Men’s Lacrosse: Notre Dame captures road victory over Drexel
Megan Golden | Sunday, March 4, 2012
Senior attack Sean Rogers and No. 9 Notre Dame responded to last weekend’s loss to Penn State by rallying to top No. 18 Drexel 6-5 on Saturday.
The Irish defense set the tone against the Canadian-style Drexel offense. The Dragons (1-3) were unable to halt Notre Dame’s comeback as the Irish found a rhythm offensively in the second half.
“We tried to be aggressive this week and definitely took advantage [of our open looks]. As a whole, we played really well,” Rogers said. “The defense, they’re just phenomenal. They really give the offense a boost of confidence when you know they will hold teams.”
An early Irish penalty by freshman attack Conor Doyle led to Drexel’s first goal of the game, putting the Dragons up 1-0 within the first two minutes of play.
Drexel added a second goal midway through the first period, building an early 2-0 lead.
Notre Dame (2-1) would eventually overcome its slow start by holding the Dragons scoreless for the next 33:27.
In the second quarter, Doyle scored his first goal of the season, which cut the Irish deficit in half and made the score 2-1 in favor of the Dragons at halftime.
Rogers said Irish coach Kevin Corrigan took advantage of intermission to reiterate the importance of playing aggressively.
“At halftime coach Corrigan told us that we had a lot of great opportunities, but we hadn’t finished any of them,” Rogers said. “We were close to knocking the top off of them, and we just went out with that mentality of just knocking shots into the cage. Defensively, we knew what we had to do to stop them, and we really executed the game plan in the second half.”
The Irish netted four goals in the third period, which featured four different scorers. Sophomore midfielder Jim Marlatt and sophomore attack Westy Hopkins each scored in the quarter, and Rogers scored with 7:47 remaining for his first goal of the season. Both teams exchanged goals in the final minutes of the period, making the score 5-3 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Dragons responded with two consecutive goals to open the final period, tying the game at five in front of their home crowd at Vidas Field in Philadelphia.
It was Rogers who came through in the clutch, finding the back of the net for the second time and guiding Notre Dame to its second win of the season.
The Dragons outshot the Irish 30-25, controlled more face-offs (9-6) and collected more ground balls (25-24), but Notre Dame managed to steal the victory behind solid defense.
Junior goalkeeper John Kemp collected nine saves, compared to Drexel’s five.
Rogers said Notre Dame performed better than the statistics might indicate.
“The key to the victory was the offense playing aggressively,” he said. “We didn’t want to be laid back, and I think the offense did a good job of that. The score won’t say so because we scored six, but as a whole, the offense played its most complete game of the season.”
Drexel’s inability to defend late ultimately led to its third loss against a ranked team this season. The Dragons previously fell to top-ranked Virginia and No. 9 Villanova.
Rogers said Drexel proved to be a challenge to this Irish squad, which will play its next three games against ranked opponents.
The Irish will face off at James M. Shuart Stadium against No. 20 Hofstra on Saturday at 3 p.m.
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