April 30, 2010

Syracuse Makes First Trip to Notre Dame

from press release

- No. 2 Syracuse (11-1, 4-0) begins the season's final month with the first of two road games to close out the 2010 regular season. The Orange visits No. 19 Notre Dame (7-5, 2-3) for the first time for a 7 p.m. clash at sold-out Arlotta Stadium on Saturday, May 1.

Syracuse has won its last nine in a row and can clinch at least a share of the conference title with a victory. The Irish are 7-5 and look to strengthen their NCAA Tournament resume with a win. Notre Dame is coming off consecutive conference victories against Providence (11-3) and St. John's (13-6).

Saturday's game will be televised live nationally on ESPNU. Fans can also hear the action live on the radio home of the Orange - TK 99 (99.5 FM) in Syracuse. Live streaming audio of the radio broadcast is available on SUathletics.com as part of Orange All-Access.

Syracuse enters Saturday's game with an unbeaten 4-0 league record. The Orange is the only team in the BIG EAST without a loss and can clinch a share of the inaugural BIG EAST title with a victory against the Irish. Villanova and Georgetown are both 3-1 in conference play and remain in the hunt for the league championship. The Hoyas host Rutgers this weekend, while the Wildcats will visit Providence.

The Orange is currently tied for second nationally with Fairfield in scoring defense. Syracuse is giving up an average of 7.42 goals per game. Only Loyola (7.18 gpg) has a better mark. The Orange has only allowed double-digit goals twice this season and has held three of its last four opponents to five goals or less.

In 2009, Syracuse ranked fourth in scoring defense, its highest national finish since the NCAA began tracking the statistical leaders in 1996.

The Orange boasts two of the top goal scorers in the BIG EAST. Senior Chris Daniello (Cross River, N.Y.) and junior Stephen Keogh (Toronto, Ontario) are both averaging 2.0 goals per game. The tandem is tied with Villanova's Paul Webber for first in the league in goals per game. Daniello and Keogh each have 24 goals in 12 contests, while Webber has scored 26 in 13 games.

Junior Joel White (Cortland, N.Y.) has recovered at least five ground balls in nine of SU's 12 games this season and leads the Orange with 63 ground balls on the year. He is second in the BIG EAST in ground balls per game at 5.25. White has 18 career 5+ ground-ball games and he has recovered 189 ground balls for his career.

In addition to his work on defense, White has made his presence known offensively this season and throughout his career. White has five points (2g, 3a) on the year. In each of his first three seasons, White has recorded at least four points. His eight points (5g, 3a) in 2009 was the most for SU player wielding a six-foot pole since 1998 when Marshall Abrams also had eight points.

Like Syracuse, the Irish features a balanced offensive attack. Notre Dame boasts eight players with at least 10 points. Junior midfielder Zach Brenneman leads the way with 33 points, including a team-best 22 goals. Senior attackman Neal Hicks is second on the club with 30 points, including a team-high 12 assists. Senior midfielder Grant Krebs has proven to be a solid finisher with 20 goals. Krebs had a hat trick to lead the Irish past St. John's on April 24.

Defensively, the Irish boast the fifth-best scoring defense in the nation (7.75) and they rank second in the country in man-down defense, killing off 80.8 percent of opposing team's man-up chances. Senior Mike Creighton leads the Irish's close defense with 18 ground balls. He also has a goal this season. Junior longstick midfielder Andrew Irving is second on the squad with 52 ground balls.

Senior goalie Scott Rodgers had played in 10 games and has 99 saves and a 7.88 goals-against average. Rodgers missed two games due to injury. Freshman John Kemp, the younger brother of former Notre Dame All-American Joey Kemp, was Rodgers' primary replacement. Kemp has played in four games overall. He has 29 saves in 175 minutes of work.

The Orange has won the previous three meetings with the Irish, including triumphs in the 2001 NCAA semifinals (12-5) and the 2008 NCAA quarterfinals (11-9). Syracuse also defeated Notre Dame by the score of 19-13 at the Carrier Dome during the 2004 regular season.

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