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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish get another shot against ‘Cuse

Sam Gans | Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Occasionally, two college lacrosse teams will face each other twice in a season – once in the regular-season and once in a conference tournament or NCAA tournament game. Rare are the circumstances when the initial meeting and the rematch are separated by less than a week.

But that will be the case when No. 5 Notre Dame faces No. 3 Syracuse in a Big East semifinal Thursday in Villanova, Pa.

The Irish (10-3, 4-2 Big East) will look for revenge against the Orange (11-3, 5-1) after they dropped a 10-4 contest to Syracuse on Saturday at the Konica Minolta Big City Classic in East Rutherford, N.J.

Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said he is glad to have another crack at the Orange so quickly.

“To be honest, I’m excited to have that opportunity,” Corrigan said. “As to the way we played the other day, we’re anxious to get back on the field and get back to playing good, smart, solid lacrosse that we’ve played pretty much all year but did not play last week in New Jersey.”

The then-No. 1 Irish held a 3-1 halftime lead Saturday and were tied 4-4 after three quarters, before Syracuse outscored Notre Dame, 6-0, in the final 15 minutes. Even with the halftime advantage, Corrigan said the Irish played poorly the entire contest, not just the fourth quarter.

“We did not play well the whole game,” he said. “We did some good things defensively, but we’d stop them and then give them the ball back. We’d get down to the offensive end and then turn the ball over. That was just the culmination of four quarters of lacrosse that resulted in us playing too much defense and we lost our discipline at that point in trying to create some plays.”

Despite the result, Corrigan said he’s confident and indicated he does not think Saturday’s game tells much about the potential outcome of Thursday’s rematch.

“I’m not worried about [Saturday's performance],” he said. “It was a poor performance. We’re not used to playing that way but we’re certainly not anticipating playing that way again.”

The loss prevented the Irish from earning the No. 1 seed in the tournament and instead dropped them to the No. 3 seed, forcing a rematch with No. 2-seed Syracuse. In the other semifinal, tournament host and No. 1-seed Villanova will face No. 4-seed Georgetown.

The Irish defeated the Wildcats (6-7, 5-1) on April 20 and the Hoyas (6-8, 3-3) on April 14. Notre Dame will face the winner of Georgetown and Villanova on Saturday in the Big East championship if it defeats the Orange.

“I hope we have the opportunity to play one of them on [Saturday],” Corrigan said. “We’ve played them both before and both within the last few weeks. So as far as we’re concerned, it’s great to know our preparation will be relatively easy for Saturday if we can get through Thursday.”

The Irish face Syracuse at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Big East semifinals. The Big East championship is scheduled for noon Saturday.

Contact Sam Gans at sgans@nd.edu