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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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The Observer

Men's Lacrosse:Big East poses new threats

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Notre Dame won the last three GWLL championships, but this year has no chance to defend that title. Rather, the Irish will go after the first-ever Big East men's lacrosse title in the first year the conference has sponsored the sport. In its 16 years in the GWLL, Notre Dame became a nationally-recognized program, finishing in first place 12 of those 16 years. Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said despite the promise the Big East holds for the Irish, the GWLL helped make the No. 3 Irish (2-0) what they are today. "[The GWLL] was a great conference for us. It really helped us in a period of growth for our program," Corrigan said. "We leave with nothing but fond memories of the GWLL." But the time has come for change, Corrigan said. "At the same time, it's a great time for us to join a league like the Big East," he said. "I think the league itself is a tremendous thing for the sport of lacrosse." Joining the Irish in the newly-formed Big East men's lacrosse league will be defending national champion and No. 1 Syracuse, No. 14 Georgetown, Villanova, Rutgers, St. John's and Providence. Of the seven teams, Syracuse was unanimously picked to win the conference in the preseason by the seven coaches, and Notre Dame was picked to finish second. Now in a conference with two other top-15 teams, the Irish will face a more difficult schedule throughout the regular season, a fact that should benefit Notre Dame come season's end. Last season Notre Dame's weak schedule was criticized as the Irish entered the NCAA Tournament undefeated, only to lose in the first round to Maryland 7-3. "The tougher schedule does prepare you better," Corrigan said. "Overall you learn more about yourself the harder schedule you play, and the more you know about yourself, the better prepared you are at the end of the year." That strength of schedule should compensate for the conference's lack of an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for the next two years, Corrigan said. "Whoever wins the league is going to the NCAA Tournament, there is no doubt about that," he said. "Our job is to win enough games to get us into the NCAA Tournament, and if we win the Big East regular season, we'll be okay." In order to win the Big East regular season, the Irish need to continue playing the way they have been playing — so far registering an 11-7 win over No. 2 Duke and a 12-8 win over Penn State Sunday — with one major improvement. "The biggest thing we haven't done consistently well in the first couple games is we haven't cleared the ball well, and that can really hurt you," Corrigan said. "When you get defensive stops, you need to turn those into offensive possessions and even offensive opportunities." The Irish have five more matches to fine-tune their game before opening their first Big East conference season on March 27 when they host Rutgers.


The Observer

Track & Field: Schultz looking to shine on the track in final season

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A stereotypical college life is one of partying, enjoying life and doing nothing productive as often as possible. Those Saturday or Sunday morning jogs around campus you vowed to run become few and far between, and exercising sometimes gets pushed to the back burner. For Irish senior sprinter Joanna Schultz, this lifestyle was never an option. Schultz began running in seventh grade, and thanks to relentless encouragement from her mom, she never stopped. "I started running because I wasn't athletic enough to play softball, and everyone in middle school did all three seasons of sports, so I had to do something," Schultz said. Schultz graduated high school with an impressive resume that included winning outdoor state titles in the 200- and 400-meter races all four years. After winning champiosnhips and breaking records across the board in Wisconsin, she decided Notre Dame was the next step. "Notre Dame was a big name with a small and comfortable feeling," Schultz said. "It was close enough, yet far enough away from home, and the girls on the team made me feel welcome." In her junior year she took eighth in the 400 at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Nationals, earning the title of All-American, which she called the best memory of her career thus far. From there, Schultz's success continued into the outdoor season where she won the 400 hurdles at the Big East 2009 outdoor championships with a time of 53.12 seconds. She advanced to the NCAA Mideast Regionals, where she placed fifth and barely missed out on the chance to compete in the national championships. Now Schultz is more determined than ever. After having surgery on her stomach last September, Schultz has recovered and become stronger than ever. She won the 400 at the Big East Indoors this year with a time of 53.16 seconds, setting a new conference record. In her final season, Schultz said she knows it is her last chance to shine, and that is exactly what she intends to do — even as she looks back on three years with the team. "Track has made me realize I'm a little tougher than I once though I was, has helped me avoid the freshman 15, and has given me some of the best friends anyone could ever ask for," Schultz said. The indoor season will conclude with the NCAA Championships March 12-13, where Schultz hopes to end her indoor career on a high note before continuing into her final outdoor season. For the time being, she plans to continue making contributions to the team she has grown to love. "I will miss the team aspect of Notre Dame track," Schultz said. "I run, lift and travel with these people every single day and I will miss all of them very much."  


