Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer for most, including Notre Dame’s spring sports teams. Within a few hours of each other Saturday afternoon the Irish baseball and men’s lacrosse teams, the last of the Irish team sports still standing, ended their year with postseason losses. Here’s a breakdown of how each Notre Dame sport fared this spring.
Junior Adam Norton helped get Notre Dame to the final weekend of the Big East tournament with a 4-3 win over Seton Hall Friday.
Notre Dame’s season came to a close Saturday morning after a brief run in the losers’ bracket of the Big East Tournament. Both of the Irish losses in the double elimination tournament came at the hands of eventual champions St. John’s.
Freshman pitcher Pat Connaughton started in both losses, posting a much better line in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat. Sophomore Eric Jagielo tied the game at 1-1 with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Red Storm’s second sacrifice fly of the game gave them the lead the following inning. Notre Dame will lose its ace pitcher, Will Hudgins to graduation, but the team returns a core of young hitters to the field next season.
The Irish ended their season with a 15-game winning streak to enter the Big East tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country. They rode the momentum and the right arm of sophomore pitcher Laura Winter into the conference championship game played in South Bend.
Eighth-ranked Louisville beat the Irish in extra innings to win the Big East title. Notre Dame lost two games to host Arizona in its NCAA Regional to end the year. Winter, who was named the conference pitcher of the year, finished the season with a 29-11 record and a 2.18 ERA.
Men’s Lacrosse (13-3)
Defensive battles were Notre Dame’s bread-and-butter this season in lacrosse, but they couldn’t outlast No. 1 Loyola in a low-scoring 7-5 loss in the NCAA semifinals Saturday afternoon. Loyola’s All-American Eric Lusby scored five goals to end the Irish season.
Notre Dame still finished the season as the toughest team to score on in the country. Junior goalie John Kemp and senior defenseman Kevin Randall both won first-team All-America honors. Head coach Kevin Corrigan has built a perennial defensive powerhouse in South Bend.
Women’s Lacrosse (13-5)
Christine Halfpenny had a successful first season as the women’s head coach, leading the team back to the NCAA tournament after missing out the year before. The Irish drew Northwestern in the opening round of the tournament and lost 12-7. The Wildcats went on to win their seventh championship in eight years on Sunday.
Senior Maggie Tamasitis, an All-American, led the team with 82 points in her final season. Sophomores Margaret Smith (an All-American midfielder) and Lindsay Powell (team-leading 44 goals) provide plenty of returning ammo for Halfpenny to keep the program moving forward.
Senior Kristy Frilling ends her Notre Dame career with five All-American citations, more than any other player in program history.
Track & Field
A few of Notre Dame’s top athletes are still working this week as they get set to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships as individuals from June 6-9. Five men and five women qualified for the Irish.
The men’s team ended their season as a group with its eighth Big East championship by a healthy margin. The women came up a few points short of Louisville for second place in the conference. Freshman Chris Giesting stole the show at the conference meet by winning both the 200 and 400 meter races to claim the Most Outstanding Performer award. Seven other men and five women also placed first in their events during the conference meet.
Tennis (M: 21-9 W: 21-8)
The Irish women continued to dominate Big East tennis with their fifth consecutive conference title this year. Senior Kristy Frilling led the way for Notre Dame by winning all six of her matches in the conference tournament. She and doubles partner Shannon Matthews advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 before falling to a pair from UCLA. They finished the year as the eighth-ranked duo in the country.
The men’s team finished third in the conference and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to No. 5 Ohio State. They also sent a few players to the individual NCAA tournament last week. Seniors Niall Fitzgerald and Casey Watt lost their opening round match against the fourth-ranked duo in the country from Stanford. Sophomore Greg Andrews (26-5 on the year) also lost in the first round of the NCAA singles tournament last week.
The men’s team, led by senior Max Scodro, won the Big East title this year and finished sixth at the NCAA Central Regional. Scodro won the Big East tournament and tied for seventh overall by shooting a five-under 208 at the regional. He got his official professional tour card a week later. Senior Chris Walker and junior Paul McNamara III also finished in the top five at the Big East championship.
Freshman Ashley Armstrong won the conference tournament on the women’s side in dramatic fashion after a three-hole playoff with Louisville’s Emily Haas. The team finished second overall, one stroke behind South Florida. They ended the year with a 15th place finish at the NCAA regional tournament.
The women’s rowing team ended its season Sunday with a 15th place finish at the 16-team NCAA Championships. Notre Dame’s varsity four finished second in the petite finals, less than two seconds behind the UCLA boat.
The Irish continued to control the conference with its ninth consecutive Big East title. They won five of six grand finals at the meet in early May to cruise to an easy victory. Olivia Kacsits, Morgan Kelley and Stephanie O’Neill were all named first team all-conference rowers.