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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish ready for Big Green

Ellyn Michalak | Friday, March 14, 2008

Coming off a narrow first loss to No. 4 North Carolina last Saturday, the No. 7 Irish will head to Atlanta, Ga. to face Dartmouth.

With a 4-1 start on the season, Notre Dame will face the Big Green for the seventh time in the team’s history. The Irish currently hold a 4-2 edge in the series.

Despite Notre Dame’s two-game series lead, each meeting has been closely contested. In fact, four of the seven games have been decided by one goal. Last season, the Big Green edged out the Irish 7-6.

The Irish have had early success this season, marking just the third time in program history with a 4-0 start. Their March 8 loss to the Tar Heels did not come easily, causing the Irish to drop in the ranks from the No. 5 to the No. 7 team.

“We were disappointed because there were things we could have done to change the outcome of the game,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “We didn’t get those things done and North Carolina’s goalie had an outstanding day.”

The Irish are lead by a number of upperclassman. Junior attack Ryan Hoff is first on the team with thirteen goals and 14 total points, while junior attack Duncan Swezey has already tallied a career high of 10 goals this season. Senior attack Alex Wharton holds the team lead in assists (8) in addition to his five goals. The Irish currently average 10.2 goals per game, and the team holds its opponents to an average of 6.63 goals per game.

The tough defense is largely attributed to goalie Joey Kemp. The 5-foot-11 senior, who is a two-time all American honoree, has made 56 saves on the season, and has guarded the goal for 289.33 of 300 possible minutes of play. He was also recently named to the 51-man watch list for the Tewaaraton award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top player.

The Big Green are coming off a 7-4 victory against Vermont. With a 2-1 record, Dartmouth is lead by sophomore attack Ari Sussan, who has eight goals and two assists on the season.

“[Dartmouth] is probably the most deliberate and disciplined team we’ll play this season,” Corrigan said. “They’re very structured in the way they play offense and that’s not the way we play because we don’t see it on a daily basis.”

The game will kick off at 2 p.m. this Sunday at the Lovett School in Atlanta.