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Irish prepare for start of league play

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, March 20, 2007

No. 19 Notre Dame (3-3) kicks off Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) play with a home matchup today at 4 p.m. against league newcomer Bellarmine (1-4). The Irish and the Knights met last season in Louisville when Notre Dame prevailed in an 8-2 match.But Notre Dame enters having dropped three of its last four contests, including losing games to top-15 opponents Cornell and North Carolina. After the tough 13-8 and 11-8 losses, respectively, the Irish handily defeated Drexel before being edged out by Dartmouth, 7-6, this Saturday. In the contest against Drexel, sophomore attacker Ryan Hoff tied the Notre Dame record of seven goals in a game. Hoff is second this season in total goals, behind senior attacker Brian Hubschmann. Hoff has netted 13, and Hubschmann has 15. Freshman attacker Will Yeatman leads the Irish in total points (20) and assists (11). Junior goaltender Joey Kemp is credited with all six decisions for the Irish. He holds an 8.39 goals-against average and a .561 save percentage.Hoff, Yeatman, and senior midfielder Bill Liva were the Irish point leaders in the game against North Carolina. Hoff netted two goals while Yeatman recorded a goal and two assists of his own. Liva scored once and added an assist. In the loss to Dartmouth, Hubschmann paved the way for the Irish with three goals and an assist. Yeatman had another solid day with an assist and goal, senior attacker John Greaney scored his first goal of the season and junior midfielder Michael Podgajny added a score. Junior attacker Alex Wharton also helped out with two assists. Dartmouth (1-3) was led by Ari Sussman, who netted three goals. Nick Bonacci added two goals and two assists of his own in a game that featured few attempts on the net. Notre Dame edged Dartmouth 25-22 in shots. Notre Dame will try to bounce back from its spring break valley when the Knights come to town. The Irish look to continue their dominance of the GWLL over the last 12 years. Notre Dame is 46-9 all-time in GWLL play, with nine league titles.”This is a pretty important game,” Hubschmann said. “This starts league play – the five most important games of the season. [Bellarmine] has many Canadians on their roster, so they play with a different style. It will be a good game to watch.”This game marks the first time since the season opener that the Irish have a chance to play at home. They won their opener against Loyola (Md.) by a tally of 9-7, and hold an eight-game winning streak in South Bend.”It’s nice to be back in front of a home crowd again,” Hubschmann said. “I get to sleep in my own bed.”Bellarmine is led by Ray Finnegan, who heads the Knights in the three major offensive categories – Finnegan has 15 points, eight goals, and seven assists. The Knights finished 7-8 last season, and they look to bounce back from a 9-8 loss at No. 18 Brown on March 13.