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MEN’S LACROSSE: Laxers hope to stop slump

Greg Arbogast | Friday, March 30, 2007

After struggling to find some consistency in its young season, Notre Dame will try to start a winning streak when it travels to Providence, R.I., to take on No. 20 Brown at noon Saturday at Brown Stadium.The Irish, ranked No. 17 in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll despite losing three of their last five, are coming off an 11-3 win over Bellarmine in the Greater Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) opener for both teams on March 20. Despite the solid result against Bellarmine, consistency has been a problem for Notre Dame so far this season. After winning their first two games – including a 9-7 victory over then No. 11 Loyola – the Irish dropped three of four with close losses to Cornell, North Carolina, and Dartmouth sandwiched around a 16-5 drubbing of Drexel.”We know what team we want to play like, but it’s just been a matter of what team shows up for us,” junior goalie Joey Kemp said. “We played great against Drexel and lackadaisical against teams like Dartmouth and North Carolina. I think it’s something we’ve overcome, and it’s just something we need to show on the field now.”A prepared Bears squad will await Notre Dame in Providence this weekend. Brown enters the match with a record of 5-2, coming off an easy 13-4 victory over Vermont Tuesday. The meeting Saturday will be the second all-time between the two schools, with the Irish winning the only other contest 11-5 last season at Moose-Krause Stadium. But this Brown team will be different than the one Notre Dame defeated last season. The Bears have already more than doubled last year’s win total of two. “They’re playing with a new attitude this season,” Kemp said. “They have a new coach, and they basically had open tryouts before the season. A lot of old guys were cut, and a lot of the new guys are still trying to prove themselves.”Beyond the new attitude, a big reason for Brown’s turnaround has been the play of senior attack David Madiera, who leads the team in both points (20) and goals (18). Another key element for the Bears’ improved play has been the performance of sophomore goalie Jordan Burke. Burke leads the Ivy League with 12.40 saves per game and is ranked fourth nationally with a save percentage of .683.”He’s been a very large part of their success,” Kemp said. “Teams always play better when your goalie is hot, and it just gives the team a lot of confidence.” Notre Dame counters Burke with an equally impressive netminder in Kemp, a preseason honorable mention All-America selection by Inside Lacrosse. Kemp was named the GWLL Player of the Week for the second time this season for his nine save performance in Notre Dame’s win over Bellarmine last week. Kemp enters Saturday’s game carrying a 7.64 goals-against average and a .584 save percentage, which rank No. 14 and No. 16 nationally, respectively.