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    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    1. Jack Howard of the Notre Dame men's track and field team qualified for the NCAA Championship beginning June 8 at the NCAA East Regional Friday at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex in Bloomington, Ind. Howardreturns to the NCAA Championship meet after he ran 1:51.39 for a fifth-placefinish in the semifinals. The two-time All-American earned his first All-America honor in the 800 at the 2010 Indoor Championships as he ran 1:49.48 and then anchored his distance medley relay at the 2011 Indoor Championships to All-America accolades. Freshman Patrick Feeney ran the 400-meter dash in 47.04 in the semifinals for a 16th-place finish. Senior Kevin Labus finished the semifinals of the 800-meter run in 1:50.31 to finish in 17th place. Junior Kelly Lynch closed out his season in the steeplechase as he finished in 9:23.33 and concluded the race in 43rd place. Junior Kevin Schipper cleared 5.05m in the pole vault to finish in 16th place. Freshman Logan Renwick posted a mark of 14.35m in the triple jump to finish in 41st place. Senior John Belcher had a throw of 58.82m to finish in 21st place in the hammer throw. Nevada Sorenson completed the prelims of the 100-meter hurdles in 14.05 to place 36th. Maddie Buttinger cleared 1.70m in the high jump to finish 27th. Senior Rudy Atang had a throw of 15.37m and an 18th-place finish in the shot put.

    2. A program-record six members of the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team received All-America honors as the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) announced the accolades on Thursday. David Earl (Sr./M) and Kevin Ridgway (Sr./D) were first-team selections, while Zach Brenneman (Sr./M) was named to the secondteam. Sam Barnes (Sr./D), Andrew Irving (Sr./LSM) and John Kemp (So./G) werehonorable mention picks. This year marks the first time that Notre Dame has boasted two first-team All-Americans in the same season. The Notre Dame men's lacrosse program has produced at least oneAll-America honoree in every season dating back to 1993, a string of 19 years. The 29 Fighting Irish All-Americans have combined for 52 All-America honors. Notre Dame's previous high for All-America honorees in a season was five, which occurred four times (2001, 2007, 2009, 2010).

    3. The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team has had five players selected to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) all-West/Midwest Region team for the 2011 season. The Irish had three players selected to the first team - midfielderShaylyn Blaney (Sr., Stony Brook, N.Y.), defender Jackie Doherty (Sr., Ellicott City, Md.) and attack Maggie Tamasitis (Jr., Boyertown, Pa.) - while freshman attack Kaitlyn Brosco (Shoreham, N.Y.) and senior defender Lauren Fenlon (Dayton, Md.) were second team selections. For Blaney, this marks the fourth consecutive year that the talented midfielder has been selected first team IWLCA all-West/Midwest region team during her Notre Dame career. She joins formerIrish teammate Jillian Byers `09 as the only players in Notre Dame history to be selected first team all-region in each of their four years playing for the Irish. Doherty makes her second consecutive appearance as a first team selection while Tamasitis, Brosco and Fenlon each make their first appearances on the IWLCA all-region teams.

    4. Notre Dame rallied with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie Connecticut, 3-3, but the Huskies immediately answered with three runs of their own in the top of the sixth and never looked back en route to a 9-3 victory in an elimination game from the 2011 BIG EAST Baseball Tournament at Bright House Field Friday night in Clearwater, Fla. The Irish concluded their season at 23-29-1. Freshman LHP Brian Ward picked up the victory for the Huskies and improved to 5-1 on the year. The southpaw struck out six, walked two and allowed three earned runs on five hits in 5.2 innings of work. Sophomore RHP Adam Norton (2-2) pitched well in relief, but was saddled with the loss. The righty fanned seven and walked one in 4.2 innings. Norton was charged with three earned runs on five hits. Eric Jagielo went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Joe Hudson went 1-for-4 with a run scored and Greg Sherry went 0-for-1with a run scored and two walks. Frank DeSico went 1-for-4 with a run scoredand RBI. The game marked the end to the careers of Ty Adams, David Casey, Doyle, Brian Dupra, Matt Grosso, Cole Johnson, Cameron McConnell, Miller, Herman Petzold, Matt Scioscia, Sherry and Joe Spizzirri.

    5. Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.), juniors on the Notre Dame women's tennis team, had their season come to a close at the NCAA Doubles Championship in the Round of 16 Friday at the Taube Family Tennis Center in Palo Alto, Calif. The duo ran into USC's fourth-ranked and third-seeded pairing of Kaitlyn Christian and Maria Sanchez in the Round of 16. The Irish fought tooth and nail with the Trojans' duo in the first set, but eventually succumbed 6-4 to fall into a one-set deficit. Frilling and Mathews could not gain any momentum in the second set, falling 6-2 to clinch the straight-set victory for USC. The Irish teammates, who earned their bid into the NCAA Doubles Championship as the BIG EAST conferences automatic qualifier, concluded their year with an overall record of 23-7, including 9-4 against nationally-ranked foes.

    6. The Notre Dame men's soccer team has announced its captains for the 2011 season. Greg Klazura (Sr./D), Aaron Maund (Sr./D) and Dillon Powers (Jr./M) will serve as first-time team captains for the Fighting Irish. Klazura (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) is returning to the Irish for a fifth season after turning down achance to take part in the 2011 Major League Soccer draft combine. He started all 20 games at left back during the 2010 campaign. Klazura tallied three points on one goal and one assist. He helped the Fighting Irish defense post six shutouts in 2010. Maund (Dorchester, Mass./The Roxbury Latin School) has started all 59 matches in which he has played during his Notre Dame career. The central defender notched one goal and two assists last season. For his career, Maund has seven points on two goals and three assists. He earned second-team all-BIG EAST honors lastseason after copping third-team honors as a sophomore. Maund also was named to the All-Great Lakes Region third team in 2009 and 2010. Powers (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) has played in 38 matches, including 24 starts, during his first two seasons with the Irish. He started every contest last season and ranked second on the team in goals (4) and points (12) en route to earning a second-team all-BIG EAST citation. The midfielder has 17 career points on four goals and nine assists. Powers captained the United States Under-20 National Team earlier this month during a 3-3 draw with France in an international friendly.

    7. It was a historic day for the Notre Dame women's basketball team, as three Fighting Irish players were among 14 finalists for the 2011 United States World University Games Team, it was announced last week by USA Basketball. Risingjunior guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington), rising senior guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) and rising fifth-year senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) combine to give Notre Dame not only more finalists than any school in the country, but also the most finalists for one USA Basketball team in the 35-year history of the Fighting Irish women's basketball program. The NotreDame All-American trio earned their spots as finalists for the USA World University Games Team following three days of grueling trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC). The trials, which featured 35 of the nation's top collegiate players, were administered by the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee, chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA's vice president for Division I women's basketball. The 14 remaining finalists will return to Colorado Springs July 31 to resume training, with the final 12-player United States roster selected before the team leaves for the World University Games on Aug. 8 in Shenzhen, China. The 16-team competition will take place from Aug. 14-21, with Team USA coached by Iowa State University skipper (and former Notre Dame assistant coach) Bill Fennelly, while Duquesne's Suzie McConnell-Serio and Georgetown's Terri Williams-Flournoy serving on Fennelly's staff.

    8. The Notre Dame volleyball team will play host to two early-season invitationals while traveling to Hawaii, California, New York and several states in between as part of its 2011 fall schedule which was recently released. The departure of four seniors from a 2010 team that went 18-13 will be offset with the return of AVCA Northeast Freshman of the Year Andrea McHugh and a three-person, nationally ranked recruiting class as the Irish head into upcoming campaign. Seven teams from the 2010 NCAA Tournament litter this season'sschedule, including Louisville, Cincinnati, Hawaii, Dayton, Lipscomb, Butlerand national quarterfinalist Stanford. Notre Dame will roll out the carpet for Eastern Michigan, Idaho and Butler for the season-opening Shamrock Invitational (Aug. 26-28) at Purcell Pavilion.

    9. Notre Dame senior midfielder David Earl (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School) has been named to the 2011 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Scholar All-America Team. Earl was one of 57 student-athletes from NCAA Division I, II and III selected to the team. Earl was named the BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year earlier this month. He graduated from Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business with a degree in management entrepreneurship. Earl posted a 3.560 GPA during the 2011 spring semester and finished with a 3.095 cumulate GPA for his college academic career. The senior captain tied for the team lead in points this season with 25 on 15 goals and a team-high 10 assists. He played in 62 career games and tallied 51 goals and 22 assists in addition to picking up 157 ground balls.

    10. Notre Dame's student newspaper, The Observer, selected its top two senior student-athletes for 2010-11 - and they were men's lacrosse midfielder Zach Brenneman and women's soccer co-captain Lauren Fowlkes.

    11. The preseason college football magazines already are on newsstands - and here's where Notre Dame is mentioned in three of them:

    Athlon Sports -

    • Ranked the Irish sixth on preseason basis
    • Featured Manti Te'o along with players from Michigan and Wisconsin on Midwest cover of national edition
    • Rated Notre Dame's wide receiver/tight end unit fifth and linebacker unit eighth
    • Listed Te'o a first-team All-American, with Michael Floyd a second-team pick
    • Rated Notre Dame's 2011 recruiting class 11th
    • Projected a Sugar Bowl between LSU and Notre Dame

    Sporting News -

    • Featured Dayne Crist on one of its 18 regional covers
    • Rated Note Dame 18th

    Lindy's Sports -

    • Featured Mani Te'o on one of its regional covers
    • Rated Notre Dame 19th
    • Ranked Te'o sixth among inside linebackers, Darius Fleming 12th among outside linebackers, plus Harrison Smith third among safeties
    • Rated Notre Dame's linebackers seventh
    • Ranked Notre Dame's 2011 recruiting 10th, including the top-rated group of defensive ends

    12. Notre Dame freshman 1B Trey Mancini earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Year as voted on by the league's 12 head coaches. Mancini and senior RHP Brian Dupra were each also named to the all-BIG EAST third team. Mancini led the Irish in batting (.333), hits (59), triples (three),home runs (nine), RBI (34), total bases (106), slugging percentage (.599) on-base percentage (.398), multiple hit games (17), multiple RBI games (nine) and runs scored (33). He also ranked fifth in the BIG EAST in slugging percentage, tied for fifth in home runs, tied for 10th in triples and 11th in total bases. Dupra, an all-BIG EAST third team selection, went 3-6 with a 3.06 earned-run average in 2011. The co-captain leads or is tied for the team-lead in innings pitched (97.0), starts (14), quality starts (10) and strikeouts (88). Dupra ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in strikeouts, fourth in strikeouts looking (31) and fifth in innings pitched. He has allowed no earned runs onfive different occasions, one earned run once and two earned runs three times. He has struck out 10 or more in three separate starts this year.

    13. The Notre Dame FootballFantasy Camp begins today and runs through Friday. Among speakers to the group will be Brian Kelly, Joe Theismann, Mike McCoy, Anthony Denman, Jerome Bettis, Joe Restic, Bob Crable and Mike Golic. Other former players who are part of the camp are Luther Bradley, Nick Eddy, Clarence Elis, Vagas Ferguson, Tom Gatewood, George Goeddeke, Jerome Heavens, George Kunz, Matt Kunz, Ryan Leahy, Lance Legree, Derrick Mayes, Frank Stams, Pat Terrell, Rich Thomann and Shane Walton.

    Sunday, May 22, 2011
    1. The Notre Dame women's golf team completed the 2011 NCAA Championship in 22nd place Saturday at the Traditions Club Golf Course in Bryan, Texas. Junior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) led the Irish in the tournament as she registered a four-round total of 296 (+8), while playing even-par to conclude the event tied for 24th place. Despite the storms through the night that pushed Notre Dame's tee times back a half hour, the Irish avoided most of the unfavorable weather conditions Saturday, excluding a 10-minute rain shower to begin the day. Huffer carded an eight-over par 80 on the first day of the tournament but didn't give up any strokes after that as she played one-under par during the second round, followed by a 73 (+1) during the third round and a 72 on the final day. Huffer and the rest of the Irish team played the back nine holes of the course first, and the junior birdied on the 13th hole and evened it out with a bogey on the 15th hole. Huffer then remained even on the final 12 holes of the day. Senior captain Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) concluded her career as a member of the Notre Dame women's golf team with her best round of the tournament. Sheregistered a two-over par 74 and during her initial nine holes she played upand down well as she bogeyed three holes and birdied three holes, which placed her at an even-par 36 as she made the turn to the final nine holes. On the front nine, she carded back-to-back bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes, followed by a bogey on the seventh hole to place her at three-over par heading into thefinal hole. Conway capped her Irish career off with a birdie on the ninth hole and a four-round total of 307 (+19) to finish in a tie for 74th place. Freshman Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) registered an 85 (+13) to conclude the NCAA Finals. The freshman played through the back nine at six-over par, followed by a 43 (+7) on the front nine. Zhang totaled a four-day score of 315 (+27) and finished in a tie for 106th place. Senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy) also recorded her bestround of the tournament, a three-over par 75. The senior played through theinitial nine holes at 38 (+2), including a bogey on the 13th hole, followed by a birdie on the 15th hole to bring her score back to even. Before she made the turn to the final nine holes of her career with the Irish, she played back-to-back bogeys on holes 17 and 18. While on the front nine, she played at one-over par (37), including a birdie on the eighth hole. Park compiled a four-day total of 318 (+30) and finished the tournament tied for 111th place. Freshman Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) began the day on the 10th hole with a birdie and she remained at one-under par until the 12th hole when she bogeyed. The freshman also carded bogeys on the 13th and 16th holes to make the first at two-overpar. On the front nine of the course, she played even-par on six holes, butbogeyed No. 1 and No. 9 and double-bogeyed No. 8 to finish tied for 115th at 322 (+34).

    Top-10 Team Leaderboard
    1. UCLA (289-295-294-295-1173/+21)
    2. Purdue (292-295-298-292/+25)
    3. LSU (292-296-303-290-1181/+29)
    4. Virginia (291-300-299-296-1186/+34)
    T5. Southern California (302-302-292-294-1190/+38)
    T5. Arkansas (305-296-296-293-1190/+38)
    7. Texas A&M (295-294-302-300-1191/+39)
    T8. North Carolina (305-293-297-298-1193/+41)
    T8. Alabama (301-303-297-292-1193/+41)
    T10. Vanderbilt (297-294-304-301-1196/+44)
    T10. Florida (294-298-309-295-1196/+44)

    Irish Leaderboard
    T24. Becca Huffer (80-71-73-72-296/+8)
    T74. Katie Conway (75-78-80-74-307/+19)
    T106. Nicole Zhang (77-79-76-85-315/+27)
    T-111. So-Hyun Park (81-82-80-75-318/+30)
    T115. Kristina Nhim (76-85-83-78-322/+34)

    2. A five-under par round by Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) helped the University of Notre Dame men's golf team to a ninth-place finish at the 2011 NCAA Florida Regional on Saturday at the Golden Ocala Golf Course in Ocala, Fla. The Irish finished the tournament at one over par (865) after a final-day total of 287 (-1). Several individual and team records fell for the Irish at the Florida Regional, including the lowest 54-hole team score. Notre Dame improved on the previous-best mark by 12 shots with its 865 score, taking down the 877 total that was posted back in 2005. The final-round total of 287 also is the second-lowest single-round score, bested only by the 282 third-round performance in '05. McNamara put together a near-flawless round on his final 18 holes, carding six birdies with only one bogey on the par-four 17th hole. After playing the back nine at two under (34), the sophomore improved on that mark by one shot on the front nine, finishing at 33 (-3). Overall, McNamara pulled back to even par (216) for the tournament, which was good for a share of 24th place. For McNamara, the final round 67 marks the lowest round of his Irish career, while also going into the Notre Dame record books as the lowest single-round score posted in NCAA competition since the format switched to stroke-play scoring. The previous record of 68 had been shot three times, including in the first round of the '11 Florida Regional by freshman Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.). The 216 (E) 54-hole score also is McNamara's lowest three-round tournament score, besting the 218 (+2) he posted at the '10 St. Mary's Invitational. Platt, meanwhile, concluded the most successful 54-hole tournament for a Notre Dame golfer since the NCAA changed to a 54-hole format in 1989. The freshman ended his tournament at six under (210) after carding a final-round score of 73 (+1), which placed him in a tie for 10th overall. Platt bested the previous Irishmark by five shots, which was set by Eric Deutsch back in '05. The tie for 10th also goes down as the highest individual finish for an Irish competitor, improving on Deutsch's tie for 20th in the '05 regional. Jeff Chen (Walnut, Calif.) concluded his final season with theIrish and first taste of NCAA competition as the third-best finisher of therotation. The senior carded a 74 (+2) in his final round, which saw him record three birdies and five bogeys, to wrap up his tournament at 219 (+3). He finished in a tie for 33rd amongst the field. Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) ended his tournament with the best of his three rounds coming on the final day. The junior carded eight pars along with five birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey to post a 73 (+1). For the tournament, Scodro finished in a tie for 50th place at seven over par (223). Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) joined Scodro in the tie for 50th after recording his second-straight round of 74 (+2) to finish at 223 (+7) overall. The junior played his most consistent round of the tournament, tallying 12 pars along with two birdies and four bogeys. The host Florida Gators pulled away on the final day to secure its berth into the NCAA Championship, finishing at 18 under par (846) after shooting 11 under par (277) on Saturday. Augusta State finished second at 12 under par (852), while the final three teams to qualify for the NCAA Championship were Kennesaw State (-11, 853), North Carolina State (-9, 855) and Arkansas (-8, 856). TheIrish season officially comes to a close with the squad finishing their season with an overall record of 86-32 (.729).

    3. A five-run lead in the top of the sixth was not enough for Notre Dame as second-ranked Michigan used six runs in the bottom half of the frame Saturday night during an NCAA Softball Ann Arbor Regional contest at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor, Mich. Backed against the ropes, the Wolverines trailed 8-3 before grinding out their final six runs on six hits for the comeback win, 9-8. Michigan (53-5), the tournament's 10th overall seeded squad and top in the Ann ArborRegional, moves on to face Kentucky in the regional final on Sunday. Second-seeded Notre Dame ended its season with a 46-11 mark two weeks after winning the BIG EAST Conference regular season title. The first elimination game of afternoon saw Notre Dame blank Western Michigan, 4-0. Fourth-seeded Western Michigan (25-30) was triumphant in the regular season meeting between the two teams and snapped Notre Dame's 21-game home winning streak.The Irish have now won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Broncos.

    -Game 1-
    Notre Dame's first batter of the game - Alexa Maldonado - tripled to right-center and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Heather Johnson. That run would hold up to prove to be the game-winner. Another leadoff extra-base hit for the Irish came in the second when Erin Marrone doubled to left-center. She moved to third on Dani Miller's sacrifice bunt and would notscore. Courtney Rousseau doubled to start the bottom of the second and was one of two Broncos in scoring position when Laura Winter (25-4) fanned a pair to end the threat. Sadie Pitzenberger doubled in the third, Katie Fleury singled and the Broncos held strong by leaving two more Irish runners stranded. Western Michigan loaded the bases and could not deliver in the third despite a career-high fourth walk issued by Winter. Meredith Whitney (17-5) walked the bases loaded in the fourth for Heather Johnson, who came a few feet away from a grand slam before centerfielder Jennifer Tschetter made the third out with a snag at the wall. Whitney scattered seven Irish hits and gave up three earned runs while walking four. Kayla Houston tossed the final 1.1 innings and gave up an unearned tally. Three two-out fifth-inning singles to right by the Broncos went for naught when Kayla Houston fouled out to Alexia Clay. After Western Michigan left the bases loaded for a second time, Brianna Jorgensborg whistled the first pitch she saw over the fence in center to give Notre Dame a 2-0 cushion. Two batters later, Maldonado laid down a drag bunt and mounted her horse to score on Clay's two-out double. Amy Buntin dropped an RBI single to add in another score during the seventh for the Irish. Winter went 5.0 innings andfanned four with O'Donnell earning the save after giving up one hit in the final pair of stanzas.

    -Game 2-
    Shortly after Winter retired Michigan's fourth and fifth batters on strikes with two runners in scoring position, Jorgensborg roped a two-RBI single in the top of the second to give Notre Dame a 2-0 lead Jorgensborg cashed in on earlier singles by Pitzenberger and Fleury. Notre Dame took a 2-1 lead against the Wolverines in the 2010 season finale before Michigan rattled off 11 unanswered scores to end the season for the Irish. Dorian Shaw singled home a run in the bottom of the third and Big Ten Player of the Year Amanda Chidester was walked by O'Donnell to load the bases. Ashley Lane, who hit a grand slam earlier in the day against Kentucky, kept the scoring drive alive as she singled in two more runs to give Michigan a 3-2 edge. Fleury added a single in the fourth after Pitzenberger struck out for the first time on the season. In fact, Pitzenberger's last strikeout came when facing Jordan Taylor (31-4) during the 2010 NCAA Ann Arbor Regional. Miller belted a two-run shot that narrowly cleared the fence in left to boost Notre Dame back ahead, 4-3. The fifth for Notre Dame started when Amy Buntin singled to right. Buntin moved all the way to third on Maldonado's sacrifice bunt, with Maldonado later stealing second. Buntin added another run on Taylor's wild pitch. Soon after, Pitzenberger was issued a walk for the first time this season, her first in 108 at-bats dating back to 2010. Michigan put its first two batters on base in the bottom of the fifth, though with no one away Fleury made a stellar snag at short and tossed it to Johnson at third just in time to make the force out.Fleury caught a line drive for the second out and Pitzenberger made an over-the-shoulder grab in deep right to close the door on the Wolverines. The fifth Irish run scored with two outs came when Jorgensborg jaunted from second on Maldonado's infield grounder as Notre Dame doubled up the Wolverines, 6-3. Notre Dame took advantage of a walk and error in the sixth to plate three unearned runs. Johnson drove in Maldonado with a single up the middle for her first hit of the NCAA Regional. Taylor allowed a season-high seven runs in Michigan'sloss to Kentucky and eclipsed that total against the Irish. Then came the rapture. Marley Powers knocked a leadoff double to ignite things for Michigan in the bottom of the sixth. Powers was joined on base by two more Wolverines and an infield base hit by Bree Evans made it a four-run game at 8-4. Another infield single by Lyndsay Doyle cut the lead to three. O'Donnell did her job by limiting Michigan to groundballs and gave way for Jody Valdivia (10-5) with no outs in the sixth. Valdivia walked in Dorian Shaw and a sacrifice fly and RBI single later knotted the score at 8-8. Powers knocked in the go-ahead run by popping an RBI single to left which was one of six Michigan hits in the stanza. Not going down without a fight, Fleury doubled to the wall to start the top of the seventh for her third hit of the night. Marrone was successful with a sacrifice bunt tomove Fleury to third. Two outs were on the board when Jorgensborg was issued an intentional walk. Buntin's grounder forced the third out at second to end the game. Jordan gave up eight runs - four earned - with nine strikeouts in thewin. The loss went Valdivia who gave up one earned run on two hits in the sixth. O'Donnell was good for 2.2 innings and issued three walks with the Wolverines getting the better of her with six hits and five earned runs. Winter lasted the first 2.1 frames and gave up three hits and three earned runs.

