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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish prepare for Red Storm

Greg Hadley | Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The No. 1 Irish may have just ascended to the top of college lacrosse, but that doesn’t mean coach Kevin Corrigan thinks his team is on the top of its game heading into Saturday’s matchup with No. 19 St. John’s at Arlotta Stadium.

On Sunday against Rutgers, the Irish (6-1) were held scoreless for much of the first half and trailed by two late in the second quarter. Rallying behind three fourth-quarter goals from junior midfielder Jim Marlatt, the Irish staved off an upset.

But No. 7 North Carolina defeated then-No. 1 Maryland on Saturday, opening up the top spot for the Irish when the polls were released Monday. Notre Dame was ranked No. 1 just once before in program history, for two weeks during the 2011 season. The Irish begin their reign on top when they face the Red Storm (6-2) on Saturday. 

Corrigan said he was unhappy with his team’s execution against Rutgers and has given the team time to rest after a stretch of three tilts in eight days.

“We’re going to take the next couple days off and get some rest after playing three games in eight days,” Corrigan said Sunday. “We’ll come back on Wednesday and start to prepare for a very good St. John’s.” 

The Red Storm are off to a program-best start and are very dangerous offensively. St. John’s averages more than 11 goals per game and features one of the nation’s premier offensive weapons in junior Kieran McArdle, who leads the nation in points per game (7.13) and is seventh in goals per game (2.88).

“The biggest thing you have to do is stop them” Corrigan said. “They’ve scored [24] goals in their last two games. When we played them in the [Big East] tournament last year, they held us down.”

The Red Storm offense will try to break through a typically stout Irish defense. Led by senior defender Matt Miller and senior goalie John Kemp, the Irish are ranked fifth in the country in scoring defense and 10th in man-down defense.

On offense, Corrigan said the Irish will have to execute to keep pace. To do so, Notre Dame will rely on Marlatt and freshman attack Matt Kavanagh, who are tied for the team lead in goals and points with 14 and 20, respectively.

“Their goalie is very good,” Corrigan said. “You’ve got to get good shots and be smart about the shots you take and take them well.”

The Irish take on St. John’s on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium.

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu