March 5, 2009

Courtesy of Notre Dame

SETTING THE STAGE: A top-10 showdown will be on hand when the No. 7 Notre Dame men's lacrosse team plays host to third-ranked North Carolina on Sunday, March 8 inside the Loftus Sports Center. The game is slated for a 1:00 p.m. (ET) start. The contest will be shown tape-delayed on CBS College Sports at 4:30 p.m. (ET). The Fighting Irish will carry a 3-0 mark along with a program-record 20-game home win streak into the clash with the Tar Heels, who are 6-0 this season.

HOW TO FOLLOW: The tilt between Notre Dame and North Carolina can be seen tape-delayed on CBS College Sports at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday ... live in-game stats also will be available through the Notre Dame athletics web site, und.com ... simply go to und.com and find the `Men's Lacrosse' page and click on `Schedule' ... once there, find the North Carolina game and there will be a link to `Gametracker' ... you can also sign up for `Irish Alert', a text messaging service designed to give fans game updates for all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame.

ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame improved to 3-0 with a 19-7 victory over Dartmouth on Feb. 28 ... senior attackman Duncan Swezey paced the Irish with four goals and an assist ... midfielders Grant Krebs and Peter Christman both notched hat tricks along with handing out one assist apiece ... Notre Dame used 10 goal scorers in the victory ... senior goalie Scott Rodgers moved to 3-0 by making eight saves in 50:42 against the Big Green ... Krebs, a junior, has a team-high eight goals, while his classmate Neal Hicks has team-high totals in points (12) and assists (5) ... the Fighting Irish are averaging 14.0 goals per game ... that mark ranks them in a tie for fifth nationally ... the Irish defense is surrendering just 8.0 goals per contest ... Notre Dame returned five starters and 18 letterwinners from last year's team that posted a 14-3 record and won the GWLL title before advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals ... Kevin Corrigan is in his 21st season as the head coach of Notre Dame ... he has a 184-95 (.659) record during his Fighting Irish tenure.

ND-NORTH CAROLINA SERIES NOTES: Sunday will be the ninth meeting all-time between the Fighting Irish and Tar Heels ... this will mark the seventh straight year that the two schools have squared off ... North Carolina holds a 5-3 edge in the series ... the Tar Heels won last season's contest, 8-6, in Chapel Hill ... North Carolina has won the past two meetings, but prior to that the Irish had won two straight in the series ... North Carolina is 2-1 all-time at Notre Dame ... the Irish won the last home meeting against the Tar Heels, 9-7, in 2006 ... the first encounter between the two schools took place during the 1995 season ... the Tar Heels won that contest, 11-8, in Chapel Hill.

TIGHT SERIES: In the eight meetings all-time between Notre Dame and North Carolina, no game has been decided by more than three goals ... all three Fighting Irish victories in the series have been by two goals ... the Tar Heels have a one-goal win over the Irish along with a two-goal victory and they have defeated Notre Dame by three goals on three occasions.

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA: The Tar Heels enter Sunday's game with a 6-0 mark ... North Carolina is coming off a 19-4 win over Detroit Mercy on March 3 ... the Tar Heels opened the season with a 16-4 triumph of Robert Morris before taking down Denver, 20-7 ... North Carolina then grabbed narrow wins over Navy (9-8) and Colgate (11-9) before taking care of Lehigh (14-6) ... the game against the Irish will mark North Carolina's first true road game of the season ... Bart Wagner has team-high totals in goals (16) and points (23) ... Gavin Petracca has a team-best 10 assists ... Grant Zimmerman has all six decisions in goal ... he carries a 6.40 goals-against average and a .593 save percentage ... the North Carolina offense is averaging 14.83 goals per game, while the defense is surrendering 6.33 per game ... head coach Joe Breschi is in his first season at North Carolina ... he spent the past 11 seasons as the head coach at Ohio State.

