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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish play Orange in Meadowlands

Matthew Robison | Friday, April 26, 2013

 

No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 7 Syracuse will decide the Big East regular season championship Saturday at the Big City Classic in MetLife Stadium, the home of the Jets and Giants of the National Football League (NFL), in East Rutherford, N.J.

In Game One of the Classic, scheduled for 4 p.m., No. 4 Cornell and No. 12 Princeton will square off for conference supremacy, as well.

Playing in an NFL stadium presents a slightly different playing environment, Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said.

“It’s always fun to play in these big stadiums in front of a big crowd,” Corrigan said. “You’ve got 70,000 seats and 15,000 people as opposed to 5,000 people jammed into Arlotta like this past weekend.”

The Orange (10-3, 4-1 Big East) had won four straight, including wins over both Cornell and Princeton, before dropping a 13-12 decision to Hobart in the Carrier Dome on April 16. Syracuse quickly rebounded with a 9-8 road win over Georgetown on Saturday.

Senior midfielder JoJo Marasco leads the Orange with 16 goals and 30 assists. Sophomore attack Kevin Rice is right behind him in points with 14 goals and 20 assists.

“Syracuse is a team that plays really, really well in the unsettled, transition situations,” Corrigan said. “They put you in a lot of those. They’re smart about how they make it happen and they’re very good in their execution of them.”

Corrigan said defending the Orange will be a three-part challenge – making good decisions on offense to avoid transition and fast breaks by Syracuse, defending in transition and finally finishing the defensive possession with solid, settled guarding on their talented offensive playmakers.

Notre Dame (10-2, 4-1)  is coming off a 13-9 win over Villanova on Senior Day in Arlotta Stadium on Saturday. Senior attack Sean Rogers leads the Irish offense with 23 goals while freshman attack Matt Kavanagh is close on his tail with 20.

The Irish have yet to drop a game on the road, and they remain 1-0 in neutral-site games. Their first and only game at a neutral site came against Marquette at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., on April 2. The Irish won that game 17-5.

“At the end of the day, it’s another game against a top-10 team,” Corrigan said. “It’s certainly going to mean a lot to us for seeding in the postseason. There’s a lot involved in this game for us.”

With both Notre Dame and Syracuse heading to the ACC from the Big East next year, the Irish and the Orange represent a budding rivalry. 

“We’ll be able to continue what we hope has become a rivalry,” Corrigan said. “We didn’t beat them until last year. It’s not a rivalry if one team wins all the time. We hope that we’re establishing a rivalry with them and I look forward to that extending into the ACC next year.”

The Irish and the Orange will face off at 6:30 p.m. at MetLife Stadium on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Contact Matt Robison at mrobison@nd.edu