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Men’s Lacrosse: No time to relax

Mike Gotimer | Friday, April 3, 2009

No. 4 Notre Dame will look to extend its school-record start to 9-0 and remain one of two undefeated teams in Division I lacrosse as it resumes conference play against Air Force at Alumni Field Saturday.

The Irish (8-0, 1-0 Great Western Lacrosse League) are defending a 23-game home winning streak.

Although Air Force (3-5, 1-0) enters the game with a sub-.500 record and the Irish hold a 19-2 mark all-time against the Falcons, coach Kevin Corrigan said he believes Notre Dame will have a game on its hands this weekend.

“The one thing with Air Force and with all military academies is that you know they’ll be tough, disciplined and relentless,” Corrigan said. “I think they really try to score in a lot of different ways.”

The Falcons’ balanced offensive attack is led by sophomore midfielder Vinny Sandtorv, who leads Air Force with 15 goals on the season, and junior attack Ridge Flick, who leads the Falcons with eight assists and 17 points. In addition, the Falcon defense has registered an astounding 14 goals and six assists on the year, and sophomore defenseman Bryan Gilbreath is fourth in the team with eight goals on the year.

Corrigan said Air Force’s aggressive style of play in transition helps create opportunities for the Falcons.

“They’re very aggressive in unsettled transition,” Corrigan said. “They’re mentally aware and aggressive in resets. They can create goals from the defensive end of the field to keep the pressure on.”

Despite Notre Dame’s perfect start, Corrigan said he believes his team still has room to improve in its second conference game, especially on offense.

“We’ve got to be more disciplined, and we have to hold ourselves to a better standard from what we want on an offensive possession,” Corrigan said. “We’ve been overly aggressive and settle for mediocre possessions.”

In general, Corrigan said he would like to see a complete performance from the Irish and to play up to their high national ranking.

“I want to see our team play with a strong will,” Corrigan said. “I want to see us impose ourselves on the game and the way we want to play.”

Ultimately, Corrigan said he believes that if Notre Dame can play smart and play up to its high national ranking, the Irish will be not only be successful against Air Force, but for the rest of the season.

“I want to see us make good decisions because we’re disciplined and strong-willed about what we want to do, and if we do that, we can be a very good team,” Corrigan said.

The Irish face off against the Falcons at 1 p.m. at Alumni Field.