Feb. 24, 2012
Sunday, Feb. 26 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Arlotta Stadium Notre Dame, Ind.
#20 PENN STATE (1-1)
#2 NOTRE DAME (1-0)
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SETTING THE STAGE
No. 2 Notre Dame (1-0) will play host to No. 20 Penn State (1-1) at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. The contest will take place at Arlotta Stadium. The Fighting Irish opened their 2012 campaign last Saturday with a 7-3 win over then No. 2 Duke.
A win on Sunday would give Notre Dame a 2-0 record for the sixth straight season.
NOTRE DAME-PENN STATE SERIES HISTORY
Sunday will be the 19th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Penn State. The Fighting Irish lead the series 14-4, including nine straight wins over the Nittany Lions. Notre Dame captured a 6-2 victory last season at Penn State. This is the 16th consecutive season that the two teams have squared off.
Penn State's last win in the series was a 10-9 overtime victory at Notre Dame during the 2002 season.
The Nittany Lions are 1-7 all-time at Notre Dame.
FANTASTIC FEBRUARYS FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH
The Irish have won 15 straight games in the month of February. Fighting Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan is 20-3 in February during his Notre Dame tenure. The last February loss for Notre Dame was a 10-9 overtime setback to Penn State during the 2002 season.
IRISH SENSATIONAL IN SEASON-OPENERS
Saturday's win over Duke was Notre Dame's program-record ninth straight victory in a season opener. Notre Dame is 25-7 all-time in season-openers, including a 19-5 record in the Kevin Corrigan era.
The Fighting Irish have opened the last three seasons with a victory over Duke.
Including this year, the Irish have opened their slate against a ranked opponent in 19 consecutive seasons.
A LOOK AT PENN STATE
The Nittany Lions will bring a 1-1 record into Sunday's game. Penn State opened the season with a 14-10 setback to North Carolina before topping Michigan, 16-9, last weekend.
Senior attackman Jack Forster leads the Nittany Lions in goals (5) and assists (6). Sophomore goalie Austin Kaut has both decisions in goal. He carries a 10.89 goals-against average and a .512 save percentage.
Penn State went 7-7 last season, which included a 4-2 mark in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play. The Nittany Lions returned eight starters and 23 letterwinners from last season's squad.
Head coach Jeff Tambroni is in his second season at Penn State.
IRISH AGAINST THE CAA
Penn State is one of three Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) teams on Notre Dame's 2012 schedule. The Irish will play at CAA foes Drexel (March 3) and Hofstra (March 10).
Notre Dame holds a 21-12 all-time record against teams from the CAA.
The Irish went 2-0 against CAA foes last season. Notre Dame defeated both Penn State (6-2) and Drexel (11-7).
THE LAST TIME
Notre Dame captured a 6-2 victory last season at Penn State (Feb. 27, 2011). The two goals allowed by the Irish were a 2011 season low. The Fighting Irish used six different goal scorers in the victory. Goalie John Kemp made eight saves for Notre Dame.
The Irish led 2-1 after the first quarter and 3-1 at halftime. It was a one-goal contest (3-2) after three quarters of play and the Irish scored three unanswered goals in the fourth period.
IRISH DOWN THE DEVILS
Notre Dame scored seven unanswered goals en route to a 7-3 season-opening victory over No. 2 Duke last Saturday at Arlotta Stadium.
Senior midfielder Max Pfeifer tallied two goals and two assists for the Irish, while sophomore midfielder Jim Marlatt scored two goals in his collegiate debut. Junior goalie John Kemp matched a career-high total with 14 saves for Notre Dame. He also had 14 stops in the 2011 season opener, a 12-7 victory over Duke.
The Fighting Irish defense posted a scoreless streak of 40:24, which began at the 10:42 mark of the second quarter and ended with 18 seconds left in the contest. Notre Dame had two first-time starters in the close defense in junior Matt Miller and sophomore Stephen O'Hara. Senior captain Kevin Randall made his 32nd consecutive start in the Irish defense.
The three goals allowed by the Irish defense marked the fewest against a ranked opponent since Notre Dame held No. 10 Ohio State to two scores in a 9-2 win on May 4, 2008.
PFEIFER AND KEMP EARN WEEKLY HONORS FROM BIG EAST
Junior goalie John Kemp and senior midfielder Max Pfeifer earned weekly honors from the BIG EAST Conference for their performances in the 7-3 season-opening win over No. 2 Duke. Kemp was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week, while Pfeifer was selected to the league's weekly honor roll. Kemp matched a career-high save total with 14, while Pfeifer had a hand in four of Notre Dame's seven goals as he registered two goals and two assists. The four points matched a career-high total.
Kemp also was named the Baltimore Sun Player of the Week.
Notre Dame sophomores Jim Marlatt and Ryan Mix made their collegiate debuts in the Duke contest and they both found the back of the net. Marlatt, a midfielder, scored two goals, while Mix, an attackman, had one tally.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Irish have won seven straight home games. Notre Dame was a perfect 6-0 at home last season. Notre Dame is 35-3 (.921) at home since the beginning of the 2006 season.
Over the last five seasons, the Notre Dame defense has been one of the best in the nation. The Irish are the only team in NCAA Division I to finish in the top five nationally in scoring defense in each of those five campaigns. Notre Dame produced the nation's top defense in 2009 by allowing a program-record 6.19 goals per game. The Irish were second in 2010 (7.53) and 2011 (6.57), fourth in 2007 (6.66) and fifth in 2008 (7.04).