THE LAST TIME: North Carolina edged the Irish, 8-6, last season in Chapel Hill, N.C. ... North Carolina was ranked fourth at the time and Notre Dame was fifth ... the Tar Heels jumped out to a 4-0 halftime lead ... both squads notched four goals in the third quarter before Notre Dame mounted a fourth-quarter rally with two goals, yet fell just short in the end ... Michael Podgajny led the Irish with two goals and an assist ... current Fighting Irish players Duncan Swezey, Ryan Hoff and Mike Creighton also tallied goals in the setback.

HOSTING THE HIGHLY-RANKED: Sunday will mark the first time Notre Dame has played host to a team ranked in the top-three of the national polls since the 2002 campaign ... that season, the Fighting Irish welcomed in No. 3 Loyola and the Greyhounds escaped with a 7-6 double-overtime victory.

HOME SWEET HOME: Notre Dame will carry a program-record 20-game home win streak into Sunday's showdown with North Carolina ... the Irish extended the streak to 20 with a 19-7 win over Dartmouth in the home opener last Saturday ... the Fighting Irish went 6-0 at home last season ... the Irish have gone three straight seasons without losing a home contest ... the current streak stems back to a 14-13 overtime win against Air Force on April 10, 2005 ... Notre Dame's last loss at home was a 9-6 setback to Denver on April 7, 2005 ... the Irish went a perfect 6-0 at home during the 2006 campaign and followed it up with a 6-0 mark in 2007 ... five of the games during the streak have been played in the Loftus Sports Center, while 12 have taken place outside at Moose Krause Stadium, the former home of Irish lacrosse ... one victory last season took place at School Field in South Bend and the last two during the '08 campaign occurred at Alumni Field ... the Fighting Irish have taken down six ranked opponents during the streak ... Notre Dame owns an overall home record of 121-35 (.776) during the 28-plus years of varsity lacrosse at the University.

HOME OPENERS: Following the 19-7 triumph of Dartmouth on Feb. 28, the Fighting Irish are now 26-3 all-time in home openers ... Notre Dame has won its last seven home openers ... the last Irish loss in a home lid-lifter occurred in 2002, a 10-9 overtime setback to Penn State.

GOING FOR FOUR: A win over North Carolina on Sunday would give Notre Dame a 4-0 start for the second straight year ... the Irish began last year 4-0 for the first time since the 2001 campaign ... this season marks sixth time in program history that Notre Dame has begun a season 3-0 ... Notre Dame has started a season 4-0 on three occasions (1993, 2001 & 2008).

FAST STARTS: The Fighting Irish have out scored their opponents 26-13 in the first half of play this season ... Notre Dame has a 14-6 scoring advantage in the first quarter and a 12-7 edge in the second quarter of play.

GETTING OFFENSIVE: Entering this week's play, Notre Dame and North Carolina were tied for fifth among all NCAA Division I teams by averaging 14 goals per game this season ... the Fighting Irish are coming off a season-best performance with 19 goals against Dartmouth ... the high-water mark for the Tar Heels this season was 20 goals against Denver.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: The Irish have had 13 different players score a goal this season ... in the 19-7 win over Dartmouth, Notre Dame had 10 players notch a goal

HOFF MOVING UP THE CHARTS: Senior attackman Ryan Hoff ranks fourth all-time in program history with 108 career goals ... as a rookie, he tallied 21 goals before becoming the first Fighting Irish player to register back-to-back 40-goal campaigns with 40 in 2007 and 41 in 2008 ... Hoff has six goals this season ... the senior needs eight goals to move past Chris Dusseau (1996-1999) and into third place ... Randy Colley (1992-95) is the program record holder with 173 career goals.

