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Guiliano, Janton post Olympic trial cuts at U.S. Open

It was a monumental weekend for the Irish in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the 2022 Toyota U.S. Open. A select group of nine Notre Dame athletes had the opportunity to compete against swimmers from across the United States and countries such as Brazil and Ireland. Sophomore Chris Guiliano and freshman Tommy Janton shined in the pool, each earning Olympic trials cuts, shattering school records and establishing new personal bests. Notre Dame Peterson Family head coach Chris Lindauer highlighted the exposure this meet brought to the swimmers. 

“Whether they swim fast or have so-so swims, at the end of the day the experience brings so much value to growth,” Lindauer said. “This was our first opportunity to get Olympic trial cuts. The qualification window just opened up, so this was the first meet of the year anyone could get the cut.”

Guiliano and Janton both wasted no time seizing that opportunity and did not succumb to the slump of midseason swimming. Guiliano’s 100 freestyle performance of 49.17 punched him an early ticket to Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2024 Olympic trials (cut time 49.99) and broke the Irish’s school record for the event. 

“The fun starts now. 49.17 — that’s elite air. You’re starting to get up there with the best of the best, so it’s about how you look for ways to continue to climb,” Lindauer said. “Chris Guiliano, he is an athlete that ‘gets it’ at the highest level. He understands the big picture, like what it really takes to be elite.”

Guiliano felt confident going in about making the team due to his past experience.  

“Coming down to this meet, I was certainly expecting to qualify for trials,” Guiliano said. “Making it two years ago in 2021, I knew it was definitely a goal that was attainable. To get it by that much and drop as much time as I did was great. To look at the board and see the team on the side going nuts was great.”

Guiliano also competed in the 50 freestyle (22.46) where he broke the school record and punched another ticket to the trials (cut time 22.79). He added a personal best in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:50.78. He described being “ecstatic” for the rest of the season.

“Going best times in all three of my events this weekend definitely sparked some confidence to close 2022,” Guiliano said. 

Janton, part of the No. 10 freshman recruiting class nationally, qualified for the Olympic trials in both backstroke events. A 54.96 100 backstroke shattered the previous school record of 56.87 and earned Janton third place on the podium. His 200 backstroke (2:01.40) placed him second, just a hair off of winning the gold. Janton broke the school record in this event as well. 

“Tommy Janton, he’s very youthful and learning what it takes to be big time,” Lindauer said. “Like Chris, he’s set himself up in a good spot to catapult himself into the future and see where he lands. Certainly, to come away from the meet with two Olympic trial cuts and two school records was impressive with his age and how much more he has left to learn.” 

Guiliano was excited for his teammate and the success he’s had so early in his college career. 

“It’s awesome,” Guiliano said. “Seeing a freshman come in and do big things like that is great and it’s great for the program. It motivates everyone else. Seeing him on the podium was just great to see.” 

Also at the Open, freshmen Samuel Sierra and Tate Bacon posted impressive 200 butterfly swims. They finished sixth and seventh in the event’s B Final with times of 2:07.38 and 2:09.25, respectively. 

Looking ahead, the Irish will continue to train intensely in preparation for championship season. With a firmer grip on team identity and a different intensity than they had in August, Lindauer believes that the team is ready for the latter half of the season.

“We have a better pulse of where the team is now and how we can coach them better,” Lindauer said. “We’ve had to adapt to them and learn what works for this team. Every team I’ve coached is different, even if it’s a lot of the same crew. A semester under our belt to make some adjustments with our training and respond to them academically in different ways helps up make a bigger impact in their day-to-day lives. We’re back to the grind, progressing accordingly.” 

After spending extra time in South Bend and then going home for the holiday season, the Irish will head down to training camp in Naples, Florida, for two weeks of their winter break. Immediately after, they will fly to Annapolis, Maryland, to take on Navy and Princeton in a tri–meet on Jan. 13. 

“We’re excited to see where we’re at coming off of our training and how we need to adjust things accordingly after training camp and the results of Navy,” Lindauer said. “We will continue to make those adjustments as we see fit and approach championship season.”

Contact Madeline Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu.

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Irish make history in 74-60 upset over UConn

No. 7 Notre Dame women’s basketball came out on top tonight in an impressive 74-60 upset over No. 3 longstanding rival UConn. This marks the Huskies first loss of the season, spoiling their perfect record. Sophomore All-American guard Olivia Miles and junior forward Maddy Westbeld were dubbed “players of the game” by Karen & Kevin Keyes Family head coach Niele Ivey, for their substantial contributions to the Irish squad. This Irish victory follows a devastating buzz-beater loss against No. 20 Maryland on Thursday. Lessons from that defeat helped to drive the women’s desire to fight today. 

