Men’s Lacrosse: Top-ranked Irish fall to ‘Cuse
Greg Hadley | Monday, April 29, 2013
With the Big East regular season title on the line in the season’s final game, the No. 1 Irish faltered in the fourth quarter against No. 7 Syracuse on Saturday. The Irish defense gave up six unanswered goals as Notre Dame lost 10-4 to the Orange at the Konica Minolta Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
With the loss, the Irish (10-3, 4-2 Big East) finish the season third in the Big East and will play Syracuse (11-3, 5-1) again in the Big East tournament at Villanova on Thursday.
Up 3-1 at halftime, the Irish had no answer for the Orange in the second half, surrendering three goals early in the third quarter before freshman attack Matt Kavanagh tied the game with his second goal. In the fourth quarter, the Orange broke the tie within the first minute and did not let up, ending with their 10th goal of the night with 1:24 left to go.
“Defensively, we had a stretch of good play in the first half, but we just fell apart in the fourth quarter,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “I wish I could tell you what happened. We just broke down completely.”
The game started off promisingly for Notre Dame as the first quarter ended with no score. The Irish struck first on a goal by senior midfielder Ryan Foley with 11:04 to go in the second quarter, and after the Orange scored an equalizer, junior attack Westy Hopkins scored to regain the lead. Notre Dame was unable to generate any offense in the second half, however, adding just one goal over the third and forth quarters.
Corrigan was displeased with his offense’s effort. Syracuse outshot the squad 32-24 and led 29-19 in ground balls.
“It’s a problem when you have opportunities on offense and you don’t take advantage of them,” Corrigan said. “We didn’t handle the ball well at all and we turned it over too much.”
The Irish offense failed to score on any of its five man-up opportunities and turned the ball over 17 times. Kavanagh led the Irish with two goals, but for the most part, the Orange defense throttled the Irish.
As the postseason begins, the Irish get the chance to immediately redeem themselves Thursday in the first round of the Big East championship when they take on Syracuse again. Corrigan feels positive about his team’s ability to rebound.
“[Syracuse] is going to be feeling good about themselves, putting six on us in the fourth quarter, but I’m not worried about any hangover on our part,” he said. “We’ve shown that we’re a team that isn’t too affected by either wins or losses. We’ll just go out there and play.”
As to what must change between Saturday’s performance and Thursday, Corrigan said there are no weaknesses that stand out from the rest and the team simply has to play better.
“There’s no magic pill,” Corrigan said. “We just need to play the good, consistent lacrosse we’ve been playing all year. When we play again Thursday, the score is going to be 0-0 and that’s all that matters.”
The Irish begin postseason play Thursday against Syracuse at the Big East championship at Villanova.
Contact Greg Hadley at email@example.com