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Holding His Own

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Briana Coyne ('12) is a student worker in the Media Relations office. She recently profiled men's lacrosse goalie John Kemp, who is continuing his family's strong athletic legacy.

Lacrosse, baseball, soccer, football, hockey - name the sport and John Kemp, a junior goalie on the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team, probably played it at some point during his childhood. This comes as no surprise considering he grew up in a household with six older brothers and sisters who all played sports, as well.

"Sports were just a big thing in my family," says Kemp. "We always had a 15-seater van and my Mom would drive everyone around. I literally was in the car for six hours a day picking everyone up and going to practices. I would miss practices for other practices."

With so many practices, scrimmages and games to take all seven of the Kemp children to, it is hard to imagine how the parents were able to juggle all these schedules, but they managed. However, on rare occasions, there were mishaps.

"When we were growing up, there would always be that one time my Mom would forget about someone so we would be left at practice for like two hours," jokes Kemp.

Regardless, the Potomac, Md., native and his siblings continued competing and excelling in sports as they got older.

The athletic achievements of the Kemp family are numerous: Robbie played baseball in high school and was named all-conference; Julie swam for the University of Miami (FL) and qualified for the NCAA Championships in 1999; CJ played lacrosse at Fairfield University and then professionally for the Rochester Rattlers and the Baltimore Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse (MLL); Erin swam for Towson University; Joey, a 2008 Notre Dame graduate and former goalie, was named the 2007 Great Western Lacrosse League Player of the Year and currently plays in the MLL for the Chesapeake Bayhawks after previously playing for the Los Angeles Riptide and Chicago Machine; Elizabeth swam for the University of Florida, was a six-time all-Southeastern Conference selection, and competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials; and John is the starting goalie for the Fighting Irish. If all of those honors were not enough, Julie, CJ, Joey, Liz and John have all been named All-America in their respective sports.

For one family to have so much athletic talent is remarkable, but the Kemp children are not the only athletes in the family. Their father, Robert, played football under Lou Holtz at William & Mary.

"My Dad has some really funny stories about him (Lou Holtz)," says Kemp. "He does a really good impression of him with his voice."

Kemp, who started playing lacrosse at the age of seven, said going to so many practices was hard to adjust to in the beginning, but he soon realized the relationships he gained with teammates and coaches were definitely worth it. Also, being in this athletic atmosphere with his siblings helped Kemp with his own game.

"When you are around sports all the time you think about the game from a young age," says Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "You recognize what works and what doesn't work. There is no question that John has benefited from the experience of all his brothers and sisters."

When Kemp was younger, he learned the most from his siblings through observation - seeing his sisters' diligence in getting up at four in the morning for swimming, watching his brothers play on the field, and attending everyone's games.

"Seeing the success they had really helped me," states Kemp.

Not only was Kemp excelling in the same sport as two of his older brothers, he also was playing the same position. With so many similarities, it is hard not to feel the pressure of following in their footsteps, but that did not faze Kemp.

"I think it makes it easier for me, but it also makes it harder," comments Kemp. "Obviously there is a lot to live up to, but it is also something to keep in mind because they have been through it and makes it feel like it is possible for me."

In his sophomore year at Georgetown Prep, Kemp committed to play for the Irish, where his brother, Joey, was the goalie at the time. Because of the quality of education and his brother's experience at the school, Kemp felt Notre Dame was the obvious choice.

"Joey absolutely loved it here," says the younger Kemp. "I always joke around that we have had the same teachers, and he brings up stories about them."

Since they both played goalie for the Irish, it is hard not to draw comparisons. According to Corrigan, both John and Joey have very similar approaches to their position.

"If you were to look at them from 100 yards away and watch them in the goal and watch their mannerisms - the way they move and even their footwork - it is scary sometimes how much they look alike," states Corrigan.

It is not only John and Joey's on-the-field play that is comparable, but also their mental attitude towards the game that has helped them thrive.

