Men’s Lacrosse: Hofstra presents new challenges
Megan Golden | Wednesday, March 7, 2012
No. 7 Notre Dame continues its road trip as it travels to No. 19 Hofstra on Saturday in search of its first winning streak of the season.
Irish senior attack Sean Rogers garnered Big East Offensive Player of the Week honors following his game-winning goal in Notre Dame’s 6-5 comeback win at Drexel last weekend. Senior defenseman and co-captain Kevin Randall also earned Big East honors for his performance in the 6-5 Irish victory.
The matchup between the Irish (2-1) and the Pride (2-2) will be a first for everyone on Notre Dame’s roster. Hofstra’s style of play, Randall said, is similar to Drexel’s and could pose a problem to Notre Dame.
“It’s interesting to learn about a new team for once. We’ve been playing the same teams over and over,” he said. “[Hofstra] presents a lot of unique challenges that we’ll have to defend against. They have had a lot of Canadians for the past few years. [The Canadian] style of play is pretty unique, and that’s transferred into this year.”
The Irish rank first in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just four goals per game, 2.25 goals better than the next best team. Hofstra allows 9.25 goals per game — more than double Notre Dame’s average.
Randall said the defense works to limit its opponent’s scoring opportunities, ultimately allowing the Irish to be patient on the offensive side of the ball.
“It definitely helps the offense because they know they can work longer into possessions. As a defense, we know that it’s harder to play two to three [straight] minutes of defense,” he said. “If our offense doesn’t have to press for goals, they can be more methodical. If we’re not down by many goals, it allows our offense to be more effective.”
Hofstra, who scores 8.25 goals per game, has faced three ranked opponents thus far, defeating Harvard and falling to both Princeton and Fairfield. Randall said Notre Dame is preparing for Hofstra just like it would for any team in the league.
“Every week we watch film of our most recent game, and we find little areas that we can fine-tune,” he said. “There were a few small plays at the end of the Drexel game and unsettled defense that we need to work on, so hopefully we can have those areas [improved] for the next game.”
With upcoming matchups against No. 13 Denver and No. 20 Ohio State, Notre Dame is approaching a daunting stretch on its schedule.
Randall said the Irish cannot afford to overlook a talented Hofstra squad.
“Every week we have the same approach,” he said. “It starts with playing consistent defense and playing strong in our running game. Then that transitions into playing effective offense. We try to play within ourselves and keep the game plan that the coaches establish.”
The Irish will face Hofstra on Saturday at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. at 3 p.m.
Contact Megan Golden at firstname.lastname@example.org