Monday, January 31, 2011

1. The top-ranked Notre Dame men’s fencing team posted an 8-0 record on Sunday at the Notre Dame Duals held in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse, improving its record to 18-1 overall. The Irish fencing team finished the weekend a perfect 16-0, as the women posted an identical mark Saturday. The highlight of Sunday’s fencing action was the return of Ted Hodges to competition after undergoing a successful heart transplant over one year ago. The Irish senior competed in a full slate of matches throughout the day, finishing with a 15-4 record and posting 3-0 marks against both Lawrence and Cleveland State.

2. The fourth-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team dropped a hard-fought, 4-3 decision to 23rd-ranked Arkansas on Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The loss marks the first for the team during the 2010-11 dual campaign, dropping the team to 2-1 on the early season.

Notre Dame fell behind early after dropping the doubles point to theRazorbacks to get the match underway. Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) were unable to get it going in their doubles match at the No. 1 position, falling to the Arkansas pairing of Claudine Paulson and Anouk Tigu, 8-2.

Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) fell at No. 3 doubles to the team of Jade Frampton and Valentina Starkova, 9-8 (7-4), to secure the doubles point for the Razorbacks. The Irish pushed out to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak, before Arkansas’ duo reeled off the final six points.

With the doubles point clinched, the match between Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) of Notre Dame and Kate Lukomskaya and Stephanie Roy of Arkansas was abandoned with the Irish leading 6-5.

Singles saw both teams go back and forth throughout the six matches. The first match to conclude saw Mathews take care of Lukomskaya at No. 2 singles, dropping only one game in a straight-sets victory, 6-1, 6-0. Rafael then fell at No. 3 singles to Emily Carbone in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0 to give the Razorbacks the lead back at 2-1. However, ninth-ranked Frilling quickly tied it up after taking care 26th-ranked Tigu at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-1. The Irishjunior pulled away with ease after Tigu injured her ankle with Frilling leading the first set 5-3. With the match all square, Notre Dame pulled ahead for the first time on the day when Sabacinski dispatched Starkova at No. 6 singles,6-4, 6-1, for her second-consecutive dual match victory.

However, momentum was quickly lost as the Razorbacks closed out the final two matches at No. 4 and No. 5 singles to claim the match. McGaffiganfell to Claudine Paulson at No. 4, 6-2, 6-4, while Kellner couldn’t hold on to her early lead over Roy at No. 5, falling in three sets, 2-6, 6-1, 6-0. TheIrish return to action next weekend as they take on North Carolina at noon on Saturday (Feb. 5) at the Cone-Kenfield Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., before battling Wake Forest at 11 a.m. (ET) on Sunday (Feb. 6) at Leighton Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.

3. The U.S. National Team withstood a second-half rally from the No. 7 Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team to capture a 12-7 victory in exhibition play on Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Team USA scored the game’s first seven goals, yet the Fighting Irish responded with four straight tallies to slice the deficit to three by the end of the third quarter.

Notre Dame’s surge began just over five minutes into the second half as sophomore attackman Ryan Foley (Glen Ridge, N.J./Delbarton) scored on an assist from junior attackman Sean Rogers (New Hyde Park, N.Y./Holy Trinity). Rogers then netted a goal of his own with 6:16 left in the third quarter. A man-up goal from senior attackman Colin Igoe (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne/Massachusetts) sliced theTeam USA advantage to four (7-3) with 4:23 showing on the clock in the thirdquarter. Igoe had a team-high two goals on the day. Junior midfielder Max Pfeifer (Crozet, Va./Western Albemarle) scored with six seconds remaining in the quarter to make it 7-4.

Steven Brooks put a halt to the Irish uprising as he made it an 8-4 contest with 14:06 remaining. Igoe scored 30 seconds later on an assist from Rogers. A 4-0 run from Team USA made it 12-5 with 8:29 left in the game. Stephen Peyser, Peet Poillon, Chazz Woodson and Kevin Leveille scored the unanswered goals.

Notre Dame’s final two scores of the game were man-up tallies. Junior attackman Nicholas Beattie (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) netted the first one with 7:43 left, while senior attackman Edison Parzanese (Edgartown, Mass./Martha’s Vineyard/Holy Cross), a transfer from Holy Cross, deposited the game’s final goal with 4:32 remaining. Senior midfielder Zach Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton) assisted on both goals.

The U.S. National Teamled 4-0 after the first quarter and 6-0 at halftime. Leveille netted three goals in the opening quarter. Leveille opened the game’s scoring less than two minutes into the contest and Woodson made it 2-0 on a man-up goal with 10:59 remaining in the opening quarter. Leveille scored with 8:36 left in the quarter and then again with seven seconds remaining. Doug Shanahan gave the U.S. National Team a five-goal advantage just over one minute into the second quarter. Steven Brooks upped the lead to six with 3:39 left in the half. Steven Boyle opened the second-half scoring as he put Team USA up by seven less than a minute into the stanza.

Notre Dame sophomore John Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep) played the entire game between the pipes and made 10 saves. Former Fighting Irish goalie Scott Rodgers, a 2010 Notre Dame graduate, played the entire second half for team USA. Rodgers made nine saves. Notre Dame held a slim 40-39 edge in shots.

The Fighting Irish will open the 2011 regular season with a national title gamerematch versus No. 5 Duke at the inaugural Sunshine Classic in Jacksonville,Fla. The game will be played at Everbank Field, home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. The contest is slated for a 3:00 p.m. (ET) start and will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

1. For the second night in a row, Notre Dame’s Joyce Center was the scene of an outstanding hockey game as the Irish battled Miami to a 2-2 tie in front of a sellout crowd of 2.957 on Saturday. Notre Dame picked up the extra point in the CCHA standings with a 1-0 win in the shootout.

Irish freshman center Anders Lee continued his stellar play on the weekend, scoring both goals to give him five points on the weekend after picking up three assists on Friday night. His linemate, freshman center T.J. Tynan sent the crowd home happy as he beat Miami’ Cody Reichard in the third round of the shootout to give the Irish the extra point.

Alden Hirschfeld and Reilly Smith scored for the RedHawks in the game but they failed to get one shot past Irish netminder Steven Summerhays in the shootout stanza.

The back-to-back ties give the ninth-ranked Irish a 16-9-5 overall record and they are now 13-6-3-2 in the CCHA, good for 44 points. Miami is now 14-9-5 on the year and 11-7-4-2 in the league as they remain in third place, five points behind Notre Dame.

While Friday night’s game was a free-wheeling offensive game, the two teams played closer to the vest on Saturday as the Irish limited Miami to just 15 shots in the game with a stifling defense in front of Summerhays who was making his first start since Dec. 29th. The native of Anchorage, Alaska made 13 saves in regulation and overtime but was perfect in the shootout as he stopped three of college hockey’s top players including Smith, Carter Camper and Andy Miele.

2. Not only has Notre Dame been winning, but the high-scoring Irish have been blowing opponents out. It wasn’t quite as easy on Saturday night, but the result was the same as Devereaux Peters scored 20 points to lead the #9 Notre Dame women’s basketball team to a 58-43 victory over Villanova. Skylar Diggins added 13 points and Natalie Novosel had 11 for Notre Dame (18-4, 7-1 BIG EAST), which has won five straight and 13 of its past 14. The Irish won despite scoring a season low in points -nearly 25 points under their average (82.9ppg). Laura Sweeney scored 14 points to pace Villanova (8-12, 0-7), which has lost four in a row.

Villanova twice sliced Notre Dame’s 12-point halftime lead in half early in the second half, but the Wildcats never could get closer than six. Villanova led by five points early, but the Irish took control midway through the first half and led 32-20 at the break. The Irish were upset by Villanova on theirlast trip to the Pavilion on Jan. 24, 2009.

For the seventh time in its 16-year membership in the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame is off to a 7-1 start in conference play, having also done so in 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1999-2000, 2000-01 and most recently last season.

Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw worked her 750th game at Notre Dame, rising to 543-207 (.724) in 24 seasons under the Golden Dome.

3. Senior Eric Lex celebrated his final home meet by becoming the first diver in Notre Dame history to crack the 400-point plateau in the 3-meter event Saturday at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. Lex’s score of 405.15 off the high board gave him a first-place finish and the school record as Notre Dame went on to split a pair of dual meets to end the two-day Shamrock Invitational. While celebrating their Senior Day, the Irish (6-4) defeated Denver, 250-118, while falling to Iowa, 194-174, in non-conference men’s swimming and diving action.

Lex recorded one of six wins on the day for the Irish. Michael Sullivan (400 individual medley), Frank Dyer (200 free and 100 free), Christopher Johnson (100 breast), Petar Petrovic (100 back) and Joseph Raycroft (200 breast) also added gold-medal performances. Dyer’s 200 free (1:37.62) effort was good for an NCAA B-cut, as was Notre Dame’s 400 free relay (3:00.38) and 800 free relay (6:39.92).

Next in store for Notre Dame is the BIG EAST Conference Championships held in Louisville, Ky. The diving portion spans from Feb. 11-13, while the swimming will take place from Feb. 16-19.

4. Notre Dame split its four dual meets Saturday at the Rolfs Aquatic Center to end the two-day Shamrock Invitational. The women’s swimming and diving team defeated Denver (253-117) and Iowa (264-104) while falling to apair of Big Ten squads in Ohio State (197.5-166.5) and Northwestern (193.5-176.5) while celebrating its Senior Day.

The Irish (4-7) get back into the water at 1:00 p.m. (ET) next Saturday for a home meet with Ball State.

Two wins by both Kim Holden (100 back, 200 back) and Samantha Maxwell (100 breast, 200 breast) surged the Irish in its penultimate meet of the regular season. Ohio State set a pool record in the 800 free relay in 7:22.85, bettering the previous mark cemented by Michigan in 1998.

5. The 36th-ranked Irish men’s tennis team came out with an early 1-0 lead over the Illini Saturday at the Atkins Center in Champaign, Ill. The Irish eventually fell 4-1 to Illinois.

At first doubles, No. 47 Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) and Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) were defeated by Dennis Nevolo and Johnny Hamui, 8-1. Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) went on a 6-0 run over Abe Souza and Bruno Abdelnour before claiming an 8-3 victory at second doubles.

Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) won a hard-fought 9-7 match over Brian Alden and Stephen Hoh. The duoclinched the doubles point and secured an early 1-0 lead for the Fighting Irish.

The Irish return to action Sunday, Feb. 6, facing Duke at noon, followed by Toledo at 6:00 p.m. at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind.

6. The fourth-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team advanced to the championship match of the ITA National Team Indoor qualifying tournament, defeating 47th-ranked Yale 7-0 Saturday at the Eck Tennis Center.

The Irish got off to a quick start, capturing the doubles point for a 1-0 advantage. Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) were first to finish at No. 3 doubles. The duo made quick work of the Bulldog team of Elizabeth Epstein and Kim Szokol, 8-1.

The junior pairing of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) clinched the point for the Irish at No. 1 doubles, taking down Vicky Brook and Lindsay Clark of Yale, 8-5. The two teams tussled to a 4-4 tie midway through the set, before Frilling and Mathews captured four of the next five games.

With the point in hand and the final doubles match between Notre Dame’s team of Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Yale’s team of Stephanie Kent and Annie Sullivan squared at sevenapiece, the team’s played a tiebreaker to determine the winner. Kent and Sullivan outlasted McGaffigan and Kellner to claim the match, 8-7 (7-5).

In singles, Frilling got the Irish out to a 2-0 lead after posting astraight-sets victory over Brook at No. 1 singles. With Frilling up 2-1 early in the first set, the ninth-ranked junior reeled off four consecutive games to close out the first set and didn’t look back, taking the second with ease for a 6-1, 6-2 decision.

McGaffigan finished next for the Irish, closing out Sullivan at No. 4 singles in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. The sophomore recovered after a tough loss at Illinois to earn the victory over the Yale freshman and secure her firstvictory of the 2010-11 dual season.

With the match standing at 3-0, Rafael earned the match clincher at No. 3 singles with a victory over Blair Seiderman, 6-1, 7-5. The senior overpowered the Bulldogs freshman, earning her second consecutive straight-sets victory to begin the dual campaign.

After sweeping through the first set 6-0, Mathews finished next for Notre Dame, closing out Epstein in straight sets after holding on for the second set 7-6 (10-8).

With the score standing at 5-0, Kellner and Sabacinski closed out the Irish sweep with wins over Stevi Petrelli (1-6, 6-2, 1-0 [10-6]) and Szokol(7-6 [7-3], 6-3), respectively.

The Irish now face 23rd-ranked Arkansas in the title match of the qualifying bracket on Sunday, after the Razorbacks advanced over 41st-ranked Utah in the morning session, 4-2. The match is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. (ET).

7. The #1-ranked Notre Dame women’s fencing team posted an 8-0 record at the Notre Dame Duals on Saturday at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse. With the eight wins, the Irish women improve to 19-0 on the season and now have the longest winning streak in women’s fencing program history.

The eight victories moved the winning streak to 78 consecutive regular-season decisions, besting the previous streak registered from 1993-96 (75 wins). On the day, the Irish claimed wins over Lawrence (25-2), Detroit (27-0), Cleveland State (24-3), Florida (26-1), Air Force (21-6), Swarthmore (22-5), Wayne State (21-6) and seventh-ranked Northwestern (18-9).

8. The Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams earned four more victories at the Indiana Relays on Saturday at the Gladstein Fieldhouse in Bloomington, Ind.

Jaclyn Winkel (Reno, Nev./Reno) had a first-place finish in the 400-meter dash. The freshman finished in 57.92 to beat out Nikita Owens of Vincennes University, who ran 58.30. On the men’s side, Kevin Schipper (Leo, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) was victorious in the Pole Vault Invitational. The junior vaulted 5.20m to claim the crown. Additional, Jeremy Rae (Fort Erie, Ontario/Lakeshore Catholic) finished in first place in the 800-Meter Invitational, stopping the clock at 1:49.15. Rounding out theIrish victories for the Irish, the men’s 3,200-meter relay secured first place after finishing in 7:32.81.

The Irish play host to the ever-competitive Meyo Invitational Friday, Feb. 4, and Saturday Feb. 5. Friday’s action begins at 5:00 p.m. (ET) at the Loftus Sports Center in Notre Dame, Ind.

9. Check out ESPNU at 10 p.m. Sunday when you can watch a delayed offering of Notre Dame’s Sunday afternoon men’s lacrosse matchup against the U.S. National squad. One of the U.S. goalies is former Irish star Scott Rodgers and he’s expected to play half the game.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

1. ESPN The Magazine went back and found the 25 high school football players ranked as the best in the country each season dating back 25 years (as rated by SuperPrep), featuring photos and stats and quotations from each of the 25. Here are the three who ended up at Notre Dame:

Ricky WattersRB Bishop McDevitt High School (Pa.)
College: Notre Dame
NFL Draft: No. 45 pick (San Francisco 49ers) in 1991
Now: Motivational speaker
“I almost lost my mind. Everyone started treating me differently. Restaurants I couldn’t afford were throwing free food at me. Chicks who were untouchable were all of a sudden very touchable. Boosters were offering me cars. As the No. 1 guy, I got treated really well on recruiting trips. When I visited Tennessee, they already had a jersey with my name and number on it. At Florida, they had these beautiful girls called Gator Getters who were assigned to help land the top recruits. Back home, the city of Harrisburg held a Ricky Watters Day, with a parade. They had me in a convertible, and the mayor was there. Lou Holtz came down too. I remember thinking, This is the life. My mom saw everything that was happening and laid down the law: I was going either to Notre Dame or West Point.”

Ron PowlusQB, Berwick High School (Pa.)
College: Notre Dame
NFL Draft: Undrafted
Now: QBs coach at Akron
“At Berwick, we ended my senior season as the nation’s No. 1 team, and I was the No. 1 player. Bill Clinton invited the team to the White House and presented us with a plaque. Then Beano Cook predicted on TV that I’d win two Heisman Trophies. In the moment, it was flattering. But then you realize you have to live with a crazy statement like that.”

David GivensWR, Humble High School (Texas)
College: Notre Dame
NFL Draft: No. 253 pick (New England Patriots) in 2002
Now: NFL analyst for NESN
“A few days after I verbaled to Notre Dame over Texas, I went on a local sports radio show. Earl Campbell was on the show that day, and he and the hosts said they wanted me to stay in Texas. I told them that Notre Dame was my favorite team growing up. And when I got to South Bend, I knew I’d made the right decision.”

2. Two of college hockey’s top offensive attacks met Friday night at the Joyce Center and put on an offensive show in front of a sellout crowd of 2,957 and Notre Dame and Miami battled to a 5-5 tie. The visiting RedHawks picked up the extra point in the CCHA standings as they won the shootout, 3-2, in four rounds. Irish freshmen standouts T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee sparked the late, third-period rally as Notre Dame wiped out a 5-3 Miami lead in the final 7:13 with goals from Riley Sheahan on the power play and Tynan’s second of the night. Tynan, the top-scoring freshman in the nation finished with two goals and an assist while Lee chipped in three assists in the game. Jeff Costello and Billy Maday joined Sheahan and Tynan in the goal-scoring column for the Irish. Miami was led by senior center Andy Miele, the nation’s leading scorer, who had a goal and three assists for a four-point night. Reilly Smith added two goals with Pat Cannone and Justin Vaive scoring single goals. The RedHawks were three-for-four on the power play in the contest. In the shootout, Notre Dame got goals from Ben Ryan and Tynan while Miami matched those two with markers by Smith and Miele. Cannone ended the extra session in the fourth round with the shootout game winner against Irish goaltender Mike Johnson. The tie gives the ninth-ranked Irish a 16-9-4 overall record and a 13-6-2-1 mark in the CCHA, good for 42 points in conference play. Notre Dame is now just one point behind Michigan in the league standings but the Wolverines have two games in hand. Miami, ranked #13/#11, goes to 14-9-4 on the year and 11-7-3-2 in the CCHA, good for 38 points and is now just four points behind the Irish in the league.

3. The Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team registered five second-place finishes and four third-place finishes in the opening six events during the first session of the Shamrock Invitational at the Rolfs Aquatic Center on Friday. The effort earned the Irish an 80-29 lead over Denver. However, Iowa won all six events of the evening, resulting in a 68-41 lead over the Irish. Reigning National Swimmer of the Week Frank Dyer was part of three of the five second-place performances, which encompassed the 200 free relay, 400 medley relay and the 50 free (20.65). Bill Bass touched the pad in second place in the 200 individual medley with a 1:51.93 showing and was a member of the 400 medley relay squad. Eric Lex tallied 321.15 points off the 1-meter board, good for another silver medal for the Irish. The Irish will be back in action at 10:00 a.m. (ET) for the second session of the Shamrock Invitational on Saturday. The final session is slated to begin at 5:00 p.m.

4. The quartet of Kelly Ryan, Samantha Maxwell, Kim Holden and Amy Prestinario was the highlight for the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team Friday evening to close the first session of the Shamrock Invitational. The tandem ended the night by winning the 400 medley relay with a 3:43.77 showing, a time that was just under six one-hundredths of a second away from an NCAA B-cut. Jenny Chiang led the Irish off the high board as she registeredanother Irish win on the night. Chiang totaled 307.55 points at the 3-meterdistance. Fellow Irish diver Heidi Grossman took home the silver in the eventby collecting 305.95 points. After the first of three sessions the Irish lead Denver (82-28) and Iowa (77-32). Notre Dame is tied with Ohio State (53.5-53.5) and trails Northwestern (72.5-37.5). The Shamrock Invitational will conclude Saturday with the second session of the meet slated for a 10:00 a.m. (ET) start. The final session is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m.

5. The Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams concluded the first day of the Indiana Relays Friday at the Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse inBloomington, Ind. Together the teams concluded the day with six first-placefinishers. On the women’s side, MollyHirt (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington North) secured a first-place finish in the 3,000 while re-visiting her hometown. The junior finished in 9:57.62. Madeline Casanova (Simi Valley, Calif./Alemany) claimed first place in the shot put with a throw of 13.72m. On the men’s side, Spencer Carter (Boise, Idaho/Bishop Kelly) finished first in 8:30.87. The men’s 600-meter run invitational was an impressive race with Notre Dame claiming the top-three spots. Kevin Labus (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit) claimed first in 1:19.61, followed closely behind was Jack Howard (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) in second place in 1:19.91. Mitch Lorenz (Brainerd, Minn./Brainerd) rounded out the trio in third place (1:20.06). Joe Miller (Bowling Green, Ohio/St. John’s Jesuit) finished in first place (8:22.61) in the 3,000 and Andrew Hills (Toledo, Ohio/St. John’s Jesuit) rounded out the Irish first-place finisheswith a throw of 18.12m in the shot put.

6. The 36th-ranked Irish men’s tennis defeated the 17th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners 4-1 at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the Atkins Center in Champaign, Ill. The Irish came out with an early lead of 3-0 over the Sooners, winning second and third doubles, followed by wins at No. 6 and No. 3 singles. At second doubles, Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) defeatedNo. 48 Lawrence Formentera and John Warden in a hard fought 10-8 finish. Fitzgerald and Talmadge battled back-and-forth with the Sooners before ultimately, pulling away to secure the first win of the day for the Irish. Third doubles Casey Watt (GibsoniaPa./Pine-Richland) and Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) secured the second win on the day, returning from an early deficit to ultimately win 10-7. At first doubles Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan) and Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) were leading 8-7 when it was abandoned after Watt and Andrews clinched the doubles point. In singles action, No. 122 Davis handled John Warde in a two-set match at the No. 6 spot. The senior captain won the two-set match, 6-2, 6-2 to secure the first Irish singles win against Oklahoma, moving the score to 2-0. At No. 3 singles, Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) handled Laurentiu Gavrila 6-3 in the first set before closing out the match with a 6-4 victory in the second set to secure the second singles point for Notre Dame. At No. 5 singles, Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) was downed in the first set, 6-1 by Tsventan Mihov. Keeton then battled to a 6-6 score in the second set before dropping the set and match, 7-6 (10-8). At No. 1 singles, No. 104 Watt won the first set 7-6 (7-3) after trailing No. 26 Ionut Beleleu by a two-game deficit. Beleleu picked up the second set, 6-3 and Watt closed out the match, winning 6-3 to clinch the 4-1 win for the Irish. The Irish are back in action at 7:00 p.m. (ET) Saturday to take on No. 16 Illinois (6-1 winner last night over Denver).

7. The 2011 National Soccer Coaching Seminar will be held March 18-19 on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. Several distinguished clinicians will be on hand, including Notre Dame men’s head coach Bobby Clark and Fighting Irish women’s head coach Randy Waldrum. Seminar Features – NSCAA Professional Development Certificate available – Coaches Dinner -Meet and talk with clinicians one on one in an informal setting – Seminar Book with Session Outlines and Notes – Sessions done on FULL SIZE indoor field – Current Notre Dame players used as demonstrators – Internationally Renowned Clinicians! For More Information Call (574) 631-5870

8.The University of Notre Dame baseball squad began official team practice for the 2011 campaign inside Loftus Center Friday evening. The Irish will conduct three weeks of team practice sessions before opening its season in Dunedin, Fla., at 4 p.m. ET against Michigan State on Feb. 18. “We were excited to get started to say the least,” said Mik Aoki, who begins his inaugural season as Irish head coach. “We have a solid core group of returning players and plenty of new faces, both of which are ready to get the season underway.” Notre Dame practiced for nearly three hours. The Irish spent the first hour of practice separated into position groups. The pitching staff worked on pickoffs, the catchers concentrated on blocking and the outfielders focused on fly balls. The catchers and outfielders each benefitted from the newest piece of equipment, the FungoMan. The machine can throw any kind of ball to any position on the field using a state-of-the-art positioning system that allows balls to be thrown every three to five seconds. With the use of a wireless controller, the machine can be controlled from anywhere on the field. The Irish were able to use one with the backstops, programming pitches to bounce out in front of home plate, while another threw all types of fly balls. Notre Dame also held an intra-squad scrimmage for the final two hours of practice.

9. Notre Dame athletics lost a good friend this week with the passing of long-time Notre Dame Career Center staffer Paul Reynolds. Reynolds worked closely with dozens of Irish student-athletes over the years. Reynolds, who retired in 2005, will be buried Monday in Phillipsburg, N.J.

10. Six members of the University of Notre Dame football team intend to apply for a fifth year at the University through Notre Dame’s Faculty Board on Athletics. The six student-athletes are: Taylor Dever, Gary Gray, Andrew Nuss, Mike Ragone, David Ruffer and Harrison Smith.

11. Pelada, a documentary film following Luke Boughen (Notre Dame soccer ’05) and Gwendolyn Oxenham (former Duke soccer player and Notre Dame graduate student), as they travel the world, playing pick-up soccer games in 25 different countries, is coming to campus. Showings are slated for 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. EST on Friday, Feb. 4, and then non on Saturday, Feb. 5, at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (Browning Cinema). Both Boughen and Oxenham will attend the showings.

Friday, January 28, 2011

1. A veteran of 25 years in athletics training and physical therapy with University of Notre Dame athletics, Jim Russ has been named to the new position of Director of Athletic Training and Rehabilitative Services. The new position is part of Notre Dame’s new Sports Performance Division that involves coordination of all medical, athletic training, physical therapy, strength and conditioning, sports nutrition and equipment functions for Irish athletic teams. In his new role Russ will report into associate athletics director Mike Karwoski, who oversees the sports performance division.

“As we look to create greater structure for the sportsperformance area, we had a great interest in creating a position that wouldprovide oversight, direction and expertise for our delivery of athletic training and rehabilitative services to our student-athletes,” said Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick. “Jim is as well-respected as anyone in the country in his field, with nearly 35 years in the business, so he was a natural for this role. While we will miss Jim’s day-to-day focus on football, this move will enable him to apply his background, expertise and professionalism to provide improved guidance for all of our other sports -and Jim will play a critical role in the continuing integration of the various areas that comprise our sports performance division.”

The La Porte, Ind., native boasted seven years of experience on the collegiate level before a three-year stint in the United States Football League (USFL) as head athletic trainer of the Tampa Bay Bandits –just prior to coming to Notre Dame in 1986. From 1977-82, Russ served as assistant athletic trainer and physical therapist at Purdue University. He then held the same position at the University of Florida for two seasons from 1982-84. A graduate of Ball State with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and minors in health science and athletic training, Russ earned his master’s degree in athletic training and sports medicine from the University of Arizona, and later added a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in physicaltherapy. While pursuing his master’s degree at Arizona, Russ worked as headathletic trainer at Pueblo High School in Tucson, Ariz. As an undergraduate at Ball State, he served as an athletic trainer and worked with the National Football League’s Detroit Lions. He also served as an assistant athletics trainer at New Castle (Ind.) High School while doing student teaching there.

In June 2000, he was awarded an honorary monogram by the Notre Dame Monogram Club. In 2005 he was inducted into the Ball State University Cardinal Sports Medicine Society Ring of Honor. Russ also was honored in 2005 for his athletic training career by the All-American Football Foundation. Russ and his wife, the former Mary Pat Shea, of St. Petersburg, Fla., are parents of four children: Jeff (a 2001 Notre Dame graduate), Laura (a 2004 Notre Dame graduate), Lisa (a 2009 Notre Dame graduate) and Mark (a current junior at Notre Dame).

Notre Dame will initiate a search immediately for a new headfootball athletic trainer.

2. Und.com’s live exclusive video coverage of National Signing Day returns on Wednesday, Feb. 2, with Und.com Signing Day 2011. Hosted by JackNolan, und.com begins the day at 7:00 a.m. ET providing the first official announcement of fax arrivals, incoming player highlights and analysis. Headcoach Brian Kelly and his staff will stop by for exclusive live interviews throughout the day and we will welcome recruiting experts onto the show to provide their perspective of the 2011 recruiting class.

Und.com’s All-American analysts, Reggie Brooks and Mirko Jurkovic will participate in the broadcast, providing their insights on each signed student-athlete. The live coverage will continue all morning and lead into Coach Kelly’s official press conference in the afternoon. For 2011, und.comwill be providing Irish fans a chance to interact with the show. We will post selected comments sent to our official Twitter feed @und_video_crew. There also will be a live blog run during the day that fans can participate in. So mark your calendars for Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 7:00 a.m. ET to welcome the newest group of Fighting Irish football players!

3. The University of Notre Dame baseball program’s 10th annual Meet The Team will be held in Club Naimoli of Purcell Pavilion on Thursday, Feb. 10.Doors will open at 5 p.m. ET. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets early 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. Tickets went on sale on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 9:00 a.m. through the Notre Dame Ticket Office. Tickets can be purchased online 24 hours a day at www.und.com/tickets. They can also be purchased weekdays 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. Service charges apply. 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.

4. The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team is set to play host to a qualifying pod for the 2011 ITA National Team Indoor Championships at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (ET) on Saturday and Sunday at the Eck Tennis Center. Arkansas, Utah and Yale will travel in to take on the host Irish. Saturday’s action kicks off with No. 23 Arkansas taking on No. 41 Utah at 9 a.m. with the Irish taking on the Yale Bulldogs in the afternoon match at 1 p.m. Sunday sees the losers of each of the first two match-ups facing off in the consolation match at 9 a.m. with the two victorious teams squaring off for the championship at 1 p.m. The winner also advances into the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, Feb. 18-21 in Charlottesville, Va. Notre Dame enters weekend play with a 1-0 record after a decisive 5-2 victory at 25th-ranked Illinois last Saturday. The Irish come into the draw as the fourth-ranked team in the nation and the No. 1 overall seed in the pod. Kristy Frilling leads the Irish in the rankings, entering this weekend as the ninth ranked singles player in the nation.

5. Notre Dame hockey senior alternate captain Ben Ryan (Brighton, Mich.) has been named as one of 25 nominees on the national level for the College Hockey Humanitarian Award, presented by BNY Wealth Management. The award is presented every year to college hockey’s finest citizen for their contributions to society in all areas. This is the 16th year for the Hockey Humanitarian Award that will bepresented in a special ceremony on Friday, April 8th at the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Ryan is in his fourth season at Notre Dame and is one of three alternate captains for the Irish. He is currently fourth in scoring on the squad with five goals and 17 assists for 22 points. Two of his goals have come on the power play and one is a game winner. Ryan is +5 for the year. The veteran center has had a strong career at Notre Dame as he enters this weekend with Miami having played in 143 career games with 34 goals and 60 assists for 94 points. He owns 11 power-play goals and eight game winners since joining the Irish for the 2007-08 season.

During his career, Ryan has been active with the team’s community service projects and as a senior this season the alternate captain has become the team’s leader in the Notre Dame and South Bend-area communities. Among his many duties, Ryan serves as the hockey team’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative that plans service work within theNotre Dame and local community for student athletes. That committee also works to initiate change within the athletic department to improve the student-athlete experience and relations in the community. During this season, Ryan has helped set up the Irish Youth Hockey Clinics where he and his teammates host a free hockey clinic at a local arena -The Ice Box -where youth hockey players in the local community can participate in skill development and team-oriented small games.

He is the coordinator of the Robinson Learning Center’s involvement with the Notre Dame hockey team. The Robinson Center is a learning/schooling facility for inner-city kids. Once a month members of the team will go to the Robinson Center to inspire the students to set goals for themselves. They also teach the kids how to play hockey in a highly successful after-school program that was started two year ago by former player -Luke Lucyk. On Dec. 29, students from the Robinson Center attended an Irish home hockey game. Later in the winter, they will have a chance to skate at the Joyce Center with the team.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1. Here’s an interesting statistical analysis of Notre Dame’s Monday night men’s basketball win over #2 Pittsburgh, thanks to Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com: “Thanks to the game plan –which Pittsburgh guard Brad Wanamaker said he recognized as early as the opening possession –Notre Dame and Pitt traded a mere 48 possessions, the lowest number in any major-conference game to date this season. Upon hearing that his team accomplished such utter lack of pace, Brey called the news ‘music to my ears,’ according to CBS’s Matt Norlander. If Brey actually heard music, I’m betting it sounded like the first time he heard the Beatles. Of course, no matter how slow you play, youstill have to hit shots when it counts and, yeah, Notre Dame did that too. In fact, the Irish were even more efficient in late-clock situations, especially in the second half. Per ESPN Stats & Information, Notre Dame was 2-of-5from the field with more than 25 seconds left on the shot clock, 4-of-6 whenthere were between 11 and 25 seconds remaining, and 13-of-27 when there were 10 seconds or less left to shoot. That last mark includes a 10-for-15 performance in the second half. In all, the Irish scored 37 of their 56 points with less than 11 seconds on the shot clock Monday night. That’s just crazy. Of course, the late heroics of Ben Hansbrough are worth a mention. Though he didn’t shoot the ball well (he was 1-of-6 from 3), Hansbrough was still efficient thanks to his 7-of-8 mark from inside the arc. More importantly, he was unstoppable in five straight pick-and-roll situations in the last five minutes of the game, a crucial stretch that allowed Notre Dame to seize its small lead and hold on for the win in the closing minutes. Carlton Scott’s 16-point, nine-rebound game –which included a 5-of-6 night from beyond the arc –was also a huge boost. On defense, it certainly didn’t hurt that Pittsburgh –the nation’s No. 1-ranked offense, according to Ken Pomeroy –was unusually inefficient. As always, the rebound-happy Panthers grabbed a large percentage of their misses, but Pitt shot just 12-of-30 from inside the arc. Usually, Pittsburgh makes you pay on second chances. Against Notre Dame, no matter how many times Pitt got those second and third looks, it just couldn’t get the ball to go down. More than anything, though, Brey, Hansbrough and the rest of the Irish deserve credit for an intelligently crafted and masterfully executed plan. As Notre Dame knows, winning on the road isn’t easy. Winning on the road in the Big East isn’t easy. Winning on the road at Pittsburgh is, you know, not easy. But if you control the pace of the game, prevent turnovers and make a few shots when it counts and hope the other team misses, you can beat just about anyone. That’s what the road-weary Irish accomplished Monday night, and they earned a serious upset for their trouble.”

2. Another week, another version of Bracketology for men’s basketball. This week ESPN.com puts the Irish as a #4 seed overall in the East (Newark), playing in Chicago in the first round against #13 Oakland (the other game is #5 Florida vs. #12 UCLA/Wichita State). SI.com also has the Irish a #4 and also has them playing in Chicago against Oakland (the other game is projected as #5 Florida vs. #12 Memphis). All that came before Notre Dame’s win over #2 Pitt on Monday night.

3. Put this on your calendar -the 2011 Notre Dame Football Awards Show will be held Friday, Dec. 9, at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

4. How tough is it to beat a highly-ranked team on its own court, as the Irish men’s basketball team did Monday at #2 Pittsburgh? Check out these numbers. Since the Associated Press began its poll in 1948-49, the Irish men have played 60 games (seven in the NCAA Championships) against teams ranked #1 or #2 (13 Irish wins). Twenty-three of those (10 vs. #1, 13 vs. #2) have been played on the opponent home court -and Irish road wins have come at #2 UCLA in ’79, at #2 Connecticut in ’00 and Monday night at #2 Pittsburgh. Of those 23 on the road, venues have included UCLA (8 games), Duke (3), Connecticut (3), Indiana (2), DePaul (2), plus St. Louis, Marquette, North Carolina, Michigan and Pittsburgh (1 each).

5. Notre Dame senior guard Ben Hansbrough (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) has been named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for helping the Fighting Irish post a 2-0 record in league play last week. Hansbrough averaged 20.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists in wins over Cincinnati and Marquette. This marks the second time this season -and third time in his career -Hansbrough has been named to the league’s weekly honor roll. The other occurrence this season was on Nov. 22, while he was selected as the BIG EAST Player of the Week on Jan. 10. Hansbrough scored a career-high 28 points, in addition to grabbing five rebounds and dishing out six assists on Saturday in an 80-75 triumph of Marquette. It was his seventh 20-plus point effort of the season and it was the fourth time he notched six or more assists in a game. The senior guard registered 13 points, three rebounds and five assists on Wednesday in a 66-58 win over Cincinnati. Hansbrough went 5-6 from the free throw line in the final 1:18 to help secure the victory over the Bearcats.

6. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team has been selected to finish third in the annual BIG EAST preseason poll in voting done by theleague’s head coaches. Defending regular-season champ Georgetown was selected in the top spot, while Syracuse was picked for second. The Hoyas received four first-place votes to three for Syracuse and one for the Irish, with Loyola (Md.) also getting one vote. Overall, the Hoyas recorded 59 points with Syracuse getting 57. The Irish were third with 50 and were followed by Loyola in fourth with 47. Louisville (36), Rutgers (31), Connecticut (23), Cincinnati (14) and Villanova (11) round out the remainder of the standings. The BIG EAST also announced its preseason all-BIG EAST team and its preseason offensive and defensive players of the year. Notre Dame had three players selected to thepreseason all-BIG EAST team –senior midfielders Kailene Abt (Huntington, N.Y.) and Shaylyn Blaney (Stony Brook, N.Y.) along with senior defender Jackie Doherty (Ellicott City, Md.). For Blaney, this is her third appearance on the preseason all-BIG EAST team, while Abt and Doherty have been selected for the first time. The Irish, ranked 10th by Lacrosse magazine in the preseason poll, open the 2011 season Feb. 11 in Palo Alto, Calif., where the face the University of California in a 5:00 p.m. (PT) contest.

7. The Notre Dame women’s golf team compiled a 3.534 cumulative grade-point average, the best mark by an Irish squad for the 2010 fall semester.

8. The Notre Dame baseball team has announced two changes to its 2011 schedule. The Irish will also make at least three national television appearances this spring. Notre Dame’s series opener against West Virginia, which originally was scheduled at 5:35 p.m. (ET) on Friday, April 15, will now take place at 7:00 p.m. (ET) and air on ESPNU. Notre Dame will travel to league foe Louisville to close the regular season and each of the final two games of the series will be featured on CBS College Sports. The first contest will air at 7:00 p.m. (ET) on Friday, May 20 (originally scheduled for 6:00 p.m. [ET]), while the next meeting with the Cardinals will be broadcast at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, May 21. What’s more, the official Fighting Irish athletics website (www.und.com) is planning to produce free live webcasts of several homegames that have not been picked up for commercial television broadcast.

9. Interested in going back to college for a couple days? And, waking up the echoes at the same time? Well, if so, the 2011 Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp is for you. The camp not only enables you to live out your childhood Irish football fantasies as an adult, but also will completely immerse you back into the collegiate atmosphere. 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 Dame 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. You 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. The Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp will allow you to develop a personal and active association with all of the Irish football facilities -including Notre Dame Stadium, Guglielmino Athletics Complex, Isban Auditorium, Haggar Varsity Fitness Center, Morse Recruiting Lounge, LaBar Practice Complex, Monogram Room, Naimoli Family Club Room in Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, Schivarelli Alumni Players’ Lounge, Basilica of the Sacred Heart and many other notable facilities around the historic campus. You will become a Notre Dame football player. You will go through all the practices, training tables and meetings during the week. On Blue/Gold game day, you will dress in the Notre Dame Stadium locker room donning authentic ND gear head to toe -from the famous gold helmets to adidas cleats. After mass and the traditional pre-game speech, you will slap the “Play Like A Champion” sign and sprint out of the tunnel onto the field at Notre Dame Stadium in front of family, friends and fans. You will be provided with all practice and game apparel, as well as other Notre Dame memorabilia and gifts, including a team photo and keepsake DVD from the Blue-Gold Fantasy Football Game to relive the memories. Cost for this year’s camp is $4,995. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Notre Dame Monogram Club. The Notre Dame Monogram Club provides support to current student-athletes and engages both former and current student-athletes in service, scholarship, support, recognition and fellowship and to maintain the rich tradition and legacy of Notre Dame Athletics. You can register by clicking here or direct questions to Chad Klunder, Director of Football Operations, Phone: 574-631-8643 –Email: cklunder@nd.edu.

10. For the second time this season, Notre Dame sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) has been named to the BIG EAST Conference Women’s Basketball Weekly Honor Roll. Diggins, who previously earned the accolade on Dec. 6, was one of five players chosen for this week’s honor, 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 (both against ranked opponents), Diggins averaged 14.5 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game with a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio (12 assists, six turnovers) as the Fighting Irish registered back-to-back wins over Top 25 opponents for the first time in nearly six years, defeating No. 16/17 Georgetown (80-58) and No. RV/23 St. John’s (69-36) at Purcell Pavilion.

11. In conjunction with the final full season of hockey at the JoyceCenter, Notre Dame will select an All-Joyce Center Team to recognize the many great players who have patrolled Irish ice during the 43-year history of the building (1968-2011). Last week, with the help of several former coaches, assistant coaches and administrators who have been involved with the Notre Dame hockey program during that time period, all-decade teams were selected to cover four time periods from 1968-80, from 1980-89, from 1990-99 and the 2000-2011 seasons. Now it is the fans turn to select the All-Joyce Center Team by going to the Notre Dame website at und.com to vote for the top players in the program’s history. Voting is easy and simple to do. Go to the main page of the Notre Dame website (und.com) and at the center of the front page is a blockthat says Notre Dame Hockey All-Joyce Center Team -VOTE. Click on that block and it will take the voter to the page that includes the ballot for selecting the team and thumbnail bios of all the players selected to the four All-Decade Teams. Scroll down through the bios of the players to the ballot -All-JoyceCenter Team Ballot. There the voter just needs to click on the players theywould like to select. VOTERS MUST VOTE for THREE goaltenders, SIX defensemen and NINE forwards with the votes then being used to select the top 18 players of the Joyce Center era of Irish hockey. At the bottom of the ballot, the voter must type in his email address and a group of characters to verify the vote. From there, click on Submit and the vote will be recorded. ONE VOTE PER DAY PER PERSON. The voting will continue until Feb. 20 at 5:00 p.m. EST. The All-Joyce Center Team (second and third teams) will then be announced during the weekprior to Saturday, Feb. 26 –when the Irish face Western Michigan in the regular-season finale. At the final game, the first team as selected by thefans will be announced and all team members in attendance at the game will be honored that night.

12. Interesting that Irish men’s basketball coach Mike Brey, late in his Saturday night post-game remarks following his team’s win over Marquette, said exactly what he planned to do Monday night in terms of using the “burn” offense against Pittsburgh. Then his players went out and executed it to near perfection. They did it without second-leading scorer Tim Abromaitis attempting even a single shot from the field.

13. The next Blue-Gold Day at Meijer is Friday (Jan. 28) from noon-1p.m. ET at the Portage Road Meijer in South Bend. Notre Dame head men’s basketball coach Mike Brey will be making a special appearance from noon-12:30 p.m. ET for autographs and photos. Fans can also enter for a chance to win 26 pairs of tickets. From noon-1 p.m. ET free tickets will be given away through an enter-to-win contest (fans must enter and be present to win). The tickets available on Friday include:

–5 pair men’s basketball vs. Rutgers 2/6
–5 pair men’s basketball vs. Louisville 2/9
–2 pair hockey vs. Miami 1/28
–3 pair hockey vs. Miami 1/29
–5 pair women’s basketball vs. Syracuse 2/1
–5 pair women’s basketball vs. Seton Hall 2/8
–1 pair baseball dinner 2/10

The Portage Road Meijer is located at 3600 North Portage Road, SouthBend, Ind.

Monday, January 24, 2011

1. Former Notre Dame basketball player Scott Paddock has been named president of Chicagoland Speedway. Paddock has spent the last 15 years in sports marketing, most of those with Gatorade as director of sports marketing. He worked with NASCAR and other professional and collegiate sports in that role. Paddock will be responsible for all operations of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Speedway. Paddock, who lives in Orland Park, Ill., is a 1990 Notre Dame graduate. He played on four straight NCAA Championships-qualifying teams with the Irish from ’87 through ’90.

2. You’ve seen plenty of great individual efforts by Notre Dame players in men’s basketball games at the Joyce Center/Purcell Pavilion. And you’ve seen plenty of great shooting and scoring exhibitions. But you may not have seen a better all-around show at both ends of the floor than what Ben Hansbrough displayed Saturday night in Notre Dame’s comeback win over Marquette.

3. The best line from the Notre Dame Football Awards Ceremony Saturday afternoon at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center? It came from Notre Dame assistant coach Chuck Martin, who was presenting the first award for the Scout Team Player of the Year on offense: “At Grand Valley (where Martin was head coach), the MVP award was smaller and lighter than this.”

4. Seen at the football awards event and at the Notre Dame-Marquettebasketball game Saturday night -former Irish football All-American Jeff Burris, now doing some coaching and media work in Indianapolis.

5. Wonder why Kyle Rudolph opted for the NFL? Mike Mayock of the NFLNetwork (he saw Rudolph via his work on Notre Dame home games) rates Rudolphthe #1 tight end in the draft. Next are Lance Kendricks (Wisconsin), Luke Stocker (Tennessee), D.J. Williams (Arkansas) and Charles Clay (Tulsa).

6. Biggest applause at the football awards show was for any mention of the end of the losing streak against USC.

7. Dr. David Bankoff is retiring as one of the Irish football team physicians after 30 years in that role -and at the football awards event athletics director Jack Swarbrick and long-time Irish athletics trainer Jim Russ presented him with a green football jersey with his name on the back and a framed collage of photos.

8. Devereaux Peters dominated inside with 14 points, 10 rebounds andfive blocks to lead #10 Notre Dame’s women’s basketball squad to a 69-36 rout of #23 St. John’s on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion. Becca Bruszewski scored 19points on 8-of-11 shooting for the Fighting Irish (17-4, 6-1 BIG EAST). The Red Storm (14-6, 3-4) shot 32 percent, with no player reaching double figures. Leading scorer Shenneika Smith was held to seven points on 3-of-8 shooting.Da’Shena Stevens had nine rebounds, but missed all seven free-throw attempts. Notre Dame outrebounded the Red Storm 42-31. On the final play of the first half,Skylar Diggins drove and dished to Natalie Achonwa, whose layup as time expired gave the Fighting Irish a 39-21 lead. Diggins had six assists. Notre Dame set a school record with its 11th win of the season by at least 30 points, topping the old mark of 10 30-point wins set in 2000-01. In two games last week, the Fighting Irish defeated a pair of ranked teams (#16/17 Georgetown and #RV/23 St. John’s) by an average of 27.5 points per game. Prior to Tuesday’s 22-point win over Georgetown, Notre Dame had not defeated a ranked team by more than 17 points since Feb. 25, 2004 (93-58 at home over #21/19 Miami), but the Fighting Irish have done just that in consecutive games this last week. Notre Dame defeats ranked opponents in back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 30 and Feb. 2, 2005, when the Fighting Irish won at #9/10 Connecticut (65-59) and at home against #16/13 Boston College (64-57). The 36 points by St. John’s are the fewest Notre Dame has allowed to a ranked opponent since Jan. 24, 2004,when the Fighting Irish edged No. 23/25 Villanova, 38-36 at Purcell Pavilion.

9. The Fighting Irish men’s tennis team earned a 6-1 victory over William & Mary to open the 2011 season Saturday in Williamsburg, Va. The Irish dominated the Tribe when they won five singles and three doubles competitions. Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hill Christian) and Sam Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) both posted 6-3, 6-1 victories when competing at No.1 and No.5 singles, respectively. Competing at No.2 singles, Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) also recorded a win to open his junior campaign, posting 6-3, 5-2 (retired) in a victory over the Tribe’s Ben Guthrie. Adding another point for the Irish, Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest School) earned a singles win as he made quick work of Adrian Vodislav at No. 6 singles 6-0, 6-1, the same opponent he faced in 2010. William and Mary got on the board when Jamie Whiteford defeated Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) 1-6, 6-3, 10-7, but it wasn’t enough to limit the Irish. Notre Dame’s doubles play mimicked that of singles action as the Irish won all three matches. At No. 1 doubles Stephen Havens and Tyler Davis downed Sebastien Vidal and Jamie Whiteford 8-4. Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) recorded an 8-5 victory over the duo of Anton Andersson and Ben Guthrie. Closing out doubles play, Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) and Watt battled and secured the doubles point against Ilja Orrie and Adrian Vodislav, winning 8-7.

10. Notre Dame junior wide receiver Michael Floyd captured the 2010 Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award at the 90th Notre Dame Football Awards Ceremony. Floyd was selected in a vote by the Fighting Irish football team and the MVP award was one of 11 presented Saturday afternoon at the show sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley. Floyd (St. Paul, Minn.) led the Irish with 79 receptions for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 79 catches ranked second in Notre Dame single-season history, while his 12 touchdowns tied for fourth most in a season and his 1,025 receiving yards ranked seventh.

Senior running back Robert Hughes received the Nick Pietrosante Award. The Pietrosante Award is given to the student-athlete who best exemplified the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride of the late Irish All-America fullback. Pietrosante, Notre Dame’s leading rusher in 1957 and ’58 (and later a number-one draft pick and two-time all-pro selection with the Detroit Lions), died of cancer on Feb. 6, 1988. The recipient is determined by a vote of the players and past winners have included Kyle McCarthy, Maurice Crum Jr., Mike Anello, John Carlson, Jeff Faine, Aaron Taylor, Tom Zbikowski and Chris Zorich. Hughes (Chicago, Ill.) finished the year with a modest 300 yards rushing and two touchdowns, but his efforts in 2010 far exceeded those numbers. He totaled 15 yards on five carries over Notre Dame’s first six games, but following the season-ending injury to fellow senior Armando Allen Jr., Hughes recorded 285 yards on 63 carries over the final six contests of the regular season, including 69 yards on 11 carries against USC and 81 yards on 27 carries in the Hyundai Sun Bowl versus Miami (Fla.). He rumbled for 36 yards alone on a seven play, 77-yard go-ahead touchdown drive against the Trojans, capping the march with a five-yard touchdown plunge to help the Irish snap USC’s eight-game winning streak in the series.

Sophomore offensive tackle Zack Martin (Indianapolis, Ind.) won the Guardian of the Year Award from the Guardian Life Insurance Company (a sponsor of Irish football on ISP radio broadcasts) as the top offensive lineman. One of four players on the Irish offensive line to start all 13 games this year, Martin opened 11 contests at left tackle, two at right tackle and was predominantly responsible for blocking the blindside of Notre Dame’s quarterbacks. He was a key reason the Irish allowed only 20 sacks in 2010, which averaged out to 1.54 per game. Notre Dame has not allowed fewer sacks per game since 1998. Martin also earned the Jimmy Rogers, Jr. Most Valuable Lineman Award following the Hyundai Sun Bowl victory over Miami (Fla.).

Senior nose guard Ian Williams (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) claimed theLineman of the Year Award by the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Williams, who missed the final four games of the regular seasonwith a knee injury, started nine games and finished the season with 38 tackles, 17 solo stops, 21 assisted tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss (18 yards), 1.5 sacks (16 yards), one interception and one pass breakup.

Senior place kicker David Ruffer (Oakton, Va.) was honored with the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award. Ruffer, who was named to the 2010 First Team ESPN Academic All-America Football Team, earned a 3.90 grade-point average while studying economics. He excelled on the field as well. Ruffer was a finalist for the 2010 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Discover Orange Bowl. He converted the first 23 field goal attempts of his career to set a school record. Ruffer’sstreak was the longest in the Football Bowl Subdivision when it ended. He also established a school record for consecutive field goals made in a single season with 18. Ruffer’s 18 field goals in 2010 ranked third-best in school history. He also became the second kicker in Irish history to convert a pair of 50-yard field goals in the same season.

Freshman quarterback Tommy Rees captured the inaugural Next Man In Award. Rees stepped into action following the season-ending injury of junior Dayne Crist in the Tulsa game. He proceeded to complete 33 of 54 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns versus the Golden Hurricane. Rees was the first Irish freshman quarterback to ever throw four touchdown passes in a single game. His 334 yards passing was the most ever by a quarterback that did not start thegame. Rees’ 300-yard passing game was the 35th in school history and second-ever by a Notre Dame freshman.

Rees (Lake Forest, Ill.) led the Irish to four consecutive victories to end the 2010 season, including a win over No. 15 Utah, a victory over archrival USC and a rout of Miami (Fla.) in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. He completed 61.0 percent of his passes (100 of 164) for 1,106 yards and 12 touchdowns. Rees registered a passing efficiency rating of 132.0. Rees’ 12 touchdown passes set a single-season freshman school record. He also established a single-seasonfreshman record in completion percentage (.610). Rees became the first freshman quarterback in Notre Dame history to ever lead the Irish to a victory in a bowl game. He was also the first-ever, first-year starter (regardless of class) to lead Notre Dame to a bowl game victory.

Other awards handed out included: Offensive Scout Team Player of theYear to freshman running back Cameron Roberson, Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year to freshman linebacker Kendall Moore, Offensive Newcomer of the Year to sophomore tight end Tyler Eifert, Defensive Newcomer of the Year to freshman linebacker Prince Shembo and Special Teams Player of the Year to freshman wide receiver Bennett Jackson.

11. The Notre Dame fencing team opened its 2011 season with 11 combined wins at the New York University Invitational on Saturday at the Jerome S. Coles Sports Center in New York, as the women recorded a 6-0 ledger and the men posted a 5-1 mark. Epeeist Ewa Nelip (14-2) and foilist Ariel DeSmet (11-0) led the way for the women’s and men’s squads, respectively. The women notched victories over Yale (22-5), sixth-ranked Columbia (20-7), seventh-ranked Northwestern (16-11), fifth-ranked St. John’s (16-11), NYU (20-7) and 10th-ranked Ohio State (17-10). The men secured wins over Yale (19-8), eighth-seeded Columbia (21-6), Stevens Tech (21-6), NYU (23-4) and fifth-seeded Ohio State (19-8). The lone blemish came against third-seeded St. John’s (12-15).

12. The Notre Dame men’s tennis team fell to first-ranked Virginia by a 9-1 final score on Sunday at the Boyd Tinsley Courts at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va. The loss moves Notre Dame to a 1-1 record to start the dual season. The match followed a format of eight singles matches and four doubles matches. In singles action, No. 122 Tyler Davis started the season at the No. 7 spot for the Irish. The team captain earned the lone victory for Notre Dame, defeating Julen Uriguen 7-6(3), 6-4. The Irish return to actionFriday when they square off against Illinois at the National Team Indoor Qualifier in Champaign, Ill. The match is set to begin at 2:00 (CT).

13. The Notre Dame fencing team enjoyed a perfect day at the St. John’s Duals on Sunday in Taffner Field House in Jamaica, N.Y. Both the men’s and women’s squads ended the day with matching 5-0 records and beat the second-seeded team in each of their respective polls. The men got theirfive wins with victories over fifth-ranked Ohio State (17-10), fourth-rankedPenn State (20-7), second-ranked Harvard (16-11), third-ranked St. John’s (15-12) and eighth-ranked Columbia. The women knocked off 10th-ranked Ohio State (18-9), second-ranked Penn State (15-12), third-ranked Harvard (16-11), fifth-ranked St. John’s (15-12) and sixth-ranked Columbia (14-13). After the weekend’s events the men sit with a record of 10-1, while the women ended with a perfect mark of 11-0.

14. The Notre Dame hockey team regrouped and remembered what it takes to win on the road Saturday night as the Irish got timely scoring, strong special teams play and stellar goaltending from sophomore Mike Johnson in knocking off Ohio State, 4-1, at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Johnson rebounded from being pulled in Friday’s 6-1 loss to the Buckeyes by stopping 29 of 30 shots on the way to his 13th win of the season as the Irish improved to 6-5-2 on theroad this season. Anders Lee paced the Notre Dame offense with a pair of goals while Ben Ryan and David Gerths scored solo goals for the Irish. DefensemanShane Sims had the lone goal for Ohio State. Notre Dame’s special teams scored two power-play goals while holding OSU to one on five chances in the game. The win improved the eighth-ranked Irish to 16-9-3 on the season and 13-6-1-1 in the CCHA, good for 41 points in the standings. Ohio State fell to 13-10-1 on the year and 8-8-2-2 in the conference.

15. When it was time to make a move, Notre Dame knew exactly where to turn. Ben Hansbrough scored a career-best 28 points and keyed a second-half spurt that rallied the 16th-ranked Fighting Irish to an 80-75 men’s basketball victory over Marquette on Saturday night at Purcell Pavilion. Hansbrough, who shot 10 of 15 from the field and 6 of 6 at the foul line, scored seven straight points during a decisive sequence midway through the second half to help the Fighting Irish (16-4, 5-3 Big East) come back from a 12-point deficit. Tyrone Nash added 13 points for Notre Dame, which improved to 13-0 at home.Atkins scored 12 and Scott Martin 10. Carleton Scott had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Darius Johnson-Odom had 25 points to pace Marquette (13-7, 4-3). Jae Crowder added 15 before fouling out and Jimmy Butler scored 12. The score was 57-all with 10:28 to go and time was running out on the shot clock when Hansbrough threw up an off-balance 3-pointer from the corner that found itsmark. The shot gave Notre Dame its first lead since early in the game and sent the crowd into a frenzy. Just 80 seconds later, Hansbrough picked an open lane and drove in for a dunk. A minute later it was his layup that gave Notre Dame a 64-60 lead. Trailing by 11, Notre Dame went on a 13-2 tear to tie it at 53 with 14:20 to go on two free throws by Hansbrough. After a strong first half, Marquette went cold in the second, shooting only 9 of 30. The Irish shot 53.5 percent for the game and outrebounded the Golden Eagles 32-25. Still, NotreDame was in trouble before Brey went to a zone defense against a team that had been shooting well from 3-point range. The Irish went 28 of 36 from the free throw line, while Marquette was 15 for 17. Marquette, which hit 12 3-pointers in its 22-point home win over Notre Dame on Jan. 10, started out quick from beyond the arc again, nailing three of its first four attempts. The Golden Eagles jumped out to an 11-4 lead before Notre Dame scored seven straight points to tie it. A 12-footer by Crowder gave Marquette a 33-23 advantage with 6:05 left in the first half. Marquette pushed the lead to 12 before ending the half with a 45-36 lead. The Golden Eagles shot 61.5 percent, led by Johnson-Odom’s 15 points.

16. The Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams concluded the Notre Dame Invitational Saturday inside the Loftus Sports Center in Notre Dame, Ind. Sophomore Rebecca Tracy(Barrington, Ill./Barrington) clocked the second-best mile time in the nation in 4:42.14. The men’s and women’s teams had a bountiful meet with 14 first-place finishes. In addition to Tracy, sophomore Lauren Leniart (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons) claimed the crown in the long jump (5.47m). Freshman Kelly Burke (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) placed first in the triple jump, leaping 11.37m, and senior Rudy Atang (Houston, Texas/St. Pius X) rounded out the women’s victories with a shot put throw of 14.94m. The men added 10 first-place finishes to the final results for the Irish. Freshman Jarrod Buchanon (South Bend, Ind./Clay) ran 8.42 to finish first in the 60-meter hurdles. Freshman Patrick Feeney (Indianapolis, Ind./New Palestine) added to the sprint victories, capturing the 400-meter dash in 48.17 and sophomore Brendan Dougherty (Sioux City, Iowa/Bishop Heelan Catholic) won the 500-meter dash in 1:05.31. 2010 indoor All-American Jack Howard (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) finished first in the 800 meters in 1:52.64. Sophomore Jeremy Rae (Fort Erie, Ontario/Lakeshore Catholic) stopped the clock at 2:22.53 to capture the crown in the 1,000 meters. Senior Ryan Gamboa (Upland, Calif./Upland) crossed the line in 4:08.98 to place first in the mile. Among the men’s field events, junior Patrick Glass (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) jumped 13.71m in the triple jump to finish first, while junior Kevin Schipper (Leo, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) earned a victory (5.10m) in the pole vault. Senior Greg Davis (Peachtree, Ga./Starr’s Mill) threw 17.68m to capture first place in the weight throw. The men’s 1,600-meter relay rounded out the victories for the Irish, finishing in 3:18.92. The Irish return to action Friday and Saturday at the Indiana Relays in Bloomington, Ind. and Wisconsin Multi-Event in Madison, Wis.

17. Despite six individual wins on the night, the Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving squad narrowly lost to Michigan State, 155.5-144.5 Friday in East Lansing. The contest was dramatically closer than last year’s dual meet in which Michigan State rolled to a 179-121 win in South Bend. The Irish (5-3) effort was led by sophomore Bill Bass who won the 200 fly and 400 IM. Bass was joined by Frank Dyer (1,000 free), Kevin Overholt (50 free), Michael Sullivan (500 free) and Eric Lex (3-meter) as first-place finishers. The Spartans took the early lead by winning four of the first five events. However, Bass and Overholt replied with two straight first-place finishes, winning the 200 fly and 50 free, respectively. Starting with the 1-meter diving contest, Michigan State came back with four consecutive victories to distance themselves from Notre Dame. Despite an Irish rally, which included winning the last three events of the evening, Notre Dame still came up just short. The Irish will be back in action when they play host to the annual Shamrock Invitational Friday and Saturday.

18. Brian Kelly Friday held a season wrap-up media event andleft behind a few tidbits:
–Theo Riddick may move back to running back for 2011.
–Expect it to be tough to maintain six spots for quarterbacks on the roster. Kelly indicated four is the workable number and suggested he has a plan for how to do it but had not yet spoken to the players involved.
–Kicker David Ruffer has been awarded a scholarship. He still needs approval to return for a fifth season.
–Recovering from surgeries since the Sun Bowl win are SeanCwynar (back and foot) and Jamoris Slaughter (ankle).

19. Michael Floyd said Friday teammate Robert Blanton texted him every day after the Sun Bowl, imploring Floyd to return for his final year.

20. Notre Dame’s 2010 NCAA champion women’s soccer team was honored at the men’s basketball game against Marquette Saturday at Purcell Pavilion, including presentations by South Bend mayor Steve Luecke and Ind. Rep. Joe Donnelly. Also honored at a timeout was Melissa Henderson for her Honda Award for women’s soccer.

21. Former Irish fencer Mariel Zagunis was honored last week at the Notre Dame-Cincinnati men’s basketball game for her 2010 sabre world championship. She sat courtside at the basketball game next to Jimmy Clausen who is back in school this semester to finish his final 15 hours. Seen after the game -Clausen chatting with former Irish basketball coach Digger Phelps along press row.

22. When Marquette coach Buzz Williams appeared in the interview room after the game Saturday night, he was already out of his coat and tie and into a #12 Green Bay Packers jersey.

23. Last Wednesday was the exact anniversary of Notre Dame’s 71-70 upset of UCLA from 1974 that ended the Bruins’ all-time record 88-game win streak. John Saunders did the Notre Dame-Cincinnati game for ESPN and Digger Phelps visited with him that afternoon and showed him exactly where the coaches and teams sat that day. At halftime Wednesday, the new Purcell Pavilion video boards showed the final seconds of the Irish upset from 37 years back.

24. Sitting courtside at the Notre Dame-Marquette basketballgame Saturday night was Phil Purcell, lead benefactor for Purcell Pavilion.

25. Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team last night stayed at the Westin in downtown Pittsburgh -same hotel where the New York Jets stayed prior to their game last night. The Steeler win prompted fireworks that literally shook the windows in the hotel.

26. Master of ceremonies Jack Nolan’s opening lines at the football awards show suggested the event’s new format would be like Brian Kelly’s offense: “fast-paced, exciting and we want to score a lot of points.”

27. In conjunction with the final full season of hockey at the JoyceCenter, Notre Dame will select an All-Joyce Center Team to recognize the many great players who have patrolled Irish ice during the 43-year history of the building (1968-2011). With the help of several former coaches, assistant coaches and administrators who have been involved with the Notre Dame hockey program during that time period, all-decade teams have been selected to cover four time periods from 1968-80, from 1980-89, from 1990-99 and the 2000-2011 seasons. Those names will go onto a ballot that will be available on the Notre Dame website at und.com beginning later today. Irish hockey fans will then be able to select three goaltenders, six defensemen and nine forwards with thevotes then being used to select the top 18 players of the Joyce Center era of Irish hockey. The all-Joyce Center Team will then be announced during the week prior to Saturday, February 26 -when the Irish face Western Michigan in the regular-season finale.

Today, we meet the All-Decade team representing 1990 through 2000. This group of 12 players represents the Notre Dame hockey program in its final years as a Division I Independent (1990-92) and the program’s return to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (1992-the present).

The 1990-2000 All-Decade Team
First Team
G -Matt Eisler
D -Benoit Cotnoir
D -Mark Eaton
F -Ben Simon
F -Dan Carlson
F -Jamie Ling

Second Team
G -Greg Louder
D -Tyson Fraser
D -Nathan Borega
F -David Bankoske
F -Brian Urick
F -Steve Noble

Special Mention
G -Forrest Karr
D -Jeremy Coe, Gary Gruber, Ben Nelsen, Matt Osiecki,
F -Brett Bruininks, Aniket Dhadphale, Joe Dusbabek, Tim Harberts, Curtis Janicke, Lou Zadra

The fourth All-Decade team covers the era from 2000 through the 2010season, a period of time that saw the Irish play in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association where they won two regular-season titles, two CCHA tournaments and advance to the NCAA Tournament four times (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009), including a trip to the Frozen Four in 2008. Here is the 2000-10 All-Decade team.

2000-10 All-Decade Team

First Team
G -David Brown
D -Ian Cole
D -Brett Lebda
F -Erik Condra
F -Rob Globke
F -Ryan Thang

Second Team
G -Jordan Pearce
D -Kyle Lawson
D -Wes O’Neill
D -Neil Komadoski
F -Aaron Gill
F -Mark Van Guilder
F -Kevin Deeth

Special Mention:
G -Morgan Cey
D -Noah Babin, Brett Blatchford, Tom Galvin, Evan Nielsen, Teddy Ruth, BrockSheahan
F -Dan Carlson, Connor Dunlop, Christian Hanson, David Inman, T.J. Jindra, Jason Paige, Calle Ridderwall, Garrett Regan, Ben Ryan, Josh Sciba, Yan Stastny, John Wroblewski

28. A school-record five Notre Dame men’s lacrosse players were selected in Friday’s Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Collegiate Draft. Midfielder Zach Brenneman became the highest pick in program history as he went fifth overall to the Long Island Lizards. Syracuse led all schools with seven players selected while Notre Dame and Maryland were next with five players drafted. The MLL Draft, which usually has been held in June, was moved up to January so the drafted players can begin their professional careers immediately following their 2011 college season. The Hamilton Nationals selected Fighting Irish midfielder David Earl in the third round (13th overall selection), while defenseman Kevin Ridgway also went to Hamilton five picks later. Long Island tabbed defenseman Sam Barnes in the fifth round (29th overall) and the Denver Outlaws picked long-stick midfielder Andrew Irving in the sixth round (33rd overall). All five Fighting Irish senior student-athletes have been named Inside Lacrosse preseason All-Americans. Brenneman also was voted as the BIG EAST PreseasonAttack Player of the Year by the league’s head coaches, while Earl, Ridgway and Barnes joined him on the 2011 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team. Stony Brook midfielder Kevin Crowley went first overall to Hamilton in Friday’s draft. The MLL is comprised of six teams and the draft features eight rounds and 48 totals picks. The Notre Dame program has produced 19 MLL draft picks in the past six years.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1. In conjunction with the final full season of hockey at the Joyce Center, NotreDame will select an All-Joyce Center Team to recognize the many great players who have patrolled Irish ice during the 43-year history of the building (1968-2011). With the help of several former coaches, assistant coaches andadministrators who have been involved with the Notre Dame hockey program during that time period, all-decade teams have been selected to cover four time periods from 1968-80, from 1980-89, from 1990-99 and the 2000-2011 seasons. Those all-decade players will be announced over the next week and will then go onto a ballot that will be available on the Notre Dame website at und.com beginning Jan. 24. Hockey fans will then be able to select three goaltenders, six defensemen and nine forwards with the votes then being used to select the top 18 players of the Joyce Center era of Irish hockey. The All-Joyce Center Team will then be announced during the week prior to Feb. 26 –when the Irish face Western Michigan in the regular-season finale. The first group of players selected is from 1968-1980 and covers the first 12 years of the program when the Irish were a Division I independent (1968-71) and then a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (1971-80).