“Thursday’s loss really fueled us today,” Ivey said. “That was a really tough loss and obviously went down to the wire. We learned a lot from that game, that we can score, had a lot of balance offensively but that it’s our defense that wins games.” 

The Irish took on the challenge and played with heart today against the Huskies. Miles was timid in the Maryland game, but demonstrated aggressiveness and precision right out of the gate. She was the star of the show early, with 13 points and an assist in quarter one alone. She would go on to amass a total of 21 points (tying her season high), four assists, and eight rebounds. Miles’ play helped propel the Irish to an 18-13 lead at the end of the first.

“She’s unstoppable at the dribble,” Westbeld said. “Nobody can guard her, especially when she’s that aggressive coming out of the gate. It opens up the rest of the floor when she’s that aggressive.”

Westbeld herself was also an asset for the Irish, as she scored 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots in one of the best games of her career. Graduate student center Lauren Ebo was a major player, as her strength in the post, scored 12 points on 6-10 shooting to go with a pair of blocks.

“I think she’s one of the best posts in the country,” Ivey said. “She’s so efficient. We know when we run it to her she’s going to make it 80% of the time. I thought she had some great looks and was more aggressive today. She finished with contact and she didn’t really let the game get to her today. She had the chance to play her game with freedom.”

Sonia Citron and Dara Mabrey also scored 10 points, giving the Irish five different players in double digits.

Notre Dame built off Miles’ momentum in the first and went on to dominate the second quarter. The defensive intensity of the Irish was shown here and a high scoring performance brought the score 41-28. The Irish’s FG% was over double that of the Huskies — 65% to 28% — by the end of the first half. Even by the end of the game, the difference was 56% to 37%. 

UConn saw a solid third quarter with a 10-0 run, and several fouls by Irish players cost Notre Dame some points. The Irish saw seven fouls in the third quarter alone, one of them called intentional on Miles. Unlike Northwestern where Miles was ejected from the game after her second technical and a verbal sparring match, she kept her cool against the Huskies and was able to rebuild momentum for the Irish.

“It was a learning experience for me at Northwestern,” Miles said. “I think just being the type of player that I am, refs have an extra eye on me. It was unintentional, I didn’t mean to hit her. It wasn’t a sort of technical situation where I was like talking to somebody so I wasn’t really that heated. I feel like that’s what the difference was with this one.”

Despite a shaky third, the Irish never lost the lead and were able to respond well to the Huskies’ run to finish the third 58-46. The Irish controlled the action in the final quarter to round out the afternoon. Each time the Huskies scored, Notre Dame had an answer. They ran the clock out in the final seconds of the game to officially upset the Huskies 74-60. This win makes history and bodes for a promising future this season.

“Going against UConn and a hall of fame coach like Geno [Auriemma] means everything,” Ivey said. “It shows where we are as a program and how we are progressing forward. It shows my team that anything is possible. I love having this moment in front of our home crowd.” 

The energy was high in an almost sold out Purcell Pavilion, making all the difference for the team. 

“Our crowd has been so supportive and I’m hoping our games look like that all the time, not just when UConn comes in,” Ivey said. “We want to have fans continue to support women and support our team.” 

After their impressive performance today, Notre Dame women’s basketball is back in action on Thursday, Dec. 8 in an away matchup against Lafayette.

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Ladd: Morrison, Irish recruits solidify golden future of Notre Dame football

The future of Notre Dame football is in good hands. True freshman cornerback Benjamin Morrison has had a stunning season this year as a weapon for the defense. Morrison entered relatively unknown. However, he ended up seeing the field in every game and amassing five interceptions so far. His five interceptions are the most for an Irish freshman in at least the past 25 years. His total surpassed current Ravens’ safety Kyle Hamilton’s four in 2019. The five picks are also the most yearly for an Irish player ever since Manti Te’o intercepted seven in 2012. Both of these players go down in Notre Dame football history as some of the greats. Morrison looks like he could be on track to join them. 

Over Halloween weekend, Syracuse picked on Morrison early in the game as he gave up a touchdown and was called for pass interference. Nevertheless, he bounced back with a chip on his shoulder and began his trajectory toward possible freshman All-American status. Morrison broke out against Clemson with two interceptions, including one returned for a 96-yard touchdown. His effort slammed the door on any possible Tiger comeback and triggered a field-storming victory for the Irish. Head coach Marcus Freeman spoke highly of the Arizona native after his Clemson performance, speaking to his unique freshman status.  

“He’s an ultimate competitor that doesn’t get shaken,” Freeman said post-Clemson. “It’s really uncommon for a freshman to be like that.”

