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Men’s Lacrosse: Squad opens home season with Dartmouth

Sam Werner | Friday, February 27, 2009

Even though junior attack Neal Hicks is coming into the weekend as the reigning Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) player of the year, Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said it would take a balanced effort across the board for Notre Dame to run its record to 3-0 this weekend against Dartmouth.

“If teams adjust defensively and take him away, we’re not concerned with how many points Neal Hicks has, but how many points we have,” Corrigan said.

Corrigan specifically pointed to senior attacks Ryan Hoff and Duncan Swezey as players who could put the ball in the back of the net, but added that his entire attack and midfield lineup was capable of picking up any scoring slack.

“We don’t see any reason why all of those guys shouldn’t be contributors,” he said. “If we can attack people from that many different directions, I think we become a very tough team to play against.”

The No. 8 Irish (2-0) will be put to the test this Saturday against the Big Green (1-1), who won 11-10 in overtime against Hartford on Feb. 21.

“They play with a great sense of themselves,” Corrigan said. “They’re very disciplined, they have a plan, and they execute their game-plan game in and game out.”

Corrigan said Dartmouth’s early-season record is slightly misleading, and that the Big Green are much better than a .500 team.

“They’ve had some problems with injuries and they’ve had to adjust to playing without those guys for the time being,” he said. “I think that they’re just going to continue to get better as the guys that they’ve had step in get more experience and confidence.”

Senior midfield Jimmy Mullen leads the Big Green with six points on the season, all goals. In order to keep their perfect record, Corrigan said playing tough defense is key.

“The biggest thing we have to do is match their discipline,” he said. “We have to play very diligently at our end to make sure that we’re matching up with the things that they do so well.”

Hicks and company will hope to counter that defensive discipline with some goals on the other end. The Atlanta native leads the team with 11 points, including a career-high eight in last week’s 13-8 win over Penn State.

“He’s playing great and he’s executing well but he’s not forcing things and he’s not going outside of our offense to do it,” Corrigan said.

Hicks was the second Irish player in a row to claim conference player of the week honors. Junior midfield Grant Krebs took home the award on Feb. 17. Krebs currently ranks second on the team with seven points.

Both players will be hoping to keep up the scoring in the Irish home opener. The home-opening faceoff is set for 11:30 a.m. in the Loftus Sports Center.