1968-80 All-Decade Team

First Team
G -Dick Tomasoni
D -Jack Brownschidle
D -Bill Nyrop
F -Greg Meredith
F -Brian Walsh
F -Eddie Bumbacco

Second Team
G -Mark Kronholm
D -Bill Green
D -DonJackson
F -John Noble
F -Paul Regan
F -Phil Wittliff

Special Mention:
G -Len Moher
D -Steve Curry, Don Lucia, Mark Steinborn
F -John Campbell, Paul Clarke, Pat Conroy, Ray DeLorenzi, Don Fairholm, Clark Hamilton, Kevin Hoene, Kevin Humphreys, Larry Israelson, Tom Michalek, Kevin Nugent, Alex Pirus, Steve Schneider, Ian Williams

2. Former Notre Dame goalkeeper Philip Tuttle (Hooksett, N.H.) was selected in Tuesday’s Major League Soccer (MLS) Supplemental Draft. The SanJose Earthquakes took Tuttle in the second round with the 33rd overall pick. Tuttle came back from a knee injury suffered over the summer, while training with the Earthquakes, to start 13 matches for the Irish during the 2010 campaign. He posted a 7-4-2 record with two shutouts. Tuttle notched a 1.11 goals-against average and a .746 save percentage. He was named to the BIG EAST weekly honor roll on Oct. 25 after holding fifth-ranked Connecticut scoreless for 110 minutes in a 0-0 draw. For his career, Tuttle played in 33 games, including 29 starts. He registered a 16-10-4 record with nine clean sheets. Tuttle compiled a 0.98 goals-against average and a .742 save percentage. He earned three monogramswhile at Notre Dame. Tuesday’s draft consisted of three rounds and 54 totalpicks.

Notre Dame’s Jeb Brovsky, Bilal Duckett and Steven Perry were selected in last Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft. Brovsky and Duckett were picked by the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps FC, while the New England Revolution selectedPerry. Brovsky (M) was the first pick in the second round (19th overall selection) and Duckett (D) was the first pick in the third round (37th overall). Perry (F) went two picks after Duckett in the third round.

3. Skylar Diggins scored 17 of her 22 points in the first half and added six assists to lead #11 Notre Dame to an 80-58 win over #16 Georgetown on Tuesday night at Purcell Pavilion. Natalie Novosel added 19 points, Brittany Mallory had 14, and Devereaux Peters pulled down 12 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (16-4, 5-1 BIG EAST). Sugar Rodgers had 15 points and six rebounds, and Rubylee Wright added 13 points and six assists for the Hoyas (14-5, 2-3). Notre Dame finished the first half on an 11-2 run and went into the locker room with a 45-33 lead. Georgetown left six points on the board as the Hoyas missed the front-end of the bonus on three straight trips to the line in last few minutes of the half. Georgetown’s full-court press forced the Irish into three quick turnovers early in the second half before Novosel stole the ball for a layup that put the Irish up 59-42 with 14:44 to play. Notre Dame earned its first win over a ranked opponent in five outings this season. The 22-point margin of victory was the largest for the Fighting Irish against a Top 25 opponent since Feb. 25, 2004, when an unranked Notre Dame side knocked off #21/19 Miami (Fla.), 93-58 at Purcell Pavilion

4. This week’s SI.com (Sports Illustrated site) version of projected NCAA men’s basketball brackets has the Irish a #4 seed playing in Chicago versus #13 James Madison -wit the other bracket featuring #5 Illinois vs. the #12 seed, either Florida State or Colorado.

5. After all the bowl games were concluded, Notre Dame’s 2010 football schedule ranked the fourth most difficult in the country, according to NCAA numbers. Here are the top five: 1. Texas A&M 88-47 (.651), 2. Arkansas 85-48 (.639), 3. Auburn 90-51 (.638), 4. Notre Dame 90-53 (.629), 5. LSU 82-49 (.625). Other 2010 Irish opponents and their standings included Michigan 16th, Miami (Fla.) 20th, Purdue 25th, Michigan State and Boston College tied for 38th, Pittsburgh 45th, Stanford 47th, USC 64th, Utah 72nd, Tulsa 82nd, Navy 86th, Army 101st, Western Michigan 110th.

6. How do you deal with the mindset of your team when you’re coming off an NCAA runner-up finish? Irish men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan brought his squad back a couple of days early prior to the start of the spring semester and held two-a-day workouts Sunday and Monday to kick off the campaign. Notre Dame’s director of campus ministry, Father Joe Carey, got the preseason started with the right perspective Saturday night. Father Carey joined the Irish in the O’Leary team room of Arlotta Stadium where he celebrated Mass and provided some reflective inspiration for the Irish as they prepare to follow up on last year’s run to the NCAA title game. Father Carey asked the team members to remember the many reasonswhy they came to Notre Dame and spoke about the school’s restless desire for excellence. He went on to challenge each individual team member “to become the best version of themselves” and to then take that individual excellence and couple it with collective sacrifice for the team. The Irish open the season Jan. 30 in Orlando against the U.S. National Team. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

7. Two former Irish football assistants are on the move -Bryant Young from San Jose State to Florida, Greg Mattison from the NFL Baltimore Ravens to Michigan. Meanwhile, Sporting News reportedyesterday that former Irish quarterback coach Mike Sanford, currently offensive coordinator at Louisville (under Charlie Strong, another former Irish assistant), has interviewed for the vacant offensive coordinator slot at LSU.

8. Notre Dame track and field senior multi-events specialist Justin Schneider (Atlanta, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) was named BIG EAST Male Field Athlete of the Week, as announced by the league Tuesday afternoon. Schneider earned the honor afterwinning all of the heptathlon events except the 60-meter hurdles, which he placed second, at the Bob Eubanks Open. The senior totaled 5,497 points to break his school record of 5,339 points. That accomplishment made him the #1-ranked multi-events student-athlete in the nation according to tffrs.org.

9. Notre Dame fencers Courtney Hurley and Ariel DeSmet earned medalist honors at the recently completed North American Cup “C” in Dallas, Texas. Hurley earned the silver medal in women’s epee, while DeSmet captured the bronze in men’s foil. Hurley claimed second after earning a bid into the epee finals with wins over Katharine Holmes (15-7) in the quarterfinals andLindsay Campbell (12-11) in the semifinals. Hurley fell in the championshipbout to sister and former Irish fencer Kelley Hurley, 15-11. Meanwhile, DeSmet earned a share of third place after advancing to the table of eight then knocking off Benjamin Parkins in the quarterfinals (15-3), before falling to Alexander Massialas in the semifinals (15-5). All told, 21 Irish fencers competed at the North American Cup, with 10 of those fencers earning a top-20 result: Courtney Hurley (2nd, epee), Ariel DeSmet (3rd, foil), Barron Nydam(7th, sabre), Enzo Castellani (8th, foil), Lian Osier (9th, sabre), Avery Zuck (11th, sabre), Jason Choy (14th, sabre), Reggie Bentley (18th, foil), Hayley Reese (18th, foil) and Nick Kubik (19th, foil). Each of the three Irish signees for the 2011 season also were in action as Ashley Severson (17th) and Nik Nik Ameli (48th) competed in women’s epee, while Race Imboden (33rd) took to the strip on the men’s side in foil. Notre Dame graduates Kelley Hurley (1st, epee) and Adrienne Nott (8th, foil) also competed at the four-day tournament.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1. Notre Dame is one of 18 schools that sold out its entire 2010 home football season: Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Texas, Georgia, LSU, Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Texas Tech, Louisville, Utah, Cincinnati and Boise State.

2. Harrison Smith’s three interceptions in the Hyundai Sun Bowl against Miami earned him a spot at safety on the ESPN.com 2010 All-Bowl Team.

3. ESPN’s latest version of Bracketology has the Irish men’s basketball team a #4 seed in Tampa playing #13 James Madison, with #5 Florida playing #12 Belmont on theother side. All that is part of the projected Southeast (New Orleans) region.

4. There are two key dates coming up for the University of Notre Dame football team -and und.com will provide full exclusive live coverage of both events. The 2010 Football Awards Show will be broadcast live on und.com Saturday (Jan. 22), starting with a preview show at 4:15 p.m. ET.

CLICK THIS LINK for more information on the 2010 Football Awards Show.

The preview show, hosted by und.com’s Jack Nolan, will run a half hour and provide an exclusive look inside the pre-show reception andhave interviews with Irish players and coaches. The preview show ends at 4:45 p.m. ET, when viewers will then be taken inside the beautiful Leighton Auditorium inside the DeBartolo Performing Arts center for the 2010 Notre Dame Football Award Show (set to begin at 5:00 p.m. ET).

Und.com would also like to announce that live exclusive coverage of football signing day will return on Feb. 2. Beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET, und.com will be live on the air from the Guglielmino Athletics Complex providing exclusive confirmation of letter-of-intent fax arrivals, interviews with Irish coaches and players and exclusive interviews with early-enrolledstudent-athletes.

5. University of Notre Dame head women’s soccer coach Randy Waldrum has been named the 2010 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Mondo Division I National Coach of the Year, it was announced Friday night during the NSCAA’s annual awards banquet held at the association’s annual convention in Baltimore. This marks the third consecutive season in which Waldrum has been singled out for a national coaching honor. In 2008, he wasnamed the FieldTurf Tarkett Division I National Coach of the Year and received that award at the NSCAA convention. Last season, Waldrum was tabbed as the Soccer America Division I National Coach of the Year. He also has garnered eight regional coach-of-the-year and conference coach-of-the-year citations during his career.

Under Waldrum’s steady hand, 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. What’s more, the Fighting Irish were handed arguably the most difficult path to a championship in the tournament’s history, having to go through five ranked teams and four seeded opponents, including top-seeded North Carolina and Stanford (the latter was unbeaten prior to falling to Notre Dame, 1-0 in the NCAA final). Furthermore, the Fighting Irish had to win consecutive matches on the road (at UNC and Oklahoma State) just to reach the College Cup, markingjust the third time in tournament history that a team won back-to-back roadmatches in the third round and quarterfinal rounds of the Championship.

In his 12 seasons at Notre Dame, Waldrum has led the Fighting Irish to unprecedented success, posting a 253-36-11 (.862) mark and winning nationalchampionships in 2004 and 2010. He also is just the seventh coach at Notre Dame (in any sport) to win multiple NCAA titles –a storied list that also includes legendary football coaches Frank Leahy (4), Knute Rockne (3) and Ara Parseghian (2), as well as heralded fencing skippers Michael DeCicco (4), Yves Auriol (2) and current Fighting Irish fencing coach Janusz Bednarski (2).

6. Kim Holden and Samantha Maxwell both earned a pair of individual wins for the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team Saturday at the Norris Aquatic Center in Evanston, Ill. But their efforts were not enough to boost the Irish to a pair of wins during the double-dual meet with Big Ten foes Northwestern and Michigan. The Irish (2-5) dropped their contest with Northwestern 189.5-110.5 while falling to Michigan 182-117.

Holden held court in the 100 and 200 backstroke events, while Maxwell went with her bread and butter -the 100 and 200 breaststroke -as the All-American flexed her dominance over a solid field.

Notre Dame returns to the pool Jan. 28-29 when it plays hosts to the Shamrock Invitational at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.

7. The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse coaching staff will be offering a free coaches clinic Feb. 5-6. The clinic will take place inside the Loftus Sports Center, the Arlotta Stadium video room and the Isban Theatre inside the Guglielmino Athletics Complex on the Notre Dame campus. The Fighting Irish coaching staff is opening its doors to high school, travel and youth coaches across the country so they can gain valuable insight into a top-level collegiate program.

On Feb. 5, the clinic will feature a video breakdown seminar of Notre Dame’s exhibition game versus the U.S. National Team, which will be played Jan. 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. A question-and-answer session with the Notre Dame staff will be held during and after the video session.

Coaches attending the clinic will have complete access to Notre Dame’s practice that night inside the Loftus Sports Center. There will be a post-practice question-and-answer session with the Irish coaches.

On Feb. 6, the clinic coaches will have sideline access to Notre Dame’s scrimmages against Denison, a top 10 team from Division III, and Robert Morris, a top 25 Division I program. There also will be a “chalk talk” session with the coaches from Notre Dame, Denison and Robert Morris.

Please forward all questions to Kevin Dugan, Notre Dame’s Director of Lacrosse Operations, at kdugan1@nd.edu. If coaches want to be added to the NDLU mailing list, send an e-mail to Dugan or you can send him your coaching e-mail list and he will add them. The Fighting Irish coaching staff hopes to make this event the top lacrosse clinic in the Midwest. They want the clinic to be anannual event that coaches can attend with members of their respective programs. Over 50 coaches from New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Canadaalready are registered.

8. The University of Alaska scored twice in the first 4:23 of the game on Saturday night and goaltender Scott Greenham made it stand up as the Nanooks snapped Notre Dame’s four-game hockey unbeaten streak (3-0-1) with a 4-1 win in front of a sellout crowd at the Joyce Center. Defenseman Scott Enders and forward Jarret Granberg staked Alaska to the quick 2-0 lead and added goals in the third period by Carlo Finucci and Nik Yaremchuk on the way to the important CCHA road win. Greenham stopped 26 of 27 shots to pick up his 10th win of the season. Freshman Mike Voran scored the lone goal for the Irish.

The loss dropped the eighth-ranked Irish to 15-8-3 overall and 12-5-1-1 in the CCHA. They remain in first in the conference with a one-point lead over Michigan and the Wolverines have one game in hand. Alaska improves to 10-8-4 overall and is back to .500 in the conference with a 7-7-4-2 record in the league.

On Friday night, Irish sophomore goaltender Mike Johnson stopped 34 of 35 Alaska shots and got goals from Anders Lee and Nick Larson as Notre Dame held off the Nanooks for a 2-1 win in front of a sell-out crowd of 2,857 at the Joyce Center. Johnson was 23 seconds away from his first shutout of the season when Alaska’s Aaron Gens was able to bang a centering pass behind him with the Nanooks playing with a sixth attacker.

9. The Notre Dame women’s basketball team will take part in the first-ever Pink Zone Spin-A-Thon on Saturday morning at the Knollwood Country Club in Granger. Fighting Irish players, as well as staff members, including head coach Muffet McGraw, will be on hand from 9:30-10:30 a.m. (ET) to ridestationary bikes and provide encouragement for other riders in the unique event, which begins at 8 a.m. (ET) Saturday and concludes at 8 a.m. (ET) Sunday. This year’s event is a collaboration between the Notre Dame women’sbasketball team, the Notre Dame College of Science and Knollwood Country Club. The goal is to fill 20 spinning bikes for the entire 24 hours and raise $24,000 for the Pink Zone initiative, a global effort by the members of the Women’sBasketball Coaches Association (WBCA) to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. Teams of riders, or individuals are welcome to participate in the event, with a tax-deductible donation of $50 per hour per bike. Supporters who do not wish to ride in the event also may donate to a volunteer that will be riding –several individuals already have indicatedthey will be riding for four or more hours, and three people plan to ride for the full 24 hours.

In addition to the Notre Dame women’s basketball team, several othermembers of the Fighting Irish athletics family will be taking part in this year’s Spin-A-Thon, including softball head coach Deanna Gumpf and her assistants Kris Ganeff and Lizzy Lemire; women’s golf head coach Susan Holt and her assistant Kyle Veltri; and Paqui Kelly, the wife of Notre Dame footballhead coach Brian Kelly. Funds raised at the Spin-A-Thon will be part of theoverall donation total generated by the Notre Dame women’s basketball programfor this year’s Pink Zone initiative. These funds will go to the Foundation of Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center’s Women’s Task Force, which includes Secret Sisters Society and Young Survivors Group.

10. The University of Notre Dame and head rowing coach Martin Stone recently announced his program’s 2011 spring schedule. The six-race ledger provides the Irish with several challenging races, which gets underway with a three-team regatta against Alabama and Minnesota at Melton Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on March 13. Two weeks later, the Irish return to the water for another three-team regatta, this time against the likes of Indiana and Purdue in Indianapolis, Ind. on March 27. The squad then breaks for three weeks before heading out west to Sacramento, Calif., to compete in the Gold River Challenge (April 16-17). The Irish close out April with hopes of capturing their eighth straight BIG EAST Conferencetitle when they head up to Cherry Hill, N.J. (April 30). The current streak of seven consecutive conference championships stands as the second-longest active Notre Dame jaunt behind women’s swimming and diving (14). The regular season schedule concludes with the U.S. Rowing Collegiate Championships (May 21-22) in West Windsor, N.J., before the NCAA Championships get underway in Sacramento, Calif. (May 27-29). The Irish look to return to the NCAAs for the first time since the 2007 season.

11. Skylar Diggins scored 20 points and #12 Notre Dame used an early 14-2 run to build a substantial lead en route to an 82-50 women’s basketball victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday. Devereaux Peters added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Natalie Novosel scored 15 for the Fighting Irish (15-4, 4-1 BIG EAST), who beat Pittsburgh (9-8, 1-3) for the 20th time in 23 games. The first-half run, ended by fast-break baskets by Diggins, allowed the Irish to break out of a six-all tie and take a 20-8 lead. They led 50-19 at halftime. Notre Dame, which hadlost its last two at Pitt, shot 46 percent (30 of 64) to Pitt’s 32.7 percent(16 of 49) and led 46-28 in rebounding.

12. St. John’s turned things around against Notre Dame with defense, smothering perimeter defense. Eight days after a 15-point men’s basketball loss at Notre Dame, St. John’s beat the Irish 72-54 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. It’s hard to imagine that two games played between the same teams just eight days apart could be more different. St. John’s, which trailed 45-22 at halftime the previous Saturday, led this game 26-19 at halftime, holding the Irish to a school-record low four field goals in the opening 20 minutes of a Big East game. Things didn’t change much in the second half as St. John’s continued to play strong perimeter defense while shooting 63.6 percent (14 of 22) from the field. They held the Irish, who entered shooting 36.9 percent from beyond the arc, to 3 for 15 (20 percent) for the game. Notre Dame shot 41 percent for the game (16 of 39), but the Red Storm finished at 48.9 percent. The Irish committed 20 turnovers, nine over their season average. Notre Dame really hurt itself at the free throw line, making 19 of 32 after entering the game at 73.5 percent, fourth in the conference. Ben Hansbrough, who had a career-high 26 points in the first meeting, led Notre Dame with 18 points. Notre Dame got within 37-31 with 13:18 left on a breakaway dunk by Hansbrough that capped a 6-0 run. The crowd of 8,550 started to sense things were going to turn around. But D.J. Kennedy hit his only 3-point attempt of the game 21 seconds later to restore the lead to nine points. St. John’s biggest lead was 55-36 on a drive by Dwight Hardy with 6:28 to play. Notre Dame went on a 10-2 run to get within 11, but Kennedy hit a hurried bank shot and was fouled for a three-point play with 4:15 remaining.

13. For the third week in a row, senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill.) has been named to the BIG EAST Conference Women’s Basketball Weekly Honor Roll, the league office announced Monday. Peters 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, Peters averaged 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game with a .722 field goal percentage (13-of-18) and a double-double as Notre Dame posted resounding BIG EAST wins over Louisville (80-60) and at Pittsburgh (82-50). Against Louisville, Peters dropped in a game-high 14 points (on 7-of-9 shooting), including eight in agame-changing 27-4 Fighting Irish run that crossed over halftime and blew the game open. Three days later at Pittsburgh, she collected her fourth double-double of the season (all in the past seven games) with 15 points (on 6-of-9 shooting) and a game-high 10 rebounds, to go along with four assists, two blocks and two steals. Peters currently ranks third on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game, while leading the squad in rebounding (6.5 rpg.), blocked shots (1.5 bpg.) and field goal percentage (.570), and ranking second in free throw percentage (.861) and steals (2.0 spg.). She also ranks among the BIG EAST leaders in field goal percentage (fourth), blocked shots (eighth),steals (14th), rebounding (19th) and scoring (29th).

14. Notre Dame used wins in nine events Friday at the Busbey Natatorium in Cleveland to hand host Cleveland State a 162-81 non-conference men’s swimming and diving defeat and to earn its second dualmeet victory in three days. The Irish sandwiched seven individual wins -including a pair off the diving boards -between claiming the gold in the opening and closing relays. In fact, Notre Dame posted a trio of 1-2-3 finishes on the day. Now riding a three-meet winning streak, Notre Dame (5-2) has not dropped a dual meet decision since a Nov. 6 loss to Purdue. The Irish will next be in action at Michigan State on Jan. 21.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

1. Devereaux Peters and Kayla McBride scored 14 points each as #12 Notre Dame cruised to an 80-60 women’s basketball victory over Louisville on Wednesday night at Purcell Pavilion. Skylar Diggins and Natalie Novosel scored 12 points each and Brittany Mallory and Becca Bruszewski added 11 each for the Irish (14-4, 3-1 BIG EAST). Asia Taylor had 16 points for Louisville (12-6,3-1). Shoni Schimmel scored 11 and Monique Reid added 10. Notre Dame used a16-2 run to close the first half and take a 37-22 lead at the break. Peters, who had sat out 10 minutes of the first half, scored eight points as the Irish opened the second half with an 11-2 run to take a 24-point lead. Their biggest advantage was 29 with 6:08 to go. Neither team could establish much in the first eight minutes of play. McBride hit a 10-footer to start an 8-1 run bythat gave Notre Dame a 17-13 lead with nine minutes to go in the half. Louisville shot around 30 percent for much of the game before finishing at 34 percent (21 for 61) -including four for 17 on three-pointers. Notre Dame was at 47 percent (26 for 55) overall and four for 10 on threes.

2. University of Notre Dame alumna Anne Thompson, NBC News correspondent and breast cancer survivor, will be the featured speaker at the Notre Dame women’s basketball Pink Zone luncheon at 11 a.m. (ET) on Feb. 12 inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The luncheon, which will precede the annual Notre Dame women’s basketball Pink Zone game at 2 p.m. that day (vs. Rutgers), isorganized by the College of Science to recognize researchers and physicians in the fight against cancer. Thompson, who is NBC News’ chief environmental affairs correspondent, began her broadcasting career at WNDU-TV in South Bend in 1979. In 2006, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She says her work at NBC was “part of the cure. It gave me purpose. It made me feel normal. 30 Rock became my cancer-free zone.” Raised and educated in Europe, Thompson received her high school diploma from the International School of Brussels in Belgium. She graduated from Notre Dame with a bachelor of arts in American studies.

