Men’s Lacrosse: A perfect 10
Joseph Monardo | Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Through the pouring rain, the Irish successfully defended their No. 1 ranking Saturday with a blowout 14-3 win over Providence. The away game saw the Irish (10-0, 5-0 Big East) embark on two separate streaks of seven straight goals as they won the 14-3 decision over Providence (3-10, 0-4).
As sterling as their play was for most of the game, the Irish started slowly and trailed 1-0 after the first quarter.
“We didn’t do a great job in the first quarter of finishing opportunities,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said.
“[Providence] held the ball a little bit. We didn’t do a great job kind of all-around with our decision making on the offensive end and clearing. After that, though, we played three very good quarters.”
After senior midfielder Zach Brenneman notched Notre Dame’s first goal 32 seconds into the second quarter, junior midfielder Max Pfeifer and senior attack Edison Parzanese scored two more quick ones to give the Irish three goals in the first two minutes of the quarter. Notre Dame’s rapid scoring pace barely slowed, as the Irish poured in seven straight goals in all before allowing the second Providence goal with eight seconds left in the half.
“It’s definitely a change from what usually happens,” Pfeifer said. “The way we play, where we heavily focus on defense … the game slows down a little bit, so whenever you can find yourself in a scoring streak and [get] a lot of people get involved and score a lot of goals — it’s definitely a great feeling.”
The Irish dominance suffered the briefest of reprieves when an early Providence goal brought the score to 7-3 before the Friars were held scoreless for the final 28:06 of the game, during which the Irish added seven more scores to their already substantial lead.
Pfeifer claimed a hat trick on the day, and eight players in total scored for the Irish, highlighting their incredible depth on the offensive end.
“That’s one of the biggest strengths of our offense — that there’s such a large array of people that can score goals and a lot of different players that play a different style, and as a result the defense, in preparation of playing us, has to take into account each different person and learn his individual style and how he likes to attack,” Pfeifer said.
Sophomore goalie John Kemp was only called upon to make eight saves on the day before being replaced by senior Brendan Moore, who recorded one save in just over five minutes of play. Kemp said that the big victory was a welcome opportunity for some bench players to see the field.
“It’s good to be able to get everybody into the game,” Kemp said. “We have guys that come to practice every day and work their hardest just to get the starters better every day.”
Equally as impressive as Notre Dame’s stellar offense was its stalwart defense, which now ranks first in the country with only 5.9 goals surrendered per game, a distinction owed largely to its ability to communicate effectively, Kemp said.
“With the defense, communication is definitely the most important thing, just knowing whose role is what in certain times because it’s always changing in accordance with how the offense is playing,” Kemp said. “With how experienced we are on the defensive end, it really helps with being able to do that and having senior leadership being able to point things out.”
With the team seemingly clicking on all cylinders after the game against Providence, Notre Dame appears primed to finish the regular season with a flourish.
“I would say that this was a very good game for us,” Corrigan said. “We were really happy with the way our guys played, with the way we handled the conditions, which were miserable, and with everything else, [including] the fact that we seem to be really making progress as we are going along now and getting better each week.”
The Irish travel to No. 4 Syracuse Saturday before closing out the regular season at No. 9 North Carolina.