Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1. Notre Dame women’s basketball star Skylar Diggins is the subject of a feature story and full-page color photo in the current issue of SLAM under the headline “Gold Deluxe.”

2. The Notre Dame men’s golf team finished in second place Tuesday (out of 14 teams) at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic (FIGGC) on the Warren Golf Course. Tom Usher (Bradford, England) led the way for the Irish individually, posting a 54-hole total of 212 (+2) and earning a seventh-place tie (out of 81 entrants). The Irish entered day two in a stalemate with the Iowa Hawkeyes at seven-over par 567. However, Iowa used a third round score of 286 (+6) to capture the title, while the Irish carded a final day 292 (+12) to finish in second at 859 (+19) and secure the spot by one stroke over San Francisco (860, +20). Usher finished his tournament at two-over par (212) after turning in a 73 (+3) on his final 18 holes. He continued his mastery of the par 5’s as he eagled the 17th hole to take him to five under on the tournament on par 5 holes. Usher also recorded a birdie on the fourth along with 10 pars on the round. Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) ended in second for the Irish and ninth overall after closing his tournament out with a 73 (+3) for a total of a three-over par 213. On the day, Scodro carded two birdies, both of which came at par 3’s (4th and 14th holes). He finished in the top 10 individually for the second-consecutive tournament after finishing eighth at The Invite at Kiawah to open the year. Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.), on the heels of a runner-up finish, concluded the FIGGC at six-over par (216) after posting a final round 73 (+3). He recorded three birdies on the day, but was hurt by a triple bogey (7) on the sixth hole. Platt earned a share of 14th place. Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) took advantage of four birdies on his final round to record the fourth 73 (+3) for the Irish on the day. He concluded the FIGGC at 11-over par (221) and finished tied for 27th. Connor Alan-Lee (Solana Beach, Calif.) rounded out the Irish rotation after carding a final round 75 (+5). For the tournament, Alan-Lee recorded a 225 (+15) and earned a share of 44th.

3. Notre Dame women’s basketball sophomore guard Skylar Diggins is among a select group of influential figures from around the world of sports who have been invited to participate in the inaugural ESPNW Retreat Thursday and Friday (Sept. 30-Oct. 1) at the Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif. The two-day event is designed to not only set the female sports agenda, but also to cultivate a sports conversation for women, highlighting the important role of sports in shaping their lives. Some of the other notable figures who will be attending this weekend’s ESPNW Retreat include: ESPN Sportscenter anchor and 1983 Notre Dame graduate Hannah Storm, 39-time Grand Slam tennis champion and women’s sports pioneer Billie Jean King, Olympic gold medalists Jennie Finch (softball), Julie Foudy (soccer), Shannon Miller (gymnastics), Jessica Mendoza (President of the Women’s Sports Foundation and former Olympic softball silver medalist), champion boxer Laila Ali (daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali), multi-time X Games champion snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, Christine Godleski (WNBA Chief Operating Officer) and Carol Stiff (ESPN Vice President for Programming & Acquisitions). Diggins, who was granted a waiver by the NCAA to attend this professional development event, will be participating in a panel discussion entitled “The Future: The Journey To Becoming A World-Class Athlete,” joining 16-year-old snowboarder Maddy Schaffrick and USA Hockey forward Kendall Coyne for the session. The athletes on the panel will be asked a series of questions about their experiences within their respective sports, as well as what goes into balancing the demands of athletics with the rest of life’s challenges.

4. Triumph Books in Chicago has published a biography of former Irish football All-American Alan Page titled All Rise: The Remarkable Journey of Alan Page. It’s written by Bill McGrane, who has known Page for 40 years, in part as publicist for both the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. The foreword for the book is by former President Bill Clinton.

5. The Notre Dame baseball team will host the Ontario Blue Jays in an exhibition contest at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 3) at Frank Eck Stadium. The exhibition game is open to the public and admission is free. The Blue Jays are based in Ontario, Canada, and are a high-level summer baseball program that competes in the Premier Baseball League of Ontario (PBLO). The Blue Jays will play 29 games against collegiate teams this fall, including contests against the likes of Arkansas, Michigan, Virginia, East Carolina, Evansville, Southern Illinois, Kent State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Oakland.

6. Former Notre Dame standout and veteran NFL kicker John Carney is returning to the New Orleans Saints. Carney’s agent, Jack Mills, confirmed in an e-mail Tuesday to The Associated Press that his client would be signing a contract with his former team. The deal is for one year, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Carney, who is 46, worked out for the Saints Tuesday after starting kicker Garrett Hartley missed a 29-yard field goal in overtime Sunday that would have given the Saints a 27-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints plan to carry Carney and Hartley for now, just like last year, the league source told Schefter. The Saints have not announced who would be waived to create a roster spot for Carney. Kris Brown was also scheduled to try out with the Saints on Tuesday, sources confirmed to Schefter on Monday. The Saints also had reached out to kicker Matt Stover. Hartley is 4-for-7 this season on field goal attempts, but has a strong leg and was a playoff hero during the Saints’ 2009 championship run. He hit the overtime field goal in the NFC title game victory over Minnesota that sent the franchise to its first Super Bowl, then set a Super Bowl record with three field goals of at least 40 yards against the Indianapolis Colts . This season, he also made a partially blocked 37-yard, game-winning field goal at the end of regulation of New Orleans’ Week 2 triumph at San Francisco. Carney was the Saints’ kicking consultant when they won the title, a job the 22-year NFL veteran moved into after spending most of the 2009 regular season on the active roster. The Saints brought Carney in last season because of Hartley’s four-game suspension that stemmed from his positive test for the banned stimulant Adderall. Carney remained an active player for 11 games, hitting 13 of 17 field goals, with a long of 46 yards. He made his first NFL field goal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1988. Carney kicked in college for Notre Dame from 1984-86 and failed to make the Cincinnati Bengals‘ regular-season roster in 1987, but finally appeared in a game the following season. He became San Diego‘s regular kicker in 1990 and spent 11 seasons with the Chargers, followed by six with the Saints, parts of one season with Jacksonville and Kansas City, one season with the New York Giants, and then last season again with New Orleans. Carney has made 473 field goals in his career. He still has a ways to go to match Morten Andersen, who kicked until he was 47, making 565 field goals during 25 seasons. Andersen’s last season was 2007.

7. The Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams will play host to the 55th running of the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday. The competitive field will run at the nine-hole golf course located on Notre Dame’s campus. The contest will begin at 2:00 p.m. with the women’s gold race, followed by the men’s gold race at 2:45 p.m. The open race, women’s blue race and men’s blue race will conclude the event at 3:30 p.m., 4:15 p.m. 5:00 p.m., respectively. There are 48 schools bringing either their men’s or women’s teams to the event. The blue division men’s and women’s race will feature 14 teams ranked among the top 30 teams (according to USTFSCCA’s Sept. 28 rankings). Among the men’s elite field are Oregon (#3), Alabama (#5), Villanova (#14), New Mexico (#16), Arizona State (#18), Florida State (#21), Butler (#27) and UCLA (#30). Highlighting the women’s side will be Villanova (#1), Florida State (#2), Washington (#3), Oregon (#5), Princeton (#8), and New Mexico (#12).

8. The coverage map for ABC Sports college football at 8:00 p.m. EDT Saturday is linked here.

9. If you are around this Notre Dame campus this weekend, check out these Irish athletic events:
— WOMEN’S TENNIS: Friday through Sunday in the Eck Classic
— CROSS COUNTRY: Friday at the Notre Dame Invitational (women’s blue race 4:15 p.m., men’s blue race 5:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame Golf Course
— WOMEN’S SOCCER: 7:30 p.m. Friday vs. Syracuse, noon Sunday vs. St. John’s at Alumni Stadium
— MEN’S SOCCER: 2:30 p.m. Sunday vs. Providence at Alumni Stadium
— WOMEN’S GOLF: All day Saturday and Sunday in William K. Warren Invitational at Warren Golf Course
— HOCKEY: 5:05 p.m. Sunday vs. Guelph (preseason game) at Joyce Center
— BASEBALL: 5:30 p.m. Sunday vs. Ontario Blue Jays at Eck Baseball Stadium

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1. Notre Dame outside hitter Andrea McHugh was named the BIG EAST Conference’s Volleyball Freshman of the Week, as announced by the league Monday afternoon. The honor is the second for McHugh in the first five weeks of the season, as she previously earned the award Aug. 30. Notre Dame rallied behind McHugh’s arm during a 3-0 sweep of West Virginia (Sept. 24), as she came through with 16 kills and 13 scoops for the fifth double-double of her early career. Seven of those kills came in the third set when Notre Dame rallied from a 24-20 deficit to capture the win. More importantly for the Irish, the win over the Mountaineers snapped a three-match losing streak. McHugh went on to post nine kills and seven digs in a 3-0 win against Pittsburgh (Sept. 26). She wrapped up the weekend with 4.17 kills/set and 3.33 digs/set.