The luncheon is organized by the College of Science and the Notre Dame women’s basketball team in conjunction with local physicians James Kelly and Rafat Ansari. The theme of the luncheon will be “Docs in Pink.” Physicians and researchers who fight against breast cancer daily in the hospital or in the lab will be recognized during the luncheon and the game. The women’s basketball team has played a major role in funding the Pink Zone initiative, contributing more than $150,000 to the fundraising effort during the past two years. Proceeds benefit the WBCA Pink Zone initiative, a global, unified effort of the WBCA to assist in raising awareness and support to women with breast cancer. The funds are dispersed among several local nonprofit organizations through the Foundation of Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center that assist with breast cancer screenings, education and support, as well as thenational organization Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund. The late Kay Yow, the Fund’snamesake and former North Carolina State University head women’s basketballcoach, was a past president and founding member of the WBCA, and a galvanizing voice for the Association. Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, and passed away in 2009 after facing her third bout with the disease.

Tickets for the luncheon are available through Notre Dame’s Murnane Family Ticket Office by calling (574) 631-7356 or visiting the ticket windows inside Gate 9 (Rosenthal Atrium) at Purcell Pavilion from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays. Tickets are $100 each, or $150 per couple, with corporate tables (10 seats) available for $1,000. Each ticket includes the luncheon, admission to the basketball game, a pre-game chalk talk by Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey and refreshments at Club Naimoli during the game. For more information on Notre Dame’s 2011 Pink Zone efforts, please visit the Pink Zone page at UND.com/pinkzone.

3. It had been nearly 20 years since Notre Dame posted a victory over Northwestern, but the Irish men’s swimming and diving team surged to a 160-140 victory over the Wildcats Wednesday at the Norris Aquatics Center in Evanston. Notre Dame improved to 4-2 in dual meets on the season with its first win over the Wildcats since the 1990-91 campaign. The victory soothed a 10-meet skid to the Big Ten foe during that stretch. Frank Dyer had three individual wins for Notre Dame with Eric Lex adding a pair. Petar Petrovic and Kevin Overholt also tacked on wins for the visitors.

“Count that as one big win for the Irish,” head coach Tim Welsh said. “Our team showed a great combination of speed and depth. Each team had eight wins, but what mattered most was the depth we showed in those races. This was a great win for us, and a good meet to build on for the rest of the season.”

The Irish are back in action at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow at Cleveland State.

4. Sports Illustrated (in its latest issue) says Notre Dame will qualify 24th in its preseasonprognostications for the 2011 football season, with the comment, “The Fighting Irish surged at the end of Brian Kelly’s first year. A healthy Dayne Crist at quarterback will direct the attack, and linebacker Manti Te’o will anchor an improved D.”

5. The new Capital One Cup standings for athletic excellence have Notre Dame in third place in the women’s division following the end of the fall seasons, based on the Irish NCAA title in soccer. Penn State leads the Women’s Cup list with 60 points, followed by Stanford (42), Notre Dame (40), California (36) and USC (30). Auburn and Eastern Washington lead the men’s side with 60 points. Points are awarded for NCAA top10 finishes in championships and final places in coaches’ polls.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1. Notre Dame ranks 16th in STACK magazine’s fourth annual survey of the colleges and universities with the best combination of academic and athletic excellence. The STACK Elite 50 College Rankings survey the country’s leading college sports programs based on academics, athletic opportunity and overall performance. The survey also includes specific rankings for 21 sports.

The survey’s methodology includes overall academic rankings based on the 2011 U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Colleges” survey (Notre Dame ranked 19th), athlete graduation rates (the current NCAA Academic Progress Rate figures), national sports-specific rankings (from ’08, ’09 and ’10, based on recognized polls), win-loss records over the last three seasons -and the STACK factor (strength of athletic community in terms of support and prowess through the 21 sports rated).

These are the top 20 universities in the STACK survey: 1. Stanford, 2. Florida, 3. Texas, 4. North Carolina, 5. Virginia, 6. UCLA, 7. Duke, 8. Texas A&M, 9. Ohio State, 10. USC, 11. Penn State, 12. Florida State, 13. Arizona State, 14. Alabama, 15. Georgia, 16. Notre Dame, 17. California, 18. Washington, 19. Oregon, 20. Tennessee. In previous STACK surveys, Notre Dame overall ranked 13th in 2007, tied for 14th in 2008 and 17th in 2009.

The STACK assessment of Notre Dame said, “The Irish are lucky, adding women’s basketball (10) and tennis (7) to last year’s four horsemen: men’s and women’s soccer (12 & 4), lacrosse (4) and hockey (5).”

STACK provides information and entertainment to high school athletes through its magazine, a Web site and other media.

Six Irish programs ranked among the top 15 in the country within their respective sports in the STACK survey. The Irish women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse programs both finished fourth, hockey stood fifth, women’s tennis seventh, women’s basketball 10th and men’s soccer 12th.

Here are the various tables in which Notre Dame rates mention in sports-specific ratings (individual sports charts included only the top 15 schools):

Women’s Soccer -1. Stanford, 2. UCLA, 3. North Carolina, 4. Notre Dame, 5. Portland, 6. Florida State, 7. Texas A&M, 8. USC, 9. Florida, 10. Virginia, 11. Boston College, 12. BYU, 13. Texas, 14. Duke, 15. Penn State. Notre Dame’s 1,000 APR figure tied Portland for the top number among these 15 institutions.

Men’s Lacrosse -1. Duke, 2. Virginia, 3. Syracuse, 4. Notre Dame, 5. Cornell, 6. North Carolina, 7. Maryland, 8. Princeton, 9. Brown, 10. Johns Hopkins, 11. Georgetown, 12. Navy, 13. Ohio State, 14. Army, 15. Villanova. Notre Dame’s 998 APR trailed only Villanova’s 1,000 figure.

Hockey -1. Michigan, 2. Miami, 3. Boston College, 4. Yale, 5. Notre Dame, 6. Denver, 7. Cornell, 8. Wisconsin, 9. New Hampshire, 10. Princeton, 11. North Dakota, 12. Boston University, 13. Colorado College, 14. Vermont, 15. Union. Notre Dame’s 994 APR trailed only the 1,000 by Boston University and the 995 by Princeton and Yale.

Women’s Tennis -1. Stanford, 2. Duke, 3. UCLA, 4. Florida, 5. California, 6. Northwestern, 7. Notre Dame, 8. USC, 9. North Carolina, 10. Michigan, 11. Georgia Tech, 12. Baylor, 13. Texas, 14. Georgia, 15. Tennessee. Notre Dame’s 1,000 APR number tied Stanford, Northwestern, Michigan and Tennessee.

Women’s Basketball -1. Stanford, 2. Connecticut, 3. Duke, 4. Ohio State, 5. Texas A&M, 6. Tennessee, 7. Oklahoma, 8. Baylor, 9. North Carolina, 10. Notre Dame, 11. Maryland, 12. California, 13. Vanderbilt, 14. Florida State, 15. Virginia. The top APR figures came from Oklahoma (995), Connecticut (990), Duke (990), Ohio State(993) and Notre Dame (989).

Men’s Soccer -1. Wake Forest, 2. Maryland, 3. North Carolina, 4. Virginia, 5. Akron, 6. Northwestern, 7. Harvard, 8. UCLA, 9. Duke, 10. California, 11. Ohio State, 12. Notre Dame, 13. Tulsa, 14. Connecticut, 15. Boston College. Notre Dame and Harvard at 993 trailed onlyNorthwestern at 97 in the APR numbers.

Here’s where you can read the complete STACK story: http://elite50.stack.com/

2. Notre Dame women’s lacrosse coach Tracy Coyne has announced that seniors Shaylyn Blaney (Stony Brook, N.Y.) and Jackie Doherty (Ellicott City, Md.) have been selected as team captains for the 2011 season. Blaney returns as captain after filling the role in 2010while Doherty will be serving as captain for the first time.

Blaney is a three-time monogram winner at Notre Dame and is recognized as one of the top all-around midfielders in both the BIG EAST and the nation. A two-time second team IWLCA All-American(’09, ’10), Blaney is an impact player at both ends of the field. She was the 2010 team’s Notre Dame Monogram Club most valuable player award winner after leading the Irish in goals (40) while finishing third in scoring with 43 points for the year. A first team all-BIG EAST selection in 2010, Blaney has now scored 40 or more goals in each of her first three seasons at Notre Dame.

Doherty came into her own in 2010, becoming just the second Notre Dame defensive player to be named first team IWLCA All-American along with former teammate Shannon Burke ’09 (2009). A tough, tenacious defender, Doherty was selected first-team all-BIG EAST in 2010 and ranks among the top defensive players in the nation. The winner of Notre Dame’s 2002 Award as the team’s top defender, Doherty led Notre Dame in ground balls (53) and caused turnovers (40) and was second in draw controls with 30. Her 53 ground balls equaled her career high set as a sophomore in 2009, while the 40 caused turnovers marked her best season ever and were the second-highest single-season total in theprogram’s history.

Blaneyand Doherty along with their Irish teammates will begin training for the 2011 season next week when they return to Notre Dame from the Christmas break. The Irish women’s lacrosse team will open the regular season on the road as the Irish travel to California to face the University of California on Friday, Feb. 11 and Stanford University on Sunday, Feb. 13. The first home game for the Irish is set for 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Loftus Center when they face Northwestern. Notre Dame enters the new season ranked 10th in the Lacrosse magazine preseason poll.

Notre Dame is coming off an 11-7 season in 2010 and were 6-2 in the BIG EAST to finish in second place and finished the year ranked 12th in the nation in the final IWLCA poll. The Irish advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season (a first for the 15-year old program) where they fell in the opening round to Northwestern.

3. Notre Dame women’s lacrosse coach Tracy Coyne has announced the signing of six high school lacrosse players to national letters-of-intent. They will attend the University beginning in the fall of 2011. Signing letters-of-intent in the early-signing period are: Taylor Freeman (Dallas, Texas), Leah Gallagher (Radnor, Pa.), Caitlin Gargan (Rocky Point, N.Y.), Allie Murray (Exton, Pa.), Shauna Pugliese (Rochester, N.Y.) and Barbara Sullivan (Garden City, N.Y.)

Taylor Freeman is a 5-5 defense/midfielder from Dallas, Texas where she attends The Hockaday School and is a member of the Nitro Texas lacrosse club. A two-sport athlete in soccer and lacrosse, Freeman has played on two state championship teams in lacrosse (2008 and 2009) and saw her team advance to the state championshipgame in 2010. The team captain of the soccer team in 2010, Freeman helped The Hockaday School to the Southwest Preparatory Conference championship game this year, the semifinals in 2009 and the conference championship in 2008. A seven-year member of the Dallas Sting Soccer Club (the club team of current Irish soccer standouts Courtney Barg, Melissa Henderson and Jessica Schuvelier), she was a member of the state championship team in 2006 and the national championship team in 2007 as an attacking central midfielder.

Leah Gallagher is a 5-5 midfielder from Radnor, Pa., where she plays at Radnor High School, one of the top high school lacrosse programs in the country. A two-sport athlete at Radnor where she also plays basketball, Gallagher will serve as the teamcaptain for the lacrosse team that has won three consecutive Pennsylvania state championships. A member of the Ultimate Goal lacrosse club, she is a talented player with outstanding speed and stick skills. ESPN RISE listed her among the top 20 attackers “On The Rise” for the upcoming spring season.

Caitlin Gargan is a 5-8 midfielder from Rocky Point, N.Y., where she attends Rocky Point HighSchool and is a member of the Long Island Yellow Jackets Lacrosse Club. A member of three Suffolk County championship teams (2008, 2009, 2010), Gargan has scored 113 goals with 134 assists in her first three seasons at Rocky Point. A three-sport athlete in lacrosse, soccer and track, Gargan has tremendous speed and athletic ability. She has been selected all-Suffolk County twice (2009, 2010) and is a 2010 high school All-American and academic All-American. A member of the 2010 Empire State gold-medal winning team representing Long Island, Gargan was selected all-conference in soccer for the 2010 campaign and was most valuable player on Rocky Point’s winter track team. She played for the Long Island all-stars in the 2010 Under Armour All-American game last summer in Baltimore, Md.

Allie Murray is a 5-5 goalkeeper from Exton, Pa., where she plays at Downingtown East High School and is a member of the PA Express lacrosse club. Recognized as one of the top high school goalkeepers in the nation, she is ranked fifth on ESPN RISE‘s list of top senior goalkeepers “On The Rise” for 2011. In 2010, Murray backstopped Downingtown East to a 19-6 season, fifth place in District 1 and a berth in the second round of the PIAA state championships. She is a member of the U.S. Women’s National Under-19 training team and was selected all-conference in each of the last three seasons. A two-sport athlete, Murray is a member of the Downingtown East field hockey team where she served as team captain in the fall and is a two-time all-conference selection. She was a member of the Philly team that participated in the 2010 Under Armour Underclassmen games last summer in Baltimore, Md.

Shauna Pugliese is a 5-5 midfielder from Rochester, N.Y., where she attends Webster Schroeder High School and is a member of the Relentless Hustle Lacrosse Club. As a junior, Pugliese led Webster Schroeder in goals (50) and points (69) and was an all-Greater Rochester team and first team Monroe County all-league selection while taking the Webster Warrior offensive MVP honors. She was an honorable mention selection to the all-Greater Rochester team in 2009 with 39 goals and 25 assists for 64 points while taking first team all-league honors. A three-time Scholar-Athlete award recipient, she helped the Western New York team to the silver medal at the 2010 Empire State games.

Barbara Sullivan is a 5-10 defense/midfielder who is from Garden City, N.Y., where she plays atGarden City High School and is a member of Long Island Yellow Jackets lacrosse club. Ranked by many as the top defensive recruit in the nation, Sullivan is a member of the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Under-19 training team. A four-year regular at Garden City, she has helped the team to three consecutive New York State Class B championships. A 2010 U.S. Lacrosse high school All-American and Academic All-American, she was selected all-County and all-Long Island following the 2010 season, Sullivan was the most valuable player of the New York State Class B Championship game was selected to the all-tournament team. A member of the 2010 Under Armour Team, she alsoplayed for the gold medal team at the 2010 Empire State championships. Sullivan also plays basketball and soccer at Garden City. In basketball she is a two-time team captain where she plays guard. She is a two-time all-county selection and was the 2010 conference player of the year while taking all-state honors. The captain of the 2010 soccer team, Sullivan helped Garden City to its first-ever New York State championship in 2010 while taking all-Long Island and all-conference honors.

4.A recent e-mail blast to youth around the country from President Barack Obama featured highlights of the December visit by a Notre Dame men’s lacrosse delegation to the White House Office of Public Engagement and the National Security Staff.

5. Mark Schlabach of ESPN already has a top 25 for the 2011 college football season -and he rates Notre Dame 14th, with these comments: “This finally might be the season the Irish break through, especially if coach Brian Kelly can persuade junior receiver Michael Floyd to come back to school. Notre Dame showed a lot of promise in Kelly’s first season, ending 2010 with a four-game winning streak, including a 33-17 rout of Miami in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. If Floyd returns, the Irish might have nine starters back on offense and eight on defense. There should be a pretty good quarterback battle in the spring between Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees, who played well after Crist was hurt. The most promising development of Kelly’s first season was the improvement on defense. Notre Dame’s 2011 schedule features eight games against teams that played in bowl games in 2010.” 2011 Irish opponents on Schlabach’s list are Stanford (#9) and Michigan State (#15).

6. Notre Dame junior wide receiver Michael Floyd (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) will return for his senior season, Floyd announced Wednesday. The 6-3, 227-pounder enters his final year at Notre Dame with the most touchdown receptions, second-most receptions and third-most receiving yards for a career in Irishhistory.

“This was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make in my life,” Floyd said. “On the one hand, there was Notre Dame. This place has been an incredible home to me and the relationships I built here are ones I know I’ll have for the rest of my life. On the other hand, there was the NFL. It has always been alifelong goal to play football at the highest level and that is something I look forward to doing at some point. However, I’m

pleased to say I will be returning to the University of Notre Dame for my senior season in 2011.

“I’m returning to Notre Dame for three reasons: to earn my degree, return Notre Dame to the top and improve myself as a player. First, I promised my mom I wouldgraduate from Notre Dame and I am 40 credit hours shy of attaining that goal. I chose to attend Notre Dame in part because I knew it was a 40-year decision and not a four-year decision. Graduating from Notre Dame will help me for the rest of my life. Second, I want to get Notre Dame back to a BCS game. I believe we are very close to returning the Irish to where we belong and I want to be part of something great. Lastly, I want to show everyone in the country that I’m the best wide receiver in college football in 2011. There are many things I need to improve, but I feel with the coaching I have at Notre Dame, I can become the best at my position in this game.”

7. Notre Dame sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) is among a group of 20 women’s basketball players who havebeen chosen as midseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, it was announced Tuesday by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Wooden Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top player, compiled its midseason candidates based upon individual performance and team results, with the current list of student-athletes comprising the frontrunners for this year’s award.

Diggins presently ranks second on the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game, while leading the squad in assists (4.5 rpg.) and adding 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game with a 1.33 assist/turnover ratio. She also ranks sixth in the BIG EAST Conference in assists, having registered at least five assists in 10 of Notre Dame’s 17 contests this season, paced by an eight-assist effortagainst Morehead State on Nov. 15, after posting seven five-assist games during her entire rookie year.

What’s more, Diggins has chalked up 13 double-figure scoring games this season, including two 20-point outings, topped by a season-high 22 points against 15th-ranked UCLA on Nov. 18. Diggins also collected her second career double-double at the State Farm Holiday Hoops Classic on Dec. 29 against Gonzaga, scoring 19 points and pulling down a career-high 11 rebounds in a 70-61 Fighting Irish victory. She is coming off a strong all-around performance last Saturday afternoon against No. 2 Connecticut, scoring 16 points while adding five assists and four rebounds in the near-victory over the Huskies (79-76).

8. The 2011 Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Chuck Lennon ’61, ’62 M.A. (baseball), the Notre Dame Monogram Club announced today. A member of the Notre Dame community for 51 years, Lennon has served as the executive director of the University’s Alumni Association since 1981. He will retire on June 30, 2011, after 30 years of service to the more than 128,000 members of the organization. Lennon will receive the Moose Krause Award from the Monogram Club at the organization’s annual dinner on Apr. 16 in the Joyce Center.

“As Chuck Lennon puts the finishing touches on an outstanding career with Our Lady’s University, we find it fitting to bestow him with the highest honor the Monogram Club can provide,” executive director Beth Hunter said. “In addition to the incredible legacy Chuck has built with the Alumni Association, he has been a great friend to the Monogram Club and an exceptional member of our organization during his tenure at Notre Dame.”

Under Lennon’s leadership, the Alumni Association has earned a national reputation for innovation in programming. It was among the first to offer continuing education programming-including the Hesburgh Lecture Series and Excellence in Teaching Conference-and to initiate community service programs that have been emulated throughout American higher education. Yale and Stanford Universities are among those with community service programs modeled on Notre Dame’s.

Lennon also led in the creation of the Black, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific, and Native American alumni groups and expanded theroles for women, senior and Young Alumni, and international graduates withinthe Alumni Association.

A native of Joliet, Ill., Lennon received his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame in 1961 after earning two monograms in baseball and serves as president of his class. He earned amaster’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University in 1962 and served as an assistant basketball and baseball coach until 1967. He also served two years as the University’s coordinator of research and sponsored programs. After leaving the University, Lennon held executive directorships with the Mental Health Association of St. Joseph County, the South Bend Model Cities Program, the community Development Agency, the Department of Redevelopment, and the Housing Allowance Office. He was president of the St. Joseph Insurance Agency from 1978 to 1981 and completed 13 years as a member of the South Bend Community School Board, and served in all officer positions.

Lennon was named executive director of the Alumni Association in 1981. The surprise announcement of his promotion to associate vice president of university relations was made by then-president Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., in front of 3,500 alumni at the 1999 Alumni Reunion.

The Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor given by the Notre Dame Monogram Club. It is bestowed upon an active Club member who has achieved notoriety in the following areas:

  • Exemplary performance in local, state or national government
  • Outstanding dedication to the spirit and ideals of Notre Dame
  • Demonstrated responsibility to and concern for their respective communities
  • Extraordinary commitment and involvement with youth

The Monogram Club’s officers and board of directors select the annual recipient. The award is named in honor of Notre Dame athletics legend Edward “Moose” Krause (1913-92), a three-sport monogram winner in the early 1930s who earned All-America honors in football and basketball while also competing in track and field. He later served as an assistant football coach and assistant and head basketball coach at Notre Dame before becoming one of the nation’s most respected athletic directors, serving in that role at his alma mater from 1949-82.

9. The repeat BIG EAST opponents on Notre Dame’s men’s basketball schedule this year appeared in quirky fashion. Two of the repeat opponents appeared both times within eight days (Jan. 8 vs. St. John’s, Jan. 16 at St. John’s) and 12 days (Jan. 10 at Marquette, Jan. 22 vs. Marquette) -while the third, Connecticut, appeared two months apart (Jan. 4 in South Bend, March 5 in Storrs).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1. A new era of Notre Dame football began in 2010 under head coach Brian Kelly and now the 2010 Notre Dame football team will be honored with a new format at its annual postseason program. The Notre Dame Football Awards Show: A Celebration of the 2010 Fighting Irish, sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley, will be held Saturday, Jan. 22, at DeBartolo Performing ArtsCenter on the Notre Dame campus. A reception and silent auction both begin at 3:45 p.m. EST, and the awards show program begins at 5:00 p.m. in the Leighton Concert Hall. The reception will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres, complimentary soft drinks and water plus a cash bar for alcoholic beverages. Seating begins at4:30 p.m. and the awards show program is scheduled to end by 6:30 p.m. so fans may attend the Notre Dame men’s basketball game versus Marquette scheduled for 7 p.m. EST at Purcell Pavilion. The program will include a video tribute to the 2010 Fighting Irish plus a series of awards honoring the Notre Dame football team and comments from head coach Brian Kelly.

