March 11, 2009

SETTING THE STAGE: The fourth-ranked Notre Dame men's lacrosse team will put its perfect 4-0 record on the line when the Irish face Bucknell on Thursday, March 12 at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Md. The Fighting Irish are coming off a 9-7 triumph of No. 3 North Carolina on Sunday. Bucknell will carry a 1-3 mark into the contest. This will be just the second meeting ever between the two schools.

ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame improved to 4-0 with a 9-7 win over third-ranked North Carolina last Sunday ... senior attackman Ryan Hoff led the way with a hat trick for the Irish, who upped their program-record home win streak to 21 games ... senior goalie Scott Rodgers moved to 4-0 by making 16 saves en route to earning Great Western Lacrosse League player-of-the-week honors ... Rodgers ranks third among all NCAA Division I goalies with a .647 save percentage to go along with a 7.80 goals-against average ... juniors Grant Krebs and Neal Hicks share the team lead with 14 points apiece ... Krebs, a midfielder, has a team-high 10 goals to go along with four assists ... Hicks, an attackman, has nine goals and five assists ... seniors Duncan Swezey and Peter Christman lead the Irish in assists with six each ... the Fighting Irish are averaging 12.75 goals per game ... that mark ranks sixth nationally ... the Irish defense is surrendering just 7.75 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 185-95 (.661) record during his Fighting Irish tenure.

ND-BUCKNELL SERIES NOTES: Thursday will be just the second meeting ever between Notre Dame and Bucknell ... the Fighting Irish downed the Bison, 12-7, during the first round of the 2001 NCAA Championship in West Point, N.Y. ... Notre Dame wound up advancing to the national semifinals that season.

ABOUT BUCKNELL: The Bison moved to 1-3 following a 7-2 setback at Hobart on March 7 ... Bucknell has faced three ranked opponents this season ... the Bison opened the campaign with an 11-7 loss at No. 6 Duke before falling at No. 19 Ohio State, 10-9 in overtime ... Bucknell topped 12th-ranked Navy, 8-7 ... the Bison are averaging 6.43 goals per game, while allowing 8.66 per contest ... Joe Mele has a team-best seven goals, while Austin Winter has team-high totals in assists (8) and points (10) ... Nick Sciubba has all four decisions in goal and carries a 9.34 goals-against average and a .538 save percentage ... Bucknell went 10-5 last season, including a 4-2 mark in the Patriot League ... the Bison returned eight starters and 26 letterwinners from that squad ... head coach Frank Fedorjaka is in his fourth season at the helm of the Bucknell program ... he has a 28-20 record at the school.

IRISH AGAINST THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Notre Dame is 10-2 all-time against the Patriot League, including a 9-1 mark during the Kevin Corrigan era ... the Irish will look to improve that record when they face Bucknell on Thursday ... the Bison are the only Patriot League opponent on Notre Dame's 2009 schedule ... Notre Dame topped its only two Patriot League foes last season ... the Irish bested Lehigh, 14-7, during the regular season and grabbed an 8-7 overtime decision against Colgate during the first round of the NCAA Championship.

TOPPING THE HIGHLY-RANKED: Notre Dame's 9-7 win over No. 3 North Carolina on Sunday (March 8) marked the second time in program history that the Irish had defeated a team ranked in the top three of the national polls ... the Fighting Irish took down third-ranked Johns Hopkins, 13-9, during the quarterfinals of the 2001 NCAA Championship.

HOME SWEET HOME: Notre Dame upped its program-record home win streak to 21 games with the 9-7 win over North Carolina on March 8 ... the Irish are 2-0 at home this season ... the Fighting Irish went 6-0 at home last season ... the Irish have gone three-plus 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 ... six 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 seven ranked opponents during the streak ... Notre Dame owns an overall home record of 122-35 (.777) during the 28-plus years of varsity lacrosse at the University.

GOING FOR FIVE: With a win against Bucknell on Thursday, Notre Dame will start a season 5-0 for just the third time in program history and the first since the final four campaign in 2001 ... the other 5-0 start came in 1993 when the Fighting Irish produced a program-best 8-0 record to begin a season ... the Irish have started a season 4-0 for the second straight season and for the fourth time in program history (1993, 2001, 2008 & 2009).

FAST STARTS: The Fighting Irish have out scored their opponents 29-17 in the first half of play this season ... Notre Dame has a 15-8 scoring advantage in the first quarter and a 14-9 edge in the second quarter of play.

THIRD QUARTER SHUTDOWN: Notre Dame has allowed just three goals in the third quarter this season ... the Irish held No. 3 North Carolina scoreless during the third stanza in Notre Dame's 9-7 win over the Tar Heels on March 8 ... the Fighting Irish have scored 10 goals in the third quarter this season.

DOMINATING DEFENSE: Notre Dame held North Carolina scoreless for a stretch of 29:57 from the second quarter to the fourth quarter in the Irish win on March 8 ... the third-ranked Tar Heels entered the contest averaging nearly 15 goals per game, which ranked fifth nationally ... North Carolina scored with 4:19 remaining the first half to take a 4-3 lead ... the Tar Heels did not notch another goal until the 4:22 mark of the fourth quarter ... Notre Dame out scored North Carolina 4-0 during that stretch en route to the 9-7 victory.