    4. Notre Dame entered the 2010 season baseball finale needing a victory over Louisville to reach the BIG EAST conference tournament, but the Irish lost 13-3. Almost one year later to the day, Notre Dame was in the exact same scenario. The Irish erased the memory of 2010 and secured a spot in the BIG EAST tournament with a heart-stopping 2-1 victory over the Cardinals at Patterson Stadium in Louisville on Saturday. No surprise, the game was decided by a single run and went down to the final pitch. Notre Dame has now played in 19 games this season decided by the slimmest margin. The Irish are 9-10 in one-run games. Notre Dame took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning. Freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald, who came into the game with two outs in the eighth, retired thefirst two Cardinals. With two down, Fitzgerald induced a ground ball from Zak Wasserman that seemed destine to end the game, but sophomore 2B Frank DeSico's throw sailed wide of first base. Wasserman reached on the error and then Fitzgerald issued a two-out walk to put the tying run in scoring position and winning run on base, but the rookie right-handed hurler got Drew Haynes to ground into a fielder's choice to end the game. DeSico fielded the grounder cleanly and flipped to senior SS Mick Doyle on the second base bag. Fitzgerald picked up his fifth save of the year and all five have come in BIG EAST action. Hetossed 1.1 hitless and scoreless innings of relief. Fellow rookie RHP Dan Slania picked up the victory and improved to 2-3 on the year. He tossed 3.1 scoreless innings of relief. Slania allowed three hits and one walk, but got a trio of critical double plays. Fifth-year senior RF Herman Petzold was the only Irish player with multiple hits. He went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Freshman 1B Trey Mancini went 1-for-3 with a run scored and senior SS Mick Doyle went 1-for-3 with an RBI single. Sophomore DH Adam Norton added a sacrifice fly. Travis Tingle wassaddled with the loss for the Cardinals. The righty allowed a pair of earnedruns on five hits in 6.1 innings of work. Tingle struck out two and walked three. Doyle gave the Irish a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Petzold opened the inning with a single and moved into scoring position following Norton's sacrifice bunt. After a ground out and walk, Doyle lined 1-0 offering from Tingle to right field togive Notre Dame the game's first lead. Notre Dame pushed the lead to 2-0 on Norton's sacrifice fly in the top of the second inning. Louisville and junior 2BRyan Wright specifically cut the Irish deficit to 2-1. Wright singled home Jeff Gardner. Wright went 9-for-11 with two home runs and five RBI in the series. Gardner went 8-for-12 on the weekend with five doubles, one home run and three RBI. The tandem combined for 11 of the Cardinals' 22 runs and 17 of their 34 hits in the series. Senior RHP Todd Miller worked into the fifth inning. Miller allowed one run on seven hits before giving way to Slania. With runners on the corners and one out in the Louisville fifth inning after a base hit, sacrifice bunt and bunt single, Slania induced a double play ground out from the unlikeliest of candidates, Gardner. Wright opened the bottom of the sixth inning with a single, but Slania got a fly out and the Cade Stallings lined into a double play to end the inning. Notre Dame got an odd and possibly favorable call on a double play in the eighth inning. Drew Haynes opened with a seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield. Adam Engel then tried to execute a sacrifice bunt, but he popped it up. Irish 3B Greg Sherry appeared to bobble the pop up anddropped the ball. Sherry threw to Doyle at second base, who tagged out the runner. The umpire ruled Sherry caught the pop out and lost it on the transfer. So, when Doyle applied the tag to the base runner, he was also out. Notre Dame opens the BIG EAST tournament against top-seed Connecticut at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

    5. Check out ESPNU at 2:30 p.m. EDT today for NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships quarterfinal action between fourth-seeded Notre Dame and fifth-seeded Duke. The game matches the two teams that played in the 2010 national championship contest.

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    1. The Notre Dame women's golf team is in a tie for 23rd place (925/+61) after the third day of the NCAA Championship Friday at the Traditions Club Golf Course in Bryan, Texas. Junior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) carded a one-over par 73 during the round and improved to a tie for 35th place. The Irish battled gusty winds on the course, but beat the rain and a two and a half hour rain delay that has forced six teams to complete the second round Saturday morning. Huffer remains atop the leaderboard for the Irish as the junior carded a 73 (+1) on the day. She posted two birdies and a bogey during the front nine for a 35 (-1), followed by three bogeys and a birdie on the backnine to finish the day at one-over par. Freshman Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) recorded her best round of the tournament so far with a two-over par 74. After beginning the day with a bogey on the first hole and the third hole, Zhang recovered with a birdie on the seventh hole to make the turn at one-over par. During the back nine she posted back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes and finished the day by sinking a birdie to complete the third round at two-over par and in a tie for 73rd place.Senior captain Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) posted an 80 (+8) on the day. She recorded a 38(+2) during the front nine, but with three double bogeys, a bogey and a birdie Conway posted a six-over par 42 on the back nine of the course and is now in a tie for 88th place. Senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy) also registered an eight-over par total as she posted 40 (+4)during both the front and back nine of the course to round out the Irish score. The first hole continued to present a challenge for Park as she posted a bogey to begin the day. Freshman Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) placed an 83 (+11) on the board. The front nine of the course was a challenge for the freshman as she played 10-over par, but improved to a 37 (+1) after the turn. The Irish began the final round of competition today with a 9:30 a.m. (ET) tee time off of 10.

    2. The Notre Dame men's golf team moved into 10th place after day two of the NCAA Florida Regional Friday at the Golden Ocala Golf Course in Ocala, Fla. The Irish fired a two-over par (290) score on day two for a 36-hole total of 578 (+2). Notre Dame's 36-hole score of 578 is the lowest mark after two rounds in NCAA Championship competition in program history, besting the previous low mark set in 1953 when the squad ended at 591. Augusta State leads the field, recovering from a two-over par round in its first round to shoot the round of the tournament so far at 13-under par (275), moving them to 11 under (565) overall. North Carolina State and Florida hold a share ofsecond place at seven under (569). Individually, Mitchell Sutton of North Carolina State leads the field at nine under par (135) after carding a second round 67 (-5). Southeastern Louisiana's Philipp Westermann (136, -8) sits alone in second, while Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) of the Irish is alone in third at seven under par (137). After carding a bogey free round on Thursday, Platt recorded only one bogey along with four birdies for his second consecutive under-par round of the tournament (69, -3). The freshman goes down in the annals of the Notre Dame NCAA record book, besting Cole Isban's 36-hole mark of 146 set back in '05. Jeff Chen (Walnut, Calif.) recorded the other under-par round for the Irish on day two, carding a one under par, 71. The lone senior in the rotation finished the day with 13 pars along with three birdies and two bogeys. After 36 holes of play, Chen is tied for 29th amongst the field at 145 (+1). Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) posted the third-best score of the day for the Irish, finishing at two over (74). The junior recorded only five pars on the day, to go along with six birdies, six bogeys and a double bogey on the eighth hole. He is tied for 48th overall with a two-day total of 149 (+5).Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) joins Walker in the tie for 48th, after firing a second-day score of 77 (+5). The sophomore finished the back nine at three over, which included a string of five consecutive bogeys, but with birdies on holes one and four had battled back to one over. A pair of bogeys and a double bogey on the final four holes of his round would drop him back to five over on the day. Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) was the final Irish score counted on day two's action. The junior concluded his second 18 holes with a 76 (+4), comprised of 12 pars, two birdies, three bogeys and a triple bogey on the eighth hole. After 36 holes, Scodro is tied for 54th at six over par (150). Notre Dame teed off its final round at 8:20 a.m. (ET) today onhole 10 alongside Missouri and UCF.

    3. Kentucky pitcher Chanda Bell limited to No. 19 Notre Dame to a pair of hits while leading the 21st-ranked Wildcats to an 8-0, five-inning win over Notre Dame to open theNCAA Softball Tournament Friday at Michigan's Alumni Field in Ann Arbor, Mich. Bell recorded her seventh shutout on the year and was backed by a defense that made big play after big play to leave three Notre Dame runners stranded in scoring position. Bell (14-6) did the deed while issuing one walk and did not strike out a single Irish batter. The Irish (45-10) dropped back-to-back games for the third time on the season and will now play Western Michigan, a 5-0 loser Friday night to top seed Michigan. The elimination contest will begin at 2:30 p.m. (ET) today and will be televised live on ESPN. After losing in the BIG EAST Conference Championship semifinals by a 6-0 count to Louisville last week, Notre Dame suffered consecutive shutout losses for the first time since the opening weekend of the 2009 season. Notre Dame, the Ann Arbor Region's second-seeded squad, started its 16th NCAA appearance having to work from behind but was never able to gain enough offensive momentum to overcome an early deficit. The third-seeded Wildcats (37-14), one of seven Southeastern Conference teams in the NCAA Tournament, used a one-out double from Kara Dill and a Meagan Aull single in the first to put two runners in scoring position for Brittany Cervantes. Cervantes was patient enough to draw a rare walk from Laura Winter (23-4) and Kentucky took advantage when Samantha DeMartine drove in two runs with a two-out single to left.Kentucky came out swinging its sticks and was all over Winter's first-pitch strike offerings, totaling 11 hits in the contest. Winter gave up nine hits and five earned runs through the first two innings and change, leaving two runners on base before giving way to Brittany O'Donnell. Erin Marrone was the first Irish player to reach base, touching first on a second-inning walk. The Irish were in no position to walk Cervantes in the third after surrendering a Rachel Riley single to start the frame. Cervantes made them pay with a two-run homer to extend the Kentucky lead to 4-0. O'Donnell gave up an infield single in the fifth along with a two-out, two-run homer by Megan Yocke to make it an 8-0 game. Brianna Jorgensborg was hit by pitch for a 13th time this season and eventually moved to third on Alexa Maldonado's infield single. Later in the third, Maldonado moved to second when Kentucky booted the ball on the play and both runners were left in scoring position when Bell induced a pair of popups. Kentucky was as aggressive on the paths as it was at the plate in the fourth, scoring for a sixth time when Dill legged to home from second on a double-play ball by Riley. SadiePitzenberger batted in the four spot for the first time in her career and came through with a double down the rightfield line to start the fourth for the Irish. Notre Dame failed to cash in on a potential run once again when pinch-runner Kelsey Thornton was called out for leaving the bag early on Marrone's flyout to center.

    4. Louisville's Ryan Wright went 3-for-3 with a solo home run, three RBI and three runs scored and closer Tony Zych worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the eighth inning to lead the Cardinals past Notre Dame, 7-5, Friday night in baseball action at Patterson Stadium in Louisville. The Irish drop to 21-27-1 overall and 12-13 in the BIG EAST, while the Cardinals improve to 29-26 and 14-12. Notre Dame enters the final day of the regular season in eighth place in the BIG EAST standings. The Irish still need a victory or USF loss on Saturday to cinch a spot in the tournament. Notre Dame had a golden chance to tie the game or even take the lead in the top of the eighth inning. After sophomore DH/RHP Adam Norton and senior PH Matt Grosso recorded RBI consecutive singles to bring the Irish within two runs, 7-5, Louisville went to Zych. The hard-throwing RHP promptly uncorked a wild pitch to move two runners in scoring position. Zych then missed on four straight offerings to walk sophomore C Joe Hudson to load the bases. Notre Dame called on pinch hitter David Casey to face Zych. Casey belted a game-tying grand slam off the Louisville closer in 2009, but Zych won the battle this time around. He opened the at-bat with back-to-back fast balls, the first topping out at 98-mph, before getting Casey to swing and miss at a slider. Zych then registered back-to-back strikeouts to open the ninth. Freshman LF Eric Jagielo hit a frozen rope right at Louisville shortstop Alex Chittenden to end the game. It was a pretty fitting end.Louisville starter Justin Amlung improved to 9-2 on the year. He allowed three earned runs on six hits in 7.0 innings of work. Amlung struck out four and walked two. Amlung did not necessarily fool the Irish, but most definitely benefitted from one Irish line drive after the next hit directly at a Louisville fielder. Jagielo had a pair of frozen ropes right at the Cardinals' center fielder as did DeSico and freshman 1B Trey Mancini. Mancini also ripped a liner right at Cade Stallings down the third base line and Norton followed with abullet that Amlung somehow managed to get a glove on and recovered in time to throw him out by a step. Nonetheless, Amlung kept the Irish off the scoreboard over his final five innings of work. Senior RHP Cole Johnson took the loss and dropped to 4-7 on the year. He surrendered five earned runs on seven hits in 6.0 innings of work. Johnson fanned six and walked two.Wright, who homered in last night's series-opening victory, belted a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Notre Dame made three loud outs in its half of the first inning and kept it up in the top of the second. Fifth-year senior RF Herman Petzold ripped a leadoff single and senior 3B Greg Sherry hammered a one-out double off the left field wall to put runners on second and third. Hudson followed with two-run triple off the right field wall to give the Irish a 2-1 lead. Senior SS Mick Doyle then grounded out to shortstop, which allowed Hudson to score and pushed the Notre Dame lead to 3-1. After Johnson had a quiet second inning, Wright struck again in the home half of the third with an RBI single to plate Gardner, who doubled one batter earlier. Stallings followed with a two-run bomb deep over the left field wall to give Louisville a 4-3 advantage. The round tripper for Stallings was his second in as many days and fourth in the last five games. The Cardinals added to their lead with an RBI single from Adam Engel in the fifth inning. Johnson settled into a nice groove of his own. He retired the final seven batters he faced, including five on strikeouts. The Cardinals plated a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh inning off Norton. Louisville greeted Norton with three consecutive hits to open the inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Norton got a pop out and induced a possible inning-ending double play ball, but Sherry's throw was wide of the second base bag, which allowed another run to score. Norton did get a double play ground ball on the next pitch to keep the Irish deficit at 7-3. Norton worked 2.0 innings and yielded two earned runs on threehits. Notre Dame and Louisville wrap up their BIG EAST series at 1:07 p.m. today at Jim Patterson Stadium. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

    5. The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team has announced its team award winners for the 2011 season that ended with a 10-9 overall record and a loss in the BIG EAST Championship game to Loyola (Md.) on May 7. In voting done by the players for four awards, senior defender Jackie Doherty (Ellicott City, Md.) was selected as the team's Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player and the team's 2002 Award as the top defensive player. For the second year in a row, senior defender Lauren Fenlon (Dayton, Md.) was selected as the team's Unsung Hero and sophomore midfielder Jaimie Morrison (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) was named the team's Most Improved Player. Fenlon picked up a second award as she received The Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley's Rockne Scholar-Athlete Award that is awarded to each team's top academic performer.

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    1. The Notre Dame women's golf team is in a tie for 20th place (618/+42) after the second round of the NCAA Championship Thursday at the Traditions Club Golf Course in Bryan, Texas. Junior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) carded a one-under par 71 during the round and is in a tie for 49th place with a 36-hole total of 151 (+7). Huffer and the Irish began play on the back nine of the golf course and after recording birdies on holes 15 and 18 the junior was at two-under par before she made the turn to the front nine. On hole one, which has proved to be one of the toughest holes on the course as the Irish have played the hole at eight-over par as a team, Huffer carded a double bogey to place her at even par, but with back-to-back birdies on holes five and six she returned to two-under par and ended the round at 71 (-1) due to a bogey on the seventh hole. Senior captain Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) played a consistent first nine holes as she birdied on hole No. 12, but evened out her score with a bogey on the 14th hole to complete the initial nine holes at an even-par 36. Conway remained at par until carding a double bogey on the third hole, followed by consecutive bogeys on the fifth and sixth holes to place her at four-over par. She concluded the round at 78 (+6) due to a double bogey on the eighth hole. Freshman Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) registered a 79 (+7) during her second round. She was off to a rough start on the day as she carded bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes to begin play, but with a birdie on No. 13 she was at one-over par, before bogeying the 17th hole to take her through the first nine holes at 38 (+2). She added five strokes to her score during the back nine holes with five bogeys. Senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy) rounded out the Irish score at 82 (+10). The senior played 12 of the holes at par, but with double bogeys on three holes and one-over par onthree other holes the senior sits in 118th place after 36 holes. Freshman Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) completed the first half of the day with a nine-over par 45, but improved on the final nine holes as she carded a four-over par 40. Nhim placed a birdie on the board during the sixth hole for the second consecutive day of the tournament. The Irish began the third round of competition today as Park teed off the first hole at 8 a.m. local time The Irish are paired up with UC Davis and South Carolina for theday.

    2. The Notre Dame men's golf team sits alone in seventh place after the first round of the NCAA Florida Regional Thursday at the Golden Ocala Golf Course in Ocala, Fla.. The Irish posted an even-par round (288) led by freshman Niall Platt (Santa Barbara, Calif.) carding a four-under par score (68) on his opening day. The host Florida Gators led the field after the first day of competition after posting a six-under par (282). Arkansas sits in second, one shot off the lead, at five under (283), while Baylor and North Carolina State are tied for third at four under (284). Oregon's Jack Dukeminier leads individually after posting a 66(-6) for a one-shot lead over Southeastern Louisiana's Philipp Westermann and Kennesaw State's Ben Greene (67, -5). Platt's round began with four consecutive pars before he reeled off three consecutive birdies on holes five through seven to move to three under. The freshman would go bogey-free on the day and card one additional birdie on the par-five 12th hole to finish with an opening round 68 (-4), good for fourth overall in the field. It is the seventh time on the season that Platt has broken par and the fourth time in which he has posted a sub-70 score. Platt's first round 68 ties the lowest Irish individual round score in NCAA competition, matching the mark the Eric Deutsch set in '05 and Cole Isban equaled in '06. Paul McNamara III (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) sits second amongst the Irish rotation after the first day of play after posting an even-par 72 on his round. The sophomore played both the front and back nine at even par (36), carding one birdie and one bogey on each side. It is the sixth round this year that McNamara has posted an even- or under-par round and the first since his 71 (-1) at the Battle of the Warren. He is tied for 23rd after Thursday's action. Max Scodro (Chicago, Ill.) battled more of an up-and-down day on the course, finishing with 11 pars to go along with three birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey to conclude at two over par (74) on the day. He finished tied for third amongst the Irish rotation and is tied for 43rd overall. Jeff Chen (Walnut, Calif.) matched Scodro with a 74 (+2), recording 12 pars, one birdie, three bogeys, one double bogey and an eagle on the par-five 12th hole. After making the turn at three over (39), Chen navigated the back nine at one under (35) to conclude his first day. Chris Walker (The Woodlands, Texas) finished fifth amongst the Irish rotation and did not count toward the team score after putting together an opening round 75 (+3). The junior sat at even par after 14 holes, but a pair of double bogeys on holes 15 and 16 dropped him to four over par before ending his round on a high note with a birdie on the 18th hole. He is tied for 53rd place after the first round of play. Notre Dame returned to the tee boxes starting at 8 a.m. (ET) today off the No. 10 tee alongside Southeastern Louisiana and Kennesaw State.

    3. Louisvillejunior RHP Derek Self allowed just one earned run over 7.0 innings and RyanWright went 3-for-5 with a solo home run to lead the Cardinals past Notre Dame, 14-2, in the opener of a BIG EAST baseball series Thursday night at Patterson Stadium in Louisville. Notre Dame drops to 21-26-1 overall and 12-12 in the conference, while Louisville improves to 28-26 and 13-12. The Irish fall into seventh place, just one half game ahead of Seton Hall. The Pirates rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game, 2-2 and eventually won in the 11th thanks to consecutive two-out errors from Georgetown. Pittsburgh did edge USF, 6-5, to drop the Bulls 1.5 games behind the Irish. Notre Dame is still ahalf game out of fourth place. The magic number for the Irish to secure a berth into the BIG EAST tournament is now one. An Irish victory or USF loss guarantees Notre Dame a spot in the BIG EAST postseason. Self, who moved into the weekend rotation four weeks ago, improved to 3-2 on the season. He did surrender eight hits, but each was a single. Self struck out one and did not issue a walk.Irish senior RHP Brian Dupra was tagged with the loss and dropped to 3-6 on the campaign. He was knocked around for nine earned runs on 12 hits. Dupra, who entered the night sixth in the BIG EAST with a 2.37 ERA, struck out five and walked two. He had allowed just 15 earned runs over hisprevious eight league starts, but was off from the opening batter. Freshman LF Eric Jagielo went 3-for-4 and sophomore C Joe Hudson went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Notre Dame and Louisville continue their critical BIG EAST series at 7:07 p.m. today at Patterson Stadium. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

    4. The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) announced the 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region teams Thursday -- as a record six Notre Dame softball players earned all-Great Lakes Region honors. Senior catcher Alexia Clay, senior outfielder Sadie Pitzenberger, junior outfielder Alexa Maldonado and juniorinfielder Dani Miller were each named to the first team. Second-team nods went tosenior third baseman Heather Johnson and freshman pitcher Laura Winter. Notre Dame totaled five all-region selectees in 2010, 2009, 2006, 2001 and 1999. The all-region teams were chosen by NFCA member coaches from each region and all the honorees will now be eligible for selection to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first, second or third teams. In addition, conference pitchers and players of the year not selected to the regional teams were added for All-America consideration. The NFCA Division I All-American teams will be announced on June 1.

    5. Six Notre Dame student-athletes - three men and three women - have been selected to the 2011 Capital One Academic all-District Five At-Large team in voting done by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) for the 2010-11 school year. Two athletes - fencer Reggie Bentley (Jr., Little Rock, Ark.) and tennis' TylerDavis (Sr., Nashville, Tenn.) - were first team all-District choices and will move to the national ballot for Academic All-American honors that will be announced in June. Four Irish athletes were selected to the District Five At-Large second team that includes hockey standout Calle Ridderwall (Sr., Stockholm, Sweden) on the men's side and rower Stephanie Gretsch (Sr., Downer's Grove, Ill.), tennis' Shannon Mathews (Jr., Birmingham, Mich.) and golf's So-Hyun Park (Sr., Seoul, South Korea). The at-large program includes women's bowling, rowing, men's and women's fencing, women's field hockey, men's and women's golf, men's and women's gymnastics, men's and women's ice hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo and men's wrestling. Nominations for the at-large teams are limited to three student-athletes per school per gender.Thus, each institution may nominate three men's at-large candidates and three women's at-large candidates. There is no limit to the number of candidates that may be nominated for a particular sport.Voting is done by the College Sports Information Directors of America with 10 players chosen to the first and second team in each district with 10 first team selections in each district moving to the national ballot.

    6. Notre Dame's Blue-Gold spring football game for 2012 will be played on April 21.

    7. Here's a transcript of Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick's interview that appears in the final commencement issue of Notre Dame's student newspaper, The Observer:

    On what Notre Dame's 2011-12 success means to him personally:

    One of the big changes when you come into this job as opposed to your prior experiences is the way you consume sport and the way you interact with it. You live and die much less with the outcomes of the teams than you do the individuals because you now know them. You get to know them personally. My reaction tends to be at that level. I'm so happy for the student-athletes; I'm so pleased to see them achieve goals they set for themselves. In the case of the women's soccer team - to beat on that door for four consecutive years and finally knock it down, to have the fencers come off three years of frustration and achieve their ultimate goal. You tend to react to your experience with the specific student-athletes. In that sense, it's like a proud parent; you just feel great.

    On the women's soccer national championship and whether it has a special meaning to him as his first national championship:

    It certainly did. In fact, they gave me a jersey with the number one on it to signify my first championship. What I loved about that experience was the nature of the run through the tournament. It was just extraordinary. I mean, nobody had ever won that tournament below a two-seed. They were a four, and they just blitzed the field. 16-1 outscored the opposition during the tournament. Both games in the finals could have been three-, four-goal differentials. I mean, we beat the heck out of the pipes all game long. We hit two really good goalies who gothot. They just dominated the field and that was so consistent with the personality of that team. They were as confident and as eager to face the best opponents as any team I've ever been around. They had a conviction about their ability that was really cool to see.

    On whether the widespread success on the national level is expected to become the norm:

    Well, every year is its own story. You have things happen that you can't control:injuries, other things that impact you. But, the one thing I have worked hard to do, and I think our coaches and athletes have really embraced it, is to articulate that the national championship is the goal annually. That's whatwe're trying to do, and to really focus on that as the objective for the sports. We had 16 of our teams get into the tournament, and you can't win it if you don't get into the tournament. That's the start - really having aconsistently large base of teams and individual athletes who make it into the NCAA tournament. Women's golf qualified for the nationals for the first time ever. That's a huge accomplishment. That's what we want them thinking, and I really feel like that is what's taking root.

    On whether the success of the programs speaks to the type of coaches at the helm:

    Certainly, we have extraordinary coaches. You don't achieve those levels of success without great coaches, and we have those. Those coaches are also great fitshere. You have to have a feel for this place. You've got to understand the restrictions and the assets that you're working with and embrace them, and all the coaches you mentioned (Waldrum, McGraw, Jackson) do. One of the great things we have going for us here is the tenure of many of our coaches. You go down that list of coaches that have had great years, and you can look it up. You get people who are extraordinary coaches, great fits, and they build great programs here.

    On improving attendance for non-football sports:

    We have to do a better job of it, and that's my responsibility. That's not [women's soccer coach Randy Waldrum's]. We have to market it more effectively and promote it better. Having said that, one of the challenges when you achieve success in a lot of sports is you're marketing a lot of sports over a finite audience size. We're one of the few colleges in America that has three prime winter sports that it all markets aggressively. We don't concede that one of them might not have good attendance. The two basketballs and the hockey, we're trying to fill the building every night. On some weekends, that's 23,000 seats. Yeah, we have [85,000] on our football Saturday, but we've got a lot of seat inventory we're moving the rest of the year in the other sports. So, the good news is we have lots of success. The challenge with that is we have a lot of great programs that deserve support that have a lot of contests that we have to market and get more people to come to. I share Randy's view that we have to do a better job.

