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Men’s Lacrosse: Team faces must-win in Queens

Allan Joseph | Friday, April 23, 2010

The Irish have not performed as well as they would have liked thus far, but with two must-win conference games looming, coach Kevin Corrigan believes his team is peaking at the right time.

“We’ve been working hard and our guys have been practicing for the better part of the last three weeks,” Corrigan said. “I’m convinced that it’s going to start translating more and more into the games.”

The Irish (6-5, 1-3 Big East) have little time left to make the transition from practice to game play, however, and thus their trip to Queens, N.Y., this week to face conference foe St. John’s (5-6, 2-2) will be an important one for their NCAA aspirations. The squad knows this and will not be caught looking ahead to the regular-season finale next week against No. 1 Syracuse, according to Corrigan.

“I think our team has a great sense of urgency,” he said.
The Red Storm are led offensively by senior midfielder Tom Manes, who leads his team in points, as well as sophomore attack Harry Kutner, the leading scorer on the team. St. John’s does not run a particularly complicated scheme, and in Corrigan’s eyes, the game will come down not to tactics but to execution.

“They’re a team that knows themselves very well and makes subtle adjustments to expose you,” Corrigan said. “It’s a different challenge than we had with Providence, but they are a very scrappy team tat works very hard and relies on their execution to be successful.”

Notre Dame hopes that it has finally found its personality as a team and thus will be able to overcome the Red Storm and put themselves firmly on the NCAA bubble.

“I think we’re playing with a better sense of tempo at the offensive end, more comfortably,” Corrigan said. “Defensively, we’re starting to get our aggressiveness back without overextending ourselves.” 

An Irish win would set up a monumental clash with conference leader Syracuse that could hold the key to a Notre Dame trip to the NCAA Championships, while a loss could spell the end of any postseason hopes in a season that held so much promise.

The Irish put their season on the line against St. John’s at 1 p.m. in Queens, N.Y., Saturday.