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Men’s Lacrosse: School record in ND’s sights

Greg Arbogast | Friday, April 13, 2007

When Notre Dame takes the field this weekend, it will have an opportunity to set the program record for consecutive home victories.

Just don’t tell that to the Irish.

“[Setting the record] is not something we’ve talked about at all,” Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said. “It’s one of those interesting but irrelevant facts. What’s important for us is that we’re starting to reach our potential as a team, and that’s what we’re focused on.”

The Irish take on Air Force today at 5 p.m. and Denver Sunday at 1 p.m. at Moose Krause Stadium, looking for a school-record 11th and 12th straight wins at home.

After sputtering to a 3-3 mark to begin the season, Notre Dame has run off three consecutive victories, outscoring opponents 37-11 over that span. The winning streak has helped propel the Irish up to No. 11 in the latest Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll and USILA coaches’ poll.

The only problem is that just as the Irish were starting to build some momentum, their schedule intervened. Thanks to cancellations, Notre Dame’s last game was April 3 – which means it will have had 10 days off before facing Air Force.

Corrigan, however, feels that his team will be ready to go despite the break.

“I wouldn’t have volunteered the break for us when we got it,” Corrigan said. “We were playing very well, and when you’re playing well, you don’t want to take a break. I’ll tell you what, though, our practice intensity has been so good lately that I don’t feel there will be any drop-off. Despite the break, we should be ready to play.”

Notre Dame will have to be ready to play this weekend because their games will have critical implications on the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) standings. Currently the Irish, Falcons, and Pioneers all sit tied atop the standings at 1-0.

Air Force is coming off a 16-9 victory over Bellarmine in its GWLL opener. Notre Dame is 9-0 all-time versus Air Force at home, but the Falcons won last year’s contest in Colorado Springs 9-8. Overall, Air Force carries a 2-5 record into this weekend’s game, but Corrigan expects the Falcons to pose a difficult challenge.

“I can’t believe they’re 2-5,” Corrigan said. “When you watch them at their best, you see a very good lacrosse team. Whenever you prepare to play somebody, you prepare to play them at their best, and their best is very good.”

After taking on Air Force, the Irish will return to action Sunday afternoon when they take on Denver. The Pioneers will carry a 6-5 overall record into this weekend’s action, and they will play Bellarmine on Friday before coming to South Bend on Sunday.

Denver has defeated the Irish in each of the past two seasons, and the Pioneers are also coming off a GWLL title in 2006 when they went 5-0 en route to an NCAA tournament berth. Denver lost 16-8 in the first round to Maryland.

Junior goalie Joey Kemp said the Irish “definitely” have extra motivation for the Denver game given last year’s results.

“You always want to beat a team coming off a loss to them last year,” Kemp said. “With them winning the league last year and getting an automatic qualifier, they’re obviously a good team. Getting our league’s automatic qualifier is something we’re trying to accomplish this year.”