After narrowly losing to Richmond, No. 17 Irish hoping for key victory against second-ranked Maryland
Colin Capece | Friday, March 1, 2019
After a road trip to Virginia that ended with a hard-fought first loss at the hands of Richmond, No. 17 Notre Dame will return home this weekend to take on No. 2 Maryland.
Richmond proved to be a much more difficult opponent than the Detroit Mercy squad the Irish saw in their season opener, as Notre Dame (1-1) suffered a 9-8 road defeat. The game was tightly contested throughout, and the Irish almost completed a comeback in the fourth quarter before ultimately falling short.
“I liked the way we competed in the last six minutes of the game to give ourselves a chance to win,” head coach Kevin Corrigan said. “But other than that there wasn’t a whole lot that we did well. We need to get better in every area.”
One of the areas where the Irish struggled Saturday was offensive possession, and the result was just one Notre Dame first-quarter goal and an early three-goal deficit.
“They won face-offs and we turned the ball over a couple times on clears which is uncharacteristic of us,“ Corrigan said. ”There’s nothing good that can come when you get behind in a game.”
The Irish will certainly have to take better care of the ball and value possession time against Maryland (5-0), as the Terrapins bring a top-ten scoring defense to South Bend on Sunday.
“We haven’t been great at keeping the ball in either one of our games, and it will be very important for us to do so against Maryland,“ Corrigan said. ”They’ve got a very good defense. They’re aggressive in certain situations, but they also work together very well.”
Corrigan added that one of the keys to a second Irish victory will be execution on the offensive side of the ball.
“We just need to be a little more patient and a little more poised with the ball. We need to make sure that we’re executing and have everyone on the same page. We can’t settle for mediocre shots or try to force anything. We just need to let the game come to us a little bit more,“ Corrigan said.
Despite some of Notre Dame’s offensive struggles against Richmond, the defense turned in another tremendous performance. The Irish held their opponent to under 10 goals for the second consecutive game, and they have now forced nine turnovers on the season. The Irish will need another strong defensive effort against the Terrapins, who will arrive on Sunday averaging 11.8 goals through their first five games.
“[Maryland moves] very well without the ball, and they’re crafty around the cage and in the way they use their attackmen,“ Corrigan said. “You have to work really hard on and off the ball, and keep good ball pressure to keep their lead guy from picking you apart. You’ve got to just make sure you’re always paying attention on defense.”
Maryland’s offense is led by a dynamic duo of junior attacker Jared Bernhardt and sophomore midfielder Logan Wisnauskas. The two have led the way for the Terrapins early on, scoring 16 and 15 goals, respectively, through Maryland’s first five games. However, Corrigan emphasized that the Irish can’t just focus on two players.
“They’ve got a bunch of great players, and it’s not about just stopping one guy. We need a collective effort to bottle up their offense.”
Notre Dame and Maryland will matchup on Sunday at noon inside Loftus Sports Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.