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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish win two over weekend

Sam Werner | Monday, April 20, 2009

While it was a busy weekend for Notre Dame, with the Irish playing games on both Saturday and Sunday, it was a quiet one for opposing attackers. The Irish gave up just four goals combined on the weekend en route to wins over Quinnipiac and St. John’s.

“To go back-to-back with two goal games is unbelievable,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said.

In Saturday’s 10-2 win over the Bobcats, senior attack Duncan Swezey led the way with two goals and an assist. The Irish (12-0, 4-0 Great Western Lacrosse League) continued their run as the only undefeated team in Division I. Neal Hicks opened the scoring just five minutes into the game, and Eric Keppeler, Adam Felicetti, Grant Krebs and Nicholas Beattie added goals in the first half. Swezey notched both of his goals towards the end of the period and the Irish had a 7-0 lead going into halftime.

The Bobcats finally got on the board on a goal from Jack Oppenheimer with 11:58 left in the third quarter, but Krebs and senior Ryan Hoff notched two more goals to extend the Irish lead.

After Kevin Kelly cut the lead to 9-2, Notre Dame picked up a goal from Kevin Cullinane to give the final score.

After the final whistle blew, it was a quick turnaround for Corrigan’s squad, as faceoff against the Red Storm was just over 24 hours, and 750 miles, away.

The jetlag may have had a slight effect on the Irish, as the first quarter ended with the score knotted at two. Any lingering effects quickly wore off, though, and the Notre Dame offense found it’s rhythm, leading to a 12-2 win.

Krebs and Hoff both netted hat tricks, and Neal Hicks earned three assists and a goal on the day.

After the Red Storm took a 2-1 lead early in the game, Hicks tied the game with 2:43 left in the first quarter. Sophomore midfielder Zach Brenneman scored what would eventually be the game-winner just three minutes into the second quarter, and the Irish defense took it from there.

The Irish scored two man-up goals on the afternoon, moving their total up to 18 on the season.

“It’s nice to see our man-up click a little bit,” Corrigan said. “I think we’ve got the right people there and we’re getting good looks. We’re not as consistent this year as we were a year ago, but it’s still there.”

The two goals equaled season bests for the Irish, and Hoff said the stout effort was a credit not just to the defensemen, but also to the team as a whole.

“Offensively we’re not having bad possessions, so it doesn’t translate into sloppy goals on the other end,” Hoff said. “Early on we were giving up six or seven goals a game, and that was our offense’s fault because we weren’t having quality possessions.”

Hoff also credited senior goalie Scott Rodgers.

“We had the best goalie last year in Joey Kemp,” Hoff said. “He left, and now we’ve got the best goalie in the country this year in Scott Rodgers.”

Sunday was senior day at Alumni Field, and the graduating players were recognized before the game. The win against St. John’s marked the last regular season home game for the seniors, though they could play at home again in the NCAA Tournament.

“Four years is a long time and it’s been incredible,” Hoff said. “We try not to make too much out of it, but it definitely means a lot coming out of here with a win.”

Corrigan said he wanted to wait until the season was over before he started singing the praises of his senior class.

“They’re not done,” he said. “They still have, I hope, over a month to play.”