    On whether the difficulty of the 2012 (football) schedule is going to be the norm going forward:

    Yeah, who formed that schedule? Who did that? You know, that year is especially challenging, but it'll be representative of the future, yes. If you're going to be independent, if you're going to give yourself the flexibility of building your own schedule, you have to embrace that. You have to try and build one that's really good. I also think that if one assumes that the current BCS format remains in its current form or something like it, it's really incumbent on Notre Dame to be able to make the case at the end of the year that it's played the toughest schedule in the country, because there will be a strongpresumption in favor of the SEC champ, the Big Ten champ, the Pac-12 champ, or the Big 12 champ to be in that championship game. If we want to be there, we better be able to make the argument that no one in the country played a tougher schedule, and so that's how we're going to build them.

    On the future of the off-site home game tradition and whether it will continue:

    Yes. [Yankee Stadium] was a special weekend and I have every confidence that Washington will work well, that Chicago will work well, and Dallas. We won't do it just to do it. If we don't have reasons to go to a market that we think helps NotreDame -- the off-site games are all about the University. They're not about the football program. There's not a significant benefit to the football program in doing it, but we think there's a major benefit to the University in doing it. That's why we play football.

    On the Senior Day football victory over Utah:

    Certainly the scene on the field was cool. The senior students needed it as much as the senior student-athletes did. It was a very emotional time, because it had been a very challenging two weeks, three weeks leading up to it, and again it was more on the individual, personal level. I felt so good for the young men who had worked so hard. It would have been so easy for them to lose focus. So easy, and they just didn't. At the college level, athlete leadership plays a unique role. In high school it's sort of all coaching. When you get to the pros, there's sort of a different element to it because you have a lot of extraordinary people with a lot of extraordinary talent. There are no successful college programs that don't have great student-athlete leadership on the team. There are great coaches, but even the best coaches, if you don't get great leadership from the student-athletes on the team, you won't have a great program. We had exceptional leadership to get the team through that time, and the measure of their leadership was that game.

    On getting a "feel" for Notre Dame:

    Well, I went here, so that helps. Having a feel for it is understanding its values and being comfortable with those and embrace them, so there's that. But yeah, you learn a lot when you come into the job. There was strong appeal to coming back to a place that meant a lot to me and giving something back to it. Thebigger factor for me was Father Jenkins. When I met him in the course of considering this opportunity, I was struck by him as one of the most talented leaders I had met, and I've been around a lot of talented leaders in my life. So, one of the things you have to get comfortable with and learn is about the leadership of the University and as I said, he's the best. He helps set thetone for all of this.

    On how he splits his time:

    The biggest thing that distinguishes this position from a lot of directors of athletics in college athletics is the amount of time I spend on University matters. I serve on what used to be the Executive Committee; we just changed the name to Presidential Committee -- but with the other officers and deans and so on. I'm with them all the time on policy decisions. It's just because athletics is so integrated into the University. It doesn't stand alone as its own business. You wind up engaged in University matters all the time. That's great, that's the way it should be, but I wasn't prepared for the amount oftime that takes. It's significant. That takes a big chunk. There's a huge chunk that comes with representing Notre Dame externally. We're in a unique position in that regard. There's all the Big East stuff. There's all the BCS things, you know, sitting on the BCS executive committee, unique in that regard. There's having your own broadcast partner, the time you spend on that relationship.There are the NCAA things I work on. So, you have this really broad range ofexternal responsibilities that take me away from campus and take a lot of your time. And then the remaining portion of your time, which is probably for meslightly less than half, is the business of running Notre Dame athletics. When I reorganized the business here, part of it was the recognition of that reality. We're the only place in the country that has a single-sport administration for each sport. At most universities, and this one when I came, you have a person who's got six or seven sports they're the administrator for. But I wanted a much more year-round, concentrated representative of the administration with each of the sports.

    On the release of future football schedules:

    We got ourselves behind in the transition from one AD to another and we were catching up a little bit. I hope to have the schedule out through `17 before we start the fall season. There may be a piece or two missing, but we're pretty close.

    On releasing the schedules so early and having the contracts broken:

    Well, you write your contracts to deal with that. All those contracts have provisions for getting out of them, what the penalties are if someone gets out. It happens more than it should in our industry, but the good news is that we have verylittle of it. Typically it accompanies some change in the school, a change in coach or something where they have a different philosophy. Most of the schools we compete with fall into two categories. One is a traditional rivalry where there's no incentive to not continue it. The other is schools that are really eager to bring their teams here and have us come there and we're a real linchpin to their schedule, so they're not inclined to do something different.

    On whether conference realignment may come up again:

    No. No, there may be small changes, but we've had a fundamental shift in the past few weeks in some regards. When you get conferences whose members are also equity partners in a media company, it changes the dynamic completely. And so the Pac-12 will now launch a network much as the Big 10 has done. And so you get those two cornerstones of the industry who are going to be very set. They may choose to admit somebody at some point, but that's not an easy call when you're giving somebody an equity stake in your network. So, they will be very stable. With two large conferences reflecting that level of stability, I don't think there's enough of a dynamic to cause major change. There will be some, but it won't be like what we came close to last year.

    On how much time he spent analyzing realignment during the conference realignment frenzy:

    I was consumed by it. I spent all my time it. The staff understood -- it's like the football search. When you make a change in football coach, you get withyour senior staff and you say, `I'm out of here for a while. I have to put all my energy on this.' Conference expansion was a lot like that. We had to stay very engaged. We had to make sure we understood what was going on, we had to conduct an internal evaluation to reaffirm our priorities, and so we worked on that every day.

    On Notre Dame launching a network much like Texas:

    Yeah, we will - you know, we are very focused on building our digital media capacity. It'll probably take a slightly different form because we work with a different set of assets than Texas. I think that Texas' model is a great one; I thinkthey'll be hugely successful. But it is based on the remarkable passion forthat school in a geographic area, so it fits over a cable footprint. I don't have any market like that. I have interest everywhere, but not a concentration of it in one place. And so our opportunities will really come as broadband delivery increases and as you all are consuming media on a more content-by-content basis rather than a network basis. So as those two things evolve, that's really going to play to Notre Dame's favor, and what we want to do is position ourselves to take full advantage of it. So as broadband delivery on an a la carte basis, if you will, becomes the future of media, Notre Dame's going to be really well-positioned.

    On the Ohio State ethics issues and the ethics culture in college football:

    Well, it's been a bad year for the ethics of college athletics. I know nothing about the Ohio State case. The one thing you learn in this job when you read about yourself is don't believe what you read, and so I don't presume to know anything about Ohio State's circumstance. They'll work their way through that, and I have a lot of faith in the NCAA process. But it's been a bad year for the industry. I mean, just the discussion of these things: the Cam Newton situation, the Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State, we've just had far too much of that, and I think it's really important to us as an industry, as the NCAA, to figure out how to be more effective in keeping negative events from happening in our sport, at least the ones we can control. Notre Dame is disadvantaged if theindustry is viewed in a negative light. We're part of that industry. We hopepeople receive us in some ways as being a standard-bearer, and we certainly try to be. We don't take any solace when somebody else goes through a tough time, because that's not good for college football, that's not good for college athletics. So, in that case, I hope it resolves itself well for Ohio State, but more broadly, I hope the NCAA and the industry can come up with better ways to ensure ethical conduct, because it really hurts us when we fall short of that.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    1. The Notre Dame women's golf team concluded the first day of the four-day NCAA Championship tournament Wednesday with a 308 (+20) and is currently in a tie for 20th place at the Traditions Club Golf Course in Bryan, Texas. Senior captain Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) leads the Irish as she carded a three-over par 75 in the first round. Conway remained even through the first seven holes, before registering a bogey on the seventh hole and the ninth hole to complete the front nine with a two-over par 38. The senior maintained a two-over par score until the 15th hole, before adding one more stroke on the 15th hole, which she maintained through the remaining three holes. Freshman Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) played a even-par 36 through the front nine holes, followed by a birdie on the 10th hole to place her at one-under par to begin the backstretch. Nhim then carded a double bogey on the 11th hole and a one-over par score on the 12th hole to place the freshman at two-over par, which she held on holes 13 through 16, before bogeying the final two holes of the day for a four-over par score of 76. Freshman Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) recorded a five-over par 77 to begin the tournament. With bogeys on the first and fourth holes the freshman was quickly placed at two-over par, before improving by a stroke on the sixth hole with a birdie. Zhang carded a two-over par 38 through the initial nine holes and with four bogeys and a birdie on the back nine holes, she finished at 77 (+5) on the day. Junior Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) finished the day with an eight-over par 80 as she was at 39 (+3) through the first half of the course, which included four bogeys and one birdie. On theback half of the course she began the 10th hole with a double bogey and twoadditional bogeys to finish at five-over par 41 to round out the Irish score. Senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep Academy) registered an 81 (+9) in the first round of play. The senior gave up six strokes in the first nine holes, while adding three in the back nine. The Irish began the second round of competition today with a 12:40 p.m. (ET) tee time from the 10th hole.

    2. Notre Dame men's lacrosse seniors Zach Brenneman (M) and Kevin Ridgway (D) have earned All-America honors from LaxPower.com. The web site selected 17 players to fill out its Division I All-America squad. Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton) has tallied 16 goals and five assists this season. He missed two games due to injury, yet still has a team-best two hat tricks. The three-goal efforts came against Duke and Syracuse. Brenneman, aTewaaraton Trophy nominee, copped first-team all-BIG EAST accolades last week. The senior midfielder was selected fifth overall by the Long Island Lizards in January's Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Draft. Ridgway (Kensington, Md./Georgetown Prep) has been a key cog in an Irish defense that ranks first nationally by allowing just 6.54 goals per game. Notre Dame has limited opponents to seven goals or fewer nine times this season. Ridgway was a Tewaaraton Trophy nominee and a first-team all-BIG EAST selection. The Hamilton Nationals picked the defenseman in the third round of the MLL Draft.

    3. Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson has announced that two more players have signed national letters-of-intent to attend the University in future seasons. Joining the Irish are forwards Steven Fogarty (Edina, Minn.) and Austin Wuthrich (Anchorage, Alaska). Fogarty is expected to play next season in the United States Hockey League (USHL) for the Chicago Steelwhile Wuthrich will join the Irish roster for the 2011-12 campaign. They join the group of five early signees - defensemen Eric Johnson (Verona, Wis.), Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.) and Andrew Ryan (Brighton, Mich.) along with forwards Garrett Peterson (Manhattan, Ill.) and Peter Schneider (Vienna, Austria). Johnson, Russo, Ryan and Schneider signed national letters-of-intent in November of 2010 while Peterson signed in 2009 and played last season for the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. Fogarty is a 6-2, 195 pound right-handed center who played last season for the Edina High School Hornets in Edina, Minn., and the USHL's Chicago Steel. He is a former teammate of current Irish freshman Anders Lee at Edina which is also the same high school that produced former Notre Dame captain Ryan Thang `10. A 2011 finalist for Minnesota's "Mr. Hockey" Award, Fogarty helped lead Edina to fourth-place in the Minnesota State playoffs with 26 goals and 25 assists for 51 points in 30 games. He had four power-play goals and two short-handed tallies to go with 12 minutes in penalties. During the season, he had three hat tricks, including a four-goal game and had nine games with two or more points. Wuthrich is a 6-0, 185-pound right wing who will join the Notre Dame roster after playing the 2010-11 season with the U.S. National Team Development Program's Under-18 team. The Anchorage, Alaska native had his season cut short by an injury as he suffered a broken right leg in the second game of the season. The injury required surgery and sidelined Wuthrich until late February when he rejoined the U.S. program. In five games with the Under-18 team, he had one goal and one assist two points and also saw action with the Under-17 team, playing in 13 games on his return, scoring twice with four assists for six points and 36 minutes in penalties.

    Early-Signee Updates (players who signed letters of intent in November): Defenseman Eric Johnson started the year in the North American Hockey League with the Wenatchee Wild before moving to the USHL's Dubuque Saints where he played for former Irish volunteer assistant coach Jim Montgomery. The defensive, defenseman had a goal and two assists for three points in 33 regular-season games. Dubuquefinished first in the USHL Western Division with a 37-14-9 record. The Saints are currently playing in the USHL Championship series against Green Bay with the series tied at 1-1. Right wing Garrett Peterson played his thirdseason for the Lincoln Stars, helping them to the USHL playoffs with a 33-22-5 record. After missing the first 17 games of the season with a shoulder injury, Peterson returned to the lineup to finish fourth in scoring with 21 goals and 17 assists for 38 points. He scored a pair of power-play goals with four short-handed tallies and four game winners while racking up 130 penalty minutes. The Stars were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Fargo. Defenseman Robbie Russo played the entire season with the U.S. National Team Developmental Program's Under-18 team. He finished the season sixth on the team in scoring with four goals and 26 assists for 30 points with 27 penalty minutes. Two of his goals came on the power play and one was a game winner. In International play, Russo helped the national program to gold medals in the Four Nations, the Five Nations and the 2011 IIHF World Under-18 Championships. In 16 games, the Westmont, Ill., native had two goals with 14 assists for 16 points. He was fourth among defenseman at the World Under-18 Championships with a goal andseven assists for eight points in six games and set up the overtime game winner in the gold medal game against Sweden. He was selected by the other coaches in the tournament as one of the USA's top three players. Russo is eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and was ranked 55th in the NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. Defenseman Andy Ryan saw action in 34 games for the U.S. Under-18 team, picking up three assists and 10 minutes in penalties. He also played in 17 games for the Under-17, picking up two assists there. He saw action in eight international games for Team USA and had no points. Ryan was selected in the third round, 44th overall by the Green Bay Gamblers in the 2011 USHL Entry Draft. Right wing Peter Schneider closes out the list of early signees. The native of Vienna, Austria played the entire season with the USHL's Indiana Ice, helping them to a 37-19-4 overall record, good for third place in the Eastern Division. Schneider played in 55 games, scoring 30 goals with 24 assists for 54 points. That ranked him fifth in scoring for Indiana and third in goals. Overall in the USHL, Schneider was 15th in points and tied for fourth in goals. In five playoff games, he had a goal and two assists for three points as Indiana won an opening-round series with Waterloo, 2-0, and then lost in the Eastern Quarterfinals to Green Bay, 3-0.

    4. Jeannette Boudway, a three-year veteran on the staff of the Notre Dame women's soccer program, has been promoted to coordinator of soccer operations, head coach Randy Waldrum announced Wednesday. Boudway, who most recently was a volunteer assistant coach for the Fighting Irish from 2008-10, will fill the newly-created post and will be responsible for coordinating film exchange and video match analysis, as well as assisting with team travel, equipment, budgeting and on-campus recruiting, and helping direct the Notre Dame summer soccer camps. Boudway came to Notre Dame from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she spent three seasons (2005-07) as an assistant coach for the Blazers. During her time at UAB, Boudway helped the Blazers to a 25-30-4 record, the 2006 Conference USA Tournament championship and a bid in the `06 NCAA Championship. She worked with 10 all-conference performers and five all-region selections during her three-year tenure in Birmingham, and also oversaw the program's equipment, travel, digital match analysis, budgeting and recruiting, in addition to off-season work with community service, alumni affairs and camp administration. A native of Naperville, Ill., the former Jeannette Croce enjoyed a stellar playing career at DePaul University from 1997-2000, collecting third-team all-C-USA honors in 1997 and serving as team captain during her final two seasons (1999 and 2000). She remains among the top 10 in school history for career goals (4th, 14), points (6th, 35), assists (8th, 7) and games started (9th, 70), and she was a four-time selection to the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll. Boudway graduated from DePaul in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in accounting. She went on to earn her master's degree in sports management and business administration from Barry in 2005. In addition, she has received her Advanced National Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), and has obtained a "C" coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). Boudway and her husband, Ryan (an assistant director in the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office), were married in April 2008 and make their home in South Bend with their infant son, Cal.

    5. Notre Dame rising junior midfielder Dillon Powers (Plano, Texas) captained the United States Under-20 National Team during a 3-3 draw with the France U-20 squad on Wednesday at Stade Moulins in Carquefou, France. The match was an internationally friendly. The two teams will square off in another exhibition match today. The U.S. U-20 squad is training in Vichy, France from May 15-20. Tab Ramos, who was an assistant coach during the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in April, will oversee the group during the six-day training camp. He was joined in France by U.S. Men's National Team assistant coaches Mike Sorber and Zak Abdel. The team is made up of a combination of U.S. U-20 veterans and newcomers. One of the most experienced players on the roster is Powers, who was limited by aninjury during the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Guatemala. Powers, UCLA's Rowe and Duke's Sebastien Ibeagha, who appeared in two games in Guatemala, are the only three collegians on the roster.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    1. Michigan State registered season-highs in both hits and runs en route to a 20-3 baseball victory over Notre Dame Tuesday night at Frank Eck Stadium. The Spartans improved to 32-18, while the Irish dropped to 21-25-1. Zak Wilkerson picked up the victory and improved to 1-0 on the year. He tossed 3.0 scoreless innings and allowed two hits. Wilkerson struck out three and walked two. Freshman Anthony McIver was charged with the loss. He dropped to 2-5 on the campaign. McIver allowed four earned runs on five hits in 1.0 inning. He fanned one and walked one. With a critical BIG EAST series opening on Thursday night, Notre Dame used seven different pitchers. Unfortunately for the sake of the Irish, most were ineffective. Notre Dame did grab a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Freshman LF Eric Jagielo hammered his fourth home run of the season deep over the postseason appearances board in right field. Sophomore RHP/DH Adam Norton added an RBI double later in the inning. The lead was short-lived. After Norton tossed a scoreless second inning, his final inning of work, Michigan State scored four in the third, four in the fourth, six in the fifth, two in the sixth and three more in the eighth. The Spartan bullpen of Wilkerson, Joe Zwierzynski, Chad Nielson and Cody Huge kept the Irish off the scoreboard over the final eight innings. Jagielo went 1-for-3 with a run scored and the two-run home run. Norton went 2-for-2 with an RBI double. Notre Dame travels to conference rival Louisville for a three-game set that opens at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday. Both Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday's (1 p.m.) game will be televised on CBS College Sports.

    2. The Irish women's golf team began play at the NCAA Women's Golf Championships in Bryan, Texas, at 9 a.m. ET this morning. Susan Holt's squad, which finished fifth at the NCAA Central Regional, is playing with the fifth-place finishers from the other two regionals, California and Arizona.

    3. Brian Kelly apologized for his late arrival to his Tuesday function in Huntsville, Ala., a Notre Dame Club of Northern Alabama luncheon. He just had to see it for himself. The Notre Dame football coach asked his driver to take him on a tour of the most devastated areas in Northern Alabama. He then passed on a $5,000 check from his Kelly Cares Foundation to assist with the rebuilding efforts. "It's about service. It's about community," Kelly said. "What has happened here and everybody rallying together and looking out for each other is what Notre Dame is all about." After seeing the wreckage first hand, Kelly was left with one lasting impression. "(I was) astonished there wasn't catastrophic loss of life," he said. "Certainly there was an incredible tragedy and the loss of life can never be minimized, but just looking at the sheer devastation in this area, I was shocked that the loss of life was held to a number that was a lot lower than I would have thought."

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    1. Here's where Notre Dame teams will be playing in NCAA Championships competition this week:

    -- In Bryan, Texas, where the Irish women's golf team competes in the NCAA Finals Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday after advancing out of an NCAA regional for the first time in history.

    -- In Ocala, Fla., where the Irish men's golf team plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the NCAA Florida Regional.

    -- In Ann Arbor, Mich., where the Irish softball team plays in an NCAA regional with host Michigan, Western Michigan and Kentucky - with Notre Dame kicking off play at 5:30 p.m. Friday against Kentucky on ESPN2.

    -- In Foxborough, Mass., where the #4-seeded Notre Dame men's lacrosse team plays in an NCAA quarterfinal against #5 seed Duke at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Gillette Stadium on ESPNU.

    2. For the 10th time in as many seasons under head coach Deanna Gumpf - and 16th time in program history - the Notre Dame softball team will be making an appearance in the NCAA Championships, as this year's road to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., will look a bit familiar for the Irish. Traveling to the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Regional for the fourth consecutive season, Notre Dame carries a 45-9 record into the NCAA Tournament and earned an at-large selection after falling in the semifinal round of the BIG EAST Conference Tournament. Notre Dame will face Kentucky Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, with host Michigan and Western Michigan filling out the four-team pool.The Irish lost to both Michigan and Western Michigan earlier this season.

    3. The 20th-ranked Notre Dame women's rowing team concluded its regular season Sunday at Melton Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., qualifying all six boats for the grand final heats at the Oak Ridge Regionals. The Irish varsity four boat earned the highest finish for the squad, placing second in 7:22.52. The varsity four boat, crewed by coxswain Christina Dines, Kiersten DeHaven, Ching-Ting Hwang, Courtney Gaberino and Teresa Rubinger, qualified for the grand final with a prelim time of 7:35.20 to win heat B over conference-rival Louisville. The boat was unable to claim the gold medal as a very tough Virginia boat crossed at 7:12.20 for the win, followed next by the Irish at 7:22.52. Clemson rounded out the top three in the race at 7:24.54. The first grand final to take to the water was the third varsity eight race. There were no preliminary heats in this event as only six teamsfielded a competing boat. The Irish boat, crewed by Jacqueline Corey, Julia Lynch, Anna VanEgmond, Nicole Michels, Meghan Salomon, Elizabeth Linnemanstons, Brianna Krafcik and Ingrid Woelfel, crossed in sixth place at 7:15.43. Virginia won the final in 6:50.40 followed by Clemson (7:04.76) and Oklahoma (7:07.36) in second and third, respectively. Two Irish boats foundthemselves in the grand final of the open four race. The "A" boat, comprisedof coxswain Jacqueline Gilhooly, Sarah McShane, Valerie Brencher, Paige White and Alyce Kanabrocki, finished second in heat A at7:45.30, while the "B" boat, crewed by coxswain Danni Schneider, Kelsey Murphy, Kathryn Monahan, Sarah Thompson and Stephanie Boggs finished in 7:51.40 for third place in heat B. The grand final saw the Irish "B" and "A" boats finish in fourth and fifth, respectively, at 7:41.87 and 7:51.68. Virginia's "A" boat won the race at 7:25.30 with Clemson (7:36.79) and Virginia "B" (7:38.65) rounding out the top three. A second-place finish in preliminaries (6:55.13) earned a berth for the Irish second varsity eight boat in the grand finals. The crew of coxswain Rachael Louie, Katie Suyo, Teresa Blumenstein, Paige Aiello, Kelsey Haddad, Erin McConnell, Megan Keegan, Morgan Kelley and Joanna Poinsatte then turned in a third-place result in the grand final, crossing at 6:44.92. Virginia won the race at 6:39.30 with Clemson finished second at 6:42.36. In the final race of the day, the Irish earned a fourth-place finish in the grand final of the varsity eight after crossing at 6:35.18. The crew of coxswain Abby Meyers, Stephanie Gretsch, Katherine Linnemanstons, Genevieve Malone, Stephanie O'Neill, Olivia Kacsits, Molly Bruggeman, Emily Crosby and Carol Ann Michel was unable to claim gold, but did get revenge on the Louisville crew who bested them at the BIG EAST Championships. The Cardinals boat fell to the Irish by more than three seconds at the Oak Ridge Regional after winning over Notre Dame by nearly three seconds two weeks prior. Virginia completed a sweep of all six grand finals, crossing first at 6:26.00. Clemson (6:31.86) and Duke (6:34.78) finished second and third, respectively. Notre Dame now awaits its fate for the 2011 NCAA Championship. The selection show takes place today at 5:00 p.m. (ET) -- with the top 16 teams earning bids to compete May 27-29 at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Sacramento, Calif., for the2011 NCAA title.