HOFF ON TEWAARATON WATCH LIST: Ryan Hoff has been named to the 60-man watch list for the 2009 Tewaaraton Trophy ... the award is presented annually to the nation's top men's and women's collegiate lacrosse player ... Hoff, a USILA All-America honoree last season after scoring 41 goals, has scored six goals this season in helping the Irish to a 3-0 start ... the ninth annual Tewaaraton Award Ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2009, at the University Club of Washington, D.C.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Junior defenseman Sam Barnes has been the latest Notre Dame player named to the Inside Lacrosse team of the week ... Barnes joined teammates Grant Krebs and Scott Rodgers as Irish student-athletes selected to the publication's team of the week so far this season ... Barnes earned the honor after helping the Fighting Irish shut down Dartmouth in Notre Dame's 19-7 victory in its home opener on Feb. 28 ... Krebs was named to the first Inside Lacrosse team of the week (Feb. 17) after notching four points on three goals and an assist in the 10-9 season-opening win over Loyola ... the junior midfielder was selected to squad as the `EMO Sniper' after he scored two man-up tallies in the second half against the Greyhounds ... Rodgers, a senior goalie, was named to the IL team of the week on Feb. 24 after notching a career-high 20 saves in a 13-8 victory at Penn State.

LEAGUE HONORS: Notre Dame has produced two recipients of the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) player-of-the-week award this season ... junior midfielder Grant Krebs claimed the honor on Feb. 17, while his classmate Neal Hicks received the distinction on Feb. 24 ... Krebs garnered the award after notching a team-best four points on three goals and an assist in the 10-9 season-opening win over Loyola on Feb. 14 ... Hicks produced career-best single-game numbers in goals (4), assists (4) and points (8) in Notre Dame's 13-8 win at Penn State on Feb. 22 ... these were the first-ever GWLL player-of-the-week honors for both Krebs and Hicks.

HICKS OFF TO HOT START: Junior attackman Neal Hicks is off to a stellar start this season ... Hicks leads the Irish in points (12) and assists (5) ... his five goals rank second on the team ... the Atlanta native returned to his home state and registered the first hat trick of his career in a 10-9 win over Loyola in the season opener ... Hicks followed that up with an eight-point performance on four goals and four assists in a 13-8 win at Penn State ... all of those numbers were single-game career-high marks for the junior ... the eight points were one off the program record of nine.

WORTH THE WAIT: Entering the 2009 season, senior goalie Scott Rodgers had only appeared in seven career games while backing up three-time All-American Joey Kemp ... after not playing at all last season, Rodgers made his first collegiate start in the 10-9 win over Loyola on Feb. 14 ... Rodgers came up with two huge saves in the final minute to preserve the win for the Fighting Irish and collect the first victory of his career ... the senior followed that performance up with a career-high 20 saves in a 13-8 win over Penn State on Feb. 22 ... that effort earned him a spot on the Inside Lacrosse team of the week ... Rodgers improved to 3-0 by making eight saves in 50:42 in a 19-7 win over Dartmouth.

STREAKING: Junior midfielder Grant Krebs carries a team-best 19-game point streak into Sunday's tilt against North Carolina ... the streak ranks in a tie for seventh nationally ... he has notched 46 points on 34 goals and 12 assists during the streak ... Krebs has tallied 11 points on eight goals and three assists this season ... senior attackman Ryan Hoff is riding a team-best 17-game goal streak ... he has six goals on the season.

BACK TO GEORGIA: The season-opening tilt against Loyola at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Ga. marked the second time in as many seasons that Notre Dame has played in the Atlanta area as part of the `Southern Showdown' ... the Fighting Irish are 2-0 in their treks to the Peachtree State ... last March, the Irish topped Dartmouth, 19-7, at The Lovett School in Atlanta ... that was the first-ever NCAA Division I men's lacrosse game played in the state of Georgia.

IN THE POLLS: Notre Dame currently ranks in the top 10 in three of the major collegiate lacrosse polls ... the Fighting Irish are No. 7 in the USILA coaches poll, the Inside Lacrosse media rankings and in the Lacrosse Magazine poll ... the No. 7 ranking marks the highest Notre Dame has been ranked this season.

