Young Notre Dame team struggles through inconsistent year
Daniel O'Boyle | Friday, May 15, 2015
It was a difficult year for the young Notre Dame team, which showed flashes of quality but often lacked the consistency to get results.
The Irish started strong, hosting and earning a comfortable victory over IUPUI and Ball State at the Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge. But from there the team struggled, and despite occasional strong individual performances, often found themselves at the lower end of the field.
Many underclassmen saw a large amount of play, including sophomores Matthew Rushton and Blake Barens, as well as freshman Thomas Steve. Irish head coach Jim Kubinski said the team was able to develop over the year.
“We played a lot of young guys,” Kubinski said. “We played Thomas quite a bit, we played a couple of sophomores a lot too, and they grew quite a bit and learned a lot of lessons. I anticipate we’ll have those guys returning next year as better and more experienced players.”
The Irish struggled in many tournaments, finishing 10th out of 17 at the Gopher Invitational in September and 11th in a field of 14 filled with very strong opponents at the Mason Rudolph Championship in April.
However, there were some impressive individual showings. Junior Cory Sciupider led the Fighting Irish Classic after two rounds in September before finishing second, and Rushton tied for second place at the Rod Myers Invitational in October. Kubinski said these results show the Irish could be better next year.
“I think for us as as a team we didn’t perform as well over the season as we would have hoped or expected,” Kubinski said. “I think certain players had good events, certain guys did well at certain tournaments which was nice, but it was really a growing year and a transition year.”
In the ACC tournament on April 24-26, Notre Dame finished 11th out of 12, 25 shots from 10th place. Kubinski said the team’s poor showing resulted from its struggles in many of the same areas in which they performed poorly in the regular season.
“This year, we just didn’t get any momentum going in the tournament early on,” said Kubinski. “That was something that seemed to hurt us throughout the year; we didn’t get off to good starts very often. I think a lot of our guys would press from there instead of relying on the games they’ve shown in practice or over the summer.
“We’ve got to get off to better starts, we definitely have some work to do, but the neat thing is that we have some highly motivated guys who want to do the work.”