Since the beginning of the 2007 season (a span of 80 games), Notre Dame has surrendered 10 goals or more in a game just 10 times and the Irish defense has limited opponents to seven goals or fewer 55 times during that stretch.
Notre Dame has limited foes to four goals or fewer 14 times since the beginning of the 2007 campaign.
FOUR IRISH PLAYERS EARN PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA ACCOLADES
Four members of the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team garnered preseason All-America honors from Inside Lacrosse. Junior goalie John Kemp was named to the preseason All-America third team, while seniors Kevin Randall (D) and Sean Rogers (A) along with sophomore Liam O'Connor (M/FO) were honorable mention selections.
KEMP ON TEWAARATON AWARD WATCH LIST
Junior goalie John Kemp has been named to the watch list for the 2012 Tewaaraton Award. He is one of 73 student-athletes up for the award, which is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate lacrosse player.
RANDALL TABBED AS A LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE
Notre Dame defenseman Kevin Randall has been named one of 20 candidates for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in the men's lacrosse division. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
IRISH PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN BIG EAST
Notre Dame was picked to finish second in the BIG EAST according to the league's 2012 preseason coaches poll. Syracuse was selected to win the league with four first-place votes, while Notre Dame received one first-place nod. Rounding out the order of finish was Villanova, Georgetown, St. John's, Rutgers and Providence. Villanova had two first-place votes. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
FOUR IRISH PLAYERS EARN PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE HONORS
Fighting Irish junior goalie John Kemp was selected as the BIG EAST Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Fellow Irish players joining Kemp on the 2012 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team were seniors Kevin Randall (D) and Sean Rogers (A) along with sophomore Liam O'Connor (M/FO). Kemp and Randall both were unanimous picks. Notre Dame and Syracuse both had a league-best four players selected to the squad.
SENIOR TRIO TO CAPTAIN IRISH DURING 2012 CAMPAIGN
Seniors Nicholas Beattie (A), Max Pfeifer (M) and Kevin Randall (D) will serve as team captains for the Fighting Irish during the 2012 campaign. All three are first-time captains for Notre Dame.
RANDALL SELECTED IN MLL DRAFT
Notre Dame senior defenseman Kevin Randall was selected by the Charlotte Hounds in January's Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Collegiate Draft. Randall was the first pick in the seventh round (49th overall selection).
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS
The Notre Dame men's lacrosse program has achieved unprecedented success over the past few seasons.
In 2008, the Fighting Irish hosted an NCAA tournament game for the first time in program history. Notre Dame defeated Colgate 8-7 in overtime.
The 2009 campaign featured the Irish posting the first undefeated regular season (13-0) in program history before extending their record to a school-best 15-0 in the Great Western Lacrosse League tournament. Notre Dame fell to Maryland, 7-3, in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
In 2010, Notre Dame reached the title game of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. The Fighting Irish fell to Duke, 6-5, in overtime.
Last season, the Irish reached No. 1 in the national polls for the first time in program history.
Notre Dame's Gerry Byrne was named the 2011 Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) National Assistant Coach of the Year for NCAA Division I. The award was presented during IMLCA Convention in Baltimore, Md.
Byrne instructed a Fighting Irish defense that finished the 2011 season ranked second nationally by allowing just 6.57 goals per game. The Irish held their opponents to seven goals or fewer 10 times during the 2011 campaign.
IRISH TO FACE ST. JOHN'S IN BIG CITY CLASSIC
Notre Dame will face BIG EAST foe St. John's in the 2012 Konica Minolta Big City Classic on April 1 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The contest is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET) and will be the first game of a tripleheader.
Duke and Syracuse will meet in the day's second game, while North Carolina and Johns Hopkins will square off in the third and final game at MetLife Stadium, which is home to the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets. This will be Notre Dame's first-ever appearance in the Big City Classic.
PLAYING ON THE BIG STAGE
Playing in MetLife Stadium for the Big City Classic on April 1 will be Notre Dame's latest chance to compete in a major venue.
The Irish opened the 2011 campaign against Duke at Everbank Field, which is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Notre Dame faced Duke in the 2011 NCAA quarterfinals at the home venue of the New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium.
Not only did the Irish compete at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore during the 2010 final four, they also played Loyola in the venue during that season's Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic.
In 2009, Notre Dame played Ohio State at Ohio Stadium (The Horseshoe) in Columbus, Ohio. Two weeks prior, the Irish faced Denver at Invesco Field, which is home to the Denver Broncos.
In 2008, Notre Dame and Denver met at Toyota Park, home to the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer (MLS) and former residence of Major League Lacrosse's Chicago Machine, in Bridgeview, Ill.
Notre Dame and North Carolina met at the Home Depot Center, which houses the MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy, during the 2005 First Four Invitational in Carson, Calif.
Notre Dame will appear on ESPNU four times during the 2012 regular season.
Three of the four television appearances will be Fighting Irish home contests, including last Saturday's season opener against Duke. Notre Dame's home tilt versus Denver on March 18 at Arlotta Stadium also will be televised. The lone Notre Dame road game that will be televised is the trip to Villanova on April 21. The regular-season finale between Notre Dame and Syracuse on April 28 at Arlotta Stadium also will be aired on the network.
Seven teams on Notre Dame's 2012 schedule appear in this week's Nike/Inside Lacrosse rankings. Syracuse (#6), Duke (#8) and Villanova (#9) join Notre Dame (#4) in the top 10 of the poll. Denver (#11), Ohio State (#12), Hofstra (#13) and Penn State (#20) also are Irish opponents listed in the rankings.