    4. The reigning NCAA national champion Notre Dame women's soccer team will play nine regular-season matches against NCAA Championship qualifiers, highlighted by a rematch of last year's NCAA title contest against Stanford and a visit to perennial rival North Carolina, as part of a challenging 2011 Fighting Irish schedule that was released Monday following approval by the University's Faculty Board on Athletics. The Stanford match (set for 7:30 p.m. PT on Sept. 9 at Stanford's Laird Q. Cagan Stadium) is part of Notre Dame'sbi-annual trip to the San Francisco Bay Area, with the Fighting Irish also traveling to Santa Clara two days later (11:30 a.m. PT), reprising a pair of 1-0 victories along the way (vs. SCU at the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic; vs. Stanford in the NCAA final at Cary, N.C.). Both of this year's Bay Area contests are part of the Santa Clara adidas Classic, the last of three tournaments on Notre Dame's upcoming schedule. For the second time in four seasons, the Fighting Irish will head to Chapel Hill, N.C., to participate in the Carolina Classic, hosted by UNC at Fetzer Field. The marquee match of the tournament could be the opener, as Notre Dame squares off with the Tar Heels at 5 p.m. ET on Aug. 26. A year ago, the Fighting Irish eliminated North Carolina from the NCAA Championship with a 4-1 third-round victory at Fetzer Field, handing the Tar Heels their first multi-goal loss in 25 years and the largest home defeat in program history. Notre Dame also will take on Duke at the Carolina Classic (1 p.m. ET, Aug. 28), facing a Blue Devils' squad thatlikewise advanced to the third round of the 2010 NCAA Championship before falling at Oklahoma State (the same OSU team the Fighting Irish would defeat in the next round of the tournament). Another of the cornerstones of this year's Notre Dame schedule will be the 19th annual Notre Dame adidas Invitational (formerly known as the Inn at Saint Mary's Soccer Classic) at Alumni Stadium. In their first tournament match at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 2, the Fighting Irish will face Tulsa (head coach Randy Waldrum's former employer from 1989-94) after Indiana and Western Michigan do battle in the night's first contest at 5 p.m. ET. The matchups will switch on Sept. 4 for the second day of the tournament, with WMU facing Tulsa at 11 a.m. ET, followed by Notre Dame andIndiana at 1:30 p.m. ET -- the latter match will mark the first time in a decade that the two in-state rivals have met in the sport of women's soccer(the Fighting Irish earned a 2-1 overtime victory in their most recent encounter on Sept. 7, 2001, at old Alumni Field).

    5. Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson will be the guest celebrity at HeartReach Michiana's annual Golf Fundraiser to be held Monday (May 23) at Knollwood Country Club in Granger, Ind. The event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and openings still remain. For more information and to register for the golf outing check the HeartReach Michiana website at heartreachmichiana.org or call 574-296-6500. Jackson will be on hand to greet tournament participants and sign autographs at registration and will speak at the evening meal following theevent.

    6. Notre Dame senior baseball RHP Brian Dupra was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Monday. In his final appearance at Frank Eck Stadium, Dupra struck out nine over 7.0 scoreless innings to lead Notre Dame to an 8-0 shutout of USF. He improved to 3-5 on the year with another top-notch outing. The senior co-captain limited USF to six hits and only one extra-base hit. Dupra collected his 10th quality start of the season. Dupra did allow one-out base hits in each of the second, third and fourth innings, but evaded any damagewith over-powering stuff. He collected six strikeouts over the first four frames. Dupra actually got a strikeout to end four of the first six innings for the Bulls. Dupra has now allowed two earned runs or less in nine of his 13 starts. In fact, Dupra has allowed noearned runs in five separate outings in 2011. Dupra, who lowered his ERA to a miniscule 2.37 this season, is now just one start shy of becoming the fifthpitcher in Notre Dame history to record 50 career starts. He also moved intosole possession of seventh place on the Irish all-time innings pitched listwith 302.0. Dupra is one of seven pitchers in school history to amass 300.0career innings.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    1. No. 4 seed Notre Dame defeated Penn 13-6 on Saturday afternoon at Arlotta Stadium in the first round of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship. Senior attackman Colin Igoe registered a career-high four points on three goals and an assist for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame (11-2) received two goals apiece from Zach Brenneman, Westy Hopkins, Nicholas Beattie and Pat Cotter. Steve Murphy and Sean Rogers both chipped in a goal for the Irish, while junior long-stick midfielder Bobby Smith dished out a career-high twoassists. Notre Dame had nine assists on its 13 goals. The Fighting Irish defense held Penn (8-7) to just one second-half goal. The Quakers did not score from the 2:55 mark of the second quarter until the 5:43 mark of the fourth quarter, a span of 27:12 "Penn is a very good team but I thought we played one of our best games of the year," said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "We expected a defensive struggle with two teams known for playing great defense, but it was 8-5 at halftime. I thought we settled down a lot defensively. We didn't move around so much and get ourselves in trouble." Notre Dame grabbed an early 4-0 lead in the contest. Hopkins put the Irish on the board, while Beattie depositedback-to-back tallies to put the Irish up by three at the 6:52 mark of the opening quarter. Rogers scored 25 seconds later to increase the Irish advantage to four. Penn goals from Rob Fitzpatrick and Al Kohart in the final two minutes of the period made it a 4-2 game by the end of the first quarter. Goals from Cotter and Murphy 37 seconds apart put Notre Dame on top 6-2 just overfive minutes into the second quarter. The Quakers responded with a Dan Savage goal midway through the period. Following a score from Brenneman, consecutive tallies from Penn's John Conneely and Morgan Griff made it a 7-5 contest with 2:55 left in the opening half. The Irish outscored the Quakers 6-1 during the remainder of the game. Igoe's first goal of the afternoon gave Notre Dame an 8-5 lead at halftime. A man-up goal from Cotter, off a pass from Brenneman, gave the Irish a four-goal cushion (9-5) with 9:33 left in the third quarter. A Brenneman score made it a 10-5 affair after three quarters of play. Hopkins' second goal of the game put the Irish up by six (11-5) early in the fourth period. Penn snapped its scoreless drought with just under six minutes left in the contest on a Will Amling goal. Two goals from Igoeproduced the final outcome. Today's 13 goals are tied for the second-most goals scored in an NCAA Tournament game in Notre Dame history. The seven-goal margin of victory is the largest ever for the Irish in an NCAA Tournament contest. Sophomore goalie John Kemp made nines saves for the Irish in his first career start in the NCAA Championship. Brian Feeney had 14 stops for Penn. The Fighting Irish out shot the Quakers 41-24. Irish senior Jake Marmul went 16-20 in faceoff attempts. As a team, Notre Dame won 17 of the 23 faceoffs. Notre Dame will face fifth-seeded Duke next Sunday in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship. Faceoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. (ET) at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Duke defeated Delaware 15-14 on Saturday in first-round action. The Irish captured a 12-7season-opening victory over the Blue Devils Feb. 20 in Jacksonville, Fla.

    2. Notre Dame secured a three-game BIG EAST baseball series sweep of USF with victories in both ends of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish blew open a 5-5 deadlock with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, three on freshman 1B Trey Mancini's team-best ninth home run of the year, en route to a 10-5 triumph in the opener. Senior RHP Todd Miller tossed 7.0 solid innings to help Notre Dame take the nightcap, 6-3. Notre Dame improved to 21-24-1 overall and 12-11 in the BIG EAST, while USF dropped to 22-28 and 11-13. With the series sweep, the Irish moved into a tie with Cincinnati for fifth place in the BIG EAST standings with one weekend left in the regular season. Only the top eight teams in the regularseason standings advance to the annual BIG EAST Championship on May 25-29 in Clearwater, Fla. Notre Dame travels to conference rival Louisville for a three-game set that opens at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday. Both the Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (1 p.m.) games will be televised on CBS College Sports.

    Game-2: In his final start and appearance at Frank Eck Stadium, Miller improved to 4-3 on the year. The senior RHP limited the Bulls to three earned runs on eight hits in 7.0+ innings. Miller struck out three and did not issue a walk. He has walked only 10 batters in75.0 innings of work this season. After USF tagged Miller with four hits over the first 2.1 innings, the Irish starter retired 13 of the next 15 Bulls, yielding just a pair of singles. With Notre Dame holding a 6-1 lead, Miller did run into trouble in the eighth inning. USF got a double and single to open the inning and sophomore RHP/DH Adam Nortonreplaced Miller. Fifth-year senior Herman Petzold paced the Irish offense with three hits. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. Senior SS Mick Doyle and sophomore 2B Frank DeSico each had two hits. DeSico went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Doyle went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Sophomore C Joe Hudson went 1-for-4 with a two-run double and junior CF Alex Robinson went 1-for-4 with two RBI. Notre Dame failed to walk a single batter in the contest for the third time this season and first time since March 4 at Winthrop.

    Game-1: After the lead changed hands three times over the middle innings, apair of perfectly executed safety squeeze bunts from DeSico and Robinson and one powerful stroke from Mancini turned the tide of the contest. Notre Damejumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, but USF equalized with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. The Bulls grabbed their first lead of the weekend with a run in the top of the fifth, but the Irish answered with two runs to grab a 4-3 advantage. Mancini went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI. Hudson went 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Norton drove in a pair.

    3. The 20th-ranked Notre Dame women's tennis team could not overcome 14th-ranked and 16th-seeded Northwestern on Saturday at the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill. falling 4-0 in the NCAA Second Round. It is the first time in five years that the Irish have fallen short of making the Round of 16. Northwestern claimed the opening point of the match, snaring the doubles point away from the Irish. At No. 1 doubles, thepairing of juniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) were no match for Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton, losing 8-2. It is the first loss for Notre Dame's No. 1 pairing in the last 17 decisions and drops their record to 19-4 this season. The point then went final at No. 3 doubles, where the Irish team of freshmen Britney Sanders (Ontario, Calif.) and Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) lost to Maria Mosolova and Kate Turvy, 8-4. Notre Dame jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the match but could not keep momentum going, dropping eight of the following 10 games. Senior Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) led 7-6 over Elena Chernyakova and Brittany Wowchuk at No. 2 doubles when the point was clinched, causing the match to be abandoned. Momentum did not change as singles got underway. At. No. 1, Frilling could not counter the defensive play of Mosolova, losing in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. It was only the junior's fourth loss in a very successful dual season that saw her earn BIG EAST Player of the Year for the second straight season. ?Kellner was next to run into a tough matchup, as Turvy of the Wildcats posted the third point of the match with a 6-2, 6-0 victory. Kellner finishes her freshman campaign with an impressive 19-6 dual campaign. With the match in the balance, all attention turned to No. 5 where Sanders made her first dual start of the season for the Irish. The freshman battled with Stacey Lee but in the end could not overcome her opponent, falling 6-4, 7-6 (7-1). Although the match finished up 4-0, the full story was not told as the Irish held leads in each of the final three matches still on court. At. No. 2, Mathews was serving for her match against Wowchuk up 6-3, 2-6, 5-2 when it was abandoned. McGaffigan shared a similarscore at No. 6 against Hamilton, leading 6-3, 3-6, 5-2. The final match still in progress saw Rafael holding a 6-4, 4-5 advantage over Abu Mushrefova when the contest went final. Notre Dame finishes the season with a record of 17-10. Two members of the team, Frilling and Mathews, have not seen their season come to a close however, as they now prepare for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in Palo Alto, Calif. The two juniors take to the courts May 25-30 in search of an NCAA Championship.

    4. The 30th-ranked Notre Dame men's tennis team dropped a 4-0 decision to fourth-ranked Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio to conclude the 2010-11 campaign. Due to weather, the Irish began play outdoors and completed the doubles portion at the Stickney Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio, beforefinishing the match indoors at the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center. At second doubles the tandem of junior Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and senior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) were defeated by 81st-ranked Chase Buchanan and Shuhei Uzawa in an 8-2 decision. Senior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) and freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) were defeated by Blaz Rola and Balazs Novak 8-2, which decided the doubles point in favor of the Buckeyes. As the singles portion of the match continued indoors, sophomore Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine-Crest) fell to No. 111 Novak in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2. At the top of the lineup, Watt was downed by fourth-ranked Rola in consecutive 6-2 sets. The match was clinched at fourth singles when Andrews was unable to defeat Matt Allare and fell 6-2, 6-3. At second singles, Havens was in a position to win his match as he had won thefirst set 7-5. The match was at 1-1 in the second set against tenth-ranked Buchanan before the match was halted. At third singles, Stahl was defeated 6-3 in the first set by No. 107 Ille Van Engelen and the match was at 4-3 when it ended. Stahl concluded his senior season winning 11 of his last 13 matches. Junior Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) had dropped the first set to No. 65 Devin McCarthy and was trailing 2-3 when the match was concluded. The Irish conclude the season with an 18-12 record.

    5. The Coach Pat Murphy Locker Room, new home to the University of Notre Dame baseball team, was dedicated Saturday at Frank Eck Stadium, and formerIrish baseball coach Pat Murphy was on-hand for the surprise ceremonial event. Monogram Club Executive Director Beth Hunter also presented Murphy with an honorary monogram. The renovation project was made possible through the generous gift of Daniel Murphy, David Murphy, Bert Bondi ('67), Craig Counsell ('92) and John Counsell ('64), as well as other generous supporters of Notre Dame baseball. The Coach Pat Murphy Locker Room, located within Notre Dame's Frank Eck Baseball Stadium, was the first major renovation endeavor since the stadium's construction in 1994. The project included a redesign of the team space to make it more efficient and improve circulation between the clubhouse, shower, rest room facilities and the dugout. A kitchenette and mudroom were added along with direct access to and from the dugout area. The locker space was completely overhauled with the installation of 36 brand new, 30-inch wood lockers including four specially designed corner lockers for the catchers. Lastly, new flat screen, high definition televisions and state-of-the-art RightView Protechnology was installed. Pat Murphy spent seven seasons (1988-94) as head coach at Notre Dame, where he guided the Irish to a consistent level of success previously unmatched in the history of the program. Building the program from the ground up with the support of only four full scholarships, Murphy guided the Irish to a 318-116-1 (.732) record, including three consecutive trips to the NCAA regional finals in 1992, `93 and `94, a streak matched only by Texas. Murphy built Notre Dame into a perennial top-25 program. Under his guidance, the Irish averaged more than 46 wins per season and rejuvenated the pride in Notre Dame baseball, which ultimately led to the construction of Frank Eck Stadium in the fall of 1993. Murphy began his tenure in South Bend in 1988, taking over a team that posted a combined 65-80 record in the three previous seasons. With a nucleus of players who finished 15-29 in `87, and had never enjoyed a winning season at Notre Dame, Murphy began revamping the program and promptly led the Irish to a 39-22 mark. The 39 victories were the most in the 96-year history of the Irish program at the time. Notre Dame triumphed twice over a powerhouse Miami (Fla.) squad, setting a precedent for victories over the nation's premier programs that became a trademark of his tenure. The following six campaigns saw the Irish garner national rankings, conference titles, NCAA tournament appearances, 45-win seasons and more.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    1. The 20th-ranked Notre Dame women's tennis team made quick work of its 2011 NCAAChampionships first-round opponent, downing Fresno State 4-0 Friday at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill., to advance into the second round. Freshman Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) clinched the victory with her win at No. 6 singles. The Irish now play Northwestern at noon (CT) today for a bid into the Round of 16 hosted by Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. The 4-0 victory for Notre Dame marked the third-straight year that the team opened up the NCAA Tournament with a perfect decision, besting IPFW last season and Illinois-Chicago in 2009. Notre Dame also improves to 17-1 in NCAA Tournament openers, winning each of their last nine.The Irish jumped ahead 1-0, claiming the doubles point for the 18th time in 26 matches this season. The No. 1 grouping of juniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) took care of business in their matchup, defeating the Bulldogs tandem of Laura Pola and Marianne Jodoin, 8-3. It is the 16th straight doubles win for the 15th-ranked Irish pairing and improves their season record to 19-3.Senior Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) then clinched the point, claiming an 8-5 win over Olga Kirpicheva and Melissa McQueen at the No. 2 position. The tandem has now won five consecutive matches of their own to improve their record to 11-6 at No. 2.The freshman pairing of Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Sabacinski led Abby Hayley and Bianca Modoc, 6-3, when the doubles point was clinched, rendering the match unfinished. Rafael then increased the Irish lead to 2-0 with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Modoc at No. 4 singles. She improves to 7-0 on the season since moving to the No. 4 court and in those seven victories has won six of her 14 sets by a 6-0 count. Kellner pushed the Irish to match point, disposing of McQueen at No. 3, 6-2, 6-1. The freshman, ranked 123rd in the singles rankings, fell behind 2-0 early in the first set before sweeping the next six games to claim the set. With the second set knotted up 1-1, Kellner went on another run, winning the final five games to close out the set and her match. In her last 10 matches, Kellner owns an 8-2 record and is now 19-5 overall in dual matches. It was another Irish freshman that secured the match victory, as Sabacinski notched a straight-sets win over Hayley (6-4, 6-1) at No. 6 singles. Hayley led midway through the first set (4-3) before Sabacinski reeled off three games in a row to gain the one-set advantage. She never trailed in the second set, cruising to the 6-1 win. Sabacinski is in the midst of her longest winning streak of the year having now won four consecutive matches. With the match clinched the remaining three matches were abandoned. At No. 1, Frilling trailed Jodoin, 6-7 (6-8),1-4. McGaffigan trailed Kirpicheva at No. 5 singles (3-6, 5-3), while Mathews led at No. 2 (7-6 (9-7)). The Irish look to advance to Palo Alto, Calif., with a win over Northwestern on Saturday. The host Wildcats advanced into the second round with a 4-0 victory over IPFW in the second match of the day on Friday.This will be the second meeting between the two schools this year, withNorthwestern winning the regular-season tilt, 4-3. It also will be the first time the two teams have met in the postseason since 2005, when the Wildcats won 4-1.

    2. The Notre Dame men's tennis team defeated East Tennessee in a 4-3 nail-biting match Friday at the Stickney Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio, in a first-round NCAA Championships matchup. Freshman Greg Andrews (Gull Lake, Mich./Richland) showed no signs of first-year jitters as he clinched the match for the Irish at fourth singles and defeated Charles Bottoni in a three-set match, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. The Irish were unable to win the doubles point as junior Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and senior Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy)were defeated in an 8-6 decision by Jesus Bandres and Sander Gille at seconddoubles. Andrews and senior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) were at a 7-5 score on third doubles and in a position to win the match, but before the match was finished junior Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) and sophomore Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) dropped 8-6 to Charles Bottoni and Grega Teraz at the No. 1 position. As the Irish entered the match with a 1-0 deficit, 63rd-ranked Watt quickly even out the score with a victory over Teraz. The Irish junior downed the Buc in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3. Sophomore Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine-Crest) handled Roger Ordeig at six singles with a 6-0, 6-3 victory, which moved the Irish into the lead. Notre Dame then dropped back-to-back matches as junior Sam Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) fell in a hard fought 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 match to Ramirez at the No. 5 position. Havens had a strong start to his match at second singles as the senior downed Gille 6-1 in the first set, before falling 6-2 in the second set. The match came down to the wire in the third set, but Havens fell 7-6 and ETSU was able to regain the lead. The 95th-ranked Stahl and Andrews remained on the courts at third and fourth singles, respectively. Stahl was in the second set (he had won the first set in a 7-6 decision) and concluded the match as he defeated Bandres 6-4 to place the score at 3-3. Andrews remained on the No. 4 court and had split the first two sets with Bottoni, dropping the first set 6-2 and winning the second in a 6-4 decision. The freshman was down 40 to love at five all and fought back to win five-straight points to break serve and ended upwinning nine consecutive points. The Irish play No. 4 Ohio State at 1:00 p.m. (ET) today at the Stickney Tennis Center.

    3. Senior RHP Brian Dupra struck out nine over 7.0 scoreless innings and freshmen Eric Jagielo and Trey Mancini each blasted two-run home runs to lead Notre Dame to an 8-0 baseball shutout of USF Friday night at Frank EckStadium. The Irish improve to 19-24-1 overall and 10-11 in the BIG EAST, while the Bulls drop to 22-26 and 11-11. With the victory, Notre Dame moves into a tie with Seton Hall for eighth place in the BIG EAST standings. With both USF and Louisville losing Friday night, Notre Dame is now just one game behind Cincinnati for fifth. Only the top eight teams in the regular season standings advance to the annual BIG EAST Championship on May 25-29 in Clearwater, Fla.Dupra improved to 3-5 on the year with another top-notch outing. The senior co-captain limited USF to six hits and only one extra-base hit. Dupra collected his 10th quality start of the season. He has now allowed two earned runs or less in nine of his 13 starts. In fact, Dupra has allowed no earned runs in five separate outings in 2011.Dupra, who lowered his ERA to a miniscule 2.37 this season, is now just one start shy of becoming the fifth pitcher in Notre Dame history to record 50 career starts. He also moved into sole possession of seventh place on the Irish all-time innings pitchedlist with 302.0. Dupra is one of seven pitchers in school history to amass 300.0 career innings.Freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald registered his third save of the year. The rookie tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief and faced the minimum six batters. Fitzgerald struck out one, did not issue a walk and got a double play ground out.Jagielo and Mancini provided all the offense the Irish would need. Jagielo went 2-for-4with two runs scored, a two-run single and two-run home run, while Mancini added a mammoth two-run bomb of his own.USF starter Randy Fontanez, who no-hit the Irish in 2010, was saddled with the loss and dropped to 5-5. The righty was removed following the second inning with an undisclosed injury. Fontanez gave up two runs, both earned, on two hits in 2.0 innings of work.Notre Dame wasted no time in ending any notion of another no-hitter from Fontanez. Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico laced his first offering of the game to centerfield for a single and moved into scoring position following junior CF Alex Robinson's perfectly executed sacrifice bunt.With DeSico at second base, Jagielo pulled a 2-2 fastball over the right field wall to give the Irish a 2-0 lead. The round tripper was Jagielo's third of the season and first since March 13 against Kent State when he ripped a two-run bomb in the bottom of the eighth to give Notre Dame a 2-0 victory over the Golden Flashes.The Irish blew the game wide open in the eighth with six runs.Senior SS Mick Doyle had an RBI single. After a DeSico single and error allowed a run to score, Jagielo hit a routine pop up in front of the pitcher's mound. Rockhold, the USF catcher, slipped on the wet turf and was unable to make the play. Two more Irish runners came into score to push the Notre Dame lead to 6-0 and Mancini closed the outburst with a two-run shot over the scoreboard in left field.Notre Dame and USF continue its critical BIG EAST series at 2:05 p.m. today at Frank Eck Stadium.

    4. For the fourth time in five seasons at the BIG EAST Conference Softball Championship, Louisville proved to be a thorn in Notre Dame's side. This time the Cardinals put together a 6-0 win Friday at Ulmer Stadium in Louisville to eliminate No. 18 Notre Dame from the league tournament for the second straight campaign. Sandwiched between a 2009 win en route to winning the tournament crown, Notre Dame's last four losses at the event have been at the hands of the Cardinals (36-17), who were this year's fifth-seeded squad. The defeat snapped a 14-game winning streak for Notre Dame (45-9), whose last loss came ironically came to Louisville during a regular-season meeting April 17. It was also the first shutout loss for Notre Dame in the tournament since 2001, and the third time the Irish have been blanked through 54 contests in 2011. A pair of two-out hits in the second set the table for Taner Fowler's RBI single to right-center to get things going for Louisville in front of its hometown crowd. The knock came on a 3-2 offering from Brittany O'Donnell (10-1), the 13th pitch of her at-bat after fouling off the previous seven. O'Donnell induced a Hannah Kiyohara liner to Heather Johnson at third to end the frame with Cardinal runners on the corners. Notre Dame went the small-ball rout to start the third. Brianna Jorgensborg was hit by pitch, advanced to second on Lauren Stuhr's sacrifice bunt and was joined on base by Alexa Maldonado after a bunt single. Heather Johnson was intentionally walked to load the bags. Onebatter later, Louisville got a huge out when Dani Miller fouled out to catcher Maggie Ruckenbrod. There wasn't much air left in the Irish tires after that. O'Donnell allowed a home run for just the third time on the season when Chelsea Bemiswent yard for a three-run shot in the third to put Notre Dame on top, 4-0. Louisville added another run on reliever Jody Valdivia. Louisville managed five with O'Donnell in the circle. O'Donnellsuffered her first loss of the season after collecting 10 straight, giving up four earned runs in 2.0 innings. Valdivia threw 2.0 innings of two-run ball, and Laura Winter held the Cardinals to one hit in the final 2.0 scoreless frames. Sadie Pitzenberger singled in the fourth and was left on base along with Erin Marrone. Katie Keller added a solo home run in the fourth to push the Cardinal lead to 6-0. Keller homered twice against the Irish during the three-game regular season series. Katie Fleury and Marrone singled in the sixth but were both left on the pond. Notre Dame left nine runners on base. The win went to a steady Tori Collins (16-9) after striking out seven batters during a complete-game effort. She walked four and gave up four hits. Notre Dame awaits its NCAA Tournament destiny when ESPN will air the Division I Softball Selection Show at 10:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

    5. So both the men's and women's Irish tennis teams continue NCAA Championships play today - the men at 1 p.m. ET against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, and the women at noon CT against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. Then today at 2:30 p.m. ET there's more NCAA Championships action, this time on the Notre Dame campus, as for the first time ever Arlotta Stadium is the site of NCAA competition as the #4 seed Notre Dame men's lacrosse team welcomes Penn.