The Observer

ND Women's Basketball:'They're that good'

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Notre Dame failed to defend its home floor for the first time this season, falling to Connecticut 76-51 in a rematch with major Big East tournament seeding implications. The Irish pulled to within 14 points with 11 minutes to go in the second half, but the nation's No. 1 team broke off a 13-0 run to push its winning streak to 69 games. "Last game we weren't in it at all, so if we're in it for 10 minutes tonight, that's improvement," Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. "I think there's definitely more highlights for us in this game. They're just really, they're that good. They have to play poorly and we have to play well. And we didn't play well, and they didn't play poorly. That was a tough combination." Junior forward Becca Bruszewski finished with 15 points and Devereaux Peters added seven rebounds and a career-high 15 points to lead No. 6 Notre Dame (25-4, 12-4). Despite the unexpected contributions in the post against a much larger Connecticut frontcourt, the perimeter offense was nonexistent against the Huskies (30-0, 16-0). The Irish shot 31 percent from the field and only made 4-of-14 attempts from behind the arc. "[Peters] played well last time we played them," McGraw said. "She was able to score on them, and she got some nice baskets off assists and a couple of rebounds. Becca created a lot of her own, especially in the first half, really kind of kept us in the game. Both of them really did well. I thought overall we were pressing a little bit, trying a little too hard to score." Huskies senior forward Tina Charles, who entered Monday's contest needing 13 points and 5 rebounds to become the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in school history, delivered the game's top performance. Charles accomplished both goals, finishing with 18 points and 8 rebounds, as the Irish had no answer for the first-team All-American. "I thought Tina Charles was an amazing player," McGraw said. "Congratulations to her for getting the record. I thought we guarded her fairly well in the first half. In the second half, we forgot to go down and double her. We let her get better position, and I think she attacked a little bit more." Charles may have been the unanimous player of the game, but the highlight of the night came in the second half in the form of a no-look, behind-the-back pass from Irish freshman guard Skylar Diggins to Peters, who finished with a reverse layup. Diggins finished with eight points, but the Connecticut defense frustrated the Irish guards all night. In addition to breaking Notre Dame's 14-game home winning streak, the loss drops the Irish into a fourth-place tie with No. 16 St. John's in the conference standings. The Irish will be the fifth seed in the Big East Championship after falling to the Red Storm earlier in the year, but McGraw said she is confident the team can regroup for the postseason. "I think they have to learn that your attitude is so important in how you approach things and how you go into the game," McGraw said. "We've done it twice now, and we didn't learn the lesson the first time, which I thought we learned. So now we got to figure out how we're going to approach the rest of the season." Benefitting from a first-round bye, the Irish will take the rest of the week off before heading to Storrs, Conn., for a second-round conference tournament tilt Saturday against the winner of Friday's first-round game between No. 12 seed Pittsburgh and No. 13 seed Louisville.  