2. Led by former Notre Dame women’s soccer greats Shannon Boxx (’99), Candace Chapman (’05) and Carrie Dew (’09), San Francisco-based FC Gold Pride captured the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) regular-season and postseason titles, capping their run with a 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Independence in the WPS Championship Match, presented by Citi, on Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Stadium in Hayward, Calif. FC Gold Pride had won the regular-season championship in dominating fashion with a 16-3-5 record, good for 53 points and a massive 17-point margin over the runner-up Boston Breakers. With Sunday’s championship, a total of five Fighting Irish alums now have helped their teams to WPS titles in the league’s two-year existence, as Jen Buczkowski (’07) and Kerri Hanks (’08) won the inaugural WPS crown with Sky Blue FC last year. The five WPS champions among the Notre Dame women’s soccer alumni ranks are the most by any college program in the country, one more than North Carolina and Stanford, and two more than Connecticut and Portland. The Fighting Irish also are one of only four schools in the nation to produce players on both WPS champions to date, joining Cal State Fullerton, Connecticut and Portland in that elite company.

3. The Notre Dame men’s golf team sits in a tie for first place (out of 14 teams) after the opening day of action Monday from the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic at the Warren Golf Course on the Notre Dame campus. Tom Usher (Bradford, England) led the way for the Irish, posting a first-day total of 139 (-1) to earn a share of first in the individual standings (out of 81 entrants). The Irish jumped out to the lead after the first 18 holes, carding a one-over par 281 before shooting a 286 (+6) in the afternoon round. Iowa, who sat eight shots out after morning play posted a two-under par 278 as a team to pull into a tie with the Irish after day one. Usher posted 10 birdies over his first 36 holes of play, including a string of four out of five in his second round from holes five through nine. He earned an even-par 70 in his first round, carding four birdies to go along with two bogies and a double bogey and used his birdie streak in round two to record a 69 (-1). Usher took advantage of the two par-5s each round, playing them at a three-under par clip. Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) placed second on the day for the Irish, netting a pair of even-par 70 rounds. He matched Usher with 10 birdies on the day, including four of his first six holes to start the tournament and notched a pair of birdies on the par three fourth hole. Scodro claims a share of third place after the opening day.

4. Aaron Maund, a junior on the Notre Dame men’s soccer team, has been named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week as announced by the league office on Monday. Maund and the Fighting Irish defense shut out No. 12 St. John’s 1-0 in the conference opener on Saturday. In addition to not surrendering a goal against the Red Storm, the Irish defense did not allow a shot on goal in the match. St. John’s entered the contest averaging 2.8 goals per game and 8.2 shots on goal per game. Maund, a central defender, has played every minute on the pitch this season and has scored one goal. He has helped the Irish post four shutouts and the team currently boasts a 0.54 goals-against average.

5. Notre Dame freshman men’s swimmer Colin Babcock was named Louisiana’s Male Swimmer of the Year for 2009-10 (ages 13-18) Saturday at the Louisiana Swim Association annual meeting.

6. In the 8:00 p.m. EDT time slot on Saturday, ESPN will show the Penn State-Iowa football game, so Notre Dame-Boston College will share the ABC Sports slot with only the Stanford-Oregon contest.

Monday, September 27, 2010

1. The Notre Dame women’s golf team posted a final round 297 (+9) Sunday to finish first at the Mary Fossum Invitational in East Lansing, Mich. The Irish compiled a 54-hole total of 890 (+26) to begin their 2010-11 season. Nicole Zhang led the Irish and the individual leaderboard, posting a third round 71 (-1) to run her 54-hole total to 207 (-9). The Irish claimed their first Mary Fossum Invitational title in this, their 16th appearance at the tournament. Kent State held the lead entering the day, but carded a 304 (+16) in the final round and dropped into second with a three-round score of 895 (+31), followed by tournament host Michigan State at 896 (+32). Individually, Zhang finished as the only player (out of 63 entrants) to conclude the tournament under par. She carded red numbers in each of her three rounds, including a closing-round 71 (-1) to finish at 207 (-9). Kent State’s Martina Gavier finished runner-up but was nine shots off the pace of Zhang, posting a 54-hole score of 216 (E). Zhang’s inaugural tournament with the Irish cemented her a spot in the program record book. Her 54-hole score of 207 (-9) is the lowest total posted in program history, besting the mark set by Lisa Maunu at the Cougar Classic in 2007-08 when she fired a six-under par 210. Zhang’s second round score of 67 (-5) also earned a spot in the record book, sitting as the second lowest single-round score in program history. Maunu and current Irish senior So-Hyun Park hold the top spot, as each have a six-under par, 66 to their ledger. The nine-under par shot by Zhang also broke the prior Mary Fossum Invitational individual record, which previously stood at 214 (-2), posted in `07 and `09. Park finished in second for the Irish at the tournament, carding a 75 (+3) in her final round of play and compiled a 225 (+9) overall, good for a share of eighth place. Becca Huffer placed third amongst the Irish entrants, finishing her tournament at 226 (+10) to tie for 10th place. Also scoring on the final day for the Irish was freshman Kristina Nhim, carding a 78 (+6) in her final round to tie for 19th place at 232 (+16). Katie Conway rounded out the Irish field with a third-round score of 82 (+10) to post a 54-hole total of 242 (+26) on the weekend. Competing individually for the Irish was Katie Allare. The junior finished in 15th place with a score of 230 (+14).

2. The latest issue of Sporting News includes a feature on the 20 smartest athletes in sports ÃÆ €™Ãƒ € Ã¢ ‚¬ „¢ ¯ ¿ ½ and #13 on the list is former Irish baseball player Craig Counsell, now with the Milwaukee Brewers.

3. Notre Dame men’s swimming coach Tim Welsh recently was re-appointed president of the American College Swim Coaches Association.

4. Notre Dame graduate and longtime college sports journalist Mike Celizic passed away last week. Celizic was a longtime columnist for The Record newspaper of Bergen County, N.J., and also contributed to the NBC Sports web site. He was author of The Biggest Game of Them All ÃÆ €™Ãƒ € Ã¢ ‚¬ „¢ ¯ ¿ ½ a detailed analysis of the Notre Dame-Michigan State football game from 1966 (Simon & Schuster, 1992). He was a 1970 Notre Dame grad.

5. The Notre Dame-Michigan State football game on ABC Sports drew a 4.72 rating (combined rating with Texas-Texas Tech). That was the highest rating of the weekend for all the ABC/ESPN games (next best was 3.31 for Arkansas-Georgia on ESPN at noon).

6. There will be a student-only pep rally for the Notre Dame-Boston College game Thursday night at Stepan Center. Only students are permitted to attend.

7. If you haven’t been to the Gug lately, check out the lobby for new displays for individual awards won by Irish football players. All seven Heisman Trophy awards are on display ÃÆ €™Ãƒ € Ã¢ ‚¬ „¢ ¯ ¿ ½ as are displays for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award (Raghib Ismail’s trophy is on display), the Maxwell Award (Brady Quinn’s is on display), the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (Quinn’s is on display), the Biletnikoff Award (Golden Tate’s is displayed), the Outland Trophy (Ross Browner’s is displayed) and the Lombardi Award (Aaron Taylor’s is on display). In the center of the lobby is the encased crystal football representing Notre Dame’s 11 football consensus national championships.

