May 21, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A year of several firsts for the University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team resulted in a school-record seven Fighting Irish players earning United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-America honors.
Matt Kavanagh (Jr./A), Matt Landis (D/Jr.) and Sergio Perkovic (So./M) were selected to the 15-man first-team roster, while Jack Near (Sr./M) earned second-team accolades and Conor Doyle (Sr./A), Nick Ossello (Sr./M) and Garrett Epple (So./D) garnered honorable mention recognition. Notre Dame led all schools with three first-team selections and topped the previous program record for All-Americans in one season (six in 2011).
Kavanagh earned All-America honors for the third consecutive year after copping second-team accolades in 2014 and honorable mention recognition in 2013. As a junior last year, Near was an honorable mention honoree.
This marks the 11th consecutive season Notre Dame has produced multiple USILA All-America selections. In 27 seasons under head coach Kevin Corrigan, the Irish have had 40 different players earn 70 All-America citations.
Kavanagh (Rockville Centre, New York/Chaminade Hotchkiss) leads the Irish in scoring with 27 goals and a team-leading 24 assists. The two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference pick stands fifth on the Notre Dame career scoring list with 174 points (101 goals and 73 assists). He also ranks among the top 10 in school history for career goals (101 – sixth) and assists (73 – fifth), and he is one of just six players in Notre Dame history to score 100-plus career goals. Kavanagh has five hat tricks to his credit this season and has registered at least three points in 10 of 14 contests.
A Tewaaraton Award finalist, he has notched at least six points in three games this season and 11 times during his career. His 3.63 points-per-game average is eighth among all active Division I players.
Landis (Pelham, New York/Pelham Memorial) anchors a Notre Dame defense that ranks ninth in the nation in ground balls (32.57 per game), 12th in the country in caused turnovers (7.71 per game) and 18th nationally in scoring defense (9.21 goals allowed). The 2015 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference choice, Landis has started all 14 games and collected 29 ground balls. His signature performance this season came on May 16 in Notre Dame’s 14-10 NCAA Championship quarterfinal win over Albany, as Landis held the Great Danes’ Lyle Thompson, the NCAA’s all-time career points leader (400), to just one goal and four assists, helping spark the Irish back to NCAA Championship Weekend for the second consecutive season and fourth time in six years.
Perkovic (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan/Brother Rice) is Notre Dame’s top scoring midfielder with 29 goals and seven assists (36 points). A starter in all 32 games during his career, the first-team all-ACC selection has five hat tricks this season and is coming off his highest goal output of the season with four goals in the NCAA quarterfinal win over Albany. Perkovic also tied his career high on April 7 against Marquette with five points (three goals and two assists). In addition, Perkovic has scored at least two goals in 10 contests this year.
Near (Bronxville, New York/Bronxville), a short-stick midfielder, has played in 13 games in 2015, collecting seven goals, six assists and 19 ground balls. He scored a career high-tying two goals, including the game-winner in the second overtime period, in Notre Dame’s 13-12 victory over top-ranked Syracuse on March 28 at Arlotta Stadium, a win that catapulted the Irish into the top spot in the national rankings for the next four weeks. Near has registered at least two points in a game in five contests, most recently logging three points (one goal, one assist) in last weekend’s NCAA quarterfinal win over Albany.
Doyle (Towson, Maryland/Gilman School) ranks second on the team in points (50), goals (30) and assists (20), while starting all 14 games. An all-ACC selection and two-time ACC Offensive Player of the Week, Doyle scored a career-high four goals in the April 7 win over Marquette and tallied a career-high eight points (three goals, career-best five assists) in the regular-season finale at Army on May 2 (a 17-8 Irish victory). Doyle also has posted a hat trick in three consecutive games and six of his last seven outings.
Ossello (Wheat Ridge, Colorado/Wheat Ridge) has started all 14 contests this season, registering career bests in points (27), goals (23) and assists (6), while scooping up 29 ground balls and winning 48.6 percent (51 of 105) of the faceoffs he has taken. He has accounted for six points in Notre Dame’s two NCAA tournament wins thus far, collecting a career-high four points (two goals, two assists) in a first-round round win over Towson on May 9, and scoring two goals in the NCAA quarterfinal win over Albany, played not far from his hometown at Denver’s Sports Authority Field. Ossello also notched the first three hat tricks of his career, in wins over Ohio State, Duke and Marquette.
Eppel (Cockeysville, Maryland/Calvert Hall College) has been a key contributor for the Irish on defense, ranking second on the team with 49 ground balls while forcing a team-best 18 turnovers. A starter in all 14 games, he collected a career-high eight ground balls in the NCAA first-round win over Towson and had seven ground balls and four caused turnovers in a regular-season shutout of Ohio State on March 21, the second clean sheet in program history.
The top-seeded Fighting Irish (12-2) and No. 4 seed Denver (15-2) will square off at 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday in the NCAA national semifinals at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.
The University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team pursues excellence on and off the field through the three pillars in which the program is built: Character, Culture & Community. These three foundational values guide the promise of the program, which is to provide its student-athletes with the most compelling and enriching experience in all of college athletics. Through academics, competition, service and travel, the program aims to immerse its players in situations that enhance their student-athlete experience to help them become the people, students and teammates they aspire to be.
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