Maryland Meltdown

Notre Dame lost to the Terrapins of the University of Maryland yesterday by a score of 12-8.  The Irish knotted the score at 8 early in the 4th quarter after getting consecutive goals from Matt Kavanagh, Tyler Brenneman, Jack Near and Conor Doyle. The Irish were on a roll but Maryland played keep away from that point forward, winning face offs and effectively running large chunks of time off the clock with long, unreasonably long really, possessions.

Kavanagh paced the offense with 6 points on the day. Conor Kelly recorded an eye popping 14 saves in defeat. Notre Dame managed just 21 shots in the loss.

Sporting “special” green and white jerseys, Notre Dame was greeted by sunny skies, temps in the mid-50′s and 2,200 fans, in spite of a campus depleted by Easter break. I, for one, will not remember this new look fondly. We’ve sported the green and white twice this year – the fall ball stinker at Air Force and yesterday’s melt down versus Maryland. Bring on the blue and gold.

With the loss Notre Dame falls to a record of 6-5 on the season and pretty much faces a do or die game in Friday’s opening game in the ACC Tournament – a rematch with Maryland. Notre Dame is on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament – likely on the outside looking in at this point. One more ACC win will likely fix that and two wins means an automatic qualifier. Sounds like an opportunity.

The parents – well we never have an off game. Several of us gathered Friday evening for a welcome cocktail at Brothers. Learned there that John and Michelle Scioscia had voluntarily cleaned Johnny, Liam, Ryan and Tyler’s house earlier that day in anticipation of Sunday’s Easter Brunch gathering. Michelle later confided, “I found latex gloves in the house and that gave me the protection I needed to start cleaning”. “You can’t believe”, mumbled John. Oh yes John. We believe.

We are big on thanking parents for pitching in each week in the blog. John and Michelle go to the head of the class for their sterilization of the boy’s house. Everyone in attendance at today’s gathering thanks you.

Speaking of thank you’s, Jane Marlatt organized the Easter feast. A big thank you to Jane.

Former ND laxers Adam Felecitti, Sean Rogers and Zach Brenneman were also on hand for Saturday. All three played key roles in Notre Dame’s improbable run to the finals in 2010. Oh yeah, that team finished the regular season with a record of 7-6. Just saying.

Adam is in graduate school at ND while Sean and Zach were in from Chicago and New York respectively. Both easily mingled with the current team Saturday after the game and into the evening. Just another special part of being part of this fraternity.

On to Philadelphia. Many of us have looked forward to this lone game in the northeast this season. Did I say game? I meant to say games. Win Friday night and play in the finals Sunday afternoon.

Notre Dame plays Maryland at 7:30 PM at Philadelphia’s beautiful PPL Park. Overlooking the Commodore Barry Bridge in Chester, PA, it is my all time favorite venue. We last played there in 2012, a quarter final win against Virginia and birth into the final four. Let’s hope the good vibes continue. We’ll need them.

Vote for Stephen O’Hara

Photo by Matt CashoreJust checked the Class Awards web site for the lacrosse results and Stephen O’Hara, Notre Dame’s marvelous defenseman and co-captain, has 3.5% of the vote – which places him last among the 10 finalists in the public voting.

Yuh?

Let’s give Stephen some love – today.  You can go in once a day, every day, from every different device you own and cast a vote.  Work computer, home computer, iPhone, iPad, etc.

Yes some of this exercise is silly (I don’t really get the entire voting thing but that is the deal) but we need to get Stephen enough votes to minimize this part of the competition.  To cast your vote:

http://www.seniorclassaward.com/vote/lacrosse_2014/

 

ACC Tournament

IMG_1047According to the attached article from syracuse.com, Notre Dame will finish the ACC season with a #2 seed if they beat Maryland or a #4 seed if they do not.   That is how I saw it as well – though we would be wise to wait for the official announcement from the school.

As a result, Notre Dame will play on Friday at either 5 PM or 7:30 PM and have an opportunity to advance to Sunday’s final and the ACC Championship.

http://www.syracuse.com/patrick-stevens/index.ssf/2014/04/acc_lacrosse_virginias_loss_en.html

Irish Bounce Bobby Mo

Notre Dame downed Robert Morris yesterday by a score of 15-7, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would suggest. Sergio Perkovic had 4 goals and an assist to pace the Irish offense. ND jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. With the victory, the Irish move to 6-4 on the season.