Morrison tacked on three more interceptions last weekend against Boston College, paving the way for the Notre Dame youth movement that will soon lead the Irish. 

Freeman recruiting makes waves

Freeman has shaken up the perceived norms on recruiting at Notre Dame by establishing a more aggressive attack on the recruiting trail. Previously, former head coach Brian Kelly instilled the mindset that Notre Dame’s recruiting targets were of a certain cookie-cutter caliber. Basically, Notre Dame felt they were not able to compete with the big boys such as Alabama or Ohio State. Freeman, on the other hand, has allowed that mindset to head south to the bayou. 

Freeman’s efforts have certainly paid dividends, as his 2023 class currently ranks No. 3  in the country behind perennial National Championship contenders Alabama and Georgia. He doesn’t seem to be having the same issues as Kelly did. 

Most recently, the Irish officially landed top 2023 quarterback recruit Kenney Minchey on Tuesday. Minchey de-committed from Pittsburgh to suit up for the Irish. Perhaps Morrison’s big break as a true freshman has inspired prospects such as Minchey to take another look at coming to South Bend. As for 2024, the class is currently ranked No. 1, featuring high four-star quarterback C.J. Carr. Carr is a Michigan legacy and a massive recruiting win for Freeman and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.

The future looks bright for Notre Dame football, and a national championship in the next decade is looking more promising than it recently has. Nevertheless, these recruits are not always set in stone, but Morrison is leading the charge for the young Irish that are yet to come. Future aside, the Irish need Morrison in all his glory this weekend in order to shut down USC’s high-powered offense and spoil the Trojan’s playoff hopes.

Contact Madeline Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu

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Lindauer talks Ohio State Invite, season goals

Notre Dame swim and dive was back in action this week. The swimmers traveled to the Ohio State Invitational and divers went down south for the Texas Diving Invitational. The team’s performance this weekend pleased head coach Chris Lindauer, as several swimmers posted top times and podium finishes. The four-day ordeal was a fitting preview for the schedule of ACCs and NCAAs that will take place later this season.

“It was really a full week affair with travel on Wednesday and competition Thursday, Friday, Saturday. We just got home this [Sunday] morning,” Lindauer said. “It takes a lot out of everybody but overall we performed very well. We were super successful both on the men’s and women’s side.” 

The Irish competed against teams such as Ohio State University, Indiana University, Virginia Tech, University of Kentucky, University of Cincinnati, Yale University, and Lindenwood University. The men placed third overall, falling to Ohio State and Indiana who were both top 10 teams last year. Senior Jack Hoagland dominated for the Irish, capturing wins in both the 400 IM (3:43.52) and the 500 freestyle (4:14.24).

“I think Jack Hoagland getting two wins against this field of competition is really impressive,” Lindauer said “They’re wins against super competitive opponents but the times he posted are among the top in the country. He’s at an elite level.”

Sophomore Chris Guiliano also had a strong showing, claiming runner-up status in the 50 freestyle (19.30) as well as third in the 100 freestyle (42.50). Guiliano put up performances against “top, top-notch competition” as Lindauer phrased it. Giuliano’s times, like Hoagland’s, are able to compete with almost anyone in the country.

On the women’s side, senior Coleen Gillilan was runner-up in both the 100 (52.24) and 200 butterfly (1:55.54). These early-season times are just off of Gillilan’s lifetime bests.

“She is really coming off of some adversity as she had shoulder surgery in the spring,” Lindauer said. “To see her bounce back and be so competitive on a good track for ACCs and NCAAs is really exciting.” 

Collectively, the relays performed highly this weekend for both men and women. The outcome pleased Lindauer, especially so early in the season.

“I think just collectively, when we look at all of our relays the majority – if not all of our relays – are faster than what they were last year at this time in the year,” Lindauer said. “Even some of them were faster than what they went at ACC Championships in February, which is really rare; you don’t usually get that.” 

This invitational was the Irish freshmen’s first glimpse of competing at a high-level college invite. Several freshmen had lifetime bests this past weekend. A few were even able to make the A-finals — something promising for young talent on the team. Lindauer commented on the quick adjustment they had to make, as competition picked up so early in the season.

“If you think about when we started in late August, we are about 2.5-3 months of training in which isn’t that much in the swimming world,” Lindauer said. “So being in this position where our freshmen are prepared to compete at this level so soon — not only our freshmen but our whole team –I think is unique. For our freshmen to learn NCAA swimming, you know this is not high school swimming, this is not club swimming. This is men and women competing at the highest level. There’s Olympians at our meet this weekend. Just for them to understand the big picture and get a sneak peek of what ACCs and NCAAs are going to be like.”