"The qualities that most distinguish them are their mental toughness and their ability to keep an even keel and perform at a high level on a consistent basis. They just never get rattled. They are never thrown off their game," adds Corrigan.

With having two older brothers play professionally, Kemp gets plenty of feedback on his performance.

"If John has a bad game, the first guys he hears from are his brothers," says Corrigan.

"They watch my games and tell me what I did wrong," says Kemp. "During our Duke game last year, Joey sent me an email after the first quarter telling me what I was doing wrong. I saw it at halftime and made adjustments."

With the support of his family as well as his own commitment to the sport, Kemp has had a very accomplished career thus far at Notre Dame. He recently was named the 2012 BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year and was one of 25 nominees up for the Tewaaraton Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top lacrosse player. Kemp currently ranks first nationally in both goals-against average (5.95) and save percentage (.641).

For Kemp, his personal statistics are secondary to those of the team. His focus is solely on how he is contributing to the team's efforts and success.

"I don't like to think of personal goals because I really don't care about personal goals," states Kemp. "It just matters what the team does."

His leadership and stability are qualities that his teammates rely on, especially in tough situations.

"He just comes in quietly and does his job," says Corrigan. "I think the guys count on that no matter what is going on. If things are going well or not, John is going to be the same guy, and they can look back, trust him and count on him to be 'that' guy."

Even with all the success he has had, Kemp does not forget to give credit to his parents for their encouragement and dedication.

"I think it is true for me and all of my siblings that we consider our parents our role models. With their dedication in taking us to practices and sending us all to private schools, they have had to give up a lot for us."

Having so much athletic achievement in one family seems almost unfathomable, but the honors and accolades do not lie. And for the youngest Kemp child, he keeps adding to the incredible legacy.

- Briana Coyne ('12)

Irish Advance To NCAA Quarterfinals

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It's not every game that a 'turning point' comes before the halftime whistle, but in Notre Dame's 13-7 win over Yale, it was a first half goal that sealed the Bulldogs fate.

After clawing back into the game from a 4-0 deficit, Yale looked poised to tie the NCAA tournament first round matchup at five, until the Irish forced a turnover late in the first half. Westy Hopkins was knocked down, but managed to get the ball to Max Pfeifer, who found Sean Rogers for an incredible goal with 7.5 seconds left in the second quarter.

That was the first of five straight goals for head coach Kevin Corrigan's team, which got scores from nine different players, matching a season-high. Jim Marlatt notched his second career hat trick, while Rogers and Conor Doyle added two goals apiece to lead the offensive attack.

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The Irish will play the defending champions, #5 seed Virginia in next Sunday's quarterfinals at PPL Park in Philadelphia. That game begins at noon ET and will be televised on ESPNU.

One down, three to go in the quest for a national title. Much more coming on the Fighting Irish right here on UND.com.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

A Special Senior Day at Arlotta Stadium

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Major League Baseball has day-night doubleheaders, and today, Arlotta Stadium had one too. The Notre Dame women's and men's lacrosse teams closed out impressive regular season on Saturday, knocking off BIG EAST foes Cincinnati and Syracuse, respectively.

First-year head coach Christine Halfpenny's squad kicked off the day with a dominant 22-2 win over the Bearcats. The Irish honored eight seniors on the field before the game, including Brittany Mallory, who's much better known for her accomplishments on the hardwood.

Mallory joined the lacrosse team earlier this month, and to the delight of fans in attendance (especially her basketball teammates), she netted the first goal of her collegiate career from a free position shot with just six seconds remaining.

Thirteen players scored for Notre Dame, led by junior Jenny Granger and sophomores Lauren Sullivan and Lindsay Powell, who each recorded hat tricks. Senior Maggie Tamasitis had six assists to go along with one goal.

With the win, the Fighting Irish improved to 13-3 overall and finished 6-2 in conference play. They will play second-seeded Loyola (Md.) on Thursday at 5:30 pm on CBS Sports Network in the BIG EAST semifinals.

