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No overlooking unranked Dartmouth

Dan Tapetillo | Friday, April 2, 2004

Downtime is not an option.

When it comes down to the fourth quarter in their Dartmouth game this weekend, don’t expect the No. 13 Irish (2-4) to bow to pressure. Rather, the team plans to thrive on the game’s challenges.

“We relaxed a little [in a loss to Ohio State] and you can’t do that in lacrosse,” attack Pat Walsh said. “We stopped executing and before you knew it, they were up. We need to get out hard and stay like that.”

Walsh identified the fourth quarter as the team’s Achilles heel. The Buckeyes took advantage of this weakness, rallying in the fourth to overcome a 7-4 deficit to win 9-8.

The Irish are led by Dan Berger and Matt Howell, who both had two goals against Ohio State.

Walsh also spearheads the Irish efforts, registering one goal and two assists in Wednesday’s game. He is currently the leading scorer in the Great Western Lacrosse League and fourth in the nation.

Stewart Crosland was the conference leader in GAA and save percentage in 2003. After six games, Crosland has already recorded 77 saves. His career total is 273, and he is currently seventh on the Irish career saves list.

Midfield Brian Giordano was also recently named the GWLL Player of the Week after his performance against No. 13 Hofstra when he scored five goals in the 19-11 Irish win.

Despite a 2-4 record, Notre Dame is fifth in Division I in converting extra-man opportunities at .480.

The Irish also rank third in the nation in scoring, averaging 13.40 goals per game.

Dartmouth is the first unranked opponent Notre Dame will face this season. However, Dartmouth will not be an easy foe to contend with.

“After the Ohio State loss, we just need to play hard,” Walsh said. “This is an important game for us.”

Dartmouth is currently on a five-game winning streak after falling to Rutgers earlier this season to remain 5-1.

They are led by attack Jamie Coffin, who has recorded 15 goals and six assists for the year. Midfield Ben Grinnell has also been an integral part of the team’s success, contributing 18 points. Andrew Goldstein has a 6.9 GAA and leads the team in ground balls with 21.

Although unranked, the team is receiving votes in the USILA national rankings and has been outscoring their opponents by more than five goals per game. Furthermore, Dartmouth is also returning seven starters from last year’s team.

This is the first time the two teams have faced each other since 1997, when the Irish defeated the Big Green 14-13 in Hanover, N.H.

Although Dartmouth is having a successful season, the Irish are confident that they are secure in their abilities.

“We aren’t lacking confidence, we just need to compete for 60 minutes and not just two or three quarters,” Walsh said.