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MEN’S LACROSSE: Downing’s late goal steals game for Fairfield

Bobby Griffin | Monday, April 18, 2005

The Irish will be thinking about this one for a long time.Notre Dame (6-4, 2-2) dropped its third game in four chances, losing 12-11 to league-opponent Fairfield (9-2, 2-0) Sunday. The Irish were 5-1 after their March 28 victory over Villanova but have struggled in the last month, dropping them out of post-season contention.The loss was a heart breaker for the Irish, not only because it eliminated them from post-season play but because the Irish led for most of the game and then lost on a goal by midfielder Greg Downing with 2.9 seconds left.Notre Dame was up 4-3 at the half and then jumped out to an 8-4 lead on four unanswered goals in the third period. When Fairfield finally responded on a Matt Castele score, Notre Dame countered with a Jim Morrison goal at 1:21 in the third period.But typical of Notre Dame’s inconsistent play of late, the four-goal lead going into the final period was not enough.The Irish could not finish off the game, as the Stags began a comeback that would inevitably lead to Fairfield taking the lead 11-10 with 4:59 remaining in the contest.Notre Dame tied the game on Matt Karweck’s third goal of the game with 2:17 left, but Downing found the back of the net to finish the game.To say that Irish coach Kevin Corrigan was disappointed following the game would be an understatement. “We didn’t make any plays. We had opportunities to score, we didn’t score,” Corrigan said. “We turned the ball over too much. On the defensive end, we didn’t get the saves we needed and at the end of the day we gave up a great opportunity.”Not only was the coach upset about his team’s loss Sunday, he was at a loss for the way his team performed in the final month of the season.”We are underachieving right now, and I’m tremendously disappointed in that.”Corrigan also spoke about where the program has been in the past and how upsetting it is to how the current team finished its season.”Five years ago, our program played at a level few programs in the country played at,” Corrigan said. “Nine out of ten years we went to NCAA tournament, we consistently overachieved, and now we cant seem to find a way to play with passion everyday and to get things done when we need to get them done.”Karwick continued his success this season with three goals and an assist in the loss. Morrison also had four points (two goals and two assists) and Matt Ryan added a score and two assists.While Corrigan expressed disappointment, he took responsibility for his team’s troubles and put the blame squarely on his shoulders.”If I’m not getting that out of the guys then somebody needs to but we are just not getting it done right now,” Corrigan said.Notre Dame still has to find a way to respond from the loss, finishing their season against defending league champion Ohio State on April 29.”Right now, I’m not prepared to say how we’re going to [respond to the loss],” Corrigan said. “In all honesty, we haven’t played with enough passion, we haven’t played with enough discipline, we haven’t played with enough sense of what we are trying to accomplish and how to