It was a beautiful day in South Bend. Overcast skies and breezy but temps allegedly in the low 70′s at game time. The campus was mobbed by spectators there for the spring football game. The announced attendance was 28,000 for the game but the parking lot was full and festive and gave the appearance of a much larger gathering.

Old friends Bob and MaryLou Moore were nice enough to allow us to use their family tailgate as our gathering spot. Bob manned the grill throughout and a modest gathering of lax parents enjoyed burgers, chicken, brats and the like throughout the late morning. It was a delight to tailgate outside and we can’t thank Bob and MaryLou enough. Also thank you to Doug and Joy Hopkins for taking the lead.

Chatted with Ned Williams at the tailgate. Ned spied a Notre Dame usher prior to the game with Robert Morris displayed on the jacket. “Do they give you guys new jackets every game?” asked Ned. Replied the confused attendant, “my name is Robert Morris”. Oh.

Sat behind Sue and Dan Runyon during the game. The Runyon’s, you may recall, have been touring the Midwest for the past week and have managed to take in three games in one week. Kyle rewarded their support by depositing a goal in yesterday’s game. Kyle made their day with the goal – and they made mine. Every parent knows and appreciates the feeling.

Chatted with Mike Shepardson, there in support of young Mike, during the game. Big women’s lax matchup next week when San Diego State hosts Oregon. Shepardson v. Marlatt. Fun stuff.

The tent was set up with sandwiches and parents brought some beverages and goodies for the kids to snack on after the game. The post game tailgate was again modest and quickly over. We’ve hit the mid season doldrums. Fear not however, something tells me Maryland coming to town will be a pick me up, followed by a trip to Philadelphia for the ACC, and then our final regular season game matchup against Army – when a parent alumni mob hit South Bend. Get ready.

Ten games down in the 2014 lacrosse season and we are in the home stretch. Maryland comes to South Bend next week. Still not certain what exactly our status is for getting into the top 4 in the tournament – but I do know a win against Maryland will be really important for several reasons. It won’t be easy. Maryland and Duke are sitting on top of the Conference, with the rest of us beating each other up. Time to drag Maryland down to our level.

Hope to see you all there.

ACC Tournament Calculus

Eric Miller (Matt and David 2013) sent the attached link with an overview of the ACC Tournament seeding scenarios. It does a good job, I guess, of analyzing the potential seedings. I have read it several times and have a headache and now pass it on to you.

I did receive a note from Jonathan Rodak earlier today and he indicated a preliminary sense that the boys will receive an allotment of 4 tickets for the ACC Tournament games. His text indicated that he was trying to confirm. I pass that on the parents that have reached out to me asking about the ticket situation. I will confirm when I know more. In the meanwhile, here is the link to the ACC Tournament calculus:

http://www.syracuse.com/patrick-stevens/index.ssf/2014/04/syracuse_lacrosse_orange_still.html

Duke Tailgate Photos

I told you we were not the problem that day…

 

Duke11Duke1Duke2Duke3Duke4Duke5Duke6Duke7Duke9Duke10

Brewing Up a Win

Notre Dame visited Milwaukee yesterday and came away with a hard earned win against Marquette by a score of 12-7. Jim Marlatt and Trevor Brosco did the heavy lifting with 3 goals a piece. The Irish move to 5-4 on the season.

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“Roadies” Dan and Sue Runyon

Road trip.  Several parents turned the quick turnaround between the Duke and Marquette games into a road trip.  Mary Mix used her spring break to travel around the Midwest with her mother who is originally from Milwaukee. Sue and Dan Runyon went the RV route and toured the area one parking lot at a time.  Doug Hopkins “worked” from an office in Milwaukee and toured the Pabst Brewery. The Runyon’s toured the Miller Brewery. Meanwhile Beth and Ed Lubowicki visited family in Madison and toured the University of Wisconsin. Said Beth upon arrival at the pre-game, “I can’t drink any more beer”.

