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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish hold-off pesky Butler 9-8 on Karweck’s game winner

Tim Dougherty | Monday, April 10, 2006

Notre Dame senior attackman Matt Karweck scored the game-winning goal with 4:16 remaining Saturday against Butler to give the team a 9-8 victory in its Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) opener in Indianapolis.

Karweck assisted on Notre Dame’s first goal to senior midfielder Matt Ryan early in the second quarter to cut the Bulldog’s lead to 2-1. He later scored two of the team’s last three goals, including the game-winner on a rebound from Ryan’s shot that ricocheted off Butler goalie Ryan Kaiser.

While Notre Dame (7-2, 1-0 in the GWLL) won the game, Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said the team will need to improve its consistency in order to win games as the season progresses.

“We played well at times, but we didn’t relentlessly execute like we needed to,” Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said. “In the end, we were able to gather our poise and play hard down the stretch and pull out a win when we needed to. But I’d like to see us play more consistently than we have been over the full 40 minutes.”

Corrigan said Butler’s game plan was to control the clock and try to limit Irish possessions.

“It was clear from their beginning what they were going to do,” Corrigan said. “Their game plan was to take the ball behind the goal, slow the game down, limit the number of possessions and be in it till the end.”

The Bulldogs successfully held the Irish to four first quarter possessions en route to a 2-0 advantage. And after Ryan’s goal, Butler responded a few minutes later. Bulldog Adam Wade beat Notre Dame goalie Joey Kemp to push Butler’s advantage back to two goals.

The Bulldogs appeared to hold a 3-1 lead into halftime but after a quick turnover with a more than a minute remaining, the Irish attack moved into the Butler zone.

Notre Dame fired three late shots that missed their mark before junior midfielder Bill Liva found senior attackman Pat Walsh for a goal with 54 seconds remaining. Walsh scored again with 1.4 seconds left in the half on an assist from sophomore midfielder Michael Podgajny to knot the game at three apiece.

Podgajny and freshman attackman Peter Christman led the team with two assists each. Walsh finished the day with one assist and three goals – his first hat trick of the year – to lead all scorers.

Senior attackman Brian Hubschmann also extended his team point lead (27) with a goal (17) and an assist (10), Bill Liva scored his fifth goal of the season and freshman attackman Ryan Hoff added his tenth.

Butler’s offense – ranked outside the top 50 in the country – kept chipping away at the No. 10 Irish scoring defense, matching Irish scoring runs and tying the contest at 8-8 with 5:48 left Karweck’s the final punch.

“It came down to a lucky shot on a lucky rebound,” Karweck said. “If it wasn’t for our face-off play and our defense, we wouldn’t have been in the game at all. We’ve got to give a lot of credit to our defense. They played their [tails] off.”

Notre Dame sophomore Taylor Clagett returned to the face-off circle for the Irish after missing four games with an injured shoulder.

“He’s back, and he’s on the field, and he’s playing for us,” Corrigan said. “He’s got a little bit of a problem with his shoulder, but he did a heck of a job yesterday, and he’s going to be an important guy for us out in Colorado.”

Kemp – ranked eighth in the nation with a .623 save percentage – stopped his 10th Butler shot with 2:56 remaining before Driscoll picked up a groundball with 21 seconds remaining to seal the league victory.

According to Notre Dame co-captain Drew Peters, the defense – a unit that allows a season-long .690 clear percentage, but allowed .783 to Butler – needs to improve for next weekend’s trip to Colorado to face Denver and Air Force.

“There were little fund things we didn’t do right throughout the game, and they also worked hard for the goals they got,” Peters said. “If we just played a more solid fundamental game like we’re capable of doing, that might limit their goals.”

Corrigan said the Irish need to find consistency on both sides of the game, but he was pleased with Notre Dame’s ability to grind out another win when they weren’t playing to their best ability.

“It was really our execution that was lacking, and we have to do better whether that’s being more tough minded or more disciplined, we have to do it,” Corrigan said. “But we had every opportunity to fold up and not make plays, but that’s not what we did. It was a tie game in the fourth quarter, and we had to make plays at the end, and we did that.”

Peters also was proud to see the Irish perform when they really needed to.

“Butler is a much improved game from years before, and we really wanted to get a ‘W’ to start our league games,” Peters said. “We got the ‘W’ and that’s what we came for.”

Notre Dame will play at Denver Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and then head to Colorado Springs to face Air Force at 2:00 p.m. Sunday.