Club Sports: Men’s, women’s ultimate fall short of title bids
Joe Meixell | Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Notre Dame competed in the Great Lakes Regional, part of the UPA College Series, this weekend in Hartland, Mich. Both the men’s and women’s squads were playing for a spot in the National Championships, which will be held in Boulder, Colo.
Notre Dame’s women’s team opened with two pool games Saturday. Its first game was against rival North Park, who they had seen multiple times throughout the season. The women got the job done early and coasted to a 17-6 victory under the leadership of captains Shannon Morrison and Loretta Brown. The Irish dropped the second game 13-11 to the University of Chicago.
Notre Dame headed into bracket play looking for a spot at Nationals. Notre Dame defeated Indiana 15-5 to close out the day on Saturday.
On Sunday, Notre Dame had to win four games in a row to earn a spot at Nationals. Notre Dame used fresh legs to outrun Loyola to come out on top 15-6 in the first game. The team’s next game was against a Michigan State team who had previously rolled over Notre Dame 13-1 earlier in the season. The Irish came out with intensity and fire but were no match for Michigan State’s speed and backhand breaks, falling 15-4 in the final contest of the season.
Men’s play was double elimination in a sixteen-team field. Notre Dame beat Oberlin 15-11 in the first game. The next opponent was Dayton, who had pulled off an upset in the first round. Next, Notre Dame took care of Dayton with a 15-6 victory.
This set up an anticipated match up between Notre Dame and Illinois in the semifinals. After not seeing each other at the sectional tournament, each team was anxious to get a chance to test its merit against the other. The game went back and forth early on with both teams essentially trading points until half. After halftime, Illinois came out firing and capitalized on some costly Notre Dame mistakes. Illinois pull ahead and led 12-7 before the Irish fought their way back into the game. Despite amazing defense from junior Danny Collom, Notre Dame fell short, 15-13.
On Sunday, Notre Dame drew Miami (Ohio). Miami gave Notre Dame problems early on. The first half only involved one break from each team and Miami took the halftime lead, 8-7. Notre Dame came out fired up in the second half. Thanks to some fine throws from senior Eric Morin, Notre Dame pulled away and eventually won, 15-10.
Notre Dame dropped its final game to Ohio State by a score of 15-12.
The club finished one of the most successful years in recent men’s play, with a 41-9 record. The Irish women’s season was equally successful. Two tournament victories, including Sectionals, were among the highlights.
The oarsmen of Notre Dame traveled to Eagle Creek for the perennial Indianapolis Invite, a regatta drawing the best crews of the Midwest. Arriving late Friday afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s morning races, windy conditions that swamped three other crews prevented the Irish from getting in a light row before race day. Fortunately, however, the conditions improved, albeit slightly, affording the Irish an opportunity to row for coveted shirts and medals.
The story of the first day was the Notre Dame first novice 8-plus boat. The crew was the top seed entering the day’s racing and confirmed its status with the best morning row, setting the stage for the highly-contested final that was to follow in the afternoon. After a countdown start at 1:30, the Irish asserted their dominance, establishing an early lead, and holding off Marietta during the last 500 meters for what appeared to be the Novice crown. However, after lengthy deliberation stemming from post-race protests, the officials deemed the race void and mandated a re-row. The unusual re-row resulted from two separate instances of poor steering on the part of competing crews during the race, neither of which involved Notre Dame. Yet, after a poll of the coaches involved, a majority cast for a re-row that sent all six crews back on the water at 3:30, making it the final race of the day. The Irish found themselves sitting in fifth place off the start and had only reclaimed fourth place at the 1000-meter mark. The Irish rallied in the final 1000 meters, with a sprint in the final 250 that had the crowd on its feet. But the Irish came up short, losing to Purdue by nine-tenths of a second with a second place time of 6:29.6.
Having already earlier qualified entries in both the team and fleet racing at the Intercollegiate championships in Newport, R.I., Notre Dame was unable to qualify for the third event, co-ed racing. The club did earn a berth in the pre-nationals, which were hosted by USC in Los Angeles this weekend. Georgetown, Yale, College of Charleston, and MIT finished in the top four spots.
Notre Dame dropped a 56-24 game at Bowling Green over the weekend to conclude its season. Bowling Green played in the Nationals last year, and was ranked No. 5 just two weeks ago. The Falcons’ coach retired after the game, which made for an emotionally inspired opponent.
Don Greiwe intercepted a pass and scored the game’s first try and conversion in the opening two minutes to give the Irish a 7-0 lead. Bowling Green scored two minutes later on an advantage call following an Irish offside. The Falcons then rolled to a 42-7 lead at the half. The Irish next scored as they mauled into the try zone off a lineout as David Bray scored. Three minutes later, Andy Mullen scored yet another try. Kevin Ritt added the final score of the day for the Irish A-side squad.
The B-side fared no better, dropping a 65-7 game. Andy Mullen scored the only Irish try and Don Greiwe added the conversion. The Irish measured themselves against one of the nation’s strongest teams and displayed promise for the future.
Largemouth bass provided the competition for the fishing club this weekend in Chelsea, Mich. The club arrived Friday evening and immediately started catching fish. Using a “touchdown worm” from their canoes, the anglers caught many big fish, highlighted by Brian Kirkendall’s seven-pound bass. A full day of fishing on Saturday was followed by continued success on Sunday, as the club used the canoes to fish the entire lake.