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Men’s Lacrosse: Big East brawl

Matt Robison | Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The No. 18 Irish will face No. 17 Villanova Saturday in Notre Dame’s first-ever Big East road game. In the conference opener last weekend, the Irish fell to Rutgers at home 10-8.

Saturday will be a good chance to get back on the right track against a challenging conference opponent.

The focus in practice this week will be getting back to what Notre Dame (5-3) does best as a team, rather than looking too far ahead or overthinking their opponent. Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said he wants the Irish to establish their identity as a team.

“Our focus is almost entirely on ourselves right now,” Corrigan said. “That is not a slight to a very good Villanova team but an acknowledgement that we can’t win unless we understand ourselves, play together and play within ourselves.”

Although this is the first year for the Big East conference in men’s lacrosse, the Irish have faced Villanova (6-3) in the past, and the Wildcats have consistently proven to be a formidable foe.

“Villanova is a team that has always given us trouble in the past because they play smart and with discipline,” Corrigan said. “You have to beat them, they won’t beat themselves.”

One aspect to look out for is the play of the Irish goalkeepers. After senior Scott Rodgers went down with an injury against Rutgers, Corrigan turned to both senior Brendan Moore and freshman John Kemp, who made his collegiate debut in that game.

But after the loss, Corrigan said he was most disappointed with the play of the offense, which has been relying on individual efforts rather than team play to score, according to Corrigan.

Saturday should be a tough game for the Irish, but Corrigan said he is confident in his team’s ability to get ready this week.

“This is a big game for us because we haven’t been playing well of late,” Corrigan said. “But we’ve had a couple good practices this week and if we keep working we will be ready Saturday for what I expect to be a very hard-fought game.”

The Irish will face off against the Wildcats Saturday at 1 p.m. in Villanova, Pa.