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Men’s Lacrosse: Laxers earn top seed in conference

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thanks to its effective offense, No 7 Notre Dame defeated No. 9 Ohio State 17-12 in its final regular season game, earning the No. 1 seed in the Great Western Lacrosse League tournament.

The Irish will take on No. 4 seed Quinnipiac in the semifinals on Friday in Birmingham, Mich., at 5 p.m. The second semifinal matchup between Ohio State and Denver will follow at 7:30 and the title game will be held the following Sunday.

The previous meeting between the Irish and the Bobcats resulted in a dominant Irish win (16-6) on Notre Dame’s home turf. Junior attack Ryan Hoff scored four goals to lead the Irish offense victory against the Bobcats.

Notre Dame hopes to recapture the GWLL tournament title it won during the 2007 season – and with that an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“We are now in tournament mode. We want to win,” Corrigan said. “Our goal is to win and keep winning. We’re only focusing on playing right now.”

The Irish fell to Johns Hopkins 11-10 in overtime in a tight first round game in the 2007 Tournament. If the Irish do not earn the GWLL title, they still have a chance to earn one of the nine at large NCAA tournament bids.

The Irish victory against Ohio State created a three-way tie among the top teams in the league. Denver, Ohio State and Notre Dame all earned 4-1 records on the season, but the Irish received the top spot because of tiebreakers. Bellarmine and Air Force were the only two GWLL teams to fall short of making the tournament.

“Offensively I thought we were pretty balanced [against Ohio State] and we did a nice job of continuing to attack. Early in the game offensively we were a little anxious and too aggressive,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “When we settled down we shared the ball and shot well and kept the pressure on their goalie. He had a pretty good day, but we still were able to score the goals.”

The win also extended Notre Dame’s program-record home win streak to 18 games and improved the team’s overall record to 11-2. Senior midfielder Michael Podgajny and sophomore midfielder Grant Krebs each earned hat-tricks to lead the Irish offense, while senior goaltender Joey Kemp recorded 12 saves on the day’s play.

“We didn’t play particularly good defense early on, but second half we did pretty well by giving them the shots we wanted to give them. Ross Zimmerman and Sean Dougherty did a great job defending their two best offensive players,” Corrigan said.