8. Notre Dame junior women’s soccer forward Melissa Henderson has been selected as the BIG EAST Conference Offensive Player of the Week, the league office announced today. In addition, Henderson also was named to the 11-player Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week and was one of 11 players chosen as one of CollegeSoccer360.com’s Primetime Performers of the Week, according to releases by both media outlets today. Senior defender/co-captain Lauren Fowlkes also earned recognition for her play last week, garnering her second mention of the season on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll, which recognizes notable performances by conference players outside those chosen for the BIG EAST’s weekly individual awards. Henderson is Notre Dame’s first BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week honoree this season after tallying five points (2G-1A) in Sunday’s 5-0 win at #24/18 Louisville. Henderson scored goals in the 24th and 72nd minute, and earned the secondary assist on a 10th-minute score by senior forward Taylor Knaack as the Fighting Irish posted their largest margin of victory ever on the home field of a ranked opponent (according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll).

9. Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson has named his captains for the 2010-11 season as the Irish look ahead to the first official team practice Saturday as they begin preparations for their preseason tilt with the University of Guelph Gryphons Sunday at 5:05 p.m. at the Joyce Center. Senior defenseman Joe Lavin (Shrewsbury, Mass.) will serve as the team’s captain this season and will be joined by three alternate captains, fellow seniors Calle Ridderwall (Stockholm, Sweden), Ben Ryan (Brighton, Mich.) and Ryan Guentzel (Woodbury, Minn.). For all four players, this will be their first time serving as captains at Notre Dame.

10. Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey is issuing a challenge to all Fighting Irish fans in an effort to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Michiana. As part of McDazzle 2010 “Men in Kilts,” Brey is participating in a fundraising effort that will provide a free overnight stay at the Ronald McDonald Family Room for the family of a critically ill child. Brey is among 12 participants who have joined forces in this unique promotion in an effort to raise money and awareness for the Ronald McDonald charities in the South Bend and Mishawaka region. Irish fans can help by casting their vote for Brey as the best-dressed man in a kilt. The cost of a vote — $50 — with all proceeds helping fund an overnight stay for families at one of the three overnight facilities located in the South Bend community. Brey is hoping that all Notre Dame fans will help in this cause. As part of his challenge to the Fighting Irish community, the Irish coach has added an incentive if he is the leading vote getter. Should he receive the most votes, Brey will coach the first half of Notre Dame’s first exhibition game of the 2010-11 campaign wearing a kilt. Irish fans can help this special cause by voting for Brey at www.meninkilts.org. Every vote is tax deductible to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana and all dollars raised stay in the local Michiana community. Any parent with a hospitalized child under the age 21 is eligible to use the Ronald McDonald Family Room. Brey and all 11 other Men in Kilt celebrities will be part of the McDazzle festivities on Thursday at Gillespie Conference Center at the Hilton Garden Inn in South Bend, Ind. For more on the event, go to www.rmhcmichiana.org.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

1. The national colors were presented at yesterday’s Notre Dame-Stanford football game by space shuttle astronaut and Notre Dame alumnus Col. Kevin Ford. A native of Hartford City, Ind., Ford earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Notre Dame in 1982 and was a member of the Air Force ROTC. After serving for 18 years in the Air Force, he was selected to NASA’s astronaut corps in 2000. He served as the pilot on the shuttle Discovery’s mission to the International Space Station in August 2009 and is scheduled to return to the space station aboard a Russian-built Soyez spacecraft in October 2012.

2. Among those honors presented at the Notre Dame-Stanford football game were:

  • The Presidential Team Irish Award, which went to the TRiO Programs (Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search)
  • The Notre Dame fencing teams, that combined for a 2010 NCAA third-place finish
  • To Tim McCarthy, longtime deliverer of football safety messages for the Indiana State Police at Irish home football games – he received a plaque from the Federal Highway Administration (Indiana Division)
  • The Notre Dame faculty recognition, which went to Ahsan Kareem, Robert Moran Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences

3. The Stanley Cup made a special visit to campus Saturday, as the University athletics department honored Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman, a 1995 Notre Dame graduate, as the youngest general manager ever to be associated with a Stanley Cup-winning team. The Cup arrived in South Bend by private plane at about 1:30 p.m. and spent an hour in the Notre Dame hockey locker room with the Irish hockey team, as Bowman spoke to the squad. After a lengthy photo session, the Cup headed to Notre Dame Stadium, stopped briefly in the football locker room, spent pre-game on the sidelines and even sat on the end zone grass for photos. At halftime Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick, sporting a red Blackhawks jersey with his name on the back and a #10, presented Bowman with a framed Irish hockey jersey congratulating him on the Blackhawks’ title season. Also in attendance were Blackhawks executive vice president Jay Blunk, director of finance TJ Skattum (a Notre Dame graduate and former student manager) as well as director of market development and community affairs Pete Hassen.

4. Notre Dame graduate and current San Francisco 49ers radio voice (and longtime NBC Sports tennis commentator) Ted Robinson served as guest host for the Notre Dame Kickoff Luncheon on Friday. Guests included current NBC Sports Irish football analyst Mike Mayock, Irish QB Dayne Crist, Irish assistant coach Mike Elston and head coach Brian Kelly.

5. Notre Dame’s football schedule currently ranks 20th in the country in difficulty (tied with Michigan and Nebraska), with Irish opponents posting a 21-10 (.677) record. The three teams that have beaten the Irish to date — current AP #9 Stanford, #20 Michigan, and #24 Michigan State — are a combined 12-0, averaging a combined 42 points per game and allowing 18. Still to come on the Irish schedule are current AP poll #13 Utah (4-0) and #18 USC (4-0).

6. The Notre Dame-Boston College football game next Saturday will kick off at 8:00 p.m. EDT and will be shown on ABC Sports. ABC will show three games in that slot – also Stanford-Oregon and Penn State-Iowa – so if your area does not receive the Notre Dame-Boston College game, you can access it via ESPN GamePlan or ESPN3.com. Commentators for the Notre Dame-Boston College game this week will be Sean McDonough, Matt Millen and Heather Cox. Coverage maps will be available later in the week.

7. A goal from senior forward Steven Perry in the 70th minute is all the Notre Dame men’s soccer team would need in a 1-0 triumph against 12th-ranked St. John’s Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. The match was the BIG EAST opener for both squads. Notre Dame (3-2-2, 1-0-0) owned the stat sheet once again as the Irish outshot the Red Storm 18-7, including a 9-0 advantage in shots on goal. The Fighting Irish also gained one more corner kick (7-6).

8. Four different Notre Dame players scored goals, and senior defender/co-captain Lauren Fowlkes dished out a pair of assists as the #5/9 Fighting Irish put together a dominating 4-0 win over Cincinnati in BIG EAST Conference women’s soccer action on Friday night before a crowd of 1,200 fans at Alumni Stadium. The victory also stretched Notre Dame’s unbeaten streak against conference opponents to 68 matches (65-0-3), extending the program’s NCAA Division I record run.

9. Freshman Andrea McHugh sliced West Virginia for 16 kills and scooped 13 shots for her fifth career double-double as the Notre Dame volleyball team swept the visiting Mountaineers, 3-0 (25-10, 25-19, 28-26), Friday at Purcell Pavilion. McHugh had seven kills in the third set when Notre Dame rallied from a 24-20 deficit to capture the win. In what was both teams’ BIG EAST Conference opener, Notre Dame snapped a three-match skid and improved its overall record to 8-5 (1-0 BIG EAST) West Virginia fell to 10-6 and 0-1 in league play. The win was the 12th straight over WVU for Notre Dame, who also won its BIG EAST opener for the 15 time in 16 seasons.

10. Notre Dame’s record is 2-4 in football games at Boston College, including losses in each of its last three trips (2008, 2003, 2001). Notre Dame’s only wins in Alumni Stadium came in 1996 (48-21 when the Irish were ranked 17th) and 1998 (31-26 when the Irish were rated 13th).

11. On an individual basis, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o leads the nation in tackles to date, with an average of 13.5 per game – just ahead of Corey Paredes of Hawaii (13.25) and Trent Mackey of Tulane and Mason Foster of Washington (12.67 each).

