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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish prepare to battle OSU

Megan Golden | Wednesday, March 23, 2011

After taking a week to refocus and reenergize following their forgettable win at Denver, the No. 3 Irish look to rebound against No. 20 Ohio State in Notre Dame’s first outdoor home game.

The Irish (4-0) picked up a 10-9 win at Denver, but it took them all four quarters to put away the Pioneers. Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said he was less than satisfied with the team’s victory at Denver, and he hopes the team gains a different kind of momentum while competing with the Buckeyes (5-3).

“Clearly, being able to stay undefeated keeps momentum that we’ve [already] been able to establish,” Corrigan said. “I’d like to see us getting the momentum of getting back to playing lacrosse, and wins and losses will take care of themselves.”

With injuries piling up on the Irish roster, 11 days off allowed the team to relax and heal in time for future competition. Corrigan said the team focused on improving their own individual games during their time off.

“It gives us a chance to get healthy and a chance in practice to concentrate on ourselves,” he said. “You’re always preparing week-to-week for your opponents, and you don’t spend much time preparing for yourselves.”

The Irish are hoping that senior midfielder and co-captain Zach Brenneman will return to action against the Buckeyes. In the meantime, however, senior long-stick midfielder and co-captain Andrew Irving said the younger Irish midfielders have stepped up tremendously.

“They’ve had a few goals and had a ton of great plays, and not only that, but no one’s going to be able to replace Brenneman,” Irving said. “It’s nice to see young guys step up in his absence. Obviously, he’ll be back, and he’ll be doing what he does best.”

Corrigan said the Irish defense needed to shut down the strong Ohio State attack if the Irish are to prevail and maintain their undefeated record.

“I think they’re a very athletic and aggressive team, and we’ve got to handle them in the middle of the field first,” Corrigan said. “Their attackers are really nifty guys. They are going to be a challenge for us, but it’ll be a much easier challenge if we can keep them out of good opportunities.”

Notre Dame’s home opener in Loftus drew a record-setting crowd, yet Corrigan hopes the crowd against the Buckeyes exceeds that number.

“I would love to see the students come out. I would love to see over 3,000 people at the stadium, and make it a tough environment for the other team to play in and a great environment for our team to play in,” Corrigan said. “There’s nothing that gets your team more jacked up than knowing they have a good student crowd at the game.”

The Irish will take the field against Ohio State at 4 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium.