No. 5 Notre Dame faces Michigan in home opener
Benjamin Padanilam | Thursday, February 23, 2017
Following a season-opening win over Georgetown in Texas this past Saturday, No. 5 Notre Dame returns home to host Michigan on Sunday at Arlotta Stadium.
In their 16-10 victory over the Hoyas (0-2), the Irish (1-0) were led by their three top returning scorers: sophomore attack Ryder Garnsey, junior attack Mikey Wynne and senior midfielder Sergio Perkovic scored 12 of Notre Dame’s 16 goals in the victory. Although their production propelled the team to victory, the trio’s performance was just part of a larger offensive scheme that Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said he liked seeing Saturday.
“What I was pleased with offensively was how many different guys had opportunities to make plays,” Corrigan said. “If we play the right way — the way that this team should play — then we’ve got some guys who we know can have big days, but we’re not going to live and die with Ryder Garnsey getting six goals.”
As the team continues to establish its identity, the Irish believe they have found something that works in their offense, Corrigan said. While the scoring certainly starts with the trio of Garnsey, Wynne and Perkovic, it depends on their ability to work within the system and finish the opportunities that present themselves, he added.
“Those guys are going to be productive because they’re really good players, but what we need is for all the guys at the offensive end to have the opportunity to make plays, which I think we did a pretty good job of creating [against Georgetown],” Corrigan said. “And if we do that consistently, then we can be consistent offensively.
“ … I think it starts with those guys — it starts with those guys not being selfish, and I thought … they all played very unselfishly. And if they do that and they still get points, then it’s the best of both worlds.”
One area the Irish will be looking to improve against the Wolverines (4-0) and beyond is in its defensive execution. Corrigan said he felt his team collectively needs to focus in its next few practices on limiting opposing scoring opportunities by tightening up its play on that end of the field.
“We’re not happy giving up 10 goals to anybody. That was not something we felt great about,” Corrigan said. “That’s not pointing fingers at our defense or our goalie or anybody else, that’s just saying collectively, we gave them too many opportunities. That’s some transition, it’s some penalties, and it’s a lot of different things. But we’ve got to be better in restricting the opportunities people have against us because we’re not comfortable giving up 10 goals.”
And those improvements will be put to the test on Sunday, as the Wolverines are averaging nearly 15 goals per game in their four wins to start the year. And while Notre Dame is the best team the Wolverines will have seen so far on paper, the Irish also expects this year’s Michigan team to be the best they have seen in the last few seasons, Corrigan said.
“I think they’re playing with great confidence right now,” Corrigan said of Michigan. “They’re a very good offensive team — they have really good skills, a number of different guys who can score and experience at every position on the field right now.”
The Irish and Wolverines face off at 2 p.m. Sunday at Arlotta Stadium.