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Irish make up for sloppy start, beat Dennison 15-2

Dan Tapetillo | Monday, February 23, 2004

Despite a slow start for the second straight exhibition game, the Irish were able to rebound and defeat Dennison 15-2 Sunday at the Loftus Sports Center.Notre Dame needed to bounce back in the second half after only leading 3-1 lead in the first quarter. The Irish know sluggish starts could be detrimental against future opponents. “We just realized that we can’t get off to slow starts against good teams,” Irish sophomore Pat Walsh said. “The best teams in the country will take advantage of it and not look back.Dennison was Notre Dame’s last preseason opponent and third consecutive exhibition win. Notre Dame defeated Mercyhurst 22-4 and the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse 14-11 earlier this month. This was the team’s second consecutive “scare” as Notre Dame slipped past the Cannons after overcoming a 7-2 deficit.The team’s slow starts can be attributed to nerves.”Being the wrap of the preseason, I think everyone was just a little anxious and looking forward to starting the season,” Walsh said. Although Dennison was an unranked opponent, it took the Irish until halftime to finally realize the key to take control of the game.”We just need to focus on the basics,” Walsh said. “Instead of trying to play our game, we just let them dictate the game for the first half.” During halftime, Irish coach Kevin Corrigan reiterated what the team’s focus needed to be. Corrigan told the Irish they needed to finish the exhibition season 3-0 and get back to the way the team played in the previous two games. “He didn’t have to say more than that to get the team going,” Walsh said. “It wasn’t a tough thing to spot, because everyone knew what was going on.” Goals from Matt Howell, Dan Berger and Pat Walsh let the Irish turn the game around at the beginning of the second half. Notwithstanding the slow start, the Irish were content with the victory and are optimistic as the regular season nears. “Everyone was pretty satisfied because we got out of it what we wanted,” Walsh said. “It showed that we could bounce back in a game that was not going well, and it showed our character.” The Irish begin the regular season Sunday at Loftus against No. 17 Penn State.