The Observer

ND Women's Basketball Commentary: Playing No. 1 UConn twice should help ND

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There were a lot of reasons for Notre Dame's 76-51 loss to No. 1 Connecticut Monday. But Irish coach Muffet McGraw summed them up in three words. "They're a great team," she said. "Really, they're that good." They're that good. The Huskies have now won 69 straight games, one shy of their own record set from 2001-03. This is their second straight undefeated regular season, something they also accomplished in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. For the second time this season, the Irish fell hard to Connecticut, a team that in the end was simply too athletic, too talented and too good. A team with players, Connecticut guard Kalana Greene said, "weren't planning on losing." Notre Dame was the only Big East team to play Connecticut twice this season, and the results — Monday's loss and a 70-46 loss on Jan. 16 — weren't pretty. But was it really a disadvantage to play Connecticut twice in one season? Absolutely not. Let's play them more. Notre Dame's loss, coupled with St. John's 77-65 win over Pittsburgh Monday, bumped the Irish to the No. 5 seed in the Big East tournament. Instead of having a double-bye, Notre Dame will begin the tournament Saturday against the winner of Friday's first-round game between the No. 12 seed Pittsburgh and the No. 13 seed Louisville. Each team in the 16-team Big East repeats against one other team over the course of the 16-game conference schedule. Notre Dame played Connecticut twice. St. John's, which won the No. 4 seed and a double-bye into the conference championship, repeated against last-place Seton Hall. While the question of fairness could have been avoided altogether if the Irish had been able to defeat the Red Storm on the road last Tuesday, it should still be mentioned that Notre Dame had a significantly harder road to its 12-4 conference record than St. John's did. But the Irish also got two chances to play the undisputed, far-and-away best team in the country. This can only help going forward, as they might see the Huskies again as the Big East tournament draws to a close, and maybe again after that in the NCAA Tournament. In January, Connecticut's press defense stifled Notre Dame, and the Huskies led 28-6 a little more than 10 minutes into the game. Monday, the score was 16-15 in favor of the Huskies after 10 minutes. Connecticut changed up their defense Monday, playing a zone that all but took the Irish guards out of the game but allowed junior forwards Becca Bruszewski and Devereaux Peters to score 15 points apiece once the Irish had adjusted to the different style. How many more new strategies could Connecticut possibly throw into a third or fourth game against the same opponent? Notre Dame figured it out a little bit more Monday and, if called to play the Huskies again, will have that much more information with which to prepare. The Irish actually led Monday in several defensive categories, including blocks, steals and forced turnovers. If they can put that together with their solid post play and find a way to improve Monday's dismal 31.1-percent shooting performance, the next match between the two teams could be a game worth watching until the end. Even if Notre Dame does not play Connecticut again this season, it can only improve by playing the best competition. After two games against the Huskies, possible NCAA Tournament matchups against No. 2 Stanford or No. 3 Tennessee — both of which lost to Connecticut in the regular season — may seem a little less daunting. If nothing else, playing Connecticut and other top teams could help Notre Dame get a little bit closer to a day when an opposing coach declares the team to be just "that good."


