After title-game run, ND begins new season with Hoyas
Greg Hadley | Friday, February 13, 2015
On the eve of a new season, Kevin Corrigan is taking things one day at a time, so much so that the Irish coach has not even had time to focus on who No. 2 Notre Dame is playing Saturday at noon.
“The biggest challenge [this weekend] is that we don’t know anything about them,” Corrigan said of his team’s season-opening opponent. “It’s a typical first game in that our emphasis is on ourselves and the way we play … ”
For the record, the Irish are playing Georgetown.
The matchup between will mark the fifth time in the last six seasons that the former Big East foes have faced off. But the combination of a year-long gap last season and a third-year coach for Georgetown in Kevin Warne means Corrigan and the Irish are relatively unfamiliar with the Hoyas, he said.
“They got a new coach a couple years ago, so we really don’t know much at all about them,” Corrigan said. “We’ve watched film of them from last year, and I think they’re a fast-paced, physical team, particularly early in possessions.”
Warne posted a 10-19 record with Hoyas in his first two seasons. After a Big East tournament berth in 2013, the team struggled last year, dropping 10 games, including four by two goals or fewer. Despite this, Corrigan said Georgetown has an ability to start strong. Last year, the Hoyas won 65.2 percent of their faceoffs.
“They really get after you and play very hard and fast at both ends of the field,” Corrigan said. “So that’s something we’re going to have to really get a feel for during the game.”
For Notre Dame, a strong start will largely depend on how quickly its newest players can integrate into the regular rotation, Corrigan said.
“Getting contributions from all the players we can get contributions from if we play the right way is going to be one thing,” Corrigan said on what the Irish can do better. “We know we got some guys who can make plays, but I think if we really wanted to utilize all of our players and all of our talent, then we really got to play in a very unselfish manner. And it’s not that our guys are selfish; it just takes time to develop that team dynamic. … We’re in that process.”
While developing that dynamic, the Irish will be led by senior midfielders Jack Near, graduate student midfielder Jim Marlatt and senior attack Conor Doyle, who were named team captains for the year Feb. 6. Both Near and Marlatt have earned All-American accolades in their careers, and Doyle was second on the team in points last season.
“Good leadership involves a lot of people,” Corrigan said. “I think our captains appreciate the quality of leadership, not just from other guys in their class, but from within each class. So I think they’ve made it a point of emphasis to be very inclusive in their leadership. … Everyone has a voice in what we’re doing in our locker room.”
Goalie Conor Kelly is another senior who will see the field Saturday, earning the start over sophomore Shane Doss and freshman Owen Molloy after a heated preseason battle. However, Corrigan stopped short of saying Kelly had won the position permanently.
“It’s been an extremely close competition, and all three of our goalies are — we have confidence in all three of them,” Corrigan said. “But Conor Kelly is going to start this weekend.”
The matchup was originally scheduled to be played outdoors at Arlotta Stadium, but with the forecast calling for temperatures below freezing and snow showers, the game has been moved inside to Loftus Sports Center.
Notre Dame and Georgetown square off to start the season this Saturday at noon in Loftus Sports Center.