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MEN’S LACROSSE: Last home game sweet with win over Falcons

Mike Gilloon | Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Brian Giordano was not planning on losing the last home game of his career. So the senior Irish midfielder took matters into his own hands by scoring five goals, including the game winner, to lead No. 11 Notre Dame (6-3) over Air Force (3-5) 14-13 in overtime Sunday at Moose Krause Stadium.

“I thought that even though we had limited possessions because we didn’t clear the ball very well, our offense played well,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “When our offense plays well [Giordano] is going to be the beneficiary of that. He’s a great finisher and when we’re playing good offense we’re creating opportunities for him. I was pleased that he got those [opportunities] and even more pleased that he finished them.”

Notre Dame led 13-11 with 12:08 remaining in the game after attack Matt Malakoff tallied his third goal of the afternoon. But Air Force came back with goals from Will Meister and Kevin Crumrine, putting the Falcons in position to give the Irish their second consecutive loss.

After Notre Dame called a timeout with 1:33 left in the four-minute overtime, Irish midfielder Matt Ryan passed the ball off to Giordano in the middle of the field. Giordano then swooped towards the net and slammed the winning goal home past Air Force goalie Justin Pavoni. Though the scoreboard reflected a close contest, the stat books told a different story. The Irish collected 57 ground balls compared to the Falcons’ 38 and Notre Dame out shot Air Force 51-36.

Despite these facts, Corrigan was disappointed in what he felt was a sub-par performance by the Irish.

“I don’t think any of us are going to say that we played particularly well,” Corrigan said. “That’s disappointing but it’s overcome a bit by the fact that we did what we had to do to win the game today.”

The Falcons jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and led the Irish 8-3 with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter. Notre Dame then went on a scoring tear, scoring five goals [with three coming from Giordano] to tie the score at half.

Sunday’s win over the Falcon’s is the first step on the path to the NCAA Tournament for the Irish. Last Thursday’s 9-6 home loss to Denver hurt Notre Dame’s chances at a tournament berth, but Corrigan believes if his squad keeps winning they have a shot.

“What we can do is try to finish 8-3,” Corrigan said. “It’s just too early to tell [about NCAA tournament bids]. There are still too many games to be played. But if we can finish 8-3 we’re going to be a part of the conversation.”

Irish freshman goalie Joey Kemp, who has seen the majority of playing time this year, was replaced by senior Stewart Crosland with 22:23 left in the game. Crosland made seven saves while Kemp totaled five. The contest was the last at home this season for Notre Dame and was contested in front of a crowd of 1,305, the largest ever for a home match. The Irish will next play against No. 17 Fairfield on Sunday.

“I’m looking forward to a week where we have a chance to really go back to work on ourselves,” Corrigan said. “We need to get back to the fundamentals of what we want to do. I think we really need to concentrate on what the identity of this team is going to be and get back to playing our best lacrosse.”