Irish set to host Blue Devils in ACC matchup
Meagan Bens | Friday, April 6, 2018
After suffering its first loss in the ACC this season to No. 8 Syracuse, No. 12 Notre Dame returns home for a matchup against No. 6 Duke at Arlotta Stadium on Saturday.
Walking away from the 10-6 defeat to the Orange (6-3, 3-0 ACC), the Irish (5-3, 1-1) had a full week to prepare for the upcoming game against the Blue Devils (9-2, 1-1). Head coach Kevin Corrigan said Tuesday that the team has already put the loss behind it.
“We are not bouncing back from anything, we are playing Duke this week,” Corrigan said. “You can’t go through the whole season going up and down, up and down, every time you have a result. We know what the job is — it’s the same job we had getting ready for Syracuse, and the same job we had getting ready for Virginia and Denver and everybody before that. We have to get in this week and get our work done and be prepared for Duke.”
With the full week between Syracuse and Duke, Corrigan said he is more concerned about his team’s mental preparation as opposed to strategizing against the opponent. Duke leads the series 12-8, but Notre Dame won 7-6 when the two programs last met in the ACC tournament semifinals last year.
“Midweek games can definitely affect [preparation],” Corrigan said. “We have a week to get ready for Duke, [and] it’s an opponent we have been playing a lot through the last few years. There’s not going to be any secrets, [so] that means it is as much about our mental and emotional preparation as it is anything else.
“I’m less worried about Duke. I’m more worried about us. We need to play with a better sense of our identity, not a better sense of the opponent’s identity. When we can get to that, then, you know, that’s the most important thing for us right now.”
As Notre Dame heads into the contest, it will have its eyes on Blue Devils senior attack Justin Guterding. The Duke captain leads the nation with 3.36 goals per game, ranks ninth in the nation with 2.64 assists per game and has been named the ACC Offensive Player of the Week three times so far this season. He also became just the 13th Division I player in the sport’s history to reach 300 career points during his seven-point effort in Duke’s 11-10 win over North Carolina on March 31.
“He’s just a very good player,” Corrigan said of Guterding. “He can make all the variety of plays. He can score; he can assist; he can help the team overall with his maturity as a senior.”
Opening faceoff between the Irish and Blue Devils is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at Arlotta Stadium.