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    1. Top-seeded Notre Dame overcame a late deficit with timely hitting for the second straight game to deal eighth-seeded Providence a 6-4 softball defeat Thursday at Louisville's Ulmer Stadium. The 18th-ranked Irish trailed, 4-2, heading into the bottom of the sixth before using five hits to post four runs. The first-round loss at the BIG EAST Conference Softball Championship brought the season to a close for Providence (23-30). Notre Dame (45-8) will play in the tournament's 5 p.m. (ET) semifinal game today against #5 seed Louisville. Alexa Maldonado scored the game's first run in the top of the first and Sadie Pitzenberger dropped a double just inside the leftfield line to drive in Notre Dame's second run of the frame. Pitzenberger would go on to collect one more of Notre Dame's eight hits on the day, and Heather Johnson also had two hits to share team-high honors. The Friars retired 12 straight Irish batters before Lauren Stuhr singled to third base in the fifth. Providence's first hit came in the top of the fourth, a one-out single through the rightside by Michelle Huber. Its second hit was recorded one batter later in theform of a two-run homer by Justine Stratton. Stratton duplicated the feat in the sixth with another two-rundinger to put the Friars ahead, 4-2. Providence cranked out four hits and four earned runs on Laura Winter (24-3) in 6.0 innings, but Winter struck out seven without issuing a walk. Notre Dame loaded the bases in the bottom half of the penultimate stanza for Pitzenberger, who sent the first pitch she saw to left to bring home a run. Katie Fleury drove in the tying run with another single, the fifth straight in the inning. Erin Marrone sent a sacrifice fly to center for a fifth score and Pitzenberger crossed one batter later on one of two Providence errors. Brittany O'Donnell slammed the door with a flawless seventh that included a pair of strikeouts for her first save of the season to ensure a 14th straight win for the Irish. Corinne Clauss (11-14) went the distance for Providence and gave up all six runs on eight hits. She struck out one Irish batter.

    2. Both the men's and women's Irish tennis teams open NCAA Championships play today - the men at 10 a.m. ET against East Tennessee State in Columbus, Ohio, and the women at 10 a.m. CTagainst Fresno State in Evanston, Ill. If either or both the tennis teams win, they would play in second-round matches on Saturday. Then Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET there's more NCAA Championships action, this time on the Notre Dame campus, as for the first time ever Arlotta Stadium is the site of NCAA competition as the #4 seed Notre Dame men's lacrosse team welcomes Penn.

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    Notre Dame Men's Sports Again Fare Well in 2010 Graduation Rates
    Nine Irish athletic programs post top-rated GSR rates according to NCAA

    Nine of the University of Notre Dame's men's athletic programs posted Graduation Success Rate numbers that ranked them best in the nation within their sports - and five produced federal graduation rates that led all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) institutions, according to institutional research based on 2010 graduation-rate figures released by the NCAA.

    GSR statistics for Irish men's sports featured eight perfect 100 scores - in baseball, basketball, cross country/track, fencing, golf, lacrosse, soccer and swimming - plus a 96 in football, a 95 in hockey and a 93 in tennis. The federal figures showed that -- among Notre Dame's men's sports - cross country/track, fencing, and swimming achieved 100 percent scores. Lacrosse scored 93, golf 92, and hockey 91 among other Irish raw federal scores.

    Nine Irish men's programs had GSR rates ranking them first within their sports among the NCAA FBS subset of 120 schools, while one program finished second:

    -- Baseball at 100 tied for first with Boston College, Stanford, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Virginia and Wake Forest.
    -- Men's basketball at 100 tied for first with BYU, Illinois, Marshall, Utah State, Wake Forest and Western Kentucky.
    -- Men's cross country/track and field at 100 tied for first - with Central Florida, Miami (Fla.), Rice, Stanford, Tulane and Virginia Tech.
    -- Men's fencing at 100 tied for first with Boston College, North Carolina, Rutgers and Stanford.
    -- Men's golf at 100 tied for first with 39 other schools.
    -- Men's lacrosse at 100 tied for first with Duke.
    -- Men's soccer at 100 tied for first with Northwestern.
    -- Men's swimming at 100 tied for first with nine other schools.
    -- Football at 96 finished first - ahead of Duke and Northwestern at 95.
    -- Hockey at 95 ranked second - behind the U.S. Air Force Academy at 96.

    The federal graduation rate methodology used by the Department of Education counts all student-athletes who transfer from or leave an institution for any reason as non-graduates from their initial school, even if they leave in good academic standing.

    Five Irish men's programs had federal rates ranking them first within their sports among the NCAA FBS subset, while one program finished second and another one fourth:

    -- Men's cross country/track and field at 100 ranked tied for first -- with Duke, Idaho, Miami (Fla.), USC, Tulane and Virginia Tech.
    -- Men's fencing at 100 tied for first with Rutgers and Stanford.
    -- Men's swimming at 100 tied for first with Louisville and Miami (Fla.).
    -- Men's lacrosse finished by itself in first place at 93 - followed by Duke (92) and North Carolina (91).
    -- Men's hockey at 91 ranked first - followed by Boston College (68), Michigan (65) and Western Michigan (65).
    -- Men's soccer at 89 ranked second, behind Duke (91).
    -- Football at 85 ranked fourth, behind Boston College (87), Duke (86) and Northwestern (86).

    1. Notre Dame ran through the BIG EAST Conference softball regular season schedule in commanding fashion, and its efforts were recognized Wednesday evening during the league's annual softball banquet held at Louisville's Hyatt Regency. Heather Johnson was named Player of the Year, Deanna Gumpf and her assistants were tabbed Coaching Staff of the Year, and Notre Dame had eight players earn all-league honors. Notre Dame can now claim 109 all-BIG EAST team members since joining the league in 1996. Even more, 11 of the active 21 players on this year's roster have earned an all-BIG EAST honor at least once in the past four years.Flanked by assistants Kristina Ganeff and Lizzy Lemire, Gumpf and company earned the league's award for Coaching Staff of the Year for the third timeoverall. Gumpf's staffs also won the award in 2002 and 2004. Under Gumpf's watch, Notre Dame won its seventh BIG EAST regular season title this year as the 10th-year skipper also shelved her 400th career victory earlier in the season. Gumpf's 2011 squad led the BIG EAST in a number of statistical categories, including batting average (.385), slugging pct. (.636), on-base pct. (.459), runs scored (162), hits (204) and RBI (145). Johnson, the nation's active leader with 238 consecutive starts, is the seventh Irish softball student-athlete to be named Player of the Year and the first since Megan Ciolli copped the hardware in 2004. Also a first-team selection, Johnson is the BIG EAST record holder with 82 career RBI in league play. She is also seventh in doubles (19) and home runs (15). Previously a second-team member in 2010, Johnson hit .475 with a league-high 29 RBI this year with a league-best eight home runs and 59 total bases. The second-team all-league citation is the third for Brianna Jorgensborg, who was a second-team performer in both 2008 and 2010. Sadie Pitzenberger, a first-team choice, would have also won the league's Comeback Player of the Year award had there been one. After recovering from a third ACL surgery before the season, Pitzenberger led the league with a .561 batting average and was the only player to hit over .500. One of two freshman pitchers named to the first team, thehighlight of Laura Winter's first year in the circle for Notre Dame came during a near-perfect no-hitter at USF in which she walked and beaned the first two batters while retiring the rest for the remainder of the game. Winter boasted a 2.96 ERA with a 9-1 record. Brittany O'Donnell, who was named to the secondteam, provided a reliable one-two kick for Notre Dame from inside the linesalong with Winter by posting a perfect 7-0 record in nine appearances. The crafty Alexa Maldonado, who brought home first-team honors as a sophomore, was equally impressive in the outfield during her junior season while claiming the same honor this year. She was seventh overall with a .433 batting average and tied for second with both 29 hits and seven doubles. First-team honoree Alexia Clay, a senior catcher, carried a big stick throughout league play with a .482 batting average, which trailed only Pitzenberger's. Katie Fleury earned thethird all-BIG EAST honor of her career by being named to the second team. The shortstop scored 22 runs to tie the BIG EAST career record of 68.

    2. Notre Dame men's associate head men's tennis coach Ryan Sachire has been named the 2011 Men's USTA Collegiate Coach, it was announced by the USTA Tuesday afternoon. Sachire and assistant Alabama coach, Bo Hodge, who also coached last year's team, will coach 12 of the top American collegiate tennis players. The elite training program for the American collegiate tennis players began in 1996 and is funded by the USTA. It is a unique program that provides players with exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit in a team-oriented environment. For the players who are chosen,there will be a Pro Tour Transition camp from June 9-15 in Boca Raton, Fla. on clay courts. For the third consecutive year, the teams consisting of 12 participants will be named following the NCAA Championship, which is held from May 19-30 at the Taube Tennis Center in Palo Alto, Calif. The members of the team will be selectedbased on their performance at the NCAA Championship, as well as the ITA All-Americans and National Indoor Championships. The selection committee will also examine results from the USTA Pro Circuit, ATP or WTA events also will be considered. Current pros that have participated in the program are James Blake, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, John Isner, Amer Delic, Jesse Levine, Irina Falconi and Jesse Witten. Sachire is no stranger to the USTA pro circuit as he spent five years competing in the program, winning 16 double titles. Prior to being on the Pro Circuit, Sachire was a standout tennis student-athlete for the Irish. He was defeated by current pro, Blake in the ITA All-American Championships and was named the 2000 ITA National Senior Player of the Year. He was also a three-time member of the USTA Collegiate Team.

    3. Notre Dame men's tennis players seniors Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills ChristianAcademy), Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman), junior Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) were named to the 2011 All-BIG EAST team, while Andrews was also named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, it was announced by the league Wednesday afternoon. Havens, a senior, earns his second BIG EAST honor, while this season marks Stahl's third honor in his career. Watt is on pace to be a four-time All-BIG EAST selection as the junior received the honor for the third consecutive season. Andrews was name to the All-BIG EAST team, in addition to being selected as the Freshman of the Year. The all-BIG EAST selections are based on the complete season, as opposed to exclusively the tournament. Watt, Havens, Stahl and Andrews have played the top four spots in the Irish lineup, leading the team to a 17-11 dual season record and a final ITA/Campbell ranking of No. 30. The Irish also finished runner-up to the Louisville Cardinals in the recent BIGEAST Championship, which was held in Notre Dame, Ind. The Irish gear up to play East Tennessee State in the first round of the NCAAs Friday at 10:00 a.m. (ET) at the Stickney Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio.

    4. Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio), a junior on the women's tennis team, has been tabbed the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year, it was announced by the league on Wednesday. Head coach Jay Louderback also has been named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year. Frilling, who was named the conference's Freshman of the Year in her first campaign with the Irish, has now garnered the BIG EAST's most prestigious award each of the last two seasons. She shared the honor this season with USF senior Irene Rehberger. Frilling also made it three straight years in which an Irish player has received the honor, as Kelcy Tefft was named the conference Player of the Year in '09. This season, the junior has posted identical 18-3 records in singles and doubles while playing exclusively at the No. 1 court. She ranks fifth in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) singles poll while checking in at 15th in the doubles poll, along with being the BIG EAST's automatic qualifier in both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Tournament. Over her career, Frilling is 40-10 at No. 1 singles, while posting a dominant record of 69-8 at No. 1 doubles with three different partners. Louderback, meanwhile,earned Coach of the Year honors for the ninth time since the Irish joined the BIG EAST and also has claimed the recognition for the second-straight year. Along with being named the Player of the Year, Frilling also was named to the All-BIG EAST Team where she is joined by teammates Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) and Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.). Mathews put together a 19-5 dual record this year, whilealso turning in three match-clinchers at the BIG EAST Tournament to earn Most Outstanding Player in the tournament. Kellner, a freshman who climbed up the Irish rotation to No. 3 singles by the end of the year, finished with a record of 18-5 this season while posting a winning record (4-3) against ranked opponents.

    5. The Notre Dame women's basketball program proudly announced on Wednesday that it has raised $130,633 as part of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink Zone breast cancer initiative during the 2010-11 season. That total not only far surpassed last year's total of $103,750, but it also put the Fighting Irish among thenational leaders in this annual drive to generate funds to research, fight and eventually wipe out breast cancer. In addition, it pushes Notre Dame's Pink Zone fund-raising total during the past three years to more than $250,000. Funds raised from this year's Pink Zone events at Notre Dame will be donated nationally to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund ($30,633) and locally to the Foundation For Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center's Women's Task Force ($100,000), which includes the Secret Sisters Society and Young Survivors group.

    6. Notre Dame's 2011 road football games at Michigan and Purdue both will kick off at 8 p.m. EDT and be televised nationally in prime time. The Michigan game Sept. 10, 2011, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., will be televised by ESPN -- and the Purdue game Oct. 1, 2011, from Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind., will be televised either by ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. Those kickoff details were announced today by the Big Ten Conference and by ABC/ESPN.

    Here's the current schedule for Notre Dame in 2011:

    DateOpponentTimeTelevision
    Sept. 3SOUTH FLORIDA3:30 p.m. EDTNBC
    Sept. 10at Michigan8 p.m. EDTESPN
    Sept. 17MICHIGAN STATE3:30 p.m. EDTNBC
    Sept. 24at PittsburghTBDABC/ESPN/ESPN2
    Oct. 1at Purdue8 p.m. EDTABC/ESPN/ESPN2
    Oct. 8AIR FORCE3:30 p.m. EDTNBC
    Oct. 22USC7:30 p.m. EDTNBC
    Oct. 29NAVY3:30p.m. EDTNBC
    Nov. 5at Wake ForestTBDTBD
    Nov. 12Maryland7:30 p.m. ESTNBC
    Nov. 19BOSTON COLLEGE4 p.m. ESTNBC
    Nov. 26at Stanford5 p.m. PSTABC/ESPN/ESPN2

    Please note that South Bend observes Eastern time (including DST) all year around. In 2010, daylight time ends and standard time begins on Nov. 6.

    7. Six Notre Dame student-athletes have garnered all-league honors as the BIG EAST Conference Wednesday announced its men's lacrosse major award winners and all-conference teams. Fighting Irish senior David Earl was tabbed as the league's midfielder of the year. Joining Earl on the all-BIG EAST first team were fellow Notre Dame seniors Sam Barnes (D), Zach Brenneman (M) and Kevin Ridgway (D). Earl and Ridgway were unanimous selections. Senior Andrew Irving (LSM) and sophomore John Kemp (G) were second-team picks for the Irish. Voting was conducted among the league's seven head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players. Earl (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School) leads Notre Dame in points with 24 on 15 goals and nine assists. Barnes (Branford, Conn./Branford) returned to the Irish for a fifth season after missing all of the 2010 campaign with an injury. He has started every game this season and has been a key reason why the Notre Dame defense ranks second nationally by allowing just 6.58 goals per game. Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton) has tallied 14 goals and four assists this season. He missed two games due to injury, yet still has a team-best two hat tricks. Ridgway (Kensington, Md./Georgetown Prep) has been part of an Irish defense that has limited opponents to seven goals or fewer eight times this season. Irving (McLean, Va./The Hotchkiss School) has been an integral part of the Fighting Irish squad this season despite missing four games with an injury. He has registered a career-high six points on three goals and a career-best three assists. Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep) has a 10-2 record between the pipes. The sophomore ranks second nationally in goals-against average (6.63) and fourth in save percentage (.607). He is 24th nationally in saves per game (10.17). No. 4 seed Notre Dame (10-2) will play host to Penn (8-6) at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Championship. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Notre Dame Women's Sports Lead the Way in 2010 Graduation Rates
    All 11 Irish athletic programs post top-rated GSR rates according to NCAA

    All 11 of the University of Notre Dame's women's athletic programs posted perfect Graduation Success Rate numbers that ranked them best in the nation within their sports - and seven produced perfect federal graduation rates that led all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) institutions, according to institutional research based on 2010 graduation-rate figures released by the NCAA.

    GSR statistics for Irish women's sports featured all 11 perfect 100 scores - in basketball, cross country/track, crew/rowing, fencing, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball. The federal figures showed that -- among Notre Dame's women's sports - cross country/track, crew/rowing, fencing, golf, lacrosse, tennis and volleyball achieved 100 percent scores. Women's swimming scored 96 and women's soccer 94 among other Irish raw federal scores.

    All 11 Irish women's programs had GSR rates ranking them first within their sports among the NCAA FBS subset of 120 schools:

    -- Women's basketball at 100 tied for first with 29 other schools.
    -- Women's cross country/track and field at 100 tied for first - with10 other schools.
    -- Women's crew/rowing at 100 tied for first with Boston College, Duke, North Carolina, USC and Stanford.
    -- Women's fencing at 100 tied for first with Boston College, Duke, North Carolina, Northwestern, Rutgers, Stanford and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
    -- Women's golf at 100 tied for first with 62 other schools.
    -- Women's lacrosse at 100 tied for first with Boston College, Connecticut, Duke, Northwestern, Ohio State, the U.S. Naval Academy, Vanderbilt and Virginia.
    -- Women's soccer at 100 tied for first with 25 other schools.
    -- Softball at 100 tied for first with 17 other schools.
    -- Women's swimming at 100 tied for first with 28 other schools.
    -- Women's tennis at 100 finished tied for first with 67 other schools.
    -- Women's volleyball at 100 ranked tied for first with 42 other schools.

    The federal graduation rate methodology used by the Department of Education counts all student-athletes who transfer from or leave an institution for any reason as non-graduates from their initial school, even if they leave in good academic standing.

    Seven Irish women's programs had perfect federal rates ranking them first within their sports among the NCAA FBS subset, while one programfinished tied for sixth and another one seventh:

    -- Women's cross country/track and field at 100 ranked tied for first - with Boston College and SMU.
    -- Women's crew/rowing at 100 tied for first with Stanford.
    -- Women's fencing at 100 tied for first with Northwestern and Rutgers.
    -- Women's golf at 100 tied for first with 14 other schools.
    -- Women's lacrosse at 100 tied for first with Duke and Virginia.
    -- Women's tennis at 100 tied for first with 17 other schools.
    -- Women's volleyball at 100 tied for first with Bowling Green, Louisville, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Tulane, Utah and Wake Forest.
    -- Women's swimming at 96 tied for sixth (with Missouri) behind Iowa State, Louisville, Marshall, Stanford (all 100) and Miami (Ohio) at 97.
    -- Women's soccer at 94 ranked seventh, behind Maryland, Penn State, Vanderbilt (all 100), Rice (96), Duke and Michigan State (both 95).

    ***** Tomorrow: The GSR and federal comparisons for Notre Dame men's sports *****

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    1. The Notre Dame men's golf team has been tabbed to play May 19-21 in the Florida Regional of the 2011 NCAA Men's Golf Championship, it was announced by the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Committee on Monday. The Irish earned the automatic qualifyingberth from the BIG EAST after winning the conference tournament (April 17-19) for the seventh time in program history. The University of Florida, the regional's No. 1 seeded team, will serve as host of the regional, which will take place at Golden Ocala Golf Club in Ocala, Fla. The NCAA format is made up of six 54-hole regional tournaments. Thirteen teams and ten individuals not on those teams will compete at each of three regionals, while the other three regionals will have 14 teams and five individuals not on those teams. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championship May31-June 5, at Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma Statewill serve as the host institution for this year's championship. This will mark the 34th time that the Irish have qualified for postseason competition, with the team winning the NCAA title once in 1944. Additionally, the Irish finished runner-up in 1937 and in third place in 1931, '33, '36 and '51 -- while finishing in the top 10 on 19 other occasions. The Irish, on the heels of an 81-24 record that saw them claim three victories and four runner-up results on the year, return to the tournament for the first time since 2006 when Jim Kubinski coached his squad to a 17th-place finish (out of 27 regional teams). Junior Max Scodro, coming into the tournament after winning the BIG EAST individual title, will look to anchor the Notre Dame lineup heading into regional play. Joining the Irish, who rank 54th according to Golfstat, at the Florida Regional will be (Golfstat ranking in parenthesis): Florida (5), Augusta State (6), Arkansas(17), Oregon (20), North Carolina State (28), UCF (32), Baylor (42), Kennesaw State (43), Missouri (56), Southeastern Louisiana (65), Jacksonville State (80), Georgia Southern (115) and Jackson State (233). For a complete listing of the six regionals and its participants please visit www.ncaa.com/news/golf-men.

    NCAA Men's Golf Florida Regional Field (in order of seeding):
    1. Florida
    2. Augusta State
    3. Arkansas
    4. Oregon
    5. North Carolina State
    6. UCF
    7. Baylor
    8. Kennesaw State
    9. Notre Dame
    10. Missouri
    11. Southeastern Louisiana
    12. Jacksonville State
    13. Georgia Southern
    14. Jackson State

    2. For the eighth time in 10 years, Notre Dame will be represented at the USA Basketball Women's National Team Trials, as three Fighting Irish All-Americans -- sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington), junior guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) and senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) -- have accepted invitations from USA Basketball to compete in the USA Women's World University Games Team Trials May 22-25 in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC). The invitations wereissued by the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee, chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA's vice president for Division I women's basketball. Thirty-five of the nation's top collegiate players will take part in the upcoming USA Basketball Women's World University Games Team Trials, which will be used to select the 12-member team that will represent the United States at the 16-team World University Games, scheduled for Aug. 14-21 in Shenzhen, China. The 2011 USA World University Games Team will be coached by Iowa State University skipper (and former Notre Dame assistant coach) Bill Fennelly, with Duquesne's Suzie McConnell-Serio and Georgetown's Terri Williams-Flournoy serving on Fennelly's staff. Notre Dame is one of three schools with three players attending this year's USA Basketball World University Games Team Trials, along with fellow NCAA finalist Texas A&M and Miami (Fla.). The Fighting Irish trio also headlines a group of seven BIG EAST Conference players chosen for the trials, more than any other conference in the country. On the internationalstage, Diggins already has earned a gold medal with two USA Basketball teams -- the 2008 FIBA U18 Americas Championship and the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championships for Women, with both squads led by current Notre Dame associate coach Carol Owens. Diggins also took home a gold medal from the 2007 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival. She is one of eight players at this year's USA World University Games Trials with USA Basketball experience, most notably serving as co-captain for the 2009 U19 World Championship squad (anhonor she shared with Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who also will be participating in this year's World University Games trials). Should any of the Notre Dameplayers be selected for the final 12-member USA Women's World University Games Team (which will be named May 25 and return to Colorado Springs July 31-Aug. 8 to train prior to the team's departure for China and the start of competition on Aug. 14), they would join a group of eight Notre Dame women's basketballplayers (including six in the previous seven years) that have competed on the international level. Most recently, current Fighting Irish freshman guard Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) started all five games for the goldmedal-winning 2010 USA Women's U18 Americas Championship Team, while currentNotre Dame freshman forward Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ontario/St. Mary's Catholic) suited up for Canada's Junior and Senior National Teams last summer and fall, most recently helping the Canadian Senior National Team to a 12th-place finish at the 2010 FIBA World Championships in the Czech Republic. Other representatives of the Notre Dame women's basketball program to compete on the world stage include: Melissa Lechlitner, who struck gold with the 2007 Women's U19 World Championship Team (making Lechlitner the first South Bend-area female to earn a gold medal in international basketball competition and paving the way for Diggins' current gold rush), Megan Duffy, who claimed a gold medal as aco-captain and starter for the 2005 USA World University Games Team, and Ruth Riley, who was a member of the 2004 Women's Senior National Team that won gold at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Riley also made prior USA Basketball appearances in 1998 (Select Team) and 1999 (World University Games Team), while two other former Fighting Irish All-Americans -- Gaither (two teams, two medals) and Morgan (four teams, three medals) -- also have suited up for Team USA. All told, Notre Dame players have earned 14 medals in international competition, including seven gold medals.

