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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish recover to top Hoyas

Matt Robison | Monday, April 15, 2013

No. 4 Notre Dame rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to beat Georgetown 10-8 on Sunday in Arlotta Stadium.

The Hoyas (5-7, 2-2 Big East) converted on their first four shots, which prompted Irish coach Kevin Corrigan to call a timeout midway through the first quarter.

“I don’t know why we came out so tentatively, but we did,” Corrigan said. “That was not [senior goalie] John Kemp. That was our defense and John Kemp not being all over what he should be, which is everybody. That’s our whole team. We were giving up possessions and everything else.” 

When Corrigan called the timeout, his goal wasn’t to switch strategies or make major changes. Rather, he just wanted to give his team a chance to refocus.

“I didn’t change anything,” Corrigan said. “I just challenged our guys a little bit because I didn’t think we were being as aggressive or assertive as we needed to be in a lot of different instances. I’m happy to see them respond in a positive way like they did.”

Senior attackman Sean Rogers broke the ice with an assist from freshman attackman Matt Kavanagh. Senior midfielder Ty Kimball scored on a feed from sophomore attackman Conor Doyle.  

At the end of the first quarter, the Irish (8-2, 3-1) trailed 5-2.

“From the end of the first quarter on, I thought we played well” Corrigan said. “Our guys showed a lot of fight. The ground balls became key, and I thought we fought for those as well as we should.”

Over the last 45 minutes of play, Notre Dame allowed only three goals. Overall, the Irish outshot the Hoyas 42-22 and won 13 of the 22 face-offs. 

In the second half, the Irish offense picked up pace and the team’s defense did a much better job covering the Hoyas, which allowed the Irish to seize control of the game.

“I’ve got to give our defense credit,” Corrigan said. “We were struggling early. We were struggling to play their action, and we were struggling to cover some of their guys. While we did a good job collectively as a team defense, we asserted ourselves in some of our individual matchups a little more. That helped a lot because we didn’t have to show and slide so much. We were able to stay with our guys a little bit more, and I think that made a pretty big difference.”

Rogers finished with two goals and two assists, Kavanagh found the back of the net twice and Doyle added two as well. Senior midfielder Ryan Foley, junior attackman John Scioscia and junior attackman Westy Hopkins each had one goal.

The early onslaught by Georgetown was certainly a surprise, but it’s something that Notre Dame should expect. As one of the top-ranked teams in the country, the Irish will get every team’s best, Corrigan said.

“It’s something that I think everybody in college lacrosse is learning,” Corrigan said. “And I hope our guys got the lesson drilled today as well as you can. There’s just nothing easy out there. There are no easy quarters, there are no easy games, and there are not easy opponents. If you don’t come to play, somebody’s going to bring it to you just like Georgetown did to us in the first quarter.”

When the new rankings are released today, Notre Dame has a chance to move back to No. 1. Maryland, the current No. 1, lost to No. 15 Johns Hopkins on Saturday and No. 2 Cornell lost at Syracuse on Wednesday. No. 3 North Carolina is ahead of Notre Dame in the rankings, but the Irish could jump the Tar Heels because of the head-to-head advantage. 

But what matters most to the Irish is its final home game of the year, which takes place Saturday at Arlotta Stadium against Villanova at 2 p.m.

Contact Matthew Robison at mrobison@nd.edu