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In the nightcap, the Irish men's lacrosse team picked up its first win over Syracuse in program history, winning an exciting 8-6 game before a capacity crowd of 4,522. The packed house braved the cold in support of the Irish and their twelve seniors making their final home appearance.

Led by Ryan Foley's pair of goals, seven players scored for Notre Dame, as the Irish clinched their first-ever BIG EAST regular season title. Head coach Kevin Corrigan's team finishes the season with an 11-1 record, including a 6-0 mark in the conference. The Irish have won ten in a row since dropping a 4-3 overtime decision against Penn State on Feb. 26.

Notre Dame's postseason journey begins on Thursday at Villanova when it takes on St. John's in the BIG EAST conference semifinals. That game will begin at 4:30 pm ET and air on ESPNU.

Stay tuned to UND.com for more from Notre Dame's outstanding season finale at Arlotta Stadium.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

Randall Up For Lowe's Senior CLASS Award

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Once again, a Notre Dame athlete has found himself one of the 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

After women's basketball player Natalie Novosel and hockey player Sean Lorenz were named finalists earlier this year, Kevin Randall has earned a spot on the list of lacrosse nominees for the prestigious award as well.

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The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award - an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School - recognizes seniors for their loyalty to their schools, as well as excellence with regard to community, classroom, character and competition.

Randall has accumulated a 3.542 grade-point average while pursuing a civil engineering degree. Along with captaining the Irish defense, the senior also spends his time volunteering at the Perley Fine Arts Academy.

"I don't get a lot of sleep, which is the first thing," Randall says in explaining his workload. "At Notre Dame it's about so much more than just being a lacrosse player. It's also about the education you can receive and the influence Notre Dame has throughout the nation, and specifically this community.

"It's something that drew me here."

In his four years at Notre Dame, Randall has developed into one of the leaders of the fifth-ranked Irish. In his first couple years with the team, he was able to learn from upperclassmen who shaped his own progression as a leader.

"There have always been guys that have been great players and also great role models and teachers on the field. So I've had the good fortune of playing with those guys," says Randall. "And also Coach (Gerry) Byrne has been one of the best assistant coaches in college lacrosse, so I've had the benefit of playing for him and learning from him."

Randall will learn if he is the winner of the award at the Division I finals, which will be held May 26 and 28. It will be all the more satisfying if the Irish are playing on that last day of the postseason, though.

"Interestingly enough, we don't set a team goal of winning a national championship," Randall says. "We think that if we work hard every day and improve every day, that will take us where we need to be. "

The winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is decided through voting by fans, coaches and the media. Fans are encouraged to vote at seniorclassaward.com/lacrosse.

- Craig Chval ('15)

A Perfect Sunday Afternoon

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What a day to be a Notre Dame athletics fan.

It started at 1:00 pm with another great crowd on hand at Arlotta Stadium, as the #6 men's lacrosse team opened up BIG EAST play against Rutgers. The Fighting Irish got four goals from Sean Rogers, two from Jim Marlatt and one apiece from six other scorers to win their fifth game in a row and improve to 6-1 overall.

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At the same time the laxers were locked in a close one at Arlotta, the Irish squad on the diamond had a tough BIG EAST game at nearby Frank Eck Stadium. It took seven different pitchers, but the Notre Dame baseball team also won its fifth in a row, closing out a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh with a 7-5 win.

Notre Dame held a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the eighth, but had managed just three hits through the first seven innings. Catcher Joe Hudson extended the lead to 7-3 with what turned out to be a crucial three-run double, as the Panthers were able to plate a pair of runs in the final frame.

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Freshman Pat Connaughton picked up his first career victory, pitching 2.2 innings in relief, while Dan Slania came on for the final out, striking out Casey Roche to record his sixth save of the season.

The NCAA women's basketball tournament continued at 2:30 pm in Raleigh, N.C., as head coach Muffet McGraw's team took on St. Bonaventure in the Sweet Sixteen. After a dominant 79-35 win against the Bonnies, it's now "3 down, 3 to go" in the quest for a national championship.