    3. Notre Dame freshman 1B Trey Mancini and senior RHP Cole Johnson were each named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Monday. Mancini has earned the nomination three times this season, while Johnson has been selected twice. Mancini paced the Irish offense over the past week. He batted .455 (10-for-22) with one run scored, two doubles, one triple and two RBI in five games. Mancini registered a .636 slugging percentage and .500 on-base percentage. He also played flawless defense, not committing an error in 58 fielding chances. Mancini was dynamite in the series victory at Rutgers. He batted .571 (8-for-14) with a run scored, double, triple and two RBI. He went 7-for-8 in the doubleheader sweep of the Scarlet Knights. Mancini reached base safely in each of his first eight plate appearances in the series (seven hits and a intentional walk). He collected a base hit in all five games last week, including a three- and four-hit game. Mancini carries a six-game hitting streak into exam break.Johnson was simply too much for Rutgers. He limited the Scarlet Knights to just three hits, all singles, in 8.1 scoreless innings. Johnson struck out a career-best 12. He collected at least two strikeouts in the fourth, fifth, sixth and eight innings. The 12 strikeouts were the most by an Irish pitcher since Tom Thornton fanned 12 against Kent State on June 5, 2004. In fact, a Notre Dame pitcher has not fanned more batters than Johnson since Aaron Heilman set the BIG EAST record with 18 at West Virginia on April 15, 2000.

    4. One day after her seventh-inning grand slam at Connecticut proved to be the game-winner en route to leading Notre Dame to a second straight regular-season crown, Alexia Clay was named the BIG EAST Softball Player of the Week as announced by the league Monday afternoon. Of the 12 Player of the Week awards handed out by the league this season, six of those have been awarded to four different Notre Dame players (Heather Johnson - 3, Alexa Maldonado - 1, Brianna Jorgensborg - 1, Clay - 1). Clay, Notre Dame's everyday catcher, homered twice on the week while leading Notre Dame to six victories while extending the team's winning streak to 13 games. She totaled eight hits, nine runs, eight RBI and a .938 slugging pct.A native of Rochester, Ind., the fifth-year senior ranks second in the BIG EAST with a .482 batting average in league play and is tied for first with 23 runs scored. She is also second with seven doubles and her .857 slugging pct. ranks fifth. Clay is first amongleague players with a .571 on-base pct. With an 19-1 BIG EAST record, Notre Dame is the top-seeded team heading into this week's BIG EAST Championship in Louisville, Ky. The 21st-ranked Irish play at 4 p.m. (ET) Thursday against Providence at Ulmer Stadium.

    5. Finals exams began Monday and go through Friday on the Notre Dame campus, but there's still a busy weekend of activities ahead for Irish teams:

    -- The men's lacrosse team is seeded #4 in the NCAA Championships and plays host to unseeded and 16th-ranked Penn at2:30 p.m. Saturday at Arlotta Stadium.

    -- Both the men's and women's tennis teams are on the road in the NCAA Championships - the men opening at 10 a.m. EDT Friday in Columbus, Ohio, against East Tennessee State, while the women open at 10 a.m. CDT Friday in Evanston, Ill., against Fresno State. Second-round matches for both teams would be played Saturday.

    -- The BIG EAST regular-season champion Irish softballteam plays in the BIG EAST Championships in Louisville, opening at 4 p.m. Thursday against Providence.

    -- The Irish baseball squad continues its fight for a spot in the BIG EAST Championships with a key home weekend series against South Florida - with games at 7:05 p.m. Friday, 2:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday.

    -- The rowing team heads to Oak Ridge, Tenn., to face Clemson and Virginia Sunday - and the men's and women's track and field squads will send delegations to three different events.

    6. Fans of college football and the game of golf that would like to help three great charities and meet University of Notre Dame coaching legends Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz plus current Irish football coach Brian Kelly are invited to participate in the fifth annual Irish Legends Charity Golf Classic. This year's event, presented by O'Rourke's Public House (formerly Kildare's) features an "Evening with Legends" on Sunday, June 26, and the "Irish Legends Golf" on Monday, June 27. Proceeds from the event support Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, Lou Holtz Charitable Foundation and Kelly Cares Foundation. The Sunday event is set for Club Naimoli at Purcell Pavilion on Notre Dame's campus with a reception beginning at 5 p.m. EDT and the program at 6 p.m. ESPN personalities Rece Davis and Mark May host the special evening where fans will have the opportunity to participate in an auction of rare memorabilia and unique experiences. Those interested in only attending the Sunday reception and auction may purchase individual tickets for $200. Monday's golf outing will be held again at Lost Dunes Golf Club in nearby Bridgman, Mich., and increases to a double-shotgun start this year. The first group tees off at 8:30 a.m. EDT with the second group at 2 p.m. Foursome rates for the golf outing are $5,000 and individual tickets are $1,250. Each foursome has the opportunity to take a photo with Parseghian, Holtz and Kelly plus have a picture taken with a Heisman Trophy. Golfers will receive merchandise valued up to $400, four tickets for Sunday's "Evening with Legends" and free rounds of golf on Notre Dame's Warren Golf Course for Sunday, June 26. Information about this year's event, hole sponsorship, South Bend hotel accommodations and Lost Dunes Golf Club can be found at www.irishlegendsnd.com.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    1. The Notre Dame women's golf team made history Saturday during the 2011 Central Regional at the Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind. as the squad earned a fifth-place finish, which secured a trip to the NCAA Finals for the first time in program history. The team recorded a three-day total of 901 (+37) to qualify. Freshman Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) carded a two-over par 74 in her final round for a three-round total of 223 (+7), which earned her an eighth-place finish. Zhang registered a birdie on the seventh hole and recorded par score on the eighth and ninth holes to conclude the day. Freshman Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) was the top finisher for the Irish and tied for 14th place overall during the third round as she registered an even-par 72 to conclude the tournament. Nhim finished the three-day tournament with a 224 (+8) and improved during each round. The freshman recorded a 77 Thursday, followed by a 75 Friday and a 72 Saturday. She was one-over par through holes 11 to 17, before carding a birdie on 18 and then another on the second hole to be at one-under par. A bogey on the fourth hole placed Nhim at par, which she maintained through the final five holes. Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) finished at two-over par in the final round to record a 226 (+10) and a tie for 22nd place in the contest. Huffer began the day with a birdie on the 10th hole and remained even through the 14th hole, where she bogeyed. The junior remained even through the back nine, but with bogey scores on the fourth and sixth holes, the junior placed a two-over par score. Senior So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep. Academy) carded a 78 (+6) in the third round, which made her three-round score 234 (+18) and a 71st place tie. Like Huffer, Park also recorded a birdie on the 10th hole to begin the day, but went through the back nine at two-over par and concluded the back nine at four-over par. Senior captain Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading) carded an 80 (+8) Saturday for a three-day total of 234 (+15) and a tie for 50th place. The veteran player remained even through the initial first three holes, but completed the back nine at five-over par and with three additional bogeys on the front nine, the senior finished with the eight-over par 80.

    No. 1-seeded UCLA claimed the regional crown with a 26-over par 890, followed by LSU in second place at 894 (+30) and Minnesota in third place (897/+33). Arkansas was the fourth-place finisher with a 899 (+35) and Notre Dame rounded out the top-five team finishes with a 37-over par 901. Lindy Duncan of Duke and Tulane's Maribel Lopez Porras will compete at the NCAA Finals individually. Porras and Maria Juliana Loza of Chattanooga had a playoff on the 10th hole and Porras made par, while Loza bogeyed, allowing the Tulane student-athlete a trip to the NCAA Finals, which will be held from May 18-21 at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas.

    Final Three-Round Team Scores (top eight advance)
    1. UCLA (291-301-298-890/+26)
    2. LSU (295-303-296-894/+30)
    3. Minnesota (301-297-299-897/+33)
    4. Arkansas (307-303-289-899/+35)
    5. NOTRE DAME (298-305-298-901/+37)
    6. Ohio State (306-301-298-905/+41)
    7. Stanford (302-306-300-908/+44)
    8. Wake Forest (312-304-293-909/+45)

    Individual Qualifiers
    Lindy Duncan (Duke)
    Maribel Lopez Porras (Tulane)

    Individual Notre Dame Scores
    T8. Nicole Zhang (71-78-74-223/+7)
    T14. Kristina Nhim (77-75-72-224/+8)
    T22. Becca Huffer (75-77-74-226/+10)
    T50. Katie Conway (76-75-80-231/+15)
    T71. So-Hyun Park (76-80-78-234/+18)

    2. The Notre Dame men's track and field team finished second, while the women placed 10th at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships Sunday at the Jumbo Elliott Track at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, Pa. The men's second-place finish marks the ninth time in 10 seasons to finish in the top two spots. The Connecticut men won the league contest with 141 points, followed by Notre Dame with 133 points and Louisville placed third with 99 points. The Louisville women claimed the crown with 117 points and West Virginia placed second with 107 points and Connecticut was the third-place finisher (89 points). Sophomore Jeremy Rae claimed the 1,500-meter crown in 3:46.38 and Johnathan Shawel finished in second place in 3:46.97. Patrick Feeney was the individual winner in the 400-meter dash as the freshman ran 47.27 to earn his second all-BIG EAST honor, having won the 400-meter dash at the 2011 BIG EAST Indoor Championship. The 4x800-meter relay team comprised of Kevin Labus, Shawel, Rae and Jack Howard notched a first-place finish in7:24.91, while Howard went on to win the 800-meter dash in 1:48.24. Howard is the first Irish member to win the event.Kevin Schipper extended the "Schipper streak" in the pole vault to three seasons as the junior cleared 5.25m Sunday and has won the event the past two seasons, while his brother Matt Schipper won the event in 2009. The Irish return to action Friday when the squad splits up to compete at the Cardinal Twilight meet in Louisville,Ky., the Georgia Tech Last Chance meet in Atlanta, Ga. and the ICAAAA Championships in Bloomington, Ind.

    3. Rutgers got a RBI single from Steve Zavala in the bottom of the 14th inning to give theScarlet Knights a 3-2 baseball victory over Notre Dame in the BIG EAST series finale Sunday afternoon at Bainton Field in Piscataway, N.J. The Irish took two of three from Rutgers on the weekend, but dropped to 18-24-1 overall and 9-11 in the conference. The Scarlet Knights improved to 17-27 and 8-13. Rutgers' centerfielder Brandon Boykin dropped a one-out double just inside the rightfield line to move the winning run into scoring position for Steve Zavala. Irish reliever Sean Fitzgerald got ahead of Zavala 1-2, but the Scarlet Knights left fielder sliced a single into shallow left field. Notre Dame freshman left fielder Eric Jagielo charged the ball and threw a strike to sophomore C Joe Hudson, who caught the ball and appeared to tag Boykin out before sliding across home plate, but Boykin was called safe. Rutgers reliever Rob Corsi picked up the victory and improved to 4-3 on the year. The southpaw tossed 6.1 scoreless innings out of the Scarlet Knights bullpen. Corsi allowed just four hits and struck out six. He did issue three walks. Fitzgerald was tagged with cruel loss and dropped to 1-2 on the season. He struck out five and allowed the one run on five hits. Fitzgerald did not issue a walk.The defeat proved a bitter pill to swallow, especially following Seton Hall's sweep of Louisville. Notre Dame (9-11) dropped to ninth in the BIG EAST standings and one-half game behind the Pirates (10-11) with just two weeks left in the regular season. Louisville and Cincinnati, both 11-10, are just 1.5 games ahead of the Irish, while USF (Notre Dame's foe next weekend) is 11-9with one game left in its series with league-leading UConn. Only the top eight teams in the regular season standings advance to the annual BIG EAST Championship May 25-29 in Clearwater, Fla.Joe Hudson went 2-for-6 and Mick Doyle went 3-for-4 with a solo home run. The three-hit game for Doyle was his first of the season. The home run also was his first of the year. The 14-inning contest was the longest for the Irish since they dropped a 16-inning game at USF on May 16, 2008. Notre Dame will have the week off for finals before opening a critical BIG EAST series against USF at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Frank Eck Stadium.

    4. Alexia Clay's seventh-inning grand slam - one of two grand slams and five home runs on the day for No. 21 Notre Dame - capped off a five-run final frame for the Irish to secure the program's 13th BIG EAST Conference softball regular season title. Clay's only hit of the day helped the visitors overcome a nine-run fourth inning spurt by Connecticut, leading to a 14-11 shootout victory for the Irish Sunday at Burrill Family Field in Storrs, Conn. Notre Dame shared the regular season title with DePaul in 2010, an outcome that could have been replicated this year heading into the final weekend of play. DePaul ended its regular season earlier Sunday in a controversial forfeited game with USF. Living up to its billing as the preseason favorite to win the league title, Notre Dame (44-8 overall, 19-1 BIG EAST) closed the regular season with 13 straight wins, although not one wasmore dramatic than Sunday's. Trailing 11-10, the Irish were down to their last out in the seventh but managed to load the bases before Clay's crisp swing changed the game. Her grand slam ended a fierce rally that saw Notre Dame out-score Connecticut (19-30, 6-15) by an 8-1 margin over the final three innings. Jody Valdivia (10-4) earned the win for Notre Dame with a steadfast 3.0 innings of relief. After the Huskies scored 10 earned runs on the first two Irish pitchers, Valdivia was her cool self while giving up two hits with four strikeouts. The Irish now travel to the BIG EAST Championship (May 12-14) in Louisville, Ky.

    5. Notre Dame has earned the No. 4 seed for the upcoming 2011 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship. The Fighting Irish will play host to unseeded Penn Saturday in the tournament'sfirst round. The game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (ET) at Arlotta Stadium. The contest will be broadcast live on ESPNU. Notre Dame is 10-2 this season, while Penn is 8-6. Notre Dame will be making its 16th trip overall, and sixth straight, to the NCAA Championship. The Fighting Irish are 8-15 all-time in NCAA play. Notre Dame advanced to the title game of the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history one year ago. The Irish fell to Duke 6-5 in overtime. This is the fourth time that Notre Dame has garnered one of the eight national seeds for the NCAA Championship. The Irish also were seeded for the 2001 (5th), 2008 (6th) and 2009 (7th) tournaments. The Fighting Irish and Quakers will be squaring off for the fifth time ever. The series is tied 2-2. Notre Dame won the last meeting, 14-5, during the 2003 season. The 16-team NCAA Championship field is comprised of six automatic-qualifying teams and 10 at-large teams. Only the top eight squads in the field are seeded. Syracusegarnered this year's No. 1 seed, while Cornell is the second seed and JohnsHopkins is the third seed. The BIGEAST Conference boasts three NCAA Championship teams. Joining Notre Dame and Syracuse in the field is Villanova. The winner of the Notre Dame-Penn contest will take on the winner of the Duke-Delaware tilt in the quarterfinal round on Sunday, May 22, in Foxboro,Mass. The tournament's semifinals and finals will be held May 28 and 30, respectively, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.

    6. Notre Dame men's basketball forward Carleton Scott (San Antonio, Texas) has decided to forego his final year of eligibility and will remain in this year's National Basketball Association draft. Scott, who played three seasons (2008-11) with the Irish, had one year of eligibility remaining after sitting out his freshmanseason in 2007-08. He will graduate this month from the College of Arts andLetters with a degree in history and computer applications. He helped lead the Irish to a 27-7 record and 14-4 ledger in BIG EAST play in 2010-11 as one of four captains. The 27 wins were the most ever in the modern era for a Notre Dame basketball team, while the 14-4 conference mark matched the best single-season record since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96. Scott was Notre Dame's third-leading scorer this past season with a career-high 11.2 points per game and topped the squad with a personal-best 7.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots. He started 29 of the 30 contests he played in and reached double figures in 20 contests, grabbed 10-plus rebounds in 11 contests and registered seven double-doubles. He scored a career-high 23 points in Notre Dame's win over Gonzaga on Dec. 11, 2010, and grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds on four occasions. He was named to the all-tournament team at the Old Spice Classic after helping the Irish to theteam title in November. In 84 career outings (38 starts), he scored 557 points for a 6.6 career points per game average, grabbed 403 rebounds (4.8 per game), and blocked 97 shots (tied for seventh-most in Irish history).

    7. The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team came up just short in its bid to win a second BIG EAST title on Saturday afternoon at Georgetown's Multi-Sport Facility in Washington, D.C., dropping a 12-10 decision to the Loyola Greyhounds. The Irish were led by two-goal games from Shaylyn Blaney, Kaitlin Keena and Jaimie Morrison whileKaitlyn Brosco, Ansley Stewart, Kailene Abt and Jenny Granger scored singlegoals. Greyhound's goaltender Kerry Stoothoff was named the tournament's most valuable player as she made 10 saves in the game, six in the second half, to preserve the win for Loyola. Notre Dame goalkeeper Ellie Hilling finished the contest with five saves. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Irish, as Notre Dame is now 10-9 on the year. The win improved Loyola to 16-2 on the season. The Greyhounds, ranked ninth to start the week, will advance to the NCAA Tournament next weekend as they take the BIG EAST automatic bid. The championship was the first for Loyola since joining the women's lacrosse conference as an associate member in 2006. Notre Dame had four players selected to the BIG EAST all-tournament team. Seniors Jackie Doherty, Shaylyn Blaney and Kaitlin Keena were joined by junior Maggie Tamasitis.

    8. Notre Dame spotted Cole Johnson three early runs and the senior right-handed pitcher did the rest as the Irish secured a doubleheader sweep of BIG EAST rival Rutgers, 3-0, Saturday afternoon at Bainton Field in Piscataway, N.J. The Irish took the opener of the twin bill, 5-4. Johnson was simply too much for Rutgers. He limited the Scarlet Knights to just three hits, all singles, in 8.1 scoreless innings. Johnson struck out a career-best 12. He collected at least two strikeouts in the fourth, fifth, sixth and eight innings. The 12 strikeouts were the most by an Irish pitcher since Tom Thornton fanned 12 against Kent State on June 5, 2004. In fact, a Notre Dame pitcher has not fanned more batters than Johnson since Aaron Heilman set the BIG EAST record with 18 at West Virginia on April 15, 2000.Johnson improved to 4-6 on the season with his team-best 10th quality start. He has been almost untouchable over his last two starts against Seton Hall and Rutgers. Johnson has allowed just one earned run on six hits, five of which have been singles, in 17.1 innings of work. He lowered his season ERA to 2.50. Johnson's opponents are batting just .204 on the year. Freshman RHP Sean Fitzgerald got the final two outs of the game to collect his second save of the year. Freshman 1B Trey Mancini continued his torrid stretch against Rutgers. He collected three more hits, including an RBI triple in the top of the first inning to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. Mancini went 7-for-8 in the doubleheader sweep. Six other Irish players recorded a hit. Senior 3B Greg Sherry had an RBI single and senior SS Mick Doyle laid down a perfect safety squeeze for another run to push the Irish advantage to 3-0 in the top of the second. The three runs were more than enough for Johnson. He retired nine of the first 10 Rutgers hitters on the game. Johnson, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his last start against Seton Hall, did not surrender a hit until a single to open the fourth inning. He proceeded to send down the next 10 Scarlet Knights before a one-out single in the seventh inning.

    9. Keeping its focus during a two-hour, opening-affair rain delay Saturday at Burrill Family Field in Storrs, Conn., the Notre Dame softball team stayed on track to win both of its BIG EAST Conference games over Connecticut, 8-4 and 9-0. Erin Marrone drove in five runs with five hits on the day - including a 2-for-2 showing in a five-inning contest to end the doubleheader - which gave No. 21 Notre Dame (43-8 overall, 18-1 BIG EAST Conference) a spot in the driver's seat heading into the final day of the regular season.

    10. A goal from Pat Foster just over a minute into overtime gave No. 12 North Carolina a 9-8 victory over third-ranked Notre Dame in non-conference men's lacrosse action on Friday evening at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Fighting Irish concluded the regular season with a 10-2 record. Notre Dame ended regulation on a 4-0 run to force the extra session. The Irish surge began on a Westy Hopkins goal with 6:22 left in the fourth quarter. Junior attackman Sean Rogers cut the Tar Heel lead to two (8-6) with 1:24 remaining. Notre Dame made it a one-goal game seven seconds later after senior Jake Marmul won the faceoff and assisted on a Colin Igoegoal. Igoe, a senior attackman, knotted the game (8-8) with 13 seconds left in regulation. Sophomore goalie John Kemp made 12 saves, including nine in the first half, for the Fighting Irish. Steven Rastivo had 13 stops for the Tar Heels. North Carolina held a 36-35 edge in shots. The Tar Heels won 15 of 21 faceoff attempts.

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    1. Senior midfielder Shaylyn Blaney led Notre Dame with four goals, scoring twice at the end of the first half and twice at the end of the game to lead the Irish to a 15-12 women's lacrosse win over No. 16 and top-seeded Georgetown Thursday night at Georgetown's Multi-Sport Field in Washington, D.C. The Notre Dame win sends the Irish to the BIG EAST Championship game Saturday at 1 p.m. when they will face Loyola (Md.). The Greyhounds, 15-2 overall, advanced to the title game with a 12-11 win over Syracuse in the other semifinal game. Loyola is ranked ninth in the nation and finished third in the BIG EAST with a 6-2 league mark. That tied them with the Irish who were the tournament's fourth seed as they dropped a 13-10 decision to the Greyhounds April 3. Blaney was one of eight Notre Dame players to score in the game as Kaitlyn Brosco, Ansley Stewart, Jenny Granger and Jaimie Morrison each had two goals with Megan Sullivan, Jackie Doherty and Betsy Mastropieri adding one each. Juniorplaymaker Maggie Tamasitis chipped in four assists on the evening. The win was the fourth in a row for Notre Dame and improved the Irish to 10-8 on the year while Georgetown falls to 9-8 for the season. The win was the second of the year for the Irish over Hoyas as they knocked them off, 13-10, April 23 at Arlotta Stadium. That's the first time that Notre Dame has won twice in one season against Georgetown. The Irish are now 3-3 all-time in the BIG EAST Tournament. They won the tournament in 2009 at Georgetown, defeating the Hoyas in the title game. Notre Dame's win gives the Irish 10 victories on the year. This marks the sixth consecutive year that Notre Dame has won 10 or more games in a season. With four assists in the game, Tamasitis now has 43 assists on the year. That ties her for the single-season record at Notre Dame that was set by Gina Scioscia in 2009.

    2. The Notre Dame women's golf team Thursday carded a 10-over par 298, the lowest round at the NCAA Tournament in program history at the NCAA Central Regional on the Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind. The team is currently in third place. Despite windy conditions, 45th-ranked Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) leads the Irish with a 71 (-1) and is tied for first place in the first round of play. The Irish were set to have an 8 a.m. (ET) tee time, but due to frost on the course Zhang didn't tee off the first until 9:15 a.m. From there, the freshman bogeyed holes two and four, which placed her at two-over par, but with back-to-back birdies she completed the front nine with an even-par 36. Moving into the final nine holes, Zhang played every hole at par except 17, which she birdied to place her at one-under par on the day. Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo./Littleton) came out strong with a birdie on hole two, but with bogeys on holes seven and eight the junior finished the front nine at one-over par. Huffer carded three bogeys on the back nine and a birdie on hole 17, which placed her score at a three-over par 75 and tied her for 26th place. Seniors So-Hyun Park (Seoul, South Korea/Bradenton Prep. Academy) and Katie Conway (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading) are both tied for 36th place and carded a four-over par 76 on the day to round out the Irish score. The seniors bogeyed the fourth and ninth holes on the front nine of the course, while they both birdied the 17th hole. Four of the five members of the lineup bogeyed the fourth hole and four birdied the 17th hole. Freshman Kristina Nhim (Cypress, Calif./Cypress) completed the first day of the three-day tournament at a five-over par 77. UCLA is currently in first place at 291 (+3) and Ani Gulugian (UCLA) is in a tie for first place with Zhang. Following the Bruins are LSU in second place, NotreDame in third place, Minnesota in fourth, and Duke, Northwestern, and Stanford in a fifth-place deadlock. Nhim tees off the 10th hole for the Irish today at 12:20 p.m. to begin the second round of the 2011 NCAA Central Regional.