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 a season-high 10 players notch a goal. HAT TRICK FOR HOFF: Senior attackman Ryan Hoff netted his first hat trick of the season in helping the Irish to a 9-7 win over North Carolina on March 8 ... Hoff now has scored three or more goals in 16 games during his stellar collegiate career.

HOFF MOVING UP THE CHARTS: Senior attackman Ryan Hoff ranks fourth all-time in program history with 111 career goals ... as a rookie, he tallied 21 goals before becoming the first Fighting Irish player ever to register back-to-back 40-goal campaigns with 40 in 2007 and 41 in 2008 ... Hoff has nine goals this season ... the senior needs five 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 nine goals this season in helping the Irish to a 4-0 start ... the ninth annual Tewaaraton Award Ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2009, at the University Club of Washington, D.C.

SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATES: Notre Dame's Peter Christman and Ryan Hoff are among a list of 30 NCAA Division I men's lacrosse players who have been selected as candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award ... 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: Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition ... Christman has been a starter in all four games this season and has 10 points on four goals and six assists ... the team captain boasts a 3.622 cumulative grade-point average as a political science major in the College of Arts and Letters ... Christman was named to the dean's list in the fall of 2008 with a 3.883 semester GPA ... Hoff has deposited nine goals this season ... the senior carries a 3.230 cumulative grade-point average as a marketing major in the Mendoza College of Business ... Hoff was a dean's list member in the fall of 2008 as he posted a 3.883 semester GPA.

RODGERS NAMED GWLL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior goalie Scott Rodgers was named the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) player of the week for the week of March 2-8 ... Rodgers made 16 saves in a 9-7 victory over third-ranked North Carolina on Sunday ... Rodgers and the Fighting Irish defense held the Tar Heels scoreless for a stretch of 29:57 that spanned the second to the fourth quarter ... North Carolina entered the contest averaging nearly 15 goals per game, which ranked fifth nationally ... Rodgers came up with key saves down the stretch to preserve the victory and move the team's record to a perfect 4-0 on the season.

LEAGUE HONORS: Notre Dame has produced three recipients of the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) player-of-the-week award this season ... goalie Scott Rodgers earned the distinction on March 10, while midfielder Grant Krebs and attackman Neal Hicks received the honor on Feb. 17 and 24, respectively ... 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 victory at Penn State on Feb. 22 ... Rodgers made 16 saves in a 9-7 win over No. 3 North Carolina on March 8 ... these were the first-ever GWLL player-of-the-week honors for all three student-athletes.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame's Sam Barnes, Grant Krebs and Scott Rodgers all have been named to the Inside Lacrosse team of the week 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.

HICKS OFF TO HOT START: Junior attackman Neal Hicks is off to a stellar start this season ... Hicks is tied for the team lead in total points with 14 (9g, 5a) ... 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 ... the Long Island native came up big in the 9-7 triumph of No. 3 North Carolina as he made 16 saves and was named the Great Western Lacrosse League player of the week for his effort ... he currently ranks third among all NCAA goalies with a .647 save percentage ... he also boasts a 7.80 goals-against average.

STREAKING: Junior midfielder Grant Krebs carries a team-best 20-game point streak into Thursday's tilt against Bucknell ... the streak ranks in a tie for sixth nationally ... he has notched 59 points on 36 goals and 13 assists during the streak ... Krebs has tallied 14 points on 10 goals and four assists this season ... senior attackman Ryan Hoff is riding a team-best 18-game goal streak ... he has nine goals on the season.

IN THE POLLS: Notre Dame currently ranks in the top five in three of the major collegiate lacrosse polls ... the Fighting Irish peak at No. 4 in the Inside Lacrosse media poll ... that is the highest ranking of the season for Notre Dame ... the Irish are fifth according to both the USILA and Lacrosse Magazine.

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 No. 14 Loyola ... the Irish downed current No. 8 North Carolina on March 8 ... Notre Dame will play host to No. 20 Villanova on March 31 ... the Irish will have a road date with No. 19 Denver on April 11 ... the Fighting Irish will welcome in No. 15 St. John's on April 19.

GETTING OFFENSIVE: Notre Dame ranks sixth among all NCAA Division I teams by averaging 12.75 goals per game this season ... the Irish have scored at least nine goals in every game this season and scored a season-high 19 times against Dartmouth (Feb. 28) ... the Irish averaged 12.09 goals per game last season and that placed them fifth nationally ... in 2007, Notre Dame averaged 11.65 goals per game, which ranked fourth in the nation.

BACK IN THE ATTACK: The Fighting Irish returned 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 ... junior midfielder Grant Krebs notched 35 points (26g, 9a) last season and leads the team this season with 10 goals ... Krebs and Hicks are tied for team-high honors in points with 14 apiece ... Notre Dame currently ranks sixth in the nation with a 12.75 goals per game average.

MANNING UP: The Fighting Irish rank fifth nationally in man-up offense by converting on 56.3 percent (9-for-16) of their chances ... junior midfielder Grant Krebs has a team-high six man-up goals this season ... last season, the Fighting Irish ranked fourth nationally in man-up offense with a 44.6 percentage (29-for-65).

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 7.57 goals per game ... that mark ranks 15th nationally.