Notre Dame sports four years in review
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, May 18, 2018
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL WINS SECOND NATIONAL TITLE
April 1, 2018
Following a disappointing loss to Stanford in the Elite Eight in 2017, many believed 2018 might be a rebuilding year for Notre Dame. Those expectations were further dampened when the team lost four players to ACL tears throughout the regular season, including star senior Brianna Turner.
Undaunted, the team refused to give up on the season and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Advancing to the Final Four, it faced powerhouse UCONN. A jumper by junior guard Arike Ogunbowale in the final seconds broke the tie and sent Notre Dame to the National Championship game to face Mississippi State. Although the Irish fell behind in the title game, they steadily clawed their way back against the Bulldogs, culminating with a buzzer-beating three by Ogunbowale to give Notre Dame a dramatic and improbable second national championship.
It was the second-largest comeback in Final Four history. Ogunbowale finished the game with 18 points and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player following the game. The national championship victory also gave Coach Muffet McGraw win No. 800 at Notre Dame and No. 888 overall.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CONTENDS FOR CHAMPIONSHIP
April 7, 2015
A Final Four appearance in 2015 was the fifth in a row for the Irish, and a win over South Carolina gave Notre Dame its fourth championship game berth in five years.
In the title game, the Irish fell to Connecticut for the third year, this time by a score of 63-53 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
MOLLY SEIDEL WINS MULTIPLE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
June 12, 2015
Senior Molly Seidel won the 5,000-meter and 3,000-meter events in March of 2016, the NCAA cross country title in November and the 10,000-meter event in the NCAA track and field championships in June 2015.
Seidel returned to Notre Dame for a fifth season this spring.
MEN’S BASKETBALL REACHES BACK-TO-BACK ELITE EIGHTS
March 25, 2016
Following a historic run in 2015, the Irish returned to the Elite Eight after finishing the regular season 24-12 in 2016.
Notre Dame was the only team in the Elite Eight to make it that far each of the last two seasons. The Irish squeaked by Stephen F. Austin in the second round with a last-second tip-in.
BRIAN VANGORDER FIRED AS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
Sept. 25, 2016
After a 1-3 start in which the Irish gave up 134 points, the most ever by a Notre Dame football team in its first four games, Brian VanGorder was fired as defensive coordinator. Defensive analyst Greg Hudson assumed his duties.
In the offseason, the Irish hired Mike Elko, former defensive coordinator at Wake Forest, as defensive coordinator.
FENCING WINS NINTH NATIONAL TITLE
March 26, 2017
For the first time since 2011, Notre Dame captured the NCAA national title. Led by senior captain Lee Kiefer, whose four career individual titles mark only the third time a collegiate fencer has accomplished such a feat, the Irish won the finals by 25 points and also had nine All-Americans, the most of any program.
HOCKEY REACHES PROGRAM’S THIRD FROZEN FOUR
March 26, 2017
After upsetting top-seeded Minnesota in the Northeast regional, the Irish came from behind to defeat UMass Lowell 3-2 in overtime, only a week after the River Hawks had dominated the Irish 5-1 in the Hockey East semifinals.
Notre Dame’s trip to the Frozen Four was the program’s first since 2011 and also marked the first time since 2006 that the host team of the tournament reached the national semifinals. But the Irish hit a roadblock in No. 1 Denver, who defeated the Irish 6-1 on the way to the national title.
MUFFET MCGRAW ELECTED INTO NAISMITH HALL OF FAME
April 1, 2017
Irish women’s head basketball coach Muffet McGraw became Notre Dame’s first woman to be elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Her 765 wins at Notre Dame are the most by any coach in Irish history, and she is the sixth-winningest female coach in women’s basketball history.
FENCING WINS SECOND CONSECUTIVE NATIONAL TITLE
March 26, 2018
The Notre Dame fencing program clinched its 10th national title, giving the program back-to-back titles for the first time in 40 years. The Irish won by 15 points and finished the competition with 185. The program also added an individual champion as freshman Nick Itkin captured the men’s foil crown.
HOCKEY EARNS BERTH TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
April 7, 2018
The Irish earned a second consecutive berth to the Frozen Four after its first season in the B1G Ten. After the Irish defeated Michigan 3-2 on a last-second goal by senior captain Jake Evans, the Irish fell short in the championship game against Minnesota Duluth, 2-1.