Viewing NCAAs as the finish line is a priority for Lindauer and the rest of the team. Being a top 25 program is also a priority for Lindauer. And it is something he feels the Irish can accomplish this year. The men are currently ranked No. 22 out of 25 following the meet.

“For us it’s all about NCAAs and how we can put up some points and be a top 25 program, Lindauer said. “It shocked me that Notre Dame has never had a team finish in the top 25 at NCAAs, so that’s a massive goal and I think we’ll be knocking on the door there on both sides. We are extremely competitive and aware of that goal and that’s the target we are aiming for.”

Adjusting to the culture and new environment has been a change for Lindauer and the team. Lindauer describes the experience as positive, but with “a lot of learning.” Lindauer also commends the senior class for their leadership and setting an example of excellence. 

“I am also very proud of the seniors,” Lindauer said. “Teams tend to go how seniors go so they are really the frontline of echoing our mission. They are sharing those goals. They are doing a phenomenal job of senior leadership to share that mission. Our seniors and our captains but it takes much more of the senior captains to lead the way.

Next up for the Irish is the U.S. Open, taking place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Being a long-course meter and international meet, the Open will bring top talent from around the world. It should allow teams an opportunity to see where they are at from a long-course perspective. With Olympic Trials on the horizon in June of 2024 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, a select group of Irish swimmers with have the opportunity to gun for trials cut times.

“This will be our first long-course opportunity with our team,” Lindauer said. “We are only bringing a select few. We have about 10 going, with various reasons why we picked that party. It’s really a first opportunity to see where we are at from a long course perspective, which is a different course, different competition than college swimming.”

Lindauer enjoys being a college swim coach for the diversity it brings, especially as an Olympic year approaches. 

“Being a college swim coach is unique because you have college swimming, but you also have this international level,” Lindauer said. “We want to play at our level — at the highest level. So meets like the U.S. Open are great opportunities for our team and also to put up times and some opportunities to get some Olympic Trial cuts. It’s an extremely lofty goal right now, but a dream’s a dream. 

Contact Madeline Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu

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Key moments of the game: Notre Dame versus Boston College

No. 18 Notre Dame dominated the Boston College Eagles this afternoon in their home finale and senior day, securing the win in a  44-0 blowout. Here are five key moments of the game that contributed to the Irish’s victory in the 27th meeting of the two teams. 

Ben Morrison Interceptions 

Freshman cornerback Ben Morrison was a star against the Eagles and helped get things rolling for the Irish. Less than three minutes into the game, Morrison intercepted the ball on the BC 20. The Irish then secured the first touchdown of the game. But Morrison had more to give. Just when the Eagles had a substantial drive in the final two minutes of the first, QB Emmett Morehead’s pass was intercepted by Morrison in the end zone. In the third quarter of gameplay, Morrison did it again; this time, in a snow squall. His five career interceptions are the most for an Irish freshman since former Irish safety Kyle Hamilton had four in 2019, and the most yearly for an Irish player ever since Manti Te’o intercepted seven in 2012, placing Morrison in a suitable spot for a freshman All-American honor. The true freshman is just getting started.

Run Irish Run

The Irish saw the most success today in the run game. Granted, the weather may not have given them much of a choice. But the Irish backs still showed up in a big way. Junior quarterback Drew Pyne threw for 122 yards and one touchdown in the first half (156 total), but was 10/19 for completion (13-25 overall). These bad misses on several passes coupled with Pyne’s lack of effectiveness in the red zone did not hinder the Irish today, but must be noted. The Irish demonstrated efficiency within possession, as all seven of their drives in the first half resulted in points (three field goals, four touchdowns). Three of these touchdowns were a product of rushing the ball, as was the prior first down. 214 of Notre Dame’s 336 first-half yards came on the ground. Meanwhile, Boston College rushed for just one yard in the first 30 minutes.

Running backs dominate gameplay

The running back trio of sophomore Logan Diggs, sophomore Audric Estime, and junior Chris Tyree dominated consistently throughout gameplay, carrying the Irish to a 37-0 lead at halftime. Diggs had a stellar performance, kicking things off for the Irish with a 51-yard rushing first down in the first play of the game. Diggs would later run it in for a touchdown 4:55 into the first quarter. By then, Diggs already had 75 yards on the ground on seven carries, eclipsing Notre Dame’s rushing production last weekend (66 yards) in their 35-32 win over Navy. “Diggs on the carry” echoed repeatedly throughout Notre Dame stadium as the sophomore amassed over 122 yards in the game. Estime also contributed greatly with a touchdown in the second quarter,  and Tyree followed suit well. Estime had another touchdown in the third, earning 71 total yards at the end of the game. Tyree clocked out at 50. 

