May 1, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Six members of the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team earned all-conference honors as the Great Western Lacrosse League awards were announced on Thursday. Seniors Sean Dougherty (D), Joey Kemp (G), Michael Podgajny (M) and Ross Zimmerman (D) were all named to the first team, while fellow senior Alex Wharton (A) was a second-team pick along with junior Ryan Hoff (A).
Dougherty (Malvern, Pa./Malvern Prep) also earned an All-GWLL first-team nod last season. The 2007 honorable mention All-American has helped anchor the Irish defense, which has been ranked in the top-10 nationally for the majority of the season. Notre Dame currently boasts the nation’s 10th-best defense by allowing just 7.23 goals per game. Dougherty has started all 28 games over the past two seasons. The lockdown defender has been an integral part in the Irish defensive unit that has held six opponents to six goals or fewer this season. Three of those squads were ranked at the time of the meeting (Loyola, Albany, Drexel). Dougherty’s 29 ground balls tie him for the third most on the team.
Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep) becomes the eighth player in program history to be named to the All-GWLL first team three straight seasons. The goalie is a two-time All-America honoree along with claiming last season’s GWLL Player of the Year award. This season, Kemp has started all 13 games in goal, posing an 11-2 record, and has played 735:34 of a possible 780 minutes between the pipes. He ranks fifth among all NCAA Division I goaltenders with a 6.77 goals-against average and is sixth nationally with a .623 save percentage. Kemp has moved to the top of the Notre Dame record books in career victories (37), goals-against average (7.27), minutes played for a goaltender (2947:14) and games started for a goaltender (52).
Podgajny (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley) was named a second-team All-GWLL performer last season along with garnering honorable mention All-America honors. This season, he has registered 28 points on 20 goals and eight assists to help the Irish boast the nation’s fifth-best scoring offense by averaging 13.08 goals per game. Podgajny has started all 12 games in which he has played during his senior campaign and has scored a goal in all but one of those contests. He notched career-best four-goal games against Dartmouth and Bellarmine, while dishing out a career-high four assists in a 13-6 win over No. 11 Drexel. Last Sunday, Podgajny recorded a hat trick in a 17-12 victory over No. 9 Ohio State to clinch a share of the GWLL regular-season title for the Irish.
Zimmerman (Utica, Mich./Brother Rice) appears on the All-GWLL first team for the second straight season. He has started every game over the past two campaigns for a defense that has been consistently ranked among the nation’s top 10. The Fighting Irish defense currently ranks 10th nationally by surrendering just 7.23 goals per game. Notre Dame has held six opponents to six goals or fewer, including three ranked squads (Loyola, Albany, Drexel). Zimmerman is tied for third on the team with 29 ground balls.
Wharton (Baltimore, Md./Gilman) has received his first All-GWLL accolade by registering a breakout season. The senior co-captain has started every game and posted career-high marks in goals (17), assists (27) and points (44). His point and assist totals are team-best numbers and he currently ranks fifth nationally by averaging 2.08 assists per game. The attackman’s production is a major reason why Notre Dame has one of the nation’s top-five offenses. Wharton was named the GWLL Player of the Week on March 17 after a career-best six-point performance against Dartmouth on two goals and a career-high four assists. He has tallied four assists on three occasions this season, including the win over Ohio State.
Hoff (Baldwin, Md./Dulaney) is a repeat All-GWLL pick after garnering first-team honors last season followed by this year’s second-team selection. The junior leads Notre Dame with 34 goals and ranks second in total points with 38. Hoff has scored three or more goals in six games this season and nearly matched his school-record total of seven goals with a six-goal effort against Penn State, which helped him capture GWLL Player of Week honors. He also notched six points on five goals and one assist in a victory over Villanova in addition to producing back-to-back four-goal games in wins over Quinnipiac and Lehigh. Hoff has helped the Irish offense rank among the top unit’s in the country this season.
Ohio State had the most All-GWLL selections with eight, including the Player of the Year in senior attackman Kevin Buchanan. Denver’s freshman attackman Jamie Lincoln copped the Newcomer of the Year, while Eric Fekete from Quinnipiac was named the Coach of the Year. Notre Dame, Ohio State and Denver all shared the league’s regular-season championship with identical 4-1 conference records.
The sixth-ranked Fighting Irish will face Quinnipiac in the semifinals of the inaugural GWLL tournament on Friday, May 2 in Birmingham, Mich. Game time is slated for 5:00 p.m. (ET). Notre Dame is the top seed in the tournament.
Stay up-to-date on the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team by logging onto und.com or by calling the Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000. You can also sign up to receive text message score updates through Irish Alert. Log onto und.com for more details.