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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish face UNC in home opener

Matthew Robison | Friday, March 1, 2013

After a 10-9 overtime victory at No. 8 Penn State on Sunday, No. 2 Notre Dame will hold its home opener Saturday in Arlotta Stadium against No. 9 North Carolina at 12 p.m.

Despite the recent cold and wet winter conditions, the Irish (2-0) will brave the outdoors. But Irish coach Kevin Corrigan does not see weather or venue as factors.

“I think it’ll be the same temperature on our side of the field as it is on theirs,” Corrigan said. “Those kinds of things, to be honest with you, you tend to worry about them and obsess about them. And then when the whistle blows you tend to forget about them.”

Because he was so focused on the game itself, Corrigan said he did not realize it snowed the entire duration of Notre Dame’s season-opening 13-6 victory over Duke on Feb. 16 in Durham, N.C.

“Until I watched the film I didn’t realize that it had snowed throughout the whole game,” Corrigan said. “It’s just not something you’re focused on when the game starts. So we won’t spend much time worrying about it between now and then. What we’re going to do is just worry about our execution.”

Part of that execution will entail slowing down the Tar Heels’ offensive attack, which attempts to break out in transition and score in unsettled situations.

“The challenge is first to stay out of [unsettled situations] and second to survive them when you can and, third, to try to match up with them and keep the game in kind of a group dynamic where we can defend them better and attach them better,” Corrigan said.

Irish freshman Matt Kavanagh and sophomore Conor Doyle have powered the Notre Dame attack through two games. Kavanagh scored four goals in his collegiate debut against Duke, and the rookie scored the game-winner Sunday at Penn State. Against the Nittany Lions, Doyle scored three goals and added an assist.

In its third game of the young season, Notre Dame faces its third ranked opponent – all three from outside the Big East. Notre Dame does not start the regular season with any tuneup games, according to Corrigan, who along with the rest of the Irish staff, intentionally crafts a tough schedule.

“I want to play the best schedule that we can play every year because I think that gives you the best chance to become the best team you can become,” Corrigan said. “Ultimately, that’s the goal. We’re not pointing to a certain number of wins or anything else. If we become the best team we can become, then we have a chance to win a national championship at the end of the year.”

North Carolina (2-1) has started the season with wins over Fairfield and Air Force at home. In its only road game thus far, Feb. 16 against Massachusetts, the Tar Heels fell 12-11.

Notre Dame squares off against the Tar Heels on Saturday at noon in Arlotta Stadium.

Contact Matthew Robison at mrobison@nd.edu