Daily Dish - 9.20.11

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- The women's golf team started the 2011-12 campaign on Monday afternoon by shooting an opening-round mark of 14-over par 302 for 18 holes at the Golfweek Conference Challenge ... the event is being played at the par-72, 6,236-yard Tom Fazio course at the Red Sky Golf Club in Wolcott, Colo. ... Notre Dame will enter Tuesday's 18 holes tied with Minnesota and trail first-round leader UC-Davis by eight strokes as the Aggies fired a first-day mark of six-over par 294 ... individually, the Irish were led by Ashley Armstrong, who got her collegiate career off to a fast start by firing a one-over par 73 ... she is tied for 10th after 18 holes and trails three players - Natalie Gleadoll of Mississippi, Kaitlin Higginbotham of Coastal Carolina and Grace Na of Pepperdine - by four strokes as that threesome carded three-under par marks of 69.

- The Joyce Athletics Grants-in-Aid program hosted former Secretary of State and 1975 Notre Dame graduate Dr. Condoleezza Rice for its annual recognition weekend Sept.17-18 ... she served as the keynote speaker for the dinner Friday evening at Jordan Hall of Science, where she spoke about the unique role Notre Dame plays in educating student-athletes and the importance of integrity in intercollegiate athletics ... one of the highlights of the evening occurred when women's basketball point guard, Skylar Diggins presented Dr. Rice with an autographed 2011 Women's Final Four jersey ... she joined the Joyce Grants-in-Aid members for their on-field recognition and thanked them for generously providing scholarship dollars for Irish student-athletes.

- A pair of men's soccer players have garnered BIG EAST accolades for their roles in helping the Fighting Irish post two victories over the weekend ... Grant Van De Casteele was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week, while Adam Mena was selected to the league's weekly honor roll ... Mena, who also was named to the College Soccer News national team of the week, had a hand in all three Irish goals over the weekend ... Van De Casteele, a central defender, was a key part of an Irish defense that allowed just one goal in 181 minutes of play in the wins over the Wolverines and Spartans ... after giving up a goal 39 seconds into the Michigan match, Notre Dame did not allow another score in the final 180:21 of the weekend.

- Look for ice to be made in Notre Dame's new Compton Family Ice Arena this week.

- The New York Times featured an interesting piece Monday that measured the number of college football fans per program based on television markets ... Notre Dame ranked third in this numerical exercise, with 2,261,738 fans - behind Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State and ahead of Texas, Texas A&M, Auburn, Alabama, Florida and Clemson. The study suggested the top markets for numbers of Notre Dame fans are (in order) New York, Chicago, Boston, South Bend, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Detroit.

- Quarterback Dayne Crist was one of 22 student-athletes named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, Allstate and the AFCA announced Tuesday ... in its 20th year, college football's pre-eminent community service award recognizes the extra efforts made by college football players and student support staff off the field ... two 11-member teams comprise the Good Works Team ... Crist has helped organize a fundraiser on Notre Dame's campus each of the past three years to benefit St. Baldrick's Foundation, a charity that raises money for childhood cancer research ... in his three years involved with the fundraiser, he has helped the group raise approximately $100,000 for the charity ... Crist has also read to grade school children at St. Joseph's Grade School and visited with patients at St. Joseph's Medical Center ... Crist is the sixth Notre Dame football player selected to the Good Works Team since 1999 ... safety Tom Zbikowski was named to the 2007 team, offensive lineman Bob Morton was selected for the 2006 squad,linebacker Derek Curry was chosen for the 2004 team, linebacker Courtney Watson was named to the 2003 team and defensive end Grant Irons was the first Notre Dame player to be honored in 1999.

- Here are Brian Kelly comments from his media teleconference today:

"That's where we started this journey, to begin with recruiting on defense, and playing a tougher style of football. And to do that, you've got to be able to control the line of scrimmage. You also have to do it physically - you have to develop in the weight room."

"I like the way we play the game, other than we get sloppy. The big picture looks really good for me, and the big picture starts with developing a toughness, a mentality, both on the offensive and defensive line. We're seeing that through how we defend the run, how we've been able to run the ball more effectively."

"You can't come to practice now that you've won a game and feel as though, okay, you've arrived, because we certainly haven't. There are a lot of things we need to get better at if we're going to be a consistent winner."

"I think we had 11 scouts in and they said that physically he (Aaron Lynch) looks like an NFL player right now. He's got a lot of work to do as it relates to all the other little things that come with being a great player. But he's extremely gifted and he's relentless when it comes to rushing the quarterback."

"We demand a physical toughness from our football payers. And you get what you demand relative to physical toughness."

"If you put up the stats of the first three games and said pick which game they won, I don't know that you would pick this one (Michigan State)."

"We have not been infected with success yet. I'll know when that happens."

"I always thought it to be a great weakness within your program when you had to play freshmen. Not when they run as fast as George Atkinson or are as physical as Aaron Lynch. This group (of freshmen) was physically ready to compete right away."

- Cross country runner Jessica Rydberg has been named BIG EAST Cross Country Athlete of the Week ... Rydberg won the women's 5K at the National Catholic Championships last Friday ... her time (17:16) was the fastest since Notre Dame's JoAnna Deeter ran 16:52 in 1999 ... it was also the third-fastest time in the meet's history ... she was the ninth straight Notre Dame women's runner to win the meet ... the Pinetop, Ariz., product beat out 271 other women in the race, and helped lead the Irish to the team title over 32 other teams.

- Notre Dame ranks among the top three NCAA Division I institutions in the country in combining athletic and academic achievement, according to the annual rankings released today by the National Collegiate Scouting Association in Chicago ... Notre Dame ranked third among NCAA Division I universities and fifth overall in the annual NCSA Collegiate Power Rankings, trailing only Duke and Stanford in the Division I standings ... the NCSA Collegiate Power Rankings assess the academic and athletics standards of all NCAA and NAIA athletic programs across the country ... in the 2011 ratings, Notre Dame finished 18th in athletics, 19th in academic rank and second in NCAA graduation rank, for an average 13.0 power ranking ... this marks the seventh straight year Notre Dame has finished fifth or better in the NCSA rankings ... here are Division I standings from those seven years:

2011: 1. Duke 7.0, 2. Stanford 12.0, 3. Notre Dame 13.0
2010: 1. Stanford 9.33, 2. Princeton 12.33 ... 5. Notre Dame 25.66
2009: 1. Stanford 8.66, 2. Princeton 15.0 ... 4. (tie) Notre Dame and Harvard 23.33
2008: 1. Stanford 10.66, 2. Duke 14.66 ... 5. Notre Dame 23.66
2007: 1. Duke 11.66, 2. Notre Dame 18.33
2006: 1. Duke 11.33, 2. Stanford 13.0, 3. Notre Dame 15.0
2005: 1. Duke 8.66, 2. Stanford 13.0 ... 5. Notre Dame 22.33

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