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Notre Dame: Year in Sports

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Men’s Cross CountryThe Irish sent two members of their team to the NCAA Championships in Todd Mobley and Tim Moore. Mobley finished 27th (30 minutes, 9.5 seconds) and was named an All-American as a result, while Moore finished in 89th place (30:48.1).Notre Dame finished a disappointing eighth at the Great Lakes Regional meet, and did not earn a team NCAA Tournament bid. The Irish finished second in the Big East championships, losing to Georgetown in the Bronx, N.Y.The Irish opened their season at the Valparaiso Invitational, just barely finishing behind Western Michigan for first place at that meet. Notre Dame then returned home two weeks later to take first place at the National Catholic Championship. The Irish won the Notre Dame Invitational to make it three team victories in a row, but did not finish higher than second in their final three meets.Women’s Cross CountryThe Irish completed their season with a 10th-place finish at the NCAA Championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Junior Lauren King and sophomore Molly Huddle paced the Irish, with each runner finishing in the top 35 in the field.King finished the race with a time of 20 minutes, 35.6 seconds, with Huddle not far behind at 20:48.5.Notre Dame’s 10th-place finish was somewhat of a disappointment during a season in which the Irish never placed below third overall in any of their regular season meets. The Irish captured first overall in the Valparaiso Invitational, the National Catholic Championship, the Notre Dame Invitational, the Big East Championship and the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. Huddle was the overall winner at the Great Lakes Regional with a time of 20:14.7.King made history for the Irish, as she became the first ever three-time All-American in the program’s history.Men’s SoccerThe Irish advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the program’s history, before falling 1-1, 4-3 on penalty kicks to Michigan Nov. 23.The Irish were accustomed to overtime early in the season, with four of the team’s first five games going to the extra frame. Notre Dame went 2-1-1 in those games.The highlight of the regular season came on Sept. 18 as the Irish defeated then-No. 19 Indiana 1-0 behind forward Kevin Goldthwaite’s marker at 107:12. Notre Dame continued to hang around the top of the rankings all season, with the team’s only real stumbling block coming in a 5-2 loss at home to Rutgers, in which the normally stout Irish defense allowing four goals in a 10-minute span.After a 1-0 loss to Connecticut Nov. 18, the Irish rallied off eight straight wins – sweeping through the Big East tournament along the way – before falling to Michigan at Alumni Field in the NCAA Tournament.Notre Dame finished the year 16-3-4.

Women’s SoccerLike the men’s team, the Irish women lost 1-0 to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament, putting a disappointing end on a stellar season. The Irish played all season without key players Candace Chapman and Randi Scheller, and had to deal with other injuries throughout the season to compile a final record of 20-3-1.Notre Dame went undefeated over its first 19 games of the regular season, collecting an 18-0-1 record against several ranked teams, including No. 16 Stanford (0-0) and No. 10 Santa Clara (2-1).Notre Dame’s first regular season loss of the season also came against Michigan, as the Irish fell 3-2 to the Wolverines at Alumni Field Oct 29. The Irish lost to Boston College 2-1 in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament, but still collected a No. 1 seed (No. 2 overall) and home field advantage for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.The Irish crushed Loyola-Chicago 5-0 in the first round, before falling to Michigan after the Wolverines cashed in on their only corner kick of the contest. For the game, Notre Dame outshot Michigan 13-3.VolleyballThe Irish completed the regular season ranked No. 24 in the nation, after losing to Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was an impressive finish for a team that was not ranked in the preseason poll, but was ranked in every subsequent poll in 2003.An upset of then-No. 10 Arizona in Notre Dame’s season opener helped sparkplug the team to a 21-2 start, the second best start ever in the team’s history. Including in that fast start was a 14-match winning streak, the second longest ever.Notre Dame won its first 11 Big East matches before falling to Pittsburgh in the final regular season match to share the conference title with the Panthers. Pittsburgh also knocked the Irish out of the Big East tournament in the final of the conference championship.One of the major successes for the Irish was their blocking, which was first overall in the NCAA with a 3.72 blocks per game average. Lauren Brewster, (1.78 blocks a game), was the NCAA’s individual blocking champion.FencingOne year removed from a national championship