Turnovers and sacks wither down the Eagles

Turnovers were key for the Irish this game to show the Eagles which team was boss in the first half. Three interceptions from Morrison, a fumble recovery by senior defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey, and a fumble recovery on a backward pass from senior linebacker Marist Liufau gave the Irish momentum and withered down the already lethargic Eagles. Foskey’s sack in the final seconds of the first quarter earned him the all-time sack record at ND, passing former Irish Justin Tuck’s record of 24.5 sacks with 25 of his own. Junior Xavier Watts also contributed a sack at the end of the third, with Justin Ademilola right behind him.

Irish keep morale in difficult weather conditions 

The biting weather that produced a feels-like temperature of 11 degrees at kickoff did not deter the Irish from having their highest-scoring game of the season. Explosive plays early contributed to an Irish 37-0 shutout by the end of the first half, which continued for a final score of 44-0. Boston College was looking like they had quit and wanted to leave early on, but this only increased as time progressed. When the snow picked up in the second half, leaving little visibility, the Irish did not waver. Irish players danced and stirred up the crowd as the flakes covered the field, and gameplay went on. A mix of the senior day sentimentality and some true Irish grit gave the Irish a well deserved, confidence-instilling blowout to round out things at home.

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Bauer inspires future of the program through grit and grace

Graduate student linebacker and captain Bo Bauer has been a strong presence for the Irish throughout his four years at Notre Dame. Though a season-ending knee injury cut his gameplay prematurely, Bauer’s legacy surely will be remembered among the team and Irish fans. As an emotional leader of the team, Bauer has helped motivate and hold his teammates accountable in times of failure and doubt. 

Bauer came to Notre Dame after a very successful high school career where he was a finalist for the 2017 Butkus Award, geared toward the top high school linebackers in the country. The Erie Pennsylvania native turned down offers from Michigan State, Penn State and Vanderbilt, among others, to suit up for the Irish. Bauer wasted no time getting in on the action, as he played in all 13 games as a freshman. Bauer started his career as a third down specialist as a linebacker and a major contributor on special teams, but earned more playing time as his career progressed. 

Bauer blocked a punt as a sophomore against Michigan and continued that trend this year against Marshall. This first blocked punt of the season set the tone for the Irish, who are now leading the nation in blocked punts. With Bauer, Foskey also had game changing punts, this time against UNLV. The two had a running joke back and forth about who could get the most blocks for the season. 

“He gets a couple punt blocks every year,” Foskey said post-UNLV. “We’re going back and forth trying to get punt blocks, but I think I’m ahead right now.”

This “competition” between the two players had to come to an end after Bauer’s injury, though he was still as much involved with the block game from the sidelines. After his injury, Bauer watched the Stanford game on crutches and predicted Kollie would get his first career punt block after helping him with film study during the week. 

“He’s a great captain. He leads the special teams in the right way,” Foskey said. “He was coaching up everybody, especially me, to get a punt block.”

Arguably Bauer’s best season came last year in 2021 as he had 47 tackles, 4.5 for loss and garnered 1.5 sacks. The linebacker also had a pivotal 79 yard interception return against USC to secure the Irish victory. The leadership he displayed as team captain this season  helped carry the Irish through devastating losses such as Marshall. Bauer stressed the importance of self-evaluation and took accountability for the success of his team. 

“The first thing I said is ‘what could I have done to, you know, get these guys to the point,’” Bauer said days after the Marshall loss. “We’ve had great leaders who have not let the standard fall. And now, that’s on my shoulders.”

These high standards made a tough loss to Marshall extra difficult for Bauer as a leader. 

“It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life … to walk around the locker room and look these guys in the eye who’ve given me the greatest gift, the greatest trust in my life to be a captain and lead these guys,” Bauer said before the Cal game. 

Fast forward, and the Irish were on a win streak following Marshall. Bauer had his sights set on former defensive linemen Kurt Hinish’s record of 61 games played. However, the pursuit ended abruptly at 56 games as he also suffered a season ending knee injury, this time in practice after the BYU game. Dick Corbett head coach Marcus Freeman and fellow teammates were devastated at the news.

“[Bauer] sustained a knee injury in practice on Tuesday, which is devastating just because he’s a captain and he provides so much more than just production,” Freeman said pre-Stanford. “Just the energy, the ability to motivate our players, it’ll be a tremendous loss for us. So, he’s out for the year.”

Though he has not seen as much time on the field this year, Bauer’s role as a leader, motivator and beacon of hope on the sidelines as well as in the locker room has set the right example for the team. 

“I think a lot of the time that it comes down to the guys, we all love each other so much that we wanna make the play,” Bauer said. “It’s ‘we want to win the game together to see our brothers happy and successful’ and we just kind of have to make the game smaller. Just, ‘look, what’s my job this play’ and do that over and over and over again.”

Bauer’s senior day may not be the one he dreamed of as a freshman, but his impact on and off the field has helped the Irish navigate a choppy season and the Irish faithful will miss having his energetic presence on the field.

Contact Madeline Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu

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ND Swim and Dive fall to Louisville to kick off home slate

Irish Swim and Dive saw defeat in their first home matchup of the season against No. 10 Louisville — new Irish head coach Chris Lindauer’s former team — this past Friday.

The men fell 172-128, while the women were topped 191-109. Nevertheless, Notre Dame was still able to post nine individual victories, with three of them from diving.

Senior Jack Hoagland was the only Irish double event winner of the meet, capturing the first Irish win of the meet in the 1000 freestyle with a time of 9:04.86. Later in the meet, Hoagland also found the wall first in the 500 freestyle in a 4:23.31 to bring his individual victory count to five this season. Sophomore Madelyn Christman gained another victory in the 100 backstroke (54.40). Freshman Tommy Janton added another backstroke victory, capturing the men’s 200 in 1:45.33.

The Irish were victorious in both the men’s and women’s 200 butterfly. Senior Coleen Gillilan narrowly found the wall first in the 200 butterfly with a 1:59.12, winning by just .06 seconds. Fellow senior Cason Wilburn secured a win for the men in 1:47.37.

Graduate student and Louisville transfer Colton Paulson competed for the first time against his former school. Paulson was narrowly out-touched in the 100 freestyle (44.03) and also took second place in the 200 freestyle (1:36.94). Sophomore Chris Guiliano saw the podium a few times this meet. Guiliano had a close second-place finish in the 50 freestyle (19.98) as well as a third-place finish in the 100 freestyle (44.10). 

For the divers, graduate student Allie Klein placed first in the 3-meter for the women. Freshman Daniel Knapp also took the event for the men. Sophomore Calie Brady captured the 1-meter to add three individual wins under the belt of the dive team this meet.

Next up for the swimmers is the Ohio State Invitational. The divers, meanwhile, will split off to make the trip down to Austin for the Texas Diving Invitational. Both competitions take place Nov. 17 to Nov. 19, prior to Thanksgiving Break.

Contact Madeline Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu.

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Catch of the year?: After slow start, Braden Lenzy enjoys shining moment

Irish graduate student wide receiver Braden Lenzy shocked the nation Saturday afternoon with his circus catch in the first quarter of play against Navy. M&T Bank Stadium held its breath as junior quarterback Drew Pyne launched the ball 38 yards to an endzone-bound Lenzy. Navy cornerback Mbiti Williams Jr. appeared to be in a perfect position to defend the ball. Well, he was in a perfect position. Until Lenzy pinned the ball against the defender’s back to snatch it away with one hand.

Not only was it an unbelievable catch, but it was also another touchdown that extended Notre Dame’s lead over the Midshipmen to 21-6. Lenzy’s feat also placed Pyne in a more comfortable position in the pocket. With 234 passing yards in the first half, Pyne was making good reads, completing all but two of his 16 first-half passes. That early, substantial lead allowed the Irish to ultimately defeat Navy despite looking slow and disengaged in the second half. 

If you have not seen this pivotal moment rotating throughout highlight reels yet, it is certainly one to watch. Lenzy’s catch is all over headlines of major sports outlets. It even clocked in at number one on SportsCenter’s top 10 of the weekend.

Lenzy’s shining moment is well-deserved. The Oregon native has had a slow start to the season and experienced. several disappointments in his career. Lenzy only had 128 yards total in his first seven appearances of the season. Compare that to Lenzy’s performance against Navy, where he amassed five catches for 67 yards in the first quarter alone, and it is evident how far he has come. Pyne commented after the game on Lenzy’s work ethic and how it was truly his time to shine.

“Braden’s a guy that, all season, runs as hard as he can,” Pyne said. “He’s a guy that, in practice, always has a smile on his face. I felt like I gotta give him a shot. I scrambled out there and he beat his man by a couple yards. I saw that and I said I’m going to give him a chance so I threw it up and he made the unbelievable catch. I’ve never seen anything like it in my whole life. I’m so happy for him and he’s going to continue to keep getting better.” 

Taking a look at Lenzy’s career, this catch comes at a pivotal time in the graduate student’s final year. Lenzy had a huge season in 2019 and was thought at the time to be the next big star for the Irish. His unique speed and chemistry with former Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book (’19) made him an explosive asset in the running and passing games, capable of a game-breaking play at any moment. He was frequently used offensively in the backfield, something Notre Dame could benefit from this season.

However, Lenzy failed to back up his breakout campaign with a disappointing 2020 showing. Lenzy suffered a hamstring injury in summer camp and then reaggravated it during the year. He finished with only seven catches on the season.

Lenzy figured back and better than ever in 2021. But he never developed chemistry with quarterback Jack Coan (’22). Even though he ended the season with 32 catches, he didn’t play as prominent a role in the offense as expected. Nevertheless, his seven-catch performance in the Fiesta Bowl ignited hopes and he returned in 2022 with unfinished business. 

With the disappointing and uneven performance by the offense this season, perhaps Lenzy’s catch of the year will ignite the Irish the rest of the way.

Contact Madeline Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu

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‘One thing we know about Navy is that they will never quit’: Irish hold on 35-32, despite aggressive Navy comeback attempt 

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, No. 20 Notre Dame met Navy for their 95th time. Naval festivities welcomed the 62,124 fans to M&T Bank Stadium, as a Midshipmen procession, fighter jet flyover and parachute display occurred before play commenced. The Irish have had a history of victories against Navy, with the Midshipmen only winning 13 of the 94 (now 95) previous meetings. Notre Dame was able to extend their four-year win streak, though their offensive dominance in the first half quickly crumbled in the second. It was as though there were two different Notre Dame offenses playing between the first and the second halves, but nonetheless it was just enough for a win. 

Pyne dominates first half, points abound for the Irish (35-13)

After Navy won the coin toss and deferred, Notre Dame started off with the ball and junior quarterback Drew Pyne came in hot. The first quarter saw a stellar performance by Pyne and the rest of the offense. On the first drive of the game alone, Pyne completed for 58 yards, over half of the 85 yards he threw throughout the entirety of the Clemson game last week. By the end of the first half, Pyne had more than quadrupled that number, coming in at 234 passing yards. 

Pyne had some nice looks to the outside in order to get the Irish on the board early. A 30-yard pass completed to wide open sophomore running back Audric Estime gave the Irish their first touchdown early in the game. On Notre Dame’s next possession, sophomore wide receiver Braden Lenzy received Pyne’s 38 yard catch in a snag behind his defender’s back to grant the Irish another touchdown. The crowd went wild for this catch of the year contender. 

However, Navy had something to say about this 14-0 score. Fullback Daba Fofana snuck in a touchdown for the Midshipmen in the final minutes of the first quarter to bring the game to 14-6 after a missed extra point. A touchdown run at the beginning of the second quarter by Navy quarterback Xavier Arline made it 21-13. It is obvious Notre Dame missed senior J.D. Bertrand, who missed the game with an injury, as gaps in the defense allowed Navy to show some ownership of the run game throughout the second quarter. That is, until junior cornerback Clarence Lewis had something to say about it. 

A crucial midfield interception by Lewis in the final three minutes of the second quarter changed the tide for the Irish, and was arguably the kiss of death for the Midshipmen. The Irish went to work quickly, and a big run from Estime allowed Pyne to run it in for an 11-yard touchdown to make it 28-13. Momentum continued, and a blocked punt by Jack Kiser marked the fifth straight game that the Irish have blocked a punt. In addition, this was the first blocked punt against Navy since their season opener against Marshall last year. 

In yet another touchdown play, a stellar 37 yard catch by wide receiver Jayden Thomas in the final minute of the second quarter brought the Irish to 24-13. Though it was less than three minutes on the clock, the Irish were able to get some serious work done, and spirits were high heading into the second half with a 35-13 advantage. 

Slow play in quarter three leads to crumbling Irish performance in the fourth (35-32)

The second half play got off to a slow start with the Midshipmen draining 10 minutes off the clock in a 16 play, 72 yard drive. Though missed tackles and penalties abounded for the Irish and allowed the Midshipmen to keep moving, Navy eventually settled for a field goal. The kick was good to bring the score to Notre Dame 35, Navy 16. The Irish appeared to have lost steam as they only gained three yards in the third quarter. On the other side of things, Navy was attempting an aggressive comeback. Head coach Marcus Freeman commented on Navy’s resiliency. 

“One thing we know about Navy is that they will never quit,” Freeman said. 

And quit they did not. Any of the sluggishness in the third quarter was made up right away by the Midshipmen right in the final period. Pyne’s first pass of the quarter was intercepted by Navy’s John Marshall, and Arline quickly passed it up the middle for a touchdown. After a successful two point conversion, the score rose to 35-24. Pyne two plays apart as Notre Dame’s drive sputtered. Later, Pyne was sacked again as he was under constant pressure in the second half.  

