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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish continue tough stretch

Matthew Robison | Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Coming off three straight overtime games, No. 3 Notre Dame takes on No. 8 Ohio State today in Arlotta Stadium, its fifth game against a top-10 opponent.

When the Irish faced Hofstra, the No. 7 Pride were not yet in the top 10. But after beating the Irish and moving up, all six of Notre Dame’s opponents thus far have been in the top 10 at least once during the season.

But the Irish (4-1) welcome the challenge of playing the best teams in the country from a variety of conferences.

“Our schedule is incredibly tough,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “Ohio State will be the sixth team in a row that we play who’s in the top 15. It’s a challenge and our guys have met the challenge.”

The Buckeyes (5-1) come to Notre Dame riding the momentum of a big win over No. 14 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. Buckeyes senior midfielder Dominique Alexander scored the game-winner with 1:48 remaining to seal the 11-10 victory.

Almost midway through the season, the Buckeyes’ only loss came to No. 5 Denver in Columbus, Ohio on March 9. The Irish come into today’s game off a 13-12 overtime victory over the Pioneers on Saturday in Denver.

Senior attack Logan Schuss leads the Ohio State offense with 16 goals and seven assists so far. But sophomore midfielder Jesse King is not far behind with 14 goals and seven assists.

The Buckeyes score an average of 11.83 goals per game and only allow 8.5 per game.

But Notre Dame also has a variety of weapons on the offensive end. Freshman attack Matt Kavanagh has already made a name for himself as a scorer. He has 10 goals and four assists so far, as does junior midfielder Jim Marlatt. Sophomore attack Conor Doyle, in many ways the initiator of the Irish offense, also has 14 points with nine goals and five assists.

Corrigan also praised several other players.

“[Senior attack] Sean Rogers, Conor Doyle, [senior midfielder] Steve Murphy, Jim Marlatt have all been outstanding this year,” Corrigan said. “And that’s just offensively.”

On the defensive end, senior All-American goaltender John Kemp has been particularly solid, as expected. Although the Irish have allowed more goals this season than last, Kemp has played every minute between the pipes, regulation and overtimes, making 46 saves in five games.

The Wednesday afternoon showdown is a bit unusual for the Irish, as they usually play on Saturday afternoons. But to draw a crowd in the cold conditions, student attendees will receive free winter beanie hats and hot chocolate.

The Irish and the Buckeyes face off today at 4 p.m. in Arlotta Stadium.

Contact Matthew Robison at [email protected]