season, the Irish took third at the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame scored 153 points, behind Ohio State’s 194 and Penn State’s 160.Junior Alicja Kryczalo won the women’s foil title for the third straight year, while freshman Valerie Providenza captured the gold medal in sabre. With the win, Kryczalo became the first Irish athlete to be a three-time NCAA Champion or three-time player of the year. She improved her overall record to 284-20, including a 69-6 mark in NCAA action.Senior foilist Kerry Walton and junior epeeist Andrea Ament each earned runner-up finishes for the women.For the men, junior epeeist Michal Sobieraj and freshman sabre Patrick Ghattas earned All-American honors. Sobieraj finished third, while Ghattas took tenth. Sobieraj won seven of nine round-robin bouts on the final day to finish 18-5, while Ghattas finished 13-10 after posting a 6-3 record on the last day. Matt Stearns narrowly missed All-American honors, finishing 14th after a 4-5 record on the final day, good for a 10-13 overall mark.Men’s SwimmingThe Irish earned its highest total ever at the Big East Championships, good for a second-place finish. Notre Dame scored 584 points, 121.5 higher than last season.This year, the Irish were led by youth, including freshman Tim Kegelman. He was Notre Dame’s top scorer at the Big East Championships, and broke three school records. Kegelman broke indivdual Notre Dame records in the 100-yard butterfly (48.43), the 200 individual medley (1:49.68). He was also a part of the fourth-place 200 freestyle relay that broke the school record with a time of 1:21.30.Kegelman was joined by sophomores Steve Shomberger and Doug Bauman. Shomberger broke a school record by .01 seconds in the 200-yard backstroke. He broke Bauman’s record, set in the beginning of the season. As a result of the Irish success, head coach Tim Welsh was named Big East Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. His team set eight school records in the Big East meet, good enough to boost them to second place after a fourth-place finish a year ago.Women’s SwimmingThe senior and freshman teamed up at the NCAA Championships to earn the Irish a top-25 finish for the fifth time in eight years. Senior Meghan Perry-Eaton and freshman Kate Carroll accounted for all of the Notre Dame’s 28 points at the NCAA Championships in March. Perry-Eaton earned 16 points with her third-place finish in the 1-meter diving competition. As a result, she earned All-American honors. Perry-Eaton’s third-place finish was the highest-ever for a Notre Dame swimmer or diver in the NCAA meet.Meanwhile, Carroll was busy getting the other 12 points. She earned nine after taking ninth in the 200 individual medley and three after earning 14th place in the 400 individual medley. Carroll also set school records in both races. The freshman is the first in her class to be named honorable mention All-American in multiple events.Carroll and Perry-Eaton also led Notre Dame to its eighth consecutive Big East title, and it was the highest-finishing Big East team in the NCAA Championships. Men’s LacrosseThe Irish finished 7-5 on the regular season, good for second place in the Great Western Lacrosse League only trailing No. 7 Ohio State, and finding themselves ranked as high as No. 5 this season. No. 12 Notre Dame finished the regular season with a 9-8 double overtime loss to No. 3 Maryland. The Terrapins won after tying the game with 19 seconds to go in regulation.Pat Walsh, a preseason All-American, led the Irish this season, garnering numerous individual honors. Walsh, a sophomore attack, led the conference in scoring and assists and was sixth and fifth, respectively in Division I. He was one of 15 nominees for the Tewaarton Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top player on June 3.Senior Matt Howell provided leadership on and off the field, as he battled back from numerous injuries to give the Irish another solid attack. He earned the GWLL Player of the Week award April 20, after almost breaking a school record for points in a game.Women’s LacrosseAfter starting off the season 10-0, the Irish struggled, losing four straight. However, they bounced back to beat Syracuse and then No. 11 Vanderbilt to finish the season 12-4, 4-2 Big East, good enough for second place. During the undefeated stretch, Notre Dame saw its ranking go up as high as No. 2, until losing to then-No. 7 Georgetown 9-7. The 12 wins this season are the second-most in program history, the most coming in 2002, when the Irish won 13 games.Despite the mid-season slide, Irish earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, where they faced Northwestern in the first round.Notre Dame was led by senior Meredith Simon, one of 20 Tewaarton Trophy nominees for the best player in the country. She broke the school record for points in a season, accumulating 72 this season. Simon was also named Big East Offensive Player of the Week four times in 2004, in addition to earning the title of Inside Lacrosse Magazine Player of the Week.