QUALITY COMPETITION: The Fighting Irish have five teams on their 2009 slate that appear in the most recent USILA coaches poll ... Notre Dame opened the campaign with a 10-9 win over current No. 14 Loyola ... the Irish will play host to No. 3 North Carolina on Sunday ... Notre Dame will face No. 20 Bucknell on March 12 in Bethesda, Md. ... the Fighting Irish will welcome in No. 19 St. John's on April 19 before wrapping up the regular season against Ohio State, who is ranked 15th ... the Irish will meet the Buckeyes in a GWLL tilt on April 25 in Columbus, Ohio.

IRISH TABBED TO WIN GWLL: Notre Dame has been picked to win the 2009 Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) title according to a preseason poll done by the conference's head coaches ... the Irish won the GWLL last season by capturing the league's inaugural postseason tournament ... the poll, which was published in the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook, had Denver in the No. 2 slot followed by Ohio State ... Air Force, Bellarmine and Quinnipiac round out the poll, respectively ... the GWLL enjoyed unprecedented success last season as three teams qualified for the NCAA Championship for the first time ever ... Notre Dame, Ohio State and Denver all were among the 16-team NCAA field ... the Irish and Buckeyes both advanced to the quarterfinals, making it the first time the league ever had two teams among the final eight.

PRESEASON HONORS: Two Fighting Irish players were named to the 2009 All-Great Western Lacrosse League preseason team, which was selected by the league's head coaches ... seniors Ryan Hoff (A) and Regis McDermott (D) were selected to the 13-man squad.

IRISH NAME '09 CAPTAINS: Seniors Peter Christman (M), Regis McDermott (D), Davey Melera (M) and Scott Rodgers (G) all are first-time captains for the Fighting Irish during the 2009 campaign.

IRISH DEFENSE AMONG THE NATION'S BEST: Notre Dame boasted the nation's fifth-best scoring defense in 2008 by allowing 7.04 goals per game ... in 2007, the Fighting Irish ranked fourth nationally by surrendering a program-record 6.66 goals per game ... this season, Notre Dame is giving up 8.00 goals per game ... that mark ranks in a tie for 17th nationally.

OFFENSIVE OUTPUT: As the Notre Dame defense has been one of the best in the nation over the past two seasons, so has the Fighting Irish offense ... in 2007, Notre Dame averaged 11.65 goals per game, which ranked fourth in the nation ... the Irish averaged 12.09 goals per game last season and that placed them fifth among NCAA Division I teams ... Notre Dame is averaging 14.00 goals per game this season, which ranks in a tie for fifth nationally.

BACK IN THE ATTACK: The Fighting Irish return a bulk of their high-scoring offense that ended the 2008 season ranked fifth nationally by averaging 12.09 goals per game ... senior Ryan Hoff followed a 40-goal sophomore campaign with 41 tallies last season en route to garnering honorable mention All-America honors ... he is the first player in program history to notch back-to-back 40-goal seasons ... Hoff also earned All-GWLL first-team accolades ... fellow senior attackman Duncan Swezey tallied 22 goals and 17 assists one season ago ... junior Neal Hicks played primarily in the midfield last season and notched 12 goals and six assists ... he is occupying the third attack spot this season ... Hicks leads the Irish in points (12) and assists (5) while junior midfielder Grant Krebs has a team-best eight goals and two assists ... Hoff has six goals and Swezey has notched five goals and four assists ... the Fighting Irish rank fifth nationally by averaging 14.0 goals per game this season.

MANNING UP: Last season, the Fighting Irish ranked fourth nationally in man-up offense by converting on 44.6 percent (29-for-65) of their chances ... Ryan Hoff had a team-best seven man-up goals, while current juniors Grant Krebs and Matt Ciambella both notched four man-up tallies ... the Irish are 7-for-12 (.583) in man-up opportunities this season ... that ranks ninth nationally ... Krebs has a team-high four man-up goals.