Natalie Novosel had 16 points, Kayla McBride scored 10, and Kaila Turner added 14 off the bench to lead a balanced offensive attack. The Irish take on Maryland on Tuesday as they seek to earn a spot in the Final Four for the second year in a row.

Perfect spring weather in South Bend and three big wins from Notre Dame lacrosse, baseball and women's basketball. All in all, a great Sunday afternoon for the Fighting Irish.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

Live Blog: Men's Lacrosse vs. Rutgers

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Sixth-ranked Notre Dame returns to Arlotta Stadium today at 1:00 pm ET when it takes on Rutgers in the first BIG EAST conference game of the year.

The game will be broadcast on UND.com, but Irish UNDerground will also have all the angles in and around the action covered throughout today's game too. Be sure to share your questions, comments and complaints and let your voice be heard throughout the Notre Dame nation, as the Fighting Irish look to improve to 7-0 in the young season.

Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

Following Flynt - Irish Lose Tough One at Arlotta

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It was a low-scoring affair on Sunday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium as the second-ranked Notre Dame men's lacrosse team fell to #20 Penn State, 4-3 in overtime.

The Irish struck early, when sophomore Westy Hopkins found junior Quinn Cully just over three minutes into the game for the first goal of the afternoon. Notre Dame extended its lead in the second quarter, when junior Ryan Foley scored his first of two goals.

Penn State fought back to tie it before the half, and the teams played through a scoreless third quarter until the Nittany Lions took a 3-2 lead midway through the final frame.

Foley netted a second score with 3:31 to play, tying the score and firing up the crowd on a blustery day in South Bend.

Neither team scored in the final minutes of regulation and the game headed into sudden-death overtime. It looked like a second extra period might be needed, but the Nittany Lions' Matthew Mackrides wrapped a shot around the left side of the goal with just two seconds left on the clock.

His second score of the game sealed the upset and dropped Notre Dame to 1-1 in the young season. The Irish loss snaps the program's 15-game February winning streak. Prior to this afternoon, Notre Dame had not lost in the month since 2002, when they dropped a 10-9 overtime game to, interestingly enough, Penn State.

Notre Dame will hit the road for a pair of games at Drexel and Hofstra, before returning home on Mar. 18 against Denver. That game begins at 1:00 pm ET and will be broadcast on ESPNU.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

Live Blog: Men's Lacrosse vs. Penn State

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Second-ranked Notre Dame returns to the field today at 1:00 pm ET when it takes on #20 Penn State at Arlotta Stadium.

The game will be broadcast on UND.com, but Irish UNDerground will also have all the angles in and around the action covered throughout today's game too. Be sure to share your questions, comments and complaints and let your voice be heard throughout the Notre Dame nation, as the Fighting Irish look to improve to 2-0 in the young season.

Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

This Is How You Build a Program

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Following Flynt - Good Weekend to Be Irish

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With the winter sports wrapping up and the spring seasons getting underway, it was a good weekend for the Notre Dame athletic department, as several programs picked up big wins and two captured BIG EAST championships. Here's a quick look at some of this weekend's top performances:

Baseball opened the season in Florida, winning its first two games in the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge. On Friday, the Irish won a 13-12 slugfest against Illinois, led by junior catcher Joe Hudson's 3-for-4, two home run, four RBI afternoon. Saturday was a different story, as junior Adam Norton went the distance on the mound. The righty held Iowa to just two runs over nine innings to register his first complete game victory.

The ninth-ranked men's lacrosse team kicked off Saturday afternoon with a 7-3 upset of #2 Duke. After falling behind 2-0, head coach Kevin Corrigan's squad scored seven straight goals to win its tenth straight season-opener. Senior midfielder Max Pfeifer and sophomore midfielder Jim Marlatt led the Fighting Irish with two goals apiece.

