Notre Dame set to open season in Texas against Georgetown
R.J. Stempak | Thursday, February 16, 2017
No. 4 Notre Dame will begin its season Saturday in Frisco, Texas, in a neutral site game against Georgetown.
The Irish will look to start the season off on the right foot, especially after graduating top point-scorer Matt Kavanagh and defensive stalwart Matt Landis. Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said the team is looking for an identity, and it will have to focus on the fundamentals early on in the season.
“It’s the first game, so we are concerned with our fundamental execution of the things we want to do without knowing a lot about our opponent because it is an early season game,” Corrigan said. “We have to rely on our communication and our fundamentals. From that standpoint, it is like every opening game every year. You have to be very aware and able to adapt because you are going to get surprised by some things because it is early in the year.”
Players who the Irish will look to carry the scoring burden early include senior midfielder and captain Sergio Perkovic and sophomore attack Ryder Garnsey, who was third on the team in points scored last season despite making only five starts.
Defensively, Corrigan said the Irish will need senior Pat Heely to get comfortable with his new role quickly, as he only appeared in three games last season.
“Pat Heely is stepping into a really important starting role on our defense,” Corrigan said. “I think that is new for him, but he has had a really good preseason and he has been very consistent, which is good for us to see.”
New players that will be featured in the attack are sophomore Brendan Gleason, senior and captain Anthony Marini and freshman Brian Willetts.
“On the attack, we will have a couple new faces,” Corrigan said. “Brendan Gleason, Anthony Marini and [Brian] Willetts will all be playing significantly in the attack. Gleason was a midfielder last year, Willetts was in high school last year and Marini did not play a lot. Those are three guys who are going to be playing a lot of minutes for us and are going to be new faces on the attack.”
Gleason played in 13 games last season, while Marini played in a total of eight. Willetts, on the other hand, was a top-10 recruit in this past year’s class according to Inside Lacrosse.
The Hoyas (0-1) dropped their first game of the season against High Point on Tuesday, 9-3, and have now lost 10 of their last 11 games dating back to last season. Georgetown was tied with High Point at the half but outscored 7-1 in the final two quarters. Redshirt junior attack Peter Conley led his team with 10 shots, but he only managed to tally one goal. Sophomore attack Daniel Bucaro also netted a goal and contributed an assist for the Hoyas. In net, junior goalkeeper Nick Marrocco made six saves in the losing effort.
The Irish open the season as part of the Patriot Cup in Frisco, Texas. The team will play at the Dallas Cowboy’s new practice facility, which opened late last year.
“[There is no difference in the site of the game], other than it should be really cool. I am looking forward to seeing The Star,” Corrigan said. “We have been part of these types of events [for] many years, so our guys are used to it. No big deal, just a great environment to play in.”
The Irish take the field at 2 p.m. against Georgetown on Saturday.