PLAYER BLOG: Penn State to Take on NCAA Runners-up Notre Dame
Feb. 24, 2011
By Will Donley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
In a rematch of last spring's championship game, Notre Dame revenged its loss by beating Duke 12-7 in the inaugural Sunshine Classic in Jacksonville, Fla. this past weekend. All-American senior midfielder Zach Brenneman (East Hampton, N.Y.) continued where he left off last spring by scoring three goals and adding two assists to lead the Fighting Irish over the Blue Devils.
Brenneman was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Week for his career-high five points.
Notre Dame returns an enormous amount of firepower on offense and veteran experience on defense. If the team's handful of young starters - at key positions like the face off and in the net - play well, the Fighting Irish are poised to make another post season run.
At the midfield, senior David Earl (Simsbury, Conn.) complemented Brenneman with a goal of his own against the Blue Devils. Junior Max Pfeifer (Crozet, Va.) ran along side Brenneman and Earl on Notre Dame's first midfield line.
Notre Dame's second midfield was led by Pat Cotter (Olney, Md.). The sophomore midfielder scored one goal and added an assist. Senior long stick midfielder Andrew Irving (McLean, Va.) scored two goals, picked up two ground balls and caused one turnover.
Freshman face off midfielder Liam O'Connor (Haverford, Pa.) was 7-10 in his first start for the Fighting Irish. Senior Jake Marmul (Livonia, Mich.) was 6-11 at the face off against Duke.
Notre Dame's attack was led by Sean Rogers (New Hyde Park, N.Y.). The junior scored two goals on two shots. Rogers' line mates, junior Nicholas Beattie (Columbus, Ohio) and sophomore Ryan Foley (Glen Ridge, N.J.), failed to score, but they generated six shots on goal, combined. Reserve freshman attackman Westy Hopkins (Newton, Pa.) scored two goals for the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame returned two starters on defense and held Duke's offense to only seven goals on 32 shots. Senior Kevin Ridgway (Kensington, Md.) earned honorable mention All-American honors last season. Senior Sam Barnes (Branford, Conn.) earned honorable mention All-American honors in 2009 before missing the 2010 season with an injury. Junior Kevin Randall (Penfield, N.Y.) also earned the start.
Sophomore goalie John Kemp (Potomac, Md.) made 10 saves as the Notre Dame starting goalie. He made two starts a season ago in relief of All-American goalie Scott Rodgers.
In order to beat the Fighting Irish this weekend, the Nittany Lions must contend with Notre Dame's strong and athletic midfielders. The defense will also have to corral a crafty attack unit that capitalizes on teams that slide quickly to Irish midfielders like Brenneman and Earl.
On offense, Penn State must score early on the sophomore Kemp. The attack must prevent the young goalie from gaining any confidence behind Notre Dame's experienced and decorated defense.
Come out and support the Nittany Lions on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. as they look to knock off the third-ranked team in the country!
Will Donley, Senior Attackman, Penn State Men's Lacrosse Team, GoPSUsports.com