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Men’s Lacrosse: Yeatman returns to Notre Dame

Sam Werner | Sunday, May 10, 2009

The NCAA tournament can be a whirlwind for any player. With ticket requests, media interviews, and cross-country travel, it’s easy for a player to feel overwhelmed.

For Will Yeatman this past week, multiply all that by a few degrees.

The former Irish lacrosse and football player returned to campus for the first time since transferring this past fall. Only this time, he was wearing a Maryland lacrosse jersey.

“It was certainly a different week for me,” Yeatman said.

Yeatman transferred to Maryland after he was arrested for underage drinking an off-campus party, his second alcohol-related offense. He was previously arrested for a DUI in the spring of 2008. Yeatman was suspended from the 2008 lacrosse and football seasons as a result of the incidents, and transferred to Maryland for the 2009 spring semester.

“It was a good pickup,” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said with a laugh. “It was an interesting pickup.”

Yeatman took advantage of his second chance at Maryland, notching 13 goals and 15 assists in 13 games for the Terrapins this season. He also said he enjoyed the newfound anonymity associated with not playing on a high-profile college football team.

“When I get to Maryland, I said, ‘It’s nice walking around campus without having people stare at you every step of the way,'” Yeatman said. “In terms of aspects of normality, that was certainly nice for me.”

In the days leading up to the tournament pairings, there was speculation that Maryland and Notre Dame could end up as first round opponents. When match-ups were finally announced, Cottle said he received a text message from Yeatman that said, “Here we go, baby.”

“When you think about it as much as I have this past week, you’re prepared for what’s going to happen,” Yeatman said. “I put myself mentally through all those situations when I found out we were going to play Notre Dame.”

Yeatman said that while it was a little weird watching his former team practice Saturday, he tried not to over-think the game.

“Mentally, it actually wasn’t as stressful as a lot of people would think,” he said. “I think a lot of that is it’s the end of the year so I’m focusing on my schoolwork and not the game.”

Strategically, Yeatman said he thought he had an edge in preparing to face the Irish. Specifically, he said he made sure the Terrapin game plan shut down Irish senior attack Ryan Hoff, who Yeatman used to set up for goals in 2007.

Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan, though, said he wasn’t concerned with Yeatman giving up any secrets to his new team.

“Will presents his own challenges by being a very skilled and very athletic attackman,” Corrigan said. “Certainly, strategically, you have to prepare for a very good lacrosse player.”

Cottle said he was initially unsure about how Yeatman would handle facing his old team, but that he responded well.

“Well we thought we’d have either good Will, great Will, or bad Will,” Cottle said. “So we wanted to keep an eye on him during the game and see how he would handle it, but he’s a very mature, intelligent kid.”

Even though Yeatman said some of his best friends were on the Irish lacrosse team, former roommate Regis McDermott said the two agreed not to speak in the week leading up to the game.

“I never talk to the attackman I’m covering, so we decided to kind of leave it like that,” McDermott said.

Yeatman responded with a laugh, saying the idea to not talk was mostly McDermotts.

“Regis is a great friend of mine,” he said. “Was it different playing against a guy who was my roommate last year? Yeah, without a doubt. But sometimes not talking to him helps you out mentally.”

At the end of the game, Yeatman found himself with a strange mixture of feelings, something he wasn’t used to in his lacrosse career.

“Personally, I’m happy for the University of Maryland lacrosse team,” he said. “I’m sad for a Notre Dame team that went 15-0 this season and got stopped in the first round of the tournament.

“Yeah it’s different coming back here, but I’m happy we won. It’s not a feeling of revenge or anything like that.”