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Men’s Lacrosse: Randall leads Irish defense

Matthew Robison | Monday, March 5, 2012

Senior captain Kevin Randall has anchored Notre Dame’s defensive corps this season, and in doing so has helped the Irish find success. Randall and the Irish defense have allowed only 12 goals through three games on the young season.

The senior was also selected to the Big East weekly honor roll for his efforts in a 6-5 win Saturday over then-No. 18 Drexel.

“Holding opponents to three, four or five goals is a matter of pride,” Randall said. “Our hard work throughout the offseason and preseason as a defense is validated by a low number on the scoreboard.”

Notre Dame has always emphasized defense as the major component in its success. Coach Kevin Corrigan and assistant coach Gerry Byrne have made Notre Dame a premier defensive club over the years.

“We have had a strong defense as long as I’ve been here,” Randall said.

This season has started even better on the defensive end than past years. Last season, the Irish gave up 16 goals during the first three matchups, but were also scoring more goals on the offensive end.

“Our strength this year is a product of many things, [including] our work in the offseason and preseason, consistent preparation for other teams during mid-week practices, the ability of younger guys to learn our defense and roles and a little luck,” Randall said.

Randall’s role has evolved slightly during his tenure on the back line. As a freshman, he started only two games and collected eight appearances. Since then, he has started every game for the Irish. This season, however, the title of captain combined with his presence as a senior and returning starter has given Randall added responsibility.

“I suppose earlier in the year, primarily during the fall semester, my role as a senior was to bring the younger guys up to speed,” Randall said. “Being in-season now, we all have a firm grasp of who we are individually and as a unit.”

The Irish do not like to characterize themselves as falling into one category of defense or another. Rather, Randall said they want to play sound, fundamental lacrosse, believing that is the best way to keep the ball out of the back of their own net. This could be mistaken for being conservative, he said, but that is not necessarily the case.

“We have a few simple but important rules and roles, and our adherence to these is what makes our defense effective,” Randall said. “Within our defense, there is some room for individual risk-taking, but probably less so than on other teams.”

Although the Irish defense has gotten out to a fast start, Randall said there is always room for improvement. Indentifying those flaws starts in the film room, while solving them happens on the practice field every day.

“We watch clips of every game a day or two afterwards and the coaching staff will always find areas of improvement,” Randall said. “At this point, we are fine-tuning small details of our defense that have resulted in goals or quality shots throughout our first three games.”

The next contest for the Irish is a road matchup with Hofstra on March 10 at 3 p.m.

Contact Matt Robison at mrobison@nd.edu