12. Junior forward Melissa Henderson turned in a five-point day with two goals and an assist, leading #5 Notre Dame to an impressive 5-0 women’s soccer victory at #18 Louisville this afternoon at Cardinal Park. It was the largest margin of victory ever recorded by a Fighting Irish team against a ranked opponent on its home field, while the win also extended Notre Dame’s NCAA Division I record unbeaten streak against BIG EAST foes to 69 matches (66-0-3). It was a milestone afternoon for Henderson, whose two scores made her the 15th Fighting Irish player to gain admission into the 40-goal club. Senior forward Taylor Knaack and junior midfielder Ellen Jantsch both opened their seasonal goal accounts by bookending the Notre Dame offensive output, while senior forward Erica Iantorno added her second goal of the season for the Fighting Irish, and freshman forward Adriana Leon capped a strong weekend with two exceptional plays (although uncredited assists) to create the final two Notre Dame scores. Senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss made three saves in the Fighting Irish net during the first 79-plus minutes before giving way to sophomore Maddie Fox, who was not officially credited with a stop, but did have to clear away some loose change in the late going to maintain her team’s eighth shutout in 10 matches this season (and second consecutive split clean sheet). For the second match in a row, Notre Dame (9-1, 3-0 BIG EAST) posted season-high shot totals, with 22 attempts and 16 on goal. Louisville held a slim 4-3 edge in corner kicks, while fouls were nearly even (9-7 against the Fighting Irish). Cardinals’ netminder Taylor Vancil went the distance for the hosts and made a season-high 11 saves.

13. Notre Dame started the weekend with a 3-0 win Friday over West Virginia and replicated the feat Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion against Pittsburgh, defeating the visiting Panthers by respective scores of 25-19, 25-19 and 25-14. With the BIG EAST Conference volleyball win, the Irish improved to 9-5 overall (2-0 BIG EAST) as Pittsburgh dropped to 6-11 (1-1). It is the third straight year Notre Dame has swept the opening weekend of BIG EAST play. The Irish continue league action next weekend at USF (Oct. 1) and Georgetown (Oct. 3). Sophomore Hilary Eppink led all players on the day with 12 kills and four blocks. Freshman Andrea McHugh posted nine kills and seven digs with junior Kristen Dealy bringing home eight kills and a match-high 15 digs. Notre Dame hit .239 as six different players recorded at least one kill. Freshman Sammie Brown dished out 31 assists and had two aces, two kills, two blocks and seven digs. Freshman Sam Brown put down four kills on seven errorless swings and added four blocks.

14. The University of Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course has been chosen as one of the top 15 college courses in the nation, according to Golfweek. To qualify for the Golfweek’s Best Campus Courses list, a course must be part of a school’s recreational life in terms of preferential access for students, faculty and alumni. Co-designed by Bill Coore and PGA Tour veteran Ben Crenshaw, the Warren Golf Course opened on May 1, 2000, and has played host to three U.S. Amateur Championship qualifiers, the `05 and `10 men’s NCAA Central Regional, three Western Amateur Championship qualifiers, five BIG EAST Conference Men’s Championships and three BIG EAST Women’s Championships. In addition, the par-70, 7,020-yard tree-lined layout has welcomed numerous junior golf tournaments and serves as the home course for the Notre Dame men’s and women’s golf teams.

15. The Notre Dame men’s golf team will play host to the fifth-annual Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic (FIGGC) Monday and Tuesday, with action getting underway at 9 a.m. with a shotgun start. The two-day, 54-hole tournament is taking place at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course, which measures to a distance of 7,023 yards while playing to a par 70. The 2010 edition of the FIGGC is the fifth year of the event hosted by the Irish at the Warren Golf Course. Coming off a season-opening second-place finish at Kiawah Island, S.C. at the College of Charleston Invitational, the Irish look to defend their FIGGC title against a very competitive field, as five teams teeing it up on Monday are ranked in the top-50 (according to 9.22.10 Golfstat rankings) – Iowa (15), San Francisco (32), Notre Dame (41), College of Charleston (46) and Missouri (50).

16. Jimmy Clausen’s first-ever NFL start today ended in a 20-7 home loss for his Carolina Panthers to the Cincinnati Bengals. Clausen completed 16 of 33 passes for 188 yards and one interception. He also rushed six times for 10 yards. Meanwhile, the John Carlson/Golden Tate receiving combo helped Seattle defeat San Diego 27-20. Carlson caught five passes for 61 yards and one TD, while Tate caught four for 33 yards and also returned three punts for 44 yards (including a 31-yarder).

17. Among visitors to the Notre Dame-Stanford football game Saturday was former NBC Sports sideline commentator Lewis Johnson, who brought his two teenage sons to the game.

18. Seen at the Notre Dame Bookstore Saturday morning – a never-ending line for two hours as former Irish football coach Ara Parseghian did a book-signing.

19. ESPN’s Dick Vitale was a surprise speaker at the football pep rally Friday night at Purcell Pavilion.

Monday, September 20, 2010

1. Five players for #20 Dayton recorded at least six kills as the visiting Flyers defeated Notre Dame Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion in a non-conference volleyball contest. With the 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-20) defeat on the final day of the Notre Dame Invitational, the Irish fell to 7-5 overall while Dayton’s record moved to 9-3. The Irish have now dropped three straight affairs in addition to a pair of matches this season at the hands of top 20 teams (No. 18 Arizona beat Notre Dame on Aug. 29). Notre Dame gets one week of rest and returns to the court to christen the BIG EAST Conference portion of the schedule by hosting West Virginia (Sept. 24) and Pittsburgh (Sept. 26). Junior Kristen Dealy was named to the all-tournament team and finished the day with eight kills and nine digs. For the three-match invite Dealy averaged 3.64 kills/set and 4.36 digs/set. Junior Frenchy Silva led the Irish with 14 digs against the Flyers and totaled 54 in 11 frames (4.91/set) on the weekend. Freshman Andrea McHugh had eight kills, two aces and four digs against Dayton, while senior Kellie Sciacca and sophomore Hilary Eppink each added seven kills.

2. Junior forward Melissa Henderson set up Notre Dame’s first goal and converted the eventual gamewinner on a penalty kick midway through the first half as the #7 Fighting Irish completed a weekend sweep of Chicago-area teams with a 2-1 victory over Northwestern on an overcast and breezy Sunday afternoon at Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill. Freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker completed the best weekend of her young career with the opening goal of the day in the fifth minute, giving her three scores in the past two matches. Senior forward/midfielder Rose Augustin wasn’t officially credited with an assist on Henderson’s goal, but it was her pinpoint lead pass that sprang the speedy Notre Dame striker behind the Northwestern defense and led to the penalty kick. Senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss made one save, but didn’t face much in the way of offensive pressure between the Wildcats’ goal, which came 36 seconds after Tucker’s score, and the final 10 minutes of the match, when Northwestern pushed up a third attacker in an effort to tie the score. Wildcats’ netminder Carolyn Edwards was credited with three saves, in addition to a team save for Northwestern. Edwards also was issued a yellow card for bringing down Henderson on a breakaway in the box, resulting in the 21st-minute penalty kick that proved to be the difference. Notre Dame (7-1-0) led in all of the statistical categories on Sunday, outshooting the Wildcats, 11-6, with three of NU’s six shots coming during its frantic late-match push. The Fighting Irish also led in shots on goal (6-2), corner kicks (5-0) and fouls (11-9).

3. Fifteenth-rated Michigan State topped #24 Notre Dame behind two goals from Domenic Barone in men’s soccer action on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. The loss snapped Notre Dame’s four-game unbeaten streak. Notre Dame (2-2-2) had a 22-13 advantage in shots, while Michigan State (5-1-0) had one more shot on goal (7-6). The Irish held a 7-6 edge in corner kicks for the match. Spartan goalkeeper Avery Steinlage made six saves in the win and Notre Dame junior Will Walsh had five stops. Barone nearly put the Spartans on the board in the 25th minute, yet a diving Walsh deflected the ball wide of the post. The Michigan State forward deposited his first goal of the afternoon in the 40th minute as he headed in a Josh Barens cross from 10 yards out. Michigan State led 1-0 at halftime. Both teams had eight shots and three corner kicks in the opening half.

4. The Notre Dame’s men’s tennis team finished its three-day tournament at the Illinois Invitational on Sunday, claiming 10 victories at the Olympia Fields Country Club. Freshman Greg Andrews continued his strong collegiate debut defeating Illinois’ Connor Roth, 6-2, 6-2. Team captain Tyler Davis defeated Zach Leslie of Wake Forest in a three-set match, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. Juniors Casey Watt and Sam Keeton each picked up a singles victory. Blas Moros earned two singles victories, defeating Alabama’s Trey Watson and Wake Forest’s Amogh Prabhakar. Newcomer Billy Pecor and senior Daniel Stahl also won a singles match apiece. In doubles, seniors Stahl and Davis defeated Alabama’s Jarryd Botha and Vikram Reddy, 8-5. Senior Matt Johnson and Keeton picked up a doubles victory against Ian Chadwell and Trey Watson of Alabama, 8-5. The team ended the tournament earning 10 victories on Friday, six on Saturday and 10 Sunday battling top-notch teams in the nation. University of Illinois was ranked at No. 32 in the ITA preseason rankings, followed by Wake Forest at No. 22 and the University of Illinois at No. 34.

5. The Notre Dame’s tennis team concluded its weekend at the Purdue Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind., on Saturday and Sunday with five singles victories at the Schwartz Tennis Center. Senior David Anderson defeated Western Michigan’s Michael Calderone, 6-2, 3-6, (10-5) to advance to the flight A quarterfinals. Southern Illinois University’s Adam Fabik eliminated Anderson in the flight A singles tournament, 7-6 (13-11), 7-6 (7-1). Junior Niall Fitzgerald earned two victories on Saturday. He defeated Kyle Gerber of Case Western, 4-6, 6-1 (10-8) and Rohan Patel also representing Case Western, 6-1, 6-3. Sunday, Fitzgerald fell to University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Paul Swanson, 6-1, 6-1 in the flight A singles consolation bracket. Freshman Ryan Bandy earned a victory in the flight B quarterfinals on Saturday against Christoph Hopfe, representing the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, 6-1, 6-1. Bandy was defeated by Western Michigan University’s Casey Cullen, 3-6, 6-2, (10-6) on Sunday in the finals.

6. The Notre Dame women’s basketball team will take on teams from each of the nation’s top six conferences, and will play 22 regular-season games against teams that qualified for postseason play last year (including 11 NCAA Championship qualifiers and four NCAA Sweet 16 participants) as part of a challenging 2010-11 schedule that was released this afternoon following approval by the University’s Faculty Board on Athletics. In addition, the Fighting Irish will play seven first-time opponents during their 14-game non-conference slate, and they have a school-record 17 regular-season home games lined up inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center during the upcoming campaign. Among the marquee matchups on this year’s Notre Dame women’s basketball schedule are a home-and-home series with BIG EAST Conference rival and two-time defending national champion Connecticut (Jan. 8 at Notre Dame; Feb. 19 in Storrs, Conn.), first-ever trips to 2010 NCAA Women’s Final Four participant Baylor (Dec. 1) and 2010 NCAA Kansas City Regional finalist Kentucky (Nov. 21), and a post-Christmas visit to Seattle for matchups with 2010 NCAA Sweet 16 qualifier Gonzaga (Dec. 29) and Loyola Marymount (Dec. 30) in the Seattle U. Holiday Classic inside KeyArena at Seattle Center (home of the 2010 WNBA champion Seattle Storm). The Fighting Irish also will welcome ’10 Pac-10 Conference runner-up and NCAA second-round participant UCLA (Nov. 18) and in-state rival Purdue (Dec. 5) to Purcell Pavilion, along with a trio of teams — Wake Forest, Butler and IUPUI — for the WBCA Classic from Nov. 26-28.

7. Four former Notre Dame football players are on the preliminary ballot of 114 candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011, as announced last week by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Those names are tight end Mark Bavaro, running back Jerome Bettis (his first year on the ballot), wide receiver Tim Brown (a finalist in 2010) and running back Ricky Watters.

8. Carolina Panthers coach John Fox announced today that former Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen will start for the Panthers Sunday against Cincinnati. Clausen has played off the bench in the first two Panther outings, completing seven of 15 passes for 59 yards with one interception. Another NFL rookie and former Irish player, Golden Tate of Seattle, caught a 52-yard pass yesterday and also had two punt returns for 82 yards, including a 63-yarder. Seattle tight end John Carlson, another former Notre Dame player, caught five passes for 48 yards.

9. The Notre Dame-Boston College football game Oct. 2 will kick off at 8:00 p.m. EDT and will be carried by either ABC Sports, ESPN or ESPN2.

10. Somewhere midway through the Irish football team’s trip back to South Bend in the early-morning hours Sunday, the Stanford-Wake Forest football game went final in a 68-24 Cardinal win. Jim Harbaugh’s team scored 28 points in the second period alone, putting together four TDs in a 11-minute stretch on drives that combined to produce 243 yards. The Associated Press poll now features five Irish opponents for 2010, all of them at 3-0 — #13 Utah, #16 Stanford, #20 USC, #21 Michigan and #25 Michigan State. Stanford ranks first nationally in pass defense (90 yards per game), third in scoring (51.67), fifth in passing efficiency (quarterback Andrew Luck is third individually), and sixth in turnover margin and total defense (227.67). Notre Dame’s schedule this week ranks 16th in terms of difficulty (tied with Kansas and Minnesota), with the Irish opponents combining so far for a 17-7 record (Iowa and Penn State are tied at #1 at 18-4 each).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

1. The Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams claimed the National Catholic Invitational crown for the second consecutive year Friday at the Notre Dame Golf Course. The Notre Dame men scored 35 points, earning the title over second-place Marquette with 76 points, to claim their 21st championship title since the race began in 1980. Third-place Dayton scored 76 points and Bellarmine University claimed the Division II crown. Irish senior Dan Jackson finished the five-mile race in second by crossing the line in 24:10, sophomore J.P. Malette stopped the clock at 24:53 to finish fifth. Sophomore Jeremy Rae and freshman Martin Grady finished eighth and ninth in 25:00 and 25:11, respectively. Senior Ryan Gamboa crossed the line in 25:14 to finish 11th overall.

The Notre Dame women’s team claimed the title scoring 41 points. The women have been champions of the National Catholic Invitational eight of the past 10 years and 17 times overall since the women’s race was added in 1984. Dayton finished second with 86 points and Marquette University in third, scoring 108 points. Bellarmine scored 76 points and was the Division II champion. Irish freshman Meg Ryan made her Notre Dame cross country debut with an individual title finishing the 5-kilometer race in 17:37. Ryan is the fourth consecutive Irish women’s runner to claim the crown. Senior Erica Watson and junior Rachel Velarde finished at the eight and nine spots in 18:04 and 18:05.

2. What appeared to be a 3-0 win in the making turned into a five-set loss for the Notre Dame volleyball team Friday evening at Purcell Pavilion, as the Irish dropped a 3-2 (18-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-17, 15-11) decision to Delaware. The Blue Hens (7-3) battled back from Notre Dame’s match point at 24-20 in the third set to score six unanswered to capture the frame. Delaware used that momentum to score the first seven points of the fourth set and went on to win the last two stanzas. Not lost in the mix of the defeat was an outstanding effort by junior Kristen Dealy who went for 24 kills and 25 digs, career-high numbers in both categories. Dealy had 17 kills at the break after slamming down 11 in the second set. Her final totals signified the 19th time in 31 seasons of varsity competition at Notre Dame that a player posted a 20-20 output (kills, digs or assists). The last to do so was Adrianna Stasiuk against Cincinnati in 2006. Dealy was joined on the offensive end by freshman Andrea McHugh (12 kills) and senior Kellie Sciacca (15 kills). McHugh added 14 digs for a double-double and Sciacca had a hand on five blocks, including two solo. Junior Frenchy Silva also had a career evening with 24 digs, and senior Angela Puente added 12.

3. Notre Dame freshman midfielder Elizabeth Tucker netted a pair of goals, including the clincher with 1:48 to play as the #7 Fighting Irish kicked off their BIG EAST Conference season with a 2-0 victory over DePaul on Friday afternoon at Wish Field in Chicago. Senior forward Rose Augustin set up Tucker’s first goal, and both junior forward Melissa Henderson and senior forward Taylor Knaack did likewise on the second, as Notre Dame extended its NCAA Division I-record unbeaten streak against conference opponents to 67 matches (64-0-3).