    Top-10 Teams
    1. UCLA (291/+3)
    2. LSU (295/+7)
    3. NOTRE DAME (298/+10)
    4. Minnesota (301/+13)
    T5. Duke (302/+14)
    T5. Northwestern (302/+14)
    T5. Stanford (302/+14)
    8. Chattanooga (303/+15)
    9. Kent State (304/+16)
    T10. Ohio State (306/+18)
    T10. Texas (306/+18)

    Notre Dame
    T1. Nicole Zhang (71/-1)
    T26. Becca Huffer (75/+3)
    T36. Katie Conway (76/+4)
    T36. So-Hyun Park (76/+4)
    T43. Kristina Nhim (77/+5)

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    1. The Notre Dame men's rugby team needs your help! The Irish men's rugby will be participating in the Collegiate Rugby Championship June 4-5 in Philadelphia. We have 600 tickets to sell for the event, which will be televised by NBC Sports. You can purchase tickets online at http://rugby.nd.edu Tickets are $25 for one day or $40 for both days and there is a free concert by Dropkick Murphys on Saturday night.

    2. The post-spring football wrap-up poll on ESPN.com lists Notre Dame 16th for 2011, with these comments from Mark Schlabach: "The Fighting Irish left spring practice without a starting quarterback. Coach Brian Kelly probably won't name a starting quarterback until shortly before the Sept. 3 opener against USF, as senior Dayne Crist, sophomores Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix and freshman Everett Golson will continue battling for the starting job during preseason camp. Kelly said he'll probably use more than one quarterback this season. . . . Kelly believes his second Notre Dame team will be better than his first because the Irish will be better on defense. The Irish will play nine games against teams that played in bowl games in 2010 (plus USC), so there won't be much margin for error."

    3. The Notre Dame department of athletics held its annualO.S.C.A.R.S. (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements & Recognition Showcase) Wednesday inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. This year marked the 10th anniversary for the traditional year-end gala honoring more than 750 student-athletes for their achievements on the field and in the classroom during the 2010-11 school year.

    The presentation of the three major athletics awards - the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the Francis Patrick O'Connor Award and the Christopher Zorich Award - highlighted the evening's festivities, while the Top Gun Award and Chuck Linster Award (for the highest grade-point averages by a graduating senior student-athlete and athletics student support staff, respectively) also were presented in conjunction with the Notre Dame Office of Academic Services for Student-Athletics. In addition, a member of each team was selected for the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award and the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award. Also, the Leaders of Distinction awards were announced. The Notre Dame Monogram Club also presented its postgraduate scholarship awards to a male and female student-athlete for the second consecutive year. Each of the winners received a one-time non-renewable grant of $5,000 to further their educations. Three team awards also were handed out Wednesday - The Trophy Award (recognizing excellence in community service) was presented to the softball team, while awards for the highest team GPA went to the Fighting Irish women's tennis team (spring 2010 semester) and women's golf team (fall 2010 semester), the second consecutive year that each of those team have been honored for the highest GPA among the 26 Notre Dameathletic teams.

    Women's softball player Erin Marrone (Alexandria, Va.) was a triple winner as she received the Kanaley Award, was named the recipient of the Top Gun Award and was the female honoree of the Monogram Club Postgraduate Scholarship. Men's soccer player Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo.), men's tennis player Tyler Davis (Nashville, Tenn.) and women's soccer All-American Lauren Fowlkes (Lee's Summit, Mo.) each walked away with two awards. While all three were recipients of the Kanaley Award, Brovsky took home the Zorich Award, Davis earned a Monogram Club postgraduate scholarship and Fowlkes was recognized with Leader of Distinction award.

    Notre Dame's top honor, the Byron V. Kanaley Award, also was handed out to two other outstanding individuals - baseball player Cole Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) and football player Chris Stewart (Spring, Texas).

    The Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete, has been given annually since 1926 to senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as both students and leaders. Chosen by the University's Faculty Board on Athletics, the awards are named in honor of the 1904 Notre Dame graduate who was a member of the baseball team as an undergraduate. Kanaley went on to a successful banking career in Chicago and served the University as a lay trustee until his death in 1960.

    In addition to Brovsky, sophomore Lindsay Brown (Newport Beach, Calif.), a member of the women's soccer team, and hockey player Ben Ryan (Brighton, Mich.) received the Christopher Zorich Award. First presented in 1998, the Zorich Award was created to recognize contributions of Notre Dame student athletes to the University and community at-large. The award holds the name of two-time Fighting Irish All-American and 1991 graduate who went on to play in the National Football League for both the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins before receiving his law degree from Notre Dame in 2002.

    Irish junior soccer player Ellen Bartindale (St. Charles, Ill.) and men's basketball player Tom Kopko (Chicago, Ill.) were the recipients of the O'Connor Award. Since 1993, the University has presented this award in the name of O'Connor, a former student-athlete who died in 1973 following his freshman year at Notre Dame. Pat was the son of William "Bucky" O'Connor, who played guard for the Notre Dame football team in the 1940s. The O'Connor Award honors male and female student-athletes who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions to their respective teams. To be considered, student-athletes must possess those qualities attributed to Pat O'Connor: caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience.

    The Irish softball team was recognized with The TrophyAward for the year-long community service it performed in the South Bend and Michiana areas and on campus. It's most notable fundraising effort of the season came in its Strike Out Cancer weekend as the squad showed its support for head coach Deanna Gumpf and her five-year old daughter, Tatum, who is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Proceeds from the event have helped raise funds and awareness for pediatricleukemia, benefitting the South Bend Memorial Children's Hospital pediatriconcology clinic. Throughout the school year, the softball team completed more than 500 hours of community service, averaging 24 hours per person as the Irish partnered with more than nine non-profit organizations.

    In addition to Fowlkes, seven student-athletes received the Leaders of Distinction - infielder Mick Doyle (LaGrange Park, Ill.), volleyball player Angela Puente (Redondo Beach, Calif.), women's tennis player Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas), Zach Schirtz (Rochester, N.Y.), swimmer Mike Sullivan (Franklin, Mass.), thrower Denes Veres (Ellwood City, Pa.) and fencer Avery Zuck (Portland, Ore.). These awards are presented to those individuals deemed exceptional leaders by their coaches and teammates.

    Overcoming an injury-plagued career was a resilient Marrone, who led the BIG EAST and ranked 20th nationally with a team-high .453 batting average before her junior season ended with a knee injury. Her 2010batting average and on-base pct. (.604) set the single-season Notre Dame records. Her bat played a major role in the Irish effort to lead the nationwith a .343 batting average last season. Marrone has displayed her versatility by playing several different positions for the Irish throughout her career (catcher, first base, second base, and each of the outfield positions). A constant fixture on the dean's list, the accounting major holds a 3.976 grade-point average. The Irish have made three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament with Marrone in the lineup while capturing a BIG EAST tournamenttitle in 2009 and a regular-season crown in 2010. Enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business, she will graduate with a degree in accounting from theMendoza College of Business and will attend graduate school next year at Notre Dame.

    The Chuck Linster Award winner, Thomas Haddad (Clark, N.J.), is the manager for the men's tennis team. He has a 3.848 grade pointaverage and will graduate with a degree in finance and second major in mathematics from the Mendoza College of Business.

    A full rundown of the award winners from Wednesday night's OSCARS event follows:

    2010-11 Byron V. Kanaley Award Recipients
    Jeb Brovsky, Men's Soccer
    William Davis, Men's Tennis
    Lauren Fowlkes, Women's Soccer
    Cole Johnson, Baseball
    Erin Marrone, Softball
    Chris Stewart, Football

    2010-11 Christopher Zorich Award Recipients
    Lindsay Brown, Women's Soccer
    Jeb Brovsky, Men's Soccer
    Ben Ryan, Hockey

    2010-11 Francis Patrick O'Connor
    Ellen Bartindale, Women's Soccer
    Tom Kopko, Men's Basketball

    2010-11 Leaders of Distinction Award Recipients
    Mick Doyle, Baseball
    Angela Puente, Volleyball
    Kristen Rafael, Women's Tennis
    Zach Schirtz, Men's Fencing
    Mike Sullivan, Men's Swimming and Diving
    Denes Veres, Men's Track and Field
    Avery Zuck, Men's Fencing

    2010-11 Top Gun Award Recipient
    Erin Marrone, Softball (3.976)

    2010-11 Chuck Linster Award Recipient
    Thomas Haddad, Manager (3.848)

    2010-11 Trophy Award Recipient
    Softball

    2010 Team High GPA Award Recipients
    Women's Tennis, 3.584 (Spring 2010)
    Women's Golf, 3.534 (Fall 2010)

    2010-11 Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award Recipients

    BaseballTBA
    Men's BasketballBen Hansbrough
    Women's Basketball Becca Bruszewski
    Men's Cross CountryDan Jackson
    Women's Cross CountryNo award presented
    Men's FencingAvery Zuck
    Women's FencingCourtney Hurley
    FootballMichael Floyd
    Men's GolfTBA
    Women's GolfNicole Zhang
    HockeyT.J. Tynan
    Men's LacrosseNo award presented
    Women's LacrosseTBA
    RowingTBA
    Men's SoccerSteven Perry
    Women's SoccerMelissa Henderson
    SoftballTBA
    Men's Swimming and DivingFrank Dyer
    Women's Swimming and Diving Kim Holden
    Men's TennisDan Stahl
    Women's TennisTBA
    Men's Track and FieldTBA
    Women's Track and Field TBA
    Volleyball (Co-MVP) Kellie Sciacca
    Andrea McHugh

    2010-11 Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award Recipients

    BaseballBrian Dupra
    Men's BasketballBen Hansbrough
    Women's Basketball Veronica Badway
    Men's Cross CountryTBA
    Women's Cross CountryErica Watson
    Men's FencingSteve Kubik
    Women's FencingSarah Borrmann
    FootballDavid Ruffer
    Men's GolfTom Usher
    Women's GolfSo-Hyun Park
    HockeyCalle Ridderwall
    Men's LacrosseNo award presented
    Women's LacrosseTBA
    RowingTBA
    Men's SoccerAdam Mena
    Women's SoccerLauren Fowlkes
    SoftballErin Marrone
    Men's Swimming and DivingMichael Sullivan
    Women's Swimming and Diving Kim Holden
    Men's TennisDan Stahl
    Women's TennisTBA
    Men's Track and FieldTBA
    Women's Track and Field Kelly Langhans
    Volleyball (Co-MVP) Frenchy Silva

    4. Five members of the Notre Dame women's lacrosse team were named to the BIG EAST all-conference first and second team Wednesday night at the season-ending awards banquet held at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn in suburban Washington, D.C. Three members of the team - seniors Shaylyn Blaney (Stony Brook, N.Y.) and Jackie Doherty (Ellicott City, Md.) and junior Maggie Tamasitis (Boyertown, Pa.) - were selected all-BIG EAST first team. They were joined by second-team selections Kailene Abt (Sr., Huntington, N.Y.) and freshman Kaitlyn Brosco (Shoreham, N.Y.). This marks the third consecutive year that Blaney was selected first team all-BIG EAST (she was also a second team all-BIG EAST selection in her freshman year), while Doherty has been afirst-teamer in each of the last two seasons. Abt makes her second consecutive second-team appearance, while Tamasitis and Brosco are first=time selections.

    5. Dani Miller demolished a game-one homer as the 21st-ranked Notre Dame softball team rattled off eight unanswered runs in an 8-1 BIG EAST Conference win over Pittsburgh Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium during a doubleheadertelevised nationally on ESPNU. Notre Dame (41-8 overall, 16-1 BIG EAST) did not allow an earned run in the opener and Brittany O'Donnell surrendered just a pair of infield hits in game two en route to an 8-0 shutout victory. The Panthers (31-16, 10-8) entered the doubleheader on a seven-game winning streak and after seeing that streak snapped in game one, managed a pair of infield singles on O'Donnell to end the evening. Alexia Clay went yard with a two-run job to right during a four-run fourth inning in game two during a 3-for-3 effort. Clay also scored three times. The Irish registered double-figure hit totals in both games, afeat accomplished in six of the last nine affairs. Notre Dame will travel to Connecticut this weekend (May 7-8) to end the regular season with a three-game BIG EAST series.

    6. Michigan'sGarrett Stevens lined a two-out, two-run RBI single off the glove of Notre Dame closer Dan Slania into centerfield to breakup a 3-3 tie in the top of the 10th inning. Wolverines' reliever Jake Engels then struck out Irish sophomore C Joe Hudson with the bases loaded to end the game and give Michigan a 5-3 baseball victory Wednesday night at Frank Eck Stadium. The Wolverines improved to 15-28, while Notre Dame dropped to 16-23-1. Ben Ballantine picked up the victory for Michigan and improved to 2-1. The righty allowed a couple hits in 1.0 scoreless inning. Engels collected his third save of the season. Slania was charged with the loss and dropped to 1-3. He allowed two runs on two hits in 2.0 innings. Slania struck out four, but was also victimized by four walks. The Irish rallied in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra-innings. Fifth-year senior RF Herman Petzold opened the inning with a double and came around to score onsenior pinch hitter David Casey's RBI single. With the game now tied, 3-3, Hudson followed with a walk to move the winning run into scoring position, but senior SS Mick Doyle struck out swinging. Sophomore DH Adam Norton followed with another free pass to load the bases for senior 3B Greg Sherry, butBallantine, Michigan's third pitcher of the inning, got Sherry looking at acalled third strike. Down 5-3 heading to the bottom of the 10th, the Irish battled to the very end and all with two outs. After freshman 3B Eric Jagielo scorched a line drive right at the Wolverine left fielder for the first out and Petzold flew out, freshman 1B Trey Mancini singled to left field. Junior CF Alex Robinson followed with a single to centerfield. Ballantine then plunked pinch hitter Matt Scioscia to load the bases. Ballantine fell behind Hudson 1-0 and was pulled for Engels, who missed the strike one on his first two offering to push the count to 3-0. Engels came back with consecutive called strikes to make the count full, 3-2. He then got Hudson swinging to end the game. Petzold paced the Irish attack with his third game of the season with three hits. He went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Robinson was the only other Notre Dame player with more than a hit. He went 2-for-5. Notre Dame freshman LHP Anthony McIver did not factor in the decision, but pitched extremely well. The southpaw allowed just one earned run (three runs overall) on five hits in 7.0 innings. McIver struck out five and walked three. He was victimized by a pair of Irish errors with two outs that eventually lead to a couple of unearned runs. McIver registered his first quality start of 2011 and the Notre Dame pitching staff's 27th of the year.

    7. Notre Dame juniors Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) have been selected to compete in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Women's Tennis Championships May 25-30 at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif. Frilling earned the BIG EAST's automatic singles bid and the No. 5 seed, while Mathews was chosen to the NCAA Singles Tournament as an at-large selection. The pairing also will compete in the doubles draw, earning the BIG EAST's automatic bid but falling just outside of the eight seeded teams. This will be Frilling's third straight year competing in both the singles and doubles draw, while Mathews will get her first taste of the NCAA individual championship. Frilling is the highest seeded player to enter the singles tournament since Michelle Dasso claimed the No. 4 seed in 2001. She currently ranks fifth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll after putting together an 18-3 record at No. 1 singles, including 15 wins against ranked opponents. Mathews enters the singles draw with a record of 19-5 on the season, including 19-3 at the No. 2 court. She recently went a perfect 3-0 at the BIG EAST Championship, clinching each of the three Irish wins along the way to claim the BIG EAST Tournament's Most Outstanding Player award. In doubles, the junior duo carries an 18-3 record and a 15-match winning streak at No. 1 doubles dating back to Feb. 10. The 15th-best doubles tandem according to the ITA, Frilling and Mathews also enjoy an 8-2 record against nationally-ranked foes on the year.

    8. Notre Dame senior baseball players Cole Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) and Herman Petzold (Saint Clair Shores, Mich.) have been selected to the Capital One Academic All-District V team. Their names will now appear on the national ballot for a chance to bevoted as Academic All-Americans. Already a finalist for the 2011 Lowe's Senior Class Award and recent recipient of the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete, Johnson maintains a 3.68 grade-point average in the College of Science as a double major in pre-professional studies (pre-medicine) and Spanish language and literature. He was named to the Dean's List for the second time this past fall. Johnson has also been honored as a Big East academic all-star each of the last three years. Johnson, a right-handed pitcher, has rebounded from an injury-plagued 2010 season with a stellar campaign in '11. Johnson has pitched far better than his 3-6 record would indicate. Notre Dame has managed to score just 19 runs over his last 10 starts. He has a 2.78 ERA in 11 starts over 74.1 innings of work. He has struck out 57 and walked 19. Johnson leads the Irish pitching staff with nine quality starts. He ranks tied for third in the BIGEAST among starting pitchers in fewest home runs allowed (one), fifth in strikeouts looking (21), seventh in opposing batting average (.214), tied for seventh in innings pitched, tied for eighth in punch outs and tied for 11th in ERA. Petzold, who maintains a 3.319 grade-point average in the Mendoza College of Business as a double major infinance and mathematics, entered this season with exactly three base hits and no RBI in 10 at-bats over 11 career games ­-- all of the bench. In fact, when first-year Irish head coach Mik Aoki took over the program in June, Petzold was not even listed on the 2011 roster. He contacted Aoki over the summer and expressed interest in returning. Thankfully, Petzold had already taken care of his academic paperwork in order to be eligible as a fifth-year senior and Aoki offered him a spot on the roster. Petzold earned a starting spot in right field and has not looked back. He is tied or leads the team outright in sacrifice bunts (10), hit-by-pitch (five), on-base percentage (.396), games played (40) and games started (40). Petzold, one of two Irish players hitting over .300, ranks second in batting average (.307), hits (42) and RBI (18). He was the only Irish player to register a hit in each of the first six games this season and has registered a hit in 27 of Notre Dame's 40 games. Petzold also ranks second on the team with 11 multi-hit games, including a team-best four games with at least three hits.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    1. The 20th-ranked Notre Dame women's tennis team has been tabbed to head to Evanston, Ill. for first- and second-round matches in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the NCAA selection committee announced Tuesday. The Irish join Fresno State and IPFW in travelling to Northwestern, where the 16th-seeded Wildcats will serve as host. First-round matches will take place May 13, with the two winners meeting in the second round the following day (May 14). The Irish will square off with Fresno State in the opener, while Northwestern and IPFW will collide in the other matchup. Notre Dame makes its 16th consecutive and 18th overall appearance in the NCAA Championship. The Irish earned the BIG EAST Conference's automatic bid after winning their fourth straight league title on May 1. Notre Dame has reached the NCAA Round of 16 on 10 occasions and advanced to the quarterfinals or further in 1996, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. Last season, the Irish reached the semifinals, marking the second consecutive year that the team has reached that point, the only two times in program history. The Irish enter the tournament ranked 20th in the country according to the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) polls after putting together a 16-9 record, including winning their last five matches. The matchup with Fresno State will mark the first time the two schools have met. The 72nd-ranked Bulldogs enter the tournament with a record of 11-13, but bring a string of recent strong play with them after winning five of their last six matches including winning the WAC Championship. Notre Dame and IPFW have met six times in program history with the Irish holding a 5-0-1 advantage. The two teams met in the opening round of last year's NCAATournament with the Irish claiming a 4-0 decision. IPFW earned the Summit League's automatic bid after claiming the tournament title. Notre Dame and Northwestern have met 36 times with the Wildcats leading the series, 25-11. The two teams squared off once earlier this season, with Northwestern coming back from a 3-0 deficit to claim a 4-3 victory on April 7. The two squads also have played three times in the NCAA Tournament with the Irish claiming one of those three meetings. In their most recent postseason tussle, Northwestern prevailed 4-0 in '05. The NCAA Championship features a field of 64 teams, consisting of 31 automatic-qualifying conference champions and 33 at-large selections. The first and second rounds will take place May 13-14 at 16 campus sites. The later rounds of the single-elimination tournament will be held in Palo Alto, Calif., May 20-30. The draws for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will beannounced today.

    2. The Notre Dame men's tennis team has earned an at-large bid into the 64-team 2011 NCAA Championship field, it was announced by the NCAA men's tennis selection committee Tuesday evening. On either May 13 or 14, at a time to be determined, the Irish willface East Tennessee State in Columbus, Ohio. Under the direction of head coach Bobby Bayliss, the Irish have earned 20 of the last 21 NCAA team championship draws. Ohio State is serving as the host site and will play Ball State in the other first round match. The winners will then face each other the following day for the right to advance to the NCAA Championship round of 16. For the 12th consecutive year, the NCAA men's tennis championship features a field of 64 teams, consisting of 31 automatic-qualifying conference champions and 33 at-large selections. The first and second rounds will take place on May 13-15 at 16 campus sites. The winner of the second-round matches at each site will advance to Palo Alto, Calif., as Stanford University will play host to the final four rounds of the team tournament as well as the national championship draws for singles and doubles play from May 19-24. The Notre Dame and East Tennessee State matchup is a familiar one as the two teams faced each other in an identical situation during the 2007-08 season. It was during the first round of the NCAA tournament and in Columbus, Ohio. The then-30th-ranked Irish dropped to then-41st-ranked and Atlantic Sun champion East Tennessee State Buccaneers in a 4-2 decision. Notre Dame has reached the round of 16 in the NCAA Championships on seven occasions, highlighted by a runner-up finish in 1992 and a 1993 quarterfinal result. The Irish lost in the opening round in 2004, '05, '08 and '09, but reached the round of 16 in 2006 and '07.

    3. Dani Miller's round-tripper in the first inning gave the Notre Dame softball team an early 2-0 lead en route to a six-frame, 10-2 non-conference win over Valparaiso Tuesday at Melissa Cook Stadium. Miller stroked the dinger to bring home Alexia Clay after an infield single for her fourth home run in as many career contests against the Crusaders. Lauren Stuhr added a two-run homer during a four-score sixth inning for No. 21 Notre Dame (39-8), winners of eight straight heading into today's home doubleheader with Pittsburgh set to be televised nationally on ESPNU beginning at 4 p.m. (ET). The win was the 30th straight for Notre Dame over Valparaiso to extend the program's longest winning streak over any opponent. Ending the game courtesy of the mercy rule was Sadie Pitzenberger with a walk-off single to left-center. Stuhr's first hit came in the third inning, and she scored along with Alexa Maldonado on Heather Johnson's double to left-center. Valparaiso (30-19-1) cut the Irish lead in half when Tori Brown singled down the leftfield line to plate a pair of scores. The Crusaders managed to collect four hits on Laura Winter (21-3) in 4.0 innings, as the Irish starter fanned six and gave up a pair of earned runs. Brittany O'Donnell gave up two hits in 2.0 frames of scoreless relief with the help of a defense that left eight Crusaders on base. Valparaiso used three pitchers with Sam McGee taking theloss after 2.1 innings of five-hit, four-run action from the circle. Shaleigh Jansen was tagged for six earned runs on five hits in 3.0 innings. Johnson had two hits and three RBI for Notre Dame, as did Stuhr. Alexia Clay and Maldonado each scored twice. Making the most of her second start as a designated player, Stuhr also scored a pair.

    4. Coley Crank's solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning proved to be the difference as Michigan slipped past Notre Dame, 2-1, Tuesday night in baseball action at Al FisherField in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines improved to 14-28 and the Irish dropped to 16-22-1. With the game deadlocked, 1-1, Crank launched a 1-0 offering from Notre Dame freshman reliever Sean Fitzgerald over the left field wall for his team-leading sixth round tripper of the year. Michigan's Tyler Mills, who entered the game with two outs in the seventh inning, retired Notre Dame 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to secure the victory. Mills improved to 2-4 on the year. He allowed just one hit over 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. Mills punched out four and did not walk a batter. Fitzgerald was charged with the loss and dropped to 1-1 on the campaign. He allowed a pair of hits in his inning of relief. The long ball from Crank was only the second home run allowed by the Irish bullpen in 95.1 innings of work this season. It was the first home run allowed by the pen since Fitzgerald surrendered one on March 5 against Winthrop - a span of 78.1 innings. Senior RF and Michigan native Herman Petzold provided the only offense for the Irish. He smacked his first career home run, a solo shot, in the fourth inning. The lead did not last long. Michael O'Neill doubled to lead off the home half of the fourth inning and scored on Sean Lorenz's one-out RBI single to tie the score, 1-1. Notre Dame and Michigan wrap up their home-and-home series at 5:35 p.m. on today at Frank Eck Stadium.

