register all-county team for 2010 . . . two-time first-team all-Trinity League selection . . . played tight end on offense until switch to guard as senior in 2010 . . . made 14 tackles as senior in 48-8 CIF State Open Division title game loss to De La Salle . . . helped Servite to 2009 California state title (33-20 victory over Rocklin in Division II championship), in addition to Pac-5 and Trinity League crowns . . . caught 16 passes as tight end for 128 yards and three TDs in 2009 . . . also helped Servite to Trinity League title as sophomore in 2008 . . . brother Austin was sophomore linebacker at Air Force in 2010 . . . uncle Bruce Matthews played at USC, was ninth overall pick in NFL Draft, earned Pro Bowl honors 14 times while playing with NFL Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans from 1983-2001 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 . . . from same high school as former Irish quarterback standout, NFL veteran and current CBS Sports analyst Steve Beuerlein . . . born Sept. 18, 1992.

Here’s some serious creativity for you. With weather issues in Texas making it tough to reach a FAX machine, Jalen Brown sent along via texts scans of his signed letter-of-intent papers and the blown-up documents in the Irish football offices then were approved by Jill Bodensteiner by a little after 11 a.m.

Jalen (JAY-lun) Brown, 6-1, 180, Skill/DB, Irving, Texas (MacArthur) – Recorded 37 tackles with 13 passes broken up, one interception and one fumble recovery as junior in 2009 . . . played cornerback at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas . . . rated one of top 100 players in Texas by Fort Worth Star-Telegram . . . in final high school game vs. unbeaten Euless Trinity blocked a PAT and ran it back 90 yards for two points to conclude 4-6 campaign in 2010 . . . previously ran back blocked PAT to score vs. Hurst L.D. Bell . . . rated one of top 100 players in Dallas area coming into 2010 by Dallas Morning News . . . first-team all-Texas District 7-5A pick at cornerback as junior in 2009 . . . started several games for Cardinals as sophomore in 2008 . . . has run 10.8 in 100 meters and 4.37 in 40 and also runs on 400 and 1,600 relay squads for MacArthur . . . played for coach Brian Basil at MacArthur High School . . .born April 4, 1993.

Here’s a summary of the 23 Irish additions:

  • Fifteen who were selected for postseason all-star games.
  • Six who were selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio: WR George Atkinson III, OL Conor Hanratty (chose not to play), OL Matt Hegarty, DL Aaron Lynch, DL Stephon Tuitt and LB Ishaq Williams.
  • Two who played in the Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Fla.: WR DaVaris Daniels and TE Ben Koyack.
  • Four who played in the Offense-Defense Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C.: DL Brad Carrico, DB Eilar Hardy, LB Jarrett Grace and K Kyle Brindza.
  • Five who played in the Team USA vs. The World All-Star Game in Austin, Texas: WR George Atkinson III, DB Josh Atkinson, OL Matt Hegarty, LB Anthony Rabasa and DL Stephon Tuitt.
  • Two who played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in Spartanburg, S.C.: LB Ben Councell and QB Everett Golson.
  • 12 members of the SuperPrep All-America Team: QB Everett Golson, TE Ben Koyack, WR George Atkinson III, WR DaVaris Daniels, OL Conor Hanratty, OL Matt Hegarty, DL Aaron Lynch, DL Stephon Tuitt, DL Tony Springmann, LB Ishaq Williams, LB Jarrett Grace and DB EilarHardy.
  • Three members of the SuperPrep Elite 50: LB Ishaq Williams (17th), TE Ben Koyack (27th), DL Aaron Lynch (36th).
  • Eight members of the MaxPreps Top 100: DL Aaron Lynch (22nd), DL Stephon Tuitt (42nd), TE Ben Koyack (54th), OL Matt Hegarty (56th), LB Ishaq Williams (70th), WR DaVaris Daniels (75th), QB Everett Golson (79th) and WR George Atkinson III(83rd).
  • Seven members of the ESPNU 150: DL Aaron Lynch (15th), OL Matt Hegarty (36th), LB Ishaq Williams (42nd), WR DaVaris Daniels (65th), TE Ben Koyack (78th), DL Stephon Tuitt (90th) and LB Anthony Rabasa(123rd).
  • 11 members of the 247Sports Top 247: DL Aaron Lynch (sixth), DL Stephon Tuitt (38th), LB Ishaq Williams (45th), WR DaVaris Daniels (63rd), TE Ben Koyack (66th), OL Matt Hegarty (83rd), LB Ben Councell (97th), WR George Atkinson III (111th), DB Eilar Hardy (170th), TE/DL Troy Niklas (222nd) and QB Everett Golson (227th).
  • 10 members of the Rivals.com 250: LB Ishaq Williams (16th), DL Stephon Tuitt (22nd), DL Aaron Lynch (28th), OL Matt Hegarty (70th), TE Ben Koyack (82nd), LB Ben Councell (91st), WR George Atkinson III (126th), WR DaVaris Daniels (178th), DB Eilar Hardy (217th) and TE/DL Troy Niklas (221st).
  • 10 members of the Scout.com Top 300: DL Aaron Lynch (10th), LB Ishaq Williams (20th), TE Ben Koyack (25th), DL Stephon Tuitt (44th), TE/DL Troy Niklas (75th), OL Matt Hegarty (105th), WR DaVaris Daniels (161st), DB Eilar Hardy (175th), LB Jarrett Grace (235th) and QB Everett Golson (254th).
  • Four members of Sporting News Top 100: DL Stephon Tuitt (23rd), TE Ben Koyack (34th), OL Matt Hegarty (43rd), WR DaVaris Daniels (64th).
  • One Gatorade State Football Player of the Year: LB Ishaq Williams (New York)