4. No. 24 Notre Dame played Michigan to a scoreless draw in men’s soccer action on Friday night in front of 3,503 fans at the U-M Soccer Complex in Ann Arbor. The tie upped the Fighting Irish unbeaten streak to four games. Notre Dame (2-1-2) junior goalkeeper Will Walsh and the Fighting Irish defense posted their third shutout of the season. Walsh made a career-high seven saves, while his counterpart Chris Blais also had seven stops for Michigan (3-1-2). Both teams had 22 shots and seven shots on goal in the match. The Fighting Irish had a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks. Senior forward Steven Perry had a team-best four shots, including two on goal, for the Irish.

5. The Irish football team left by bus for East Lansing about 2:30 p.m. Friday, with a group of Notre Dame band members in attendance to provide a send-off for the first road trip of the Brian Kelly era. The Irish traveling party went straight to Spartan Stadium – where the team held a walk-thru in shorts and shirts for about a half-hour. Kelly also visited briefly with ABC Sports announcers Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe. The Notre Dame team left its downtown Lansing hotel briefly this morning for another walk-thru indoors across the street at the Lansing Convention Center. Seen not long after the Irish team arrived at Spartan Stadium tonight for the game – Irish assistant Tim Hinton shaking hands on the field with Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio. Hinton coached under Dantonio at Cincinnati from 2004-06, then was retained when Dantonio left for Michigan State and Kelly took over at Cincinnati.

6. Michigan State’s baseball team recorded a 4-2 win over Notre Dame in eight innings of play today in East Lansing – in a game interrupted by an hour’s worth of heavy rain.

7. Tonight’s game-day captains for the Irish football game against Michigan State are DT Ian Williams and TE Kyle Rudolph.

Friday, September 17, 2010

1. Since this is the final year the Notre Dame hockey team plays in the Joyce Center, Irish individual game tickets feature photos of a handful of star players and coaches from Notre Dame hockey history – including Phil Wittliff, coach Lefty Smith, Eddie Bumbacco, Bill Nyrop, Jack Brownschidle, Brian Walsh, Greg Meredith, Kirt Bjork, coach Ric Schafer, coach Dave Poulin, Jamie Ling, Benoit Cotnoir, Dave Brown, Erik Condra and Ian Cole. The Irish open play at the Joyce Center with a preseason game Oct. 3 (Sunday at 5:00 p.m. EDT) against Guelph.

2. The Irish men’s basketball team will be part of ESPN’s BIG Monday schedule three times during the upcoming 2010-11 campaign. Notre Dame’s first appearance on Big Monday will be when the Irish travel to the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis., to take on Marquette at 7:00 p.m. (ET) on Jan. 10 in a game that will be shown on ESPN2. Notre Dame’s matchup at Pittsburgh on Jan. 24 at 7:00 p.m. (ET) at the Petersen Events Center will be shown on ESPN. The ESPN Big Monday cameras will make their only appearance at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on Feb. 28 at 7:00 p.m. (ET) when the Irish take on Villanova.

3. Notre Dame junior tight end Kyle Rudolph was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week by the Nassau County Sports Commission. Rudolph established a career single-game high in receptions with eight and receiving yards with 164 against Michigan. He set a single-game school record for receiving yards by a tight end and fell one catch shy of the tight end record for catches in a game. Rudolph’s total of 164 yards, which included a 95-yard touchdown catch, surpassed Anthony Fasano’s previous school record of 155 yards against Purdue in 2004.

4. The Notre Dame women’s basketball team will fan out across Michiana several times in the next month for events associated with its “Spirit of Giving” community outreach program, and fans are encouraged to “get in the Spirit” this fall, right along with the Fighting Irish.

The fun begins at 9:15 a.m. (ET) tomorrow (Sept. 18), when Notre Dame’s Hall of Fame head coach Muffet McGraw, senior guard Brittany Mallory and junior guards Fraderica Miller and Natalie Novosel will participate in the Our Towne Truck Pull at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend. McGraw, Mallory, Miller and Novosel are slated to team with 16 other Fighting Irish fans to pull a semi truck (tractor-trailer) in a benefit for the Public Education Foundation of South Bend. The public invited to attend this event, take photos and receive autographs from members of the Fighting Irish women’s basketball team.

On Sept. 21, senior forward Becca Bruszewski and sophomore guard Skylar Diggins will headline a women’s basketball pep rally at the Coquillard Primary Center from 1-2 p.m. (ET). The Coquillard Center is located at 1245 North Sheridan Avenue in South Bend.

Two days later on Sept. 23, Diggins and Mallory will be the featured guests at another women’s basketball pep rally, this one to be held from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (ET) at the Muessel Primary Center, located at 1021 Blaine Street in South Bend.Both pep rallies — which will be closed to the general public — are designed to inspire young children on the importance of reading and completing school work. Each event is being held in cooperation with the Public Education Foundation.

Together, McGraw and Diggins also are serving as co-chairs of the Public Education Foundation’s fundraising drive to help implement the Wilson Reading System in four South Bend schools — Coquillard, Muessel, Perley and Marquette. For more information on the Public Education Foundation, please visit its web site at http://www.edfo.org.

The Notre Dame women’s basketball “Spirit of Giving” program began in the summer of 2009 and is an ongoing series of community outreach events that the Fighting Irish players, coaches and support staff participate in at various locations across Michiana.

In addition to its upcoming “Spirit of Giving” events, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team will have an additional announcement on Sept. 21 concerning a special community appearance that will be unlike any other in the program’s 34-year history. This appearance will take place from 6-8 p.m. (ET) on Oct. 13 — fans should mark their calendars now and look ahead to the Sept. 21 announcement for more details on this unique evening with the Fighting Irish.

5. Notre Dame men’s soccer players Steven Perry and Aaron Maund have garnered national and conference honors, respectively, for their roles in helping the Fighting Irish capture last weekend’s Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament title. Perry was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com College Team of the Week, while Maund was selected to the BIG EAST weekly honor roll.

Perry scored a career-high two goals in Friday’s 2-0 victory over No. 22 Drake. The senior forward registered a game-high nine shots and was part of a high-powered Notre Dame attack that totaled 32 shots against the Bulldogs. Perry was named the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament offensive MVP. Maund, a central defender, put the Irish on the board in the 51st minute in Sunday’s 5-1 triumph of Cal Poly. That was the second goal of his career. The junior also anchored the Irish defense, which allowed just one goal and surrendered just eight shots on goal during the tournament. Maund was named the tournament’s defensive MVP.

6. If you are headed to East Lansing for the Notre Dame-Michigan State football game Saturday and looking for something to do during the day, check out Notre Dame’s fall baseball contest at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow at Michigan State.

7. If you’re looking for home Irish athletic events this weekend, there’s volleyball tonight at 7:00 against Delaware, more volleyball at 7:00 p.m. Saturday against Santa Clara and a third game at 2:00 p.m. Sunday against Dayton (all in the Notre Dame Invitational at Purcell Pavilion). There’s cross country this afternoon in the National Catholic Invitational (women at 4:15, men at 5:00, at the Notre Dame Golf Course). Then there’s men’s soccer at 2:00 p.m. Sunday against Michigan State at Alumni Stadium.

8. Tonight marks the debut of the new center-hung scoreboard at Purcell Pavilion, featuring video capabilities both on that board as well as the LED boards above the four vomitories. Check it out.

9. The Notre Dame men’s golf team ended the College of Charleston Invite in second place, after posting a 54-hole total of 879 (+15) Tuesday. Individually, Niall Platt led the way for the Irish by finishing with a one-over par 217, to earn a share of second place. The Irish entered day two of the tournament with a one-shot lead over N.C. State, but were unable to hold off the Wolfpack. Notre Dame carded a final-round, seven-over par 295. Platt was able to lead the Irish individually with steady play throughout his three rounds. After entering the day at even par, he posted a one-over par 73 on his final 18 holes. Platt was saddled with two bogies on the front nine but registered a pair of birdies on the back along with one more bogey to climb back to one-over par on the day. Max Scodro posted the low round of the day amongst Irish golfers, netting a three-under par 69 Tuesday to finish the tournament alone in eighth with a 220 (+4). Scodro stood at two-over par on his round after 10 holes before finishing his final eight holes at five under, including four straight birdies on holes 13 through 16.

