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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish run team-record unbeaten start to 9-0 vs. Falcons

Mike Gotimer | Monday, April 6, 2009

No. 4 Notre Dame extended its unbeaten record to 9-0, a school record, Saturday thanks to a 10-4 win over Air Force. The win also extended Notre Dame’s program-record home winning streak to 24 games.

The Irish took control of the game early and were able to set the tone for the contest with a strong defensive effort.

“Defensively we played really well,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “We really limited their opportunities. From early in the game, we made it obvious that they were gonna have to work to create quality chances.”

Much of Notre Dame’s success on defense was a result of its ability to limit Air Force’s transition game.

“We didn’t let them get going in the transition game where they’re really good and forced them into a half-field game,” Corrigan said.

The first period was quiet offensively. Senior attack Ryan Hoff scored off an assist from junior attack Neal Hicks with 3:51 left in the opening period to put the Irish up 1-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Despite the slow start, the Irish offense came to life in the second quarter. Sophomore David Earl scored the first of his three goals on the day to give Notre Dame a 2-0 lead early in the period, and junior long-stick midfielder Mike Creighton followed with his first goal of the year to increase the Irish lead to three. Earl then scored back-to-back goals to seal his hat trick and give Notre Dame a 5-0 lead with 4:52 remaining in the first half.

On the whole, Corrigan said he liked what he saw out of the offense.

“I was happy with our offensive performance,” Corrigan said. “We maintained possession of the ball better and kept pressure off the defense.”

Air Force got on the board with 54 seconds left in the first half on a goal from sophomore midfielder Vinny Sandtorv to cut the Irish lead to four heading into the half.

Notre Dame jumped out to a fast start in the second half as goals from sophomore midfielder Zach Brenneman and Hicks gave the Irish a 7-1 lead with 12:48 left in the third period. The Falcons cut into the lead once again on a goal from freshman attackman Adam Paranka, but Notre Dame responded with a score from junior midfielder Grant Krebs to make the score 8-2. An Air Force goal from senior midfielder Eric Evans cut the Notre Dame lead to five at the end of the third quarter.

Air Force scored first in the fourth quarter with a goal from senior long-stick midfielder Dan Gnazzo to narrow the Irish lead to 8-4. However, that would be as close as the Falcons would get, as goals from senior attackman Duncan Swezey and senior midfielder Peter Christman later in the period iced the game for the Irish.

With the win, Notre Dame remains one of two undefeated teams in Division I lacrosse, along with No. 1 Virginia. The Irish return to action when they travel to the University of Denver Saturday.