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Men’s Lacrosse

Notre Dame prepares for North Carolina’s best shot

| Friday, April 20, 2018

Notre Dame will travel to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to take on North Carolina in a nationally-televised road ACC match Saturday afternoon.

Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan knows his team will face a tough test come Saturday.

Chris Collins | The Observer
Irish freshman attack Mikey Drake surveys the field during Notre Dame’s 8-2 loss to Duke on April 7 at Arlotta Stadium.

“I expect to see North Carolina at their absolute best,” Corrigan said. “It’s going to be a game. … Obviously they had a run of bad luck here and they critically need this win, and I expect to see them at their absolute best on Saturday. And their best is very good.”

Corrigan expects to see the Irish (6-2, 1-2 ACC) play the same way its played recently, no matter who they have available.

“I expect to see us keep doing what we’ve been doing, which is fight to be effective with the guys that we have that day,” Corrigan said. “It’s as simple as that. If we have guys hurt, they’re not there and there’s no sense in whining about it. It’s just what decisions change for us, and what decisions remain the same, and going forth and being prepared in every way to execute the way we need to. I think our guys have done a great job of adjusting through the year so far with the changes we’ve been forced to make, and so I feel really good about our ability to do it and now it’s just a matter of going out there and executing on Saturday.”

The Irish last played a last Wednesday when they defeated Marquette 7-6 in a thrilling come from behind finish. Down 6-5 with less than a minute to play, sophomore midfielder Bryan Costabile and junior attack Ryder Garnsey both scored 27 seconds apart to steal the victory.

Sophomore midfielder Brian Willetts scored his 10th goal of the season to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. Marquette (6-5, 3-1 Big East) scored the next three goals to go ahead 3-1 after the first quarter. Senior midfielder Jordan Walter then scored the first goal of his collegiate career to cut the deficit to one before sophomore midfielder Thomas McNamara tied the score at three with 6:46 left in the first half. However, Marquette retook the lead just 16 seconds later.

After halftime, a goal by freshman attack Mikey Drake on the man advantage once again tied the score. Notre Dame took the lead less than two minutes later when senior long-stick midfielder John Sexton scored his third goal of the season to make it 5-4 with 12:54 left in the third.

In the fourth quarter, two goals in less than two minutes by Marquette gave the Golden Eagles a 6-5 lead, setting the stage for Costabile and Garnsey’s late game heroics.

Garnsey finished the night with three points (one goal and two assists). Freshman goaltender Matt Schmidt picked up his sixth win of the season, making eight saves on 14 shots.

Corrigan believes his team will ride the momentum from that win into this weekend.

“That was a great win,” Corrigan said. “I think that is almost a win that comes with some momentum in a sense because it really is just one of those kind of improbable wins that came about because our guys competed like crazy and kept their poise in big moments at the end of the game and made plays when they had to. There’s something about going through that experience that’s good for a team. I think it’s helped us focus on this week, and I think it gives us confidence that we can do what needs to be done in the waning moments of games.”

North Carolina (6-7, 0-3 ACC) is coming off of a 13-12 overtime loss to Syracuse last Saturday.

The game is slated to start at noon on Saturday and can be seen on ESPNU.

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