Jane Marlatt organized a pre-game gathering at Sprecters – a local brew house (what else?).  She also arranged to bring in meatball and chicken parm sandwiches for the boys after the game and that was a big hit. I ordered up a Bloody Mary upon arrival at Sprecters because, well, you know.  The concoction included pickle, cheese curd, and meat stick.  Did I mention we were in Wisconsin? Many thanks to Jane for putting together the Duke and Marquette fun for us.

The boys ate quickly yesterday and boarded the bus for the trip back to South Bend, many talking about papers and/or exams. Johnny Scioscia complained about the backup at the kiln for his ceramics class. Yes it’s a struggle when you are a senior.

And with that it’s back to the real world for most of us – until we gather again on Saturday for our match up with Robert Morris. Big weekend on campus as the annual Blue and Gold spring football game is this weekend. Early forecast for Saturday – 67 degrees! Hope to see you all in South Bend.

CLASS Award Finalist

Mike Sawyer, Stephen O'HaraCongratulations to Steven O’Hara for be named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award.  It’s a nice honor recognizing Steven’s accomplishments both on and off the field.  He now “competes” with the other 9 candidates through fan voting until May 12th.  We’ve been through a number of times over the last few years and this is a call to action for you, your family and friends to vote for Steven. You can vote once a day, every day, from every device you own. Let’s make sure Steven gets our full support. To read about the award and register your vote, go to www.seniorclassaward.com

 

Funk

imageNotre Dame lost to Duke by a score of 15-8 yesterday in sunny South Bend. In a game they never led, the Irish wasted the best home game crowd of the season at Arlotta Stadium.  Notre Dame drops to 4-4 on the season and 2-2 in the ACC.

Hard to find highlights as Duke dominated the game from the beginning. They are good. Nick Ossello’s two goals paced the Irish offense while Liam O’Connor won 60% of the draws from the face off X.

Looking for a silver lining? Here’s two thoughts that come to mind.  Notre Dame has beaten Duke in their previous 4 regular season match ups – with 3 of those 4 seasons ending with a loss to Duke in the NCAA tournament.  Perhaps it is time for us to return the favor?  Also, the last time a Notre Dame team fell into a mid-season funk like this was 2010 when back to back losses to Drexel and Fairfield sent them reeling. That season, you may recall, didn’t end until an overtime loss in the National Championship game.

Stretching for some positives?  Perhaps.  But not only can it happen – it HAS happened.

Our parent party experienced no such mid-season slump. Jane Marlatt organized a wonderful gathering at the Ivy. Chatted with ND laxer alum Sean Rogers who was in attendance. “It isn’t easy watching games”, reported Sean. “It helps that I watch a lot of games with guys I played with like Nick Beattie, Andrew Irving, and Kelly McKenna. It’s weird still knowing most of the guys and all of the plays”. Sean is trying out for the MLL’s Denver team next week.

Debbie and I bumped into Joy Hopkins at the local Martins early Saturday morning. Reflected that meeting up with friends in the grocery in the mornings is just as much a ritual as attending the tailgates. Just then Ellen O’Connor wondered by. Then Rob Kelly. Party at Martins!

Thanks to Jane for putting together yet another nice tailgate. The post game gathering was held in the tent beside Arlotta and was decidedly more muted. The boys trickled in and out and then on their way.

It looked like Spring for the first time on campus. Sunshine and temps in the high 40′s gave students a chance to dig out sun glasses, shorts and flip flops. You would have thought it July. The football team was on a neighboring field going through spring practice. One attendant warned spectators at the top of Arlotta that it wasn’t permissible to turn and watch the football practice. Want the headline? SC football spy posing as lacrosse mom.

Being a known believer in the “Illusion of Control”, your blogger watched the first half from the stands and then walked over the the crowded berm on the other side of the field to take in the second half. My attempt to change the mojo on this game day appears to have proved Dr. Stat’s point by the way. Any way, I snapped an admittedly blurry photo of the field with the glistening Dome in the background.

Fortunately for everyone involved, there will be no time to dwell on this game. A bus trip to Milwaukee and a Tuesday match up with Marquette takes care of that. Several of us, including Mary Mix and Jane Marlatt, plan to spend the next couple of days out here and take in Marquette as well.

Hope to see you there.

