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Early season schedule unkind to Notre Dame

Pat Leonard | Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Despite a convincing victory in the season opener against Penn State, the Irish dropped games to No. 3 Syracuse and No. 9 North Carolina over the break to fall to 1-2 overall in the early stages of the 2004 season.The Orangemen went on a 9-1 run in the third quarter on their way to a 19-13 defeat of Notre Dame at Syracuse Thursday. The Irish returned home for a Sunday afternoon game against North Carolina, but the No. 9 Tar Heels went ahead early and never relinquished the lead in a 14-11 North Carolina win.”We haven’t been consistent at either end of the field,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “We haven’t been hard enough to beat, and that’s something that we have to correct.”The Irish have opened the past two seasons against top non-conference opponents, a practice intended to prepare Notre Dame for the postseason but not always helpful for its record.”Life’s too short to play the losing teams,” Corrigan said. “We want to play the best and we want to beat the best, and hopefully when the postseason comes we’ll have enough quality wins to get into the tournament.”Syracuse used a 53-34 advantage in ground balls to control possession, especially in the later stages of Thursday’s game. Four players for the Orangemen scored hat tricks, led by three goals and three assists from senior Michael Powell. Powell has won the Jack Turnbull Award for three consecutive years as the best attacker in Division I.Defender D.J. Driscoll did his best to keep the Irish in the game late, guarding Powell and holding him scoreless for the last 48:03 of the match and pointless for the final 26:52.Notre Dame, however, could not hold on to a 10-7 lead early in the third quarter. Despite a three goal, one assist performance by midfielder Brian Giordano, the Irish failed to match the rush of goals in a 9-1 second half Syracuse run.Matt Howell added two goals and one assist. Midfielder Matt Karweck scored two goals, and attacker Pat Walsh had a goal and three assists.Walsh was the feature player for Notre Dame against North Carolina, though the All-American’s three goals and three assists could not bring Notre Dame back from an early game, 5-1 deficit.Walsh gave the Irish its only lead of the game 1:26 into the game, and the team cut the deficit to two goals four times.The Irish did become the first team to score double digits against North Carolina this season. A series of players notched two goals for Notre Dame – midfielders Matt Ryan and Brian Hubschmann, Howell and Karweck.The team will play Loyola in Baltimore Saturday.