Men’s Lacrosse: Still perfect
Douglas Farmer | Monday, April 27, 2009
For the first time in Notre Dame men’s lacrosse history, the team ended the regular season undefeated.
No. 3 Notre Dame (13-0, 5-0 GWLL) beat Ohio State (7-7, 3-2) 14-8 Saturday in front of over 30,000 fans at the “Showdown at the ‘Shoe,” in Columbus.
When the game began, a regular-season NCAA record crowd of 30,192 fans was present. By the end of the game, according to Irish coach Kevin Corrigan, more than 70,000 fans were in the stands. The crowd and the atmosphere it created defined the “Showdown.”
“We started off a little slowly,” Corrigan said. “We just had to get used to the environment.”
In front of the opening crowd, Ohio State jumped to a 3-0 lead, but sophomore midfielder Zach Brenneman finally put the Irish on the scoreboard with his first goal after more than 10 minutes of the game had passed.
Brenneman led the Irish with four goals.
“Zach played very well,” Corrigan said. “He had excellent shot selection, and he grabbed his opportunities.”
Once they had adjusted, the Irish took control of the game. The Buckeyes held a 4-3 lead as the first half wound down, but Brenneman tied the score with one second left in the half.
“[Brenneman’s goal] was a huge lift of momentum,” Corrigan said. “It was a great individual effort by Zach on that play.”
Using that momentum, Notre Dame opened the second half with seven unanswered goals to take an 11-4 lead.
“I think the run was a little bit of a lot of things, better execution, good jobs by our face-off guys, and adjusting to the atmosphere,” Corrigan said. “It was a very balanced team effort, not any one thing.”
Once Brenneman put the Irish on the board, the team outscored the Buckeyes 13-2 over the next 39 minutes of play.
“We played one of our most complete games of the year,” Corrigan said. “The first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes we were not at our best, but in the middle 40 minutes we played very well.”
Finally putting together a dominating performance for the vast majority of a game bodes well for Notre Dame as the team enters the postseason.
“That is where you want to be heading into the playoffs,” Corrigan said. “Hopefully we can continue that against Quinnipiac.”
The GWLL tournament begins Friday as the top-seeded Irish face Quinnipiac and Ohio State plays Air Force in the semifinal round. The victors will meet in the tournament championship Sunday.