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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish end preseason play strongly

Megan Golden | Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Irish discovered their new-look team in three shortened scrimmages against Robert Morris on Sunday at home. No. 9 Notre Dame topped the Colonials in all matches by scores of 8-5, 5-1 and 2-1, respectively.

The first match lasted three periods and featured a high-scoring first quarter. Notre Dame led 4-2 heading into the second period, when both teams exchanged multiple goals to make it a 6-4 Irish advantage.

The Colonials struggled offensively in the second match, which lasted just one quarter. The heated match quickly became one-sided, as all the bounces went in favor of the Irish.

Robert Morris opened the third match with an immediate goal, taking an early 1-0 lead. The Irish responded in the middle of the period to tie the game, but both teams struggled to find the net in the final 10 minutes. Notre Dame went on to win 2-1 after scoring with 20 seconds remaining in overtime.

“This is a practice day; it’s a practice day with another team. It’s another day toward us being prepared on Feb. 18th [against Duke],” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “My expectations are geared toward that and not toward whatever the scoreboard said at any point during the scrimmage. I think that we’re getting better, and we are finding some different people. We’ve got some guys hurt, some guys stepping up today and playing and doing a good job.”

Notre Dame opens the season against No. 2 Duke and will face No. 20 Drexel, No. 12 Hofstra and No. 5 Denver over its next five games.

Corrigan said Robert Morris provided the Irish defense with a chance to experiment against a Canadian-style offense similar to that of Notre Dame’s upcoming opponents.

“They’re a very talented offensive team, and they put a lot of pressure on you,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of Canadians; they play a unique style, an almost box-type style. [They] keep everything real tight and force everything inside, which is great for us. That was a great go for us, great preparation for our season, no question.”

Corrigan added the Irish are not preparing specifically for Duke’s arrival until the team polishes its fundamentals.

“I think there was a lot of good stuff out there, but I’m disappointed in our fundamentals, and that’s something that we preach, something we all believe in not just our coaches but our players,” he said. “We just simply didn’t execute fundamentally today the way we are capable of executing, and that’s where we’ve got to start, particularly early in the year like this. We’ve got to be sound, and we’re still a work in progress.”

Notre Dame fell to Duke in the quarterfinals of the NCAA championships last season. Upon conclusion of the 2011 season, the Irish lost former co-captains and midfielders David Earl and Zach Brenneman to the 2011 National Lacrosse League Draft.

Corrigan said Notre Dame has adjusted its style of play to be focused more on the team playing as one unit.

“I think we found out in the fall that we’re at our best with this team when we’re not trying to saddle up and ride one guy,” he said. “We could do that some last year; Dave and Zach could make something out of nothing. I don’t think that’s who we are this year, and I think our guys know it, but I think we’re still learning how to do it in game situations.

“When we’re really sharing the ball, and playing unselfishly, and everybody’s communicating well and we’re really playing as a group, we’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays in that kind of scenario.”

Notre Dame will open its regular season at home against No. 2 Duke on Feb. 18.



Contact Megan Golden at [email protected]