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Men’s Lacrosse: Team ties program record for best start with victory

Sam Werner | Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wind, cold, rain and a feisty Villanova squad couldn’t stop No. 3 Notre Dame from running its record to 8-0 on the year, matching a school best.

The Irish downed the Wildcats 9-7 on a late goal from senior Peter Christman, who netted a hat trick on the afternoon.

With just 2:54 left in the game and the score tied at seven, Christman ripped a shot past Wildcat netminder Andrew DiLoreto, who made 12 saves in the game. The Wildcats had one last chance with just under a minute left in the game, but a save by Irish goalie Scott Rodgers, who made nine saves on the day, preserved the win. Villanova coach Michael Corrado said he didn’t draw up anything specific for that last-minute play.

“We kind of ran what we did the whole time,” he said. “We tried to spread them out.”

A goal from junior Neal Hicks with four seconds left sealed the deal, and kept the Irish perfect on the year.

Villanova got on the board first with a goal from Matthew Fritts just three minutes into the first quarter. The Irish fought back, though, and goals from Hicks and Christman gave Notre Dame a 2-1 lead.

The teams traded goals for the rest of the half, with neither squad going up by more than one, and went into the break tied at four.

The Irish came out flying in the second half, though, and goals from seniors Ryan Hoff and Duncan Swezey gave Notre Dame a 6-4 lead, its largest of the game.

But the Wildcats just wouldn’t go away, as Villanova goals from Fritts and Tim Driscoll knotted up the game at six. The teams traded goals one more time before Christman put the Irish up for good.

Despite the win, Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said his team still had work to do on offense.

“We didn’t do our best in the game today, but we had a very good week of practice offensively,” Corrigan said. “So, I think we’re coming along.”

Corrigan said he wants his team to be more patient with the ball, as the Wildcats were able to wear down the Irish defense with several long possessions.

“We did exactly what I didn’t want to do,” he said. “They were having two-minute possessions and we were having 15-second possessions.”

The weather also didn’t help the Irish, as cold rain pelted Alumni Field throughout the course of the game, making it difficult for the players to gain traction.

“I thought (the weather) hurt us because I think we’re a little more athletic,” Corrigan said. “I think we’re quicker and we weren’t very quick today.”

Despite his unhappiness with his team’s performance, Corrigan admitted that there wasn’t anything wrong with their record so far.

“You can’t be unhappy with an 8-0 record,” he said. “I’m not exactly happy with every moment of getting there, but 8-0 is 8-0.”