Thursday, January 18, 2007

Notre Dame Sports Update

Baseball After losing their two top pitchers, Jeff Samardzija and Jeff Manship, and their top hitter, Craig Cooper, National expectations are low. But new head coach Dave Schrage (who unfortunately lost his wife to liver cancer recently) brings hope to the program. Pitchers Wade Korpi and Kyle Weiland have been named to the Roger Clemens Award (top pitcher) watch list, and Korpi has also been named to the player-of-the-year watch list. After the team's Opening Night Dinner on February 12, this year featuring Craig Counsell and Jim Leyland, the team will start the season February 17 against Prairie View A&M and Texas State.

Men's Basketball 15-3/3-2 Big East/20 AP/20 ESPN USA Today The upstart men have ridden two big early season wins to a national ranking, but now comes the tough Big East schedule. Russell Carter is the new face of the team, and the young troops are playing like their energetic leader. The main challenge now is the point guard spot, an already thin position made even thinner with the loss of Kyle McAlarney. The men next tip of Sunday at 1 PM at home against South Florida.

Women's Basketball 12-5/3-1 Big East Notre Dame's other young basketball team has ridden a tough schedule to a 12-5 record. (The women's team has a much better RPI than the men thanks to a much better strength of schedule.) Charel Allen is leading the team at 15.4 points per game. Tough-as-nails freshman guard Ashley Barlow is averaging 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals per game. Barlow became my favorite player after one game, and I'm sure many will share that opinion after watching her.

Men's Cross Country 14 USTFCCCA The men finished 19rd overall at the NCAA Championships in November, led by Patrick Smyth's individual 36th place finish.

Women's Cross Country The women's lone representative at the NCAAs was Sunni Olding, who finished 142nd.

Fencing A Schumacher-less fencing squad begins the Notre Dame Duals this weekend, as Mariel Zagunis has taken a leave of absence from Notre Dame to prepare for 2008 Olympic qualifying.

Football 10-3/17 AP/19 USA Today A list of seniors playing in all-star bowls can be found here.

Men's Golf The men golfers finished between 2nd and 11th in ten matches this fall. The spring season starts on February 18 in Ponte Vedra, FL with the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational.

Women's Golf The women golfers had one first place, two second, and one third place finishes among ten events, and never finished lower than 12th. The spring season starts the weekend of February 19 in Parrish, FL.

Hockey 19-4-1/13-2-1 CCHA/3 USA Today/3 Jeff Jackson's icers have broken out this season to a top ranking, aided by wins over then-#1 Boston College, and a split weekend with top 5 Michigan State. The hockey team travels to Western Michigan for a two game series this weekend.

Men's Lacrosse 16 Inside Lacrosse The men's lacrosse team starts the season at home against Loyola (MD) on February 17.

Women's Lacrosse 5 Lacrosse Magasine Yet another program on the rise, the women's lacrosse team had only 3 wins in 2005, and this year is expected to finish 2nd in the Big East. The women start their season with an exhibition game at Penn on February 18. Pete, I expect you to be there promptly for the 9 AM start.

Women's Rowing It was a quiet fall for the women's rowing team. They competed in a non-score even in Rockford, Illinois, at the beginning of October. A home meet against Michigan State, the only other event on the schedule, was cancelled due to high winds.

Men's Soccer 15-6-2/8-3-0 Big East/6 NSCAA/21 Soccer America The men's soccer program is one on the rise. Following a second round loss in 2005, the men advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals before losing 3-2 to Virginia. Greg Dalby was named an All-American for the second straight year, and this time he was joined by Joseph Lapira. Lapira also won college soccer's top individual honor, the Hermann Trophy. Dalby and teammate Nate Norman were both taken in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft.

Women's Soccer 25-1-1/10-0-1 Big East/1 NSCAA/1 Soccer Times/1st Soccer Buzz/1 (Soccer America It never fails: no matter how good Notre Dame is, and how bad North Carolina is, the Tarheels always seem to have ND's number in the NCAA tournament. This year, the Irish women suffered their only loss of the season in the NCAA finals, to who else but UNC. On a positive note, Kerri Hanks was awarded the women's Hermann Trophy, making Notre Dame the only school to have players win both Hermanns in the same year.

Softball The softball team went 4-0 in a special fall tournament. Despite this success, they are predicted to finish only third in the Big East this year. The team's quest to prove the experts wrong will begin at the Tiger Invitational in Auburn, Alabama, on the weekend of February 16.

Men's Swimming & Diving 8-0/16 CSCAA The Irish backed up their 8-0 record with a 1st place finish in a quad meet at Cleveland State last weekend. This weekend, they face Northwestern at home, and next weekend they host the Shamrock Invitational.

Women's Swimming & Diving 4-0/19 CSCAA In addition to their 4-0 record, the Irish have managed to finish no lower than 3rd in four tournaments, including two first place finishes.

Men's Tennis 13 ITA The men's tennis season starts on January 26 with a trip to Virginia.

Women's Tennis 4 ITA Catrina and Christian Thompson kicked off the spring season with a win at last week's UNLV invitational. The women next play January 26 at Illinois.

Track & Field The Irish began the indoor season with non-scored meet at home and at Purdue. The season officially kicks off with the Notre Dame Indoor Opener Friday.

Volleyball 18-14/10-4 Big East It was an uncharacteristic down year for an Irish voleyball team that has dominated over the past few decades. For the third time in as many years, Wisconsin ended Notre Dame's season, this time in the first year of the NCAA tournament.