1:00 p.m.

Here are some of Brian Kelly’s general comments as he discussed the culmination of recruiting for 2011:

“When a plan comes together like this, it’s a great day. It came together very nicely for us.

“Recruiting at Notre Dame requires a great deal of effort. I want to underscore how the effort in recruiting requires the entire staff being involved and not just in athletics. To get to those 14 states requires a very committed staff. The reality and the business of recruiting is you have to have guys willing to grind it out. It’s work – you have to work at this. Our staff has been diligent and they would not take no for an answer, especially when the answer was yes in the beginning. The reality is you go into everybody’s backyard and they don’t want you to take their players. All nine guys on the staff have to recruit, and they all played animportant role in putting this class together. Stanford is maybe the only school comes close to recruiting as many states as we do. You just have to be able to continue to sell the message of Notre Dame.

“The defensive end position, the edge of our defense, was the number one focus for us. Then the balance in the rest of the class was important to us. If your assets are on the defensive end, that’s a good place to start.

“Everyone’s a general manager with the roster, but our focus is a little more broad when it comes to positions. You may fit the profile as far as size and weight, but we’re a little more open-minded as to position. We start by looking at being in the skill, big skill or power designation.

“We’re in a different place than we were last year at this time. We can concentrate on where our players best fit. We’re not as worried this time about how the locker room looks or what you do with a laundry loop.”

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1. With the Notre Dame men’s basketball team rising to No. 9 in the latest Associated Press poll released on Monday, Notre Dame is the only school in the country that fields men’s and women’s basketball and hockey teams and has all three squads currently appearing in the top 10 in their respective national rankings.

In addition to the Fighting Irish men’s basketball team’s placement (also eighth in the newest ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll), the Notre Dame women’s basketball team moved up to No. 8 in Monday’s AP poll, with the newESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll for the women released Tuesday afternoon also listing the Irish eighth. Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish hockey team stands 10th in the nation in the latest USA Today and USCHO.com polls.

This week marks the first time since Dec. 9, 2002, that both Fighting Irish basketball teams are ranked in the top 10 of their respective AP polls at the same time. Notre Dame is one of only three schools in the country to have both basketball teams currently in the AP Top 10, along with Connecticut (No. 2 women/No. 6 men) and Duke (No. 3 women/No. 5 men).

Add in the hockey program, and for the first time in school history,Notre Dame has both of its basketball teams and its hockey squad ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

The Fighting Irish women’s basketball team returns to action at 7 p.m. (ET) Tuesday against Syracuse at Purcell Pavilion, with the game to be webcast live and free of charge at UND.com. The Notre Dame men’s basketball team next travels to DePaul on Thursday for a 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT game that will be televised live on ESPN. The Fighting Irish hockey team is off this week and next will skate on Friday-Saturday, Feb. 11-12, when it plays host to Bowling Green in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association series at the Joyce Center (7:35 p.m. ET Friday; 7:05 p.m. ET Saturday -both live on UND.com).

2. The Irish men’s basketball team normally wouldn’t leave for its game Thursday at DePaul until sometime Wednesday, but the impending winter storm prompted the squad to bus to Chicago this afternoon.

3. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team that opens the 2011 season Feb. 21 at the University of California has been ranked 10th in the preseason Inside Lacrosse media poll.

The poll puts the Irish in good company, as six of the teams on the 2011 schedule are included in the preseason rankings. Leading that list is Northwestern, ranked second in the nation, as the Wildcats saw their streak of five straight national championships end last season. The Irish will face Northwestern Feb. 19 at the Loftus Center.

Joining Northwestern on the list are BIG EAST foes Syracuse at No. 5, Georgetown at No. 6 and Loyola (Md.) at No. 12. The Irish will also face Stanford (No. 14) and Vanderbilt (No. 11) this season.

