Men’s Lacrosse: Saving the day
Greg Hadley | Thursday, March 21, 2013
After playing four straight games decided by one goal, the No. 3 Irish were able to buck the trend and cruise to a surprisingly easy victory over No. 8 Ohio State, winning 9-4.
For the first three quarters, the Irish (5-1) defense was outstanding against the Buckeyes’ top-15 offense, allowing just one goal and only 13 shots.
They killed all but one penalty, forced 18 turnovers and cleared the ball consistently into the offensive zone. When the Buckeyes started to rally in the fourth quarter, scoring three goals, the Irish defense kept the pace under control and secured the win. All-American senior goalie John Kemp tied his season high with 11 saves.
“John Kemp was terrific today,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “When he plays like that, we’re awfully tough. I thought they had some chances and he took them away … [he] was right there when he needed to be. They generate very good shots most of the time.”
Corrigan gave credit to the Ohio State offense, but thought his team gained an advantage by playing a similar opponent over the weekend.
“[Ohio State] is a very good offensive team,” Corrigan said. “They’ve been giving people fits all year. I think we really benefited from the fact that we played Denver on Saturday, [because] they’re very similar in their styles. They’re very unique to the rest of lacrosse … but very similar to each other … So we benefitted from playing a very good Denver team.”
Offensively, the Irish raced to an early 6-1 lead and added three more insurance goals in the fourth quarter as the Buckeyes tried to rally. Leading the charge was freshman attack Matt Kavanagh, who had two assists and two goals and now leads the team with 12 goals on the season. Senior attack Sean Rogers and sophomore attack Conor Doyle each contributed three points.”Matt Kavanagh’s terrific, and when we’re playing good offense, Matt is even better,” Corrigan said. “He knows how to play when the game is moving. When the offense is moving … Matt’s going to find spots to make plays. He puts himself in the middle of things a lot. For me, he’s the canary in the coal mine; when he’s scoring goals, that means we’re playing good offense.”
With this victory the Irish end a brutal stretch of six straight games against top-10 opponents. Despite the success of his squad, Corrigan still thinks his team can improve and wants them to stay focused on the road ahead as they enter conference play.
“We played a very, very good first half [today] and we’re a tough team to comeback on from five goals down, but I’m still waiting for us to play 60 minutes together,” Corrigan said. “We’re about halfway through the year now and it’s time for us to really know ourselves better and have a sense of what kind of plays we can make and which ones we just have to take a pass on.
“There are no walks in the park in Division I lacrosse right now.”
The Irish next play Rutgers at 1 p.m. Sunday in Piscataway., N.J