Tickets for the Notre Dame Football Awards Show: A Celebration of the 2010 Fighting Irish Team are $40 and go on sale at noon today, at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Ticket Office (located southwest of Notre Dame Stadium between Notre Dame Avenue and Eddy Street). Tickets may also be purchased by calling the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Ticket Office at 574-631-2800.Ticket office hours at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center are noon to 6 p.m.,Monday to Saturday. Proceeds benefit the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph ValleyScholarship Fund. Please note that tickets for the Notre Dame Football Awards Show will not be available through the athletics department ticket office. The Notre Dame Football Awards Show is a reserved seating event. All purchased tickets and seat assignments will be printed and made available for pickup at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Ticket Office starting at noon on Thursday, Jan. 20. Any special seating needs should be requested when purchasing tickets for the program. Tickets for the men’s basketball game versus Marquette are still available and may be purchased through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office or und.com/tickets. The Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office is located inside Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion and can be reached by calling 574-631-7356.

2. For the second consecutive week, senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill.) has been named to the BIG EAST Conference Women’s Basketball Weekly Honor Roll. Peters 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. As she did the week prior, Peters nearly averaged a double-double in two games last week, registering 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.0 steals per game with a .560 field goal percentage (14-of-25) and a double-double as Notre Dame earned a convincing BIG EAST road win at Marquette (73-55) on Wednesday and then pushed No. 2 Connecticut to the breaking point on Saturday before the Huskies pulled out a last-second 79-76 decision at Purcell Pavilion.

At Marquette, Peters chalked up game highs of 18 points (on 9-of-12 shooting), eight rebounds and four steals, pacing the Fighting Irish to their first win at MU’s Al McGuire Center since 2004. Three days later against Connecticut, Peters was dominant to the tune of 17 points, a game-high 11 rebounds and a game-best/season-high four blocks, posting her third double-double of the season, all in the past five games. Peters also was a major contributor in Notre Dame’s 38-30 scoring edge in the paint (the mostpoints allowed by UConn in the paint this season), as well as the 23 offensive rebounds collected by the Fighting Irish (also the most by a Huskies’ opponent this year). Peters currently ranks third on the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game, while leading the squad in rebounding (6.5 rpg.) and blocked shots (1.6 bpg.), and placing second in field goal percentage (.550), free throw percentage (.848) and steals (2.1 spg.). She also ranks among the BIG EAST leaders in blocked shots (seventh), field goal percentage (ninth), steals (13th) and rebounding (tie-19th).

3. Dwight Buycks scored a career-high 21 points and Marquette made ablistering 12 of its 17 3-point attempts in a 79-57 men’s basketball upset of #9 Notre Dame on Monday night. Buycks hit all five of his 3-point attempts and Jae Crowder added 18 points for Marquette (12-5, 3-1 Big East), which put on its best long-distance shooting performance in 10 years. Notre Dame (14-3, 3-2)gained five spots in Monday’s poll, its highest ranking since January 2009, but it’ll be tough for them to move higher despite getting 15 points from Eric Atkins. Big East player of the week Ben Hansbrough had nine points and the Fighting Irish shot 39.6 percent overall, including 3 of 16 from 3-point range.

Jimmy Butler scored 15 points and Darius Johnson-Odom added 13 for the Golden Eagles, which came in shooting 35 percent from 3-point range, while Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin finished with 10 points each for the Irish. Last year, Hansbrough managed just six points in Milwaukee, but Carleton Scott hit a 3that sent it to overtime and Notre Dame won 63-60 in its last conference road victory. With the 6-foot-8 Scott out with a hamstring injury, the Irish struggled knocking down shots or getting good looks down low after shooting 51 percent in a 76-61 win over St. John’s on Saturday.

Hansbrough, named conference player of the week earlier Monday, had a career-best 26 points against the Red Storm, but finished 3 of 9 from the field and snapped a string of 10 straight games with at least 10 points. Marquette is in the middle of a stretch of seven ranked opponents in eight games, and came into Monday night 0-4 against Top 25 teams this season. In the final three weeks of this stretch, the Golden Eagles will face No. 18 Louisville, No. 9Notre Dame, No. 10 Connecticut, No. 4 Syracuse and No. 7 Villanova. The schedule certainly doesn’t seem quite as daunting after Marquette’s 3-pointeffort and much-improved defense against Notre Dame following an uncharacteristic 89-81 loss at Pittsburgh where the Panthers shot 60 percent. Notre Dame got into a hole early after going more than 5 minutes without a point in the first half, missing seven straight shots until Atkins’ layupended the cold streak. Marquette answered when Chris Otule converted a three-point play to give the Golden Eagles an 18-9 lead and they took a 33-28 lead into halftime. Tyrone Nash hit one of two free throws to start the second half, but the Irish wouldn’t get any closer because of the Golden Eagles’ 3-point barrage, their best effort since going 12 of 15 in a win over Tulane in 2001.

4. Notre Dame senior guard Ben Hansbrough (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) has been named the BIG EAST Player of the Week for his efforts in wins over Connecticut and St. John’s last week. Hansbrough averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals in the two victories. Hansbrough netted 21 points, in addition to grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists, as the Irish topped the eighth-ranked Huskies 73-70. He also helped hold Connecticut guard Kemba Walker, the nation’s leading scorer, to an 8-23 shooting night. In the 76-61 victory over St. John’s, Hansbrough deposited a career-high 26 points. He also had four rebounds, three assists and matched a career-high total in steals with four. Hansbrough has reached double figures in 10 straight games, which is a personal-best streak. He leads Notre Dame with a 16.3 points-per-game average in addition to having team-best totals in assists (63) and steals (20).

5. Freshman center T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) has been named the CCHA rookie of the week for his play in Notre Dame’s weekend sweep at Northern Michigan on Jan. 7-8. The Irish rookie also was the league’s rookie of the week last week and has now been named rookie of the week four times this season. In the two wins last week,Tynan scored one goal and added three points while being +3 in 8-1 and 3-1 wins over the Wildcats that improved the Irish to 14-7-3 overall and 11-4-1-1 in CCHA play. Notre Dame has a four-point lead on second-place Michigan heading into action this weekend.

6. In the Sports Illustrated version of bracketology for men’s basketball, Notre Dame this week is projected as a #3 seed to play #14 Akron in Chicago -with #6 Boston College and #11 Washington State meeting on the other side of the bracket.

7. The Notre Dame women’s basketball game against Connecticut Saturday on CBS Sports drew a 0.9 rating. That compares to a 0.5 for the same slot last year (Ohio State-Michigan State). The second game of the CBS women’s hoops doubleheader Saturday (Ohio State-Iowa) also drew a 0.5, the same as last year’s slot (0.5 for North Carolina-Connecticut).

Monday, January 10, 2011

1. The NFL yesterday announced its 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 -and Notre Dame has two representatives on the list. Running back Jerome Bettis is eligible this year for the first time, while wide receiver Tim Brown is eligible for the second year. Selections will be announced Feb. 5, the day before the Super Bowl, and enshrinement is in August in Canton, Ohio.

2. Notre Dame’s 2010 football opponents ended up with a 4-5 record in bowl games. Winners were Stanford (40-12 over Virginia Tech in Orange Bowl), Pittsburgh(27-10 over Kentucky in BBVA Compass), Tulsa (62-35 over Hawaii in Hawaii) and Army (16-14 over SMU in Armed Forces). Losers were Michigan (52-14 to Mississippi State in Gator), Michigan State (49-7 to Alabama in Capital One), Boston College (20-13 to Nevada in Kraft Fight Hunger), Navy (35-14 to San Diego State in Poinsettia) and Utah (26-3 to Boise State in MAACO Las Vegas).

3. Notre Dame’s 2011 football schedule features five 2010 bowl winners (Stanford, South Florida, Pittsburgh, Air Force, Maryland) and four bowl losers (Navy,Michigan State, Michigan, Boston College). The Irish will face seven teams that won at least eight games in 2010 -Stanford won 12, Michigan State 11, Maryland 9, Air Force 9, Navy 9, Pittsburgh 8, South Florida 8. Those 12 opponents for 2011 combined for an 85-59 record (.590) in 2010.

4. Notre Dame junior All-America forward Melissa Henderson (Garland,Texas), one of the main catalysts behind the magical Fighting Irish run to the 2010 NCAA women’s soccer national championship, was named the first runner-up for the 2010 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, it was announced Fridayduring a press conference at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis. The second-place finish for the national player of the year award is another major honor for Henderson, who was named the recipient of the Honda Sports Award for women’s soccer (also given to the nation’s top player) last month.

The voting for this year’s Hermann Trophy was conducted by the NCAA Division I coaches whose programs are current members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), an organization with more than 30,000 constituents. Christen Press (Stanford) edged out Henderson for this year’saward, with Alex Morgan (California) finishing third. Both Press and Morgan are departing seniors, with Henderson set to return for her final season at Notre Dame in 2011 and in position to become the fourth Fighting Irish women’s soccer player to earn the Hermann Trophy, following Cindy Daws (1996), Anne Makinen (2000) and Kerri Hanks (2006 & 2008).

In addition to the Honda Sports Award and Hermann Trophy runner-up placement, Henderson also was an NSCAA first-team All-America selection, the Most Outstanding Offensive Player at this year’s NCAA Women’s College Cup, a Soccer America first-team MVP (equivalent to All-America honors), the Soccer News Net National Player of the Year, and the Chicagoland Soccer News Player of the Year.

As she has been in each of her three years at Notre Dame, Henderson arguably was the nation’s most electric offensive threat this season, scoring 17 goals and dishing out a career-high 11 assists en route to a career-high 45 points. She was one of only three players in the country this season (alongwith Nebraska’s Morgan Marlborough and Dayton’s Colleen Williams) to rank among the top 20 in goals (sixth), assists (tied-20th) and points (fourth) –while being one of just two players (along with Williams) to also compete in thisyear’s NCAA Championship and the only one to take her team beyond the first two rounds of the tournament –and she was one of 10 players nationwide to post double-digit totals in both goals and assists.

Furthermore, the speedy Texan ranked at or near the top of the BIG EAST Conference in every major offensive category, including those already named, plus game-winning goals (first -6), which also ranks eighth in school history. Her 16 game-winning points (6G-4A), capped by her assist on freshman forward Adriana Leon’s decisive 63rd-minute goal in the NCAA national championship match (a 1-0 win over top-ranked and previously-unbeaten Stanford), are tied for ninth most on the Fighting Irish single-season charts.

Awards were plentiful for Henderson this season. In addition to her All-America citations and College Cup accolades, she also was the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team all-BIG EAST honoree, in addition to being named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Year (first team) and earning TDS National Player of the Week laurels on Oct. 4.

In her 76-match career, Henderson has piled up 52 goals (11th in school history) and 18 assists for 122 points (15th in school history), while her 20 career game-winning goals are second in program annals behind Hanks’ 23 scores. What’s more, the Fighting Irish are unbeaten all-time when Henderson scores a goal (35-0-2) or registers a point (44-0-2).

DuringHenderson’s three-year career, Notre Dame has posted a sparkling 68-7-3 (.891) record –the second-most wins and third-highest winning percentage in the nation during that span –while winning the 2010 national championship, finishing as the 2008 NCAA national runner-up and advancing to the NCAA Women’s College Cup all three seasons. The Fighting Irish also have won three BIG EAST National Division titles and two BIG EAST postseason championships (2008, 2009), and logged an 18-5 record against NSCAA Top 25 teams since Henderson arrived on campus in 2008.

5. The Notre Dame hockey team used strong goaltending from sophomoreMike Johnson and timely scoring to hand Northern Michigan a 3-1 loss at theBerry Events Center on Saturday night. Following the 8-1 Notre Dame victoryFriday night, the Irish win gave them a CCHA road sweep, something that they haven’t accomplished since Feb. 20-21, 2009 at Nebraska-Omaha.

The dynamic duo of T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee each had two points with Tynan netting his 15th goal of the year along with defensemen Sean Lorenz (fourth) and Sam Calabrese (fifth) in the win. Justin Florek broke up Johnson’s shutout bid at the 19:49 mark of the second period. Johnson stopped 24 of 25 shots in the game for his second win of the weekend. The win improves the 12th-ranked Irish to 14-7-3 overall and 11-4-1-1 in the CCHA, good for 35 points and a four-point lead on second-place Michigan as the Wolverines shut out Michigan State, 4-0. Northern Michigan is now 9-11-4 overall and 7-7-2-0 inconference play. The Irish picked up where they left off on Friday night, scoring a pair of unanswered goals in the opening period, giving them 10 straight goals over a four-period span.

The Irish return to action this weekend, Jan. 14-15, when they play host to Alaska in a two-game series at the Joyce Center.

6. While Melissa Henderson did not win the Hermann Award this year (the Heisman for college soccer) from the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis (she was accompanied by Ken Nuber, Irish women’s assistant coach, and her father andbrother from Garland, Texas), the Notre Dame Club of St. Louis presented herwith blue and gold flowers for the evening, sang her a private rendition of the Victory March -and made sure at least one college banner (Notre Dame’s) hung in the room.

7. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey can’t think of anyone playing better in the Big East right now than Ben Hansbrough. Considering some of the players the Big East has, that’s a pretty bold statement. Hard to argue, though, after the week Hansbrough had.

Hansbrough scored 12 of his career-high 26 points from three-point range Saturday, leading #14 Notre Dame to a 76-61 victory that ended the Red Storm’s five-game winning streak and gave St. John’s its first conference loss. This four days after he helped slow down Kemba Walker in an upset of Connecticut.

Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin added 12 each for the Irish (14-2, 3-1 Big East), and Abromaitis had nine rebounds. Notre Dame improved to 11-0 athome, delighting the Joyce Center crowd that turned out despite a storm thatdumped nearly three feet of snow on the South Bend area.

Justin Brownlee led St. John’s (10-4, 3-1) with 17 points and seven rebounds. But unlike the last five games, when four players averaged doublefigures, he didn’t get much help. Dwayne Polee II (12 points) was the only other player in double figures, and St. John’s shot just 38 percent, well below the 52 percent it shot during its winning streak. Dwight Hardy, who scored 20 or more in St. John’s previous four games and had 16 against the Irish lastyear, was held to just eight points. It was only the third time this season he failed to reach double figures.

St. John’s showed glimpses of the team that was once a Big East powerhouse during its winning streak, taking two straight on the road and knocking off a ranked team, Georgetown, for the first time in two years. But Notre Dame quickly squelched any hope the Red Storm had of extending the run as Hansbrough made three 3-pointers in 2 1/2 minutes to give Notre Dame an 18-7 lead with11:45 left.

The Red Storm did manage to pare Notre Dame’s lead to 13 with 14 minutes left to play. But St. John’s coach Steve Lavin had to sit Polee and D.J. Kennedy after each picked up his third foul early in the second half.

8. Kelly Faris scored a career-high 20 points, including a layup with less than 15 seconds left, and Maya Moore added 31 points as #2 Connecticut escaped with a 79-76 women’s basketball victory over #13 Notre Dame on Saturday.

Skylar Diggins missed two shots in the last five seconds for the Irish, including a last-ditch three at the buzzer that sailed way beyond the basket. The loss spoiled an outstanding effort by Natalie Novosel, who scored Notre Dame’s last six points and all but two of her 16 in the second half, and disappointed a crowd that braved a snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow on South Bend before the game.

Diggins also had 16 points and Devereaux Peters had 17 for the Irish, whose eight-game winning streak was snapped. Notre Dame (13-4, 2-1 Big East) has lost all four of its games against ranked teams this year. UConn (14-1, 4-0) has now won 10 straight against Notre Dame. UConn’s Division I-record winning streak ended at 90 last week at Stanford. The Huskies hadn’t lost back-to-back road games in 18 years, but the Irish came close to ending that bit of history, too.

The Huskies picked up four fouls in the first two minutes of the game –including two on Tiffany Hayes –and never seemed in sync. But Moore, as she’s done so many times, got the Huskies back on track, making back-to-back threes to put UConn in front 67-64 with 7:29 to play.

The Huskies would go almost four minutes without scoring, though, and Novosel capped an 8-0 run with a layup to give the Irish a 72-67 lead with 4:24 left. The Huskies wouldn’t lead again until Moore shook off a bump from Peters and drilled a pull-up jumper with 50 seconds left.

Stefanie Dolson blocked one Novosel effort with 34 seconds left, but the gritty Irish guard put up another shot as she fell to the floor and it went in, giving Notre Dame a 76-75 lead with 30 seconds left. But Faris, who’d been held without a field goal for more than 10 minutes, made the critical layup. After Diggins missed, Dolson got the rebound and was fouled. The freshman, who’s missed only one free throw this year, made both.

9. The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team has announced its captains for the 2011 season. Seniors Zach Brenneman (M), David Earl (M), Andrew Irving (LSM) and Kevin Ridgway (D) are first-time captains for the Fighting Irish. All four student-athletes also have been named preseason All-Americans by Inside Lacrosse. Brenneman and Ridgway were named to the first team, while Earl was selected to the third team and Irving was an honorable mention selection.

Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y.) led the Fighting Irish with career-high totals in goals (29) and points (42) last season. He also notched a career-high 13 assists.Brenneman earned honorable mention All-America accolades in 2010. The midfielder netted hat tricks against both Cornell and Duke in the semifinals and finals, respectively, of the NCAA Tournament and was selected to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team. Brenneman also was named to the all-BIG EAST first team. Earl (Simsbury, Conn.) tallied career-best numbers in goals (22) and assists (6) during the 2010 campaign. He received honorable mention All-America honors and was a second-team all-BIG EAST pick. Earl netted a single-game career-high five goals during an 8-5 win at Princeton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Irving (McLean, Va.) played in every game one season ago and registered a career-high three goals to go along with two assists. The five points were a career-best figure. Irving picked up a team-leading 76 ground balls, which also were a career-high total. Ridgway (Kensington, Md.) started all 17 games lastseason and helped anchor an Irish defense that ranked second nationally by posting a 7.53 goals-against average. Notre Dame only surrendered 23 goals (5.75 per game) during its four games of the NCAA Championship. Ridgway was an honorable mention All-American and he also was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team. Additionally, he was tabbed as a second-team all-BIG EAST performer.

10. Lacrosse magazine lists Notre Dame’s men’s team seventh in its preseason poll, while the Irish women are 10th.

11. Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com rates Notre Dame seventh in his latest men’sbasketball poll today and suggests Mike Brey is “among the early favorites for National Coach of the Year.” The BIG EAST occupies five of Parrish’s top nine slots (#4 Syracuse, #5 Pittsburgh, #7 Notre Dame, #8 Connecticut, #9 Villanova).

12. It was a Notre Dame touchdown-fest in Saturday’s Seattle-New Orleans NFL wildcard matchup. Former Irish tight end great John Carlson caught a pair of TD passes from Matt Hasselbeck (11 and seven yards, with three catches overall for 17yards) after catching only a single TD pass through the entire regular season. Meanwhile, the Saints’ Julius Jones, another former Irish standout, scored on TD runs of five and four yards (he finished with 15 rushing carries for 59 yards and also caught six passes for 61 yards) -and that’s after not scoring a TD at any point during the regular season.

13. The Notre Dame women’s basketball team moved up to #12 in today’s AP poll (after ranking 13th last week), and so this becomes the third time an Irish women’s hoops team has moved up in the poll after a loss to Connecticut. Here are details of the other two times it happened:

–March 11, 1996 -moved up from #22 to #21 in the final AP poll of the year (taken before NCAA Tournament) after advancing to the BIG EAST Tournament final and losing 71-54 at #2/3 Connecticut

–Feb. 23, 2008 -moved up from #24 to #23 following 76-66 loss at #1 Connecticut

14. ESPN’s Bracketology today lists the Irish men’s basketball team as a projected #3 seed in the Southeast (New Orleans), playing in Chicago and facing #14 Akron in the first round. The other half of the bracket projects #6 Kansas State against #11 Utah State.

15. Notre Dame moved up to #9 in the AP men’s basketball poll released today. That’s the highest AP ranking for the Irish since late December 2008 when Notre Dame got off to a 10-2 start. Mike Brey’s squads also reached the top 10 a number of times during the 24-10 2002-03 season, as well as the first week of December 2000 after Brey’s very first Irish team won its first four games.

16. Former Notre Dame Bengal Bout boxing champion Mike Lee will fight next on Feb. 26 at the Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. The 23-year-old Lee will be featured on the undercard for the televised light heavyweight championship bout between Miguel Acosta and Brandon Rios. A 2009 Notre Dame graduate, Lee is 3-0-0 with two knockouts, mostly recently having knocked out Keith Dubow Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as part of the undercard for the Manny Pacquiao world title bout. Lee is a Wheaton, Ill., native.

Friday, January 7, 2011

1. Former University of Notre Dame fencer Mariel Zagunis will be honored Jan. 19 by the Notre Dame Athletics Department and the Notre Dame Monogram Club at the Notre Dame men’s basketball game versus Cincinnati at Purcell Pavilion, in recognition of her sabre goal medal at the FIE World Championships in November in Paris, France.

Zagunis advanced into the semifinals with four convincing wins in direct elimination play, defeating Margarita Tschomakova of Bulgaria 15-10 in the Round of 64, Irene DiTranso of Italy 15-6 in the Round of 32, Olga Ovtchinnikova of Canada 15-9 in the Round of 16 and Carole Vergne of France15-8 in the quarterfinals. Ukraine’s Olena Khomrova awaited Zagunis in the semis and held a 6-4 lead over the international #1-ranked sabreist before Zagunis rattled off 11 consecutive touches for a convincing 15-6 victory and spot in the finals. She faced another Ukrainian in the championship bout in Olga Kharlan and held her off for a 15-11 victory and the gold medal. The victory marked the second consecutive year Zagunis stood atop the podium at the World Championships, after she won the event in 2009 in Antalya, Turkey.

Zagunis, from Beaverton, Ore., fenced for the Irish in 2005 and 2006, finishing with a 75-3 record -and claiming the NCAA individual runner-up spot in sabre in 2005 and the individual NCAA sabre championship in 2006. She helped Notre Dame win the NCAA team title in 2005 in her freshman season. Zagunis also owns gold medals from winning the Olympic Summer Games individual sabre competition both in 2004 in Athens and in 2008 in Beijing. In 2008 she helped the United States to a bronze medal in the Olympic sabre team competition.

2. Here’s the SI.com preview of tomorrow’s Irish men’s basketball game from Seth Davis: “Red Storm Nation is rightfully sticking its chest out in the wake of an upset of Georgetown, but the rubber is about to hit the road. St. John’s continues its brutal stretch, which includes playing two of its nextthree games against Notre Dame. The one advantage St. John’s has over most of its opponents is experience, but according to Kempom.com, while St. John’s is ranked fourth in the nation in experience, Notre Dame is not far behind at No. 16. And unlike the Johnnies, the Irish can drill outside shots, especially at home. They’re second in the Big East in threes made per game (8.1), while St. John’s is 15th (4.5.).” Davis predicts a 76-67 Irish win.

