Neal Hicks tallied four goals and four assists in last season's 13-8 win at Penn State.

Third-Ranked Irish Open Home Slate On Sunday Against Penn State

Feb. 26, 2010

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

PENN STATE (0-1) at #3 NOTRE DAME (1-0)
Sunday, February 28 – 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Loftus Sports Center – Notre Dame, Ind.

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Gametracker Available on

SETTING THE STAGE … The third-ranked Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team will open its 2010 home slate against Penn State on Sunday, Feb. 28. Game time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET) inside the Loftus Sports Center. The Fighting Irish are coming off an 11-7 season-opening win at No. 2 Duke on Feb. 20. Penn State fell to Robert Morris, 24-17, in its opener. Notre Dame leads the all-time series with Penn State, 12-4.

ABOUT THE IRISH … Notre Dame opened its 30th season of varsity lacrosse with an 11-7 victory over No. 2 Duke on Saturday, Feb. 20 in Durham, N.C. … junior midfielder Zach Brenneman paced the Irish with a career-high tying four points on three goals and one assist … senior attackmen Neal Hicks and Colin Igoe tallied two goals apiece as did freshman midfielder Steve Murphy in his collegiate debut … senior All-America goalie Scott Rodgers made 15 saves in the win over the Blue Devils … the Fighting Irish defense held Duke scoreless in the fourth quarter … the win over the second-ranked Blue Devils marked the first time in program history that the Fighting Irish defeated a team ranked in the top-two of the national polls … Notre Dame returned six starters and 16 letterwinners from last year’s team that posted a 15-1 record … Kevin Corrigan is in his 22nd season as the head coach of Notre Dame … he has a record of 197-96 (.672) during his Fighting Irish tenure.

ND-PENN STATE SERIES NOTES … Sunday will be the 17th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Penn State … the Fighting Irish hold a 12-4 advantage in the series … the Irish have won the past seven contests in the series, including last season’s 13-8 victory at Penn State … the last Nittany Lion win against the Irish was a 10-9 overtime decision at Notre Dame in 2002 … Penn State is 1-6 all-time at Notre Dame … in the last meeting at Notre Dame, the Irish came away with a 15-9 victory during the 2008 season.

THE LAST TIME … Notre Dame defeated Penn State 13-8 last season in University Park, Pa. … the Fighting Irish were ranked eighth at the time of the meeting, while the Nittany Lions were not ranked … Neal Hicks notched a career-high eight points on four goals and four assists to lead the Irish to the victory … Grant Krebs chipped in two goals and an assist in the win … after Penn State sliced the Notre Dame lead to one (5-4) early in the second half, the Irish tallied five straight goals en route to the win … Scott Rodgers played all 60 minutes in goal for Notre Dame and made a career-high 20 saves … … Jack Forster and Chris Hogan had two goals apiece for Penn State.

ABOUT PENN STATE … Penn State opened its season with a 24-17 setback at home to Robert Morris on Feb. 20 … Matthew Mackrides led the Nittany Lions with five goals and an assist … Billy Gribbin and Chris Hogan had four goals each … Penn State out shot Robert Morris 75-40 … the Nittany Lions posted a 9-5 record last season and finished 16th in the final Inside Lacrosse poll … Penn State returned seven starters and 30 letterwinners from that squad … head coach Glenn Thiel is in his 33rd season at Penn State.

GRAND OPENING … Notre Dame’s 11-7 season-opening win over No. 2 Duke on Feb. 20 marked the program’s first victory over a team ranked in the top-two of the national polls … Notre Dame is 23-7 all-time in season-openers, including a 17-5 record in the Kevin Corrigan era … the Irish have won a program-record eight straight season-openers … the Fighting Irish have opened their slate against a ranked opponent for 17 consecutive seasons.

BIG DAY FOR BRENNEMAN … Junior midfielder Zach Brenneman matched a single-game career-high total with four points on three goals and an assist in the win over Duke on Feb. 20 … all three goals extended Notre Dame’s lead to three during different portions of the game (5-2; 9-6; 10-7) … Brenneman registered eight shots as the Irish out shot the Blue Devils 46-33.

DELIGHTFUL DEBUT … Notre Dame freshman midfielder Steve Murphy netted two goals in his collegiate debut against Duke on Feb. 20 … the last time a Fighting Irish freshman scored at least two goals in their Notre Dame debut was when Ryan Hoff and Peter Christman deposited two goals each in an 8-4 win over Penn State in 2006.

