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MEN’S LACROSSE: Butler expected to give Irish a challenge

Bobby Griffin | Friday, March 18, 2005

As the round of 32 teams opens up in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Saturday, Notre Dame will commence something of its own.Notre Dame will play its first Great Western Lacrosse league game of the season against Butler. The game will also be Notre Dame’s first home game of the season.Butler is a young, hungry team – a group that Irish coach Kevin Corrigan acknowledges could present a tough matchup.”We’ve seen them play a number of times now, and they are very young, but they play extremely hard,” Corrigan said. “I think that like any young team they’ve had some ups and downs, but I think they’ve got a very talented group of kids, so I’m expecting to see them at their best on Saturday.”Notre Dame is currently sitting at 2-1 overall, with wins against Penn State and North Carolina and a loss to Cornell. All three of the Irish opponents are highly ranked.Saturday’s game will be the first league game of the season, however, and in league play winning is crucial.”Its extremely important [to win] because if we win all five of our league games, we get to the NCAA tournament with an automatic bid,” Corrigan said. “It’s the old coaching cliché here, we can only worry about one game at a time, and that’s Butler, but it does put a lot of emphasis on these games.”So far this season, Corrigan has been happy with his team’s play, but sees areas of improvement that still need to be addressed.”I think we’ve played hard in every game, and I think that we’re learning how we need to play to be effective,” Corrigan said. “I was disappointed at Cornell. I don’t feel like we played with enough discipline and didn’t make enough plays to win that game, and yet we came back and did very well in those areas playing against Carolina.”Following up the North Carolina game with a good winning performance against Butler will be important for the Irish in order to position themselves in their league. They will need to play with discipline in order to make sure that the youthful energy of Butler does not sneak up on them.”Hopefully that’s a sign of progress and maturity in our team and something that we can continue to do,” Corrigan said, regarding the team’s victory against North Carolina after losing to Cornell. Notre Dame and Butler will face off at 1 p.m. Saturday at Notre Dame. The game will be televised on Comcast Sports Local.