3. Mayland Chang, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame, has received a grant from NFL Charities to design and develop therapeutics for the treatment of traumatic brain injury. NFL Charities, the charitable foundation of the National Football League owners, has awarded more than $1.6 million in grants to support sports-related medical research at 16 organizations, including Notre Dame. Of these grants, $988,224 will go to research groups studying concussion prevention and treatment.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the industrialized world. Concussions are a common concern in sports, with 300,000 reported concussions in the United States occurring while playing sports and with football accounting for the highest proportion of concussions in high school athletes. Concussions result from a blow to the head that produces acascade of neurological events, resulting in reduced blood flow to the brain, neuronal cell injury and death. A contributing factor to these pathologicalprocesses is the activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), particularly gelatinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9).

Chang is working with Zezong Gu, assistant professor of neuroanatomy and neuroscience at the University of Missouri, to design water-soluble gelatinase inhibitors. Theyhypothesize that selective mechanism-based inhibition of MMP-9 activity prevents brain proteolysis of basal membrane components and rescues neuronsfrom the consequences of TBI. They plan to design a water-soluble gelatinaseinhibitor variant of SB-3CT that would advance to preclinical development and clinical trials for the treatment of TBI.

The highly selective mechanism-based gelatinase inhibitor SB-3CT is effective in preventing proteolysis of basal membrane laminin and can rescue neurons from ischemia-induced brain injury and apoptosis. Most importantly, significant therapeutic activity of SB-3CT is seen up to 6 hours after initial brain damage.

Mechanism-based gelatinase inhibition could protect the neurovascular integrity of the brain from TBI by blocking degradation of the basal membrane components such as laminin, exerting anti-apoptotic effects on neurons, reducing brain edema, and preventing apoptosis. Therefore, treatment with selective mechanism-based gelatinase inhibitors holds great promise for minimizing neuron damage and brain swelling associated with TBI.

The NFL has supported sports-related medical research for decades through NFL Charitiesmedical research grants. Since 2000, NFL Charities has funded grants for studies on brain injury, ACL injury prevention and heat stress risks. Otherstudies funded this year include research on the association between football exposure and dementia in retired football players; the dynamic heart rate behavior of NFL athletes; the prevalence, distribution and fate of MRSA on synthetic turf grass systems; concussion surveillance among a large national sample of middle school football players; the role of cervical spine in football-related concussion; and an integrated neuroimaging study for diagnosing and monitoring mild TBI in football players.

4. Rachel Jones, a customer service representative in the Notre Dame Ticket Office, is one of 11 individuals employed by BIG EAST Conference institutions to receive a grant for professional development. The BIG EAST Conferencerecently distributed full or partial grants as part of the BIG EAST Professional Development Grant for Women and Ethnic Minorities program, which provides funds for professional development to the league’s coaches and administrators. The program is in its fifth year of existence, and provided three coaches and seven administrators with a total of $12,000 in aid.

The purpose of this grant program, which was developed by the BIG EAST’s Senior Woman Administrators (SWAs) in conjunction with league officials, is to provide financial support for the various professional development opportunities for women and ethnic minority coaches and administrators who work at a BIG EAST Conference member institution. The BIG EAST will continue to allocate and distribute money for this program on an annual basis.

The award winners successfully completed the nomination and application processthat included a required personal statement, which gave the applicant the ability to articulate reasons for interest in a particular professional growth opportunity. There were more applications for aid this year than ever before.

Among the seminars, programs, conferences and workshops that this year’s recipients will be attending include the NCAA Women’s Coaches Academy, National Fastpitch Coaches Association College, National Women’s Coaches Academy Dimensions 2, NCAA Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minorities, National Association for Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA), American College Counseling Association, NACWAA Hers Convention, NCAA Gender Equity and Issues Forum, College Event & Facility Management Association and National Association of Athletic Development Directors.

5. IF the Irish men’s basketball team defeats St. John’s Saturday night, it would become the fastest Notre Dame men’s hoops team ever to reach the 14-win mark (based on the calendar). Never before has a Notre Dame men’s team had 14 victories by Jan. 8.

6. You won’t find a better daily double in basketball than what’s on tap Saturday at Purcell Pavilion. First, at 2 p.m., the Irish women’s team takes on second-ranked Connecticut. Then, at 8 p.m., the Irish men play host to maybe the hottest team in the BIG EAST in a St. John’s squad that sits atop the league standings at 3-0. The women’s game is sold out; tickets remain for the Notre Dame-St. John’s men’s contest.

7. And so, with Jim Harbaugh’s move to the 49ers today, that means the 2011 Notre Dame football schedule will send the Irish to face new head coaches at Michigan, Pittsburgh, Maryland and Stanford -with three of those yet to be determined.

8. Notre Dame freshman left wing Anders Lee (Edina, Minn.) has been named the Hockey Commissioners’ Association (HCA) national rookie of the month for his play during the month of December. He becomes the second Irish player to receive the award, joining fellow freshman T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) who was the November HCA rookie of the month. Lee, the CCHA rookie of the month for December, led all rookie scorers both in the conference and nationally in scoring during December with two goals and six assists for eight points in five games and was +4 overall for Notre Dame. His point totals were second in the CCHA overall to Tynan who had nine points in December on five goals and four assists.

9. Junior Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas), a member of the Irishmen’s golf team, captured the 2011 Houston Golf Association (HGA) CollegiateMatch Play Championship on Tuesday at the BlackHorse Golf Club in Houston, Texas, holding off Ryan Haselden of Vanderbilt in the championship match, 2 and 1. Walker entered the match play portion in the tournament seeded third overall after finishing at one-over par (73-72=145) during stroke-play qualifying. The mark fell behind Haselden, who qualified first with a nine-under par (135) and Garrett Driver who ended at one-under par (143).

Once in the round of 16 in the match-play draw, Walker made quick work of his first two opponents, quickly dispatching Blake Wilson, 4 and 3, and then Will Dusenbury in the quarterfinals, 3 and 2. The semifinals provided the most difficult test for Walker as he faced off against the seven seed and previous year’s champion of the event Michael Whitehead. The junior battled through a full 18-hole match before securing the victory with a 1-up tally.

Walker and the rest of his Notre Dame teammates return to team competition Feb. 10-12 at The Match Play on the TPC of Tampa Bay in Lutz, Fla. Currently the Irish sit 27th in the Golfstat rankings and 26th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings after putting together a 57-4 fall campaign.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

1. The Notre Dame Monogram Club board of directors is meeting on campus this weekend.

2. Check out the Jack Swarbrick Radio Show on Saturday -guests are Fiesta Bowl executive director John Junker and Notre Dame men’s basketball standout Ben Hansbrough.

3. Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw was thrilled with the play of Devereaux Peters. Peters scored 18 points to lead #13 Notre Dame to a 73-55 victory over Marquette on Wednesday night. The 6-2 senior forward came in averaging 9.8 points, but had 12 in the first half for Notre Dame (13-3, 2-0 BIG EAST). She made 9 of 12 shots, grabbed eight rebounds, made four steals and blocked two shots as the Fighting Irish won their season-high eighth straight game. Peters made four layups and a tip-in in the first half as Notre Dame scored 24 points in the paint to Marquette’s eight. Natalie Novosel added 14 points, including 10 during a decisive second half run for Notre Dame. Tatiyiana McMorris scored 15 points to lead Marquette (12-3, 0-2) which shot 33.9 percent and had 24 turnovers. Angel Robinson scored 14 points and her jumper to open the second half pulled Marquette to 40-33, but then Notre Dame’s defense took over. After Robinson’s shot, the Golden Eagles went 1 for 15 with seven turnovers and let the game slip away. Novosel’s 10 points sparked a 19-3 run capped by Skylar Diggins’ two free throws that pushed the lead to 59-36 with 10:44 left to play. Notre Dame faces #2 Connecticut at home on Saturday.

4. The Irish women’s tennis team opens the season as the fourth-ranked team in the nation according to the Campbell/ITA national poll. The rankingmatches the highest starting point ever for the squad, equaling the fourth-place ranking the team took into the opener of the 2006-07 campaign. Notre Dame also opens its season with another first as five members of the ’10-`11 squad begin the season ranked in the singles poll, the most to begin a season dating back to the 1981 season when the Campbell/ITA rankings began.

Junior Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) leads the quintet of Irish in the rankings, debuting at ninth. She earns the ranking on the heels of a 28-11 season last year that saw her go 21-7 on the dual campaign. She continued her top-tier play, going 8-2 during the tour season in the fall of ’10 that included posting a 5-2 mark against nationally-ranked foes. The 2010 BIG EAST Player of the Year earned a berth to the ’10-11 USTA/ITA National Individual Indoor Championships after capturing the Midwest Championship in Ann Arbor,Mich., earlier in the fall. She also competed with the runner-up American team at the 2010 Master’U BNP Paribas, marking her second-straight year participating for the Americans in the event.

Sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and senior Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) enter the ranks at 78th and 79th, respectively. For McGaffigan, it marks her highest ranking in her brief time with the Irish, besting her 90th-place ranking on March 2, 2009. She put together a strong tour season, posting the most wins (10) of anyone on the roster. Rafael returns to the rankings for the first time since ’08-09 when she placed 62nd in the polls. She enters the standings after putting together a 9-1 fall campaign that saw her post perfect records at both the Eck Tennis Classic and Illinois Blast.

Junior Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) and freshman Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) round out the Irish in the polls at 104th and 106th, respectively. Mathews ended her fall season with a 3-2 record that included two straight victories at the Illinois Blast, while Kellner debuted in style, going 6-0 and dropping only one set to begin her collegiate career. The Irish gettheir dual season started when they take to the courts Jan. 22 for a showdown against #25 Illinois.

5. Notre Dame has been picked to finish seventh in the 2011 BIG EAST preseason baseball poll, as determined by a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches. The Irish received a total of 56 points. Notre Dame returns 21 monogram winners, five position starters and two of its weekend starting pitchers. The Irish will also welcome 10 newcomers this spring, the largest recruiting class in recent memory.

Connecticut was selected as the favorite. The Huskies received nine first-place votes and a total of 117 points. St. John’s was picked to finish second in the conference, receiving two first-place votes and 107 total points. Louisville was the coaches’ pick to finish third, having received one first-place vote and 105 points. Rounding out the preseason poll in predicted order of finish are USF (87 points), Pittsburgh (82), Rutgers (75), Cincinnati (56), Notre Dame, West Virginia (38), Villanova (31), Seton Hall (25) and Georgetown (13).

The Irish will open the 2011 season in the Dunedin/St. Petersburg area for the third annual BIG EAST-Big Ten Baseball Challenge on Feb. 18-20. Notre Dame plays at 4:00 p.m. on Friday against Michigan State at Dunedin Stadium, 4:00 p.m. on Saturday against Purdue at Al Lang/Progressive Energy Park and10:00 a.m. on Sunday against Penn State at the Naimoli Complex.

6. Who has been the dominant conference in postseason football bowl games? Hard to say. None of the BCS leagues have glossy numbers -with the ACC at 4-4, Big Ten at 3-5, SEC 3-4, Big East 3-2, Big 12 3-4 and Pac-10 2-1. The Mountain West actually has the best mark at 4-1 -with Air Force, San Diego State, BYU and TCU all posting victories. Irish opponents so far are 3-4 (wins by Stanford, Tulsa and Army; loses by Michigan, Michigan State, Navy and Utah), with games still to come for Pittsburgh Saturday and Boston College Sunday.

7. Notre Dame’s NCAA champion women’s soccer team will be honored at halftime of the Jan. 19 Irish home men’s basketball game against Cincinnati. That’s the day after spring semester classes begin at Notre Dame.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

1. So how big were Notre Dame’s men’s basketball victories over #9 Georgetown and #9 Connecticut in the last week? Put it this way -it hasn’t happened in 50 years. The last time Notre Dame defeated AP top 10 teams in back-to-back home games came in the 1960-61 season -that year defeating #7 DePaul 61-58, then #7 St. John’s 64-63. That Irish team under John Jordan ended up 12-14. Those are the only two times it’s happened in Irish men’s hoops history.

2. Notre Dame junior tight end Kyle Rudolph (Cincinnati, Ohio) will forgo his final season of athleticeligibility and make himself available for the 2011 NFL Draft, Rudolph announced today. The 6-6, 265-pounder leaves Notre Dame with the fourth-most receptions and receiving yards for a career by an Irish tight end in schoolhistory. Rudolph totaled 90 career receptions for 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns for the Fighting Irish and started 28 of 29 career games played at Notre Dame. He ranked in the top 10 in single-season receptions by a tight end in school history, catching 29 passes as a freshman, 33 as a sophomore and 28 in 2010 despite missing the last seven games of the season. One of the top tight ends in the nation the last two years, Rudolph was a semifinalist in 2009 and 2010 for the John Mackey Award, presented annually to college football’s top tight end. Prior to the 2010 season, he was named first-team preseason All-America by Sporting News, Lindy’s and Yahoo! Sports.

3. Kenneth Lee “Kenny” Stark, 49, son of former Irish swimming coach Dennis Stark, passed away Sunday in South Bend. Kenny had been employed with Logan Industries in South Bend, was a constant companion to his father at swim meets and other Notre Dame sporting events and was active in Special Olympics. Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. Friday at the Kaniewski Funeral Home,3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend, Ind. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Chapel on the Campus of Holy Cross College, Notre Dame, Ind., where friend may call one hour prior to the Mass. Burial will follow in Cedar Grove Cemetery.

4. Look for former Irish fencer and Olympic gold medalist –and current world champion –Mariel Zagunis to be honored at the Jan. 19 home Notre Dame men’s basketball game against Cincinnati.

5. Looking for a retrospective on what happened in Notre Dame athletics in 2010? Here you go:

1.        Irish women’s soccer team wins 2010 NCAA title -Maybe the worst thing that happened for the rest of the teams in the field was Notre Dame receiving an uncharacteristic #4 seed in its region. That gave the Irish plenty to prove -and they did so in the toughest run ever to a women’s soccer crown -winning games on the road at #1 seed North Carolina and Oklahoma State, then shutting out both Ohio State and #1-ranked Stanford in the College Cup. In the six wins it took to take the title, Notre Dame outscored its opponents 15-1 -and the only goal it allowed was at North Carolina in a 4-1 win that was as impressive as any for Randy Waldrum’s group (Carolina’s worst loss since 1980 and its worst home loss ever). Melissa Henderson and Jessica Schuveiller were the outstanding offensive and defensive players at the College Cup.

2.        Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team makes great NCAA run to championship game -In early May there might have been some question if the Irish would even make the NCAA bracket after a 7-6 regular-season record. But, once Kevin Corrigan’s club got in, the Irish made the most of their opportunity, dispatching higher-seededteams from Princeton, Maryland and Cornell, before falling to Duke in overtime in the NCAA title game. Goaltender Scott Rodgers came back from an injury-plagued regular season to play superbly in the postseason, as he became a rare player from a non-championship team to win the NCAA Most OutstandingPlayer award in Baltimore.

3.        Irish fencers take third place in NCAA Championships -Both the Notre Dame men (33-0) and women (35-0) finished the regular season unbeaten and ranked #1 and the Irish earned 11 All-America honors, including individual foil champion Gerek Meinhardt and bronze medalists Enzo Castellani (foil), Avery Zuck (sabre) and Courtney Hurley (epee). It’s the sixth time in eight season under Janusz Bednarski the Irish finished in the top three at the NCAAs.

4.        Notre Dame women’s tennis squad makes second straight NCAA team semifinal appearance -Jay Louderback’s squad played in the NCAA Championships for the 15th straight year and knocked off California and Tennesseeafter reaching the final bracket of 16 teams. Notre Dame ended up 26-4 (9-4against nationally-ranked opponents) and won its third straight BIG EAST title, posting a perfect 7-0 record in regular season and postseason tilts with conference foes. All-American Kristy Frilling was the BIG EAST Player of the Year, while freshman Chrissie McGaffigan earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and ITA Midwest Region Rookie of the Year accolades.

5.        Brian Kelly’s first season in South Bend produces late-season surge and Sun Bowl victory -The Irish hung tough after early losses to Michigan, Michigan State and Stanford and won seven of their last nine games, while yielding no offensive touchdowns over one 13-period stretch during the last four regular-season games. Notre Dame knocked off 14th-rated Utah 28-3, defeated Army in Yankee Stadium, ended the regular season with a win at old rival USC -while playing what the NCAA rated the toughest schedule in the country -then dominated Miami 33-17 in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.

6.        Notre Dame again dominates NCAA graduation rate charts –Nineteen of 22 athletics programs at Notre Dame compiled graduation rates of 100 percent, and none were below 93 percent, according to the sixth year of Graduation Success Rate. None of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) programs in the country had a higher percentage of 100 GSR scores than did Notre Dame with its .863 figure (19 of 22). This marked the fifth time in the six years of the survey that Notre Dame has ranked number one in percentage of teams with 100 scores. NCAA figures showed that all 11 Irish women’s programs posted a GSR of 100 percent –basketball, cross country/track, fencing, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis and volleyball. Among Notre Dame’s men’s sports, baseball, basketball, cross country/track, fencing, golf, lacrosse, soccer, and swimming/diving achieved 100 percent GSR scores. Football scored 96 percent, ice hockey scored 95 percent, and tennis came in at 93. In football, Notre Dame achieved a 96 GSR rating for the highest figure among FBS schools (Duke and Northwestern were second at 95). In men’s basketball, Notre Dame achieved a perfect 100 GSR rating, with only BYU, Illinois, Marshall, Utah State, Wake Forest and Western Kentucky also posting a perfect score. In women’s basketball, Notre Dame also achieved a 100 GSR rating, as one of 30 Division I-A football-playing institutions with a perfect score. In hockey,Notre Dame achieved a 95 GSR rating, to rank second (behind the U.S. Air Force Academy at 96). In federal graduation rates also released by the NCAA, Notre Dame ranked among the national leaders in programs producing perfect scores. Ten Notre Dame sports produced 100 scores in the federal ratings -and only Stanford (with 11) had more programs with perfect scores among NCAA FBS institutions (Stanford had 26 sports rated, compared to 22 for Notre Dame). Notre Dame produced perfect 100s in men’s cross country/track, men’s fencing, men’s swimming, women’s cross country/track, women’s rowing, women’s fencing, women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball. Other highly-rated Irish programs included a 96 for women’s swimming, 94 for women’s soccer, 93 for men’s lacrosse, 92 for men’s golf and 91 for hockey.

7.        Notre Dame women’s basketball team finishes 29-6 and advances to NCAA regional semis -It marked the third most wins in Irish history as Notre Dame won 20 or more games for the 16th time in the last 17 years. Notre Dame earned an NCAA bid for the 15th straight season and made the Sweet 16 for the eighth time in 14 years. The Irish also ranked fourth nationally in attendance at 8,377 fans per home game.

8.        Ring of Honor opens at Purcell Pavilion -Notre Dame has never retired jerseys or numbers in any sport, but now there’s a way for the basketball and volleyball teams to honor individual standouts with the opening of the Ring of Honor. Luke Harangody and Ruth Riley are the first two players to have their jerseys raised to the rafters -with Riley coming in a surprise announcement in conjunction with the 2001 NCAA title team’s 10th reunion in November.

9.        Men’s basketball squad makes big, late-season run to NCAA six seed -The Irish seniors (Luke Harangody, Tory Jackson, Jon Peoples, Tim Andree) finished as the winningest class in Irish men’s hoops history as the Irish won 20 games for the fourth straight year. Mike Brey’s team was solid down the stretch in defeating #2 Pittsburgh, #11 Georgetown, Connecticut and Marquette (on the road in OT) to finish the regular season. Notre Dame played in a BIG EAST Championships semifinal for the third time in history.

10.        Irish open 2010 with Old Spice Classic win and move into top 20 -Mike Brey figured to field a veteran unit this year, with four senior starters and a fifth in MBA school -but in the absence of four-year regulars Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson, it was tough to tell what the Irish would look like. They answeredthat in a big way over Thanksgiving with wins over Georgia, California and Wisconsin to win the Old Spice Classic, then later added a home win over Gonzaga. All that added up to a #15 national ranking and a 12-1 mark as thecalendar flipped to 2011.

11.        Muffet McGraw named to Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame -The Irish head coach is one of six members of the 2011 class that will be enshrined in June in Knoxville, Tenn. Her impressive list of accomplishments includes:

  • The 2001 NCAA Championship, defeating Purdue in the title game, 68-66. McGraw is one of only eight active Division I coaches to guide her team to a national title.
  • Two trips to the NCAA Final Four (1997 and 2001). McGraw is one of just 15 active Division Icoaches to lead her team to multiple Final Four appearances.
  • Eight NCAA Sweet 16 trips, all in the past 14 seasons. The Irish are one of only 10 programs in the nation that can make that claim.
  • 20 seasons with 20 or more victories, including 16 in the past 17.
  • 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a current string of 15 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths. During the present 15-year streak, Notre Dame has won at least one NCAA postseason game 13 times.

12.        Women’s swimming wins 14th straight BIG EAST crown -Notre Dame’s Samantha Maxwell was the most outstanding swimmer at the BIG EAST meet as she won two individual events and anchored two relay teams to victories. Amywren Millerjoined Maxwell at the NCAA Championships, earning All-America honors with an eighth-place finish in the 50 freestyle.

13.        Irish softball team goes 47-12 -Notre Dame made the NCAA bracket for the 12th straight year, led the country in batting average at .343 and won the BIG EAST regular-season title. It was the most prolific offensive team in Note Dame history as the Irish recorded team bests in everything from runs to doubles to home runs to fielding. Katie Fleury was a third-team All-America shortstop,while Jody Valdivia was the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year.

14.        Notre Dame women’s golf makes it to NCAA Championshipfor third straight year -The Irish finished 17th at the NCAA Central Regional. Annie Brophy, Becca Huffer and Katie Conway all finished with all-BIG EAST honors, as Huffer tied for 16th individually at the NCAA regional event.

15.        Women’s lacrosse squad gains third straight NCAA bid -Tracy Coyne’s team finished 11-7 overall, 6-2 in league play and made the four-team BIG EAST bracket for the fourth straightyear. First-team all-BIG EAST standout Gina Scioscia became the first player in Notre Dame history to record 100 career goals and 100 assists. Defender Jackie Doherty (first team) and midfielder Shaylyn Blaney earned All-America honors.

16.        Notre Dame rowing wins seventh consecutive BIG EAST title -Martin Stone’s crew won five of six events, produced six all-league selections and then ended up sixth in the NCAA Central/South Region Championships among Central region teams.

