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Men’s Lacrosse: Big East play opens with loss

Matt Robison | Monday, March 29, 2010

No. 13 Notre Dame lost its first-ever Big East game Saturday, falling at home to Rutgers 10-8.

The Irish (5-3, 0-1 Big East) gained an early on the Scarlet Knights (5-2, 1-0), but after four unanswered goals by Rutgers, Notre Dame could not make a run to recapture the lead.

“Rutgers played very well, and we played very poorly,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said.

The Scarlet Knights were able to control to ball for most of the game and out shot the Irish 36-25.

“We were very inefficient offensively,” Corrigan said. “The time of possession was off the charts in their favor, which is our fault.”

Although Corrigan noted that there was not “a whole lot” the Irish did well Saturday, he has always been happy with their effort.

“We compete hard,” Corrigan said. “There’s no quit in our team.”

But that won’t be enough in a tough Big East conference, Corrigan said.

“It takes a lot more to win than just playing hard,” he said. “That’s just the price of admission.”

The Irish played good defense, but because Rutgers was able to control the ball for most of the game, the defense had to work that much harder to keep the ball out of the back of the net.

Notre Dame used three goaltenders in the loss. Senior Scott Rodgers started and made six saves before leaving with an injury. Senior Brendan Moore finished the first half and made two saves, and freshman John Kemp made his debut in the second half, making eight saves.

On the offensive side, junior midfielder Zach Brenneman led the Irish with two goals and an assist, while senior midfielder Grant Krebs and junior midfielder David Earl each notched two goals as well. Senior attack Neal Hicks also contributed a goal as well as two assists, and sophomore attack Nicholas Beattie finished off Notre Dame’s scoring with a goal and an assist.

In order for the Irish to make a run in the Big East, the offense will need to improve on its effectiveness and efficiency, Corrigan said.

“Offensively we’ve been very poor,” he said. “We’re not playing well as a team and we’re relying on individual efforts.”

Corrigan described Notre Dame’s play thus far this season as “erratic and inconsistent.”

Although the home loss to Rutgers could have dramatic implications for the Irish in terms of Big East standings and NCAA tournament selection at the end of the season, Corrigan is not looking that far down the road.

“I’m not worried about the rest of the season,” Corrigan said. “We’ve got to get better today and see what we can do to get better tomorrow.”

Notre Dame next gets a chance to prove its own improvement on April 3 at Villanova.