RECAPPING '08: Notre Dame produced a 14-3 record during the 2008 season ... the Fighting Irish won the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) title by capturing the inaugural GWLL tournament ... that marked the 11th GWLL crown for the program ... Notre Dame garnered the No. 6 seed for the NCAA Championship and topped Colgate, 8-7, in overtime before falling to eventual national champion Syracuse, 11-9, during the quarterfinals ... that was the fourth time the Irish had advanced to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals ... it was Notre Dame's 13th trip to the NCAA Tournament and the second time the Irish had earned a seed ... Notre Dame has been eliminated from the tournament by the eventual national champion in each of the past three seasons (Virginia, 14-10, in '06 and Johns Hopkins, 11-10 in overtime, in '07) ... the Irish offense and defense both concluded the '08 season ranked fifth nationally ... the offense averaged 12.09 goals per game, while the defense surrendered just 7.04 per contest ... the Irish finished the season ranked fifth in the final USILA poll and sixth according to Inside Lacrosse.

BIG EAST AWAITS: The 2009 season will be the last for Notre Dame in the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) ... the Fighting Irish will begin play in the BIG EAST Conference in 2010 ... the six other conference schools that will participate in the newly-formed league are Georgetown, Providence, Rutgers, St. John's, Syracuse and Villanova ... the teams will play a six-game single round-robin regular season schedule ... the BIG EAST will apply for an automatic bid to the 16-team NCAA Championship field ... men's lacrosse will be the BIG EAST's 11th men's sport while the Conference conducts 13 women's sports ... Notre Dame already is a member of the BIG EAST in 23 other sports ... Notre Dame has been a member of the GWLL since 1994 ... the Fighting Irish have captured 11 regular-season GWLL titles in addition to winning the inaugural GWLL Tournament in 2008.

ARLOTTA STADIUM: Arlotta Stadium will become the new home for the Notre Dame men's and women's lacrosse programs upon completion, which is scheduled for June of 2009 ... construction of the facility began in August of 2008 ... conceptual plans suggest a 2,000-seat, lighted stadium that would include an artificial-turf field, locker rooms, restrooms and concession areas ... the state-of-the-art facility is named after Notre Dame graduate John Arlotta, president and chief executive officer of Denver-based Coram Inc. ... he and his wife Bobbie pledged the lead gift toward the stadium to be built to the east of the Joyce Center as part of the University's new athletics quadrangle ... the Arlotta children - Mindy, Andy and Jon - also have pledged an additional gift from The Arlotta Family Foundation toward the project ... in addition to their generous donation, alumni and friends of the lacrosse programs have donated over two million dollars.

WATCH ALL ND HOME GAMES ONLINE: All Notre Dame home games that are not televised will feature a live broadcast on und.com, the school's offical athletics web site ... simply go to the front page of und.com and click on the `Live Events' tab and select the game to view the broadcast ... live stats will be available through Gametracker via und.com by going to the Notre Dame men's lacrosse page and clicking on `Schedule' to select the game to follow.

SIGN UP FOR IRISH ALERT TEXT MESSAGE SERVICE: Go to und.com to sign up for Irish ALERT, a text messaging service designed to give fans game updates for all 26 varsity sports at Notre Dame ... Irish men's lacrosse fans can sign up to receive scores following each quarter.

KEEPING UP WITH ND MEN'S LACROSSE: Log onto und.com for the latest information on the Notre Dame men's lacrosse program ... und.com, the official athletics web site for the University of Notre Dame, features press releases, game stories, feature stories, video interviews, stats, rosters and more ... fans also can call the Notre Dame Sports Hotline at (574) 631-3000 ... the hotline provides schedules and result information for all 26 varsity sports ... in addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting assistant sports information director Sean Carroll at Carroll.64@nd.edu or (574) 631-2664 ... all requests for story ideas, interview access, match credentials and further information on Irish men's lacrosse should similarly be directed to Carroll ... credential and interview requests should be made at least 24 hours in advance.