17.        Men’s soccer earns #9 NCAA seed -The Irish ended up 21st in the final poll with a 10-6-4 mark overall and a 6-2-1 BIG EAST mark that advanced theIrish into the semifinals of the conference tournament. Bobby Clark’s club was led by first-team all-BIG EAST players Steven Perry and Jeb Brovsky.

18.        Men’s tennis team qualifies for NCAAs for 19th time in 20 seasons -only 10 other schools can say that -Casey Watt was an all-BIG EAST pick and made the NCAA singles draw, Samuel Keeton posted the best singles mark at 17-3 and coach Bobby Bayliss became just the fourth active Division I coach to win his 700th match.

19.        Joe Piane’s men’s track teams win BIG EAST titles both indoors and outdoors -It marked the eighth straight year the Irish won either or both of those conference titles. Jack Howard won All-America honors in the 800 indoors, and Daniel Clark won the 1500 at the NCAA East Regional and became one of five men’s NCAA outdoor qualifiers. At the BIG EAST meets, Notre Dame won five blue ribbons indoors and two more outdoors.

20.        New Irish hockey arena makes progress on construction site south of Joyce Center -Notre Dame is celebrating its final season of hockey play in the Joyce Center, with tickets featuring players and coaches from the past. Meanwhile, the Irish got off to a strong start in 2010 (knocking off #1 Boston College and leading the CCHA standings as 2011 began), while the brand-new, two-level, two-sheet on-campus ice arena continues construction progress at the edge of Edison Road.

21.        Chris Stewart wins $18,000 National Football Foundation post-graduate scholarship -A starting guard for the Irish, he becomes the first player ever to suit up for Irish in football while also attending Law School at Notre Dame. He graduated in three and a half years with a 3.54 average in history.

22.        Tim Abromaitis wins BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete Award -He graduated in three years with a 3.72 average in finance and is now working in the MBAprogram. And he’ll be the favorite to win that same award in 2011 and 2012.

23.        The Notre Dame men’s cross country team returns to the NCAA Championship meet -The Irish finished 25th overall and ended up 30th in the final poll, as Jeremy Rae was tops individually at the NCAAs in 78th place. The Irish were third at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet.

24.        2010 produces three first-team Academic All-Americans -Selected to the ESPN/CoSIDA squads in 2010 were Tim Abromaitis (men’s basketball), David Ruffer (football) and Lauren Fowlkes (women’s soccer). The Irish rank second nationally in Academic All-America production (to Nebraska) since the programs began in 1952.

25.        Notre Dame vs. Army: A truly grand show at Yankee Stadium -The game may have been between teams with 5-5 and 6-4 records, but the color and pageantry that went with the weekend in New York were unmatched. From a packed Friday luncheon in midtown Manhattan with Regis Philbin and John Lujack and Pete Dawkins -to a Friday pep rally at Lincoln Center with Justin Tuck -to Mass Saturday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral -to a jammed Times Square concert by the Band of the Fighting Irish, the weekend was spectacular. Then, the atmosphere at YankeeStadium itself was electric -including the Black Dagger parachute jump, the National Anthem by Patrick Wilson, the West Point glee club joining the Notre Dame band at halftime, then Sgt First Class Mary Kay Messenger singing “God Bless America” after the third period.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 -Part II

1. Look for nine former Notre Dame football players in the NFL playoffs. Here’s who is listed on current rosters among the dozen teams that qualified for the playoffs that begin Saturday (and what they did in the 2010 regular season):

–S Tom Zbikowski (Baltimore): 8 games, 6 starts, 16 tackles (15 solo), 3 KO returns for 48, 16 punt returns for 101 –LB Corey Mays (Kansas City): 14 games, 6 solo tackles
–S Sergio Brown (New England): 7 games, 11 tackles (9 solo)
–OT Mark LeVoir (New England): 4 games
–WR Arnaz Battle (Pittsburgh): 15 games, 9 tackles
–RB Julius Jones (New Orleans): 10 games, 2 starts, 48 carries for 193, 17 catches for 59
–DT Trevor Laws (Philadelphia): 15 games, 1 start, 18 tackles (13 solo), 4 sacks, 1 interception
–TE John Carlson (Seattle): 15 games, 13 starts, 31 catches for 318, 1 TD
–WR Golden Tate (Seattle): 11 games, 21 catches for 227, 16 punt returns for12.6 avg.

2. Here’s how ESPN.com’s Bracketology views the Notre Dame men’s and women’s basketball teams this week:

–The men are projected as a #3 seed in the West, playing #14 Kent State in the first round in Chicago -with #6 Kansas State versus #11 USC/Old Dominion on the other side. The other #3 seeds are Georgetown, Missouri and San Diego State.

–The women are projected as a #6 seed in the Philadelphia region, playing #11 Middle Tennessee in the first round in Charlottesville, Va. -with #3 North Carolina and #14 Albany/America East on the other side. The other #6 seeds are Boston College, Oklahoma and Florida State.

3. A delegation from the University of Notre Dame that included men’s lacrosse operations coordinator Kevin Dugan and junior defenseman Jake Brems spent time in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Md., Dec. 20-21, to further the school’s commitment to peace in Sudan by advocating for full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan. The group had meetings with keypolicymakers and non-governmental organizations. Among the stops on the tripwere the White House, the State Department, Senator Richard Lugar’s (Ind.) office, Congressman Joe Donnelly’s (Ind.) office, The Enough Project and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Headquarters.

On Dec. 20, the delegation met with Samantha Power at the White House in the Eisenhower Executive Offices. Power is the Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council in the White House. She also is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, foreign policy analyst, journalist and professor. Power’s New Yorker article on the horrors in Darfur, Sudan, won the 2005 National Magazine Award for best reporting. The group also met with Kalpen Modi, the Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement, whoworks on President Obama’s youth engagement initiatives. Modi had a long conversation with the delegation regarding how to get college students moreinvolved in civic engagement. He also accepted a letter and petition for President Obama seeking continued support of peacekeeping efforts in Sudan.Patrick McCormick (Notre Dame student government ’12), Emmanuel Gore (Kroc Institute) and Brems delivered the letter on behalf of the Notre Dame community.

The delegation then headed to Senator Lugar’s offices where it met with Michael Phelan who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where his portfolio includes African Affairs, Afghanistan, and Post-Conflict Stabilization/Reconstruction. The student group then went back to the CRS offices on Capitol Hill to dial into a White House conference call to get adebriefing and update on preparations for the upcoming referendum in Sudan on Jan. 9. From there they moved on to Congressman Donnelly’s offices where they met with his Legislative Director, Nathan Fenstermacher.

On Dec. 21, the delegation started its day at the State Department where it met with Peter Quaranto (’06), who now is working in the offices of the President’s Special Envoy to Sudan. The delegation then moved on for a meeting with John Bagwell and a team of staffers at the Enough Project, a project of the Center for American Progress. The Enough Project seeks to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast has been a driving force behind drawing media attention to Sudan by arranging for media moguls like actor George Clooney and NBA star Tracy McGrady to be involved in Sudanese issues with visits to Darfur. From there, the group headed north to Baltimore where it received a warm welcome at CRS Headquarters. Upon arrival the delegation had lunch and met with the CRS Executive Leadership Team andreceived a personal welcome from CRS President Ken Hackett.

While the nature of the visit to CRS Headquarters revolved around a very serious subject, the meetings ended on a light note when, as CRS President Ken Hackett escorted the delegation to the elevators, he encouraged the group, letting them know that Notre Dame students have given them a boost of encouragement and a shot in the arm and closed by telling Dugan and Brems that “Lax (lacrosse) is life!” Hackett played club lacrosse at Boston College as an undergraduate student and closely followed Notre Dame’s run to the national championship game last May.

In addition to helping Sudan strive for peace, Brems spent this pastsummer working on a joint internship with the Center of Concern in Washington D.C. and Fields of Growth International. Fields of Growth, which was started by Dugan, is a non-profit organization operating in Uganda that is spreading the game of lacrosse while also developing social entrepreneurs and working with community-based organizations. Dugan has made numerous visits to Uganda with Fields of Growth and currently is working with the Play Like A Champion TodayTM program, to bring their ministry to Uganda.

4. Who’s got the best combination of men’s and women’s college basketball programs? Notre Dame is one of 10 schools this week that appear both in the men’s and women’s Associated Press polls:

School Men/Record Women/Record Combined Record
Duke #1 at 13-0 #3 at 13-0 26-0
Connecticut #8 at 11-1 #2 at 12-1 23-2
Ohio State #2 at 14-0 #20 at 9-4 23-4
Syracuse #4 at 15-0 #23 at 12-1 27-1
Kentucky #10 at 11-2 #10 at 11-1 22-3
Texas #12 at 11-2 #22 at 11-3 22-5
Georgetown #13 at 12-2 #15 at 12-3 24-5
Notre Dame #14 at 12-2 #13 at 12-3 24-5
Texas A&M #16 at 12-1 #7 at 11-1 23-2
Michigan St. #18 at 9-4 #11 at 13-1 22-5

5. After tonight’s win over Connecticut, Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team has now won 79 of its last 85 games at Purcell Pavilion and is 33-5 in its last 38 BIG EAST home games.

6. Notre Dame freshmen forwards T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) and Anders Lee (Edina, Minn.) have been named the CCHA player of the month and rookie of the month respectively for their play with the Irish during the month of December. This marks the second time this season that each player has been honored by the CCHA with a monthly honor. Tynan was the conference rookie of the month in November while Lee was selected rookie of the month in October. Tynan is the first CCHA rookie to be named player of the month since March of 2006 when Michigan State’s Jeff Lerg took the honor in his first season. Tynan is the RBC Financial Group player of the month for December as he led all CCHA scorers with five goals and four assists for nine points in five games and was +3 in those contests. He scored goals in four of the five games and turned in multiple-point games in two of them. His totals were tops among all CCHA rookies and all freshmen players in the nation. Healso was the Hockey Commissioner’s Association national rookie of the month for November. Lee finished the month just one point behind Tynan in the league scoring race and is the CCHA rookie of the month after getting two goals with six assists for eight points in five games while going +4 in the month. He picked up points in four of the five games and had multiple point games three times in the five contests.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1. Freshman center T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) has been named the CCHA rookie of the week for his play in Notre Dame’s three games for the week of December 27. This marks the third time this season that Tynan has been honored by the CCHA as its top rookie. During the week, Tynan scored three goals and added three assists for six points as the 12th-ranked Irish were 1-1-1 and finished third in the 2011 Shillelagh Tournament held in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Tynan and the Irish got the week off to a strong start on Dec. 29 as he scored twice and added two assists for the first four-point game of his career in a 10-2 win over Canisius at the Joyce Center. He scored once on the power play in that contest and was +3 on the night. The 5-8, 156-pound center was one of four Notre Dame players to record four points in the game.

2. Irish nose guard Ian Williams and running back Armando Allen have been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine (Feb. 23-March 1 in Indianapolis). Cornerback Darrin Walls is an alternate.

3. Nose guard Ian Williams will participate in the Senior Bowl (Jan. 29 in Mobile, Ala.) while offensive guard Chris Stewart will play in the Texas vs. The Nation all-star game (Feb. 5 in San Antonio) and Darrin Walls has been selected for the East-West Shrine Game (Jan. 22 in Orlando).

4. Irish linebacker Manti Te’o and quarterback Tommy Rees both suffered knee sprains in the Hyundai Sun Bowl but both will be fine with more rest. Nose guard Sean Cwynar broke a bone in his foot against Miami and soon will have surgery on it. Safety Jamoris Slaughter will have surgery on loose cartilage in his ankle. Both Cwynar and Slaughter should recover quickly from their minor surgeries and be ready for the start of spring practices in mid-March.

5. The 77th annual Hyundai Sun Bowl between Notre Dame and Miami broadcast on CBS earned a 3.3 overnight national television rating, announced Sun Bowl Association officials on Monday. The 3.3 rating ranks as the second best mark over the last six years, even though it is down three-tenths of a point from last year’s 3.6 rating of the game between Oklahoma and Stanford. The Hyundai Sun Bowl was preceded by the basketball game between Louisville and Kentucky, which drew a 1.8 television rating. The AutoZone Liberty Bowl drew a 3.2 overnight national television rating on ESPN, giving the Hyundai Sun Bowl the highest rated bowl in its timeslot.

6. For the third time this season, a Notre Dame women’s basketball player has earned a spot on the BIG EAST Conference Honor Roll, as senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) was tapped for this week’ssquad, the league office announced Monday. Peters was one of five players chosen for this week’s honor (the first of her career), which recognizes outstanding weekly achievements by conference players who are not chosen as the BIG EAST Player of the Week. In three games last week, Peters averaged 12.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game with a .581 field goal percentage (18-of-31) and two double-doubles in just 54 total minutes of action (18.0 per game) as Notre Dame recorded victories over Gonzaga (70-61) and Loyola Marymount (91-47) at the State Farm Holiday Hoops Classic in Seattle, Wash., before returning home to defeat Southeast Missouri State (97-21) on Sunday. Peters also was named the Most Valuable Player of the State Farm Holiday Hoops Classic, the first MVP selection of her career and her second all-tournament team honor of the season, after she was recognized for her efforts at the WBCA Classic back in November.

7. Twelfth-rated Notre Dame fought back from a 3-1 deficit to send Sunday’s hockey matchup with 10th-ranked Boston University into overtime, and settled for a 3-3 decision as 3,545 fans watched on Sunday evening at the Sears Centre Arena. The Irish then scored the lone goal in the shootout and were credited with a third-place showing in the 2011 Shillelagh Tournament. Trailing 3-2, Notre Dame had plenty of opportunities to cash in on a potential stalemate in the third. Boston (8-5-6) goalie Kieran Millan stopped 18 shots in the third but could not get in front of Sam Calabrese’s short-handed goal with just under three minutes remaining. The neutralizer was Notre Dame’s nation-leading ninth short-handed score of the campaign. Six players tried their hand during theensuing shootout, but Notre Dame’s Calle Ridderwall was the only one able tofind the back of the net. With the shootout win, Notre Dame (12-7-3) earnedthird-place honors while hosting the Shillelagh Tournament. Minnesota State, who edged out the Irish with a last-second goal on Saturday, defeated Brown by a 7-3 margin to hoist the championship hardware. Notre Dame out-shot Boston, 42-19, with Millan (5-3-6) finishing with 39 saves. Mike Johnson (9-5-3) saved 16 of Boston’s 19 attempts.

8. Notre Dame raced out to a huge lead by putting on a defensive clinic. The 16th-ranked Irish women’s basketball squad scored the first 36 points of the game and easily beat Southeast Missouri State 97-21 on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion. They set numerous school records, including allowing the fewest points in a game, eclipsing the mark of 25 points they gave up to Grace College in 1978. Southeast Missouri State (5-9) missed its first 18 shots and got its first basket, a 3-pointer by Katie Norman with 5:20 to go in the first half. Devereaux Peters had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Her improvement over the last few games has really helped the Irish, who outscored Southeast Missouri State 58-0 in the paint.

9. Rick Jackson went into the Syracuse locker room at halftime against Notre Dame shaking his head. He was high-fiving his teammates at the final buzzer. The Orange’s lone men’s basketball senior entered the game averaging 13.6 points and 12.2 rebounds, tops on the boards in the Big East and fourth nationally, and he turned his game around in the second half on Saturday as the fifth-ranked Orange beat the No. 15 Irish 70-58. After scoring four points in the first half -all on free throws -and finding little room in the paint, Jackson had four baskets -and four of his career-high six blocks -to spur the Orange (15-0, 2-0 Big East) in the second. Jackson’s two-handed slam with 15:43 left was his first basket and tied the game at 42 all. After Scoop Jardine’s steal and layup and a jumper from the top of the key by Kris Joseph, Jackson converted a feed from Waiters high off the glass over Scott and the Orange were off and running. Joseph had 18 points and a season-high eight rebounds and James Southerland had 12 points for Syracuse. Tim Abromaitis led Notre Dame with 15 points, Ben Hansbrough had 12, Scott Martin 10, and Carleton Scott nine. The decisive Orange spurt started with a jumper from the top of the key by Joseph. That snapped a 44-44 tie with 13:02 left as the Irish (12-2, 1-1) began losing the ball too often. After committing only four turnovers in the first half, the Irish had nine by the 11-minute mark in the second and the Orange capitalized. Syracuse scored 10 points on the break in the second half. The Irish, ranked second nationally in shooting (52.5 percent) entering the week, finished 23 of 54 (42.6 percent) and were 7 of 21 on 3-pointers against thelong Syracuse zone. Notre Dame also finished with 15 turnovers, nearly fivemore than its average.

10. Notre Dame plays its third straight top 10 opponent in men’s basketball tonight when #8 Connecticut visits Purcell Pavilion. How rare is that? Back in January 2009 the Irish actually played five straight games against ranked league foes and four straight against top 10 teams -losing all five, to #20 Louisville (OT), #8 Syracuse, #3 Connecticut, #10 Marquette and #3 Pittsburgh (only Connecticut and Marquette were home games). Notre Dame’s best success streak against ranked opponents came in December 2002 when the Irish won three straight versus #10 Marquette, #8 Maryland and #2 Texas, the last two in the BB&T Classic in Washington, D.C.

Saturday, January 1

Here’s what the newspapers said this morning about Notre Dame’s emphatic Hyundai Sun Bowl victory over Miami:

Associated Press -“A far-from-perfect first season as Notre Dame coach could not have ended much better for Brian Kelly and his Fighting Irish. Freshman Tommy Rees passed for 201 yards and two touchdowns to Michael Floyd, as Notre Dame beat Miami 33-17 in the Sun Bowl on Friday, making Kelly the first Fighting Irish coach to win a bowl game during his first season.”

South Bend Tribune -“They came. They refused to shiver. They hammered the Hurricanes. It’s only a college football rivalry when both teams are competitive. That didn’t happen Friday. It was supposed to be a battle between a couple of pit bulls. A Chihuahua showed up from South Beach. A program built on swagger was handed a swig of humility. Notre Dame’s 33-17 Sun Bowl spanking of Miami served notice that maybe first-yearIrish coach Brian Kelly is doing something right.”

Chicago Tribune -“Fireworks crackled overhead and snowflakes fluttered to the turf and Notre Dame moved about the Sun Bowl turf a bit, well, unmoved. An acutely resolute performance capped off a stirring late-season renewal while gutting former bitter rival Miami as it slinks back to the drawing board. A 33-17 victory before a Sun Bowl-record crowd of 54,021 was everything the Irish needed it to be. So they ceremoniously doused coach Brian Kelly. They hugged and snapped photos. They serenaded game MVP Michael Floyd with a “One more year!” chant as they closed with four straight victories for the first time in 17 seasons. But, mostly, Notre Dame (8-5) didn’t get too worked up. Maybe the Irish felt hypothermic in the barely-above-freezing air. Or maybe now they mean it when they say they expect this. And they can acknowledge, prudently, that a bowl triumph guarantees nothing but more work to meet the inevitably over-amplified expectations that will follow.”

Chicago Sun-Times -“Notre Dame was ready. Tommy Rees was ready. Harrison Smith was ready. Michael Floyd was NFL-ready. A lot of Irish players were in midseason form in the 34-degree chill at the Sun Bowl on Friday. But it wasFloyd’s two first-quarter touchdowns in an MVP performance that sparked Notre Dame to a 33-17 victory over Miami (Fla.). Playing perhaps his final game at Notre Dame, the 6-3, 227-pound junior had six receptions for 109 yards –including a 36-yard catch on third-and-16 and touchdowns of three and 34 yards that gave Notre Dame a 14-0 lead with 4:35 left in the third quarter. Floydbecame the school’s career leader in touchdown catches with 28, surpassing Jeff Samardzija’s 27.”

El Paso Times -“The tall, lean young man stood outside the Sun Bowl tunnel, still in his uniform long after the game. Snowflakes gathered in his close-cropped brown hair. He bent down and autographed a jersey for a happy young boy. He paused to take

a picture with an El Paso fan wearing a Dallas Cowboy jersey. It was a special moment for Harrison Smith and the smile told everyone he was intent on enjoying the moment.

In some ways, it was another football game for the 21-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn. He did what he does, flying around the field from his safety position, creating loud

noises with his bone-jarring blasts. But on this cold day in the 77th annual Hyundai Sun Bowl, Notre Dame’s Smith was even better than usual. He intercepted three passes in the first half, tying a Sun Bowl record that has been around since 1968 and keeping Miami handcuffed while his offensive partners were puttingthis game out of reach. The scoreboard inside the stadium told all: Notre Dame 33, Miami 17.”

El Paso Times -“Outlined against an unlikely gray sky, framed by a backdrop of the snow-dusted Franklin Mountains, playing in a sun-less Sun Bowl –a scene set for Notre Dame’s famed Four Horsemen from days of long ago and far away –this latest version of the Fighting Irish rode again. Notre Dame, kings of El Paso for a week and for always, made the Sun Bowl turf their own, their very home as they powered their way to a27-0 lead before Miami could respond, and cruised away with a 33-17 victoryover the Hurricanes Friday afternoon in the 77th annual Hyundai Sun Bowl. Arecord crowd of 54,021 –the largest ever to watch a game in the stadium –braved the 34-degree temperature and gray skies, most cheering the Irish tovictory. Only two things were missing from the first half of this annual fiesta in the Sun –the sun and Miami. The sun evidently hit the snooze alarm and never showed. Miami finally did –just too late. Notre Dame finished the season with four straight wins and an 8-5 record. The Irish seemed in their element –from the time they touched down in this city last Sunday right on through all those touchdowns Friday afternoon. The Irish ran well-designed plays and executedthem to perfection. For a moment, for those first 30 minutes of that first half, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith seemed to be engaged intheir own personal duel –Floyd pulling in five passes for 99 yards and twotouchdowns, while Smith was making three drive-crushing interceptions. Both performances were daggers to Miami’s hopes.”

Miami Herald -“This wasn’t a rivalry renewed. It was a maddening mismatch –at least until the fourth quarter. All the University of Miami can do now is hope that new coach Al Golden, recognized for resurrecting Temple University, can weave his magic in Coral Gables. In the first game between Notre Dame and Miami in 20 years, the Irish made the Hurricanes look helpless, getting four first-half interceptions in a 33-17 victory Friday in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.”

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel -“This was not the ending they envisioned. The Miami Hurricanes had hoped this game would ease the pain of a disappointing season and give them something to be encouraged about. Instead, it left them feeling worse than they did the daythey lost their finale regular season game and their coach was fired. Playing in frigid conditions with occasional snow flurries, Miami was embarrassed by Notre Dame 33-17 in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Friday in front of the largest crowd (54,021) in Sun Bowl history. A pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter helped the Hurricanes make the final score respectable.