Men’s TennisBehind freshman Stephen Bass, the Irish were able to secure their fourth Big East Championship in 2004. Bass won 12 straight points after being three points from defeat to win No. 3 singles and propelled the Irish to a 4-2 win over Virginia Tech.Irish coach Bob Bayliss was crowned the Big East Coach of the Year, and the Irish dominated the All-Tournament team at the Big East Championships. Luis Haddock and Matt Scott earned both singles and doubles honors, while Bass earned All-Tournament honors in singles. Haddock was 20-11 in the regular season, and 2004 marks the second season in a row he has been named All-Tournament. Scott, meanwhile was 19-13 on the year, including three victories over ranked opponents. As a team, these two seniors were 13-3 this year, 18-5 overall.Meanwhile, Bass has won five of six, good for a 22-7 record. He was 16-5 in dual matches at No. 3 and No. 4 singles. Bass was 10-0 in three set matches, including a 7-0 record when the team title is undecided.This trio will lead the Irish in the NCAA Championships, beginning May 14 at Harvard, where the Irish will face No. 19 Tulane.Women’s TennisThe Irish have been a mix of young and old this season. Senior Alicia Salas was joined by twin sisters freshmen Christian and Catrina Thompson to lead the Irish to a second-place finish in the Big East. After two 4-3 losses to No. 11 Northwestern and Purdue, the Irish lost to Miami 4-0 in the Big East Championship. But Salas led the Irish all season, rising as high as No. 10 in singles and No. 36 in national rankings. She finished with a career record (before the Big East Championships) of 94-40 in singles and 80-38 in doubles. This year, Salas was 23-15 in singles and 21-7 in doubles, including 14 victories over ranked opponents in singles. She is just the fifth player in Notre Dame history to earn berths in the first two legs of the collegiate grand slam. Salas has also been listed in each of the last 17 sets of national singles rakings, going back to the end of 2001.Christian Thompson, meanwhile, finished with a 24-13 singles record at No. 2 singles. She was ranked as high as 88th. She teamed up with sister Christina to go 21-15, and they were ranked No. 36. They were announced as the only all-freshman team to make the 32-team NCAA Doubles Championship.Men’s GolfFor the first time in 38 years, the Irish made the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big East Championship by six strokes. Going into the final round, the Irish were down five strokes, but came back to overturn the defending champions Viriginia Tech. Notre Dame finished at 36-over-par, the lowest total of the spring, and ninth-lowest in school history.The Irish were led by sophomore Tommy Balderston, who tied for third place at eight-over-par, the best mark of his season. Freshman Cole Isban tied Balderston at eight-over-par, good for his best spring mark as well.Sophomore Eric Deutsch rounded out the All-Big East selections for the Irish, as he shot nine-over-par, good for a tie for fifth place, and Mark Baldwin, also a sophomore, finised in eighth place at 13-over-par.Another sophomore, Scott Gustafson, shot 14-over-par, good for 11th place. Earlier in the season, Gustafson shot a three-over-par, good for 14th place at the Cleveland Golf Collegiate Invitational. Women’s GolfAfter never qualifying for a NCAA Tournament berth, the Irish turned that all around this year, as they took won their second straight Big East Tournament, good enough to earn them an at-large bid to the NCAAs.At the Big East tournament, Notre Dame saw freshman Noriko Nakazaki earn third place after shooting a 70 in the second round, the lowest round in Big East Championship history. Sophomore Katie Brophy, 2003 Big East co-champion, took fourth place, and junior Karen Lotta took seventh after shooting an 81 in the opening round. All three golfers earned All-Big East honors.At the NCAAs, Nakazaki led the way once again. She tied for 36th, 21 shots behind the leader. Behind Nakazaki was Stacy Brown. The freshman tied for 69th in the Regional.On the year, the Irish won four tournaments, a program record. They also turned in seven top-five and 16 top-10 performances throughout the season.