10. Notre Dame offensive linemen Chris Stewart, believed to be the only Irish football player ever to attend law school while playing for the Irish, was featured in USA Today yesterday.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

1. Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner attended his first Notre Dame football game (Saturday against Michigan) with his son Jacob and nephew Mike.

2. Former Irish receiver Omar Jenkins is back on campus pursuing his MBA and working in the athletic business office on a part-time basis.

3. There are 28 names of former Notre Dame football players on 2010 NFL rosters. Of that group, three are practice-squad members (Kyle McCarthy in Denver, Sergio Brown in New England, Dan Santucci in Carolina), while Philadelphia’s Victor Abiamiri is on the physically unable to perform list coming off knee surgery. The team with the most active former Irish players is Denver (Brady Quinn, Ryan Harris, Eric Olsen, David Bruton).

4. Notre Dame men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan has announced the commitment of 13 student-athletes who will join the program beginning in the 2011 season. The newcomers hail from six different states, including three apiece from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. There are two Under Armour All-Americans, midfielders Liam O’Connor and Jimmy Marlatt, in the talented class. O’Connor (#33) and Marlatt (#46) were among four of the incoming student-athletes ranked in the Inside Lacrosse Freshman Power 100. Joining them on that list were defenseman Stephen O’Hara (#63) and midfielder Matty Collins (#91). The class features three attackmen, five midfielders and five defensemen. “This is a class that’s deep at every position,” said Corrigan. “I feel good about the numbers we have and the quality of athletes in the class. I think athletically it’s a very talented class. There are some guys that are going to be able to compete right away because of the athleticism of the class. There are also some particular skills, like face-offs, that will help us right away as well.”

2010 Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse Recruits

Tyler Brenneman Midfield East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton
Brian Buglione Defense/LSM Vestal, N.Y./Vestal
Matty Collins Midfield Bethesda, Md./Georgetown Prep
Alex Eaton Attack Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan
Westy Hopkins Attack/Midfield Newtown, Pa./La Salle College H.S./The Lawrenceville School (PG year)
Don Keough Defense Rye, N.Y./Rye
Jim Marlatt Midfield Clarksville, Md./River Hill
Ryan Mix Attack Newport Beach, Calif. /Corona del Mar
Liam O’Connor Midfield Haverford, Pa./The Haverford School
Stephen O’Hara Defense West Chester, Pa./St. Joe’s Prep
Chris Prevoznik Defense Mountain Lakes, N.J./Mountain Lakes
John Scioscia Attack Summit, N.J./Summit
Mike Shepardson Defense/LSM Winter Park, Fla./Saint Andrews

5. Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey is issuing a challenge to all Fighting Irish fans in an effort to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Michiana. As part of McDazzle 2010 “Men in Kilts,” Brey is participating in a fundraising effort that will provide a free overnight stay at the Ronald McDonald Family Room for the family of a critically ill child. Brey is among 12 participants who have joined forces in this unique promotion in an effort to raise money and awareness for the Ronald McDonald charities in the South Bend and Mishawaka region. Irish fans can help by casting their vote for Brey as the best-dressed man in a kilt. The cost of a vote — $50 — with all proceeds helping fund an overnight stay for families at one of the three overnight facilities located in the South Bend community. Brey is hoping that all Notre Dame fans will help in this cause. As part of his challenge to the Fighting Irish community, the Irish coach has added an incentive if he is the leading vote getter. Should he receive the most votes, Brey will coach the first half of Notre Dame’s first exhibition game of the 2010-11 campaign wearing a kilt. Irish fans can help this special cause by voting for Brey at www.meninkilts.org . Every vote is tax deductible to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana and all dollars raised stay in the local Michiana community. Any parent with a hospitalized child under the age 21 is eligible to use the Ronald McDonald Family Room. Brey and all 11 other Men in Kilt celebrities will be part of the McDazzle festivities on Thursday, Sept. 30 at Gillespie Conference Center at the Hilton Garden Inn in South Bend, Ind. For more on the event, go to www.rmhcmichiana.org .

6. NCAA statistical rankings this week include:

  • Notre Dame 20th in passing (293.0 per game), 29th in total offense (446.5), sixth in punt returns (23.5).
  • Michigan State 11th in rushing (261.0), ninth in rushing defense (65.0), 19th in punting (41.63), with Edwin Baker fifth in individual rushing (150.0 per game).
  • Notre Dame’s schedule ranks tied for 28th in difficulty, with future opponents at 10-5 (.667). Michigan State is 26th (and Iowa and Texas A&M are tied for #1 with their opponents both at 14-1).
Sunday, September 12, 2010

1. Check out two new books on Notre Dame football now on the market:
The Gipper: George Gipp, Knute Rockne and the Dramatic Rise of Notre Dame Football by former New York Times sportswriter Jack Cavanaugh (Skyhorse Publishing).

Perfect Rivals: Notre Dame, Miami and the Battle for the Soul of College Football by Jeff Carroll, former South Bend Tribune sports columnist (Ballantine Books/ESPN Books).

2. The Irish football program took out a full-page ad in the Aug. 26 edition of The Observer (Notre Dame’s school newspaper) looking for walk-on candidates. A handful of players joined the roster based on that outreach.

3. According to the Wall Street Journal, the teams in the country in 2010 with the most “star power” are USC, Florida, Notre Dame, Texas, Alabama and LSU. That’s based on the average ranking of projected starters in the Rivals.com recruiting evaluations (prospects received two to five stars in the ratings). The top three figures were 4.27 (USC and Florida) and 4.09 (Notre Dame). The Southeastern Conference had the top figure among leagues at 3.43.

4. ESPN.com rated the greatest coaching decisions of all-time – and sixth on the list was Notre Dame’s influence in popularizing use of the forward pass, in particular based on the Notre Dame football win over Army in 1913 when Gus Dorais and Knute Rockne hooked up to upset the Cadets at West Point. Tops on that list was New York Yankee manager Ed Barrow’s decision to move Babe Ruth from the pitching mound to the outfield so he could hit every day.

5. Sporting News asked three television personalities to pick how many football games Notre Dame would win in 2010. ESPN’s Mark May said 10, ESPN’s Ed Cunningham nine, FOX’s Charles Davis eight. May listed Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd as his Heisman Trophy “sleeper.”

6. There are three new wrinkles for NBC Sports telecasts of Irish football games this year:
— A new color analyst in Mike Mayock, a former NFL Network analyst (he replaces Pat Haden who is the new athletics director at USC).
— The ActionCam overhead cable-camera system (NBC tested it at last April’s Blue-Gold game at Notre Dame Stadium).
— A new agreement to broadcast games live in 14 countries in Europe and Asia on Eurosport 2 (considered the equivalent of ESPN2).

7. Former Irish distance star Molly Huddle broke the U.S. record in the 5,000 meters with a 14:44.76 last month at a meet in Brussels, Belgium.

8. Here’s what three traditional sports publications predicted for Notre Dame football in 2010:
Sports Illustrated predicted a 6-6 season.
Sporting News predicted 8-4 and a Champs Sports Bowl berth against Virginia Tech. Tight end Kyle Rudolph was listed as a projected first-team All-American.
ESPN The Magazine rated the Irish 22nd. The magazine ran a six-page feature on new Irish coach Brian Kelly.

9. Notre Dame’s Friday kickoff luncheons at the Joyce Center now feature guest hosts each week. The first two were Don Criqui (he does play by play on Notre Dame’s ISP football radio network) and Ed Farmer (he’s the Chicago White Sox radio network play-by-play voice). The luncheons also feature three live questions for Brian Kelly as posed by selected luncheon guests. The luncheon prior to the Michigan game featured a 10-minute video feature from the Purdue weekend after a Notre Dame Sports Properties videographer was embedded with the Irish team for the entire weekend. Farmer on Friday presented Kelly with two baseball jerseys – a Red Sox version autographed by Boston manager Terry Francona and a White Sox version (with B. Kelly and #1 on the back) autographed by Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen.

10. Ratings for Notre Dame’s first two home games on NBC were up 77 percent (Purdue) and 67 percent (Michigan at 4.5 and 10 share) compared to the same two games a year ago.