Loser Pays

ND - team huddle shotWe celebrate Notre Dame lacrosse in this blog and I have had the good fortune to meet a number of ND lax alumni over the years. This story from TD Paulius celebrates the 50th anniversary of ND lacrosse.   TD is one such alumni, a great supporter of the program, frequently on the field with camera in hand, and like us a parent of a current ND student.  My apologies in the delay in running the story to coincide with the exact anniversary.  Too many games, too much travel in the spring.  Still a good read:

March 24, 2014 is 50 years from the first ND intercollegiate lacrosse game, an 11-6 win over Colorado State in Ft Collins. The second intercollegiate game was played on March 26, 1964 in Boulder, a 9-8 edging of Colorado. It was the most memorable victory of the start-up program, as explained in the following.

Notre Dame first played lacrosse on an intramural basis in 1895 and 1896. Observer (student newspaper) records in the following years are silent.

The genesis of the current team began in the spring of 1963, when a senior from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Jack Tate, was lying in his bed off campus in a home on Angela, when the notion to bring lacrosse to Notre Dame popped into his head. Jack was an athlete who had lettered in high school in football, basketball and baseball and tried out for football at Notre Dame. A shoulder injury ended any hopes of making the team, so he joined the fencing team and won a monogram, but for some reason Jack wanted something more and lacrosse was that “more.”

Jack spent the next few months writing various collegiate coaches at Ohio State, Johns Hopkins and the Military Academy for advice. They all responded and a portion of the response from West Point coach, Jim Adams, was particularly noteworthy, “Colonel E. S. Adams (the AD at the Point) was very enthused about your letter since the Military Academy is most anxious to compete with our old and friendly rival in as many sports as possible.”

Posters were circulated to develop student interest and 55 students came out for that first team that fall. The roster was populated with students from out east which gave the Irish a basis, but also many athletes who had never picked up a stick before. With nicknames such as “Bandage, Bearcat, Boomer, Camel, Chipmunk, Frog, Mouse, Ots, Spin and Stork, Notre Dame Lacrosse was born. Jack served as a player-coach that year with assistance from Prof. Harry Saxe of the Civil Engineering Department who had played collegiate lacrosse at CCNY and MIT, who helped Jack with preparing a budget and coaching. With Saxe’s assistance, Jack applied for and received a charter from the Student Senate and the University for a Notre Dame Lacrosse Club on 1 November 1963.

Jack was a defensemen, and he was possessed of that odd trait common to long sticks – he was very headstrong and quite often refused to take “no” as an answer. That character trait led him to schedule 10 games for the 1964 season as well as host the Notre Dame Invitational Lacrosse Tournament. He often would agree to commitments without consulting the team.

The most memorable win for the first Fighting Irish lacrosse team had to have been their second game of the season against Colorado. Jack had decided on a spring trip to open the inaugural season in 1964, playing Colorado State on Tuesday, March 24 in Ft. Collins and then traveling to Boulder to play the Buffaloes of the University of Colorado. CSU was also in its inaugural season that year and the Irish prevailed 11-6 in 12 degree weather.

Two days later, the Irish were to play Colorado on Thursday. Wednesday saw a 5 hour blizzard that covered the field with 3-4 feet of snow. It was a wet and heavy snow so the players were unable to clear the field by themselves. The captain of the Colorado team told Jack they could get the field plowed, but it would cost $350, and was Notre Dame willing to pay half? Jack’s response, out of earshot from the team was epic, “LOSER PAYS!” That may not seem much, but that $350 was equivalent to $2,600.66 in 2014!

Jack of course didn’t tell his teammates until the start of the game. The entire team had no more than $75 among them so it was a must win situation against a Colorado club team that had been playing for at least three prior years. Jack obviously took the phrase of the fight song, “what though the odds, be great or small” too literally. He finally told the team in the pre face-off huddle. Notre Dame relied upon a fast break offense as the Colorado defenders were slow and the Irish eked out a 9-8 victory. Jim Salscheider (Mankato, MN) scored four goals and Tom Moran (Wethersfield, CT) scored twice for the Irish. In goal, Billy, the “Camel”, Joseph made 20 saves. Joseph held the season save record of 245 saves from 1966 until it was broken by Al Pinado in 1980, the last year of the club program at Notre Dame, who garnered 252 saves, a record that appears to be still standing.

LOSER PAYS, what a way to start a program!