The Observer

Champions Crowned

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124 pounds Jack "Rico Suave" Lally def. Steven "505" Rivera The freshman Lally came out with energy in his Bengal Bouts debut and the only fight in the 124-pound weight division, crushing the senior Rivera en route to a victory by technical knockout. "I was able to land some good combinations and just back him off," Lally said. "I thought I was successful at landing some solid punches." Lally's speed was too much for Rivera and from the opening bell he took control. Early on in the first round the action was stopped twice to protect Rivera after furious combos from Lally to the upper body and face of the senior. After the second stoppage, Lally hit Rivera with a left hook that sent him through the ropes and nearly into the crowd, bringing the fight to an early end in the first round. 133 pounds Chris "Cougar" Cugliari def. Michael "The Silver City Slugger" Sayles The two senior captains battled for three rounds, with Cugliari besting Sayles in a unanimous decision. "I was pleased that I believe the two of us left it all in the ring," Sayles said. "At the end of the day, it doesn't matter so much winning or losing as it does going in the ring and doing everything you can and leaving it all out there." In the first round, Cugliari's evident advantage in strength seemed to wear down the defenses of the smaller and speedier Sayles. His strong jabs kept Sayles backpedaling as the senior stayed on the offensive for most of the round. Toward the end of the round, a nice combination by Sayles seemed to shift momentum as he got inside Cugliari's jab and worked the body of his fellow captain. Sayles carried a bit of that momentum into the second round when his combos started to hit more frequently. Before the end of the round though, Cugliari hopped back on the offensive, working Sayles into the corner and finishing the round with huge and punishing combos. In the third round the two fighters emptied their tanks. Cugliari's powerful blows seemed to take a toll on the smaller Sayles, whose defense weakened as he tired later in the fight. As the round came to a close, the two fighters wrapped each other up constantly, a sign of the obvious physical toll the fight took on them. In the end, Cugliari's consistent and punishing attack scored him the unanimous decision. "I feel like a million bucks right now," Cugliari said. "After four years working for this, this is a dream come true." 140 pounds Albert Toscano def. Michael Johnston This battle of entertaining fighters went the distance, with the sophomore Toscano scoring a unanimous decision over the senior Johnston. The fight was a battle of contrasting styles with the shorter and broader Toscano using his strong base to punish the taller Johnston. The fighters traded blows for the opening portion of the first round as the pace eventually settled down. Toscano's strong arsenal of punches put Johnston on the defensive, and he punished the senior on the ropes with his uppercut. Toscano went to the uppercut early and often in the second round, relying on a more careful, defensive style after his strong first round. After Johnston began to use his jab to work his way back into the fight, Toscano immediately reversed the momentum with a thunderous combo that put Johnston on the ropes to end the second round. With Johnston needing a good round in the third, Toscano immediately put to rest any comeback Johnston had, putting together a strong round ending with a knockdown toward the end of the round. After Johnston fell to the mat at the bell, Toscano let loose with a display of emotion as the sophomore scored a unanimous victory on the strength of nearly flawless boxing. "I have been training for eight or nine months and all of the hard work really paid off," Toscano said. 147 pounds Kieran Bulger def. Kevin "DiGiorno" Ortenzio The defensive tilt between the senior Bulger and the sophomore Ortenzio resulted in Bulger scoring a split-decision victory over the sophomore. "I had to take it slow," Bulger said. "I figured that he is such a workhorse in practice that he would probably have good endurance." Early on in the fight both fighters chose to pick their spots and Bulger's long reach helped him gain the upper hand, as the slow pace suited his careful style. From the bell in the second round both fighters picked up the intensity as they threw more punches, with Bulger hitting more frequently as he blocked most of Ortenzio's attacks. Ortenzio momentarily turned the tide with a big uppercut that allowed him to chase Bulger around the ring for the remainder of the round. In the third round the physical nature of the fight took a toll on both fighters as they were both visibly fatigued. Bulger came out looking to hit as many big punches as he could, but a couple missed hooks opened up his usually excellent defense and Ortenzio landed some nice combinations on him. As the fighters continued to exchange big blows in the third, Bulger's strong defense and long reach enabled him to preserve a close split decision victory. "I wanted to keep my space and make my punches count," Bulger said. 151 pounds Tim "The Slayer" Thayer def. Bobby Powers This highly-anticipated fight between the senior captain Thayer and talented junior Powers lived up to its billing and by the final bell the crowd offered a standing ovation to the pair as Thayer squeaked out a split-decision victory. "It definitely lived up to all the hype," Thayer said. Powers tried to use a small height advantage by using his long reach to keep the powerful "Slayer" at bay. This strategy kept Thayer backpedaling, but when Powers left himself open to a punch the powerful senior walloped him with a big hook and forced the referee to check on Powers. "Thayer is the best boxer I have ever fought against," Powers said. The second round saw the pair trade blows from bell to bell as both struggled to take control of the round. Each fighter got in a strong combination, but each rebounded to swing momentum back and forth multiple times. Thayer got the last blow right before the bell, a punch that snapped Powers' head back and set the tone for the third round. The third round was a struggle for both fighters as the first two rounds left the pair exhausted. By the latter part of the round, the entire Purcell Pavilion was on its feet for both Powers and Thayer as they struggled to even raise their arms and complete a punch. Ultimately Thayer was able to fight through the pain and complete a few punches that enabled him to win a close split-decision victory. 