Interview with men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan after championship loss
Allan Joseph | Sunday, August 29, 2010
Corrigan on the contrast with 2009’s tournament disappointment:
“A year ago we were undefeated going into the tournament and thought that that was going to be our fate, and played a really poor game against Maryland, and you’re out before you even get started. And then this year, kind of the opposite. [It was a] kind of crazy, up-and-down year, and we couldn’t have played better through the last four games of the season in the tournament, and got it to the last play. Unfortunately, [Duke] made the last play and we didn’t.”
On the difference between the regular season and postseason quality of play:
“We played as a whole team, we made really, really good decisions down the stretch, and played to our strengths as well as we have in a long time. Our guys offensively were a little bit less aggressive but much more ball-control oriented; we asked our guys to make some decisions in the middle of the field that were a little more passive than what we normally do, kept us out of transition because we felt like we played very good team defense and our goalie, if we could just get him certain shots, that he would be very good, and could stop those shots, and that certainly was the case.
“I mean, Scotty Rodgers played as well down the stretch of the season as well as, I might say, any goalie’s ever played in the NCAA Tournament. He was absolutely terrific. And we played smart and good defense around and just limited people’s opportunities.”
On the mood immediately after the championship:
“Well, I mean, obviously everybody was crushed because you don’t get that far and want anything but the championship at that point. You know when you go to overtime, that that’s how the game’s going to end, [laughing], either for you or against you, it’s sudden death, and it happens in the blink of an eye.
“I think, to be honest, immediately after the game we were kind of stunned. You spend a month working to that point, really four months, but that last month of the tournament you’re working towards that moment, and to have it end that way, it’s pretty abrupt, and pretty shocking. But I think our guys understood that it was a pretty special opportunity that they had to play in front of all those people on national television, compete for a national championship.
“I think it’s something that we’ve been telling guys, that a realistic possibility for us is winning a national championship, we’re competing for it, and I think that the events of the last three years, we’ve played the best teams in the country and done pretty well and played all over and I think our guys at the end of the day just have an appreciation of having had a great experience.”
On team standouts Zach Brenneman, David Earl, and Kevin Ridgway:
“In a way, they’re completely different players. Zach makes big plays, that’s what he does and that’s what he does very well. He kind of draws your eye immediately with some of the big shots that he makes and some of the plays that he makes at the offensive end of the field, I think as opposed to a guy like David Earl, who I think was probably our best player through the tournament, outside of Scott Rodgers, because David just does everything so well, he’s just so consistent on all kinds of little things throughout the game, and so there’s that kind of juxtaposition between those two.
“And then you’ve got Kevin Ridgway, who draws no attention to himself, because what Kevin does is just guard a man and not give his guy opportunities. It’s one of those things, it’s hard to notice something that doesn’t happen, and what doesn’t happen is that his guy doesn’t get many good looks over the course of a day, his guy doesn’t get many opportunities to do things and it’s not because Kevin is stripping the ball from him and running down the field, it’s just because Kevin is staying between him and the goal the whole day, and never giving the guy a good opportunity to score.
“It’s almost an acquired taste, but I think he’s proven himself absolutely one of the best in the country and I’m glad to see that there is finally some appreciation for that.”
On the team’s trip to Japan after the tournament:
“The trip to Japan was terrific. Particularly given the way things ended, it was great to have a change for us all to be together. Usually when our season ends, it’s literally like 24 hours, everybody’s taking off and scattering to the winds because school’s over and guys have things to get to. This time was a chance for everybody to stay together, nobody had to talk about the championship game ‘cause we were all together and pretty much nobody wanted to talk about it, but we still got to relive the good moments, so that part of it was good.
“The experience itself was just terrific. A great trip, a beautiful country, we couldn’t have been treated better by our hosts, and guys had just a really neat experience going over there.”
On the chances of repeating a run at the national championship:
“Well we lost one guy at every position, but this is college athletics — you’re going to lose a quarter of your team every year.
“I think we start over and see if we can’t take all the pieces which we do have back, which are significant and add the new guys, the freshmen that are coming in, and see if we can’t put together another run. I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t, we’ll certainly have enough ability, but that’s just part of the equation.”