Men’s Lacrosse: Defense halts Providence
Mike Monaco | Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The last time the Irish gave up just one goal or fewer in a game, it was 1989. Twenty-three years later, No. 6 Notre Dame matched that mark Saturday with its seventh consecutive win, a 9-1 victory over Providence on Saturday at Arlotta Stadium.
Sophomore midfielder Jim Marlatt scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season on a man-up shot just over five minutes into the game to get the scoring started, and Notre Dame (8-1, 3-0 Big East) never looked back in its rout of the Friars (1-9, 0-4).
The consistently staunch Irish defense shut down the Providence attack, as the Friars recorded their first shot of the game with 4:52 remaining in the first quarter. Providence managed to net its lone goal when senior midfielder Pete Wujciak scored with 11:57 to play in the second quarter, but the Notre Dame defense shut out the Friars the rest of the way.
“Our defense was outstanding,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “[Providence] had a hard time beating us in individual matchups and sometimes when that happens your guys get a little sloppy off the ball, but we didn’t do that. When they couldn’t get by us then they had to create plays with ball movement but our off-ball defense was very, very good as well so it became difficult for them to generate much offense.”
The Irish did not have problems generating opportunities, as the offense reeled off 37 shots. Sophomore attack Westy Hopkins scored twice in the first half and fellow sophomore attack Ryan Mix added another to give Notre Dame a 4-1 lead heading into halftime.
Hopkins matched a career-high with his third goal of the day to start the third quarter and freshman attack Conor Doyle snuck a bounce shot into the back of the cage roughly six minutes later to give the Irish a 6-1 lead.
Hopkins, Doyle and the rest of the Irish attack paced the offense throughout the game as Providence focused on denying Notre Dame’s midfield opportunities. The attack, led by Hopkins’ play from behind the net, shouldered the load with seven of the nine goals.
“I think [guys like Hopkins] are figuring out our offense,” Corrigan said. “There’s a yin and yang to the midfield and attack play – when teams try to take away one you hope you can execute on the other and vice versa – and [the Friars] were clearly focused on our midfielders and taking those guys out. They left our [attack] on an island and our guys were able to take advantage of that.”
Notre Dame continued to capitalize on its opportunities early in the fourth quarter, as Doyle and junior midfielder Ryan Foley added goals to make it an 8-1 game. With just over three minutes to go sophomore attack Alex Eaton ripped an unassisted goal into the back of the net to put the finishing touch on the win.
Corrigan said Providence has had more opportunities to win this season than its record would otherwise indicate, and as a result the Irish needed to respect their opponent.
“I think we respected [the Friars],” Corrigan said. “We respected the kind of game they were going to play … We didn’t get silly with our possessions and our turnovers trying to make good plays and we didn’t get undisciplined defensively and try to do things that we’re not built to do. So we stayed very much in character and within ourselves and yet we executed at a high level.”
The Irish will need to respect their upcoming competition as their final three regular season games are against the top teams in the Big East. Heading into the final haul, Corrigan said the Irish need to stay focused on consistent
“Last year at this time we were undefeated going into the final stretch and I thought we got a little bit protective, a little concerned with winning instead of improving every day,” Corrigan said. “If we can just stay focused on coming out every day and getting better then the games will take care of themselves.”
Notre Dame looks to win its eighth game in a row when it faces off against Georgetown on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Washington, D.C.
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