155 pounds Ryan "Dayman" Slaney def. Adam "Mad" Cowden "Disease" The senior Slaney and the sophomore Cowden, nearly mirror images of each other in terms of body size and height, fought an even fight highlighted by big punches as Slaney scored a split decision victory. Cowden used his long jab to keep Slaney on the run early and get an edge in the first round. The whole first round, Slaney kept to the ropes and seemed content to play a defensive game against the charging Cowden. In the second round, things turned. Initially, Cowden's reach seemed impossible to contend with but once Slaney got inside he punished his younger opponent with huge blows. A punishing hook from Slaney that sent Cowden's mouthpiece flying several rows into the crowd highlighted the round. After fighting resumed, Slaney used the little time left before the bell to keep momentum going with strong punches. In the third round, Cowden mounted a bit of a comeback, as the round resembled more of a brawl than a boxing match. Both fighters were punching with all they had, but Cowden took control of the fight halfway through the third and didn't ease up from his onslaught. Ultimately, however, Slaney's punishing run in the second round and early third proved enough to hand him the championship by split decision. "After the fight I just wanted to know that I gave it my all, win or lose," Slaney said. 160 pounds John "My Body is a Wonderland" Maier def. Alex "Gatito Loco" Oloriz The senior captain Maier defeated the upstart freshman Oloriz by unanimous decision in a capstone of his long career with the Bengal Bouts. "As a freshman it's an uphill battle to begin with," Maier said. "I helped him through the whole process trying to get him here." Maier used his size advantage and boxing expertise to keep the shorter and stockier Oloriz at a distance and land several punches in the first round. Oloriz tried to generate leverage by using his uppercut to attack Maier, but the senior's defense was strong. Maier controlled the second round in similar fashion as he kept Oloriz from landing any strong shots to the head or body. Maier's strong uppercut late in the round snapped Oloriz's head back, and Maier followed it up with big punches to the bell. Oloriz sensed the need for a big third round and opened with a furious combination, though at the tail end he left his hands open and the experienced Maier seized the opportunity, beating the freshman back with big punches. When the referee checked on Oloriz shortly before the bell, Maier let loose with a loud display of emotion, the result of four years of training culminating in the unanimous victory over Oloriz. "I spent four years training," Maier said. "Four years, and this where I wanted to be. It's a great way to go out." 163 pounds Jordan Bucci def. Matt Hopke The Bucci-Hopke fight may have been the most interesting stories of the night, because the two opponents are also close friends and housemates. "We've been roommates since freshman year sharing a bunk," Bucci said. "I don't remember ever saying ‘good luck' to a guy who's about to hit you, so it was kind of weird in that respect." The fight began tentatively, with each fighter feeling out the other's strategy. Bucci and Hopke each threw a few punches, but neither gained the upper hand in the first round. Hopke seemed to be more willing to throw punches, while Bucci was content to dodge his housemate's punches. Near the end of the first round, the fighters showed a burst of energy and each pummeled the other's body, but neither could gain an advantage. The second round was more of the same. Each fighter would throw two or three punches and then disengage. They had a high energy level and were bouncing around the ring, but for the second consecutive round, neither could gain an advantage. In the third round, the fighters seemed almost mirror each other; their familiarity was evident, as each could anticipate the other's moves. Bucci used a burst of energy at the end to land a series of punches that may have broken the tie and given him the unanimous-decision victory. Throughout the fight, it was evident how close the two were. As soon as the bell ended each round, the fighters would bump fists, and at the end, the two shared a long embrace. Bucci admitted that the two were less aggressive because they were so close. "It was probably the longest and most boring fight for everybody watching, because neither guy wanted to hit the other," he said. In the end, however, Bucci hit Hopke a few more times, and emerged the champion. 