The Irish offense generated next to nothing in the second half, as they only gained a total of 12 yards in its entirety. Injury of Navy’s quarterback Xavier Arline brought in backup quarterback Maasai Maynor to the stage. This did not seem to particularly hinder Navy, as the Midshipmen were able to make some plays downfield and eventually amass a touchdown in the final minute of the game. A successful two-point conversion brought the Midshipmen dangerously close with a score of 35-32. Nevertheless, the Irish fell on the Navy onside kick to seal up the game. Freeman commented on the lack of urgency present among the Irish in the second half. 

“We had to match [Navy’s] urgency throughout the entirety of the game. We did it in the first half, but we did not have the urgency or execution in the second,” Freeman said.

Continuing a longstanding tradition, the Notre Dame and Navy alma maters rang out as Irish and Midshipmen players stood alongside one another in solidarity. Junior linebacker Prince Kollie described it as “a great thing to see” and a moment that he cherishes. 

With a final score of 35-32, Notre Dame leaves Baltimore victorious, but with lots to review. The Irish ended the game with 269 passing and 66 rush yards, for a total of 335. Navy edged them out at 363, on 108 pass and 255 rush. The Irish move down their docket of rivalry matchups as they face Boston College next week.

“We’ve got to a point now where we can win these close games, and we are going to be better because of it. It’s going to be a hungry group as we head into our last home game,” Freeman said.

Contact Maddie Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu.

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Notre Dame swim and dive prepares for season with redefined outlook

Fall semester has come and (almost) gone, and that means it’s time for the Notre Dame swim and dive team to get back into action. With new leadership under head swimming coach Chris Lindauer and consistency from head diving coach Mark Bradshaw, the Irish have a redefined outlook for their program. Standout returners mixed with new talent puts the team in a promising spot heading into regular season competition. Though the women did not make the NCAA Power Rankings Preseason Top 25, the men clock in at No. 23

The Irish already took to the pool two weeks ago and claimed a double victory against Pittsburgh and Penn State. Both the men’s and women’s teams’ ability to top the Panthers and the Nittany Lions is promising for their seasons’ outlooks.

There are several star returners to both the men’s and women’s swim and dive squads that will help propel the Irish this season. For the men, school record holder Chris Guiliano enters his sophomore season with sights on his own 50 and 100 freestyle records. Junior Tyler Christianson returns for another season after some strong finishes and NCAA times last year. He also gained experience at the FINA World Championships. Junior NCAA qualifiers Kaden Smesko and Stephan Lukashev will certainly add depth to the team. So will seniors Jack Hoagland and NCAA-qualifier Cason Wilburn. As the only diving senior, William Rains will help transition the new diving talent.

For the women, sophomore Madelyn Christman was dubbed “one to watch” by Lindauer himself. Senior Coleen Gillilan is likely to gain points for the Irish in her final season. The women have their sights on NCAA qualifiers this year, as they only sent one (graduated) female swimmer last year. Sophomore diver Calie Brady was also at NCAA’s and continued to impress at this year’s Pitt versus Penn State dual after coming off a standout freshman season. 

New, top-ranked talent also abounds with 10 new freshmen for the men’s swim team and two for the dive team. These newcomers accounted for several top-three finishes at the Pitt versus Penn State tri-meet. As for the women’s side, they welcome six new swimmers — one of them being Coleen Gillilan’s sister, Renee — and one new diver.

With the Irish opening their home slate on Nov. 11 against No. 10 Louisville, it will be all hands on deck. The meet is even more important than meets the eye, though. Lindauer is an alum and the former associate head coach of the Cardinals. Graduate student Colton Paulson is also a former Cardinal. The Cardinals will visit South Bend with three meets under their belt. Thus, they should give the Irish a true test of their depth and performance thus far.

Notre Dame swim and dive has a busy schedule. This differs quite a bit from last year, when several meets were canceled or abridged due to COVID-19 and other issues. After their dual against Louisville, the Irish take to Texas for a weekend with UT-Austin followed by the annual Ohio State Invitational. The U.S. Open rounds things off for 2022.

The Irish resume competition in January 2023 with a Navy-Princeton tri-meet on the docket. The Tim Welsh Classic rounds out the Irish’s regular season as they move on to the ACC Championships in mid-February. Here, the season will end for most. But select men and women will qualify for the NCAA Championships, which are held throughout March. 

With the conglomeration of talent existing on the swim and dive squad, the future is bright for Lindauer and Bradshaw. The performance against Louisville will set the tone for the season, and Irish swimmers and divers new and old are looking for a victory. Friday’s matchup against Louisville, its alumni meeting for the year, begins at 3 p.m. ET at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.

Contact Madeline Ladd at mladd2@nd.edu.