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Howell has overcome injuries

Dan Tapetillo | Tuesday, April 27, 2004

To avoid all the possible adjectives and superlatives, it’s best put in simple terms. He’s back. For the past two years, senior Matt Howell had been plagued by everything from a broken thumb to several knee surgeries. The latest injury came when Howell was stricken with appendicitis, which forced him to miss the second half of the 2002-03 season.By this time, he had already established himself as one of Notre Dame’s top offensive weapons. Howell led the team in scoring, and at one point, led the nation in assists. But he did not let these setbacks get the best of him. Last week, Howell was named the Great Western Lacrosse League Player of the Week, a culmination of the success he has found this season. He received this honor after registering eight points against Fairfield, one shy of the school record.This season, Howell is second for the Irish in scoring (37), goals (20) and assists (17). He is currently tied for 18th nationally with 1.55 assists per game and has six multiple-goal games. Howell accomplished this feat just six times prior to this year.Howell’s perseverance has become an inspiration for other members of the team. “He just keeps going out there, and it shows us how much heart he has and how much he loves the game,” All-American Pat Walsh said. It is not by coincidence that Howell received the player of the week honor. He previously won this accolade after the 2002 season opener, when the Irish defeated No. 16 Penn State 10-9. Howell registered one goal and netted five assists in the victory. But his strengths go beyond personal achievements on the fieldWalsh views Howell as not just a great player, but as a leader for the team. “Although he is not a very vocal person, he is the type of leader that shows by example,” Walsh said. “He has had two or three surgeries but does not shy away from the rough hits in the game and just keeps coming back.” And from the way his teammates have described him, Howell seems like every coach’s dream. “He knows what his strong points are and does everything he can really well,” Walsh said. “He coordinates things, because he knows the offense so well and can create a lot for everybody.” Howell and the Irish have won five consecutive matches and currently stand at 7-4. Behind Howell’s leadership, the Irish are hoping to finish strong as they travel to face No. 3 Maryland this Saturday.