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Men’s Lacrosse: Defense leads way at home

Megan Golden | Friday, March 4, 2011

Continuing their quest for a national title, the No. 4 Irish look to their defense to get revenge on No. 18 Drexel in Notre Dame’s home opener.

The Irish (2-0) will be led by the Big East defensive player of the week in senior defenseman Kevin Ridgway, who has provided the Irish with consistency from the defensive unit so far this season.

“The beauty of [Ridgway] as a player is you don’t notice him. He’s just kind of quietly and effectively doing his job,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “He doesn’t catch your eye, but we noticed in film this week that he’s doing a great job for us. He’s not a guy you see involved in a lot of fancy, attention-grabbing plays because he makes plays very well over and over again.”

Ridgway, a co-captain, said that he will take Drexel (1-2) as just another game on the schedule, and the key will be to stick with the game plan.

“I think [we] pretty much just play the way we’ve been playing. We look at it as another opportunity, another challenge to go out there,” he said. “They’ve got a couple guys back from last year who are good. Whether it be communication or trust in each other, we’ve got to play the way we play.”

Ridgway emphasized the importance of trusting his teammates on defense.

“For instance, if a guy is guarding his man, we have a trust that he won’t get beat at all, which gives us a focus to tighten up on our own man and not give them looks inside,” Ridgway said. “Just knowing that your teammates will be in the right place at the right time, and knowing they’ll have your backs is a key element of how we play.”

Irish sophomore goalie John Kemp said communication is necessary in order for the Irish to beat a Drexel team that they fell to last year.

“I guess they had our number last year,” Kemp said. “At ND we’re known for our defense. I credit it to the communication we have, and we talk about it before, during and after the game, and that’s what’s important while playing defense. Other than that, we just go out there and do what we say we’re going to do and keep them from scoring.”

Kemp is ready to contain the Dragons, an offensive unit that has combined to score 36 goals in their first three games of the season.

“We game plan for everyone’s offense. I know that they have talented attackers; the top three scorers are attackmen,” Kemp said. “We’re looking forward to it. We’ve got to go at it intensely.”

Kemp said he hopes the student body will be in attendance as the team looks to remain undefeated on the road to a national title.

“Last year wasn’t a fluke. We made it all the way to the championship even though we didn’t have that good of a regular season,” Kemp said. “We think we’re better this year. Hopefully they’ll come and support us, and we can hopefully give them a good game.”

The Irish face off against Drexel at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Loftus Sports Center.