166 pounds Gregory Bennett def. Jason "Pretty Boy" Miller Bennett defeated Miller in one of the tightest bouts of the night. Though the two tested each other at the first bell, the fight quickly turned energetic, with the sophomore Bennett attacking while Miller was able to dodge many punches and take advantage. Miller, a senior, began to attack late in the first round but could not build up significant momentum before the bell ended the first round. Bennett said the increased round length — two minutes per round — played into the pace of the fight. "Usually I come out pretty aggressive from the start but because of the long rounds today I wanted to keep it steady," Bennett said. The second round was back-and-forth, with each fighter landing punches. The fighters sparred without either gaining a significant advantage, and this time Bennett was the one who played the role of late-round attacker. He could not gain momentum, and everyone in the Purcell Pavilion knew that the fight would be decided in the last round. Before the start of the third round, Bennett motioned to a large contingent of supporters from Zahm, getting a loud response and an almost tangible energy boost. He fed off the energy, going on the offensive and landing more punches, including some very hard jabs to Miller's head. Miller realized that he was falling behind and began frantically attacking. He landed more punches, but got overaggressive, allowing Bennett to evade and land more punches. The fight ended with a flurry of punches, but Bennett's energetic third round gave him the victory by unanimous decision. He credited his supporters with giving him the late kick he needed. "Jason's a real tough fight, [but] Zahm is an unbelievable dorm and an unbelievable atmosphere," he said. "My best friends live there and they didn't let me down this entire tournament." 173 pounds Matthew "Cool and Tough" Paletta def. Alex Kissinger Paletta and Kissinger met in one of the best fights of the night, an all-out slugfest that brought the crowd to its feet. From the first bell, the fighters attacked each other. Both seniors were throwing and landing hard punches at an unbelievable pace. As the first round continued, Kissinger relied on his volume of punches, while Paletta preferred to block and throw fewer but harder punches. The second round was just as energetic as the first one. The fight was stopped three times in the second round when Kissinger's nose began bleeding. Each was throwing punches that bordered on wild, and connecting on many of them. At one point, Kissinger went low and landed a combination on his opponent's body, ignoring the fact that Paletta was connecting on multiple punches to his head at the same time. The third round was even more intense. Each fighter preferred to take and throw punches rather than attempt to dodge punches. The bout went back and forth, and though no one could predict the winner, the whole Purcell Pavilion rose to its feet in appreciation of the fight they had just witnessed. The two embraced and later exchanged numbers in the locker room, having bonded through their competition. "That was the gnarliest fight I've ever been in, in three years by far," Paletta said. "I'm sure he feels the same way; it was a hell of a fight." Paletta, though bruised and battered, took a moment to reflect on what his championship meant to him. "It feels great, it's a lot of time and a lot of sacrifices, getting out of bed when you don't want to," he said. "But [the win] makes it all worth it." 180 pounds Mike Doran def. Dominic "Warsaw War Hammer" Golab Doran defeated Golab in a hard-hitting bout that went back and forth for the entire match and left the good friends exhausted. From the beginning of what Doran called a "friendly rivalry," the two fighters went at it hard and with energy. Doran, a junior, used his length to land punches early. However, he often got overaggressive and his fellow junior Golab was able to evade and return punches during the first round, keeping the fight even. During the second round, Doran was able to dictate the pace of the fight using his footwork, but Golab preferred to take a few punches and then break out and land a combination of his own. Doran continued to use aggressive footwork even while taking punches from Golab, minimizing the effect of Golab's combinations. The third round began with Golab on the offensive, but Doran quickly regained control and refused to relinquish it for the rest of the bout. He seemed to have more energy than Golab and started throwing significantly more punches. Near the middle and end of the third round, Doran forced Golab into a mostly defensive mindset and laid on a late extended combination at the end of the fight that decided the fight in his favor by a split decision that, when announced, left Golab collapsing. "It was a really close fight; it could have gone either way," Doran said. "I just had a tiny bit more left in the tank in that round, but seriously a great fight, for sure my toughest so far." Both competitors were left reflecting on their Bengal Bouts experience and looking forward to next year. "It's sad to be done, with the guys and the atmosphere," Doran said. "Some guys think boxing is an individual sport, but it's a real brotherhood down here that's amazing every year." Doran and Golab are both making the trip to Bangladesh over the summer to visit the Holy Cross missions that the Bouts benefit. 