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Men’s Lacrosse: Laxers look for sixth straight win

Sam Werner | Friday, March 20, 2009

Notre Dame will head to the Lone Star State for the first time ever this weekend, taking on Vermont in the Patriot Cup in Dallas on Saturday.

A win would propel No. 3 Notre Dame (5-0) to a 6-0 start for just the second time in program history. The last time the Irish won their first six was 1993, when then fifth-year coach Kevin Corrigan got his team off to an 8-0 start. Corrigan, now in his 21st season, has said that rankings don’t matter as much this early in the season, but that racking up wins is certainly important.

The Irish have certainly been adding quality wins over the past few weeks, defeating then-No. 3 North Carolina and Bucknell over the past two weeks. Despite the wins, Corrigan said he was unhappy with his team’s offensive efficiency. During the week, he said the team has been focusing on the little things necessary to put the ball in the net.

“We’re cutting back on what we’re doing so that we can do some things very well and then build off of that,” Corrigan said.

One of the things the Irish have been doing well on offense is spreading the ball around. Coming into this weekend, 14 different players have tallied goals, and another five have notched points on the season.

On the defensive side of the ball, senior goalie Scott Rodgers has been rock solid between the pipes, allowing only 7.43 goals per game. The New York native was named Great Western Lacrosse League player of the week.

“We always count on Scott to play well,” Corrigan said. “If we play good team defense, and do what we should do there, then I think Scott will continue to do his part, and do it well.”

Notre Dame will be facing an entirely new foe this weekend in the Catamounts, a squad the Irish have not played since 1985. Despite the unfamiliarity, Corrigan said that he feels confident after attending Vermont’s game last Sunday against Penn State.

“At this point, I feel pretty comfortable with what we know about them,” he said.

The Catamounts are used to playing at a slightly slower pace than the Irish, averaging only 7.8 goals per game, but giving up only 8.6.

“I’m sure part of the dynamic of this game will be them wanting to control the tempo a little bit,” Corrigan said. “But they also pressure you defensively, so it’ll be an interesting thing to see if we can play with poise in the face of the pressure.”

Leading the Catamounts on offense are senior attack Andrew Kelleher, freshman attack Geoff Worley and sophomore attack Derek Lichtfuss. The trio has combined for 45 points so far this season.

“They’re a team that’s very strong at both ends of the field,” Corrigan said.

The game against Vermont begins a brutal stretch of three games in 10 days for the Irish. After the Catamounts, Notre Dame will take on conference foe Bellarmine Wednesday and Villanova next Saturday. Corrigan said he would play it by ear as far as managing his team’s schedule.

“We’ll see where we are on Sunday coming out of this game,” he said. “And then we’ll juggle our schedule and our workload accordingly.”

One thing he said he wasn’t worried about, though, was team fatigue.

“Our guys are certainly conditioned well enough to handle three games in ten days.”