11. Here’s what the college basketball magazines say about Notre Dame:
Sporting News says the Irish men will finish 10th in the BIG EAST, with Tim Abromaitis listed as the league’s best shooter. In women’s hoops Notre Dame is predicted #8 as a team, with Skylar Diggins a first-team All-American (one of 10).
Lindy’s puts Notre Dame 37th in its men’s preseason poll and says the Irish will be one of seven BIG EAST teams to make the NCAA bracket. Abromaitis is rated #20 among power forwards and Ben Hansbrough #20 among shooting guards. Lindy’s rates the Irish sixth in the BIG EAST and lists Abromaitis and Hansbrough as third-team all-BIG EAST picks. On the women’s side, Notre Dame is rated 11th on a preseason basis, and Diggins is picked as a third-team All-American (five per team).
Athlon says the Notre Dame men will be a #11 NCAA seed (as one of nine BIG EAST teams to win bids) and will be matched up against #6 seed Richmond in a first-round game. Athlon says the Irish will finish ninth in the BIG EAST. The magazine lists Notre Dame’s women’s team #14 in its preseason poll, with Diggins a second-team All-America pick.

12. Former Irish women’s hoops standout Ruth Riley attended the Notre Dame-Michigan football game.

13. A dozen or so adidas executives came to South Bend for the Notre Dame-Michigan football clash, as did a similar-sized film crew shooting scenes for future global commercials.

14. A crew from Access Hollywood (including star Maria Menounos) stopped by the Notre Dame-Michigan football game to film a series of promos for affiliate WNDU.

15. Notre Dame’s opener against Purdue in football drew writers from the New York Post, New York Daily News, Newark Star-Ledger, ESPN.com and CBSSports.com. The Michigan game again brought writers form ESPN.com and CBSSports.com, as well as former WNDU reporter Tom Rinaldi (now with ESPN), who did live shots Saturday morning for ESPN’s Gameday show, as well as post-game reports.

16. A cold and rainy South Bend morning could not dampen the spirits of the more that 200 members of the Fighting Irish hockey family that gathered Saturday morning to witness the groundbreaking ceremony for the Compton Family Center, Notre Dame’s new on-campus ice arena, at the site of the new facility. The state-of-the-art, 5,000-seat arena, was made possible by a generous lead gift from Kevin and Gayla Compton, who also own the San Jose Sharks of the NHL. The Compton Family Center, scheduled to open its doors in October 2011, will include offices, a locker room and weight and cardio training facilities for the Notre Dame hockey program.

“This is a very exciting moment in the history of Notre Dame and Notre Dame athletics,” said Notre Dame vice president of university relations and ceremony emcee Lou Nanni. “For members of the hockey team both present and future, today is a day that we will not forget as we bless and dedicate this building.”

Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., began the ceremony by asking those present to pray for the successful completion of the arena and for the safety of those who work on it in the coming year. Jenkins then performed the blessing of the ground surrounding the arena.

Following Father Jenkins’ blessing, Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson thanked the members of the athletics administration, donors and all others involved in the project that made the construction of the arena possible. “When I first came here, we were talking about a renovation in the Joyce Center,” said Jackson, who has guided the program to two conference titles and a berth in the 2008 NCAA Frozen Four during his five-year tenure. “With Jack’s [Swarbrick] foresight and Tom [Nevala] and everyone involved in pushing for this to happen, waiting an additional year to have a new facility is something that is going to have a tremendous impact on the future of our program, and we’re very proud of that.”

Junior left wing Billy Maday (Burr Ridge, Ill.) was chosen to represent the 2010-11 Notre Dame hockey team at the podium. “You have provided us with a top-of-the-line facility that will develop great hockey players and great people,” Maday said. “We understand how much effort was devoted to this project and we will not take it for granted. We have no choice but to work as hard as we can on and off the ice.”

Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick spoke last at the ceremony, and touched upon how important the Compton Family Center will be for the Michiana community. “There’s a limit to how much the community can use our dormitories and our classrooms and our laboratories, but the athletic facilities can be a special point of contact,” Swarbrick said. “I hope we win national championships with teams that train here and I hope we build new programs for our athletes and our students. But the ultimate success of this facility will be if we inspire a young boy or a young girl from the community to shoot higher, if we challenge them to be better people because they spend time on our campus. Then we’ve realized the potential of athletics at Notre Dame.”

After Swarbrick’s remarks, Nanni invited the families that made major contributions to the project to sign a ceremonial steel beam that will be used within the Compton Family Center. The process was an alternative to the traditional use of shovels in a groundbreaking ceremony, as construction has already commenced.

17. Four members of the New York Yankees administrative staff (including former Irish football player John Mosley) attended the Notre Dame-Michigan football game. Two are members of the Yankees’ publications staff as they witnessed the weekend and spoke to Brian Kelly and lots of former Irish players about the November Notre Dame-Army game at Yankee Stadium for a feature story in the Yankees’ game program.

18. The Irish men’s lacrosse team that advanced to the title game of the 2010 NCAA Championships was introduced to the crowd at the first timeout of the Notre Dame-Michigan football game Saturday.

19. Saturday’s Notre Dame-Michigan game marked the 30th anniversary of Harry Oliver’s famous 51-yard field goal as time ran out that enabled Notre Dame to defeat the Wolverines 29-27 in 1980. Oliver, who died in the summer of 2009 due to cancer, was represented at the game by his brother John, sisters Mary and Anne, and his former high school and college coach, Gerry Faust.

20. For the first time in some years, Irish fans Friday afternoon and evening were able to watch football helmet-painting by student managers inside Gate E of Notre Dame Stadium.

21. The Notre Dame Monogram Club presented an honorary monogram Saturday in the Notre Dame Stadium press box to Tim McCarthy, who for years has presented the safety messages at Irish home football games while representing the Indiana State Police.

22. The national colors were presented prior to the Notre Dame-Michigan game by Michael Wong, Notre Dame Class of ’96, president of the Notre Dame Alumni Association Board of Directors and also by Joe Restic, Notre Dame Class of ’79, president of the Notre Dame Monogram Club. Joining Notre Dame President Rev. John I Jenkins, C.S.C., for the pregame moment of silence and prayer in recognition of the 9/11 anniversary was Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania, the first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and currently co-chair of the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign. To honor the 9/11 anniversary, Irish coaches wore adidas hats and polo shirts on which the interlocking ND was populated by red, white and blue stars and stripes – and the Irish players during pregame warm-ups wore blue shirts with the same logo.

23. Former Irish football All-American Nick Rassas will be honored Wednesday as an inductee to the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame at its annual dinner at Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, Ill. The Notre Dame athletics department will send a delegation to attend the event.

24. Students who are part of The Shirt Project at Notre Dame have produced a beautiful, full-color 24-page brochure that documents the design history and lots of other details about The Shirt. It was distributed to all attendees at the Friday kickoff luncheon for the Michigan football game.

25. Stick your head into Purcell Pavilion and check out the center-hung scoreboard under construction there. It will be in operation for the first time Friday night when the Irish volleyball team plays at home.

26. Notre Dame’s Kyle Rudolph (career highs of nine catches and 184 receiving yards vs. Michigan) has been named National Tight End Performer of the Week by College Football Performance Awards.

27. Notre Dame’s volleyball team moved to 7-2 today, after a 3-0 win over Denver qualified as its third victory in three days in Denver. On Friday the Irish defeated Gonzaga 3-0 and on Saturday Notre Dame beat Jacksonville State 3-1.

28. The third-rated Irish women’s soccer team (5-1) bounced back from its first defeat of the year (2-1 in OT Friday night at #13 UCLA) to knock off Loyola Marymount 1-0 today.

29. There were two monumental plays in the Notre Dame-Michigan football game Saturday. Michigan QB Denard Robinson’s 87-yard TD run marked the longest rush by anyone in the history of Notre Dame Stadium. Meanwhile, Kyle Rudolph’s 95-yard reception from Dayne Crist marked the second longest pass play in Notre Dame history, ranking only behind the 96-yarder from Blair Kiel to Joe Howard against Georgia Tech in 1981.

30. The Notre Dame men’s soccer team (2-1-1) won the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament today with a 5-1 victory over Cal Poly at Alumni Stadium. That comes on the heels of a 2-0 win Friday night against #22 Drake.