Sergio Perkovic establishes himself as leader for ND
R.J. Stempak | Thursday, March 30, 2017
Since joining the squad freshman year, senior midfielder Sergio Perkovic has been a leader for Notre Dame. He set a program record for most goals for a freshman midfielder, and has been making his mark ever since. Perkovic has proven himself to be a constant presence in the midfield, having started every game since the start of his sophomore year.
The only thing that is different is that Perkovic has the title of captain this year — the captain of the No. 1 lacrosse team in the country. Although he has had the spotlight on him throughout his career, Perkovic said his new role has not changed who he is.
“I wouldn’t say my role has changed too drastically, because I still want to be myself, even though I am a senior captain,” Perkovic said. “I try to lead by example, but when I feel the need to talk to certain players I will. I know, as a senior, talking to them has a lot of worth.”
Individually, Perkovic got off to a slow start this year. Currently sitting at third on the team in points with 12, he scored just four goals in the first four games of this season. As a player who is expected to lead the team’s offense, this start was uncharacteristic for Perkovic. The pressure of leading a team, the reality of missing shots and not living up to expectations weighed down on him, he said.
That changed against No. 14 Virginia and No. 5 Ohio State, games in which Perkovic scored back-to-back hat tricks. Notre Dame’s senior captain is coming into form, just as ACC play is about to begin. Perkovic said that he was thinking to much early in the season, letting poor performances get to him.
“I have not been thinking about it as much [in the past two games],” Perkovic said. “When you have a bad game, you start to think a little too much, you start trying different things, start practicing too much. The shooting motion takes a lot of toll on your body. I have just been playing.”
Perkovic’s leadership and experience will be invaluable to the Irish as they take on the added pressure of being the top-ranked team in the nation. Perkovic was a member the championship runner-up team his freshman year, reached the Final Four team his sophomore year and made the quarterfinals before losing to North Carolina last season.
Perkovic noted that this team is less stressed than his previous squads.
“This year I feel like there is a little more flow to our game,” Perkovic said. “We are not as up-tight as we have been in the past. Previously, we would have such a highly ranked team and people hyped us up so much that I think we played to that role. We were tight all of the time, but I think this year we are a looser team, spacing the field we are just playing more together.”
All the hype surrounding Perkovic’s team is returning after a near perfect start to the season. With the only loss being a single point heartbreaker at No. 6 Denver, Perkovic is prepared to lead his team to victory as it looks forward to finishing out its season.