The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



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.


The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Men’s Lacrosse: Still perfect

Sam Werner | Wednesday, April 15, 2009

With five minutes left in regulation, and the score tied 8-8, it looked like Notre Dame’s undefeated season might be in jeopardy. Denver had just netted two straight goals, including one man-down score, and the crowd at Invesco Field was ready for their team to spoil Notre Dame’s perfect start.

The Irish, though, had other ideas.

Senior attack Duncan Swezey’s third goal of the game broke the tie with 2:08 left in regulation, and sophomore midfield David Earl sealed the deal with another goal with 1:02 to give the No. 4 Irish (10-0, 3-0 GWLL) the win in the sixth annual Rocky Mountain Showdown.

“We just made plays,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said of the dramatic finish. “We won a couple faceoffs, and we just had guys make some plays. The most important thing was winning the faceoffs so we had possession of the ball.”

Corrigan said Swezey’s goal, especially, was the result of individual players taking the game into their hands.

“For Duncan’s goal, in all honesty, Pete Christman did a great job,” Corrigan said. “He threw a triple team and got the ball to Neal Hicks who made a very difficult catch and throw to Duncan who then made a great move and a great shot to finish it off. So there were three guys that made outstanding plays.”

The Pioneers (6-6, 1-2 GWLL) opened the scoring 12:55 into the game, with a goal by Andrew Lay. The Irish responded, though, with four straight goals to claim the lead. Junior midfield Grant Krebs and sophomore midfield Zach Brenneman scored in the opening stanza to give the Irish a 2-1 lead after one quarter, and two goals from Swezey extended the Notre Dame lead to three.

After Denver’s Todd Baxter cut the lead to 4-2, Brenneman found the back of the net again to restore the three-goal cushion.

Another goal from Lay cut the lead back to two, but senior attack Ryan Hoff scored for the Irish just 22 seconds later.

With three minutes left in the first half, Krebs scored again to push the lead to 7-3. The Pioneers, though, refused to go quietly, and two goals from Ben Wahler and Mark Matthews cut the lead to 7-5 at halftime.

Denver continued its comeback attempt in the third quarter, as Matthews’ second goal of the game was the only scoring in the period.

The Irish appeared to be in the clear when junior midfield Kelly McKenna scored on a feed from Earl to make the score 8-6, but Denver’s back-to-back goals tied the score and set the stage for Swezey’s game-winner.

While Corrigan said he was pleased with his team’s effort, he wasn’t happy with the Irish defense in certain situations, such as man-down or directly off a faceoff.

“We gave up a lot of goals in a lot of different ways,” he said. “And that was disappointing because I think we can do better than that. But our 6-on-6 defense was very solid. We just need to do a better job managing the game.”

Senior goalie Scott Rodgers made 15 saves on the afternoon to push his record to 10-0 on the season as well.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Irish continued to spread the ball around and create chances for multiple players. This time, it was Swezey who ended up with the hat trick, but six other Irish players have also done so this season.

“I think the best thing we’ve done offensively throughout the year is share the load,”?Corrigan said. “We’ve got a lot of people contributing and that does make us hard to scout I think.”

Duke’s upset win over Virginia Saturday meant that Notre Dame is now the only undefeated team remaining in Division I. Corrigan, though, was quick to dismiss any significance.

“It won’t matter if we lose the next three, so we’re going to stay focused on trying to beat Quinnipiac on Saturday.”

The Irish will face the Bobcats next Saturday in Hamden, Conn.