Notre Dame is coming off a 2010 season that saw them go 11-7 overallwith a 5-2 mark in the BIG EAST. The Irish lost in the BIG EAST semifinals in a heart-breaking, four-overtime thriller to Syracuse, 12-11. Notre Dame then advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year -a first for the program -and lost in the opening round at Northwestern. The Irish finished the season ranked 12th in the final IWLCA poll.

In January, Notre Dame also was ranked 10th in the Lacrosse magazine preseason poll that featured seven teams on the Irish schedule, including the same six as Inside Lacrosse and Hofstra

Head coach Tracy Coyne enters her 15th season guiding the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team. The Irish open the 2011 season Feb. 11 when they travel to Berkeley, Calif., for the season opener against California at 5:00 p.m. (PT).

4. How about these rankings of Irish athletic teams:
#1 -men’s fencing
#1 -women’s fencing
#4 -women’s tennis
#7 -men’s lacrosse
#8 -women’s basketball
#9 -men’s basketball
#10 -hockey
#10 -women’s lacrosse

Notre Dame ever had that many top 10 teams at once? Anybody in the country have that many today?

5. Former Note Dame secondary coach Chuck Heater has been named defensive coordinator at Temple -working for another former Irish assistant, Steve Addazio, now the Temple head coach.

6. Here’s all the places you can find Brian Kelly tomorrow on football letter-of-intent signing day:
–1 p.m. at his live press conference on UND.com
–2:20 p.m. live on Sirius/XM with Bill King
–2:40 p.m. live on ESPNU signing day show
–3:15 p.m. live on The Huge Show with Bill Simonson on radio stations all over Michigan
–3:30 p.m. live on CBS College Sports signing day show with Tom Lemming
–Later on tape on WSBT-AM Weekday Sportsbeat in South Bend

7. Bracketology on ESPN.com this week has the Irish women hoops team a #3 seed and playing in Shreveport against #14 Tennessee Tech, with #6 North Carolina and #11 Louisiana Tech on the other side of the bracket.

8. The SI.com men’s bracket this week has the Notre Dame men also a #3 seed, playing in Chicago against #14 Kent State, with #6 Tennessee vs. #11 Washington State opposite.

9. Freshman left wing Anders Lee (Edina, Minn.) has been named the CCHA rookie of the week for his play in Notre Dame’s back-to-back ties with Miami on Jan. 28-29. For Lee, this marks the second time this season that he has been named the conference’s rookie of the week. Twice this year, the 6-3, 218-pound forward has been selected as the conference rookie of the month (October and December). In last weekend’s ties with Miami that saw each team win a shootout, Lee turned in a five-point series, scoring two goals and adding three assists while being +2 with four shots on goal.

10. For the second consecutive week and third time this season, Irish guard Ben Hansbrough (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) has been named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll. Hansbrough earned the honor after he scored 19 points, dished off seven assists and grabbed four rebounds in Notre Dame’s 56-51 upset win at second-ranked Pittsburgh on Jan. 24. Hansbrough, who earlier in the month was recognized as the BIG EAST Player of the Week on Jan. 10, scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, including 13 down the stretch as heoutscored the entire Panther team 13-12 in the final 9:22 of the contest. The win marked the third win over a top-10 team for Notre Dame this season.

11. Notre Dame football legend Joe Theismann will be the guest speaker at the opening dinner of the 2011 Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp and willcoach the first day of the Fantasy Camp. The Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp will be directed by Irish head coach Brian Kelly, as well as his entire Notre Dame coaching staff, current Irish players and plenty of other former NotreDame legends. They will provide daily hands-on instruction and interaction.They also will share priceless personal experiences from their time under the Golden Dome and in the NFL. Camp dates are Tuesday, May 31, through Saturday, June 4, 2011. Participants will stay at the Fairfield Inn & Suites located across the street from campus and adjacent to the new Eddy Street Commons, and mere steps from the shadow of Notre Dame Stadium.

12. The Notre Dame hockey team will get a chance to return to its hockey roots on Friday (Feb. 4) when the Irish move practice from the Joyce Center to “Practice On The Pond” at Merrifield Park in Mishawaka, Ind. The event starts at 4:00 p.m. with the players scheduled to hit the ice at 4:30 and will run until 6:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. This popular practice gives fans a chance to meet the Irish hockey team and to get autographs from their favorite players. Cat Country 99.9 FM, the flagship radio station for Notre Dame hockey, and play-by-play man Darin Pritchett will be on hand for a live remote from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and will have hockey prizes and memorabilia that fans in attendance will have a chance to win. Free hot chocolate will be provided to all fans in attendance. Dress warm and come watch Notre Dame’s hockey team up close and personal.