No. 4 Quinnipiac University Bobcats (4-8, 2-3 GWLL) vs.
No. 1 University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-0, 5-0 GWLL)
Great Western Lacrosse League Tournament Semifinals
Friday, May 1, 2009 5 p.m.
Maple Field, Seaholm High School Birmingham, Mich.
Bobcats Return To GWLL Tournament
The fourth-seeded Quinnipiac University men's lacrosse team travels to Birmingham, Mich., to face top-seeded and nationally-ranked No. 2 Notre Dame in the Great Western Lacrosse League Semifinals Friday. The Bobcats punched their ticket to suburban Detroit with a dramatic 12-11 win at Bellarmine last time out. Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish completed the 2009 regular season with an undefeated record (13-0, 5-0 GWLL), becoming the only team in NCAA Division I to do so. The two teams met on April 18 in Hamden, with the Irish taking a 10-2 win. Quinnipiac also met Notre Dame in last year's GWLL Tournament, a game that was tied in the third quarter before the Irish outlasted the Bobcats, 10-6.
Scouting the Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The only undefeated team left in Division I, the 13-0 Irish are led by senior goalie Scott Rodgers, who leads in the nation in goals-against average (6.26) and save percentage (.655). Ryan Hoff leads four Notre Dame players with at least 20 goals with 27. Grant Krebs (25), Neal Hicks (21) and Duncan Swezey (21) round out the 20-goal scorers. Swezey leads the Irish in assists (17) and points (38). Peter Christman has contributed 16 assists. The Irish defense is tops in the nation, allowing just 6.23 goals per game. Notre Dame is second in the country in scoring margin (+5.31), fourth in ground balls per game (37.69) and ninth in both scoring offense (11.54) and points per game (18.15).
Trailing by one with less than a minute remaining and its season in the balance, Quinnipiac scored twice in the final 50 seconds at Bellarmine to defeat the Knights, 12-11, April 25 in Louisville, Ky. Jack Oppenheimer scored game-tying goal with 49 seconds left before Alex Marotto split a double team and slipped a shot past the Knights' goalie with 17 seconds remaining in regulation for the game winner. The win clinched the Bobcats second straight trip to the GWLL Tournament.
Elliott Earns All-GWLL Honors
For the second straight season, a member of the Quinnipiac defense was named second-team All-GWLL. Pat Elliott joined Drew Maceranka in earning all-conference honors this season after picking up 29 ground balls and scoring two transition goals while anchoring the Bobcats' defense.
Marotto Makes Immediate Difference
After missing the last five games, spanning more than a month, due to injury, Alex Marotto scored twice, including the game-winning goal with 17 seconds left, at Bellarmine. Marotto also added a pair of assists.
Kelly Keeps Connecting
Kevin Kelly scored a team-high four goals and added an assist in the Bobcats' 12-11 win at Bellarmine. The four goals and five points are both career-highs for the sophomore from Redding, Conn., who ranks second on the team in both goals (15) and points (20).
Oppenheimer: The Right Way To Play
Jack Oppenheimer owns the team lead in goals (19) and points (25), and is tied for second in assists (6). After opening the season with a goal and four assists against Wagner, Oppenheimer followed with three goals against Bellarmine, St. John's, Sacred Heart, two against Lafayette and Air Force and one each against Brown, Denver, Detroit, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Shots Bouncing Off Benzing
Kevin Benzing entered the week ranked 28th and 30th in the nation in goals-against average (9.26) and save percentage (.538), respectively. He stopped 16 shots in the Bobcats win against No. 19 Denver, his fifth career performance of 15 saves or more.
Ben Mullaney became just the 11th Bobcat to scoop up 100 career ground balls in the Bobcats' loss at Providence, March 18. With 137 ground balls, including 15 against Sacred Heart, he's sixth in Quinnipiac history. His 5.33 ground balls per game this season rank 22nd in the nation and second in the GWLL. He's also 33rd in the nation in face-off percentage (.512).
Messina Moves Up The Career Assists Chart
With an assist at Bellarmine, April 25, senior Gary Messina moved into 13th place all-time on the Quinnipiac career assists list. Of his 29 career assists, 27 have come in the last two seasons. Messina racked up 16 assists (T-8th QU single season) in 2008, and currently leads the Bobcats with 11 assists so far in 2009.
Sticks & Stones Raises More Than $16,000
The Quinnipiac men's lacrosse team raised more than $16,000 in a season-long effort to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation. In coordination with the "Sticks & Stones To Conquer Prostate Cancer" campaign, the Bobcats culminated the effort at their final home game of the season, April 18, against Notre Dame.
Kaiser Steps Up
Junior Todd Kaiser scored four goals and added two assists as the Bobcats earned an 11-10 win against No. 19 Denver, the first win against a nationally-ranked team in program history. Included in the performance were points on four consecutive goals to turn a 6-3 Bobcats deficit at the half into a 7-6 lead by the end of the third quarter. Quinnipiac never trailed again. For his effort, Kaiser was named both the Great Western Lacrosse League and New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Player of the Week.
Dimond Shines In Quinnipiac Victories
Junior Ted Dimond scored three goals and added two assists in the Bobcats' 15-4 win against Detroit, March 22. He also scored three times to lead the Bobcats to a 13-5 win at Wagner, Feb. 14.
Bobcats Pick Up 57 Ground Balls
The Bobcats scooped up 57 ground balls against Detroit, March 22. The 57 ground balls are a Quinnipiac single-game high for the last two seasons. 25 QU players picked up at least one.
Dendas Delivers; Kerr Connects
Zach Dendas and Garett Kerr scored twice each in the Bobcats' Feb. 21 loss at St. John's. Dendas also added an assist.
Gast From the Past
After missing all of last season due to injury, Mike Gast scored two goals in his return to the Bobcats' line-up, Feb. 14 at Wagner.
Benzing Begins Strong
Goalie Kevin Benzing stopped 15 shots, while allowing just five goals at Wagner.
Mullaney Picks Up His Game
Ben Mullaney scooped up seven ground balls and won 12-of-20 face-offs in the Bobcats' season opener at Wagner.
Didn't You Used To Play Here?
2008 All-GWLL Second Team selection Drew Maceranka returns to the Bobcats as an assistant coach. Maceranka anchored the Quinnipiac defense last season and earned a spot on the North team at the USILA North/South All-Star Game.
The Bobcats hope to continue their season in Sunday's GWLL Championship Game. A win against Notre Dame would set up a pairing with the winner of Friday night's semifinal game between No. 2 Air Force and No. 3 Ohio State. The GWLL Championship Game is scheduled for noon Sunday at Maple Field on the campus of Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Mich.