    5. If you read about the new Pacific 10 Conference television deal today, you may notice that there is language in the new agreement that stipulates that non-league football games are restricted to the first three weeks of the football season without a waiver carrying the approval of all 12 league athletic directors. However, Notre Dame series with both USC and Stanford areexempt from the mandate.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    1. Notre Dame senior outfielder Brianna Jorgensborg was named the BIG EAST Softball Player of the Week, as announced by the league on Monday. Jorgensborg's bat was a big reason No. 22 Notre Dame was able to win five conference games last week, including a three-game home sweep of St. John's. Joining Alexa Maldonado and Heather Johnson, Jorgensborg is the third Irish player to earn the honor this season. Jorgensborg batted .600 on the week with a mighty 1.800 slugging pct. She went 6-for-10 at the dish as all of her hits were good for extra bases (three doubles, three home runs). Two of her home runs came during a game-one win over St. John's. Jorgensborg scored eight times with nine RBI, two stolen bases, one sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. Featured on the league's Honor Roll was freshman pitcher Laura Winter, who prevailed with her first career complete-game no-hitter at USF. Not only did Winter strike outnine batters at USF, but she recorded another win over St. John's with a nine-strikeout effort without walking a batter.

    2. Here are top-five finishes by the Notre Dame men's and women's track and field teamsfrom last weekend at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, and the Gina Relays in Hillsdale, Mich. - led by the men's 1,600-meter relay comprised of Jordan Carlson, Johnathan Shawel, J.P. Malette, and Jeremy Rae that claimed second place at Drake in 16:38.99:

    Men's Results at the Drake Relays
    -- 1,600-meter relay: Notre Dame (Jordan Carlson, Johnathan Shawel, J.P. Malette, Jeremy Rae) finished in second place in 16:38.99.
    -- 3,200-meter relay: Notre Dame (Randall Babb, Mitchell Lorenz, Kevin Labus, Jack Howard) placed third in 7:25.75.

    Women's Results from the Hillsdale Relays
    -- 400-meter hurdles: Megan Yankik was the first-place finisher in 1:00.41.
    -- 1,500-meter run Invite: Kelly Curran finished second in 4:25.52, followed by Alexa Aragon in fifth place in 4:27.73.
    -- 5,000-meter run Invite: Susanna Sullivan placed second in 16:56.43, followed by Rachel Velarde in third place in 17:00.03.
    -- Pole Vault: Kelly Burke finished in fifth place (3.70m).
    -- 800-meter run: Rebecca Tracy finished in first place in 2:09.70.

    Men's Results from the Hillsdale Relays
    -- Hammer Throw: John Belcher placed second with a 56.75m toss, followed by Greg Davis in third place (54.80m).
    -- Shot Put: John Belcher finished in third place (16.26m), followed by Andrew Hills in fourth place (16.11m).
    -- 5,000-meter run: Mat Abernethy placed first in 14:51.93.
    -- 1,500-meter run Invite: Spencer Carter placed fifth in 3:50.30.
    -- Javelin Throw: Peter Kristiansen placed second (53.82m).
    -- 1,500-meter run: Kelly Lynch claimed second place in 3:55.30.
    -- 100-meter dash: Miklos Szebeny finished in second place in 10.67.

    3. The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team plays live on CBS College Sports at 8:15 p.m. EDT Thursday in a BIG EAST Championships semifinal game against top-seeded Georgetown. The Irish are 9-8 overall; Georgetown is 9-7. Notre Dame finished 6-2 in league play; Georgetown finished 7-1. The only Hoya league loss came 13-10 at the hands of Notre Dame April 23 in South Bend. This is the fifth straight year the Irish have played in the BIG EAST Championships - and Georgetown and Syracuse are the only teams Notre Dame has faced in the event. Most recently against the Hoyas, the Irish defeated Georgetown 12-10 to claim the 2009 BIG EAST title.

    4. The Irish softball team plays a home doubleheader against Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. tomorrow, to be televised live by ESPNU. Notre Dame is 38-8 overall and 14-1 in conference play heading into tonight's single game against Valparaiso.

    5. If you want to watch the Notre Dame women's golf team in the NCAA Central Regional that begins Thursday at the Warren Golf Course, the Irish will tee off between 8 and 8:44 a.m. Thursday on the first hole, then between 12:20 and 1:04 p.m. Friday on the 10th hole - with Saturday's start times to be determined by results from the first two days.

    6. At 8 p.m. Friday, you can watch Notre Dame's men's lacrosse team (ranked #3 this week) visit #12 North Carolina, as televised live on ESPNU.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    1. This is the final week of classes at Notre Dame - with Wednesday the last class day and then study days Thursday through Sunday. Final exams begin next Monday and go through May 13. With that as a backdrop, there's a limited slate of home athletic events this week - the softball team plays host to Valparaiso tomorrow and then Pittsburgh (DH) Wednesday, the baseball squad plays host to Michigan Wednesday and then Thursday through Sunday is the NCAA Women's Golf Central Regional at the Warren Golf Course on the north edge of campus. Meanwhile, two other Irish squads head out of town for BIG EAST Championships. The Irish women's lacrosse team meets top-seeded Georgetown Thursday in a BG EAST semifinal in Washington, D.C. The Irish men's and women's track and field squads head to Villanova for the league meet that runs Friday through Sunday.

    2. The OSCARS, the Notre Dame athletics department's year-end awards show, takes place Wednesday night on the floor of Purcell Pavilion. The major department-wide awards, including the prestigious Byron V. Kanaley Awards that go to the most accomplished Irish student-athetes, will be presented at that event.

    3. In the wake of its first loss of the season, the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team gave up its number-one ranking after two weeks in that slot and this week stands third in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll and fourth in the USILA coaches poll. Syracuse, the team that defeated the Irish 11-8, moved back to the top spot in both polls.

    4. The Boston University center that studies brain injuries to professional athletes says former Notre Dame and NFL football player Dave Duerson had the brain disease associated with repeated concussions when he committed suicide in February. The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the BU School of Medicine announced on Monday its findings on its examination of Duerson's brain, saying he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. At least 20 other deceased players have been found to have the disease. The safety who began his NFL career with the Chicago Bears was 50 when his body was found Feb. 18; Duerson shot himself in the chest. He had requested that his brain be studied. Dr. Robert Cantu, co-director of the CTSE, said at a news conference that such results normally are published first, but the Duerson family wanted them released earlier. Duerson was drafted by the Bears in the third round out of Notre Dame in 1983. He played seven years with Chicago, one with the New York Giants and three with the Phoenix Cardinals. Check out the May issue of Men's Journal for another story on Duerson's life and death.

    5. The historical video that the Notre Dame athletics department commissioned for the Notre Dame-Army football game from 2010 has been awarded a Telly Award in the Historical Promo Videocategory. Produced by Explore Media in Elkhart, Ind., the video was shown at the Friday luncheon at the Marriott Marquis and at the game itself on the Yankee Stadium video boards. Telly Awards honor the very best local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions, and work created for the Web. There were more than 13,000 entries for the 31st annual Telly Awards for 2010.

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    1. The 20th-ranked Notre Dame women's rowing team made it eight consecutive BIG EAST Championships on Sunday at Melton Lake in West Windsor, N.J. The Irish won gold medals in the third varsity four, third varsity eight, varsity four and second varsity eight races. Notre Dame finished with 114 points on the day, holding off second-place Louisville (109) by five points. Georgetown rounded out the top three, finishing the regatta with 95 points. The current streak of eight straight championships stands as the longest active championship streak in the BIG EAST Conference. The Irish previously held the longest streak in women's swimming and diving, which won 14 straight conference crowns before finishing second this year. The Irish showed they were ready to defend their crown early on, winning their qualifying heat in each of the varsity eight, varsity four, second varsity eight and third varsity eight races. Notre Dame continued to row strong right through the grand final races, winning four of the six races, while finishing runner-up in each the varsity four and varsity eight competitions.

    The finals got underway in much the fashion the Irish had hoped for, as Notre Dame captured the third varsity four gold medal. While the race did not count toward the team standings, the Irish built off the momentum going forward into the final five races. The Irish boat claimed the win in 8:03.62 while Georgetown finished second in 8:20.83. In second varsity fouraction, the Irish crew was unable to make it two-for-two out of the gates, falling to Georgetown. The Hoyas concluded the race in 7:54.95 with Notre Dame ending at 8:02.29. The Irish then went on a run in the next three races, claiming gold in each of the three. The third varsity eight crew started the streak, securing the victory in 7:03.24 to hold off Louisville (7:09.48). Entering as the second seeded boat in the race, the Irish varsity eight crew pulled off a much-needed win, ending at 7:31.36. Louisville, who entered as the overall top seed, could not overcome the Notre Dame boat and finished second at 7:39.26. In the closest final of the day, the top seeded Irish second varsity eight boat held on for the victory over Louisville, finishing at 6:49.10 while the Cardinals crossed at 6:51.01. The final race of the day saw the varsityeight crews take to the water, with final placement in the race determining the conference champion. While the Irish (6:42.83) were unable to take the top spot in the race, falling to Louisville (6:40.00), the second place result was enough to maintain the top spot in the standings and clinch the BIG EAST Championship. This is the fourth time over the eight-year stretch that the Irish and Cardinals have finished one-two in the standings. It also marks the closest margin of victory for the Irish since the squad posted a 15-point victory over Syracuse in '09.

    2. The 23rd-ranked Notre Dame women's tennis team, for the fourth straight year and 11th time since joining the conference, captured the BIG EAST Conference Championship. The Irish held off a late rally from the Bulls on Sunday at the Courtney Tennis Center to secure a 4-2 decision over the team that earlier in the year defeated them 5-2. Junior Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after posting a 3-0 record in singles and clinching every match along the way at No. 2 over the weekend. After a sluggish start in doubles competition, the Irish rebounded down the stretch to pull out the always-crucial first point of the match. The freshman combination of Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) continued their strong tournament play, dispatching Alessandra Bonte and Kate Parker (8-3) at No. 3 doubles. The Irish tandem went a perfect 3-0 over the weekend and was the first team to finish in each of the team's three matches. Notre Dame then turned to No. 2 doubles to clinch the point. After trailing in the match 6-5, senior Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) captured the next three games to finish off an 8-6 win over Irene Rehberger and Ecaterina Vasenina. For the third straight day, the junior duo of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Mathews did not complete their match as the point was already in hand. The Irish team trailed early to the USF twosome of Loreto Alonso Martinez and Janette Bejkova 6-3, but battled back to square the match 6-6 at the time it was abandoned. The Irish then stormed out of the gates in singles, setting up what appeared to be an easy run at the fourth straight championship. Rafael did not drop a single game in her match at No. 4, taking down Alonso Martinez, 6-0, 6-0. The senior improves to 6-0 since moving to the No. 4 court and is now 11-9 overall this season. McGaffigan then pushed the contest to match point, taking downBonte at No. 5 singles, 6-4, 6-3. The sophomore has now won four consecutivematches and is 8-4 overall at court No. 5.The Bulls did not give in, however, coming back to claim the next two singles points and shrink the margin to one. At. No. 1 singles Frilling could not outlast Rehberger, dropping a 7-5, 6-3 decision. The loss is only the third of the year in dual action for the Irish junior, dropping her to 18-3 on the year. Shortly after, Kellner fell to Bejkova (6-4, 6-4) at No. 3 singles. The Irish freshman falls to 18-5 on the season including 7-3 since making the move to the No. 3 court. With the match tightening up with only two courts remaining in action, Mathews fought through a difficult second set to claim a straight-sets victory over Vasenina, 6-4, 7-5. The junior trailed in the first set 4-1 before rattling off five consecutive games to gain the one set advantage. Then, with the second set even at 4-4, the two competitors traded three consecutive breaks of serve to give Mathews a 6-5 edge and a chance to serve out the match. The final game saw several deuces, but Mathews eventually pulled out the title-clinching point after hitting a winner down the left baseline. The final match on court was then abandoned with Sabacinski leading Parker at No. 6 singles, 6-1, 6-6 (3-3). Notre Dame ends the tournament with an overall record of 16-9. The team now awaits its fate for the NCAA Championship -- with the tournament selection show taking place Tuesday.

    3. The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team closed the 2011 regular season in grand style as 11 different players scored for the Irish in a 17-6 win at Nippert Stadium on Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati. After giving up the first goal of the game to the Bearcats just 27 seconds into the contest, Notre Dame ran off 11 straight goals on the way to a 13-2 lead after 30 minutes in the victory. Senior Kailene Abt and junior Maggie Tamasitis led the way with three goals each. Senior Kaitlin Keena and sophomore Betsy Mastropieri scored two each and Jenny Granger, Shaylyn Blaney, Megan Sullivan, Jaimie Morrison, Lauren Fenlon, Emily Conner and McKenzie Brown scored solo goals for Notre Dame's total of 17. Granger, with a goal and three assists, and Tamasitis, with three goals and an assist, led the Irish with four points each. The win gives the Irish a two-game winning streak and moves them over .500 at 9-8 for the first time since March 15. They finish the BIG EAST regular season with a 6-2 record and will be seeded fourth in the BIG EAST Tournament Thursday, facing Georgetown in one of the semifinal games. The Irish outshot Cincinnati, 36-14, in the game. Sophomore Ellie Hilling started her 35th consecutive game, playing the first 30 minutes, giving up a pair of goals with no saves. Fellow sophomore, Adele Bruggeman, played the final 30 minutes, giving up four goals while making four stops. Notre Dame's 6-2 record in the BIG EAST equals the mark the Irish had last year when they were a number two seed in the tournament. This year, they are tied for third with Loyola (Md.) but the Greyhounds have the tiebreaker, having beaten Notre Dame, 13-10, on April 3 at Arlotta Stadium. The Irish will be playing in their fifth consecutive BIG EAST Tournament when they travel to Washington, D.C., to face the Hoyas in a semifinal game Thursday.

    4. The No. 1 Notre Dame men's lacrosse team fell to No. 4 Syracuse 11-8 on Saturday night in front of 14,751 fans inside the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The loss puts the Irish at 10-1 on the season and 5-1 in BIG EAST play. Notre Dame opened the game's scoring one minute into the contest on a Ryan Foley goal. The Irish went up 2-0 with 8:36 left in the first quarter on a Zach Brenneman tally. Brenneman, a senior midfielder, notched his second hat trick of the season by depositing a team-high three goals. Syracuse (13-1, 5-0) responded with four straight goals to claim a 4-2 lead by the end of the first quarter. The run started on a Jeremy Thompson goal with six minutes left in the opening quarter. A Stephen Keogh tally evened things up (2-2) with 3:49 on the clock. Syracuse grabbed the lead for good 16 seconds later on a score from Tommy Palasek. Scott Loy made it 4-2 with seven seconds left in the first quarter. A Brenneman goal at the 12:41 mark of the second quarter snapped the Syracuse surge. The Orange answered back with another 4-0 run. Syracuse went back up by two (5-3) on agoal from Jeff Gilbert with 4:59 left in the opening half. The Orange increased the lead to three (6-3) with3:23 remaining in the stanza on a Keogh goal. Keogh had a game-high four goals. Syracuse led 6-3 at the intermission. "Syracuse is a very good team," said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "We said this game would come down to making plays and they made a few more plays than we did tonight. Both teams were attacking the cage and getting opportunities. I think they did a better job at finishing those opportunities." Syracuse opened the second-half scoring with a Palasek goal with 11:45 left in the third quarter. The Orange grabbed a five-goal lead (8-3) 41 seconds later on a Thompson score. Irish freshman Westy Hopkins sliced the Orange lead to four (8-4) with just over eight minutes left in the third period. Keogh put the Orange back up by five (9-4) with 4:20 remaining in the quarter. A goal from Notre Dame's David Earl made it a 9-5 affair after three quarters of play. Goals from Keogh and JoJo Marasco gave Syracuse a six-goal advantage (11-5), which was its largest lead of the game, by the 8:45 mark of the fourth quarter. Notre Dame did not quit as the Irish ended the game with three consecutive goals. Sean Rogers scored with 4:24 left and Earl made it a four-goal contest (11-7) with two minutes showing on the clock. Brenneman tallied the game's final goal with 1:19 remaining. Sophomore goalie John Kemp made nine saves for the Irish. His counterpart John Galloway had 12 stops for the Orange. Both teams had 33 shots. Notre Dame won 14 of 23 faceoff attempts. Freshman Liam O'Connor was 12-19 and senior Jake Marmul was 2-4. O'Connor also picked up a game-high eight ground balls. The Fighting Irish will conclude their regular-season slate Friday at No. 9 North Carolina. Opening faceoff against the Tar Heels is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. (ET). The game will be aired live on ESPNU.

    5. Saturday was Notre Dame freshman Eric Jagielo that delivered a walk-off RBI single. Sunday was fellow Irish rookie Trey Mancini's turn. The first baseman absolutely crushed a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Notre Dame a thrilling come-from-behind, 5-4, baseball victory over Seton Hall at Frank Eck Stadium. The Irish improved to 16-21-1 overall and 7-10 in the BIG EAST, while the Pirates dropped to 20-21 and 7-11. Notre Dame took two of three from Seton Hall this weekend and moved into sole possession of eighth place in the conference standings. The Irish found themselves down 3-0 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Seton Hall starting pitcher Brian Gilbert had retired 11 of the last 12 Notre Dame batters before junior CF Alex Robinson's single to right field. Sophomore DH Adam Norton deposited Gilbert's 1-0 offering just over the left field wall for his second home run of the season and brought the Irish within one run, 3-2. Seton Hall quickly answered with a run in the top of the eighth inning to push its lead to 4-2. The run came off freshman RHP Dan Slania and snapped the Notre Dame bullpen scoreless streak of 21.1 innings of work.Sophomore 2B Frank DeSico, who remained in the game clearly favoring a leg injury that had occurred in the bottom of the third inning, singled back up the middle with one out in the eighth. DeSico was removed for junior pinch runner Tommy Chase. After a wild pitch and ground out moved Chase to third base, Rick Mangione replaced Gilbert and promptly walked Jagielo to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Seton Hall went to its bullpen once again and called upon closer Matt Harvey. Harvey entered the contest with 46 strikeouts in 27.2 innings of work, including five punch outs in 2.2 innings of work en route to his fourth save of the season on Friday night, but Mancini took a slider for a ball before hammering a fast ball over the batter's eye in left centerfield to give theIrish their first lead of the game. Slania retired the Pirates in order in the ninth inning to collect his first victory of the year. He improved to 1-2 on the season. Slania allowed one earned run on three this in 2.1 innings of work. He struck out one and did not issue a walk. Harvey took the loss and dropped to 3-2. He allowed one run on two hits and one walk in 0.1 innings. Senior 3B Greg Sherry, Mancini, Robinson and Norton each had multiple hits. Sherry went 2-for-4 with a double. Mancini went 2-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI. The home run was his team-leading seventh of the season. Robinson went 2-for-4 with a run scored and Norton went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI. Notre Dame opens a home-and-home two-game series at rival Michigan at 6:35 p.m. ET Tuesday. The Irish and Wolverines will face off at 5:35 p.m. Wednesday at Frank Eck Stadium.

    6. The 30th-ranked and second-seeded University of Notre Dame men's tennis team dropped a 4-2 decision to Louisville in the BIG EAST Championship match Sunday at the Courtney Tennis Center in Notre Dame, Ind. Freshman Greg Andrews (Richland, Mich./Gull Lake) maintained a perfect 3-0 record at fourth singles during the tournament and downed Robert Hall in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. The second doubles duo of Stephen Havens (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) and Casey Watt (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) picked up their third win of the weekend as they defeated Alejandro Calligari and Hall in an 8-4 decision. These same second doubles teams met on April 23, when the Irish traveled to Louisville for their final regular season match and Watt and Havens fell 8-4, but redeemed themselves Sunday with the convincing 8-4 victory. The top doubles team put on perhaps the most exciting doubles match of the weekend as sophomore Spencer Talmadge (Hillsborough, Calif./Junipero Serra) and junior Niall Fitzgerald (Wicklow, Ireland/Blackrock College) fell behind to Simon Childs and Viktor Maksimcuk, but battled back to take the lead at 6-5, but the Cardinals tandem didn't give up and evened the match back out at 7-7 and eventually earned the victory at 9-7. With the doubles at one a piece, senior Daniel Stahl (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) and Andrews were trailing Austen Childs and Viktor Maksimcuk, but had picked up a win to make the match 7-4, but unfortunately the Cardinals had built too much of a lead and Louisville clinched the win with an 8-5 decision and claimed an early 1-0 lead over the Irish as the teams entered the singles portion of the match. Watt and A. Childs were paired up at the No. 1 position and A. Childs improved the Cardinals score to 2-0 as the 15th-ranked senior defeated Watt in consecutive 6-1 sets. Stahl faced S. Childs at third singles for the second time this season and although the Notre Dame senior dropped 6-3, 6-4 during the April 23rd match, he turned the tables this time around, handing S. Childs a 6-3, 6-2 loss. With the score at 2-1 in favor of the Cardinals, Andrews forced Hall to fight for every point he earned, which wasn't enough as Andrews picked up a 6-4, 6-3 victory and evened the score at 2-2. Hall is 0-2 versus Andrews this season as the Notre Dame freshman downed Hall, 6-2, 6-1 on April 23. Sophomore Blas Moros (Boca Raton, Fla./Pine Crest) was defeated by Andrew Carter at sixth singles in a two-set match, 6-2, 6-2. The victory gave the Cardinals a 3-2 edge over the Irish, but with two matches still yet to be finished. On thecourt of second singles, Havens and Maksimcuk had split the first two sets with a win apiece as Maksimcuk won 6-2 in the first set, followed by a 6-1 victory for Havens. The Irish senior was on a winning streak as he earned a 3-0 victory in the third set, but unfortunately was unable to hold onto the lead as Maksimcuk won 6-3 to clinch the match for Louisville. With sophomore Samuel Keeton (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) having lost a close first set, 7-6 (9-7) to Calligari in the first set and the second set at 3-2 when the match was halted, the match could have come down to the wire at fifth singles. The Irish move to 17-11 on the season and at No. 30 in the ITA/Campbell national rankings, the Irish have made a strong case to join the NCAA Championship field for the 20th time in 21 seasons by virtue of an at-large bid. The NCAA Division I Tennis Championships Selection Show is scheduled to reveal the 2011 fieldbetween 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Tuesday.

    7. Seniors Jody Valdivia and Shannon Kelly combined for a five-inning no-hitter as No. 22 Notre Dame blanked visiting St. John's, 14-0, to sweep a three-game BIG EAST Conference softball series. Valdivia (9-4) gave the reigns to Kelly in the top of the fifth for the team's second no-hitter this week. Notre Dame (38-8 overall, 14-1 BIG EAST) received a no-hitter from Laura Winter earlier this week at USF. Valdivia was near perfect in 4.0 hitless innings Sunday at Melissa Cook Stadium on Senior Day, striking out three with two walks. She even helped her cause with an RBI in her first career at-bat. Notre Dame started each of its eight seniors to begin the game. The Irish scored first their four runs without recording a hit, aided by sacrifice flies from Dani Miller and Sadie Pitzenberger. Brianna Jorgensborg scored an unearned run on a St. John's (19-30, 6-12) error and Monica Torres crossed on a passed ball. The bats warmed up in a six-run third inning for Notre Dame when the first hit by either team came on Jorgensborg's RBI double. One batter later, Erin Marrone cleaned up the bases by driving in two runs with a double to left-center. Another double came from Alexa Maldonado to make the score 8-0. Notre Dame loaded the bases in the fourth and went on score six runs. Marrone tacked on a two-RBI single as Maldonado and Alexia Clay added doubles in the six-hit frame. Jorgensborg scored three times for Notre Dame as Marrone led all players with four RBI. Seven of Notre Dame's run came when Kat Lawrence (5-8) was in the circle for St. John's, added three more on Ashley Beza and four against Myriah Rodgers.

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