SPREADING THE WEALTH … Along with freshman midfielder Steve Murphy, senior attackmen Neal Hicks and Colin Igoe also scored two goals apiece in Notre Dame’s 11-7 win over Duke on Feb. 20 … the Fighting Irish used six goal scorers in all … sophomore attackman Nicholas Beattie and junior midfielder David Earl both notched one goal.

BACK IN THE ATTACK … Senior attackman Colin Igoe netted two goals in the season-opening win over Duke … that marked Igoe’s first game since March 4, 2008 … he was injured in the fourth game of the 2008 campaign (Villanova) and missed the remainder of that season … Igoe also missed all of last season.

RODGERS AND BRENNEMAN EARN BIG EAST HONORS … Senior goalie Scott Rodgers and junior midfielder Zach Brenneman received recognition as the first-ever BIG EAST men’s lacrosse weekly honors were announced on Feb. 22 … Rodgers was selected as the league’s defensive player of the week, while Brenneman was named to the weekly honor roll.

DEFENDING THE CAGE … Notre Dame boasted the nation’s top defense in 2009 by producing a school-record 6.19 goals-against average, which shattered the program standard of 6.66 from the 2007 season … Notre Dame did not surrender more than nine goals in a game all season long, while limiting foes to six goals or fewer six times … in his first season as a starter, Scott Rodgers led all NCAA Division I goalies with a 6.14 goals-against average and a .663 save percentage en route to earning third-team All-America honors … his 15 victories also established a Fighting Irish record … the Irish had the nation’s fifth-best scoring defense in 2008 by allowing 7.04 goals per game … in 2007, Notre Dame ranked fourth nationally with the 6.66 mark.

STREAKING … Senior midfielder Grant Krebs saw his team-best streaks for points (32 games) and goals (28 games) come to an end against Duke … he notched 73 points on 55 goals and 18 assists during the streak … senior attackman Neal Hicks now boasts a team-best 19-game point streak … Hicks has tallied 48 points on 28 goals and 20 assists during the current stretch.

ARLOTTA STADIUM … Arlotta Stadium is the new home for the Notre Dame men’s and women’s lacrosse programs … construction of the facility began in August of 2008 and it held its first event on October 16, 2009 as the Notre Dame men’s team played the Iroquois National Team in an exhibition contest … the official stadium dedication was held on October 17, 2009 … Arlotta Stadium is slated to host its first regular-season game when the Irish face Denver on March 16 … the stadium features over 2,000 seats, lights, an artificial-turf field, locker rooms, player lounges, restrooms and concession areas … the state-of-the-art facility is named after Notre Dame graduate John Arlotta, president and chief executive officer of Denver-based Coram Inc. … he and his wife Bobbie pledged the lead gift toward the stadium, which was built to the east of the Joyce Center as part of the University’s new athletics quadrangle … the Arlotta children – Mindy, Andy and Jon – pledged an additional gift from The Arlotta Family Foundation toward the project … in addition to their generous donation, alumni and friends of the lacrosse programs donated over two million dollars.

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS … Five Notre Dame players have garnered preseason All-America honors from Inside Lacrosse … Scott Rodgers (Sr., G) was named to the first team, while Grant Krebs (Sr., M) and Sam Barnes (Sr., D) were second-team selections … Trever Sipperly (Sr., M/FO) and Andrew Irving (Jr., LSM) were honorable mention picks.

BIG EAST DEBUT … The 2010 campaign marks the first season of BIG EAST men’s lacrosse … the seven conference schools that will participate in the newly-formed league are Georgetown, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Syracuse and Villanova … the teams will play a six-game single round-robin regular-season schedule … men’s lacrosse is the BIG EAST’s 11th men’s sport while the Conference conducts 13 women’s sports … Notre Dame already is a member of the BIG EAST in 23 other sports … Notre Dame was a member of the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) from 1994-2009 … the Fighting Irish captured 12 GWLL regular-season titles in addition to winning the only two GWLL Tournaments (2008 & 2009).

IRISH TABBED TO FINISH SECOND IN BIG EAST … Notre Dame was picked to finish second in the inaugural season of the BIG EAST men’s lacrosse league … the conference’s head coaches casted the votes and were not permitted to vote for their own teams … Syracuse was tabbed to win the league with six first-place votes, while Notre Dame received one first-place nod … rounding out the order of finish was Georgetown, Villanova, Rutgers, St. John’s and Providence.