189 pounds Bernardo "Blue" Garcia def. Timothy Wallace When Wallace's corner could not clean up his bloody nose fast enough, the referee stopped the fight and Garcia earned his second consecutive title. The fight began with flurries of punches from both Garcia and Wallace. Though Garcia was the one coming at Wallace, Wallace would stand his ground and return the punches. In the middle of the round, Wallace began to fight more aggressively and gained momentum before the bell rung, giving Garcia a respite to catch his breath. The second round began with lots of energy, but Wallace controlled the tempo of the fight. The fight was stopped, however, when Wallace began bleeding for the first time. This did not stop him, however, as he came out of the stoppage with an aggressive mentality and attacked so hard that he knocked Garcia down and almost out of the ring. The fight was stopped repeatedly for blood throughout the second round, which exacted a heavy toll on Wallace's momentum. If he had been given a chance to build his momentum, he may have been very tough to beat, but the stop-and-start nature of the round favored Garcia. In the third round, Wallace unleashed a high volume of punches, and though Garcia fought back, Wallace landed many of them. The match continued to be stopped for blood, and Garcia was declared the winner when the referee stopped the match for the final time with one minute and seven seconds remaining. "His style matches up real tough against the style I try to fight," Garcia said. "I got kind of lucky because he started bleeding in the second round and they just couldn't get the blood to stop." Garcia now gets to savor his unlikely victory, but he is also relieved that the time-consuming Bouts process is coming to an end. "I'm relieved, I really am, to be done," he said. "It's a lot of pressure and a lot to think about." 205 pounds John "Papi" Tchoula def. Pat "Tigers Love Pepper, They Hate Cinnamon" Burns The fight began tentatively until the junior Tchoula initiated the furious boxing with a series of body blows. He would continue to play the role of aggressor, but the senior co-president Burns also landed quite a few punches on Tchoula early. The first round was even, with Tchoula landing a few more combinations but also missing on more punches. The second round saw a display of athleticism, especially at the beginning. Tchoula moved with unbelievable quickness, but Burns utilized his agility to evade many of Tchoula's bigger swings. Tchoula, however, often negated this by forcing Burns to the ropes and landing some hard punches when he cornered Burns. Burns refused to back down, even moving into more of an aggressive role and providing a spirited end to the second round. The third round began with both fighters attempting to go for a knockout blow, and Tchoula came close when he moved Burns to the ropes and knocked him down. This seemed to really faze Burns, who from that point on could not throw nearly enough punches to counter the never-tiring Tchoula. Burns continued to fight his hardest, however, until the final bell, which saw the announcement of Tchoula as winner by unanimous decision. "It was a great fight," Tchoula said. "I had to go out there and box the best that I could against a guy like Pat Burns." Though he landed some vicious punches, Tchoula did not seem to relish it, explaining that he and Burns are very good friends and that he's glad the season is over. "I'm looking forward to next year," he said. "But it's time to take some rest." Heavyweight Will "at the Edge of Darkness" Burroughs def. Kevin "The Long Beach Lumberjack" Crepeau Law student Burroughs and junior Crepeau provided a spirited end to the Bengal Bouts season in a match that saw Burroughs, one of the faces of the program, come away with yet another heavyweight championship in his last appearance and his third against Crepeau in the finals. The match began with each fighter testing the other, as was the strategy, explained Burroughs. "He [Crepeau] always had a strategy and he sticks to it and it's effective," Burroughs said. Crepeau landed more punches early, though Burroughs landed harder ones. The junior was much more of an active fighter, moving around the ring and making Burroughs come to him. The first round was very even, with each fighter landing a combination in response to the other. The second round saw much more energy from both fighters, especially Crepeau. He began gaining momentum and landed multiple consecutive combinations before Burroughs abruptly switched the nature of the bout by knocking Crepeau to his knees. Both fighters landed some hard punches, which pleased the crowd. The first two rounds were even, and if anything, Crepeau may have had the upper hand. "He caught me with a couple good ones and he moved real well," Burroughs said. "The first couple rounds I was just trying to find a counterpunch or find an opening." The third round, however, was dominated by Burroughs' power. From the bell, he fought aggressively, ignoring punches he received in a singular focus on overpowering his opponent. He was able to accomplish that goal, at one point pushing Crepeau into the corner and knocking him down. Crepeau still threw flurries of punches, but it was not enough and Burroughs won by unanimous decision. The victory gave him an opportunity to reflect on his time with Bengal Bouts. "It's been sweet. The guys in this program are amazing," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing how they will do not only in boxing but after they leave Notre Dame. They are all amazing guys."






The Observer

Hockey: Seniors honored with victory over Michigan

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The Irish sent out their senior class with a bang Saturday night, downing rival Michigan in a gutsy 5-3 effort in the CCHA season finale. Five players scored for Notre Dame as the Irish rebounded from an early 2-0 hole in the brawling, bruising rivalry match on senior night. The win sets up a best-of-three series against Ohio State this weekend in the opening round of the CCHA tournament for Notre Dame.









The Observer

Baseball: Big 10 to provide challenge

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Notre Dame rose to the occasion in its first test of the season, routing Mississippi Valley State for the first season-opening three-game road sweep in program history. The competition will suddenly get stronger, though, as the Irish travel to Florida for the Big Ten/Big East Challenge.