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Men’s Lacrosse: New faces ready for season

Michael Bryan | Tuesday, February 10, 2009

With many pieces still in place from a conference championship and NCAA Tournament berth last year, the Irish bring high hopes into 2009. After playing the toughest defense in team history, Notre Dame will try to use its mix of talent and experience to make another championship run this season.

The Irish return five starters from a strong 14-3 campaign in 2008. The 14 wins tied a program record, and Notre Dame advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

The Irish ended the regular season tied for first in the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) with Denver and Ohio State, with each team sharing an identical 5-1 record. Notre Dame then defeated Quinnipiac and Ohio State in the inaugural GWLL tournament to become conference champions.

The GWLL earned unprecedented success last season, with three teams qualifying for the 16-team NCAA Tournament field for the first time ever. The Buckeyes and Irish advanced to the tournament quarterfinals, also the first time two teams from the conference had made the final eight.

The Irish defense, which ranked No. 5 nationally last season, will be led by all-conference senior Regis McDermott. The defenseman started all 17 games last season and helped Notre Dame hold opponents to 7.04 goals per game.

On offense, the Irish will look to another all-conference selection, senior attack Ryan Hoff. The captain will be looking for his third straight 40-goal season after leading Notre Dame with 41 last year.

The Irish offense returns three of the top four scorers from last year’s team, which was ranked No. 5 nationally with 12.09 goals per game. Junior Grant Krebs netted 26 goals, second on the team, and senior Duncan Swezey tallied 22.

Joining McDermott as captains for 2009 are seniors Peter Christman, Scott Rodgers and Davey Malera.

Christman, a midfielder, started every game for the Irish last season and recorded career highs in goals, assists, and points. The senior netted several key goals for Notre Dame in 2008, scoring the winning goals against Albany and in overtime over Colgate in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Rodgers will be looking to fill the shoes of graduated All-American goalkeeper Joey Kemp. The Wantagh, N.Y. native has played in seven career games and carries a 5.73 goals-against average.

The Irish face a tough schedule that includes four NCAA Tournament teams from last season – Loyola, Ohio State, Denver, and North Carolina.

Notre Dame begins its season Saturday against Loyola in Atlanta. The Irish open at home Feb. 28 against Dartmouth.