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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Athlete of the Week: Ryan, Miles deliver iconic March performances

March Madness began this week, leading to the opportunity for big-stage performances. However, the Irish spring sports were also in action. And they weren’t about to let the players on the hardwood steal all the glory. Here’s how the Athlete of the Week voting turned out.

Men’s Athlete of the Week: Cormac Ryan, Notre Dame men’s basketball

As far as easy selections go, this one ranked pretty high. Cormac Ryan delivered a gutsy effort in the First Four against Rutgers. His 16 points and three steals were a key factor in Notre Dame’s 89-87 double-overtime victory. One of those steals was a critical one late in overtime to help put the Irish back in the lead. However, Ryan followed that up with a career day in the round of 64. He took nine three-pointers and made seven of them. Backed by those seven triples, Ryan poured in 29 points, a career-high. That sparked Notre Dame to a victory over sixth-seeded Alabama and into the round of 32. For an outstanding performance, followed by a career-best effort, Ryan earned his first Men’s Athlete of the Week

Honorable Mention: Liam Entenmann, Notre Dame lacrosse

While Ryan’s performance dominated headlines, junior goaltender Liam Entenmann held it down for the Irish lacrosse squad. The No. 15 Irish toppled the No. 17 Michigan Wolverines, 12-7. Entenmann’s defensive effort sparked the victory, as he delivered a 19-save performance. It represented a career-high performance for Entenmann, which earned him his first nomination and the Men’s Athlete of the Week Honorable Mention.

Women’s Athlete of the Week: Olivia Miles, Notre Dame women’s basketball

Women’s Athlete of the Week features yet another iconic March Madness performance. Freshman guard Olivia Miles stepped up in the round of 64 and delivered a triple-double. Not only did it boost the Irish to a first-round victory over UMass, but the performance put Miles into the Irish record books. She became just the third Notre Dame woman to post multiple triple-doubles in her career. It was also just the tenth triple-double in Notre Dame women’s basketball history. A historic performance in a pressure situation earned Olivia Miles her fifth nomination for the award and the Women’s Athlete of the Week.

Honorable Mention: Shannon Becker, Notre Dame Softball

Notre Dame softball took to the diamond on five occasions last week. In four of those games, freshman pitcher Shannon Becker made an appearance in the pitcher’s circle. And on none of those occasions did Becker allow a run. She delivered eleven innings of shutout softball, giving up eight hits and two walks and struck out nine. She nailed the door shut on several games, notching two saves. Becker also picked up the win with five innings of two-hit ball against Pittsburgh. Becker now sits with a 7-1 record and a sparkling 0.88 ERA. Her efforts this week earned her the Women’s Athlete of the Week Honorable Mention

Team of the Week: Notre Dame Softball

As aforementioned, the Irish softball team played five times this week. They were victorious in all five, claiming two-midweek victories and then sweeping Pitt to extend their winning streak to six games. They also improved to 4-2 in ACC play. The Irish gave up just nine runs over five games, starting with an 18-0 victory over Detroit Mercy. Following that, the Irish toppled Western Michigan 7-2. After winning the opener 7-5 over the Panthers, Notre Dame then slammed their conference opponents twice, 11-0 and 8-2. Overall, they outscored their opponents 51-9 over five games and earned the team of the week for the second time this spring.