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Men’s Lacrosse: Marlatt earns MVP in win

Megan Golden | Monday, April 2, 2012

In pursuit of its sixth consecutive win, No. 6 Notre Dame opened the Konica Minolta Big City Classic with a 13-6 victory over Big East foe St. John’s.

Irish sophomore attack Westy Hopkins scored the first goal of the tripleheader at MetLife Stadium, giving the Irish (7-1, Big East 2-0) an early lead one minute into the contest. The Red Storm (5-4, Big East 1-2) responded with a goal midway through the first quarter, but Notre Dame freshman attack Conor Doyle netted a goal to regain a 2-1 lead for the Irish.

St. John’s came out with two quick goals in the second quarter, taking a 3-2 lead against a Notre Dame team that struggled to find an offensive rhythm.

Red Storm sophomore midfielder Ryan Fitzgerald netted his second goal of the game with just seven seconds remaining in the half, giving St. John’s a 4-3 lead at halftime.

Doyle said the Irish were prepared to face an underrated Red Storm defense.

“They were playing tough defense, and we knew that coming in. They played some close games with some really good teams,” he said. “We knew they were going to put up a fight, and they certainly did in the first half.”

Irish junior midfielder Ryan Foley and senior midfielder Eric Keppeler each scored early in the third quarter to put Notre Dame back in control with a 5-4 lead. Doyle added his second goal of the day, and both teams exchanged goals to end the quarter with a 7-5 Irish advantage.

Notre Dame opened the fourth quarter with six consecutive goals. Irish sophomore midfielder Jim Marlatt scored three goals within 1:19 to start the rally, and put Notre Dame up 10-5. Three additional players would score for the Irish before St. John’s found the net for its final goal of the day.

The Irish outscored the Red Storm 6-1 in the fourth quarter and 10-2 in the second half.

Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said the difference in the game was picking up ground balls and attacking St. John’s defense.

“[In the first] half, we were a little bit lethargic and not very crisp,” he said. “Our decision-making and our play improved in the second half. I thought we played well, hard, smart, very aggressively and made good decisions. I was very pleased with the second half.”

Marlatt led the team with a career-high three goals, and was named the game’s most valuable player.

Despite a sluggish start for the Irish, the offense scored a season-high 13 goals and featured nine different scorers.

Notre Dame junior goalkeeper John Kemp collected 10 saves for the Irish.

Corrigan said Notre Dame’s second-half performance indicated his team has found its identity.

“It was an important game because the second half was very much the way we want to play all the time,” he said. “We are finding our identity. You get better because you find out who you are, what things you need to do to be at your best, and we’re also getting more and more people contributing.”

Doyle said he enjoyed playing in MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets.

“It was great. Anytime you get to play in an NFL stadium, it’s awesome,” Doyle said. “It was my first time playing in a venue like this and I will never forget it.”

The Irish will next host Providence on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium.

Contact Megan Golden at [email protected]