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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish use late rally to top OSU

Megan Golden | Thursday, March 24, 2011

In their first game in over ten days, the No. 3 Irish brought just enough energy to their home turf Wednesday to withstand No. 20 Ohio State’s furious rally in the fourth quarter and escape with an 8-7 victory.

The Buckeyes (5-4) scored first, but they quickly exchanged a pair of goals with the Irish (5-0), and the score was tied at two just ten minutes into the game. The Irish went on a run to close out the first half and take a 5-2 lead into halftime, with goals from junior attack Sean Rogers, senior attack Edison Parzanese and junior midfielder Eric Keppeler.

The Irish then hit an offensive drought, scoring only one goal in the next 25 minutes. Ohio State, led by sophomore midfielder Dominique Alexander, took advantage of this momentum swing, and the Buckeyes outscored the Irish 5-3 in the second half. Ohio State tied the game at seven with just over a minute to play in the fourth quarter.

The Irish were not done yet, though.

One of Rogers’ three goals — all of which came from turnovers — came with 33 seconds remaining in the game and served as the winning goal. Rogers said the play was unscripted and a little lucky.

“It’s not exactly how we drew it out [during the timeout], to be honest with you. We wanted to run a different play, but the defense gave us something. [Senior midfielder Zach Brenneman], the player that he is, wanted to create a play,” Rogers said. “Zach passed the ball about 100 miles an hour, and the goalie got a piece of it and was up in the air. I stuck my stick out, caught it and finished it. It’s better to be lucky than good.”

Brenneman, who was playing in his first game since being injured, agreed that the goal involved some luck on Notre Dame’s side.

“I kind of forced a pass to the crease, and the goalie made like a half-save and flicked it up,” he said. “Sean was lucky enough to be right there and put the ball in the net and save me.”

Brenneman’s return was bitter-sweet. The co-captain scored one goal but was ultimately disappointed with his team’s performance.

“I guess I would like for us to have played a little better,” Brenneman said. “We looked a little sluggish at the start. We squeaked a win out against Ohio State, a very good team.”

Rogers said that Brenneman was clearly not himself on the field today, but even his presence on the field is a step in the right direction.

“It was good to have him back. A player of his stature, he definitely wanted to get back on the field and help us,” Rogers said. “We’re going to be a better team with him. He was a little rusty today, and it showed at times, but he’ll be back.”

Notre Dame showcased their ability to close out tight games in their last two matchups, an encouraging sign for their upcoming games.

“This helps us, as in the Denver game, to show that we can win the close games and that we have what it takes to bear down in the game,” Rogers said. “I don’t know if it was momentum per se, but it definitely helps us come tournament time.”

The Irish will travel to Rutgers for their next matchup Sunday at 1 p.m.