IRISH EARN PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE HONORS … Four Notre Dame student-athletes were named to the 2010 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team … senior Scott Rodgers was the lone goalie selected to the 15-man squad … fellow seniors Sam Barnes (D), Neal Hicks (A) and Grant Krebs (M) also were chosen for the all-conference team.

RODGERS NAMED A LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE … Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers has been named one of 20 candidates for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the men’s lacrosse division … to be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition … an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities … Rodgers, a third-team All-American last season, carries a 3.077 cumulative grade-point average as a sociology major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.

QUALITY COMPETITION … The Fighting Irish have four teams on their 2010 slate that appear in the latest USILA coaches poll … Notre Dame currently is ranked third in the poll … Notre Dame opened the campaign with an 11-7 victory over current No. 8 Duke … the Blue Devils were ranked second at the time of the contest … the Irish also will face top-ranked Syracuse (May 1), No. 10 Loyola (March 6) and No. 12 Georgetown (April 11).

IRISH NAME ’10 CAPTAINS … Seniors Mike Creighton (D), Neal Hicks (A) and Kelly McKenna (M) are first-time captains for the Fighting Irish, while Scott Rodgers (G), a fifth-year senior, will be serving as a team captain for the second straight season.

GETTING OFFENSIVE … The Notre Dame offense has been one of the best in the nation over the past few seasons … last season, the Irish ranked in a tie for 10th nationally by averaging 11.00 goals per-game … in 2008, the Irish averaged 12.04 goals per game and that placed them fifth among all NCAA Division I teams … Notre Dame ranked fourth in 2007 with an 11.65 goals per-game average.

FACING OFF … Notre Dame ranked ninth nationally in faceoff winning percentage one season ago … the Irish went 184-147 (.556) in the faceoff X … Trever Sipperly ranked 13th nationally with a .559 percentage (85-67), while Jake Marmul went 97-78 for a .554 winning percentage to rank 19th in the country.

A QUICK LOOK BACK … In 2009, Notre Dame posted the first undefeated regular season in program history … the Fighting Irish went 13-0 overall in the regular season, including a 5-0 mark in Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) play … Notre Dame notched two more wins to take its second straight GWLL Tournament title … the Irish concluded the season with a 15-1 record after falling to Maryland, 7-3, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament … Notre Dame garnered the No. 7 seed for the NCAAs … the win total and winning percentage (.938) established program records … the Fighting Irish defense led the nation in 2009 with a 6.19 goals-against average, while the offense was tied for 10th by scoring 11.0 goals per game …five Notre Dame players garnered All-America honors in 2009 … Scott Rodgers (G), Ryan Hoff (A) and Regis McDermott (D) were third-team selections, while Sam Barnes (D) and Grant Krebs (M) were honorable-mention picks … Rodgers, Barnes and Krebs are back for the Irish in 2010 … Rodgers was named the 2009 GWLL Player of the Year, while Kevin Corrigan was named the league’s coach of the year for the fifth time … Rodgers led the nation in goals-against average (6.14) and save percentage (.663) … attackman Neal Hicks led the Irish with 43 points on 25 goals and 18 assists … Hoff scored a team-best 32 goals.

WINNING WAYS … In 2009, Notre Dame’s 15-1 mark established program records for wins and winning percentage in a single season … the Fighting Irish compiled the first undefeated regular season in program history and it marked the fourth straight season that the Irish have reached double figures in wins … Notre Dame’s 15-game win streak was a program best.

SUSTANIED SUCCESS … Notre Dame has earned four straight appearances to the NCAA Championship … over the past two seasons, the Irish have garnered one of the tournament’s eight national seeds and have posted a first-round contest … last season, the seventh-seeded Fighting Irish fell to Maryland, 7-3, in the tournament’s first round … Notre Dame has made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances since 1990.

KEEPING UP WITH ND MEN’S LACROSSE … Log onto for the latest information on the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse program …, the official athletics web site for the University of Notre Dame, features press releases, game stories, feature stories, video interviews, stats, rosters and more … fans also can sign up for Irish ALERT, a text messaging service designed to give fans game updates for all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame … Irish men’s lacrosse fans can sign up to receive scores following each quarter … in addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting assistant sports information director Sean Carroll at or (574) 631-2664 … all requests for story ideas, interview access, match credentials and further information on Irish men’s lacrosse should similarly be directed to Carroll … credential and interview requests should be made at least 24 hours in advance.