In the pool, the men's swimming & diving team earned its fifth BIG EAST title. The Irish totaled 887 points, topping two-time defending champion Louisville (859.5) and host school Pittsburgh (520). Junior Bill Bass was named the meet's Most Outstanding Swimmer, and head coach Tim Welsh was named Swimming Coach of the Year. Last week, freshman Nick Nemetz was named Diver of the Year and Caiming Xie was selected as Diving Coach of the Year, so Saturday's awards gave Notre Dame a sweep of the conference postseason trophies.

At about 10 pm ET on Saturday, it looked like the men's basketball team's seven-game winning streak was destined to end in Philadelphia. Head coach Mike Brey's Fighting Irish trailed Villanova by 16 points at halftime, but the Irish rallied, thanks in part to Pat Connaughton's big night behind the arc. The freshman knocked down seven three-pointers, leading the improbable comeback and 74-70 overtime win to keep the winning streak alive.

The women's lacrosse team kicked off a new era on Sunday afternoon with a 17-14 victory over Stanford. Sophomore Lindsay Powell netted five goals, while junior Jaimie Morrison chipped in four and senior tri-captain Maggie Tamasitis tallied six assists, to lift new head coach Christine Halfpenny to a win in her first game with the Irish.

In the Big Apple, the men's track & field team hoisted its fifth BIG EAST Championship trophy, totaling 131 points at New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory, to hold off second-place Connecticut (103 points). The Irish were led by Kevin Schipper's third consecutive BIG EAST Indoor pole vault title, and Patrick Feeney (400m) and Jeremy Rae's (Mile) victories on the track.

The fourth-ranked women's basketball team will look to finish off a strong weekend for the Notre Dame athletic program at 2 pm ET this afternoon on ESPN against #16 Louisville.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

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Event Calendar

September 27
12:00 PM
vs Intrasquad Scrimmage
Notre Dame, Ind. (Frank Eck Stadium)
September 27
L, 1-0
vs Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

WatchND
September 27
L, 3-0
vs No 17 Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN3
WatchESPN
September 27
All Day
vs Crimson Tide Four in the Fall
Tuscaloosa, Alabama (University of Alabama Tennis Stadium)
September 29
7:00 PM
vs Marquette
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

WatchND
October 2
TBA
vs Intrasquad Scrimmage
Notre Dame, Ind. (Frank Eck Stadium)
October 2
8:00 PM
at Miami
Coral Gables, Fla. (Cobb Stadium)

ESPN3
October 2
2:00 PM
vs Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind. (Notre Dame Golf Course)
October 2
7:00 PM
vs Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN3
October 3
8:00 PM
at Clemson
Clemson, S.C.

ABC
Game Week Central
October 3
TBA
vs Intrasquad Scrimmage
Notre Dame, Ind. (Frank Eck Stadium)
October 3
11:30 AM
at Towson
Towson, Md.
October 3
All Day
vs ITA All-American Championships Pre-Qualifying
Tulsa, Oklahoma (Michael Case Tennis Center)
October 3
All Day
at Tar Heel Invitational
Chapel Hill, N.C. (UNC Finley Golf Course)
October 4
TBA
vs Intrasquad Scrimmage
Notre Dame, Ind. (Frank Eck Stadium)
October 4
2:15 PM
vs Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
October 4
4:30 PM
vs Valparaiso
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
October 4
1:00 PM
at North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Soccer Stadium)

ESPN3
October 4
9:00 AM
vs Duke
College Park, Md.
October 4
10:00 AM
at Maryland
College Park, Md.
October 4
12:00 PM
vs Syracuse
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN3
October 4
1:00 PM
vs Penn State
College Park, Md.
October 4
All Day
vs ITA All-American Championships Pre-Qualifying
Tulsa, Oklahoma (Michael Case Tennis Center)
October 4
All Day
at Tar Heel Invitational
Chapel Hill, N.C. (UNC Finley Golf Course)
October 5
All Day
vs ITA All-American Championships Qualifying
Tulsa, Oklahoma (Michael Case Tennis Center)
October 5
All Day
at Chip-N-Club Invitational
Country Club of Lincoln, Lincoln, Neb.

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