On Saturday, April 30, No. 4/4 Syracuse will host No. 1/1 Notre Dame at the Carrier Dome in a game that will award at least a share of the BIG EAST Championship. The contest between the BIG EAST's two undefeated teams will be televised on ESPNU at 7:00 p.m., with Eamon McAnaney and Quint Kessenich calling the action and Paul Carcaterra on the sideline.
The Orange enter the game with a 4-0 record in conference play and a 12-1 overall record, with SU's only loss coming to Cornell. The Fighting Irish are 5-0 in league action, with a 10-0 overall record.
Notre Dame's 10-0 start to the season leaves the Irish as the only undefeated team in NCAA Division I men's lacrosse. It is the second undefeated start through 10 games in 31 seasons of the program's existence, with the first coming in 2009 when the Irish began the season 15-0.
UND is coming off a 14-3 victory at Providence on Saturday; the 14 goals were a season high. The tilt marked the third time this season the Irish defense has held an opponent to three goals or fewer. Notre Dame's defense ranks first nationally with a 5.90 goals-against average, which is on pace to eclipse the program-record mark of 6.19 from the 2009 season.
Notre Dame is led offensively by junior attackman Sean Rogers, who has 21 points on a team-high 15 goals and six assists. Senior midfielder David Earl has a team-high eight assists.
Defensively, freshman midfielder Liam O'Connor has picked up 29 ground balls. Sophomore goalie John Kemp has all 10 of Notre Dame's wins in goal this season and leads the league with a 5.95 goals-against average and .631 save percentage.
Senior captains Earl, Zach Brenneman and Kevin Ridgway are among the 25 nominees for the 2011 Tewaaraton Award.
The Irish will conclude the regular season next Friday at No. 9 North Carolina at 8:00 p.m. ET in a game televised live on ESPNU.
Syracuse's seniors have the chance to win their 58th game against Notre Dame, which would make them the winningest senior class in school history. This year's seniors have won 57 games in their careers, which is tied with the Class of 1986 for the most wins in school history over a four-year period. SU's current seniors tied the school's single-season wins record (16) in 2008 and 2009 on their way to consecutive NCAA championships.
Syracuse has never lost a BIG EAST Conference game. The Orange are 10-0 all-time in league play. SU went 6-0 in conference play in 2010 to win the inaugural BIG EAST regular-season championship. The Orange are averaging 12.6 goals per game all-time in BIG EAST play and has outscored their conference foes cumulatively, 126-58.
Senior attackman Stephen Keough leads the Orange with 33 points on 26 goals and seven assists and is tied for the league lead in game-winning goals with five, while sophomore JoJo Marasco has a team-high 15 assists. Senior longstick midfielder Joel White has 34 ground balls while senior midfielder Jeremy Thompson has collected 33. Redshirt-sophomore defender Bryan Clegg has 22 caused turnovers. Senior John Galloway has 12 wins in goal for the Orange with a 6.85 goals against average. Keogugh, Galloway, White and senior John Lade are nominees for the Tewaaraton Award.
SU wraps up its regular season against St. John's on May 7.
This will be the fifth meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Syracuse, with the Orange holding a 4-0 advantage in the series. Most recently, Syracuse defeated Notre Dame 12-6 at Arlotta Stadium in 2010.
Two of the four meetings between Syracuse and Notre Dame came in NCAA Championship play. The Orange defeated the Irish 12-5 during the 2001 semifinals in Piscataway, N.J., and 11-9 during the quarterfinals of the 2008 tournament in Ithaca, N.Y.
The Fighting Irish are making their second appearance inside the Carrier Dome, with the last visit to the Dome coming in 2004 (a 19-13 loss).
If Notre Dame wins, the Irish clinch the BIG EAST regular-season championship with a 6-0 conference record. If Syracuse wins, it will secure at least a share of the conference title for the second-straight year, and would win the crown outright with a victory over St. John's. If the Orange beat Notre Dame and lose to St. John's, Syracuse and Notre Dame would be co-champions.