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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish upset second-ranked Duke to kickstart season in style

Allan Joseph | Monday, February 22, 2010

In a program first, the No. 9 Irish beat a top-two team Saturday with an 11-7 victory over second-ranked Duke in the season opener.

The Irish seized the lead — which they would not relinquish — just over three minutes into the game on a goal by senior attack Colin Igoe. Midway through the first quarter, freshman midfielder Steve Murphy scored his first collegiate goal, in his first collegiate game. Duke got on the board with 4:29 left in the first quarter. It was the first of four goals in the frenetic end of the first quarter.

The Irish led 4-2 at the first intermission and extended their lead to four halfway through the second quarter. The Blue Devils, however, continued to press and scored three times in a 30-second span to cut the Notre Dame advantage to 6-5 at halftime.

The third quarter was back-and-forth, but the Irish never lost the upper hand, taking a 9-7 lead into the final session. Notre Dame would score twice more in the fourth quarter to ice the victory.

Notre Dame was led offensively by a hat trick from junior midfielder Zach Brenneman, as well as two-goal efforts from Igoe, Murphy and senior attack Neal Hicks. Despite the offensive production from the Irish, Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said he was most impressed by the defensive efforts.

“We were playing without Sam Barnes defensively, but all three [of the defenders playing] did a great job,” Corrigan said. “Our short stick defensive midfielders were also really good, and our goalie played terrific.”

Senior goalie Scott Rodgers had a 15-save performance.

Despite the landmark victory, Corrigan said the Irish will continue to look forward.
“It’s the first game — we can get better in every single area of the game,” he said. “Not to belittle what we did, but just to say there’s still a lot of progress to be made.”

Corrigan also said it is too early to put too much stock in one victory, regardless of the Blue Devils’ powerhouse status.

“I’m really happy for our guys and it’s a terrific accomplishment,” he said. “But let’s see where Duke finishes and where we finish. … It’s the first game of the year, all it means is that we’re 1-0 and we’re thrilled to be 1-0.”

The Irish will face Penn State next Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Loftus Sports Center, looking to continue a regular-season winning streak dating back to an April 5, 2008 one-goal loss to Denver.