March 3, 2005
Fifth-year senior goaltender Stewart Crosland (Bethesda, Md./Landon School) was named the Great Western Lacrosse League Player of the Week by the conference yesterday after helping the University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team to a season-opening 14-6 win at #21 Penn State on Sunday. The third-year starter stopped nearly 75% of the shots he faced, making 17 saves to help the Irish, #9 in this week’s rankings, to their largest-ever margin of victory in a road game against a nationally-ranked opponent.
Crosland anchored an outstanding defensive performance that held the Nittany Lions scoreless in the final 25:17 of the contest, opening the door for Notre Dame’s high-octane offense – second in Division I in scoring offense (12.50 goals per game) in 2004 – to put the game out of reach with six unanswered goals. The scoreless streak was not new for Notre Dame, which held opponents without a goal for stretches of more than 25 minutes on four occasions last year, or for Crosland, who has held opponents scoreless for stretches of longer than 23 minutes on nine occasions in his career, including three streaks longer than 44 minutes. What was particularly notable about Sunday’s performance was that it came against a Penn State squad that was held to fewer than six goals on just one occasion last season. It also came with the Irish using a defensive unit featuring one starter – freshman D Ross Zimmerman (Utica, Mich./Brother Rice H.S.) – playing in his first collegiate game and another – sophomore Joey Rallo (Cockeysville, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.) – making just his second career start.
The fifth-year senior, who boasted a .739 save percentage and played all but the final 4:59 of the game, had 17+ saves for the sixth time in his career and first time since stopping 20 shots at #17 Denver last spring. The save percentage was his best since a .875 (14 saves, 2 goals allowed) performance at Air Force in 2004. Eight of Crosland’s stops came in the opening quarter, when Penn State – who beat defending Great Western Lacrosse League champion and 14th-ranked Ohio State 9-7 in Columbus on Feb. 19 – outshot the Irish 13-9, but could not parlay that into an advantage on the scoreboard, as Notre Dame held a 4-2 lead after 15 minutes. He now holds a 3-1 record with an 8.10 goals-against average and .673 save percentage in four career games against Penn State.
Crosland – a candidate not only for All-America honors, but also for Academic All-America accolades in 2005, after being a CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-District selection last year – holds the early GWLL lead in save percentage after finishing first in 2003 and fourth in ’04. He also was among the national leaders in the category in each of the last two years, ending up fifth in ’03 (.626) and 11th last year (.599). In the classroom, Crosland holds a 3.61 cumulative grade-point average as a management entrepreneurship and history double major, having been named to the Dean’s List on six occasions, including in each of the last three semesters. He also is in his third year as the team’s representative to Notre Dame’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council, for which he has served on the community service subcommittee.
It was the second time in his career that Crosland was named the GWLL Player of the Week, after initially earning the honor on March 13, 2003, for making 16 saves in helping the Irish to their first-ever victory against North Carolina (10-8 win at #8 UNC).
Crosland has started each of the last 28 Notre Dame games, as well as 30 overall (second-highest among current players), and he holds an 18-12 (.600) career record as a starter, including eight victories against ranked teams. In his career, he has an 8.04 goals-against average (third in Irish record book), as well as a .623 save percentage (also third all-time). On other career goaltending lists, Crosland ranks third in minutes played (1687:01), fifth in victories and ground balls (74), tied for fifth in games started, and sixth in saves (374).
Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Crosland was a two-year starter at the Landon School in Maryland – which also produced former Irish All-America goaltender Alex Cade (’98) – compiling a 37-2 record, while making over 300 saves an boasting a 4.00 GAA. In 1999, his squad was ranked #1 in the nation by Lacrosse magazine.
The fifth-year senior, who helped Notre Dame to its fewest goals allowed in a season opener since 2000, will next lead the Irish on a three-game, 10-day, spring-break road trip. During that span, Notre Dame will play at #10 Cornell on Saturday at 1 p.m. (EST) at Schoellkopf Field before taking on Villanova on Tuesday, March 8, at 4 p.m. (EST) in Villanova Stadium. The Irish will then travel to Carson, Calif., for The First 4, an elite invitational, to face #7 North Carolina on Saturday, March 12 at 5 p.m. (PST) in the Home Depot Center in a game to be shown live on College Sports Television.