Nov. 23, 2004
Notre Dame men's lacrosse head coach Kevin Corrigan announced recently that seven players have signed national letters of intent to join his program next fall. Those committing in the early signing period, which ended Wednesday, were A Peter Christman (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster H.S.), A/M Dan Gibson (Germantown, Tenn./Memphis University School), A Ryan Hoff (Baldwin, Md./Dulaney H.S.), D Regis McDermott (Amityville, N.Y./Chaminade H.S.), M Davey Melera (Lutherville, Md./Boys' Latin H.S.), G Scott Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y./MacArthur H.S.), and A Duncan Swezey (Ambler, Pa./Hatboro Horsham H.S.).
"This is an outstanding class, because we got players at each position that we think have the ability to step in and help us right away," said Corrigan. "We addressed a need in terms of depth and quality at attack; we got four different guys that can play attack and can be good players for us. For the second year in a row, we got an absolutely top-notch goalie. Overall, this is a high-quality class. We don't need big numbers, but we are always looking for quality, and I think that is what we got in this class."
Christman, a native of Simsbury, Conn., led Westminster High School in points as a junior, with 17 goals and 47 assists in 14 games. He was tabbed second-team all-Western New England and has been elected captain for the 2005 season. Christman was named the team's Most Improved Player in his sophomore season - his first on the varsity level - finishing with five goals and eight assists in 14 games. As a rookie, he had 14 goals and 15 assists in 13 junior-varsity contests. Christman also is a standout in both soccer (central defender) and basketball (shooting guard), serving as team captain of both as a senior. He has experience in club lacrosse playing for NED Select, Connecticut Super Juniors - for which he earned all-state mention - and Connecticut Rip-It. Christman played in the Peak 200 All-Star Game, as well as the Connecticut Super Junior All-Star game, leading all players with three goals in that contest.
"Peter is an all-around skilled player," said Corrigan. "He can do everything well. Physically, he needs to mature and develop a little bit, but he has a great sense of the game. He knows how to finish the ball and feed the ball. His coach, Dennis Daly - who used to coach at Washington and Lee University - thinks he is one of the best he has ever had. We think Peter has a huge upside."
Gibson, a native of Germantown, Tenn., was a first-team all-state selection and an All-American for Memphis University School in his junior season, finishing with 52 goals, 35 assists, and 48 ground balls for an average of 6.2 points per game. He led his team to a 12-2 record and the Tennessee state final. Gibson was honorable mention all-state as a sophomore for the MUS team that won the state championship (11-2 record). He averaged 4.78 points per game, ending up with 37 goals, 30 assists, and 50 ground balls. Gibson had eight goals and 12 assists as a freshman and also played on the 2001 state-title team - even though he was in eight grade - ending with four goals and a pair of assists. In club action, Gibson has played for Crossroads and Team Memphis, being tabbed "Best Attackman" in the latter's runner-up finish in the "War for the South." He will be the third Tennessee native to play for the Irish, following Memphis native M William Zoccola, who was on the first Notre Dame varsity team (1981) and All-America goalie Kirk Howell ('01).
"We think Dan can play either at attack or in the midfield," said Corrigan. "He is from Tennessee, which is rare for our players, but our last foray into the state had us ending up with an All-America goalie, so we are happy to have another guy from there. Given where he's played and the competition he's played against, he really has a great sense of the game and a great feel for it. He also has the athletic ability to go along with that. I think he is really going to be a good player."
Hoff, a native of Baldwin, Md., was an All-America and second-team all-state selection last season, finishing with 87 goals and 18 assists in helping Dulaney High School to the regional title and a 14-3 record. He also was the winner of the 3A/4A C. Markland Kelly Award and the team's MVP, as well as a first-team all-county, all-city, and all-metro selection. Delaney claimed state championships in his first two seasons, going 16-3 in 2002 and 17-2 in '03. He had 20 goals and 10 assists as a sophomore, playing in the midfield. In his rookie campaign, Hoff notched five goals and six assists in varsity play, while piling up 45 goals and 14 assists for the junior varsity. He has played club action for the Maryland Fireballs, which reached the semifinals of the Champ Camp. Hoff also is a standout middle linebacker for Dulaney's football team, having been named the defensive MVP as a junior after being the leading tackler in both 2002 and '03. A first-team all-division selection, he is in his second year as the squad's captain.
"Ryan was a high school All-American as a junior," said Corrigan. "He is a crease guy. That is what he is, and he knows it. He is an outstanding goal scorer. He is a tough kid. He gets ground balls and puts the ball in the goal. He is a prototypical crease guy, and he is very good."
McDermott, a native of Amityville, N.Y., was a starter on defense last season for perennial-power Chaminade, which was ranked ninth in the nation. That squad was 17-2 and the conference runners-up. He captained the junior-varsity squad to a 16-0-1 mark and a league title in 2003. McDermott also won a conference championship while helping Chaminade's freshman to a 12-3 record. In club action, he was a starter for the Long Island Empire team in 2004, helping it to a silver medal. A member of National Honor Society, McDermott also has been a defensive contributor in football, playing strong safety this season after winning league titles in JV and freshman action. McDermott will be the 11th Irish lacrosse player from Chaminade High School, tying it for second among the most-common lacrosse feeder schools in Notre Dame's varsity history. Among the former Chaminade players are All-American M Jimmy Keenan ('98), career ground balls leader M Billy Ahmuty ('94), and current senior G Sean Quigley (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Chaminade H.S.) and juniors G Daniel Hickey (Garden City, N.Y./Chaminade H.S.), D James Severin (Bayville, N.Y./Chaminade H.S.), and D William Sullivan (Babylon, N.Y./Chaminade H.S.).
"Regis is a very skilled and tough player," said Corrigan. "He is tenacious, and I think he is going to add a physical presence to our defense. I think he has the ability to come in and play right away for us. In a position where we are very young and competitive already, Regis is going to come in and be right in the mix. I like the fact that he is a physical kid that can help us step that part of our play up a little bit."
Melera (muh-LAIR-uh), a native of Lutherville, Md., is a midfielder for another top program, Boys' Latin High School. He was an all-conference selection his junior year after posting 19 goals and 15 assists en route to an 18-3 record. The team also went 18-3 in 2003, and he had nine goals and four assists to his credit. Melera played for Friends High School as a freshman before transferring to Boys' Latin. In club action, he helped the Maryland Fireballs to a runner-up finish in a Vail, Colo., tournament in 2002 and went on an undefeated tour of Australia with the Baltimore Lacrosse Club that same year. A member of National Honor Society, Melera also is a standout forward for the Boys' Latin soccer team, which has won three consecutive league titles, compiling a 50-6-2 record over that span. He earned all-league honors as a junior, and has 25 career goals and 20 assists to his credit. Melera will be the eighth former Boys' Latin player to join the Irish lacrosse team. Among that group are former All-Americans A Tom Glatzel ('01) and A David Ulrich ('01), as well as current sophomores D Joey Rallo (Cockeysville, Md./Boys' Latin H.S.) and D J.R. Stahl (Sparks, Md./Boys' Latin H.S.).
"Davey is a classic, between-the-lines two-way middie," said Corrigan. "He can do everything well. He can score, but you wouldn't define him as a scorer. But you would say he is a guy who gets ground balls, plays defense, rides, and clears. He can play both ends of the field equally. He is someone who fits into the way we want to play."
Rodgers, a native of Wantagh, N.Y., is an All-America goaltender for MacArthur High School. He was selected to the New York State Empire team and tabbed the Nassau County Goalie of the Year in 2004 after a season in which he posted a .767 save percentage and allowed just 57 goals (3.56 per game) in helping MacArthur to a 12-4 record. During his career, he has posted a .685 save percentage, while giving up 6.08 goals per game. Rodgers, a three-time all-county selection, was named an alternate for the NYS Empire team in '03 after a season in which he had a .653 save percentage, allowing 7.65 goals per game. As a rookie, he helped MacArthur to a 12-6 record, stopping 66.2% of shots and allowing 6.83 goals per game. A 2004 High School Heisman nominee, Rodgers also is a defensive lineman and center on the MacArthur football team and a center on its basketball squad. He will join another Wantagh native on the Irish roster, current junior and two-time All-America attackman Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.).
"Scott is one of the best goalies in the country," said Corrigan. "He is big and left-handed, which is a great juxtaposition to our freshman goalie, Joey Kemp, who is a little smaller and right-handed. I think they are both outstanding goalies, and I think they are going to help us win a lot of games. I couldn't be more pleased to get Scott, coming on the heels of Joey. I think we are going to have great goaltending for years to come."
Swezey (SWEE-zee), a native of Ambler, Pa., is an accomplished three-sport athlete at Hatboro Horsham High School. In lacrosse, he has been the team MVP in each of the last two seasons and was the conference player of the year in 2004. In his first three years of prep action, he has 126 goals, 136 assists, and 290 ground balls. Swezey, a three-year team captain, posted 60 goals, 67 assists, and 139 ground balls in 2004, helping Horsham to a 20-2 record, as well as its first-ever league title and berth in the state playoffs. He had 46 goals and 47 assists to go with 91 ground balls as a junior, helping squad to 13-6 record. In his rookie campaign, Swezey notched 20 goals and 22 assists, while picking up 60 ground balls and won the team's Future Star Award. In club action, he has competed for Radnor Competitive Edge, which has won various tournaments. As a football quarterback, Swezey is the most prolific passer in Horsham High School history, having thrown for over 3,700 yards and 40 touchdowns (both school records). He was an all-league selection as a junior, and he has over 1,500 yards and 25 touchdown passes this season. Swezey also is a forward on the basketball team, which has been nationally ranked and produced former Irish All-American Matt Carroll ('03).
"Duncan is an outstanding athlete," said Corrigan. "He just became the school's all-time leading quarterback. He is a tremendous athlete who is going to be a great offensive player for us. I think he's got a tremendous amount of potential."
Notre Dame, which returns six starters and 17 monogram winners from last year's squad that finished the season 7-5 (4-1 GWLL) and just missed the 16-team NCAA Championship despite being ranked 11th in the Inside Lacrosse media poll and 12th by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, will open its 2005 season on Feb. 27 at Penn State at 1 p.m. (EST) before beginning its home slate on March 19 vs. Butler at 1 p.m. in a Great Western Lacrosse League contest.