Jan. 22, 2011
BALTIMORE, Md. - A school-record five University of Notre Dame men's lacrosse players were selected in Friday's Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Collegiate Draft. Midfielder Zach Brenneman became the highest pick in program history as he went fifth overall to the Long Island Lizards.
Syracuse led all schools with seven players selected while Notre Dame and Maryland were next with five players drafted.
The MLL Draft, which usually has been held in June, was moved up to January so the drafted players can begin their professional careers immediately following their 2011 college season.
The Hamilton Nationals selected Fighting Irish midfielder David Earl in the third round (13th overall selection), while defenseman Kevin Ridgway also went to Hamilton five picks later. Long Island tabbed defenseman Sam Barnes in the fifth round (29th overall) and the Denver Outlaws picked long-stick midfielder Andrew Irving in the sixth round (33rd overall).
All five Fighting Irish senior student-athletes have been named Inside Lacrosse preseason All-Americans. Brenneman also was voted as the BIG EAST Preseason Attack Player of the Year by the league's head coaches, while Earl, Ridgway and Barnes joined him on the 2011 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team.
Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y./East Hampton) led the Fighting Irish with career-high totals in goals (29) and points (42) last season. He also notched a career-high 13 assists. Brenneman earned honorable mention All-America accolades in 2010. The midfielder netted hat tricks against both Cornell and Duke in the semifinals and finals, respectively, of the NCAA Tournament and was selected to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team. Brenneman also was named to the all-BIG EAST first team.
Earl (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School) tallied career-best numbers in goals (22) and assists (6) during the 2010 campaign. He received honorable mention All-America honors and was a second-team all-BIG EAST pick. Earl netted a single-game career-high five goals during an 8-5 win at Princeton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Ridgway (Kensington, Md./Georgetown Prep) started all 17 games last season and helped anchor an Irish defense that ranked second nationally by posting a 7.53 goals-against average. Notre Dame only surrendered 23 goals (5.75 per game) during its four games of the NCAA Championship. Ridgway was an honorable-mention All-American and he also was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team. Additionally, he was tabbed as a second-team all-BIG EAST performer.
Barnes (Branford, Conn./Branford), a fifth-year senior, did not play last season due to a knee injury. He started all 16 games as a junior in 2009 and received honorable mention All-America honors as he was a valuable member to the nation's top-ranked defense. Notre Dame registered a school-record 6.19 goals-against average in 2009. His 28 ground balls were a single-season career-high total.
Irving (McLean, Va./The Hotchkiss School) played in every game one season ago and registered a career-high three goals to go along with two assists. The five points were a career-best figure. Irving picked up a team-leading 76 ground balls, which also were a career-high total. Irving joins Brenneman, Earl and Ridgway as a 2011 team captain.
Stony Brook midfielder Kevin Crowley went first overall to Hamilton in Friday's draft. The MLL is comprised of six teams and the draft features eight rounds and 48 totals picks. The Notre Dame program has produced 19 MLL draft picks in the past six years.
The seventh-ranked Fighting Irish open their 2011 slate on Feb. 20 in a 2010 NCAA championship game rematch versus Duke as part of the inaugural Sunshine Classic in Jacksonville, Fla. The Irish will take on the U.S. National Team in an exhibition contest on Jan. 30 in Orlando, Fla. The Duke game will be aired on ESPN, while the U.S. National Team contest will be broadcast on ESPNU.